Do Or Die #1-10 (1993-2003, Brighton, England.)
A few years ago a friend asked me if I had a complete set of Do or Die, the British Earth First! publication that inspired and incited eco-warriors throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. At one time I did have them, but they had long since been stolen by a Joint Terrorism Task Force.
After a brief discussion, we decided that Do or Die was too important to fade into obscurity. We began tracking down each issue, and decided that while we were at it we ought to archive some other publications as well. That effort is how this web site began, and now, thanks to 56a infoshop of South London and Tim @ NEDS Northampton, we can finally share the very rare issue #2. This completes our collection, and our original mission as well.
When read as a set, Do or Die is a chronicle of people from across the globe counter-striking capitalism, ecocide, and the state. Each issue is better than the last, but more importantly, each page is a spark licking at the fuse of the bomb that is your heart. Once lit, you’ll know that these pages are not mere history, but a reminder that we can explode onto the world stage like the fighters before us have. Do or die, now is the time to rise.
Do or Die #9 (2000, Brighton, England.)
We always write the same thing when we post an issue of Do or Die, so this time we will spare you the superlatives. This issue has worldwide ecological news, human freedom struggles, non-human direct action, and a radical history of football alongside a little bit of humor and many inspiring images. A must read, so click below and get to it!
Do or Die #8 (1999, Brighton, England.)
There is nothing to say about Do or Die that has not already been said on this website- it was the best environmental journal in history and this issue is full of the same critical theory, inspiring coverage, and beautiful graphics as every other issue. What makes this volume unique though is the in depth coverage of J18, the so-called “Carnival Against Capital” that rocked the world in 1999 before being quickly forgotten. Also of interest is the recurring “Animal Antics” feature, and hundreds of pages of indigenous resistance, radical history, eco-feminism, and direct action coverage. As we have said before, Do or Die is a must read, and this issue is no exception.
No Compromise #15,16, 17 (2000-2001, Santa Cruz, CA.)
I want to preface this post with this: The turn of the century was an epic time to be alive and fighting! Between the WTO riots, a huge upsurge in ALF attacks on the West Coast, some inspiring support of grand jury resisters, and the migration of the SHAC campaign to the United States, there were also thousands upon thousands of other actions across the planet. It was hard to keep up with all of the news because it seemed that people everywhere had finally taken enough and were beginning a counter strike for non-humans, wilderness, and human freedom. Luckily, No Compromise kept track of most of the action, and produced three excellent issues during this incredible year of revolt. Beyond the coverage of the latest direct actions, attention was also paid to our past successes and failures- and all animal activists would do well to read issue #16’s “Blast From The Past” article about lab raids in the 1980s.
Do Or Die #1,3,4. (1993-1994, Brighton, England.)
When a group of five environmentalists gave birth to Earth First! in 1979 they could have hardly imagined how far the movement would spread and how influential its politics would become. From humble roots in the Southwest, chapters began proliferating across the United States and soon left its borders as the worldwide eco-catastrophe inspired people everywhere to take action. In 1992 the first British Earth First! chapter was founded, and within a year one of the most exciting periods of mass direct action in modern history was well underway.
From the start the movement in the UK seemed a little smarter than their US counterparts, perhaps because they had learned from the worst offenses of the fledgling stateside groups. Eschewing the more anti-social elements of American deep ecologists, our comrades across the pond sought to build a broader base and included those working in other movements. They also seemed to have a creative flare for mischief, and their best actions not only stopped the despoilers- they also put a smile on the face of rebels everywhere.
The spectacular campaigns of the UK EF!ers were covered in Do or Die!, a wonderfully self-critical journal that started as a small newsletter and blossomed into a massive annual tome by the end of its existence. Find the other issues HERE.
X Ultra-Militance X #1, 3-5 (2003 – 2004. Bursledon, Hants, England)
(Editors note: Our original posting of this series contained information about the author that was incorrect. While we do our utmost to fact check everything that we post, at times our only source materials are mainstream media articles, and in this instance those articles were wrong. We sincerely regret the error.)
In the mid-2000’s a young, straight edge activist was arrested and convicted for acts of sabotage against companies involved with the research firm Huntingdon Life Sciences. Prior to his capture and conviction he also anonymously published a zine named after a song by the band Earth Crisis. It’s contents covered the usual ground expected from a periodical with X’s on either side of the title- living a drug free life, veganism, interviews with hardcore bands, and exhortations for the reader to take direct action. His writings also confronted areas of oppression not generally discussed by the firestorm crowd, including the war in Iraq, genetic manipulation of plants, and support for resistance movements ranging from the American Indian Movement to the Black Panther Party. While the militaristic rhetoric of these articles is tired and posturing, there is also at times a wonderful sense of urgency and a yearning for justice that one cannot help but sympathize with.
Conflict Gypsy has tracked down four out of six known issues of XUltra-MilitanceX. We are still seeking issue number two and six. If you can help add them to our collection, please contact us at conflictgypsy ((at)) gmail.com
Do Or Die #6 (1997, Brighton, England.)
“There have been many rational arguments about the usefulness of this action to the campaign, but to anyone who watched the route being transformed from beautiful countryside to churned mud and charred stumps, there is at least a sense of natural justice to the sight of the last tree on route silhouetted by the flames of burning machinery.” -Anon. From the article “Newbury, an adrenaline junkies idea of heaven.”
By the time 1997 rolled around Britons could not help but be aware that something major was afoot in their country. Dock workers were uniting with anti-car anarchists, squatters were preventing the demolition of entire communities by occupying building slated to be torn down, there seemed to be a punk or a hippie in every tree in the whole damned country, and when police got in the way they faced riots as a result. Amidst this flurry of activity though, those on the inside knew that their movement was in terrible danger from forces both internal and external. With time short and resources low they began to discuss how to prevent catastrophe. In the end they failed, but they left behind a wonderful warning of what happens when we analyze our tactics, morale, and outreach too late.
This is not to say that Do Or Die #6 is a doom and gloom journal of a dying movement. Much to the contrary, this issue foresaw the collapse but was written when activity was still peaking. Amongst the analysis of their campaigns and politics, Earth First in the UK and Europe as a whole found plenty of time to get down to the joyous work of resisting industry and capital. There is no way that one can not read some of the stories inside without feeling a boost of adrenaline. From the theft of bulldozers to destroy a construction site to the rampaging of drunken elephants against military bases, to the building of a free state on american soil, all variety of species get down to the usual business of ruining business as usual. Inspiration abounds!
Underground 16 (2001, Ontario, Canada)
Although the cover claims that this issue was released in Spring of 2000, in actuality, the final issue of Underground was so delayed that subscribers received it in the fall of 2001. By this time, the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign was in full swing, the world was seeing regular, large scale riots and street protests at political and industry events, and the Earth Liberation Front was moving the forefront of direct action in the United States. Underground had a number of redeeming features, not the least of which was its comprehensive, worldwide diary of actions, but its publication schedule, the release of Bite Back and the new SHAC newsletter, and the popularity of the internet as a source for news was chipping away at its relevance. It used its final issue to re-publish the Nighttime Gardener, cover the harassment of the ELF press office, and discuss news that was in many cases no longer new.
The magazine had quite a journey from its earlier incarnation as Combat and is clearly one of the most essential documents of the upswing in activity our movement witnessed in the 1990s. Bite Back magazine continues to fill the hole left by Underground’s disappearance, but us old timers will always remember these newsprint treasures with the kind of fondness that only comes from “being there.” It may sound funny, but I sometimes think of these old zines as fallen comrades. In that spirit, let me just say that death has a funny way of being impermanent in the world of activism. Here is to a new generation born from the ashes of those who Underground represented and reported on. Underground is dead, but the Underground lives on.
Underground 14-15 (1999, Ontario, Canada)
The turn of the century was an odd time in the world of radical politics. The remnants of the mid-90s militants grassroots were fading away, and those still loyal began to look to England for signs of hope. In Eugene, an odd coalition of old school forest activists, crusties, anarchists, and even some members of the old left were rapidly embracing a philosophy critical of civilization, leftism, and pacifism. People all over the globe were beginning to talk about the specter of global trade agreements, and everyone began planning for the World Trade Organization meetings in the northwest, where arsons, lab raids, and whale hunt sabotages were already rampant. Everywhere there was a sense that the old politics were dying, and that something new was right around the corner.
Underground reflected some of this feeling, but production delays, staff turnover, and the rapid loss of its old writers meant that only 2 short issues were produced this year. Some great history was documented in these pages, but sadly much was left uncovered. These two issues should be thought of as an incomplete sampling of just some of what ’99 brought the world.
Live Wild or Die # 1-3 (Published in various locations along the west coast of the United States, 1989-1990s?)
Edited by rotating teams of anarchists and espousing an anti-civilization perspective a decade before the rise of Eugene’s primitivists, Live Wild or Die was the most radical environmental journal of its time, and perhaps, of all time. Featuring articles with names like “The Eco-Fucker hit list,” which “wise use” guru Ron Arnold later erroneously claimed to have inspired Ted Kaczynski’s choice of targets, LWOD presented an uncompromising vision of a future without industrialism and domestication brought about by train hopping tree spikers, nomadic punk hunt saboteurs, and feral warriors. It was exciting, naive, inspiring, and sometimes a little bit stupid. Still, flipping through it’s over-sized, busily decorated pages you can not help but feel the optimistic spirit of that era. Earth First!ers and animal liberators, monkey wrenchers and black clad messengers run wild across the pulp, heralding a revolution to free the world of exploitation, drudgery, brutality and boredom. Cries for the destruction of corporate property vie for attention alongside snarky comic strips, screeds against new age pseudo resistance, and now un-distributable diagrams for building incendiary devices. The authors believed in their hearts that something better was on the horizon if they could fight hard enough to get there. That deep and passionate longing for utopia is all but dead nowadays, washed away by delusions of “Hope” and “Change” at the ballot box and a green consumerism that only takes us deeper into the pit of shallow lives and dying eco-systems. But somewhere out there I am betting that there are a few young people who pine for a planet that is joyous and just, and I hope they smile, conspiratorially, when they see what the generation who made LWOD was planning.