N.A.L.L. Newsletters – Issues 7-8 (1983, Manchester, England)
In the history of our movement there is no group that inspires me more than the Northern Animal Liberation League. They had broad politics, bold tactics, a unique take on direct action, and an appreciation for solidarity with other revolutionary groups that was ahead of their time.
Their newsletter, unfortunately, wasn’t on par quality wise with the rest of their organization. Constrained by time and money, this photocopied mail out is unattractive and devoid of the analysis that made NALL so great. That isn’t to say that it isn’t an absolute joy for fans of animal liberation history though! While I would love to see more of NALL’s radical socialist and anti-authoritarian roots in these pages, I can not deny the simple pleasures of reading about daylight raids, hunt sabotage, and the wholesale ruining of vivisectors lives in England’s north. Even NALL’s hokey and ill-informed embrace of pseudo-science bunk like homeopathy has a certain charm and helps to flesh out the group’s character for those of us who missed the glory days.
TALON is always on the lookout for anything related to the Animal Liberation Leagues. If you have other newsletters, copies of TARGET, leaflets, or anything put out by the Leagues please contact us HERE.
TURNING POINT – Issues 5-6 (1986-1987, Oxford, UK)
After a brief run as “Black Beast,” Turning Point emerged as England’s foremost animal rights publication in 1986. Featuring first hand accounts of direct action, a decent analysis of systemic animal abuse, and a willingness to be controversial, Turning Point documented all of the major animal liberation events of its era.
Issues #5 and #6 give coverage to mainstream media distortions of AR activism, CALL’s brilliant raids of Park Farm, ALF strikes across England (Including the liberation of three otters!) and so much more. There is even a brief mention of the Farm Freedom Fighters, the first group to raid a factory farm in the United States. Interestingly, their media relations were handled by none other than Farm Sanctuary.
These two volumes are markedly better than the Black Beast issues that preceded them, and all of us at TALON are excited to finally preserve them in our archive.
Combat #2 (1992, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
A full three years and one month after the posting of Combat #1, we have finally found a copy of the second issue. Rumored to have been almost completely confiscated by RCMP officers the day it came back from the printers, Combat #2 is one of the rarest publications on our site. Our thanks go out to everyone who helped us track it down.
While this issue is far less ambitious than the first issue of Combat, its real problems are the actions that it is covering. Both cover stories were public relations disasters for the animal liberation underground at a time when direct action was already in decline, and one was a disaster for the non-humans it sought to save.
The Cold Buster contamination hoax, like all contamination hoaxes before and after, was mostly successful in convincing the world that animal liberationists were willing to target the public and risk killing random consumers. These hoaxes do generally cause large amounts of financial damage- but none of them has ever stopped a product from being animal tested and it is difficult to believe that the benefits outweigh the costs. When the Animal Rights Militia announced a week after the initial scare that the contamination was a hoax, the media barely paid attention.
The Billingsgate Fish Market action was even more tragic. The action itself involved economic sabotage and arson, both defensible acts against the capture, confinement, and killing of non-humans, except that in this instance fire was set to trucks which were parked directly against the building itself. The flames caused a short circuit to the building’s electrical systems, halting pumps to crab and lobster tanks inside. More than a dozen were killed. While it is true that those animals were already slated for death, it is still unconscionable that their lives were cut short by animal liberators.
This isn’t to say that there is nothing redeeming about this second and final issue of Combat. One of the original messages from the Western Wildlife Unit is presented here unedited, and there are also rare accounts of some of the last major hunt sabotage actions in the United States.
We are happy to have saved this publication from obscurity and to make it available once again here on TALON.
Arkangel #10-11 (1993-1994. London, England.)
The early 1990s were a tumultuous time for the movement in England. Hunters began hiring professional security services to beat and harass saboteurs, the violence became so extreme that when Tom Worby was murdered by a hunt masters vehicle, the hunters nearby laughed and mocked his death. The hopefulness of the 1980s was fading away, and campaigners were becoming more hardened, which in turn led to a decline in public support as groups like the Justice Department began sending out small mail bombs. Many organizations were mired in infighting over strategy and issues of class and race. And then there was the problem of repression. Scotland Yard’s Animal Rights National Index had gathered detailed profiles on over 21,000 animal liberationists by 1990, and their spying on the movement was only set to intensify.
Through it all a dedicated core of individuals forged ahead and took animals from places of abuse, educated others about the plight of non-humans, and spread the message of compassionate action across oceans and artificial borders. Arkangel tells the story, and we are happy to continue our posting of the complete set here on TALON.
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.
XUltraMilitanceX #2, 6 (2003 – 2005. Bursledon, Hants, England)
While I am not the biggest fan of “vegan straight edge” publications, XUltraMilitanceX manages to fit a few positive aspects into it’s otherwise formulaic, religiously worded format. Between the band interviews, sobriety cheerleading, and calls to “destroy Babylon,” there are some good articles on the history of the movement and a slightly deeper analysis of capitalism, the state, and human supremacy than I would expect from a zine named after an Earth Crisis song. Produced by a former anti-HLS prisoner, this was also one of the few XVX zines written by someone willing to actually act on the lyrics and liner notes that inspired them to begin with.
Issue #2 and #6 are very rare and took us a few years to find, but they complete our collection of this popular zine. The other issues can be found HERE.
SNARL! Handbook Of Leeds ALF (1985. Leeds, England)
One of the great things about punk music is also one of the worst things about it: anyone can do it. On the one hand this encourages kids to destroy the adulation of rockstars and to make music (as well as zines, clothes, art, etc) themselves. That accessibility has brought us the voices of people we never would have otherwise heard, which is wonderful. On the other hand, punk doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it came into being in a culture afflicted with bias and brutality, patriarchy, capitalism, and so on. Those elements are ingrained in many of the creators of punk and are, at times, reflected in the works they produce. Those messages are then carried on to those who consume that media.
It isn’t hard to make the leap from an analysis of punk to an analysis of leaderless resistance. Without a hierarchy or organized recruiting mechanism, the A.L.F. has often spread through the same means as punk rock- DIY media, the passion and anger of youth, and at times, sensationalized mainstream media stories. People have heard the call and picked and up the banner, acting on their own initiative to make change. The downside, of course, is that without a training component that goes beyond a few words in a zine about security culture, these newly active saboteurs aren’t always left with the skill set needed to safely or effectively undertake underground actions. They may end up making their own publications which repeat the mistakes of the ones they first read, and these will be passed on to the consumers of that media.
If I were 16 years old and living in Leeds in 1985, I would have loved SNARL. It speaks from a place of youthful (and righteous) rebelliousness, and although the tone can be a little dogmatic, nearly everything else about the “handbook” is just plain cool. I laughed out loud to see license plates, makes and models of undercover police vehicles listed, and was encouraged to see the inclusion of human liberation struggles. That said, the young folks who made this zine were reproducing some of the worst aspects of other publications from the era as far as security and theatrical militancy goes.
SNARL is an interesting product of it’s time, written and distributed by well meaning, hard-fighting folks who no doubt had the best interest of non-humans in their hearts. That said, I hope readers at the time were cautious in following the advice it contained, because much of it was outright dangerous. Looking at the prisoner listings from this period, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Supporters Group Newsletter No.1 (1987 – London, England)
After the original Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group newsletter was repressed out of existence, an attempt was made at a second volume that could survive government harassment. Steps were taken to clear each article with attorneys and the majority of the content was reposted from mainstream news articles. Calls to action were kept out of editorials written by the SG (Although they still appeared in the many first hand accounts and communications sent from those underground) and, in general, the tone was far less militaristic than the final issues of Volume 1.
Sadly, this didn’t save the SG’s volunteers from further political prosecutions.
During this time British security services estimated that up to four hundred direct actions were happening every day in the United Kingdom, with more financial damage being incurred by animal abusers than the British government faced at the hands of the IRA in Northern Ireland. The state was not willing to risk these actions spreading no matter how legal the efforts of those publicising them. So, after a single, wonderful issue, the SG newsletter was once again put out of business. At least they went down fighting! This newsletter features inspiring reports, hilariously snarky editorials, and some of our favorite images from the frontlines of the fight against speciesism. It is truly a must read, and we are proud that, despite the efforts of Scotland Yard and other British law enforcement, The SG is still available here at TALON.
Do Or Die #10 (2003, Brighton, England.)
It’s hard to believe that it has been a decade since the Do or Die collective published the final issue of their influential, book sized periodical. This last dispatch screamed the same urgent message as its predecessors: Take action now, or die alongside the rest of humanity in the coming ecological meltdown.
In the ten years since our situation has only become more desperate, and therefore the inciting cries for resistance in the pages of Do or Die have only increased in relevance. Plenty has been written on this site about this publication: that it was our reason for starting TALON, that it was the best environmental publication ever, and so on. None of that will matter if DoD’s message is ignored. Read these pages with an eye towards how you will utilize the lessons contained inside. Then, start making plans to create a better world, and implement those plans quickly, because as the title suggests, if you don’t “Do” than our species has only one other option…
The other issues of Do or Die in our archive can be found HERE.
ALFSG – Diary Of Actions #1-3 (1986-1987. London, England)
After the end of volume one of “The SG,” England’s ALF Supporters Group produced the short lived “Diary of Actions.” Each issue was distributed for free and contained brief accounts of anonymous direct actions across the globe. In the pre-internet world this was the best available source for such information, and these magazines are still an excellent catalog of resistance against animal abuse in the mid-1980s.