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.
Animal Info #1-8 (1995-1996. Christchurch, New Zealand)
Animal Info was a thin, photocopied newsletter that was published with the hopes of increasing the militancy of New Zealand’s animal activists. It’s pages contained news relevant to local campaigns, alongside the home addresses and phone numbers of various animal abusers. The zine’s rhetoric was, at times, over the top and even once racially insensitive. Issue #1 contains an N-bomb on the front page that was seemingly intended to make an anti-racist / speciesist point, but instead has the exact opposite effect.
Still, Animal Info is an inspiring example of committed activists organizing on a grassroots level and agitating for greater commitment in the struggle against speciesism. It’s international news coverage was impressive given the magazines small number of pages, and nicely bridges the U.S. coverage lapse between the time Open the Cages stopped publication and No Compromise began. All of us at CG would love to see this type of paper return to regional organizing in the United States and abroad.
Do or Die #7 (1998, Brighton, England.)
The genesis of Conflict Gypsy came from our founder’s desire to collect and preserve a complete set of Do or Die, the classic British Earth First! publication. While we still have not found copies of issues 1-4, our posting of these book sized epics continues with issue #7.
Do or Die was always reasonably free of the acritical cheer leading of it’s many American counterparts, and this issue manages an honest examination of the limitations and capabilities of direct action campaigns from Poland to Brazil to Mexico. As always, there is a bittersweet mixture of inspiration and despair while reading about the clashes between the oppressed and the powers of the state and industry, but there are enough victories contained in this volume that elation prevails! You will cheer as the black bloc escapes arrests in Derbyshire by switching into hippie clothing and shouting “no violence” as the police roll in (An activist in England nearly pissed themselves telling me that story one night!) and as wild boars recruit domesticated pigs for non-human resistance to domestication. The power of villagers in India to stop dams lessens the pain of reading about the paramilitary massacres of people in Acteal, and other articles will have you thinking deeply about our movements DIY media efforts, prison support, and coalitions with labor groups. All in all, another must read from one of the most exciting periods of resistance in the 20th century.
No Compromise #9, 10, 11 (1998, Caldwell, NJ.)
After the shakeup caused by Freeman Wicklund’s departure, one might have expected No Compromise to slow it’s publishing schedule while it re-grouped. Instead, they had one of their most productive years, reporting on everything from the first daylight raid in the US, to the murder of Earth First! activist David “Gypsy” Chain. The volume of important articles in these issues is too great to summarize in a tiny blog post, so instead we would just like to encourage you to read each edition thoroughly. Truly, this is one of our favorite posts on Conflict Gypsy so far as it highlights so many significant events in the movement at the end of the 1990s.
Underground 10-13 (1998 Ontario, Canada)
Our Underground collection continues its way into 1998, a somewhat bittersweet year for the movement. After a period of steady growth in both illegal direct action and militant grassroots activity, No Compromise editor and well known activist Freeman Wicklund denounced the ALF (and most forms of protest) at a large demonstration in southern California. His “new” perspective was merely a recycled, pro-animal form of pacifist strategy taken from Gene Sharpe, and he demanded that people take sides. Freeman was charismatic and many young people had first began their involvement after hearing him speak. They were now torn by his change of heart. Many people dropped out, and above ground pressure campaigns largely ground to a halt.
’98 also saw a continuation of the previous years snitching epidemic, but, as always, some positive developments buoyed our spirits and resolve. In Oregon, protestors jumped the fences at a farm which bred rabbits for vivisection, and soon the United States had it’s first daylight raid underway. Katie Fedor, an organizer with Minnesota’s Student Organization for Animal Rights, became the United States’ first ALF Press Officer in more than a decade, and soon she was speaking out in favor of sabotage and liberations in major media outlets on a regular basis. The conviction of the “GandALF 3” was suddenly overturned on grounds that they had not, in fact, conspired with person unknown to carry out unknown actions at unknown locations! Finally, good people with dedication and resolve rained hell down on animal abusers all year long, resulting in thousands of lives lived outside of cages. It’s hard to keep a good movement down.
Underground #7-9 (1997, Ontario, Canada.)
The third year of publication saw Underground expanding its international coverage as illegal direct action for animals took off all over the world. In another interesting development, the Earth Liberation Front began to increase activity in the US, and many early communiques, as well as interviews with British ELF activists, are included in these three issues.
1997 also marked the beginning of a sad trend in the movement that plagues us still: Snitching. Although there had been occasional instances of animal liberationists informing on each other in the past, arrests (and subsequent grassing) began to multiply as mink farm raids skyrocketed. Many of those arrested became witnesses for the state, thus turning their backs on their fellow ALF volunteers and the animals they had set out to save. Some informants even went so far as to give information about their own family members.
While some of our friends proved themselves cowards, others showed their dignity and resolve to the end. Steve Simmons, a former ALF spokesperson, died of AIDS on January 12th. Before his death he had been an outspoken opponent of using non-humans in AIDS and HIV experiments, famously standing up against counter protestors in Washington DC and declaring that his suffering would not be alleviated by enslaving and torturing others. 1997 also saw the passing of Earth First! activist Judi Bari, who died at age 47 of cancer. Bari had been the victim of an FBI frame-up attempt after her car was bombed. Absurdly, she was arrested for possession of the bomb which was planted in an attempt to kill her and fellow environmentalist Daryl Cherney. After her death her family won it’s lawsuit against the FBI and local police. The people who attempted to murder her have still not been found. Finally, this same year saw the end of Barry Horne’s first hungerstrike, an important event in our history that received some coverage in Underground and sparked many liberations in England and elsewhere.