The Hillgrove Campaign Newsletter – (1997- 1999. Oxford, England)
Reading these newsletters gives me a feeling of elation that is rare in our work as animal liberationists. After witnessing the worst abuses against our non-human neighbors, most of us are left with a sense of deep despair. In the instance of the Hillgrove Campaign, however, those abuses were countered and ultimately stopped in a most satisfying way!
These newsletters offer some of the best documentation of one of our movements most watershed moments. Each issue shows the escalation of the campaign, the police response, and the slow downfall of Farmer Chris Brown’s cat breeding business. No punches are pulled, and from blockades, to mass demos, to the beating of Chris Brown by two elderly women, the newsletter shows step by step how the campaign was won.
While this makes for invigorating reading, there are also disappointing, even racist material in the newsletters. One example is Dr. Vernon Cole’s comparing being stopped by police during a lecture to the sort of harassment and brutality faced by black youth in Britain. A well meaning mistake possibly, but a comparison that misses the mark by an offensive distance none-the-less.
As you can see, we are missing issue #2 and #10! Please get in touch if you are in possession of either issue by clicking HERE.
SHAC USA Volume 2, issues 2 and 4 (2002, Philadelphia, PA)
It is hard to describe the feeling of constant elation that I had working on the campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences. After years of grassroots organizing it seemed that the movement was finally moving forward with speed and determination. News constantly poured in from all corners of the globe that a new target had been chosen- and eliminated. Everyone participating was energized, hopeful, and on the attack.
One of the reasons that so many people were inspired to take action against HLS was the SHAC USA newsletter. Each issue featured the groundbreaking graphic design work of Jake Conroy. His layouts and other artistry made each copy a pleasure to behold, and also left other organizations scrambling to improve the designs of their own publications. If you doubt that a periodical could prompt someone to pickup a sign, bullhorn, or brick, than you feel very different than the US Government. They were so threatened by Conroy’s print and web work that he was indicted in the SHAC 7 case, and received one of the longest sentences of all of the defendants.
These two issues of the newsletter date from 2002, which was an exciting time in the campaign. After Stephens Inc. had capitulated, thousands of people suddenly had faith that they could, in fact, change the world. We all knew that we were a part of something special, and I think that comes across in the text and imagery of of these two movement gems. Sure, we were cocky, our rhetoric sometimes went too far, and we weren’t always as organized or prepared as we claimed- but we walked our talk to the best of our ability and our efforts took the movement far.
No Compromise #12-14 (1999, Old Bridge, NJ and Santa Cruz, CA)
If I had to create a list of my favorite years in animal and earth liberation history, 1999 would be in the top 5. As the movement looked towards the new millennium there seemed to be an intense urgency in the air, perhaps people felt the need to close the 20th century with a bang or leave their mark before the world ended in a technological melt down on Y2K! Whatever the reasons, direct action reached a fever pitch. Lab raids returned to the United States, the Earth Liberation Front continued it’s ascendancy, Hillgrove farm was shut forever, and everyone seemed to be preparing for the World Trade Organization ministerial in Seattle. Across the globe there was a sense that people were not going to take it anymore, and whether you were struggling against bio-technology or prisons or speciesism, chances are good that you were employing some form of illegal tactic.
No Compromise may not have covered everything going on in the global struggle, but if it was animal lib related then chances are it was covered in these three issues. From the death of Alex Slack to end of the annual Hegins pigeon massacre, you’d be hard pressed to find a more complete overview of these twelve action packed months.