TURNING POINT – Issues 7-8 (1987, Oxford, UK)
Turning Point only produced two issues in 1987 due to a delay in an NAVS report claiming (probably erroneously) that AIDS was an unintended result of vivisection. The editors of Turning Point believed (absolutely erroneously) that the report was going to be “devastating,” and “the most important campaign that the anti-vivisection movement has ever undertaken.” By 1988 the campaign had fizzled out, but sadly pseudo-science conspiracy nonsense in the world of animal rights didn’t die with it.
Fortunately, plenty of other content made it into these pages, much of it worth reading. Direct action campaigns from around the world are covered, with mentions of Earth First!, the Central Animal Liberation League, and the Animal Liberation Front. Investigations, essays, and photographs of liberated donkeys take up the rest of the real estate in this brief volume.
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.
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.
No Compromise #18-19 (2001-2002. Santa Cruz, CA.)
If you have been following our posting of the complete No Compromise than you have read along as the new, 1990s militant grassroots took its first steps, stumbling along an exciting, and at times error filled path towards animal liberation. Those early years saw a lot of dedication and courage, but sadly little in the way of new tactics or intelligent planning.
That all changed in 2001 with the arrival of the anti-HLS campaign in the United States. The focus suddenly shifted from scattershot regional targeting to a single, international pressure point and the results were encouraging.
2001 wasn’t just about the fight against Huntingdon. The tactics developing in that one small struggle were inspiring activists globally to step up the fight against all areas of animal abuse, and sadly, some of our friends ended up in prison as a result. The support of these jailed comrades was inspiring, but our movement was dealt a terrible blow as Barry Horne died on Hungerstrike. That was not the only tragedy we would witness in these 12 months. Jeff Luers was sentenced to nearly 23 years in prison for an act of sabotage which harmed no one. Animal liberationists had been a strong force in the growing movement against globalization of capitalism, and at the 2001 G8 summit we watched as protestors and media were brutalized and bloodied in the lead up to the police murder of Carlo Giuliani. And of course, non-humans continued to be slaughtered in endless, unfathomable numbers. The tone of these two issues of No Compromise may have been optimistic, even cocky, but those of us on the ground knew that times were tough and getting tougher.
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.
Arkangel #4,5,7 (1990-1991. London, England)
Our posting of the complete Arkangel continues into the 90s with issues 4, 5, and 7. The omission of issue 6 is not an oversight- it was never printed. Arkangel was founded by Ronnie Lee, who was serving a 10 year sentence during the magazines early years, and edited by Vivien Smith, who found herself in a jail cell by the time issue #6 was scheduled for release. Sensing the possibility of shutting down this crucial publication, law enforcement in England ransacked the Arkangel office just before the layout of issue #6. It was lost to the ages, and with Vivien facing serious charges a new team of interim editors anonymously produced Arkangel #7, causing a slight decline in the publication’s overall quality.
The history covered by these three issues is tremendous. The death of Mike Hill, Animal Aid’s disastrous labeling of direct action as “terrorism,” and the return of the ALF Press Office are all reported upon, along with updates from groups around the world. Amidst the columns reporting on the actual work of activists though is a disturbing amount of debate, much of it centered on whether animal rights groups should allow participation by racists, nationalists, and separatists. The back and forth articles from one issue to the next mostly fail to recognize the most offensive nature of the argument – that there should even be an argument! It boggles the mind that anyone could see a benefit to taking on the baggage of these far right lunatics and their disgusting politics. During a decade where skinhead violence claimed the lives and dignity of so many it is particularly disheartening that some in our movement saw fit to offer these thugs a place at our table.
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!
Combat #1 (1990, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
After 6 years of operation in Toronto, a lull in activity caused the ALF Supporters Group Canada to shut down. Other volunteers picked up the slack and soon the SG was moved to Alberta. At this time the ALF was fairly active in the great white north, and soon their night time activities were being covered in a new magazine known as Combat. Considered by many to be the predecessor of Underground, Combat closely followed the template for supporters group publications set by The SG in England with one important difference: They had awesome cover art!
Combat is amongst the most rare militant animal rights publications produced in North America, and when we received this first issue for scanning we were delighted to find, a long, and thoughtful prison letter from Ronnie Lee, updates on the arrests of Jonathan Paul, Bill Keogh, and Cres Velluci, and a short listing of international action reports. There was also a hastily added pamphlet stuffed inside with an update on the jailing of Henry Hutto, an early movement hero who was amongst the first members of both PETA and Earth First! Very little information is available about Henry, who passed away in 2003, but he is a minor legend in some circles and the pictures of a rally held in his honor made holding this magazine that much sweeter.
Issue #2 of Combat is now available HERE.
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.