State of the Movement #1-3 (1986-1990, Tarzana, CA USA.)
If there was ever a zine series that I wish I could provide Cliff’s Notes for, it would be State of the Movement. SOTM wielded political cartooning the most way other people wield blades, and its editors stabbed at what they saw as hypocrisy and weakness in the movement’s personalities and philosophies. Many of the references made in these cartoons will be lost on younger activists, but we offer the following brief explanation.
The 1980s was a time of explosive popularity in the animal rights movement, and initially, that boom brought together some very unlikely people. Celebrities like Bob Barker held meetings where Rod Coronado would be seated next to the heads of welfare groups. Mass marches took place in cities all across the United States, with tens of thousands of people participating in demonstration on major days such as World Day for Animals in Laboratories and Fur Free Friday. But amidst all this activity, the con artists and career builders were lurking. The tremendous potential for fund raising also meant a corollary potential for salaries, and after a while, the mainstream groups had well-paid executives who wanted to do anything they could to avoid offending their donor base. The philosophy of the movement was weakened as calls for the abolition of vivisection became calls to stop using “pound seized pets” in experiments. Activists who had once loudly supported direct action began whispering supportive words to militants in one breath and then denouncing them to the media in another. Compromise spread like melted soy margarine and soon the whole movement was covered in the oily goo of half-assery!
Amidst this rush to mediocrity, State of the Movement mercilessly mocked those who were selling the animals futures down the drain. The events of the 1980s impact this movement still. We can not provide a comic by comic explanation, but we do hope that people will research this bygone period and learn from the mistakes of the failed movement “leadership” at that time.