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.
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.
In 1995, Rod Coronado was serving a prison sentence for conspiracy charges related to an arson at Michigan State University. During his incarceration he produced four issues of a wonderful cut and paste style zine called Strong Hearts.
I was a young anarchist living in Portland at the time, and obsessed with the writings of Alexander Berkman. Most notably, I was intrigued with his secretly produced prison publication known as Prison Blossoms. Written on various scraps of paper and clandestinely distributed to both prisoners and the outside world, there were no known copies available. One day, while discussing what treasures might have been held on those random bits of smuggled pulp, someone told me about Strong Hearts. I picked up a copy of the first issue at Reading Frenzy and felt like this time around I hadn’t missed out.
Rod’s writing was passionate and avoided much of the juvenile machismo that was endemic to the militant animal rights movement at the time. He bristled at single issue politics, and the magazine covered a spectrum of analysis, news, and tactics in the struggles for wilderness, wild life, women, and indigenous peoples. He was a prisoner, but the cluttered pages of Strong Hearts shined with the cheerful beauty of his intelligence and attitude. As each new issue came out those of us on the outside got a clearer picture of the author. We knew he was a warrior in the best sense of the word, and life behind bars had not yet taken his spirit of resistance.
Time has marched on, and whereas most of the old AR zines from this era seem dated, Strong Hearts largely holds up. The first hand accounts of the sinking of whaling ships, liberations of captive animals, and other direct actions are timeless, and when I fault much of anything about the rest of the writings, it is foremost their legibility. Most issues and articles managed to be inspiring without being fanatical, educational without being preachy, and accessible without being simplistic. Typically I would spend more time analyzing a zine like this, but Strong Hearts speaks for itself. I hope it brings as much to your life as it brought to mine.