Spectacular Times #10: Animals (1980? UK.)

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Larry Law authored a series of booklets analyzing various issues from a situationist perspective. Consisting of statements by Law, cut and paste articles taken from newspapers at the time, and a little bit of humor, the Animals issue of Spectacular Times reminds of us the deep connections between animal liberation and situationist thought. (Ronnie Lee says that the founding of the ALF was influenced by his appreciation for the Angry Brigade, a British armed revolutionary group whose politics some, Lee included, mark as situationist.)

One article inside concerns the ambivalence and even animosity directed at the animal rights movement from the British left. “Despite all this activity the animal liberation groups are largely ignored by other political groups. Perhaps the politicos are ashamed. In the past five years the animal liberation activists have undertaken more direct action and caused more physical and financial damage to their enemies than the entire British revolutionary left put together. (Including those groups who claim to hold ‘direct action’ as a basic tenet of their philosophy.)” The booklet continues in much the same vain and makes for a great, albeit short read.

AMA Animal Research Action Plan (1989, leaked document, Chicago, IL. USA)

Long before the rise of whistle-blowing superstar WikiLeaks, the animal rights movement had been obtaining documents that our opposition never intended for us to see. One significant example of this was when the North American ALF Supporters Group obtained the American Medical Association’s plan to counter the animal rights movement in the United States. This plot, which became popularly known in the movement as the “AMA White Paper,” was quickly disseminated to the movement through old fashioned postal mail and excerpts in sympathetic periodicals.

The plan itself was pretty basic and involved elements still in use by corporate PR and security firms to this day. Essentially, a wedge was to be driven between the militant aspects of the movement and the national organizations, the public was to be told that animal rights activists are anti-science and stood in the way of “choices” which the average person may wish to make, and that congress should be heavily lobbied to increase penalties for people breaking the law to save animals. These tactics are still used against the movement today, and this publication remains a vital read for those fighting animal slavery.

Crimethunk poster (2001, Seattle, WA. USA)

By the late 1990s, it had become clear that many people were using the imagery of Crimethinc to appear tough while simultaneously using the selfishness-as-virtue doctrine of the group to justify doing nothing. Fed up with that trend, and all the young shoplifting hipsters in Carharrts who slept on my couch falling off the vegan wagon, I began my own group: The Crimethunk Ex-Posers Collective. This poster is all that remains of the controversial imagery I made attacking Crimethinc’s self indulgence masquerading as politics. The most controversial of those images was a sticker now lost to history which read, “The opposite of Evasion is confrontation.”