1980s (Page 5)

Declaration of War: Killing People to Save Animals and the Environment. (1991, Sacramento, CA, USA.)

We’d like to state right from the beginning of this post: this book is poorly written and argued and we do not agree with its primary premise. Throughout the book, it is claimed that the majority of humans will never voluntarily embrace animal liberation, and thus terrorism utilized by a vegan minority will scare the masses into not enslaving other creatures. This belief is farcical on its face and abandons billions of animals to desperate lives of confinement, abuse and slaughter. No militant movement without a large base of support has ever succeeded in overthrowing the dominant order of society. A movement made up of the “liberators” mentioned in this book would be quickly suppressed and the following repression would hinder, maybe permanently, other hopeful forms of saving animals.

However, when Declaration was initially published in the 1990s, it caused quite a stir in a movement that was already tripping over itself to prove how moderate it could be after the radicalism of the eighties. Advertisements for the book were pulled from publications like Animals Voice, and terse editorials were directed at the publishers. Many campaigners at the time rejected the message, but seemed to delight in how it upset the struggle’s status quo.

For some reason, this book has survived with a large cult following on the internet despite never having been taken seriously by even the most radicalized liberationists. Perhaps its appeal lays in its ability to give voice to a fantasy of retribution. Many of us have raged at the harm done to non-humans by our species and dreamed, however briefly, of harming those responsible. The vicarious release given to people by reading this book may then be its only redeeming quality.

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.