Note To My Critics:

The links to the many sites that I've included contain information that I believe to be relevant, be it the graphics, the videos, the undercover investigations, etc. . Exposing & and ending the brutality and savagery inflicted on the non-human animals is what I am focused on. I strongly believe that every voice against animal abuse/exploitation is of value and -and- collectively we have the power to end it. I am here for the animals, not for anyone's approval and for that I make no apologies. ** I do not promote violence towards humans. ___________________________________________________ Bookmark and Share

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The ALF: Terrorist or Freedom Fighters, you decide.




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I came out in favor of the ALF because after careful study of their history, arguments, and results, I concluded that their actions are effective, necessary, and just- Governments, animal exploitation industries, and most mass media characterize the ALF as violent terrorists, but I see them as freedom fighters and counter-terrorists- The ALF is a new justice movement defending innocent beings under attack and fighting the real terrorists who torture and kill animals without justification


Breaking and entering locked buildings, smashing fur store windows, torching delivery trucks — it all sounds nothing short of vandalism or even terrorism- But I believe ALF actions are defensible because (1) what happens to animals is wrong, and (2) legal channels to stop it are blocked by speciesism and corrupt governments that support the property rights of industries over the moral rights of animals

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I believe that no door, no law, no profit margin, no government, and no cop should ever stand in the way between an animal and its freedom- I wish that legal methods of animal liberation were adequate to free animals from their oppressors, but unfortunately they are not- Governments are grotesquely corrupt and speciesist and serve their corporate masters- Animals are too important a resource and commodity for corporations to voluntarily free them, and so animal liberation requires militant tactics such as raids to rescue animals and property destruction to weaken, cripple, or eliminate oppressors

It is unfortunate that the problem of animal exploitation is so extreme that some people have been moved to take extreme measures to address it- We should direct our moral criticism to the causes of the ALF, rather than the ALF response to them

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If you do not support the ALF, you need a lesson in history and a logical consistency check-Despite the lies of the corporate-state-media complex, and the ignorance of many animal advocates, the ALF has nothing to do with Al Qaeda, the SS, or the Republican Guard that tyrannized the Iraqi people before Bush-Cheney got their turn- The ALF is the animal rights version of the Underground Railroad, the anti-Nazi resistance movement, and contemporary peace and justice struggles- Like the Underground Railroad, the ALF breaks the law in order to rescue exploited animal slaves and shuttle them to freedom in loving homes- Like the anti-Nazi resistance, the ALF will smash the oppressors' property and any implements of violence or death in order to slow down or stop their killing machines

Unlike some brave warriors fighting Nazis, however, the ALF has never used physical violence against any animal exploiter- And like all contemporary movements fighting for peace, justice, and human rights, the ALF intends to help secure all these values for the most defenseless victims of all, the animals who are utterly dependent upon us for their liberation

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The ALF belongs to the long and noble traditions of direct action and civil disobedience that include the Quakers, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Tubman, the Suffragettes, Mohandas Gandhi, and Dr Martin Luther King Jr - From the Boston Tea Party to the Battle of Seattle, there are important historical anticipations of or parallels to the ALF whenever oppressed people find they have to break the law and destroy property in order to realize ideals of freedom, rights, justice, and democracy

Whereas some argue that property destruction is violence, the ALF correctly identifies itself as a non-violent movement — one that attacks only the property of animal exploiters, and never the exploiters themselves in order to stop their obscene violence, create conditions of peace, and rescue animals from their bloody hands- Only in our perverse capitalist world, one that values property over life, does it make sense to demonize the ALF and elevate these freedom fighters – these counter-terrorists — to Public Enemy 1 on the domestic terrorism list- The real terrorists occupy the corporate suites and highest political offices of the land-They wear suits, not balaclavas; they terrorize with money and banks not guns and bombs- Their actions are legal, but what does that tell you about the scandal of the law?

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The defense of direct action, civil disobedience, sabotage, and armed resistance rests on the distinction between what is legal and what is ethical, between the Law and the Right- There are textbook cases where legal codes violate codes of ethics and justice: Nazi Germany, U S slavery, and South African apartheid

In such situations, not only is it legitimate to break the law, it is obligatory- In the words of Dr King, "I became convinced that non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good "

The true forces of ethics and justice have involved groups such as the Jewish Resistance, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Gandhi and the Indian independence movement, the Suffragettes, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, and Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress

All of them broke the law, destroyed the enemy's property, or committed violence; they were beaten, jailed, killed, and denounced as extremists or the equivalent of terrorists

Yet who will argue that their actions were wrong? Today we lionize Nelson Mandela as a great hero, but he and the ANC used violence to win their freedom- People forget that the much-heralded Suffragettes in England and the U S used arson and bombs to help win the emancipation of women- No movement for social change has succeeded without a radical fringe, without civil disobedience, property destruction, and even violence — so why should one expect it to be any different with the animal liberation struggle?

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Opponents of direct action, civil disobedience, and sabotage (typically those with vested interests in the status quo) believe that illegal actions undermine the rule of law and they view principled lawbreaking and "criminal" actions as a threat to social order-Among other things, this perspective presupposes that the system in question is legitimate or that it cannot be improved upon- It also misrepresents direct activists as people who disrespect the law, when arguably they have a higher regard for the spirit of law and its relation to justice than those who fetishize political order for its own sake- Champions of direct action renounce uncritical allegiance to a legal system- To paraphrase Karl Marx, the law is the opiate of the people, and blind obedience to laws and social decorum led millions of German Jews to their death with almost no resistance- All too often, the legal system is a structure to absorb opposition and induce paralysis by delay

Despite the incriminations of animal exploitation industries, the state, and the mass media, the ALF is not a terrorist organization; rather they are a counter-terrorist outfit and the newest form of freedom fighters -There are indeed real terrorists in today's world, but they are not the ALF- The most violent and dangerous criminals occupy the top positions of US

corporate and state office; they are the ones most responsible for the exploitation of people, the massacre of animals, and the rape of the planet


So give us some sense of what "violence" means for you and -- is violence always wrong in all conditions?

If violence is the intentional infliction of bodily harm against another person, then how can one "hurt," "abuse," or "injure" a nonsentient thing that does not feel pain or have awareness of any sort? How can one be "violent" toward a van or be a "terrorist" toward brick and mortar? How does one harm or terrorize a laboratory or fur farm with spray paint or a firebomb?

One simply does not – unless someone owning or associated with the property is adversely affected- People whose homes, cars, or offices are damaged suffer fear, anxiety, and trauma - Their business, livelihood, research, or careers may be ruined, and they are harmed psychologically, economically, professionally, and in other ways

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Admittedly, none of this is good from the point of view of an ALF victim such as a vivisector, foie gras chef, or fur farmer- But is it sound to call sabotage "violence"? Perhaps, if one relied on a general psychological definition involving something like "mental trauma," but one could just as well argue that sabotage is the lesser violence compared to what it tries to prevent, that it simply is not violence, or that violence, including physical attacks against human persons, is acceptable and legitimate in a war against the warmongers

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If any definition of violence is warranted, it should be in our understanding of a "person" – any being that is sentient and the "subject of a life" - Since animals are not only sentient, but also psychologically and socially complex beings, they are subjects in every significant way human beings are- Thus, every injury to an animal ought to be considered injury to a person, and hence violence- And if destruction to corporate property is violence then why is it not violence of a far greater magnitude to slash and burn forests, annihilate oral reefs and ocean floors with massive fishing trawlers, dump endless tons of carcinogenic wastes into waterways, and industrial strip mine mountains until their peaks are reduced to pebbles?

Typically, those who vilify saboteurs as "violent" leap to the conclusion that they are "terrorists," failing to realize that there is an important difference insofar as one can use violence in morally legitimate ways in conditions ranging from self-defense to a "just war" - The ALF is not a terrorist organization because (1) they never physically injure people, and (2) they never target anyone but those directly involved in the war against animals

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Truth be told, one can use violence in morally legitimate ways in conditions ranging from self-defense to a "just war"- One could plausibly argue that the ALF are acting in defense of the defenseless, that they are combatants in a just war, and that animal exploiters are legitimate military targets- Pacifist arguments assume that nonviolent methods of resistance can solve all major social conflicts (they cannot) and that a human life has absolute value (it does not)- Philosophically speaking, one has to wonder what kind of absolute value is attached to the life of a vicious killer such as a famous Safari Club member who wins prizes for "bagging" endangered species in comparison to the life of the rare elephants, lions, and gorillas the bastard kills- Why ought the human "right" to kill to be protected over an animal's right to live through a code of nonviolence?

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Let's do away with any false absolutist position and some serious hypocrisy while we are at it- Just as causing physical violence to another "person" is not always right, nor is it always wrong- There is wide assent that violence is legitimate to defend innocent human beings from being wrongly harmed or killed by others- In the paradigm case, who truly condemns the use of property destruction and violence to free Jewish prisoners from Nazi genocide? Resistance fighters blew up train tracks, gas ovens, and killed German soldiers at every possible opportunity- Bravo!

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But if discussion turns to the use of property destruction or physical violence to liberate animals from oppression, suddenly there is outcry that this tactic is wrong, violent, and counter-productive - Appealing to critics to overcome the fallacy of speciesism and to think in a rigorously consistent manner, I simply ask: why? Why are the anti-Nazi resistance fighters heroes while the ALF are terrorists? Why is violence acceptable to use in defense of human beings but not animals? This gross inconsistency ought to embarrass every unprejudiced and logical person and it is a scandal when paraded about by a so-called "animal advocate" - It is just a disguised form of speciesism whereby extraordinary actions are courageous and laudable if done on behalf of human animals but despicable and deplorable if taken for nonhuman animals

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Beginning in 1976, the ALF declared war against animal oppressors and the state that defends them, but the ALF did not start the conflict- The ALF did not so much wage war as it entered into a war that animal exploiters long ago began- If one party succumbs to a war initiated by another party, it employs violence in self-defense and so its actions are legitimate- Animals too have the right to self defense- But since they cannot defend themselves (except for instances such as where elephants or tigers justly kill their trainers), humans must act on their behalf- And if violence is needed to save an animal from attack, then violence is legitimate as a means of self defense for animals- If one likes, this could be called extensional self defense, since humans are acting on behalf of animals who are so vulnerable and oppressed they cannot fight back to attack or kill their oppressors

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DR. STEPHEN BEST









Direct Action & The Politics Of Nature









America's 1 Terrorists







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All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. ~ Thomas Jefferson

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~Robert Frost (1874–1963)
















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