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A Call Out to Midwestern Animal Rights Activists

A Call Out to Midwestern Animal Rights Activists

Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 06:02 PM CDT
Contributed by: ChicagoADL

This summer, Animal Defense League Chicago, in conjunction with the Activist Alliance at Roosevelt University, will be hosting MENDING THE HEARTLAND: Building A Unified Midwestern Animal Liberation Movement. We are calling for all interested animal rights organizers and activists to come to Chicago, July 25th through 27th, 2008 to come together and brainstorm, learn, discuss, and create.

MENDING THE HEARTLAND: Building a Unified Midwestern Animal Liberation Movement

A call out for organizers, workshop proposals and attendees.

This summer, Animal Defense League Chicago, in conjunction with the Activist Alliance at Roosevelt University, will be hosting MENDING THE HEARTLAND: Building A Unified Midwestern Animal Liberation Movement. We are calling for all interested animal rights organizers and activists to come to Chicago, July 25th through 27th, 2008 to come together and brainstorm, learn, discuss, and create.

What do we need in order for this to happen?

We need you!

The first open planning meeting for the conference will be announced soon. We invite all individuals and groups interested in organizing for the conference to attend this open meeting to help with the every day details of the conference, along with approving workshops, getting sponsors, etc. While we at ADL Chicago hope the conference will be a melding of organizations and individuals, we are organizing this conference along 4 main principles, outlined and explained below in our mission statement.

Additionally, we are looking for workshop presenters! Proposal submissions will be due in June, more information will be posted soon.

Website and mailing list coming soon!

Mending the Heartland Mission Statement:

The purpose of Mending the Heartland: Building a Unified Midwestern Animal Liberation Movement is to attempt to build bridges between grassroots activist groups around the Midwest so that we can begin to work together more closely on animal rights issues. We in Chicago have noticed that on the coasts there seems to be much more interaction between groups from various cities to combine their efforts, help support each others' actions and generally offer more support to one and other as animal rights activists. While this is harder to do in the Midwest, due to the distances between cities, we feel it is both possible and necessary for activists in this region to come together and network so that we can learn from each other and become more effective in our activism, both as individual activists and as a more united animal rights movement.

The hope is that by building more solidarity amongst the various groups scattered across the Midwest, we will be able to help strengthen our movement and more effectively fight for animal liberation. Be that by refining our own regular events to be more effective, or by coming together more often for large scale, multi-group sponsored events.

We at ADL Chicago wanted this conference to be shaped and organized by a variety of organizations and people around the Midwest so as to include voices other then our own. However, we also don't want the organizational process to be crippled by infighting. For that reason and in an attempt to avoid infighting in the organization of this conference, we at ADL Chicago have written up a mission statement to outline the ethics and tactics this conference supports and what issues will be discussed at the event. It is not mandatory that everyone organizing for this conference be in lock step agreement on every issue raised, but it is necessary that all organizing groups, workshop presenters, sponsors or whoever else are aware that these issues will be being discussed at the conference and at the very least are willing and comfortable to be a part of the conference knowing that the following issues will be raised over the course of the weekend:

* A dedication to liberation, not welfarism:

This conference stands for complete animal liberation, not "bigger cages, longer chains" and the workshops, sponsors and presenters must reflect that ethic. We feel that many of the national animal rights organizations have started down a road that only reinforces the property status of animals and does nothing to challenge the industries we are opposing or the mindsets we are attempting to change. Topics such as these and critiques of the larger animal rights movement will be present at this conference as we feel that combating tactics that we feel are harmful to the furtherance of animal rights is just as important as implementing the tactics we feel are effective.

* A commitment to ending all forms of oppressions:

While this may be first and foremost an animal rights conference, we believe all forms of oppression to be interlinked. Many people believe that other issues (such as racism, sexism, homophobia, etc) should be put aside when fighting for the rights of animals. We believe that far too often issues such as these are ignored by our movement in an attempt to appear more "unified" and that this single-mindedness is not only unethical and short sighted, but also corrosive to our movement. We are specifically inviting and preparing for populations that are not often included (or assimilated and therefore, in a way, silenced) in the larger animal rights movements, especially in the Midwest: women; people of color; transgender and gender variant people; queer people/people of varying sexual preferences and orientation; and parents and other guardians of children. As such, we seek to have workshops highlighting the connections between all forms of oppression and putting our movements shortcomings on these issues under the magnifying glass. We believe that criticism and reflection on oppressive behaviors within our movement is essential in order to combat those problems. In keeping with this ethic, oppressive behavior will not be tolerated at the conference. Any conference attendees who behave in oppressive manners towards others will be asked to leave.

* An Open Support For Direct Action And The Animal Liberation Front:

This conference will stand up openly in support of the Animal Liberation Front. It is our belief that the actions of the ALF are essential elements of the fight for animal liberation and this conference will feature workshops and presenters that reflect that belief.

* Law Enforcement/Government Officials Are Not Welcome/Implementing Security Culture:

We understand this is a hard one to enforce, but felt it necessary to point out that we want to do everything we can to implement security culture at this event. As such, no police officers, FBI agents or any other such government official is welcome at the event. Please note however, that this is nearly impossible to enforce and with the scrutiny placed on the animal rights movement by the government, they are almost certain to be there. Keep this in mind and remember that loose lips sink ships.


ADL Chicago: http://chicago.animaldefense.info/


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