Staying Vocal in our Support for Direct Action
When reading the latest dispatch from Jeff Luers, we are reminded that there will always be an easy excuse to denounce direct action and pursue activism through socially-acceptable channels. That excuse can be anything from 9/11 to government repression to public perception to plain old fear. There will always be an easy way out.
Whenever I have debated other activists on the merits of liberating animals from laboratories, the typical the argument against direct liberation has been based on fear: fear of government repression, fear of public perception, fear of the media and fear of the animal abusers. Fear of what their family, friends and co-workers think of them. Fear that their personal reputation would be tarnished. Fear of jail time. Fear of losing their investment and retirement plans. These have always been the root reasons behind activists not supporting economic sabotage.
Even though 9/11 has brought unprecedented government repression onto those who challenge unjust laws, our humanity requires us to continue to challenge them in every way possible. The argument against direct action has never been based on proven results or campaign successes.
One thing is for certain: Direct action works. When I lived in England, I saw it first hand when Consort Kennels had just closed because of a unique and well-organized campaign that used a variety of methods. These methods included economic sabotage, the liberation of animals, protests and civil disobedience. Hillgrove Cat Farm soon followed, along with Shamrock Monkey Farm, Regal Rabbits and now, the Newchurch Guinea Pig Farm.
I support the Animal Liberation Front because it produces results, directly saves lives, has never killed anyone and because I hope that if I am ever imprisoned against my will in a concentration camp or laboratory, someone will take action to liberate me.
I have been warned time and time again by family, friends and co-workers that animal rights activists should "lay low" during such a volatile time in American society-- that we should be patient and wait until the political climate from 9/11 becomes less hostile, until a new president is elected, etc.
To that request, I ask, "When is a good time to support direct action? When is it acceptable to support breaking the law to liberate animals? Are campaigns to close down laboratories supposed to go on hiatus until a president from the Green Party is elected?"
There is never an acceptable time. It will never be easy. It is unlikely that the fear that resides in each of us will ever go away.
Through the years, my beliefs have been challenged, questioned and debated. My support for the Animal Liberation Front has never wavered. If we arenít involved in the liberation of animals of some sort, at the bare minimum, we should be supporting it.