“It has appeared to me that you can create some sort of “solidarity” by contacting the people on the internet. Thats pretty cool, right? The real solidarity comes from the direct contact with people. The main reason that I am here today is to make contact with you. Make you see what has happened in my city. And make you see that you can help us with any kind of support. Making these real bonds and real connections is the most important thing to me to show you today.”
Discussion on “The perceptions of narco violence in Monterrey: different visions , one issue” by Carlos Zarazua of Monterrey, Mexico. Filmed at New Direction Fest 2012. Olympia, Wa.
This is the first video from the New Direction Fest this past August in Olympia, Wa. This video features a panel discussion on ‘Anarchist and Popular Education’. More coming soon!
Interview by Comrade Black
How do we shut down a multinational corporation?
500 animals per day die in the labs of Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), one of the largest contract testing companies in the world. Beagles, primates, rabbits, mice, rats, cats and other species are burned, cut open, or injected with poisons all while alive to ensure products like Viagra and diet pills will make it to the shelves of stores around the world; as well as GMO crops, pesticides, fertilizers and house hold cleaners. A small handful of dedicated activists started a campaign that nearly brought the giant to its knees as over 500 companies quit doing business with HLS, including their insurance company. Activists also managed to get HLS dropped from the New York Stock Exchange, eventually stopping their stocks from being publicly traded altogether.
Jake Conroy was one of the activists involved in Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign (SHAC) in the USA, helping to run the website, and lead demos. For this, Jake was sentenced to 4 years in jail.
PE: How did you get involved with animal activism, and more specially the SHAC campaign?
JAKE: I’ve always had strong feelings for the underdog throughout my life. It didn’t really occur to me until I was 19 that some of the biggest underdogs in the world were non-human animals. I had spent a long time thinking about the issues and reading books and pamphlets I picked up at hardcore/punk shows, and watching videos wherever I could find them (which actually was pretty hard to do in a pre-YouTube era). But I was somewhat on the fence about making that leap to get involved.
I was living in Seattle at the time, walking downtown to school, when I passed some folks protesting against the circus as they paraded the elephants for miles through the city. I passed them and didn’t say a word but it sat heavily in my mind that I should. So I turned around and walked back and asked what they were doing and who they were and how I could get in touch with them. They simply replied, “We’re in the Yellow Pages”. Sure enough, under Animal Rights, there was one listing – The Northwest Animal Rights Network. I called the number and listened to the info about the upcoming circus protests, and I went down that weekend by myself to join in.
The next 5 years I would participate in civil disobediences, run successful campaigns to close fur salons, help transform Seattle into one of the most animal-friendly cities in the country, and be arrested (with my current co-defendant Josh Harper) for engaging in the first whale hunt sabotage in US coastal waters by piloting a boat between whales and hunters.
In 2001 I had been working locally on the anti-HLS campaign in the Seattle area, when I got a call from a friend asking if I wanted to move out east for a few months to help start the office for this group, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA. I had nothing else to do, so I packed up my belongings, put them in storage, and headed out to Philadelphia. I became so excited and inspired by our first 3 months that I never went back. I would spend the next 5 years helping run one of the most exciting campaigns of my life.
JAKE: I think the most important thing people can learn is that their activism needs to be strategic, smart, and creative, while being thoughtful, careful, and calculated. We shouldn’t rush in head first because that’s the way it’s always been done; rather prepare for all outcomes, be ready to accept them, and not fear them. We need to realize that we are under a microscope, so our actions need to be significant and have a focus on duration and long term strategy.
PE: What do you think made SHAC so successful?
JAKE: Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panther Party, once said that in order to be successful you have to capture the imagination of the people, and the anti-Huntingdon Life Sciences campaign and SHAC USA did just that. It began in North America at a time when national welfare organizations started to dangle paychecks in front of grassroots organizers, when they began shifting the debate away from liberation to welfarism, and when they made you feel like you were doing your part by voting every couple of years and sending in your donations to cover their expanding paychecks. They were disenfranchising the animal rights movement and getting folks to fall into line. But deep inside, we all wanted more. Read the rest of this entry »
“On February 1st of 1995 our movement lost one of it’s shining lights to the tires of a truck transporting baby cows to slaughter. Jill Phipps, a former member of the Eastern Animal Liberation League, was trying to block the road to prevent the murder of those young calves when the driver chose to run her over.
Across the world people were outraged, and even mainstream publications in England ran articles with headlines proclaiming Jill a martyr- but to think of her in that light is an over simplification. Jill was the smiling face at street stalls who introduced many people to the concept of animals rights, a second generation militant in a family of deeply committed liberationists, a participant in raids that caused economic damage to those who harmed non-humans, and a mother who stood trial for ALF activity while she was still pregnant. By all accounts she was a sincere, friendly, and inspiring person whose willingness to sacrifice for the oppressed knew no bounds. If we are ever to bring about Jill’s dream of a world free from speciesism we must all aspire to emulate her level of commitment, passion, and caring.
Every year on the first day of February animal rights activists all over the world remember Jill, but remembering is not enough. A faithful tribute to our fallen comrade requires action, and we ask that our readers dedicate their activism and resistance this month to Jill Phipps.” –Conflict Gypsy