Civil Disobedience by Lauren Regan
Resistance Ecology Conference 2014
We did this interview with Progress For Science back in April, 2014. At that time, Progress For Science were gearing up for another World Wide Week For Animals In Labs, and as always they had a unique approach to their activism around the ongoing animal testing at UCLA. Progress for science is known internationally for their impressive and dynamic campaign tactics, utilizing everything from street performance to funeral marches to oceanside vigils, this group has a very big toolkit and they use every piece.
Since April, Progress For Science has been called to defend their right to use public space for their protests. During a recent Progress For Science silent demonstration and outreach in the neighbourhood of a UCLA employee who experiments on monkeys, three activists were singled out and restraining orders were sought against them. The charges were later dropped after the judge indicated the charges were unfounded. As a means of defending and upholding the rights of activists’ free speech rights, one of the three filed an Anti-SLAPP case, which would allow for the recovery of their legal fees if the legal system is used to stifle First Amendment Speech. Progress For Science is now engaged in an appeal to protect activists’ right to protest. If you would like to help with the cost of this Anti-SLAPP suit you can help with their Go Fund Me campaign here.
What is coming up for Progress For Science? An 11-day action campaign for monkey’s at UCLA is launching on August 21! This is an event that can be joined and supported from anywhere so please consider getting involved with Progress For Science and their 11-days of action. You can RSVP to the event here.
Without further delay, below is our still timely article with a member of Progress For Science (P4S) about some of their work, what it means to them, an why they do what they do.
BWM: To start things off, could you please outline for us what it is that Progress For Science does in your community, and what your main focus and objectives have been in a general way for individuals who may not yet be familiar with your group?
P4S: Progress for Science (P4S) takes action on behalf of animals in laboratories, with an emphasis on the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). P4S is working to end animal experiments at UCLA, while trying to expand and connect with the global anti-vivisection movement. Our immediate goal is to end experiments on monkeys at UCLA as we see it as the low-hanging fruit. The US government is phasing out the use of Chimpanzees in research, Harvard University closed their primate research center, several commercial airlines have banned their transportation of monkeys to vivisection labs, and the European Union has banned cosmetic testing on nonhuman animals; it is clear that positive shifts in the scientific paradigm are happening right now. What is UCLA waiting for? While they wait, we’ll be keeping the pressure up.
We utilize a range of tactics to weaken the structures that support vivisection from multiple angles. Whether an activist’s preferred form of activism is holding vigil and sharing a song, leading chants at a demo, outreaching to the public, or “monkeying around” the city collecting as many petition signatures as possible, we’ve got something up their alley. We also understand how busy life can get and that lots of supporters aren’t located in the LA area, so when people aren’t able to physically attend our events, they can still participate in our social media, phone and email actions.
Grabbing Back: Bioregionalism Against White Supremacy by Alexander Reid Ross, Elona Trogub, scott crow, Ahjamu Umi
Resistance Ecology Conference 2014
Vegans of Color by Emiko Badillo, Emelda Kavanaugh-Ortiz & Alex Payan
Resistance Ecology Conference 2014
Taken from Resistance Ecology
In light of the ongoing incursion on the Gaza Strip, it is time that animal liberation activists take a stand against the violent occupation of Palestine. As of this writing, 2,000 Palestinians are now dead, nearly all civilians, including almost 500 children. Almost 8,000 have been injured in horrific and indiscriminate assaults
The Israeli occupation is one of urban expansion, pollution, settler industrial agriculture, environmental racism, and ecological devastation. It has uprooted the indigenous flora and fauna, including the Palestinian people, and the indigenous food systems that existed prior to European settlement. Since 1901 the Jewish National Fund (JNF) has been able to rapidly accumulate swaths of indigenous Palestinian territory through initiatives to “protect the land, green the landscape and preserve vital ecosystems.” In reality, this has been nothing more than a Zionist program to destroy the native flora and fauna and replace it with a pseudo-European landscape of Pine and Eucalyptus forests. The dense greenery has served the purpose of erasing Palestinian existence from the land. Although illegal under international law, Israel has established over 18 industrial zones, implicated in worker exploitation and chemical waste contamination. The expansion of settlements and industrial zones in the occupied territories require an extensive road network that dissects and further seizes the land. The apartheid wall, 90% of which is in the occupied territories, has uprooted native woodlands and contaminated water supplies. Since the beginning of the occupation, Israel has stolen water for irrigation, settlements, swimming pools, and industry. By every measure, it is a colonial state that is devastating for the land, the animals, and the native people.
Israel has been strategically green-washing, humane-washing, and “vegan-washing” the occupation to conceal the apartheid regime. Just as Israel’s pink-washing campaign has been used to sever the international queer community from Palestinian solidarity, this new so-called pro-animal trend is nothing more than a public relations strategy to garner support and justify the oppressive logic of the occupation. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has even positioned himself to be the herald of progress for animals in the Middle East. The state has gone so far as to align itself with the growing animal advocacy movement, even offering vegan meals and combat gear for soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
All of this hasbara (Israeli state propaganda) is meant to capitalize on the relatively recent growth of animal rights activity in Israel. Unfortunately, this movement has largely been acritical and carried by the appropriation and erasure of historical and ongoing struggles. This surge in problematic “activism” in the name of animals coincided with a tour by “vegan guru” Gary Yourofsky in which he presented at Ariel University, established by military decree in the occupied West Bank. Yourofsky, well known for his statements that consumers of animal products should be raped and murdered, made explicit his position on the occupation of Palestine:“Humans are the SCUM of the earth… I don’t care about Jews or Palestinians, or their stupid, childish battle over a piece of God-forsaken land in the desert. I care about animals, who are the only oppressed, enslaved and tormented beings on this planet. Human suffering is a joke. Therefore, I will speak anywhere, in any city, in any country, in any location that will have me. I would lecture IN a Palestinian school if they would bring me in.”
Is this our movement? Is this the animal’s struggle?