We are now selling this awesome shirt to benefit long term anarchist prisoner Eric McDavid. We love this design and how comfy the shirts are and couldn’t be more pleased to sell it! All proceeds go straight to Eric!
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 »
Portland anarchist Kerry Cunneen has announced their refusal to cooperate with the grand jury investigating the May Day attack on the Nakamura federal courthouse in Seattle. Kerry’s subpoena, which was delivered on December 14th, stated that they were required to appear just 5 days later on the 19th. Their lawyer successfully got the date pushed back until January 3rd, when Kerry declined to even enter the grand jury room. Kerry has stated that they will never under any circumstance cooperate with this or any state in persecuting themself or others:
I have been subpoenaed to the grand jury in Seattle investigating Anarchists in the Pacific Northwest. I was called to testify on January 3rd at 9am. I did not appear before the grand jury. I will not cooperate with this grand jury nor will I in any way aid the state in its efforts to imprison people.
I stand firmly in solidarity with the actions taken against the Nakamura Federal court house during the May Day demonstration and all action taken against the state and capital towards the goal of a more liberated society.
I am in solidarity with the May Day 5, with Maddy, Matt and Kteeo, and everyone else who has met repression with resilience. To all whose solidarity has come in some form of action, it is inspiring and must continue.
CAPR supports Kerry’s bold refusal to even enter the grand jury room. Although for some, resisting a grand jury may be a display of commitment of civil liberties, free speech, or freedom of association, it can also be a method to further the spread of insurrectionary tactics. To be blunt, it is easier to break windows or act against the state in other ways that are necessarily illegal when there is a culture against snitching among anarchists. We oppose the state in its entirety – we are against its courts, its prisons, its judges, its prosecutors, and every manifestation of the law and their justice. The Committee Against Political Repression is encouraged by attacks against the existent, including the May Day attack on the Nakamura federal courthouse.
The May Day anti-capitalist march in Seattle signaled a broad and growing antagonism to hierarchy and domination, and the state’s heavy-handed response to it (three house raids in Portland, at least nine grand jury subpoenas, and three people currently sitting in prison for refusing to testify) signals just how dangerous the state perceived it to be. As an anonymous author writes in We Are Contagious: a gift to those who desire social revolt,
“What was special about May Day wasn’t the black bloc, impressive as it was in its coordination and preparation. What was special was that the hundreds of people clustered around the black bloc probably had a good idea of exactly what was going to happen when the anti-capitalist march left Westlake…and they liked it. They stayed close the bloc anyway; a few even joined in on the fun. Others screamed in joy. Some, who only months ago might have tried to prevent the property destruction or would have later denounced it, simply smiled to themselves and moved on down the road. Perhaps most importantly, a fair number of these people will return to the streets, better prepared to act themselves.”
Broken windows are an easily replicable tactic that is capable of rapid generalization. Although broken windows are certainly not the anarchist end-goal (there is no single anarchist end-goal), the tactic of breaking windows is a way for people to directly attack (and cause financial damage to) institutions to which they are opposed, and build affinity in the streets. The state logically must do whatever it can to control, disrupt, recuperate, or liquidate that which presents a threat. While we are angry about this grand jury (and all grand juries, and the existence of the state, period), it also shows that anarchists have been doing something right – anarchists are posing a threat that can’t be ignored.
We can respond to this and all instances of repression by strengthening and escalating our projects of resistance. Kerry has stated that the best support they could ask for is action of some sort that is in resistance to state and capital. Indeed, that is the only way we’ll come through to the other side stronger than before.
Taken from The Huffington Post
Marineland — the captive animal park in Niagara Falls, Ont. — has faced opposition for decades. However, the statements delivered to the Toronto Star this summer by 15 ex-employees has exploded this issue. News coverage has been global, all levels of government have been brought in and the park has seen record demonstrations — culminating in a 800+ person protest on the park’s closing day (Oct. 7), which included hundreds of advocates jumping the turnstiles and shutting down the last dolphin show of the season.
Marineland has tried to counter this growing public concern by taking to the courts and filing what I believe is a SLAPP suit — a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation — a common tactic to try to shut down public debate. The park has launched a $1.5-million suit, as well as injuctions, against me. They have tried to use to the press to their advantage, releasing a statement that groundlessly accused activists of a “campaign of intimidation and harassment.”
The timing of Marineland’s lawsuit is a great indication of their motivations and intentions. A day before Marineland ﬁled their suit, news broke that the Ministry of the Environment was going to begin aninvestigation and possible excavation of Marineland’s four mass graves — two of which are allegedly full of over 1,000 of animals who have been buried during the park’s 50-year history without the knowledge of the Ministry of the Environment. Advocates have made the graves a focus for decades, and this announced investigation sent the news viral — exposing yet another aspect of apparent callousness at the captive animal park.
The next day, Marineland ﬁled their suit in St. Catharines Court. Interestingly, before the suit was even filed, I was contacted by Sun Media paper the Niagara Falls Review for a comment. That left me wondering, did Marineland leak the story to the Review in an attempt to wash the mass graves story out of local press?
Marineland has been cautioned by its own industry lobby group, the Canadian Association for Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) — to which it pays membership dues — to conduct an independent assessment of the park’s water system to determine what if any update may be needed. Months later, no assessment has been conducted, according to news reports.
Despite this, Marineland has attempted some jaw dropping PR spin, rolling out social media sites in an apparent attempt to quell public outrage. Evidently, for the park, protecting proﬁts comes ﬁrst, and animals are a distant second.
In 2011, Marineland Animal Defense launched as a campaign, marking Marineland’s 50th anniversary. Ahead of launch, John Holer — Founder, Owner and President of Marineland — had been successful in his move to evict 47 families from a trailer park he had recently purchased, which sat near his Marineland property. Those families fought the evictions — many of them low income, marginalized families with homes that were “ﬁxed” and could not be moved off site. Many of them lost thousands. Nearly two years later the park still sits untouched.
The last resident in the park — Paula Millard – threatened that she would kill herself before she would leaver her home. On the night of March 31, 2011, that is what she did. For months, she had complained to other park members about what she felt was harassment by John Holer. Apparently, she saw suicide as her ﬁnal act of resistance. I have been told by Paula’s cousin and best friend Teresa that before Paula took her life, she wrote on the walls of her trailer: “John you will get it back ten fold.”
From the beginning, Marineland Animal Defense organized with the residents that fought their eviction through the GoHomeless.ca campaign. This summer I got the opportunity to meet Teresa. As we hugged and cried I promised her that I will see this through and that I will make sure that Paula’s struggle, as well as the struggle of the animals captive at Marineland, doesn’t fade away. John Holer has money, inﬂuence and lawyers. I’ve got the promise I made to Teresa.
As I move forward with my defense, I am calling for support. Marineland will be attempting to “spend me into the ground.” We will be organizing to use what resources we have to neutralize them. I am calling for statements of support and solidarity from animal advocacy and social justice organizations, and will be setting up speaking events throughout Ontario and Western New York.
An effective response to a SLAPP suit depends on a refusal to trade in fear and intimidation — and also a broad base of support. That’s why I need you. I’ve got some promises I need you to help me keep.
A while ago, I got word that a new straight edge related project was in the works. Being straight edge myself, I was really curious to hear what kind of project this was, and what the project intended to accomplish. When I heard that the main theme of the project was discussing straight edge beyond punk rock, I was instantly hooked and have been patiently waiting since. We are extremely excited for this project to launch, we hope you are too!
“Counter Conduct is an effort to best document anti-authoritarian aspirations and critiques coming from those who have been influenced and shaped by straightedge and to examine how embodied practices make antiauthoritarian politics more viable. Many of our peers do incredible work somewhat invisibly anchored to this commitment and we aim to make that intersection more visible and reflect on its various iterations. Counter Conduct is a project that not only wishes to add to the critical discourse of resistance, but to also dismantle conceptions and realities of an often rigid subculture. Counter Conduct will launch in early 2013″