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I recently sat down with three associates of Animal Rights Zone — Carolyn Bailey, Tim Gier, and Ronnie Lee — to discuss my new book, The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century, and the concept of total liberation generally. You can listen to the interview here. With my new book now out, I will be doing more interviews about it and will post here.

My most recent book, “The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century,” hitherto available only in German, is now available in English for purchase (PDF download or hardcopy book), on the Palgrave Macmillan site, and other sites such as Amazon.com.

9781137471116

I am honored that celebrated animal rights author, Norm Phelps, wrote the Foreword to the book, and here is the critical praise on the back cover:

“This is an extraordinary book that shatters all safe spaces found among the debris, torture, genocide, and despair scattered throughout history by the so-called march towards progress.” –Peter McLaren, Distinguished Professor in Critical Studies, Chapman University, USA, Author of Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution

“For at least the last half century, a biocentric revolution has been unfolding against the destructive tyranny of anthropocentrism — a revolution guided by the natural laws of ecology against the unnatural diminishment of nature at the hands of “civilized” man. In this bold and timely book, Steven Best writes from, and has documented, the evolution of this universal revolution, as he gives us a glimpse into the catastrophic consequences should this revolution fail.” –Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

“The Politics of Total Liberation is groundbreaking with an innovative new approach to understanding the ills of our society. Best makes is clear that we are losing the battle to save the environment and animals because of greed, domination, control, and war mongering created by humans. Best obviously did not write this to be popular, safe, or political; rather, he wrote because his conscience told him that it is right.” –Chris DeRose, President, Last Chance for Animals

“Steven Best gets it: if we are to stop destructive human conditions and habits, we will need `the most uncompromising, militant form of politics we can muster.’” –Jim Mason, author of An Unnatural Order: The Roots of Our Destruction of Nature.

“I have no argument with Norm Phelps when he states that `this may be the most important book of the 21st century’.” –Ronnie Lee, founder of the Animal Liberation Front

Camille Marino Heads Back to Jail

Yesterday, October 31, 2014,  I went yet again to face Marino in a New Mexico court and, yet again, she failed to show. The difference is that this time, she is out of chances and luck. The judge immediately instated the bench warrant for her arrest.

All Marino can do now is to continue to lie, to continue to spread her shabby narrative of being a victim of my “bullying” and persecution, continue to try to paint me as an “animal traitor,” and to exploit the situation to represent herself as a martyr and “political prisoner,” when in fact she is nothing but a sick and dangerous person who belongs behind bars of one kind or another.

Camille Marino

Indeed, instead of allowing authorities to pick her up next week, this drama queen first told the world that she was going to turn herself in and go on a hunger strike until her “First Amendment rights” are restored. She will starve to death by then, because she is facing 6 months in jail for relentless harassment, slander, and stalking actions against me for over 2 years now. She will sit in a Florida jail, then be extradited to New Mexico, where she will face the final and ultimate consequences of her major campaign over the last two years – to “destroy” me.

After her weepy, tear-jerking goodbye to her dogs today, Marino then claimed that she actually tried to turn herself in and that Florida authorities refused to arrest her and honor a federal warrant for arrest. First, the warrant will not even be in the system until a few days from now, and second, I checked with the station she allegedly tried to turn herself into, and they said she never came in.

In classic psychopath style, Marino then said that this gives University of Florida the opportunity to work with me to actually arrest her. This is a typical Marino stunt, and blatant attempt to further slander me by claiming that, when she is arrested soon–and she will be–somehow I conspired with vivisectors to have her arrested. This is a lie; I never have, and never will, conspire with vivisectors, even to have the likes of Marino arrested!

This is not a “squabble” amongst two people in the animal liberation movement, this has been me suffering an intense war waged against every aspect of my personal and professional life. This is not a “he said/she said” matter; this is a case I have won, step by step for over two years, in the New Mexico courts, decided by numerous judges, in battles with her defense attorneys, and determined by overwhelming evidence against Marino.

She continues to call me an “animal traitor,” but she has betrayed me, her gullible followers, the animal liberation movement, and countless animals with her stupid statements and tactics and treacherous actions against me and numerous other activists.

It gives me no pleasure for Marino to be returned to jail, but she has brought this on herself and could have prevented this at any time. All I ever sought was peace from Marino’s violence against me, and to be left alone. But her hate and obsession with me were far too strong, and provoked her to lash out against me in increasingly damaging and threatening ways.

She forced me first to get a temporary restraining order against her, but that didn’t stop her, and her actions only escalated. She then forced me to get a 14-year restraining order against her, but that didn’t stop her, and her actions only escalated further. She then forced me to hire lawyers and enforce my restraining order, but that didn’t stop her. And on October 31, 2014, yet another judge determined conclusively that Marino is guilty of aggravated stalking and harassment against me, and issued a warrant for her arrest.

For over two years, Marino has drained me psychologically and financially. She has brought this on herself. Camille Marino made my life unlivable and no one has the “right” to do that to another person. She is an abuser, no different from the vivisectors she so lamely fights, she is nothing but a violent victimizer. And as long as she continues to attack me, I will fight back with every resource I have, and the penalties against her will become increasingly serious. Despite her insanity and obsession, she needs to walk her talk and “stay focused on the animals,” rather than harassing me and other activists in the animal rights movement.

She will be arrested some time next week. She will first be detained in a Florida county jail, and then driven by van to a New Mexico county jail, stopping along the way to collect other criminals to join her for the long ride. Upon arriving in New Mexico, she will remain in jail until the next hearing sometime in late November.

Marino’s destiny is to spend the rest of her life behind bars, if not those of a prison, those of a psychiatric institution.

But no doubt more intense hate, slander, and harassment against me is still to come, she has even vowed not to be “silenced” from behind her prison bars. I just hope that everyone sees this for what it is, and that the rest of Marino’s ever-dwindling number of supporters see the light and sever their ties from this train wreck grinding through the animal liberation movement.

For commentary on how Marino operates toward me and others in the movement, and the scum she associates with, see here and here.

For background posts on this continuing saga, see “Harassment is Not Free Speech” and “Stalker Alert: Contra Camille Marino.”

To support me through this prolonged struggle against a self-proclaimed sociopath, please see and donate to the Support Dr. Best website. As a movement veteran fending off a nutcase neophyte, your support and solidarity are much appreciated and help keep me speaking and writing on behalf of total liberation.

“Damaged people with nothing left to lose are your worst nightmare.” Camille Marino, Facebook, June 20, 2014

“Harassment is knowingly pursuing a pattern of conduct that is intended to annoy, seriously alarm or terrorize another person and that serves no lawful purpose. The conduct must be such that it would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.”  New Mexico. Stat. Ann. § 30-3A-2

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Friends, Colleagues, and Supporters:

Some of you know already that for the last two years I have been in a personal, political, and now legal battle (more accurately referred to as a one-sided war of her against me) with my former friend, Camille Marino (see my recent interview about this conflict here).

 

Camille Marino

This conflict began in July 2012, months after Marino sent a Michigan vivisector death threats in her own name and subsequently tried to pin the blame on me. As she boasted on her blog about her October 23, 2011 letter to a Wayne State University vivisector (Donal O’Leary),  “I just finished sending off an email to this motherfucker [Donal O'Leary], wishing him a slow and painful death.” But privately, she phoned me and confessed, “Steve, I think I just did something really stupid.”

The operative word in both cases here is “I,” not “we.” The vivisector and police charged Marino in this matter, and the State of Michigan put Marino in a county jail for six months as a consequence. Since I did not send O’Leary any threats, whereas Marino has a long history of issuing threats to vivisectors from coast to coast, I was never even questioned regarding this matter. Nonetheless, throughout Marino’s trial, Marino and her attorney tried to shift the blame to me as the responsible party (despite her claiming she “took the fall” for me!).

This strategy failed in a huge way. On July 13 2012, a Michigan judge found Marino, and Marino alone, responsible for issuing death threats, harassment, aggravated stalking, and violating a restraining order against her. The judge further found that Marino’s speech and actions were not protected by the First Amendment (see State of Michigan, Plaintiff, vs. Camille Marino, Defendant, case no. 12-58800).

 

In early August, 2012, Marino called me, over a recorded prison phone system, and demanded that I appear as a witness for her in a Detroit courtroom. I declined to do so for various important reasons, not the least of which was refusing to be betrayed and set up by a coward running from the consequences of her actions. Yet to this day she blames me for events for which she and she alone is responsible.

Her bad faith blaming and hateful anger toward me became increasingly obsessive, abusive, hostile, and downright threatening in the most menacing ways, such as evoking my death in “puddles of blood,” such that that she can “taste [my] blood … and tears” and it “turns me on so fucking much” (Marino’s emails to me, August-October 2012). For the last two years, she has attacked every aspect of my professional and personal life. Although I tried to ignore her, the problem only escalated over time. (For a frightening true story of how a obsessed stalker — in this case, eerily like Marino — can uproot one’s life, see this 20/20 episode, parts one and two).

I provided documentation to the State of New Mexico of her threats and harassment, and I received a 14-year restraining order against her to leave me alone. Restraining orders are not given lightly and are reviewed by judges. Marino’s threats were so extreme that, in October 2012, the New Mexico court granted the maximum term available – 14 years protection against harassment and stalking.

In the following two years, Marino tried to avoid the black-letter of the restraining order by stalking, harassing, and slandering me in the most reprehensible ways but over the Internet. The order explicitly prohibits direct contact with me (such as phone calls or emails), but it also prohibits “abuse and threats of abuse” among other things. Some of the abuse I’ve suffered from her include her publishing pictures she took of me when I was in a depressed stage of life, pictures taken and distributed solely to humiliate and harm me. In two separate instances, I received detailed and chilling threats promising death and torture to me, my loved ones, and my cats. Marino’s innumerable offenses against me would take a massive book to describe (see my video interview about Marino’s stalking and harassment here).

 

Again, throughout this blitzkrieg of stalking and harassment, I resolved to remain silent and hoped that my silence would not fan the flames of her mental illness. Surely, I thought, Marino eventually would move on to other things, but she hasn’t. For example, Marino tried to get my recent talk about animal rights at the July 2014 AR2014 conference in LA canceled, and, after it was apparent that it would not be cancelled, she did everything she could to sabotage my appearance there (as she has done since 2012 at so many of my speaking events throughout the world).

Subsequently, I felt forced to hire a New Mexico attorney to help me get Marino out of my life by enforcing the restraining order against Marino and documenting her blatant violations of it and her systematic campaign of harassment and stalking against me.

On Sept. 16 2014, the Doña Ana County New Mexico court agreed that Marino was continuing illegal harassment and ordered her to stop (see the court order here). All the evidence brought to court was so severe that the court sentenced her to 179 days in jail, of which she would serve only 21 days if she removed everything from the Internet that she posted about me.  She has been ordered to appear before the New Mexico court on October 31, 2014.

As part of her pathology, Marino is now claiming that I and the state of New Mexico are violating her free speech rights, which Marino interprets as being freedom to say false and hateful things about me, trying to get my professional talks canceled, threatening to “destroy” and “dispose” of me, contacting my university colleagues and administrators, etc., ad nauseum.

There were two recent cases of stalking, in California and New Jersey, where courts explicitly told the stalkers that the Internet is not a refuge to bully people. New Mexico is now implicitly saying the same thing: free speech is great, but bullying and harassment is still illegal. Despite her grandiose self-representations, she is not a “political prisoner”: there is nothing courageous, noble, or even “political” in the modus operandi of sending death threats to vivisectors and going to jail for reckless and senseless actions against vivisectors and former friends alike.

One can instructively compare her lies about her stalking and harassment with the text of the September 2014 court order and stern judgment against her.

Marino is now again begging for people to send her thousands of dollars more ($20, 000 to be exact!) so she can pay legal fees that would, she hopes, allow her to keep slandering, stalking, and harassing me, while seriously impeding the cause of animal liberation. She has begged for legal defense funds many times before over the last two years, receiving an ample amount of money and earning the ire of activists throughout the world who accused her of mishandling their donations and came to seriously rethink their opinion of Marino and the effectiveness of her campaigns.

Marino’s insistence to appeal the September 2014 decision against her, and to take her loss back to court for an indefinite period to come, means that I must also pay legal fees for an indefinite time to come, which is extremely difficult for me to afford. I have already spent many thousands of dollars to protect myself from her, and I just put the title to my car up as a lien for my attorney to be assured of more payments.

The tragedy of Marino’s vengeance is the public spectacle that she created (all for vivisectors and other exploiters to relish and mass circulate!), her lies and self-aggrandizement to gather a following, and her soliciting her following to pay her legal fees for no good purpose but to waste money much better spent on credible campaigns and organizations.

I lament that I am asking for donations too. I don’t have adequate funds to pay my attorney to defend my case, now that Marino has appealed the September 16th ruling against her. I would not ask you to help except that I don’t have a choice but to ask; Marino has drained me of many thousands of dollars and I need quite a few more to prevail against her throughout the appeal process. You can donate funds here.

I will be transparent with funds received and how they’re spent. If I receive more than I need to pay legal fees and costs, I’ll refund the surplus to anyone who asks for it in their donation. Please see this site for more information and to make donations.

Any help is much appreciated. Thank you sincerely,

Dr. Steve Best

http://supportdrbest.wordpress.com

 

Gina Simmons is a good friend of mine who lives in Luxembourg, and she leads a great and fun-spirited band, Gina Simmons and the nobodies. They play original material which is always entertaining and rocking, and features animal rights/liberation themes and other important social commentary.

Here is their newest video, “Justice Maker,” a controversial depiction of an animal liberation raid, which was played many times on Luxembourg TV (probably by functionaries who never even watched it!), and which I would like to share with my readers:

 

 

Like all their songs, this rocks and must be entered into the catalogue of great animal liberation videos.

For more information on Gina and the nobodies, see their Facebook, ITunes, and Amazon pages.

Enjoy and share!

This is a video recording of the talk I gave in the opening plenary panel at the US National Animal Rights Conference, on July 10, 2014. I was asked to speak on the meaning of animal rights, and I contrasted it to animal welfare, contextualized both in the setting of modern capitalism, and underscored the subversive and revolutionary nature of animal rights. I hope you enjoy it.

 

It is with much regret and great sadness I was forced to record this video, with Sybelle Foxcroft of Cee4life, and that I eventually had to post it here, on my personal blog.

Most people who know me know that for the last two years I have had to deal with a sick, obsessive, dangerous stalker in my life, a deranged and self-proclaimed sociopath named Camille Marino.

 

Camille Marino

As I relate in this video interview below regarding this unfortunate matter, Marino, a one-time platonic friend who became obsessed with me, stupidly sent death threats to a vivisector, was imprisoned for it, and tried to pin the blame on me. She has constructed an epic story of herself as a victim of state repression and of personal betrayal, when in fact she is a senseless and reckless individual who has issued death threats to vivisectors from coast to coast, and it finally caught up with her.

For two years I endured the most vicious lies, hateful slander, and intense harassment as this so-called”activist” sat behind her computer in her Florida trailer park (where, as she herself told me, she lives off “disability” payments and donations from gullible supporters), hell-bent on accomplishing her true mission to “destroy” me and numerous other activists she has targeted as well. After two years of hoping this problem would go away, it has only escalated, as Marino has targeted every aspect of my professional and personal life.

Marino acquired without permission a copyrighted draft of an early version of this video, forcing me to publish this last version (below) it, and she then took this video and added further slander and lies to it, resorting once again to fabricating photoshopped emails and text messages. This prompted me to publish here the authentic version of this video.

Regrettably, everything I say in this video is absolutely true, and it is only the first of many steps I am finally taking to defend myself against this sick individual, dangerous sociopath, and utter fraud who is stalking me and the animal rights movement as a whole.

 

This new, short, militant animal rights movie is a moody, brooding, provocative, bold, and brilliant film about a woman who comes to an awakening about the radical extent of speciesism and the unremitting war on the animals. A snippet of my words, from a September 2011 speech in Germany, appear about 5 minutes into a film dominated by action and image. The ending may shock some, but I praise the filmmakers for the courage to dramatize what I call “extensional self defense” — the defense of animals under attack, by any means necessary, as they would defend themselves were they capable (and sometimes they are). This is “One” hell of a film by Devi Rose and brilliantly acted by Samrina Sabri. Let us hope for more like it.

See the film, “One,” here:

 

I recently sat down with Sybelle Foxcroft of Cee4Life to talk about my forthcoming book, The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century. Here is that video interview:

 

 

I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book, Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century. This concise, jargon-free, and highly readable work is soon to be published in three different languages: first, next month, in German, by Echo Verlag publishers; second, by mid-year, in Italian, by Ortica Editrice; and third, in English toward the end of 2014, by the major American academic press, Palgrave-MacMillan.

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Below is the Table of Contents and the Introduction to the work. Please look for the book soon in German, Italian, or English versions and I will post additional details regarding these and possibly other translated editions of the book as they become available.

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Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century

By

Steven Best

Table of Contents

Introduction: Crisis and the Crossroads of History

 Chapter 1: The Animal Standpoint

Chapter 2: The New Abolitionism: Capitalism, Slavery, and Animal Liberation

Chapter 3: The Paralysis of Pacifism: In Defense of Militant Direct Action

Chapter 4: Rethinking Revolution: Veganism, Animal Liberation, Ecology, and the Left

Chapter 5: Minding the Animals: Cognitive Ethology and the Obsolescence of Left Humanism

Chapter 6: Moral Progress and the Struggle for Human Evolution

Conclusion: Reflections on Activism and Hope in a Dying World and Suicidal Culture

 

Introduction: Crisis and the Crossroads of History

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu, sixth century BCE philosopher

In dystopian and apocalyptic times such as ours, one of accelerating global social and ecological crisis, these essays attempt to articulate a revolutionary politics of total liberation for the 21st century.

All political approaches and social movements to date have been fragmentary, weak, and non-inclusive, and regressive in their views toward nonhuman animals. In the last three decades, there have been initial and tentative alliances between social justice and environmental causes, with growing recognition that the assault on people and the environment have common roots in a growth-oriented capitalist system. But, due to neglect on all sides, these alliances did not include vegan and animal rights/liberation movements, which overflow with potential for advancing progressive values (such as peace, justice, rights, equality, and community), creating ecological societies, and overcoming human alienation from other animal species and the earth as a whole.

Alliance politics generally is a challenging issue, as people prefer to focus on their own causes rather than supporting other movements, especially ones they disdain out of ignorance. This has to change and new political ideologies, tactics, and groupings must be formulated, for everything else has failed and the stakes could not be higher. At risk is nothing less than the future of life on a planet that has been pushed beyond all limits to adapt to human existence and is prepared to shake us off entirely and allow the evolutionary process to continue without us. This century, the next decades or even the next years, is decisive, for what we do or fail to do now will determine the fate of species, our own fates, and evolutionary history on this planet for millennia to come. The urgency could not be greater, there is no time to waste, it is now do-or-die.

Although diverse in theme, the essays collected in this book form a coherent whole and address my core concerns as they relate to current crisis conditions. The most promising and relevant politics for this century, I believe, will not focus on class struggle or the fragmented identity politics pursued along single-issue lines concerning race, gender, sexual orientation, and so forth. It will be, rather, a politics of total liberation that grasps commonalities among various forms of oppression, that recognizes the interdependence and common goals of various liberation movements, and that forges appropriate political alliances.

By “total liberation” I do not mean a metaphysical utopia to be realized in perfect form. I refer, rather, to the process of understanding human, animal, and earth liberation movements in relation to one another and forming alliances around interrelated issues such as democracy and ecology, sustainability and veganism, and social justice and animal rights. To be sure, total liberation is an ideal, a vision, and a goal to strive for, invoking visions of freedom and harmony. But the struggle ahead is a continuous one, conducted within the constraints of human nature and the limits imposed by ecology. Human, animal, and earth liberation movements are different components of one inseparable struggle — against hierarchy, domination, and unsustainable social forms — none of which is possible without the others.

Through predatory behaviors, systems of exploitation, and growth-oriented societies, we have lived in contradiction to one another, other species, and the planet for so long, that we have brought about a new geologic epoch – the Anthropocene Era – whose name recognizes our global dominance and severe impact of Homo sapiens on the planet. In this era of runaway climate change, the sixth great extinction crisis in earth’s history, increasing centralization of power, aggressive neoliberalism, global capitalism, rampant militarism, resource scarcity, chronic warfare, economic crashes, and suffering and struggle everywhere, we have come to a historical crossroads where momentous choices have to be made and implemented into action.

The omnicidal regimes of “civilization” and global capitalism have reached their zenith and will end — whether through an ascendant global resistance stronger than this dying world system, or through the cataclysmic adjustments the planet already has initiated, such as ensure its evolution for billions of years to come but create conditions utterly hostile to supporting humans and countless other species.

Anything short of a radical, systemic, and comprehensive change, of a formidable revolutionary movement against global capitalism and hierarchical domination of all kinds will yield useless reforms, pseudo-solutions, false hopes, and protracted suffering. The time for partial visions, separate struggles, and fragmented resistance is over, and the hour of total liberation and revolutionary alliance politics has arrived.

Yet, alarmingly, we have not yet as a species or critical mass awoken to the true gravity of the situation and the magnitude of the challenges we face. The big picture proves elusive, antiquated paradigms prevail, and dogmatism and complacency strangle possibilities from all angles and quarters. Although few realize it, the human, animal, and earth liberation movements desperately need one another, and the weaknesses and limitations of each can only be overcome through the strengths and contributions of the others.

If revolt can mature into revolution, the starting point for social transformation is to join hands across the barricades; to engage in respectful critical dialogue; to communicate, educate, and learn as equals; to overcome partial histories, critiques, and battles for a systemic struggle. A politics of total liberation could forge alliances more powerful than anything yet created. It seeks to emancipate not just one class, interest group, or even the entire human species from the grip of a nihilistic power elite, but also animal communities everywhere, ecosystems worldwide, and the dynamic energies of evolution and speciation currently strangled.

Listening and learning, working united not divided, a unity in difference and a differentiated unity, forging a plurality of critiques and tactics that attack at all points and mobilize resistance from all social quarters – through a politics of total revolution, a politics for the 21st century, a flank of militant groups and positions can drive a battering ram into the structures of domination, unlock every cell and cage, and open the doors to a myriad of possible futures.

But humans will awake, if ever, late in the process of advanced crisis and decay. Nothing guarantees we will succeed rather than fail. But pessimism is suicide, despair is surrender, the stakes are too high, and our responsibilities are too great. Despite our violent history as a predatory and colonizing species, what humanity can and cannot achieve is still unknown. Our capacities and limits are still being worked out in the laboratory of history and political struggle, as this evolutionary experiment nonetheless might soon end in extinction. Let us not only hope, but also struggle, for a different outcome.

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“For at least the last half century, a biocentric revolution has been unfolding against the destructive tyranny of anthropocentrism — a revolution guided by the natural laws of ecology against the unnatural diminishment of nature at the hands of “civilized” man. In this bold, brilliant, and timely book, Steven Best writes from, and has documented, the evolution of this universal revolution, as he gives us a glimpse into the catastrophic consequences should this revolution fail.”  –  Captain Paul Watson

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