Category: Total Liberation


Italian Facebook Steve Best Rome Lecture Tour Event Page

Per Animalia Veritas Steve Best Event Page

“Interview with Steve Best,” Asinus Novus

“Steve Best in Italy: From Philosophy to Action,” by the blog (and more), Asinus Novus. The writers provided a nice summary of my talks and main ideas.

A Key Meeting,” Arielvegangfashinblogspot.com; a refreshingly intelligent, fair, and incisive essay on my work, thank you Ariel.

“Now Enough,” Barbara Balsalmo

 

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I wish to thank everyone in Italy for inviting me to speak again this year, and for being such gracious hosts, fantastic activists. and amazing people. There are dozens, perhaps over a hundred of people who made this tour possible and joyful. I cannot possibly name them all. I do however, wish to offer a very special thank you to:

Kostia Troinia and Barbara Balsamo for inviting me and being the principal organizers of my talks in Rome. You are the best!

Marcos Aragao for your excellent photos.

VeggieChannel.com for your tremendous effort in interviewing me, taping my lectures in Turin, Rome, and Latina, and for having the courage to post my talks on your channel.

The kind women at Asinus Novus for showing enough interest in my work to summarize my talks and interview me; it was a pleasure, thank you.

Per Animalia Veritas; thank you for your activism, support, and bold defense of militant direct action!

The ReWild Cruelty Free Club; you guys rock and make the best vegan food!

Paolo Trono and his club, Vegan Città di Latina (a former abattoir transformed into a space for music, lectures, and culture!) in which I gave my final speech in the Rome area before moving north to Brescia; thank you for your kindness, the great audience, and the great free food and beer!

Piercarlo Paderno for inviting and hosting me in Brescia. You are a great new friend and did amazing work to help liberate the Greenhill dogs.

The Occupy Greenhill movement (see here and here) for their bold act of liberation that will go down in history as one of the most important actions of this century. In their post-Greenhill reorganization, the group is now called Animal Amnesty, and will keep opening chained fences and locked doors!

This talk was given at Sapienza University of Rome, September 5, 2012. 

Photos of the talk

This talk given at the Sala Underground, Barcelona, Spain, September 26, 2012. It was a blast to perform with animal liberation bands, Major Arcana and Blendeskil!

This is a two-part video, recorded at the Turin, Italy Animal Rights Film Festival, in July 2010. It was recently broadcast on Veggie Channel.Com. The first part is an improvised talk and second is a Q&A session. My thanks to my hosts in Turin and to the excellent Veggie Channel in Italy.

Part I: Talk

Part II: Question and Answer Session

This talk was given to a packed house in the great vegan restaurant, the “Rewild Cruelty-Free Club” in Rome, Italy, on September 4, 2012. The talk was organized by Per Animalia Veritas, an organization that promotes anti-speciesism, veganism, and militant direct action tactics as necessary conditions for creating revolutionary change worth fighting for. This is a video was shot and made available on the web by Veggie Channel.com.

Photos of the talk

Occupy Greenhill Anti-Vivisection Conference

Brescia, Italy, Friday September 7, 2012

STEVE BEST, LEADER DEL MOVIMENTO ANTISPECISTA, A BRESCIA

I was highly honored to give this talk on Friday, September 7, at the Hall of the Labour Buozzi of Brescia, in northern Italy. This talk, entitled “Fighting the Global Vivisection-Industrial Complex Through Militant Direct Action,” was organized by the Occupy Green Hill Movement, which led the amazing daylight open rescue of hundreds of puppies targeted for vivisection and certain death at the Green Hill compound, just a short drive from Brescia.

Greenhill Compound, CLOSED! Photo by Steve Best

This was the first conference since the bold beagle liberations, and I expect Italy to catch fire and become a flashpoint of animal liberation in the coming years. was organized by The conference was introduced with an update on the current situation of Green Hill, the current trial process, and a brief overview of how the struggle movements evolved and culminated in stunning success that typically only militant direct action can bring. I then followed with this sharp critique of the global vivisection industrial complex and a call to escalate direct action liberations throughout Italy.

 

By Usnea, Earth First! Journal,  2011

I state without fear—but with the hope of rallying our collective courage—that I support radical actions. I support tools like industrial sabotage, monkey wrenching machinery and strategic arson. The Earth’s situation is dire. If other methods are not enough, we must not allow concerns about property rights to stop us from protecting the land, sea, and air. Today, more than ever, the Earth needs our effective action using all the methods of resistance at our disposal. Radical actions and radical movements grow out of supportive cultures. Let us once again build a strong supportive base for them.

Don’t get me wrong. During the Green Scare, in which dozens of activists  were incarcerated, our movement got seriously screwed with, and we   have had some extremely hard times because of the outstanding repression   we have faced for the last six years. I want to remember that we were   targeted by the powers that be because we were effective. Not only was EF! a growing force with which the state and corporations were fearful to reckon, but also that other more radical affinities were being   forged in our communities.
To state it clearly, ELF actions came out of our communities and shared struggles. The FBI knows that. Its been said in court by their officers. Its been written in their documents. Instead of shying away from that, let’s say it proudly. We already face major repression. Pretending that is not the case does nothing but mislead new folks and create more fear. Let me say it again: the majority of underground ecological actions that took   place over the last decades grew out of our movements that were supportive of them. Our movements were the incubator.

Are you disheartened that there are less radical actions attacking the root causes of the ecological crisis? Me too. So let’s take one effective, tangible step towards changing that by openly celebrating all tools in the box.

However, when celebrating, we should be mindful of practical lessons of security culture learned from the Green Scare. The best practical advice in celebrating sabotage is to publicly celebrate, but not to publicly incite. Inciting is illegal. For example, yelling, “The logging trucks are coming, everybody get into the road, block it, and then firebomb the fucker!” Not so smart.

But, it is not illegal, for example, to get excited around the camp fire, stand up, and read a particularly eloquent communiqué out loud while others clap, cheer, and celebrate how the bad guys got their asses kicked that round. It is not illegal to talk about how awesome the blockade and sabotage was (in the hilarious communiqué below, for example) and say proudly that you wish there were more like it. And, it should not be illegal to openly support and generally advocate the use of incendiary devices. But please note, there are no promises in love and eco-war; the state and its courts have proven over the years that if they want you bad enough, universal human rights of speech and expression may not matter. A friendly lawyer checked this part of this article out and agreed that the do’s and dont’s listed here are indeed the case.

With that all said, I propose that EF! gets back to openly and publicly celebrating radical, underground tactics, in our songs, our stories, our Journal, and on our T-shirts (anyone remember the one that read: I torched Vail, ask me why).

ELF arson attack on Vail, Colorado ski lodge, October 18, 1998. The lodge was built on clear-cut forest and prime lynx habitat.

If there is a knock on your door by the agents of state repression (supposedly because of your undying, unabashed support of pouring abrasive compounds into gas tanks, loosening bolts that hold up power lines, or smashing computers at your local biotech facility.) So what. Yep, just more evidence, that we live in a police state. Let’s use that knock as a springboard to organize stronger and more effective resistance to state harassment.

And a quick note about security culture, because I feel like our movement has gotten way off track with that subject. Security culture is the building of awareness intended to keep one safe from repression. It is essentially a set of guidelines on how to live in an active resistance movement where individuals may or may not be breaking the law, and minimize risks of the state cracking down on us. It is not a bunch of paranoid random rituals or estranged superstitions, nor is it folks being alienating to new people or a way to act cool and superior. It is, in fact, a whole bunch of behaviors and, for lack of a better phrase, social protocols—which are always evolving—for how to behave in order to keep yourself, and everyone else you interact with, safer. It is something that should be done so fluidly that most of the time, others don’t even know you are doing it. And when eventually it is needed for you to “call someone out” you will do it in a way that makes them feel all the more welcomed and a part of a learning movement, as opposed to alienated and even more unsure as to how to act responsibly, right?

Perhaps the most damaging events from the Green Scare are behind us. But the brunt of the cleanup and lessons we still must learn lie ahead. The Green Scare cracked some of the foundations of our movement leaving us unstable and, in my opinion, in desperate need of shoring up.

One of the reasons I think our movement continues to get smaller and smaller is because we have, out of fear, limited and censored ourselves. Our support of radical direct action is one of the main things that made us unique. There are no other groups like us around; no other above ground ecological activist group that vocally supports, unabashedly and un- apologetically, the use of every tool in the tool box to take down this fucked up system and hopefully save what little we have left, so that it can recover from the plague of industrial civilization.

Long live the Earth Liberation Front!

Yours for the rev, —USNEA (ALSO KNOWN AS EMMA “COME AND GET ME, FUCKERS” MURPHY-ELLIS)

P.S. Since its not illegal, I wanted to share some excerpts from a communiqué that was sent out October 13, 2008, after the Canadian Pacific Railway sabotage took place. Pass it along! Share it with friends! Enjoy!
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“In an attempt to cause a shitload of economic damage to the infrastructure of the CP rail main-line, we cut down two telephone poles across the tracks just to the north of their main intermodal yard outside Toronto. A pile of fallen trees was ignited with gasoline across the tracks, and we molotov’d one of those weird grey box things that look pretty important and are full of electrical shit. We also tied copper wire across the tracks to signal the blockage so no one would get hurt. That was way more exciting than a turkey dinner!

…For us the Spirit Train is every train, they’re all spread- ing “Olympic spirit,” or more like the spirit of capitalism: construction materials, military equipment, useless consumer products, tourists…

Fuck it all. Every ride on the rails is a ride for the same invasion that’s been goin on since the railway was built to colonize this whole place. This rail system has been developed and is utilized to serve our exploiters and enemies. As long as the exploiters exist, infrastructure will always be their weapon. So we wanna destroy it all… their railway, highways, cameras, telecommunications, it’s all serving the masters and their police. We’re not interested in expressing our dissatisfaction at a symbolic part of the problem. We want to actually dismantle the whole system and hit these cracker-ass-capitalists where it hurts. It’s not just the Spirit Train; it’s every train, the tracks and the social structure they maintain!
This is solidarity with all the comrades raisin’ hell wherever they live. Keep the struggle burning locally, and your solidarity reaches globally. This chaos was for the warriors everywhere who are still facing charges for their involvement in acts of resistance quite like this one. It don’t matter how hard they come down on us cause there are too many of us waiting to explode. Let’s show’em what we can do and aim for our actual objective! … Every train—stopped, every track—untied, every jail—destroyed!”

A long analysis, but well worth the read. Williams makes the connections between the ongoing, mutually reinforcing crises in the social and natural worlds, as brought about by capitalism, class society, corporate globalization, and animal agriculture — by which of course I mean the industrialized, profit-driven, chemicalized system designed principally to produce feed (for animals) not food (for humans), and which unconscionably treats animals as flesh/dairy/egg machines and spares them no discomfort in the use of intensive confinement and violent murder. This piece demonstrates how market anarchy leads to social struggle and chaos, how the impersonal profit imperative results in mass suffering and death, and how veganism and animal liberation are central to any sane, humane, and ecologically sustainable future — a future I personally have an increasingly difficult time imagining systemic change is possible, given the indifference of social movements to veganism and animal liberation and the insular, marginalized, elitist, single-issue, consumerist, and corporatized and/or paralyzed state of vegan and animal advocacy “movements” worldwide. The combination of increasingly aggressive corporate plunder policies, the growing crisis of climate change, and the inability of various social movements to grasp the big picture and unite to overturn corporate hegemony, global agribusiness, and slaughtering hundreds of billions of land and sea animals to feed seven billion people (often barely for two billion of these) portends utter disaster for humanity, animals, biodiversity, and an inhabitable planet.

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Chris Williams, Counterpunch, August 3-5, 2012

More than 50% of counties in the United States are now officially designated “disaster” zones.  The reason given in 90% of cases is due to the continent-wide drought that has been devastating crop production.  48% of the US corn crop is rated as “poor to very poor”, along with 37% of soy; 73% of cattle acreage is suffering drought, along with 66% of land given to the production of hay.

The ramifications of the drought go far beyond what happens to food prices in the United States.  With the US producing half of all world corn exports, as corn and soy crops wilt from the heat, without coordinated governmental action we can expect a replay of the disastrous rise in food prices of 2008, which caused desperate, hungry people to riot in 28 countries.  In that instance, food was available, but hundreds of millions of people couldn’t afford to buy it.  Should food prices increase to anywhere near the levels of four years ago, it will be a catastrophe for the two billion people who are forced to scrape by on less than $2/day.

The poor in developing countries spend 80% of their income on food, much of it directly as grain, rather than as manufactured products like bread or cereal, and so any increase in the price of basic necessities immediately puts them in dire food distress.  In the US, prices for a loaf of bread or a corn muffin are unlikely to see major increases because, in a nod to capitalist priorities, the cost of those products is largely determined by packaging, advertizing, transportation and storage costs – and ultimately the labor that is embodied in those activities, not the cost of growing the corn or other natural base material.

However, because about one third of corn in the US goes to feed animals, the US dept. of agriculture predicts that the price of animal products such as beef, dairy products, chicken, eggs and turkey will increase by 4.5% or more, depending on just how bad the harvest turns out to be.  There will be a similar impact on vegetable oil due to the dire predictions on soy production, though these effects will likely not be felt until early 2013.  The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) publishes its monthly Food Price Index figures on August 9th.  Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the FAO commented, “It will be up…How much up is anyone’s guess”, ominously, he adds; “It would really surprise me if we didn’t see a significant increase.” Continue reading

Animal Ethics: Past and Present Perspectives

Editor: Evangelos D. Protopapadakis, Athens

Publisher: Logos Verlag, Berlin, 2012

The link above opens to the book’s Table of Contents and then to the full text of my (much-revised) essay, “Total Liberation and Moral Progress: The Struggle for Human Evolution” (excerpted from my forthcoming book of the same title, Rowman&Littlefield, forthcoming in 2013). Logos Verlag is also publishing in early 2013 a selection of some recent essays of my work, to be translated into German.

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