On Dec. 3, and after having been closed for about a year, the Animal Liberation Press Office (ALPO) reopened, an event noted by The Center for Consumer Freedom and announced on an animal liberationist website with this stiffly-written advisory:
On Dec 3, 2004 the new North American Animal Liberation Press Office was launched at a press conference held in Van Nuys, CA. Steven Best, PhD and Jerry Vlasak, MD spoke to assembled press representatives and announced the office would be available around the clock to communicate information and ideology from the animal liberation movement to the press.
The Press Office was able to immediately reach millions of people via local and national media, and the press is now aware that they have a constant and reliable source for stories on the struggle for animal liberation.
The new Animal Liberation Press Office is not a "spokesperson" for the liberation movement, but rather a growing group of tested, well-spoken above ground activists who will provide the media with information regarding actions by the underground, along with explanations of their ideology and philosophy. Not limited to the ALF, the press office will speak out on behalf of any act aimed at animal liberation. The Press Office is not about people or personalities, its about the animals, striving to communicate their plight at the hands of the abusers and the exploits of those who will free them from oppression.
Stylistically, the statement is mind-dulling in its bureaucracy-speak and might have been written just as easily by a General Motors spokesperson to communicate information about, and the philosophy behind, introducing a new SUV (first paragraph), with the reportage of the assembled press insuring that the company's story would immediately reach millions of people (second paragraph).
How very, well, corporate of our liberationist author . . .
But it is the third paragraph that intrigues, for it is here that we find a delightful disclaimer — viz. the author of this missal self-consciously manufactures a distinction without a difference, presumably regarding his audience as being too thick — or too blinded by ideology — to identify his rhetorical slight-of-hand.
ALPO, we are informed, isn't a "spokesperson" (sic — of course not: it's an office — a press office . . .) for the liberation movement, but a bunch of "tested, well-spoken" (puff puff, spit, scratch, shift cajones) "activists" who will merely report, provide ideological justification and glorify the "exploits" of "activists" doing criminal things, regardless of whether they claim to be ALF or not.
In other words, Prof. Best, Dr. Vlasak and their fellow Press Officers have re-opened the ALPO and will perform spin-jobs that are indistinguishable from those performed by people specifically hired to be spokespersons. But the ALPO people are not themselves spokespersons: they are non-spokesperson spokespersons. Understand?
We also learn (from the third paragraph) that the Press Office isn't "about people or personalities." ALPO will focus on beastly animal abusers, and the noble "those" whose exploits will free animals from oppression . . .
Good — just so we're clear. We're talking about non-people exploiters and "those" non-people entities who will free animals from non-human oppression. (Parenthetically, it's fascinating to me how completely the author of this press release avoids any reference to human beings, other than to stress how much not about humans the press office is, even as it in reality implies everything is about people: bad abuser people and good liberator people. But that's grist for some other post.)
From my point of view, it's entirely possible that this group of glowing non-spokesperson spokespersons is entirely motivated by good intentions, ideological fidelity and self-sacrifice, however incoherent, flakey and pure a fantasy their cause might be.
Of course, there is also a darker possibility: that these "tested" and "well-spoken" AR people, unlike the great unwashed of the AR movement, who presumably are neither "tested" nor "well-spoken," are opportunistically filling a vacuum, each stepping into a high-profile position where he'll receive national and international attention whenever an ALF-like "direct action" happens.
High profile media exposure will certainly enhance the ideological luster and AR/AL credentials of each non-spokesperson spokesperson, and with that recognition, each will certainly gain prestige and influence — dare I say power — within the Animal Rights/Liberationist Community.
So — while ALPO may be partly "about the animals," it may not be totally "about the animals" — if you catch my drift.
Surely such thinking never crossed the mind of any of our newly-self-apointed non-spokesperson spokespersons, the minds of their rival AR luminaries or the minds of the great unwashed common AR folk (the untested, poorly-spoken ones).
How very cynical for me to even consider such heresy . . .
And how very non-egalitarian it would be for such thoughts to have crossed the mind of even one of the non-spokesperson spokespersons . . .