For those of you who aren't aware, the Grassroots Animal Rights Conference (GARC) is upcoming, to run from March 31 — April 3, and to be held in New York City.
The gala event will feature two of our more radical Animal Liberationists — Rod Coronado and Kevin Jonas. (Coronado, AC readers may recall, receives his instructions from spirits; he also served 3.5 years in jail for having torched a lab at MSU, and saw his "support committee" benefit from a contribution by PeTA of more than $45,000). Coronado is an icon of the Liberationist wing of the Animal Rights movement, much admired by Ingrid Newkirk, who herself is one of PeTA's founders and current PeTA president, and who reportedly once called Mr. Coronado "A fine young man."
Jonas (or Kjonaas), reportedly has quite the moral-utilitarian approach to tactics used to liberate animals:
"Why should any one of us feel that 'it shouldn't be me taking that brick and chucking it through that window? Why shouldn't I be going to that fur farm down the road and opening up those cages?' It's not hard; it doesn't take a rocket scientist. You don't need a 4-year degree to call in a bomb hoax. These are easy things, and they're things that save animals: And so I want all of you in this room to, A) Question not just what is right and wrong, but what is effective, And B) why can't all of us be doing it? I think the animal rights movement is strong - that's my opinion. [But] it's time to start flexing our muscles."
"Sometimes breaking the law, and sometimes pushing the boundaries of what's told to us is … what is right and wrong, doesn't matter. And it comes down to questioning what is effective and what is not effective."
"We're a new breed of activism. We're not your parents' Humane Society. We're not Friends of Animals. We're not EarthSave. We're not Greenpeace. We come with a new philosophy. We hold the radical line. We will not compromise! We will not apologize, and we will not relent! ... Vivisection is not an abstract concept. It's a deed, done by individuals, who have weaknesses, who have breaking points, and who have home addresses!"
If a car being blown up in a driveway or animals being liberated from a lab scares them, then I would say that fear pales by comparison to the fear that the animals have every day. The kind of true violence that these animals endure at the hands of people at Huntingdon leaves me with little sympathy.
" [behind every corporation] there are people who have homes and liability and privacy issues."
Other, lesser luminaries will be on hand, including Karen Davis, whose tedious article I fisked some weeks ago. Other speakers include:
Lorri Bauston, Co-founder, Farm Sanctuary
Josephine Bellaccomo, JosephineBellaccomo.com
Sarahjane Blum, Media Spokesperson, GourmetCruelty.com
Lawrence Carter-Long, Issues Specialist, In Defense of Animals
Rod Coronado, Coordinator, Chuk'shon Earth First! (Pending outcome of March court date)
Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
Michael Greger, MD, Vegan Research Institute
Caryn Hartglass, Executive Director, EarthSave International
Alex Hershaft, PhD, President, Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM)
Kevin Jonas, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)
pattrice jones, Coordinator, Eastern Shore Sanctuary
Marti Kheel, Founder, Feminists for Animals Rights
Julie Lewin, Animal Advocacy Connecticut (AACT)
Nathan Runkle, Founder, Mercy for Animals
Marjorie Spiegel, Executive Director, Institute for the Development of Earth Awareness
Andy Stepanian, Long Island Animal Defense League
The activities GARC presently has scheduled are nothing if not uplifting, in an explosive sort of way. They include:
Animal Advocates and Environmentalists: Making Alliances
Coming Out Vegetarian/Coming Out Gay: Making Alliances
Commonality of Human and Non-Human Animal Oppression
Corporate Globalization: Trading Away Our Right to Protect Animals
Ecofeminism and Animal Liberation
How to Investigate Animal Labs
Humane Trapping of Wildlife and Feral Animals
Hunger, Overconsumption, and Factory Farming
Legislative Activism - Practical Models
Organizing a Vegetarian Festival
Understanding the Psychology of Meat for Effective Vegetarian Advocacy
Zines, Shows, Liner Notes: Communicating Animal Liberation Through Youth Culture and Music
I'd love to be a fly on the wall, preferably one with a tape recorder . . .
Given their efforts of these groups to preserve the appearance, if not the substance, of a certain public respectability, we can well understand why they might wish not to be involved with GARC's conferernce. After all, there are contributions to be sought, and PeTA and PCRM are taking a fair amount of flack over their sympathy for terrorism (search the page for PeTA), connections to terrorists and terrorist organizations, and, in the case of the PCRM, having claimed as one of their own someone who openly advocates assassination (see link below).
What is more interesting to me is who does not appear. You may recall that the way-radical Drs. Steven Best and Jerry Vlasak, along with Camille Hankins and Angie Metler, recently took it upon themselves to re-open the Animal Liberation Press Office (ALPO). One would think that with those credentials alone, GARC would welcome all with open arms.
Professor Best, you may recall, as he defended the ALF "direct action" against the University of Iowa, is famous for reportedly having said that if a house were burning, he'd save his own dog rather than a human being he did not know . . .. Dr. Best's morality rests squarely on the lofty moral principle of "me first" ("Screw your daughter! I don't know her! I do know my dog! Let your kid fry!").
And Dr. Vlasak, former spokesman for PCRM is equally famous not only for having articulated the ideological rationale for assassinating scientists to end the use of animals in biomedical research, but for also openly advocating assassination as a tactic.
It's hard to believe that neither Dr. Vlasak nor Dr. Best is radical enough to measure up to the standards set by Mr. Coronado or Mr. Jonas, and it's hard to imagine that neither they nor Hankens nor Metler could free up a day or two to put in a celebrated appearance . . .
So one must wonder: how is it possible that none of the four ALPO luminaries was invited, or if one or more were, why might they have declined? Is it pure coincidence — as in each having some prior pressing engagement — or is there something of a schism in the Liberationist arm of the movement, some bad vegan blood, so to speak?
Hmmmm . . . if the bad blood worsens, might these two rival groups employ the same tactics against one another that they advocate using against the hated vivisectionists? You know — posting one another's addresses and personal information on the web, vandalizing one another's property, torching things, advocating assassination — that sort of thing . . .
Hmmmmm . . .
CORRECTION 4/12/05: Angie Metler was a speaker.