Vigilantism 101


There are no braver human beings on the planet than animal activists. Men and women, young and old, who do battle everyday for animals they will never know. Through eyes clenched in tears they share horrific images of unspeakable cruelty perpetrated on innocent beings, racing against time and ignorance to alert the world to the Animal Holocaust, to the dairy and slaughter industries, to puppy mills and bullfighting, to sealing and fishing, to whaling and trapping, to hunting and fur farms, to institutionalized cruelty, to live export, to religious sacrifice.

Like most animal activists, the horrors and the suffering I see daily nearly break me.

When I see a video of a slaughterhouse worker body slamming a piglet or stabbing a calf, I choke back bile in my throat and can barely contain the anger and sorrow. Visuals of dogs being blow-torched by Asians and seals clubbed with picks by Canadians nearly cause me to vomit.

The most natural response to such images is to wish the power to intervene and to mete out justice. If I witnessed such cruelty in person I have no doubt I would be in custody facing murder charges.

We as activists are not numerous enough to afford losing our ourselves and our comrades in failed acts of revenge, however justified they might morally be.

Like many, I fantasize about driving harpoons through Japanese killers of whales and dolphins, of driving a pick into the head of a Canadian sealer, of thrusting a sword through a bullfighter, of cutting the throats of Kosher and Halal slaughterers, of using a bolt gun on slaughterhouse grunts.

But while such fantasies relieve short term rage, as a practical matter they would have little effect on helping animals. Replacement grunts and killers would merely take their places and the killing would continue.

I believe that only violent action against the capitalist system can ever stop or reduce the Animal Holocaust. Capitalism murders six million beings every hour of every day of every year. And the horrors are increasing along with the increase in human population.

The modern animals movement can roughly be dated with the publication of Animal Liberation by Peter Singer, in 1975. In the intervening 41 years, animal slaughter has more than tripled from under 20 billion animals murdered each year then to the mind boggling number of 60 billion today.

Nothing we have done has stemmed the sea of blood or the unending screams of innocent creatures. Not recruiting vegans, not educating the public, not demos, leafleting, letter writing, or voting.

All of the animals saved by all animal activists around the world are fewer than the number who will be murdered in the next eight hours. And that excludes all the sea creature victims of humans, which account for two and a half trillion deaths annually, or about a million per second, around the clock.

The Animal Holocaust is driven by capitalists in pursuit of profits. Profit is the leading cause of animal cruelty and exploitation in the world.

Our legal systems allow and provide for the ownership of other creatures. Our capitalist economic system encourages and rewards animal cruelty, enslavement, exploitation, murder, and consumption. Our governments protect the industries and the abusers, and even subsidize them. The control of government by capitalist interests means legislation targeting animal liberationists and criminalizing animal activists.

The only hope for animals is bringing down the economic,legal, and political systems which permit the existence of the Animal Holocaust.

I harbor no illusions that overthrowing capitalism is on the horizon. Indeed, it is considerably below the horizon, decades or centuries away. But the goal of recruiting revolutionaries should be a higher priority for animal activists than recruiting vegans.

Revolution requires violent action. It was necessary in the American and French Revolutions, the Mexican Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, etc. All participants in any of them would have been prosecuted had the revolutions failed.

Human depopulation would help both animals and the environment. But only human extinction would eliminate animal cruelty and exploitation. We cannot bank on pandemics and wars to reduce populations, but we can work on instituting socialism in place of capitalism.

Socialist societies murder and consume half the number of animals per capita as do capitalist societies.

Which means that a socialist world would murder and consume 30 billion fewer animals each year than are now murdered and consumed by capitalist societies.

The animal movement worldwide saves some one million animals each year, using generous estimates. Instituting socialist governments would have the effect of 30,000 of our current animal movements!

The equivalent of every animal activist multiplied by 30,000!

We are far too few in number to successfully revolt against the state. To be successful, animal activists must join broad coalitions in opposition to capitalism.

Political revolution was a distant dream of radicals and progressives until Bernie Sanders made the case for overthrowing the political establishment in the US. Bernie’s revolution is still playing itself out, and may well be realized in the next several election cycles as young people take over roles in society and politics.

Social revolution is a much more remote goal, as social revolution would mean bringing an end to capitalism and the current legal system in each country where it succeeded.

Social revolution is not accomplished through incrementalism or gradualism. Ending the rule of the state is a violent endeavor, as the state would use all of its power and resources to put down insurrection. The state’s first line of defense are the local police, backed up by the National Guard (in the US) and ultimately the military. Only widespread revolt, supported by the populace, can withstand the brutal suppression the state would unleash against those challenging its authority and power.

With enough constituencies harboring unrest and antipathy toward the state, an environment of potential success is present, provided there are those willing to ignite revolution and wage war against the government.

Flashpoints are a requirement for revolution. There have been any number or outrages against African Americans by police over the years, many recently. Unarmed men and children shot down in the streets or murdered in police custody. Each of those atrocities warranted armed insurrection, riots, and vigilantism. That non occurred demonstrates that social revolution still a distant possibility.

The very nature of the American political system deflects outrage and diffuses meaningful efforts to challenge or change it. People are mollified by the illusion of impacting the system through voting and petitioning for redress.

For revolution to succeed, a broad coalition of diverse constituencies must assemble in opposition to the status quo.

Recruiting revolutionaries should be the primary goal of all who wish to bring down the capitalist system.

There is probably no more fertile ground for nurturing social revolutionaries than within the animal activist community. Capitalism is the author of the greatest of atrocities ever committed: the Animal Holocaust.

The only possibility of ending, or drastically reducing, the horrors is through direct action against those capitalists who own or direct the slaughter industries, as well as the bankers and politicians who enable the genocide.

Strategies for direct action against such targets is an absolute necessity if we are to ever impact the killing.

Training academies teaching survival skills, guerrilla warfare, firearms proficiency, urban tactics, hunt sabotaging, surveillance, weapons training, explosives expertise, etc, must be organized and staffed by Delta Force and Navy Seal types.

Manuals and training brochures need to be written, published, and distributed.

Outreach to other radicals and anti-capitalists is mandatory.
Attacking the very heart of capitalist power may be the only way to ignite the revolution.
Our task is to build the coalition that can sustain it.



Author’s Notes:

My apologies to subscribers. I have had to republish this article (twice so far) in attempts to solve a glitch in the WordPress platform which is preventing me from sharing the article to Facebook and LinkedIn.

I am unaware of any other blog with the Armory’s mission of radicalizing the animal movement. I certainly hope I am not alone, and that there are similar sentiments being expressed by comrades unknown to me.

If you know of other blogs dedicated to animal rights and the defeat of capitalism, please comment with a link.

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2 thoughts on “Vigilantism 101

  1. In memory of Abbie Hoffman:

    Opinion Letter to the NYT
    To the Editor:

    Re “The Abbie Hoffman of the Right,” by David Brooks (column, Sept. 26):

    Calling the late Abbie Hoffman a buffoon and comparing him to President Trump sullies the reputation of a 1960s activist who was a leader of a youth movement that changed the course of American history.

    Yes, Mr. Hoffman was a master of “political theater,” but he was no buffoon. Mr. Hoffman took to the streets of a divided America, risking life and limb in opposition to the Vietnam War, racism and police brutality. He lived a simple, self-sacrificial life and faced trumped-up charges as a member of the Chicago Eight. What risks for his beliefs has President Trump taken?


    Some quotes:

    You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.

    Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines. And in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them.


    You ask, “What about the innocent bystanders?” But we are in a time of revolution. If you are a bystander, you are not innocent.

    The only way to support a revolution is to make your own.

    My critique of democracy begins and ends with this point. Kids must be educated to disrespect authority or else democracy is a farce.

    Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit. When all today’s isms have become yesterday’s ancient philosophy, there will still be reactionaries and there will still be revolutionaries. No amount of rationalization can avoid the moment of choice each of us brings to our situation here on the planet. I still believe in the fundamental injustice of the profit system and do not accept the proposition there will be rich and poor for all eternity.


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