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Words Without Action Are Meaningless
August 16, 2012
If we are not willing to act, our words are meaningless. At the close of 2009, I was struggling with this idea. I did not know if I was prepared to act or in what capacity, nor did I know how much risk I was willing to assume. Now I am reconciled. Everything pales next to any liberations in which I may have participated. And I now know precisely what I am willing to risk for Animal Liberation. There’s no fear left. Reconciling these issues within myself has afforded me a new level of confidence and dedication. I am republishing my original essay now — admittedly, crude in its style & presentation — to afford other activists an opportunity to hold the same mirror up to themselves and find resolution. -Camille
“Let’s face facts: After decades of environmental struggles, we are nevertheless losing ground in the battle to preserve species, ecosystems, and wilderness. Increasingly, calls for moderation, compromise, and the slow march through institutions can be seen as treacherous and grotesquely inadequate. In the midst of predatory global capitalism and biological meltdown,‘reasonableness’ and ‘moderation’ seem to be entirely unreasonable and immoderate, as ‘extreme’ and ‘radical’ actions appear simply as necessary and appropriate.” (Dr. Steven Best, Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of The Earth)
by Camille Marino (originally published Dec. 28, 2009)
Negotiation is Over has a new tagline: “Words Without Actions Are Meaningless.” I heard this statement recently, uttered by true revolutionaries who were willing to die for their values. Empathizing with the struggle of the oppressed is insufficient; we must be willing to die for their freedom… otherwise we need to find a hobby. These ideas resonated with me. They are the lens through which my own inadequacies become magnified and glaring. Animal terrorists demand an equal and opposite response from animal liberationists and, thus far, I have not — we have not — delivered. The extreme violence systematically visited upon nonhumans cannot be addressed with moderation and civility.
We have no revolution. We have no movement. We have welfarists and pacifists — equally complicit in the holocaust by virtue of their unconscionable tolerance, timidity, and tacit approval; “abolitionists” who have co-opted a term, eradicated the spirit of revolution, and armed themselves with spatulas and aprons. And here I am, as culpable as the weakest activist, but naked with no rationalizations to defend myself. I know that vegan cupcakes do nothing for the animals confined in bloody misery. I understand that sadists will not become decent human beings if we simply ask them nicely enough. So if I do nothing to stop the abusers, then I am guilty. And if we as a movement fail to take decisive action, then everyone shares this guilt. If the innocent could defend themselves, their tormentors would be dead. Animals are terrorized, mutilated, and murdered on an incomprehensible scale and with exquisite precision in far greater numbers than the humans who succumbed to the Rwandan death squads and the RUF in Sierra Leone combined. Yet we do nothing.
I have difficulty understanding why some people tell me I inspire them. I have done nothing remarkable and have only just begun to clear my own path… some rescues, some fostering & re-homing, a few adoptions, and a ton of impotent campaigns. Protests do nothing. Letters do nothing. Words do nothing — but they are all I have for now. The abusers still have free reign to torment and torture at will. My disgust is palpable and my rage is seething. But I have stopped no one. Why? Let’s face it. I have no desire to go to prison. One armed activist is a terrorist; dozens of armed activists is a revolution. And we need a revolution.
I am not delusional and I am not calling for armed revolt – necessary and inevitable as it may be. I do want every single one of us, however, to look in the mirror and, as we enter 2010, acknowledge that there needs to be a correlation between our words and actions. When we look into the face of a vivisector, imagine that it is our parent, child, sibling or companion animal being obscenely tortured for fun and profit. What is the appropriate response? We all need to answer this question for ourselves. But before any real change can be effected, we need to assess ourselves in the context of the war for animal liberation..
Fear is a tool that the state uses to control us and contain the potential threat. And a movement of above-ground activists that cowers before the oppressors is a disgrace. Let’s get passed this simple obstacle and reclaim our voices and power. Last month, we launched a Facebook group with the subtitle, “Total Liberation By Any Means Necessary.” While the new visions, possibilities, and discussions revolving around Dr. Best’s Manifesto for Radical Abolitionism excited many of us, I was appalled at the overwhelming number of people who were openly afraid to be associated with this group — AFRAID OF THE TERM “BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY”!!! While nonhumans are being chopped up with ruthless efficiency, their defenders are too fearful to take a public stand. This utter weakness is intolerable and inexcusable. Newsflash: if you are an animal rights activist, your name is probably already in a file maintained by the police state. Who are we hiding from? We MUST be louder, more visible and infinitely more abrasive – not pathetic, cowardly, and timid. This mentality is embarrassing.
Some people in this movement compromise professional glory to remain true to their ideals and champion the interests of nonhuman victims. Others become more militant and relentless with each visit from the FBI. And still more have realized that exposure and the inevitable knock on the door are the price of effectiveness. The enslaved animals we fight for cannot escape their terror and, therefore, we are not allowed the luxury of fear and indecision.
While there are activists who contribute impotent blogs to the struggle, the trail of reference letters littering the path to their professional aspirations belies a sickening opportunism absent from those engaged in the struggle. Animal liberationists are routinely penalized – financially, professionally, and socially – because we fight for the victims who’s only value is measured in their commodified corpses. Pacifists and opportunists need to stop criticizing welfarists and militant direct activists as their exclusive fetishized problems. Their tolerance and sterile debate are the antithesis of revolution. They are a part of the problem hiding under a thinly-veiled disguise.
As 2009 comes to a close, the animal liberation movement needs to bury its own inconsistencies and come to terms with the fact that this is a war — a bloody, violent, and disturbing landscape that we did not create, but it is up to us to navigate. The ruthless sadists and the corporate-state complex that protects them depend on our fear and they laugh every time one of us submits… just like animal terrorists who are amused by their victims’ agony. We have finished tolerating the degenerate abusers. We will go forward defiant and unafraid. And, together, we can ignite this revolution.
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