A rise of "violence" in activism - A loss of patie

(I chanced the topic title to be more specific to the points rased here)

Is there a link between the rise of “violence” in certain causes with noticable activism, and a loss of patience? Mainly patience in legal, and “peaceful means”?

Why is it that when a group of protesters want to change things, it has become a norm to resolve to vandalism (lumberyard attacks by extreme environmentalist group like the ELF,) or firebombings, or just flat-out scare tactics like death threats, or actually stalking people related to those targeted to instill fear into them for that matter? (SHAC, the ALF, and sometimes Greenpeace are examples) I believe the reason is impatience.

   They are too impatient to try for legal, and peaceful means, ones that would result in more public support and positive exposure, but instead, whenever they see what is "cruelty to animals" or "harmful to the environment" in their eyes, they somehow become full of anger, and in their impatience to get it out of their systems, they usually channel it not to education and positive changes, but the negative methods that bring fear, and also is why they are often referred to as "terrorists,” and don't get the support and press required for their movement to progress, but instead close themselves in a loop of mindless scare tactics and harmful "activism" ploys that further drags their movement, which was born through good intentions, down. 

   As many people or groups, especially those opponents to their cause for whatever reason, as they will blame, the fault must unfortunately be placed solely on those activist members or groups, for they have let their anger flow uncontrollably, and not the people who ate their opponents – who most likely were only critical because they also noticed this heated flow of energy as well.

Does anybody else care to add their input on this matter, as I think we need to somehow grab control of the anger the “extremists” show, and channel it towards positive changes.

I think the eco terrorists should get no less than we give the terrorists in iraq… but even more so because it is domestic terrorism…


You’re pissed off about activist group taking part in terristic activities such as vandalism? VANDALISM? Big fucking deal. Fuck the lumber companies, and fuck animal testing labs.

“Legal” means don’t work. All the greatest activists knew this, they just believed in pleading guilty to show their resolve. I’m talking about Thoreau, Gandhi, King and others like them.

Just a message from a member of the ELF -><-

“Pope Lanky Wanky KSC” - Your post is a perfect example of what I mean by the anger found in the people in the extream side of some activism movements. I should have (and will edit the main post to be a little more broad) been a little broader, it isn’t just “vandalism”, but also firebombings, death threats, and physical violence displayed by others that is of a great concern to me, as well as legitimate others, some even in enviromental and animal rights groups are concerned that their movement is hurt by the unorganized group you claim to be a member of.

It wouldn’t be right to say i’m pissed, for if I was so, I would be angry, I am merely concerned, which is, in my experience a whole different thing.

I am aware of the civil disobedience used by people of the past, but I must point out that their actions are absolutely nothing like the actions these groups hve shown and gotten into the media for, if I may say so, disobedience isn’t nessecarily a bad thing as long as the potential for actual physical damage or other harm to human, animal, plant, or property is low, or nonexistant.

First of all, I wasn’t that angry, notice the lack of exclamation points at the ends of the sentances with fuck, that’s how I show a flat cynical expression.

Yeah, that violence is pretty disconserting, they certainly need to take a hit or 2 or 3 or 23 from the greats.

Also, I’m talking about an entirely different ELF. (fnord)

So now the question is what’s with all the violence, well it gets the job done. I mean the occupational government of the United States justify that kind of shit with their own policies. Nobody takes anyone seriously unless they use violence. And part of it comes from constant ridicule of these groups in the media, and of course the members of the ultra-violent orgs have no sense of humor. And none of the kids blowing up logging equipment are willing to go to jail for what they did, they’ll probably quote Gandhi while at the same time slapping him in the face by pleading not Guilty.

What I’m getting at is that these overly violent activist groups are a symptom of a larger disease of violence and hatred. In the 90s we started teaching conservation in schools more, but we didn’t teach peace, lots of pop psych BS, but no Peace: Principles and Practice, History of Peace, or even Peace 101.

But make no mistake the government, especially the ultra-right neo-con fundie gov. currently controlling the U.S, is profiting from this. Violent acts from “domestic terror” groups just feeds the culture of fear. Fear = Weakness = Trust = Unquestioning Obedience.

But my real point is, we need to teach Peace and how it has worked historically in schools at least as much as we teach how well war and violence have “worked” to solve problems.

And my point is (and to some extent I do agree with you however), that there is a growing trend of using methods that in the past were used on rarer circumstanec, and there is more of a threat to the common man who could get entangled with some of these people

I doubt that the level of violence you see now from the Progressives matches that from the sixties (where not all was love ins and peaceful marches) and definately nothing like what one would see in the earlier part of the century, when Labor was trying to organize.

Once a Progressive idea becomes adopted (or co opted) by a society, it becomes main stream. People who had to fight for it before to earn it now have it. This leaves the more extreme elements on the outside… which I do think will lead to them becoming more violent up to or until such times as their ideas are either finally accepted or completely discredited. In that sense, the violence is perhaps cyclical.

Judging by how more and more activists in the animal rights movement have been resorting to violence, one activist actually recently getting himself into a bit of trouble over advocating killing people to promote their cause, I can safely bet that the movement is bound to fall apart, as more “peaceful” movements, ones that also have more “reasonable” goals (instead of the apparent goal of the animal rights movement to end all human-animal relations that they see “cruel,” which unfortunately also makes up a majority of all animal-human relations.)

I read an article probably about a year and a half ago that highlighted the effectiveness of the use of violence by animal activists. I apologize but I dont remember the details, but the article explained that a number of low profile activist groups had targeted a british based company with a number of factories and research facilities in the U.S. for being either involved in agro-buisness, or in the pharmacuetical testing field, or both, but these activists utilized almost all of the methods that you mention in your original post Questioner, and the effect that these methods had were devasting for the company because after a year or two of abuse something like 70-90 percent of the companies which had been funding the targeted company came to the conclusion that it was no longer a safe, or sound finacial decision to put money in this company any longer, and because of this rapid withdrawal of funds, they had to close up a large portion of their U.S. operations, which was a complete victory from the perspective of the activists. If they had followed the law the company would still be commiting the crimes that they percieved them to be commiting with impunity. Violence is effective at times, and is occasionally the only effective method available. This may not be a very apt comparison, but take the American revolution as an example.

Questioner, you state that you think because of this violent streak that is currently finding more, and more adherents, that these activist movements are bound to fail. I can only agree with this if they begin to kill people and/or begin to commit acts that make them important to the law enforement community. It is possible that some groups could reach a level of extremism that would create very bad publicity, and serve to ostracize the more moderate members of the activist community in the publics eye, but that is the only way I can see their eventual demise as a true possibilty.

The combination of violence and nonviolence works markedly better than either by itself. Violence gets no sympathy, and nonviolence has no teeth. Gandhi and M.L. King, Jr. both had vast nonviolent movements that got a lot of sympathy among other people because they were flanked by violent movements of hardline Hindu nationalists and proto-Black Panthers. The non-violent movements were seen as reasonable by comparison, and there was the sense that if people granted the demands of the nonviolent movement, support for the violent movement would dry up. It didn’t hurt that they were willing to turn the other cheek and get their heads bashed in by psychotic cops, but that would not have been sufficient on its own.

Unless great caution is given, and we face some of the more radical groups with greater scrutiny, then there is a chance, although very low, that the influence to begin such levels of extreamism will begin to seep in.

It is unfortunate that I must say that the influence is already spreading:

Kill scientists, says animal rights chief

I had some examples (long lost through hard drive crashes) of message board posts in different places where people would say that the people who do things they consider “cruel,” even things that I think are real cruelty, should die/think that others should kill them. The moderator(s) sometimes didn’t show any concern, and multiple others have also showed similar sentiment/support of this sentiment.

This sentiment should not be allowed to grow too far uncontrolled before people go from saying things to actually following through with them, and I fear this could be in the future, that is if the sentiment towards killing for a cause doesn’t get pinched before growing out of control.

Having lived thru the civil rights movement ot the 50’s and 60’s I agree with Zen swashbubler.

While Martin Luther King, Jr. has become a civil staint in the USA, the fct is that if it were not for the black pathers and the “burn baby Burn” revoltutionist. Things never would have changed. You need a King or a Gandhi to reasonable state the righteousness of the cause, but you also need the revoltutionairies to bring about the change.

But where should the line be drawn? I think that in the case of animal rights, the line is crossed when they decide killing others is the way to get their message across, and that it is further crossed when they start actually killing people.

Sorry to say this, and it is with the best of intentions, but you all need to do a bit of research on social movement history, and or theory. Find literature on the civil rights movement outside of what you are taught in school, and your answer will become more focused instead of the circles in which you are taking yourselves through now. Any succesfull movement of the past ( focusing mainly on civil rights, or the outbreak of a variety of movements stemming from the New Left in the 60’s) has come with a foundation and system formed with intricate precision. The movements had been in development for years before they had ever been heard of by mainstream america. The lunch counter sit ins, Rosa Parks bus sit in, all these maneuvers were taught by a variety of different groups involved with the movement. All acts of civil disobedience were planned according to how they would be able to play to the public at large, and to attain as best of media coverage as possible. This obviously isnt 100% possible, but the work and the connections that were involved stemmed much deeper than any of the movements of today. Today, movements lack the cohesion across the country earlier succesfull movements have had. In order to effect the government harshly without using violence, the act of nonviolence needs to be deeply organized, and much more powerful than they are now. The marches of today dont effect the government or the institution, whatever is being protested, because they lack the power. Power in marches comes, for example from taking enough people out of their everyday happenings that it effects the way everyday lives are run across the nation, or it causes a reaction by the government that deems the protest uneccessary, i.e. a resolution. Many tactics of past invovle not buying anything from a local downtown for weeks at a time, in order to effect the local economy, and the town was forced to find a resolution. Larger examples include airline pilot strikes that get resolved in a amazingly fast resolution, because the pilots strike would effect so many other lives, mail, business flights, etc…, that the government had no other choice, but to find a way to resolve the issue as fast as possible. Movements today can get violent, because of many different societal factors of today that are too immense to discuss now, but the lack of organization in movements today is the largest contributing factor. If these small unorganized acts are carried out, and the actors dont see results, the actions will only continue to increase in harm. Thank you for your time, and your comments.

ThoughtT, I do not need to do more research, I know that the great movements have civil disobedience. You seem to have failed to get that I am solely talking about stuff that IS NOT anywhere like the lunch counter sit ins, OR Rosa Parks bus sit in, but instead things that can actually threaten innocent lives. I am not against civil disobedience, as long as it doesn’t violate laws that protect lives, that is what the people I am talking about are planning.

If someone can give actual references as to how violence helped the civil rights movement or helped India win its independence, I’d be interested in seeing that. To the best of my knowledge, none of the main victories of the civil rights movement, nor India’s right to independence, came through violence. Integration on bus systems and the like – this did not come through the Black Panther party.

This is jumping from one post/ subject to the next but in regards to animal rights, I don’t think that the bulk of animal activists are using violence. In my opinion, the most effective activists are using constructive, nonviolent, friendly outreach; it is simply that this does not make good media fodder. The core of animal rights philosophy (note: “Animal Liberation” by Peter Singer) is based on reason and ethics not bound by prejudice. Radicalism, violence, and vandalism send a message to the general public that AR is based on fundamentalism and intolerance. The best thing that animal activists could do right now is to convince the general public that 99% of the animals exploited – farmed animals – are worthy of our ethical consideration. By actively promoting a diet that boycotts the cruelties of factory farms and slaughterhouses, this will reduce more suffering than trying to scare vivisectors into shutting down plant. Some may argue that we need vivisection. It is hard to argue that we need to eat animals.

For those in the AR movement interested in reading about effective advocacy, I recommend veganoutreach.org/meaningfullife.html

Letter From a Birmingham Jail

I think y’all just loop back around to what I said, which means you shoul’ve payed better attention I am the Pope after all.

What I mean is that when the people who claim to be in-charge ignore the peaceful resistance the resisters are forced to show their determination through violence.

Some one mentioned media fodder, if only this were true! But alas, I have not seen any reports on the news networks (though I only watch CNN) about animal rights activists violent or otherwise. They’re pissed because nobody is paying attention to them, compare it to the toddler who wants that shiny red fire truck in the toystore. When mommy doesn’t buy it, he yells louder and throws a fit-classical territorial response.

I think that ThoughT made a great point about the lack of organization, and leadership, Who is the Gandhi or King of today? Also if we continue to look at Gandhi and King as examples–notice that both of them based their nonviolence in their strong religious convictions, something the modern liberals have moved away from. Not saying that what these activisits need is some good ol’ fasion Biblin’, but religion is an effective tool to rally support. The activists of today are cynical existentialists.

And nobody ever taught them about Peace. Vm ← Hand giving Peace sign, I hope.