following article is one person's story of her involvement with the A.L.F. This
is the first letter in a three part series. No Compromise anonymously received
these letters and we re-print them here to, once again, reveal the truth about
the character, dedication and resourcefulness of the A.L.F.
is printed for informational purposes only and is not intended to encourage people
to partake in any illegal activities.
HOW SHE JOINED THE A.L.F.
begin, let me say that while associating with animal rights activists (something
I try to avoid), I often hear people speaking thrillingly about articles they've
read in the press or seen on the news about animals being liberated, laboratories
being trashed, lorries being torched, fast food restaurants being burned to the
ground, etc. Along with these conversations it is practically guaranteed that
one or more persons will exclaim the greatness and empowerment of the action followed
by a "Gee, how do I hook up with these people?" Also heard is, "Why
don't these lads contact me?" or "How do I get involved with that group?"
There are many others, but all basically asking the same thing: "How do I
get involved?" This is how I found the answer to that question.
reading stories about lab break-ins and fur stores being torched, I, too, desperately
wanted to join this group. But how? There was really no place to start. All of
my friends in the animal rights movement had less interest in illegal direct action
than I did, and even those who showed some interest were completely clueless as
to how to meet these people.
At one point, I wrote an animal rights group
letting them know that I would be willing to help them raid a lab. Needless to
say, that letter went unanswered. Finally I realized what I was doing. I was waiting
for someone with a plan to drop in out of the blue and ask me to join in a lab
raid. Now stop and think about this. Would anyone who put hundreds of hours in
planning a covert, illegal direct action that could land them in prison for years
risk asking a basic stranger for help simply because he or she is a vegetarian
or belonged to the local animal rights chapter?! NO! (At least not if they want
to stay active and out of jail.)
So how did I, or a better question is,
how do you, end up "joining" the Animal Liberation Front? That's easy.
Come up with your own plan! Really. It's not as hard as you think. Let me repeat
this important point which everyone must realize. Come up with your own plan.
This is very important.
One of the reasons there is not a lot more illegal
direct action happening is because there are only a few people willing to invest
the time and energy necessary to choose a viable target, research the facts, re-con
the place, and conduct any other work necessary to execute a successful direct
There are always plenty of people who want to help in the actual
execution of the plan, though not many people are willing to dedicate and invest
the time, money, energy, and stress that go along with the planning. People are
always willing to share in the "excitement," but not in the actual work.
Simply put, no one wants to help bake the bread, but everyone wants to eat it.
OVERCOME THE EXCUSES
Many people will easily shrug off planning a
direct action for many reasons. (Nearly all are mere excuses which could easily
be overcome.) One of the most overused reasons is people tell themselves they
don't know anyone who could help in the final execution of the plan. For example,
they don't know who could find homes for X number of animals; they don't know
who they could trust as a lookout; they don't know who could loan or rent them
a vehicle to use, etc. I want to emphasize here that if you are faced with a problem
like this, continue on!
There are many bridges that one can foresee that
look uncrossable during the planning of an action. These problems seem unresolvable
and often discourage people from continuing on with their plan. Again I must emphasize,
continue. These problems either solve themselves or are more easily solved when
you actually reach that point of the plan. (The other option usually being the
plan is aborted for some other reason long before the problem ever had to be confronted.)
else that should be thrown in here is that you should expect about four out of
five plans into which you've invested time and money to fall through. Again, this
shouldn't deter you. If you approach direct action with the knowledge that most
of your plans may not work, then you should not be discouraged from battling on
if some of your plans do fall through.
Though it is not necessary, before
taking any direct action, one should read as much literature as possible on the
topic. This is much easier to do now thanks to a "revival" in the grassroots
animal rights/liberation movement. If possible, any literature pertaining to illegal
activities should be mailed to a fake name at a post office box or private mailbox
center. If this is not possible, perhaps a well-trusted friend (who could handle
police/federal harassment and is not involved in illegal activities themselves)
would be willing to have it sent to his or her place. Another possibility would
be to get this information off of a web site (from a library, campus, or cyber-coffee
Though some of these security precautions may seem ridiculous,
paranoid, and unnecessary, you will be thankful you followed them if you continue
to increase the frequency, severity, and effectiveness of your actions, thus producing
more intense local and federal investigations.
AN ARMY OF ONE
wait a minute! You still don't know if there is anyone you can trust. This does
not mean that you shouldn't consider doing an action. When I realized that no
one was going to drop in and ask me to help them with their plan--when I finally
realized that I was the A.L.F.--I decided to target a fast food restaurant that
I had noticed as appearing vulnerable.
My first step was realizing that
I was the A.L.F. and that it was up to me to find a viable target, in this case
the fast food restaurant. Though I still didn't know who could help me with this
plan, I proceeded to scope it out the next few nights, still thinking I would
find someone to help me.
Though I had no experience at "casing a joint,"
it came very easily and naturally. Between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. (the time I decided
would be safest to strike the place) I carefully scoped it out. Some nights dressed
head to toe in my jogging gear (now is not the time to be caught there in your
balaclava), I jogged up and down the street past the restaurant. I was careful
to look for possible activity inside the building, check on any employees' cars
in the parking lot, judge the amount of traffic, the amount of police presence,
determine how well the parking lot and building were lit, scan for any drive thru
or security cameras (to look out for and to sabotage!), etc.
I walked my boyfriend's dog up and down the street looking for the same things.
In no time at all I was very familiar with the activity of the area (and had walked
two emergency escape routes I would take should I be interrupted). I was soon
confident with this target. Unfortunately, I still didn't know anyone I would
trust enough to divulge my plans to. I knew what I wanted to do.
before I was going to execute my plan, I drove to a neighboring town, bought super--glue,
spray-paint, and some garden gloves from three different stores, making sure to
pay in cash at each store. That evening I went for a walk wearing my gloves and
ended up picking up two large rocks and half of a brick that I determined was
small enough to carry around and handle, yet big enough to smash through the thick
plate glass windows of a fast food restaurant.
THE FIRST ACTION
I would have felt a bit more comfortable with a partner to lookout for me, I was
tired of waiting around for apathetic and unmotivated people. That night, dressed
in black from head to toe, I went jogging. As I got near the restaurant I slowed
to a walk. Seeing that there was no traffic around and facing a dark and empty-looking
building, I approached the restaurant.
Walking briskly across the lot,
I pulled my mask down over my face. At the rear of the building I quickly took
off my black backpack and got out my supplies. I quickly filled the two back door
locks with super-glue and small pieces of paper clips that I had snipped especially
for this occasion. I then proceeded to spray-paint slogans over the entire back
of the building and on the side with the drive-thru.
This done, I peeked
around the building. Headlights were approaching from up the street so I just
remained calm and motionless. My stomach dropped when I saw it was a police car.
The cop then drove by without slowing down or looking my way.
I walked around to the front of the building and quickly tossed all three projectiles
through three separate windows! I saved this part of the action for last because
of the loud sound it would make. And with the three explosions of glass, I quickly
sprinted through one of my pre-arranged exits and into a residential area where
I quickly vanished. I then removed my black turtleneck and balaclava, ditched
them in an apartment complex dumpster, and went home.
My point here is that
with enough planning, determination, and self-confidence, one person can pull
off a successful action! Of course, the "bigger" or "more severe"
the action, the better it may be to have a lookout with clear communications to
you. Nevertheless, one person shouldn't feel helpless and inactive because he
or she doesn't know others who are willing to take illegal direct action. Besides,
taking action is your first step in feeling out potential comrades who share the
same philosophy as you and are ready and willing to take action.
miss the next installment, where the underground activist explains how she hooked
up with other like-minded individuals to partake in much grander actions.*