One of the most difficult questions for those involved in Earth Awareness and Life Rights issues is to define what constitutes reasonable behaviour in pursuit of our aims. We know that the motivation of the state runs completely contrary to the basic principles we seek to uphold. Its guiding principle is the protection of the interests of business, not of life or the Earth. The laws, which we are told it is our duty to obey, are increasingly made to intimidate and coerce us, to prevent us from being involved in the process of change. The right to protest has been severely curtailed, leaving us in a seemingly hopeless situation.
In matters of the protection of property and human life, the law states that the individual may, if necessary, use such force as is reasonable and sufficient. When it comes to protecting the Earth and non human life no such action is permitted. This is unreasonable and unacceptable. To come to the defence of those subject to attack is right, and those that attack the Earth or any life attack us all. The state, which seeks to protect the interests of those whose business is to abuse and exploit the Earth, thinks that it has us exactly where it wants us. So what are we to do to show them that they are mistaken?
Firstly, recognise that there is no duty owed by the individual to the state, it’s supposed to work the other way round. As currently put into practice the authority of the state is vested in its power to oppress and the fact that most people seem not to care. This is unlikely to change in the near future, and no matter who we vote for all we are likely to alter is the colour of the capitalism.
We should start to act outside the political system and inside the parameters of individual conscience. Let the state know, in any way possible, that we do not recognise its validity as it has not earned the right to our respect. Respect is not due by right but needs to be earned. It is we who choose not to exploit or abuse life, it is we who choose not to poison, pollute or destroy, it is we who choose to reject greed, it is we who are worthy of respect.
Earth First Manifesto does not condone either the threat or the use of violence, and states this explicitly. Violence is the unreasonable use of excessive force, and such abuse contravenes the principles we have chosen to accept. We do, however, grant ourselves the right to use such means as are reasonable and sufficient to prevent the abuse or exploitation of any life form or of the Earth itself. How far then may we take the accepted right of coming to the aid of anyone subjected to violence as, for instance, animal lives used in vivisection undoubtedly are?
At face value it might seem not only reasonable but proper to break into a laboratory and rescue animals who are subject to torture.
However, in the situation in which we presently find ourselves we must consider this carefully. Any animal that is removed from oppressive conditions, be it factory farm, laboratory, circus or zoo will be replaced. Another life will be bought or bred to take its place and to suffer the same appalling fate. It has, therefore, to be our aim to put a complete halt to vivisection and all other abuse and exploitation.
This is the start of a struggle, not the end of one, and we must act with intelligence in pursuit of success. Violence is the weapon of the cowards we oppose, and to achieve our ends we have to win the battle for hearts and minds. We have to shame those who behave in such a disgusting manner. As well as being a campaign of action this is also a psychological battle for the mindset of the majority. Once we have achieved that majority it will be our point of view that will prevail.
Democracy and the rule of law requires that it be enlightened and, when it is, it will presumably no longer be required. All people, being reasonable, will act in a reasonable manner and the need for governance will be minimal. We are a very long way from that situation, and such democracy as there is still requires that it be dragged into the age of reason by those of us who care. We must be patient in the way we act, and that patience will sometimes demand that we accept and endure pain. That it is not only our pain but the pain of others, who do not understand what is done to them, only makes it harder.
I will continue posting from the Earth First Manifesto