Saturday, March 17, 2012


Here we are back again with Antonio Negri on Scission's internationally renowned "Theoretical Weekends."  I took the following from Multitudes.  It is from 2001.

Ruptures Within Empire, The Power of Exodus

-An Interview by Giuseppe Cocco and Maurizio Lazzarato
Mise en ligne décembre 2001
par  Toni Negri
Multitudes : In the early 90s, just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we were together in the streets of Paris, demonstrating against the bombing of Baghdad. International intervention in the Gulf region under the aegis of the United States seemed to open a period of expansion in imperial management of international relations. In relation to that period, do the events in New York constitute a rupture, or is it part of a continuum ? Should we consider the events in New York as bringing to a close a period opened by the fall of the Berlin Wall ? Or, instead, should we consider that that period had already been drawn to a close by the unilateral positions taken by the United States in regards to the Palestinian question, the non-proliferation treaty on bacteriological weapons, on Kyoto, then at Durban ?
Negri : In the early 90s there were really very few of us demonstrating. Today, we are many more, at least here in Italy. That is in itself a fact to take into account. But it is equally true of the United States, I believe. In addition to this important point, the New York events do indeed constitute a rupture. It is a rupture in imperial management, and one that takes place within the process of building the imperial network that collective capital has been putting into place. The construction of this imperial network started in the early 90s, with the end of the Cold War. It should be considered a real rupture because it comes from outside, or rather, outside of this process, which is not to say that it comes from the exterior of imperial constitution. By this I mean that there has been a process of imperial constitution, whereby capitalist sovereignty has been expanded out across the entire fabric of international relations ; this has created a large-scale shift in sovereignty whereby international relations have been overshadowed by imperial sovereignty. And it was precisely in this moment that a suspension, a rupture occurred : the attack against the United States. Thus the rupture came from outside of the process, but at the same time it comes from within Empire. It involves a suspension of the process, a setback, a block ; it is something that has been imposed. Before this turn of events there was undoubtedly an American attempt to unilaterally take control of the process. But now they are confronted by some very serious difficulties. For the sake of clarity, we’d best make use of an abstraction. In my opinion, three crises are in progress (I say "three" in order to simplify, but in fact there are multiple crises). These three crises concern the characterization of imperial sovereignty.
The first crisis has to do with the military component. The reason for this crisis is that the sovereignty, this enormous power that the Americans built up (development of the bomb made such an absolute hegemony possible), today finds itself confronted by something to which it must face up : kamikazes, suicidal acts. If in the past this sovereignty held power over life and death, pushed to the level of a nuclear power extended over the entire world, today this power no longer exists. Thousands of people can decide to oppose it with their voluntary death. It ?s like the cutter phenomenon [1]. It’s a problem that must be resolved.
The next crisis has to do with currency. Sovereignty also brings the power to strike currency. This huge crisis stems from the fact that the striking of currency has been handled within the context of a neo-liberal agenda, that is to say according to "lex mercatoria", thus by the capacity of the private sector to devalue currency. Regulation has ceased to be a function of the State. Now 80 percent of regulation is carried out directly by the private sector. Now, after this attack, the problem of insurance has arisen. Who can insure this private process ? They want to exclude the State but that’s not possible, for it is not possible to dispense with some principle of measure [2] that perforce implies the general interest.
The third crisis is one of communication ; this is a crisis linked to the circulation of meaning, whose complexity becomes dizzying and which almost seems to get lost. It’s a very intriguing phenomenon, but it is likewise absolutely dramatic. The communication crisis is catastrophic. The complexity of meaning, in the context of the situation in which we find ourselves since September 11th, turns out to be so great as to make the crisis impossible to manage : some aspects of this sunder once and for all the framework of normal communication.
The problem then is in terms of multiple crises. I said already that in the early 90s we were small in number and that today we are larger. There are many more people who are aware of this crisis, a crisis internal to the construction of Empire and through which we have come to these three fundamental problems : the three fissures which I just brought up. What must be emphasized is that the Americans have tried to be underhanded as regards the Palestinian question, the treaty on non-proliferation of bacteriological weapons, the ecological issues at Kyoto, the question of racism at Durban. At present they find themselves suddenly thrust into this accentuation of contradictions, into this triple crisis.
Multitudes : After the events in New York, the most powerful country in the world, its imperial center, declares war on one man. What meaning do you attribute to this new rhetoric of war and its political, military and diplomatic articulations ? What type of war will this one be ? Does the change in the concept of sovereignty equally imply a change in that of war ?
Negri : The press seems to be in turmoil over one question : Who can tell us this is not a war without end ? What does it mean to wage war, certainly with high tech instruments, but in the valleys and mountains of Afghanistan, where we know there is a risk of this turning into a guerilla war that will go on forever ? In other words, don’t we run the risk of a "vietnamisation" of the conflict ? The concept of war has changed. The reaction in face of this crisis seems to fall within a strategic framework that assumes war to be a key element in management and discipline. When violence no longer has an "outside", when language is no longer a bearer of meaning, when measure cannot be found, it’s clear that they must be imposed with extreme force and violence. Here we are in the middle of the problem of sovereignty. I am convinced that sovereignty, as a concept, is an utter mystification ; there is no instance of sovereignty, which is not at the same time a rapport, a relationship. The concept of sovereignty, as Luciano Ferrari-Bravo rightly said, is always two-sided : it is a sort of hegemony, which paradoxically integrates something that it does not manage to subsume. It’s impossible to exclude either of the two terms when dealing with the concept of the State or politics. The powers of Empire, on the other hand, are constrained to exclude ; they are required to think that war is the constituent, institutional form of the new order. What this means precisely is to extol violence, measure , and language : make violence a norm, impose measure and create linguistic signification. They want to turn sovereignty into a constituent machine.
Multitudes : Empire is a "non-place". However, is a battle for this non-place possible ? Is what we are living through now not this battle ? How does the relationship Empire-United States — a relationship that causes so many misunderstandings about the concept of Empire— manifest itself in light of the New York events ? How do you interpret the formation of the "Euro" within the context of this process ?
Negri : I cannot say of the world capitalist leadership that it is American. For those who are used to linking the rules of power back to those of exploitation, it is only in the second instance that one can, if need be, speak of people. That was still possible when there were imperialist powers. What do we mean by imperialism ? It was the possibility to widen the field of exploitation out on an international scale. If today all that is finished, or partly finished or is tendentiously on the verge of finishing, it is no longer possible to speak of "American imperialism." There exists quite simply groups, elites who hold the keys of exploitation and, as a consequence, the keys to the war machine ; it is these same groups who are attempting to impose themselves on the world. Naturally, this process is rife with conflict and will necessarily be so for a long time. For the moment, it is above all the North American bosses who exercise this domination. Immediately behind them are the Europeans, the Russians, and the Chinese. They are there to support them, make trouble for them, or even to take on a new position if there is a change in centrality ; however any such change would remain superficial seeing as in the end, what is still, as always, at work is collective capital. From the perspective of political science, we can see who is succeeding along with the Americans. It’s the Russians. On the other hand, the Europeans are losing out. Since the early 70s, every time Europe — and I’m not talking here about the big European capitalists who always march in step with their American peers, but rather the European class of leaders— every time Europe tries to build up, as it sometimes does, its institutions (monetary or military), it gets systematically dragged down into an international crisis.
Multitudes : So you think there is a hegemony of American capital.
Negri : There is a hegemony which might look like the hegemony of American capitalism, but I am convinced that Italian capitalism, German capitalism, French capitalism are likewise implicated in this operation.
Multitudes : With the collapse of the Towers, men and women of one of the most cosmopolitan places in the world were massacred ; it wasn’t only upper management or chiefs of big financial firms, but also immaterial laborers and immigrants of all nationalities. Should we consider the suicide attack against the City as an attack against cosmopolitanism, against the power of liberty and exodus ?
Negri : Your question is interesting because it helps us think about the war. Indeed this confrontation is being played out between those who are in charge of Empire and those who would like to be. From this point of view it can be asserted that terrorism is the double of Empire. The enemy of both Bush and Bin Laden is the multitude. I don ?t think that we can all say that we are all Americans. I do think though that we are all New Yorkers. This seems of great importance to me. If we are all New Yorkers, it is not because we embrace American culture but because we embrace the culture of New York.... the mongrel culture, the Big Apple full of worms.
Multitude : Before the G8 summit, you spoke of two alternatives (a Roman form and a Byzantine form) within the development of Empire. How is the Byzantine form taking shape ?
Negri : It is quite evident that the Byzantine approach was the basis of the first plan that the Bush group advanced : the Missile Defense Program. This approach is yet again one of viewing war as a constituent machine : a machine established in fact on what was a sort of technological innovation pushed to extremes. This design, which was already old, aimed to create an automatic defense and likewise give a post-fordist form to the military development itself. What are the components ? Above all, the automated nature of the Space Shield ?s response. It involves on the one hand a huge accumulation of fixed capital and, on the other, extreme mobility in the art of war, the manner in which war is conducted. It’s what’s being called Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) [3], concretely put into place in the 90s, and founded on these two pillars. It involves a post-fordist military organization. Now the events of September 11th have thrown a monkey wrench into this mechanism. Here’s how it’s been reversed : The RMA will continue to move forward full-throttle in favor of utilizing the military as an international police force — which is what the Americans are currently in the process of doing in Afghanistan— but at the same time, the Missile Defense issue which divided the capitalist elites of various regions in the world — and particularly the confrontation between the US and Russia — this obstacle has been cleared. The ruling class of the American Right has sacrificed the Missile Defense Program in order to deepen the alliance, this "great alliance," in order to build a unitary world power [4]. From this perspective, a new form is emerging.
Multitudes : The United States seems to have definitively come to the close of a neo-liberal phase. The American initiatives to boost the economy and financial sector have been characterized as "keynesian". But how is keynesianism possible if there isn’t fordism ? There seems to be ever more insistent talk of the return of the State and policy, though over-determined by the war-buildup. But war, as you recently noted, has always been the foundation of the State. What might then be the multitude’s political stance toward this ? Elude the war ?
Negri : The United States is once again making military organizational strength a central theme...a military structuring of the world according to a sort of authoritarian neo-liberalism, rather than keynesianism. It is true that once again the State is to intervene and in a very big way, but this question takes us back to the subject of sovereignty. The State is intervening as one of the nodes in the sovereignty relationship, not as a force with the capability of single-handedly reconstituting social processes in the political sphere. I would say that authoritarian neo-liberalism feels it has free-rein with regards to sovereignty, has an open conception of sovereignty, in the same way as the relationship that linked stalinism to socialism. It’s this aspect which is particularly disquieting.
Multitudes : Up to now you’ve been speaking about the crisis of Empire. Now let’s look at the other side, the crisis of the multitudes. How has the Italian movement of movements reacted to the events of New York ? How can the multitude’s movement get out of the deadly clamps that have been placed upon it ? What does exodus now mean ? To stick with the metaphor, are the multitudes the Christians or the barbarians ?
Negri : I am going to proceed very carefully with these questions. My feeling is that the reaction of the movement has been without a doubt very good but it is as of yet quite fragile. And this latter is quite negative. This renewed cycle of struggles, outlined in Seattle and Porto Alegre and most recently in Genoa, has been interrupted. Since the end of the 70s we have unfortunately become accustomed to such ruptures in cycles. In Empire, we describe several struggles — those in Los Angeles, those in Chiapas, the one in Tiananmen — as well as the struggle that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. These involve real struggles but it is absolutely impossible to discern a common thread of any sort running through them. But after Seattle, to the contrary, we were able to get our hands on a genuine cycle of struggles. There is no doubt that, on that level, we have now come to a stop. That’s not because there will be no reasons for demonstrating again. There’s a real problem in envisioning how to move forward in the future (what should the slogans be ? How is it possible to link the issues up on a world-scale ?), but it’s no less true that "quod factum infectum fieri nequit", what’s been done cannot be undone. This movement had established a high degree of ontological consistency ; today there’s a block in all that, there is an obstacle. It’s like water coming down a mountain. If at first it whirls around an obstacle, it always ends up burrowing a new path past the obstacle. We are in a situation of this sort. We are in a situation where there is a block we must find our way around before we can continue on our way.
So, let’s analyze the Italian movement’s reaction. These reactions are quite interesting. In the first place, the movement is trying to keep afloat, no matter what, that which it has built. The relationship that was developed with the Catholics, which is always important in Italy, must be given particular attention. The question of civil disobedience figures largely in this relationship. The same thing — keeping afloat what had been built up
— is also occurring in the United States, as well as other countries where political life is open.
The second point is extremely important : keep the networks open and continue to broaden them. What takes place nowadays in factories, schools, and universities is essential as it allows consolidation of alliances, which are at present becoming alliances of identification, struggles, movements and tendencies, which were previously inconceivable. All of that does not mean that we should forget the problems we face today in getting a half-million people into the streets, as was done in Genoa ; nor does it mean that we should necessarily do it in the way it was done in Genoa. It involves a passage that is powerful [puissant], and I emphasize this word powerful [puissant] because it truly means, "full of possibilities" [5]. Another thing that seems absolutely fundamental : people have understood. They have now understood that it is subjectivity that produces and that all activities have become "production centers", now that there is no longer a "production center". When there is an ever broader and ever deeper consciousness of this sort, in which pacifists mix with workers movements (both immaterial and material laborers), who in turn mix with social movements, feminist movements, and the youth of the social centers, whenever this consciousness broadens and deepens as powerfully as we see today, certain slogans begin to become possible, for example, "desertion".
Now when we speak of "desertion", we are not invoking a negative slogan ! It was negative when "desertion" expressed itself simply in terms of strikes : when it was capital, and it alone, which could put at the disposal of all the means of production, then the strike could only be passive. Today, if we desert, if we rebel against the relations of power or the nexus of capital, or the nexus of knowledge or the nexus of language, if we do so, we do so in a powerful way, producing at the very moment that we refuse. With this production — not only of subjectivity but immaterial goods as well — desertion becomes an important keystone of struggle. One must look deep within the hacker world for a model of this type. It involves models or networks that kick in at the very moment of "defection", which is to say at the very moment that we reject or we elude the capitalist organization of production and the capitalist production of power.
Multitudes : So, it’s in this way that the discussion of desertion and exodus should be understood ? However, for desertion to be effective, wouldn’t that require a transmutation of all values ?
Negri : It is quite clear that desertion, exodus must be understood as a political laboratory. But it’s also clear that we are faced with a fundamental transmutation of values. The problem is to understand that the private and the public no longer signify anything at all, that they no longer are of value, that the important point is to manage to construct a "commons" and that all production, all expression must be made in terms of "commons". The big problem then is that the transmutation of values must exist and must lead to a decision. However, neither the decision nor the objective can be decided presumptively. They arise from within the processes of the multitude ?s transformation of the world. Or else, none of that takes place and we go backwards. A cycle of struggles had begun and it allowed us to start building our very own little war machines ?very deleuzian machines.
It’s apparent that we have been delayed in relation to the expectations we had of this process, which has now come to a "stop". And yet, this stop, if it is thoroughly understood and mastered, paradoxically could be very powerful. The error, the very serious error would be, as certain people are proposing, to return to national electoral politics, that is to say, return to the mechanisms of classical political representation, which would reterritorialize political action. Going back to old ways is therefore an error that should not be committed. This is all the more true as there is a strong possibility of finding a niche within the electoral process. The fundamental idea is the following : at the level of biopower, at the level of a position of power like ours, it’s not possible to avoid a relationship with the other, especially a relationship with the other who produces, the other who thinks. And the other that they are trying to crush, in spite of pretences to the contrary, is not Bin Laden and terrorism, but rather it is the multitude. This passage is absolutely essential. The capitalist attempt to wage this war as a means of crushing the other is a huge mess ?for them at least.
(traduit par Thomas Say et Hydrarchist)
[1] ’cutter’- a widespread pathological phenomenon in the USA. There are two million of them, mostly women, but also men, who cut themselves with razors. Why ? It has nothing to do with masochism or suicide. It’s simply that they don’t feel real as persons and the idea is : it’s only through this pain and when you feel warm blood that you feel reconnected again. So I think that this tension is the background against which one should appreciate the effect of the act. (Zizek, online interview with Spiked, see
[2] By measure, Negri intends ?a transcendent ontological foundation to order ?. For an in-depth discussion of measure, see Hardt and Negri, Empire, pp. 354-359.
[3] For background on RMA, see
[4] This interview was conducted before the Russian and American "agreement" on the Missile Defense Program.
[5] To clarify this statement it is important for the Anglophone reader to understand that the French word for power puissance is a direct correlate of the Latin potentia

Friday, March 16, 2012


Abdul Haqq (formerly known as Walter Bond) is Animal Liberation activist serving time in America today.  

I am presenting Haqq here with more than a little trepidation.  I can't tell you that I am ready to offer him much support myself.  Some of his views, I believe, at best come very close to being beyond the pale.  Combined with the way some of his statements just sound, the tone of his remarks, make me leery of this fellow.  Abdul Haqq demonstrates that just because someone holds onto a position strongly which we may support, doesn't necessarily mean that person is our comrade.  Life is far too complex to treat things that simply.

I would welcome further comments and further information on this man.

Haqq is serving twelve years in prison for a number of Animal Liberation Front arsons in 2010 at The Sheepskin Factory in Denver, the tandy Leather Factory in Salt Lake City and Tiburon Restaurant in Sandy, Utah.

Haqq worked as a nineteen year old slaughterhouse construction workers.  It is one of the reasons he became and activist and a vegan.

Haqq gave the following statement to the Court prior to sentnecing on the final two charges in Utah.

I'm here today because of the arsons I committed at the Tandy Leather Factory in Salt Lake City and the Tiburon restaurant in Sandy, Utah, which sells the incredibly cruel product foie gras. The U.S. attorney wants to give me the maximum sentence and beyond not because of my "crimes" but because I am unrepentant and outspoken. My intuition tells me that this court is not going to show me mercy because I become suddenly sorry. So instead of lying to the court in a feeble attempt to save myself, as I'm certain many do when they face their sentencing day, allow me instead to tell you what I am sorry for.

I am sorry that when I was 19 years old I built two slaughterhouses that are still killing animals even now as I speak. I am sorry that Tandy Leather sells skin that has been ripped from the dead, and often live bodies of such animals as cows, ostriches, rabbits, snakes and pigs. I am sorry that the leather tanneries that supply Tandy Leather Factory poison the Earth with dangerous chemicals. I am sorry that the restaurant Tiburon profits from the force feeding of geese and ducks until their livers explode so that rich people can then use that as a pate for crackers and bread. I am sorry that they make a living from the dead bodies of wild and exotic animals. I am sorry that we live in a day and age where you can rape a child or beat a woman unconscious and receive less prison time than an animal liberation activist that attacked property instead of people.

I am sorry that my brother was so desperate to get out of debt that he flew from Iowa to Colorado just to get me in a taped and monitored conversation for reward money. I am sorry I am biologically related to such a worthless little snitch. I am sorry that I waited so long to become an Animal Liberation Front operative. For all of these things I will always have some regret. But as far as the arsons at the Leather Factory and Tiburon, I have no remorse.

I realize that the laws of the land favor a businesses ability to make a profit over an animals right to life. It also used to favor white business owners ability to profit from a black persons slavery. It also used to favor a husbands ability to viciously attack his wife and act on her as if she were an object. Those who broke the law and damaged property to stand against those oppressions were also called "terrorists" and "fanatics" in their time but that did not change the fact that society progressed and is still progressing along those lines.

So today I'm the bad guy. That is just a matter of historical coincidence. Who knows, perhaps a less brutal and less violent society will one day exist that will understand that life and Earth are more important that products of death and cruelty. And if not then to hell with it all anyway! Weather my supporters or detractors think I am a freedom fighter or a lunatic with a gas can makes no difference to me. I have spent years verifiably promoting, supporting and fighting for Animal Liberation. I have seen the animal victims of human injustice, thousands of them with my own eyes and what I saw was blood, guts and gore! I made a promise to those animals and to myself to fight for them in anyway I could. I regret none of it, and I never will!

You can take my freedom, but you can't have my submission.

Haqq has also taken a stand against drug abuse in this country.  He was raised in a family racked by drug use.  Support Walter notes:
Walter has been a vegan hardliner for over 15 years and has struggled against a deadly and genocidal culture of drug abuse in the United States. Walter is unabashedly straight edge and is the subject of the song “To Ashes” by the band Earth Crisis - which was inspired by Bond's 1998 prison sentence for arson. Bond was convicted of burning down the home and meth operation of a multi-million dollar drug dealer that was selling poison to his family and friends.
Haqqs has some views I find impossible to swallow.  He opposes abortion and has been know to connect abortion to vivisection.  In a response to some of Haqqs statements the blog Because We Must notes:

That Walter would find it necessary to speak about abortion specifically points to his failure to see it as part of this larger issue, concerned with the concentration of power by the state into and using the reproductive organs of others.

Asking questions about life is a salient issue for vegans, but we acknowledge differences exist between “having a life” and “being alive”. I frequently explain to non-vegans that nonhumans have unique, rich experiences with themselves, their surroundings, and other creatures on this planet. They are sentient and experience life and need to be respected as such...
 Connecting abortion doctors to vivisectors is particularly heinous. Nonhumans subject to medical testing are forced into situations that are 100% non-consensual, abusive, and exploitive. Persons seeking abortions frequently do so enthusiastically, therapeutically, and have positively transformative experiences. Abortion can frequently be a political action as a direct response to reproductive oppression. Conflating these experiences erases both the horrors of the vivisectors lab and the political agency found in resisting state coercion and control over one’s organs... 
His concern for “black genocide” by abortion is a kind of racist paternalism and protectionism that smacks of a white-centered ecological worldview, rather than one that acknowledges the ways reproductive oppression specifically manifests itself ethno-racially. Citing arguments that “pro-choice” people advocate for access to abortion as a population control mechanism highlights how mainstream, ecologically focused arguments do have racist implications that need to be examined, and also why the reproductive justice framework is a necessary antidote to this kind of thinking...
Some write these views of Haqq's off due to his tough up bringing and all that.  That is a ridiculous notions which would imply that only the well off and highly educated can understand issues like reproductive rights.  I find that notion classist at best. 

Somewhat related to this, I find some of Haqq's statements to reek of self importance.  At times, he seems to me to think he is somehow above all the rest of us.  

On February 20, 2012. Walter  converted to Islam and was given the name Abdul Haqq (translates to "servant of the truth").

The following interview is from  Support Walter.

Walter Bond’s Exclusive Post-Sentencing Interview

On October 13, 2011, the Criminal System of Injustice sentenced Walter Bond to 87 months in prison for two ALF arsons in Utah – he burned down Tandy Leather Factory and Tiburon Foie Gras Restaurant. This sentence will run consecutively with the 5 years he received earlier this year for setting a sheepskin factory in Colorado ablaze and permanently ending its reign of terror. For his bravery and acts of compassion on behalf of the animals entombed in a holocaust, Walter will serve a total of 12 years 3 months in prison. This is NIO’s exclusive post-sentencing interview with Walter Bond, Prisoner of War…
NIO: In our last interview, Go Vegan and Break Something, we touched on the issue of fear and how activists acquiesce, thus, allowing themselves to be controlled by the industrial-state complex. Did you ever have to confront your own fear? How does one transcend their fear to emerge a warrior?
Well, yes, of course I felt fear — especially right before the commission of arson. It’s kind of like jumping into a river or swimming pool when you’re first learning to swim. The fear is at the jump off point. Once I was involved in an action I was simply concerned with the task at hand.
How to conquer fears that keep us frozen in our tracks or shy us away from militant interventionalism is a difficult issue to tackle. But for the serious direct activist, a calculating and tactical worldview needs to supplant our examining and comtemplating of feelings. Most Vegans and Animal Rights activists are very in touch with their feelings. It’s what makes us the compassionate and hopefully self-sacrificing people that help and care about Animals, when society really favors the abusers and Animal enterprises. For many though, that heightened awareness encompasses all of their feelings, not just love, compassion and empathy. But also fear, doubt and worry.
For me, conquering fear is not about owning it or analyzing it. It’s about refusing to give into it and learning how to control my emotions. It’s about a certain amount of impersonalization as well. In the bigger picture, my fear of committing a crime or getting caught isn’t the main concern. Imagine what an Animal in a cage watching its kin get skinned and murdered must feel. Imagine their fear. For many hands-on activists it’s not hard to imagine. If you worked in a slaughterhouse, or rescue, or sanctuary, as I have, you see the victims of human callousness, greed and gluttony over and over again. That’s what drives fear away for me, the reality of Animal exploitation.
For too many “activists” in the internet age or the classroom commandos, Animal Liberation is a subject of interest… something to be seen in the context of other social concerns. Many of these head trippers enjoy sounding heavy and perfecting their idealistic meanderings. Unfortunately, Animals and all victims of oppression need people that can actually maneuver in reality. People that can build a barn, shovel shit, intervene with physical force and cast their fear to the side like any other impediment.
To conquer your fear and own self-interest as it relates to Animal Liberation, you must care more about their plight than your own. I wish I knew how to teach that to people. -WB
NIO: How did you choose your targets? What kinds of things need to be considered when one is trying to isolate a vulnerable abuser?
As an economic saboteur and A.L.F. arsonist, I chose what are known as “soft targets,” meaning I went after buildings that were older and appeared fire friendly. My main concern was maximum damage, not sending messages or warnings. I felt then as I do now that when you deal in death or the products of death for profit, then you deserve the worst. The only concerns when isolating a vulnerable abuser is
1) Can I completely ruin them?
2) Can I get away with it?
If there is a 70% chance or better that I could, then I would continue forward. At that point the rest is just details. -WB
NIO: For the sole purpose of creating an accurate historical record, are there any details of your actions that you can discuss?
I would love nothing more than to give a step-by-step description as to how I committed my campaign. Unfortunately, that is the one thing I cannot publicly describe. The enemy would love nothing more than to give me more trumped-up charges for inciting others or announcing a call to arms.
But what I can say is the best way to learn how to tear anything apart is to first learn how it goes together. What made me an effective arsonist wasn’t any pyrotechnic training, but having many years of experience working jobs in the trades, such as laborer, maintenance, factory assembly, welding, torch cutting and blueprint reading. Direct action is a hands-on way of life. If you want an effective militia, you first recruit or become the type of person that knows how to do the task at hand. Forget putting anarchist cookbook style recipes and plans into the hands of cowardly and physically incapable people.
The internet is loaded with the “how-to’s” of illegal direct action. Lack of information is not the issue. The problem is that we are framing militant Animal Liberation as an issue that doesn’t appeal to action-oriented people. Just think about how much more of a threat the underground would be if it attracted construction workers, demolitions experts, fighters, soldiers and the poor and disenfranchised, instead of turning these people off with a rhetorical and pretentious worldview of political correctness.
That’s why I feel it’s important to turn ourselves into action-oriented activists and promote a syncretic philosophy, and militant creed that embraces the most radical and relevant views of both the left and the right, such as the Vegan Hardline. -WB
NIO: Were there any other tools in your “kit,” that were essential to successfully fulfill the job description.
Crowbar, gasoline, gloves, bandana and a lighter. But most importantly, the will and determination to use them. -WB
NIO: I was surprised to learn that the “Lone Wolf” always walked to work. Why was this important?
Everything about police response is geared towards locating, tracking and stopping vehicles. I have never driven to a target and I have never been caught in the act or near the scene. -WB
NIO: Every time we push ourselves to take action, we empower and strengthen ourselves. But very few have taken any action of the magnitude that you have. The morning after your first action – striking a definitive blow for the animals and permanently putting the degenerate sheepskin factory out of business – can you describe how you felt?
The day after I burnt down The Sheepskin Factory I felt awesome! Before that action I had so much tension, disenchantment and activist burnout, and that one act washed it all away. Nothing will ever compare to directly intervening and stopping a grave injustice. I also, all at once, felt in control of my life, perhaps for the first time. I was happy that The Sheepskin Factory had gotten a small taste of the hell that their business inflicted on our Mother Earth and her Animal Nations. I brushed my teeth that morning and looked in the mirror thinking, “I am a member of the Animal Liberation Front,” just like all my heroes. And every moment after that as long as I was alive, free and continuing my campaign, I was winning.
I’m really not trying to be romantic or melodramatic, but with the flick of the lighter I was changed for the better. I’ve been an activist for a long time and, without a doubt, the best things I have ever done was rescue and care for actual animals and burn down their exploiters. Everything else was done more to make me feel like I was making a difference, instead of saving life and dealing out justice to those guilty of destroying it. -WB
NIO: For your militaristic acts in defense of the animals enslaved in a holocaust, you are now a prisoner of war. Do you have any regrets? Looking back now, is there anything you would have done differently?
My biggest regret is that I confided in my brother who ended up getting wiretapped, and was the sole reason I was arrested. Not only because of my arrest, but because he stopped my work when I was really just getting started. I hope that everything he ever does in life fails, and I have nothing but hatred and contempt for him or anyone like him.
I also regret that I restrained myself by a philosophy of non-violence in direct action. That may sound extreme to some but it’s true. When I was out there I really was very close to sending a communiqué renouncing my affiliation as an A.L.F. operative, due to the A.L.F. stance on non-harm in direct action. I mean, why stifle our own activity simply out of concern for some Animal-abusing piece of shit. They don’t show any concern for Animals, obviously, since they profit from their death.
I regret that I only attacked the businesses responsible for Animal murder instead of the business owners themselves. And now it’s too late, since I will never be able to again partake in illegal direct action due to my lack of anonymity. I really wish that when I had the chance I would have not restricted myself with the vestiges of pacifism.
As far as regrets go, of course, I regret being imprisoned. After sentencing and my final judgment of 12 years, 3 months, I was having a rough time. I will have to serve 10 years of that sentence before I am eligible for parole. But like most situations, it’s a matter of perspective. The average federal prison sentence is 15 years. So many, many more people have it much worse than me. And when I get out I will be in my early to mid-forties, at which point I plan on immersing myself in Animal sanctuary work, which really is my first love as an activist.
At the end of the day, I would rather regret the things I have done than daydream about the things I wish I’d done. -WB
NIO: You have raised the bar in so many ways – in escalating tactics, remaining resilient and singularly defiant, modeling self-discipline and deliberation – and this movement owes you a huge debt of gratitude. What can we do out here to make your time in there more bearable?
Thank you so much for your kind words but “the movement” owes me very little and vice versa. All I need as a Prisoner Of War is letters of support, some books to read and a few bucks from time to time for commissary items and stationery products.
The main thing my supporters can do to make my time easier is be active, help actual Animals and become as energetic, radical and fanatical for the true liberation of the Earth and Animals as they possibly can. When people write me to tell me of their real world activism or I hear of communiqués from the Underground in solidarity with me, it makes my day. To know that people are concerned and care about me is important and uplifting, but to know that I’m part of a movement and resistance that goes on no matter what, is the best.
I love Animals and, in that love, their grief and pain has also been my sorrow; conversely, their liberation, freedom and victory is also my triumph. I’ve done what I could do, now get out there and sab the bastards!
Animal Liberation, whatever it may take! -WB

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I am going to post several articles bleow which explain this travesty better than I ever could.  In a country which refuses to accept that a genocide occurred against the Armenian people at their hands, the Turkish judiciary manages which the help of the police, the state government, and the STATE to find a way around an obvious massacre.  

People are angry.  Angry enough that Turkish cops turned water cannons on them.  Interesting, because their fellow officers made this 1993 massacre by fire possible back.

Disgusting story.

The following posts are from Storyful, Hyrriyat Daily News (2), Today's Zalman

Outcry as Turkey drops Sivas massacre prosecutions

The case against four people accused in connection with an infamous 1993 massacre in Turkey was dropped on Tuesday amid protests outside Ankara’s 11th High Criminal Court. The court agreed with defence lawyers that the statute of limitations meant the case had expired. The Sivas massacre took place on July 2, 1993 when a mob of radical Islamists burned down a hotel where those attending a cultural festival for the country’s Alevi community had gathered. Some 37 people died, most of them Alevi intellectuals. Turkey’s 15-20 million strong Alevi community practice a branch of Shia Islam, also incorporating many elements of Anatolian folk culture. The Hanafite school of Sunni Islam dominates in the country. Among the artists, writers and musicians who gathered at the Otel Madımak to celebrate 16th century Alevi poet Pir Sultan Abdal on the day of the massacre was Aziz Nesin, who had translated and published extracts from Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, enraging fundamentalists. Our lead video shows clashes outside the courthouse after the cases were dropped.
The start of the confrontation with police can be seen in this video, as news of the court’s decision filtered through:
This tweet translates as, “I am ashamed of my country”. The hashtag translates as “The Sivas massacre will not time out”:

Sivas: A tale of painful indifference


I visited Sivas in 2008, 15 years after the massacre at the Madımak Hotel. I vividly remember the eerie feeling that came over me as I was walking by the site of arguably one of the most traumatic events in recent Turkish history. The building was back then a fully functional hotel.

There was a kebab house on the ground floor, which was frequented by the locals who had the stomach for it. What scared me the most was not the traumatic story of the place but rather the blatant indifference in the air. There was not a single monument, a single reminder of the event itself in sight; quite to the contrary, the hotel had a feeling of complete normalcy, as if nothing extraordinary happened there.

I could not bear the thought of people staying there overnight, fully knowing that 35 people had perished in that very building. Even worse, there were people who could still enjoy a kebab on that very spot.

This was the place where 35 people were burned alive on July 2, 1993. The participants of the Pir Sultan Abdal Festival, which was hosted by the Alevi community, were staying at the Madımak Hotel.

The guests included intellectuals, poets, artists and students. The building and those inside were set on fire by an angry mob of 15,000 people. This was not a simple act of fury. The whole event escalated slowly and lasted for over eight hours. The hotel was literally taken under siege, the mob shouting death threats for hours as the security forces watched passively. At the end of the day, the hotel was torched, 35 people died, including nine teenagers. The survivors’ accounts of the day tell us an even more tragic story.

It appears that the whole event could have been stopped if the government had intervened at the right time. But the state officials at the time were indifferent. And that indifference caused 35 people to perish.
In 2010, after constant demands from the Alevi community and its allies, the government decided to purchase the building and turn it into a cultural center.

The Alevi community wanted a museum of remembrance, to make sure such a tragedy would not happen again. Turning the space into a cultural center was not a perfect solution, but it was sure better than a hotel and much better than a kebap house. The opening day of this cultural center became yet another event that inflicted pain on the families of those who were killed. There was a remembrance plaque hung at the entrance.

On that single reminder of the tragedy that happened there, the names of those who were burned alive were written together with two of their attackers, who had also died as they were torching the place, in alphabetical order, so that the list started with the name of one of the assailants. This gesture is akin to including the names of Nazisoldiers on a Holocaust memorial plaque. The plaque still welcomes the visitors, and reminds us, among other things, the indifference of the state to the pain of those who lost their loved ones there.

On the March 13, 2012, I was sitting in a courtroom filled with the wives, daughters, sons, fathers and mothers of those who were burned alive at the Madımak Hotel. The statute of limitations in the case was to end on that day. To be honest, the crowd in that courtroom did not have great expectations. We knew that a few days ago, a Republican People’s Party (CHP) bill which would have lifted the statute of limitations on such crimes against humanity was rejected by the Justice and Development Party (AKP). We were simply there to show our stance.

The case was dropped due to the tolling of the statute of limitations. The courtroom emptied slowly, and the families joined the people outside the courthouse who were there to show their support. Their protest was a peaceful but a painful one. The police, which didn’t dare intervene during the events of 1993 in Sivas, started tear-gassing the crowd.

As those who lost their loved ones in the Sivas massacre were being attacked by the police, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan appeared on TV. He said, quite calmly, in regards to the court’s invocation of the statute of limitations in the Sivas massacre: “Let it be auspicious for our nation.”

Dr Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir is a lecturer in the graduate program of Architectural Histroy in the Middle East Technical University.
Blood-spattered calendar


The Sivas massacre of July 2, 1993 will drop from the agenda of the judiciary tomorrow (today). According to the acting president of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), İbrahim Okur, “The problem in the Sivas case stems from justice arriving late and from security forces, who do not catch [the suspects] in time.”

The same judiciary that prosecutes those who wear a poshu scarf, carry placards or sell concert tickets, could not locate an organized terror crime in the Sivas case.

The security of this country could not catch a defendant standing trial with a request for capital punishment for almost 20 years, half of this period coinciding with this government’s term.

One of those they could not catch died in his home in Sivas. I don’t know how many meters his house was from the police station. One of those they could not catch got married in Kangal district of Sivas, 14 days after Madımak was burned and poets and folk artists were killed.

Another runaway defendant, İhsan Çakmak - despite the fact that he was on trial, prosecuted with capital punishment and was a wanted man - got married, did his military service, registered his child and received his driver’s license.

After tomorrow (today), the case against Çakmak will be dropped. Who knows, maybe he will appear on a TV talk show, issue a press release or join a talent show to become a semi-famous contestant.

Irresponsibility and indifference are so widespread and so general in the Sivas massacre case that no one even thinks about identifying who is responsible for this situation in the judiciary and the security forces. Irresponsibility becomes anonymous. This system wants us to continue living our lives as if the Sivas massacre never happened.

The Sivas case, even though some perpetrators were sentenced, has remained in the dark.
The reason I reach this opinion is not because of a few fugitives who will be saved by the statute of limitations tomorrow (today). This is only one sign that the judiciary and the security forces did not take the Sivas massacre seriously and they are exerting an effort to cover it up.

The Sivas massacre has not been illuminated. For this reason, it will continue to serve as a snack at political debates. One day newspapers will have headlines “It was the PKKwho torched Madımak,” the next day they will write Sivas’ murderer was Ergenekon. The responsibility will be put on ghosts and the nameless bad. Sometimes it will be the PKK, sometimes Ergenekon and sometimes political Islamist masses will be blamed. But no concrete proof will be presented for any of them and Sivas will slowly disappear below the smoke choking it.

This case, which has not been able to reach material fact, has paved the way for Sivas to be forgotten and only be remembered when there was a need for instrumentalization.
Revoking the statute of limitations was one way to reveal the hidden side of the Sivas massacre. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has rejected such a proposal. 

Another way is setting up a research commission; it is apparent that the AKP systematically refuses proposals for research commissions related to political murders. The executive only made a Madımak Museum (in which the names of murderers were also included), and made a kindergarten in rooms where people choked to death.

The legislative, executive and judiciary, when Sivas is in question, have adopted the principle of union of powers.

Tomorrow (today) is March 13. The Sivas case will sink before our eyes like a bilged heavy and old ship.

Tomorrow (today) is March 13. It is also the anniversary of the Gazi Neighborhood massacre, another case that reached no result.

A murder for each day, a massacre for each day.

This country has a calendar where each day of its year is bloody. The names of those who smear that blood, and who do not clean it will be written in history books. You may not be able to see it, but your children and your grandchildren will read your names in those books. I wish you a long life so that you may see that day.

Özgür Mumcu is a columnist for daily Radikal in which this piece was published March 12. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.


Sivas massacre case dropped on statute of limitations

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A group protesting the verdict to drop the Sivas case clashed with police on Tuesday in front of the Ankara Courthouse. Police had to use tear gas to disperse the group. Some police officers were wounded. (Photo: AA)
A nearly two-decade trial regarding the deaths of 33 artists and intellectuals, along with two hotel workers and two assailants, in 1993 was dropped on Tuesday because the statute of limitations had run out, amid a protesting crowd in front of the courthouse.

On July 2, 1993, 33 people who were attending a conference on Alevi poet Pir Sultan Abdal died at the Madımak Hotel in Sivas when an angry mob set the building on fire. The ruling was announced by the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court after lawyers for the co-plaintiffs delivered their closing statements in Tuesday's hearing. Angry crowds outside the courthouse protested. Riot police intervened rather forcefully, using tear gas to disperse the crowd. Some in the crowd dismantled the cobblestones on the street and used them to attack police officers. When some groups wanted to march to Kızılay Square in protest, police used water cannons on the demonstrators to stop them. Some of the protestors were seen vandalizing bus stops, traffic lights and billboards. At least one press member, Milliyet photographer Serdar Özsoy, was injured during the incidents, which quickly turned into clashes between protestors and the police.

Some passersby who wanted to flee the scene to escape the tear gas were denied entry onto a public bus by the bus driver. Clashes between the police and protestors in front of the building lasted for three hours before the crowd could be effectively dispersed.
The court said the public cases against suspects Cafer Erçakmak and Yılmaz Bağ were dropped due to the fact that the two defendants had died, while the cases against Şevket Erdoğan, Köksal Koçak, İhsan Çakmak, Hakan Karaca and Necmi Karaömeroğlu were dropped on the grounds that too much time has passed. Presiding Judge Dündar Örsdemir, reading the verdict, said he agreed with arguments that statutes of limitations should not apply to crimes against humanity but that the offenders were not public or civil agencies. “Hence the decision to drop the cases,” he said.

Some deputies who had followed the trial as well as relatives of those who died in the massacre were among the angry crowds outside the court building.

Şenal Sarıhan, a co-plaintiff lawyer, said they would be appealing the ruling. She noted that the judge’s statement that the Sivas massacre indeed constituted a “crime against humanity” was an important development. “We will continue our legal struggle. We waited hopefully for 19 years that they would be punished by the law. We didn’t respond to them by burning down hotels or throwing stones like they did,” she said.

Zeynep Altıok Akatlı, daughter of the poet Metin Altıok who died at Madımak, tweeted her feelings from the courtroom seconds after the ruling was announced. “Applying statute of limitations because they are not public officials. Case dropped. Murderers free.” In her next tweet she wrote, “I was expecting this verdict, but I can’t get up from my seat.”

Thousands were outside the courtroom, including Rakel Dink, the wife of journalist Hrant Dink, who was assassinated outside his newspaper’s office in 2007.

Speaking to the press after the announcement, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrıkulu said, “We see this as a disgrace for the judiciary, and we condemn it.” CHP Denizli deputy İlhan Cihaner said, “The verdict is illegal.”

Gültan Kışanak, a deputy chairwoman of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said, “The verdict doesn’t help heal the wounds in hearts. Someone might have closed this case, but those who protect democracy will not allow this case to be closed.”

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said the verdict was a disgrace for Turkey, while speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday. “In the Middle Ages, people were burned at the stake. People were burned [in Sivas]. Some of those who killed got married, served in the military, had weddings, even sent their children to school, but they were never found, never captured,” he said, referring to some of the suspects who, it later emerged, engaged in numerous official transactions -- including completing their compulsory military service and getting married -- and continue on with their lives without any difficulties.
Kılıçdaroğlu said the verdict was unacceptable, and he accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) of having protected the offenders. “AK Party deputies were [the defendants’] lawyers,” he said. Some of the lawyers who defended the suspects are currently in Parliament as AK Party deputies.

“I wonder if Mr. Prime Minister will say, ‘Oh this is great. It was dropped on the statute of limitations, and so we are finally rid of this trouble.’ I am confident that this is what he is thinking.”