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Strange Famous Forum > Social stuff. Political stuff. KNOWMORE

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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 517
Location: Bay Area
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jrspudsquad wrote:
I just read almost every word of this thread and it's been wonderful.

i'll try to keep my few thoughts short.

Contrary to what Icarus was saying at the begining, solving a societal problem such as animal testing is exactly a PR campaign. You arn't tacking an engineering problem- the problem exists within the habbits of the masses and you need to attack it as such if you want to have any long term success. If you're turning moderates to the other side, you are failing your cause in terms of practicality.

If they broke in and unlocked 100 monkey cages, this wouldn't be a debate. Blowing up a building with the possibility of accidentally killing someone is not a very clear arrow to the goal. Clearly, most people view this as intimidation tactics before they think of it as looking for immediate results. Bombing is not quite tree-spiking. Once again, setting aside morality, bombing is not practical for the goal.

The most interesting part of the discussion to me:
On one hand you have the right of a person to act in moral urgency with extreme means. How can we expect them to stand by and let something they deem emmensely wrong continue?

On the other hand, if we want to call it like it is, this is imposing yourself over another persons' will using physical force. Are we ready to say this is ok under certain conditions other than democratic opinion? and what conditions?

I'm not sure where i stand.


I think you got to the crux of the moral issue at the end there: it's about social contract, individual rights vs. the social good, and hell, epistemology, too. How is right determined? Is it a fact that can be ascertained? Can one person be right against the crowd?

But I gotta disagree partially with your analysis of the aim of property destruction. Yes, it HAS a PR effect, but the change game is not necessarily won in public attitudes. The idea of direct consequences is to extract a price from the people who profit from unethical business. It is a) stopping the operation, at least temporarily, and b) presenting the idea "maybe this will become unprofitable if I can expect my shit to get blown up on the regular."

Not saying that works, but it's part of the intent. It's outside the PR game, and yes, it's intimidation. I think that on the whole, the public will keep using products tested on animals and products not tested on animals in similar numbers. Nobody's looking at the fine print (in fact, I don't think anyone's even required to label such things), so the issue becomes-- if the public won't make it unprofitable to test on animals, who will? Enter ALF.
Post Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:09 pm
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Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
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TurnpikeGates wrote:
Gender, dunno. It's 30-40 years since second wave feminism and Sarah Palin got as much coverage about her appearance as her politics. Wage equity's better, but the culture is stagnant on gender.
Wage equity's also still pretty bad, and no-one gives a shit about standing behind an EPA anymore. It's gross.

There was a third wave of feminism, of course, which I guess is still ongoing but leadership and community are sorely lacking. The ladies I tend to run with mostly identify as feminist and have great personal politics, but I don't know if they feel part of a movement these days.

Second wavers dropped the ball in a sort of unforgivable way. You see them now either clinging to positions of dwindling influence or having totally turned their back on the ongoing cause. Of course there are lots who understand about progress but like... some of them are so stuck in early stages that they're just as likely to call a girl who dresses a certain way a slut or skank as a hardcore misogynist. Also they tend to have no time for or interest in the particular concerns of women of colour.

Feminism is in such a shambles, mainly because people let themselves believe it's run its course if it ever had one. So distressing.


Quote:

And I want to hear why we shouldn't immediately pull out of Iraq.
Don't the same old "you break it, you bought it" arguments still apply? The US needs to abdicate the leadership role for certain, but to withdraw support is irresponsible.


Quote:

Like, Timothy McVeigh didn't convince me that the Ron Paul fringe is crazy (sorry for being atemporal), it just confirmed it. Likewise, I just don't think the black bloc is making people disagree with liberals, or ALF is making people want more factory farms.
Your examples are too extreme - it doesn't have to drive them, screaming, in the opposite direction to harm attitudes. It's more likely to convince someone who has a problem with the status quo but has a bigger problem with a challenge to it to shut down and stay complacent, if disgruntled.
Post Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:12 pm
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Embryo



Joined: 31 Dec 2002
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TurnpikeGates wrote:

But I gotta disagree partially with your analysis of the aim of property destruction. Yes, it HAS a PR effect, but the change game is not necessarily won in public attitudes. The idea of direct consequences is to extract a price from the people who profit from unethical business. It is a) stopping the operation, at least temporarily, and b) presenting the idea "maybe this will become unprofitable if I can expect my shit to get blown up on the regular."

... if the public won't make it unprofitable to test on animals, who will? Enter ALF.


I'm going to respond to your last response, Gates, but I just wanted to highlight this here. Once this is the stated goal of property destruction it's now terrorism. This is exactly what terrorism is, in the word's least-corrupted sense.
Post Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:14 pm
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
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Embryo wrote:
TurnpikeGates wrote:

But I gotta disagree partially with your analysis of the aim of property destruction. Yes, it HAS a PR effect, but the change game is not necessarily won in public attitudes. The idea of direct consequences is to extract a price from the people who profit from unethical business. It is a) stopping the operation, at least temporarily, and b) presenting the idea "maybe this will become unprofitable if I can expect my shit to get blown up on the regular."

... if the public won't make it unprofitable to test on animals, who will? Enter ALF.


I'm going to respond to your last response, Gates, but I just wanted to highlight this here. Once this is the stated goal of property destruction it's now terrorism. This is exactly what terrorism is, in the word's least-corrupted sense.


Yeah. Well, I'm not afraid of that word, but I don't think it applies.

Quote:

The United States has defined terrorism under the Federal criminal code. 18 U.S.C. §2331[25] defines terrorism as:

…activities that involve violent… or life-threatening acts… that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State and… appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping…."



That's straight from wikipedia, straight from the federal criminal code. So first of all, it has to include violent or life-threatening acts. This goes back to a disagreement over whether bombing empty buildings is "life-threatening". And I'm not assuming the U.S. federal law is the definition you're subscribing to, but I don't think this kinda stuff falls under a popular definition either.

When I said "yes, it's intimidation" I meant economic intimidation. It's not intended to send the message "if you keep practicing your business, we will kill you"-- the message is "we will make your business untenable." I think that's different, and it's obviously criminal, but not terrorism. Did the Mafia ever get charged under terrorism laws?
Post Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:25 pm
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Embryo



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well, the definition of the government there is pretty self-serving -- I would argue that economics is actually at the core of, say, al qaeda's set of goals. They effectively want to make the cost of "doing business" too high to justify. It just so happens that our government, and its messy military industrial complex, is in the business of neocolonialism.

You're right though -- I'm just trying on other angles here. And actually I take it back, because bricks through starbucks windows are effective in this exact sense but obviously aren't terrorism. Nevermind.
Post Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:29 pm
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TurnpikeGates



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[quote="Jesse"]
TurnpikeGates wrote:



Quote:

And I want to hear why we shouldn't immediately pull out of Iraq.
Don't the same old "you break it, you bought it" arguments still apply? The US needs to abdicate the leadership role for certain, but to withdraw support is irresponsible.


Quote:

Like, Timothy McVeigh didn't convince me that the Ron Paul fringe is crazy (sorry for being atemporal), it just confirmed it. Likewise, I just don't think the black bloc is making people disagree with liberals, or ALF is making people want more factory farms.
Your examples are too extreme - it doesn't have to drive them, screaming, in the opposite direction to harm attitudes. It's more likely to convince someone who has a problem with the status quo but has a bigger problem with a challenge to it to shut down and stay complacent, if disgruntled.


Ok, I pretty much agree with you on feminism-- I'm not up to speed on the third wave, but we could have a whole discussion on sex-positive feminism, Spice Girls feminism, and the whole lot of it. Suffice it to say that I think feminism has been successfully made into a dirty word, especially among women of my generation (not the ones I roll with, but still). And it's ignorance, not an active stance.

But I mostly wanted to respond to your other two points. I agree with what you say about harming attitudes. But I'm not so sure it's the responsibility of the black bloc to do PR for the left. I mean, the police clobber the shit out of people and are generally ruthless at any kind of mass protest, but we don't see this tainting of all police as bad in the public mind. Most people's experiences with activists/organizers/protesters are mediated by the television or some form of mass media, and the distortions are created there, before it reaches their minds. So we can't help the fact that the media is going to tarnish the image of people who want real change, whether the black bloc exists or not. They will find the one incident where one person smashed one window, and that will become the whole story. So think it is a mistake to cater to public (and therefore media) perception. The issue and the moral imperative should guide actions, not the media game. But I take your message to heart-- really what's needed are actions that FORCE attention onto the issue, without indicting the people who are trying to bring the change.

Okay, and then on Iraq, I think I'm being misunderstood. To me "immediate withdrawal" does not mean "fuck that place, let's be out!" It means we have no right to have any troops there. The biggest lie coming out of Iraq is that they can't handle their shit. They had a pretty stable (though, yes, totally awful) system there before the U.S. arrived, and yes it's been dismantled, but U.S. troops are not standing between that country and collapse... it's already collapsed and they can't pick up the pieces until we're out.

The U.S. responsibility to Iraq is not military, it's financial. Now, I'm not talking about what's politically realistic (domestically), but immediate withdrawal isn't either so we're in fantasyland already. The coalition of countries that invaded Iraq, particularly the U.S. should foot the bill for the complete reconstruction of Iraq, pull out all troops, and dismantle any bases. The large majority of bombings/attacks in Iraq are still being leveled against the U.S. presence-- ethnic/religious tension always existed there, and the result might not be nice, but it's not going to be some fat genocide. They want us out, period. Ideally most of the corporate profiteers would pay the majority of the bills, as we probably can't afford the tax burden of reconstruction (though, hell, it's gotta be cheaper than a permanent military presence, like we've got now!)
Post Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:45 pm
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
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Embryo wrote:
well, the definition of the government there is pretty self-serving -- I would argue that economics is actually at the core of, say, al qaeda's set of goals. They effectively want to make the cost of "doing business" too high to justify. It just so happens that our government, and its messy military industrial complex, is in the business of neocolonialism.

You're right though -- I'm just trying on other angles here. And actually I take it back, because bricks through starbucks windows are effective in this exact sense but obviously aren't terrorism. Nevermind.


Yeah, and al-Qaeda also adds the ingredient of killing non-combatants, which I'm arguing ALF neither does nor intends to do. But word.
Post Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:47 pm
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icarus502
kung-pwn master


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Embryo wrote:
well, the definition of the government there is pretty self-serving -- I would argue that economics is actually at the core of, say, al qaeda's set of goals. They effectively want to make the cost of "doing business" too high to justify.


"Too high" with regard to lives lost and the value ascribed to those lives. Not necessarily "too high" from a financial standpoint, which isn't really a goal that they could really reach w/r/t the U.S.
Post Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:49 pm
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 517
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icarus502 wrote:
w/r/t


Haha, I just figured out wtf that means b/c i've seen it b4 but didn't get it.
Post Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:51 pm
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Embryo



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icarus502 wrote:
Embryo wrote:
well, the definition of the government there is pretty self-serving -- I would argue that economics is actually at the core of, say, al qaeda's set of goals. They effectively want to make the cost of "doing business" too high to justify.


"Too high" with regard to lives lost and the value ascribed to those lives. Not necessarily "too high" from a financial standpoint, which isn't really a goal that they could really reach w/r/t the U.S.


OBL actually has stated outright that the goal of al qaeda is to bankrupt the US. Their whole MO is to goad us into catastrophic overreach, financially speaking.

Actually I think it's totally attainable if it hasn't already been attained. The blame lies more on bush than on OBL, but they both needed each other.
Post Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:16 pm
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breakreep
homophobic yet curious


Joined: 27 Sep 2004
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Inedible Condiment wrote:
And I wish to implore TurnpikeGates to post more often.


Seriously. Best new poster in a while.

This thread is good, too.

Oh and, Turnpike is right about (some) morality being intuitive. This isn't even a philosophical issue, it's a biological one. This is something we know, to the same or an even greater degree than we know about more broadly accepted things like epigenetics, or even, say, gravity (anybody, raise your hand if you know the transmission mechanism of gravity, and if you say "graviton" I'm going to laugh, and raise you a "stellar ether"). Why this is ever debated or taken to question at the behest of inquiry by any philosophical school or principle, is beyond me. You may as well debate evolutionary drift on the basis that, say, the self is dependent on others, ergo the isolated Galapagos could not possibly have experienced a transformation of self. That analogy is a stretch but I need to get home and you get the general picture.

So, intuitive morality, certainly. Absolute morality, though? Never.
Post Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:26 pm
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Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
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TurnpikeGates wrote:
Ok, I pretty much agree with you on feminism-- I'm not up to speed on the third wave, but we could have a whole discussion on sex-positive feminism, Spice Girls feminism, and the whole lot of it. Suffice it to say that I think feminism has been successfully made into a dirty word, especially among women of my generation (not the ones I roll with, but still). And it's ignorance, not an active stance.
Totally. Maybe that thread will spring up some time, but I admit that this isn't it. Heh.


Quote:

But I mostly wanted to respond to your other two points. I agree with what you say about harming attitudes. But I'm not so sure it's the responsibility of the black bloc to do PR for the left.
I think I was unclear in what distinction I was trying to make - I'm not challenging the idea that radicals aren't always trying to score brownie points for their ideologies in public (not to take it back to feminism, but I had a long argument with a friend the other night about Andrea Dworkin; he talked about the harm she did to feminism's PR by being radical, and I was saying that she wasn't in the business of representing feminism qua feminism, she was carbombing heterosexual/patriarchal society not to make a statement, but to DO something).

I just meant that I don't think the undesirable fallout would look like people embracing the direct inverse of the ideals being put into action, just more likely that they would pull their heads under the covers and want nothing to do with it because it seems distasteful.

I mean it's an undeniable side-effect, even if it's not directly counter to the goals of the action in question.


Quote:

I mean, the police clobber the shit out of people and are generally ruthless at any kind of mass protest, but we don't see this tainting of all police as bad in the public mind.
I think we actually do see this encroaching more and more, all the time. And while I don't agree with some of my esteemed colleagues on this board that all police are always bad all the time, I do think that it's fair that their reputation grows in that dimension until sufficient measures are undertaken to change the things they do that garner it.

Lots of people are just plain scared of cops, if not also contemptuous. I think it does increase, slowly, the more needless brutality is witnessed by the public. Canada's talking about the RCMP and tasers pretty seriously, for example - people don't trust them with that power as an option. I think that's telling.


Quote:

Most people's experiences with activists/organizers/protesters are mediated by the television or some form of mass media, and the distortions are created there, before it reaches their minds. So we can't help the fact that the media is going to tarnish the image of people who want real change, whether the black bloc exists or not.
Absolutely true, although I would also argue that the face of protesting since Seattle has become more and more ineffectual to the point where people who want real change are being sidelined away from doing constructive work by organizing big parades every so often.


Quote:

So think it is a mistake to cater to public (and therefore media) perception. The issue and the moral imperative should guide actions, not the media game.
I think that there's no need for a binary here - different actions have different goals, different considerations and different optimal methods. Maybe you can't make a given direct action pretty or immediately sympathetic, but maybe someone else can create an environment in which people better understand what the action is and why?


Quote:

The biggest lie coming out of Iraq is that they can't handle their shit. They had a pretty stable (though, yes, totally awful) system there before the U.S. arrived, and yes it's been dismantled, but U.S. troops are not standing between that country and collapse... it's already collapsed and they can't pick up the pieces until we're out.
Right but since it HAS collapsed, they can't handle their shit. It's not because they're genetically incapable or in any way not the sort of people who could handle their shit, it's because their shit has been made unhandleable by intervention.

The problem isn't that these are the people who produced the reign Saddam Hussein (I mean hi there, WE are the people who produced the reign of Saddam Hussein), the problem is that there is a power vacuum now (even with this flimsy puppet gov't in place, which is hitting the dirt as soon as troops are out let's not kid ourselves) and the region is by no means homogeneous and having toppled the only source of stability they had and blitzed the infrastructure... bouncing and letting them fight over the survivors' fate until the biggest gun wins is just one more kick in the face.

Loath as I am to look at it this way, I disagree that the US' responsibility doesn't remain to some extent military. I think that an enormous potential victim class has been created - far bigger than the victim class that already existed there - by intervention and throwing them to the wolves also in part created by this conflict would be the impeccable evil of a person who washes their hands and whistles while someone else suffers the long tail of consequences from their previous actions.

So yeah the US and their contractors have zero moral authority to lead in the region, but someone has to. It would be great if some local faction with popular support and a viable future could be propped up... but does such a thing exist? I don't know.

All I know is they got pushed in the muck and just leaving them in it is gross.
Post Fri May 01, 2009 10:44 am
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
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Jesse,
I agree with everything you said, except MAYBE on Iraq.
I shouldn't have said there's no military responsibility. What I meant is that there is no RIGHT to military presence. The U.S. should no longer have a role that is about security of ANY U.S. interests (other than lives, obviously) and the sole responsibility should be nation-building of the least intrusive variety. The U.S. should not be backing any particular leader, any particular electoral system (or even representative democracy if that's not what's wanted there) or having any political influence. If the U.S. is to stay one minute longer, it should be in PURELY support role, and accompany trucks full of cash for reconstruction-- funded by the profiteers.

This isn't what's going to happen though. I say the last U.S. soldier won't leave Iraq before 2020. I say reparations won't be paid, because it would be unprecedented and against the American style. Any reconstruction effort made on U.S. taxpayer backs will be no-bid contracts for U.S. based multi-nationals and for projects that funnel money or resources back to us or our allies.

I'd love to be proven wrong.
Post Fri May 01, 2009 3:22 pm
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Jesse



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I agree with you. Internet smart dudes hug.
Post Fri May 01, 2009 4:33 pm
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Jared Paul



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I just got back from a very inspiring May 1st/Immigration Reform action at the RI ICE headquarters downtown and I'm trying to keep positive, but this:

Jesse wrote:
I agree with you. Internet smart dudes hug.


kind of makes me want to vomit.

No disrespect Jess! I'm just sayin' (sticks internet smart finger down throat and makes smart internet gagging motion).

That being said, I read every post in this thread and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to witness such a thorough discussion.

As someone who's been vegan for 12 years, a multi-time direct action arrestee, and the friend of a person who has done prison time for illegal direct action for animal rights, I wanted to underscore a few things- especially in regards to the time Icarus and TurnpikeGates have taken to explain the motivation/ideology behind certain types of direct action.

I can assure you, that for many people these acts are not about a movement or causing a nationwide change in philosophy, but rather acting directly to immediately deliver living, sentient creatures from the most indescribable of suffering/torture/captivity.

Destruction of animal testing labs and forceful animal liberation are abstract/fanatical- when you have no direct connection to the animals/beings in question.

A veal calf has one life. Once it's dead, it's over and done with- the creature, that Nature intended to be wild and uncaged, will spend it's whole self aware existence in a 2x3 inch box slowly being starved to death, fed only liquid nutrition, denied nearly all movement... as it's muscles go gimp and it cant support it's weight, as it's stomach sags to the floor and it's atrophied legs splay, as it goes blind and the flies swarm.

This is utterly inexcusable. Nothing deserves to die that way. And one can work to get the laws changed but thousands/millions will surely suffer that fate before success is achieved via legal means- if it is in fact, ever achieved by legal means.

At some point, for many people, it doesn't matter whether their actions may hurt the 'face' of the overall movement... it becomes about preventing a sentient creature from suffering, slavery, and torture.

I choose not to participate in property destruction or illegal direct action because I've had many small tastes of jail- which have given me a healthy respect for what a long sentence would mean, and currently, i don't believe it's worth the risk of losing huge amounts of my life/emotional-spiritual damage that might come with such an incarceration, nor do i believe it would be responsible of me to yield the time I currently spend working for change, but I recognize anyone's right to physically free an enslaved/tortured person or animal- as I recognize every enslaved/tortured person or animal's right to be freed.
Post Fri May 01, 2009 7:50 pm
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