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Total Liberation

Total Liberation: The Power and Promise of Animal Rights and the Radical Earth Movement

David Naguib Pellow
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Total Liberation
    Book Description:

    When in 2001 Earth Liberation Front activists drove metal spikes into hundreds of trees in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, they were protesting the sale of a section of the old-growth forest to a timber company. But ELF's communiqué on the action went beyond the radical group's customary brief. Drawing connections between the harms facing the myriad animals who make their home in the trees and the struggles for social justice among ordinary human beings resisting exclusion and marginalization, the dispatch declared, "all oppression is linked, just as we are all linked," and decried the "patriarchal nightmare" in the form of "techno-industrial global capitalism."

    InTotal Liberation, David Naguib Pellow takes up this claim and makes sense of the often tense and violent relationships among humans, ecosystems, and nonhuman animal species, expanding our understanding of inequality and activists' uncompromising efforts to oppose it. Grounded in interviews with more than one hundred activists, on-the-spot fieldwork, and analyses of thousands of pages of documents, websites, journals, and zines,Total Liberationreveals the ways in which radical environmental and animal rights movements challenge inequity through a vision they call "total liberation." In its encounters with such infamous activists as scott crow, Tre Arrow, Lauren Regan, Rod Coronado, and Gina Lynn, the book offers a close-up, insider's view of one of the most important-and feared-social movements of our day. At the same time, it shows how and why the U.S. justice system plays to that fear, applying to these movements measures generally reserved for "jihadists"-with disturbing implications for civil liberties and constitutional freedom.

    How do the adherents of "total liberation" fight oppression and seek justice for humans, nonhumans, and ecosystems alike? And how is this pursuit shaped by the politics of anarchism and anticapitalism? In his answers, Pellow provides crucial in-depth insight into the origins and social significance of the earth and animal liberation movements and their increasingly common and compelling critique of inequality as a threat to life and a dream of a future characterized by social and ecological justice for all.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4303-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Philosophy, Environmental Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  6. INTRODUCTION: All Oppression Is Linked
    (pp. 1-22)

    A business card. How innocuous. But when it’s the business card of an FBI special agent, slipped nonchalantly into your mailbox at work—mymailbox at work—it takes on a little extra heft. That morning in April 2010, I was pretty sure what the agent wanted to talk about, but a staff member’s note “Re: student” backed up my suspicions, as did the voice mail that greeted me when I got to my office at the University of Minnesota, where I am a professor of sociology. The agent reiterated that he’d like to interview me and asked that I...

  7. CHAPTER 1 Never Apologize for Your Rage: Radical Origins and Organizing
    (pp. 23-60)

    Social movements do not form spontaneously. Accordingly, in this chapter I investigate what energizes earth and animal liberation movements, how these activists became radicalized, and how the total liberation framework has taken hold in these evolving movements.

    I begin with the stories of several activists to provide a sense of how some individuals move toward activism outside the mainstream. I then consider the wider social and historical forces and contexts that have pushed entiregroupsof people into radical activism, creating movements for transformative change. I then probe the conflicts and tensions between radicals and mainstream groups and discourses, concluding...

  8. CHAPTER 2 Justice for the Earth and All Its Animals
    (pp. 61-92)

    In chapter 1, I explored how radical animal liberation and environmental justice movements are fueled. The activists respond to a call for action and are often disillusioned with what they see as ineffective, overly compromising politics associated with mainstream organizations. Radical activists also draw on a long history of social movements and the politics of social justice, as well as grassroots organizing and ideas that took hold within academic disciplines.

    The total liberation frame is composed of an ethic of justice and anti-oppression for people, nonhuman animals, and ecosystems; anarchism; anticapitalism; and an embrace of direct action tactics. Essentially: direct...

  9. CHAPTER 3 Anarchism and Anticapitalism: Liberation from Government and Market
    (pp. 93-126)

    The second and third dimensions of the total liberation frame are anarchism and anticapitalism. In my view, there are few strict boundaries between anarchism and anticapitalism: both are directed largely at the capitalist state, the range of institutional and cultural forces that constitute it, and monopoly power itself. But for the purposes of organizing this chapter, I have chosen to write about them largely separately and in sequence.

    Drawing on wide-ranging sources of evidence and interview data, I consider the history and evolution of these ideas in the development of radical environmental and animal liberation movements. Here I build on...

  10. CHAPTER 4 Direct Action: Confrontation, Sabotage, and Property Destruction
    (pp. 127-162)

    The final component of the total liberation frame suggests actions and practices aimed at bringing about justice for ecosystems, nonhuman animals, and humans (ideally, within an anarchist, noncapitalist society). Though just one part of radical movements, direct action has taken up nearly all of public discussion about radical politics. Here, we explore how activists practice direct action in a manner that meshes with the rest of the total liberation frame—anti-oppression and justice for all beings, anarchism, and anticapitalism. We also consider how these movements’ direct actions illuminate the human/nonhuman nexus, expanding our ideas of what constitutes a social movement....

  11. CHAPTER 5 The Green Scare: State Repression of Liberation Movements
    (pp. 163-210)

    If, as chapter 4 concluded, social movements willing to take direct action and challenge our ideas of what ispossiblein their country’s future represent a true threat to the state, the phenomenon is not new. In August 1963, FBI assistant director William Sullivan said of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “We must mark him now … as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of national security.” The United States may cherish its status as a “melting pot,” but the state rarely hesitates to slap the hand that attempts to stir...

  12. CHAPTER 6 Resisting the Green Scare
    (pp. 211-244)

    After being jailed for arsons in Utah and Colorado, ALF activist Walter Bond made defiant final statements to the court. In his first hearing in February 2011, he stated, “In a society that values money over life, I consider it an honor to be a prisoner of war, the war against inter-species slavery and objectification!”¹ Several months later, he told a Utah judge, “You can take my freedom, but you can’t have my submission,”² and he signed his name “Walter Bond, A.L.F.—P.O.W., A.K.A. Lone Wolf.” For those who support the ALF in particular and animal liberation in general, Bond...

  13. CONCLUSION: Piecing It Together
    (pp. 245-258)

    By now, your head is probably full of images: political prisoners languishing in cells, young people lobbing firebombs at labs, elderly Black Panther Party members back in a courtroom, and scholars looking over their shoulders as they conduct research on radical movements. The takeaway, however, is meant to be a wide-ranging story of inequality: some of the many forms it takes, its far-reaching impacts across humans and nonhumans, and creative ways some of us are confronting it.

    My work has always centered on the intersection of social inequalities and ecological politics, and my aim here is to deepen our comprehension...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 259-294)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 295-314)
  16. Index
    (pp. 315-344)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 345-346)