First, it should be noted that no animal rights group like the Animal Liberation Front has claimed responsibility. Yet the FBI has recklessly labeled this “eco-terrorism,” just like the recent Seattle arson, before the smoke had even cleared. We’ve seen plenty of instances when the government later says “oops, it wasn’t ‘eco-terrorism’ after all.” And we’ve seen other instances, like the attempted murder of Judi Bari, when the FBI framed activists. In short: reporters, activists, and the general public need to slow down, step back, and stop blindly trusting the “official” story provided by the FBI.
In this “with us or against us” War on Terrorism, though, facts don’t really matter. All that matters, in the eyes of the government and corporations, is whether you are in the “with us” camp or the “against us” camp.
In hopes of avoiding the latter, the Humane Society of the United States has offered $2,500 to the “eco-terrorism” witch hunt in California.
It’s strategic for HSUS to try to stay far, far away from this mess, since the organization is pushing a historic ballot initiative for farmed animals in the state. But corporations and industry groups have already responded to the PR gesture, loud and clear: all the donations, press releases and sound bites in the world won’t protect you.
From the Center for Consumer Freedom:
“Nobody should be fooled by HSUS’s paltry gesture. While pretending to be part of the solution, the group continues to be a significant part of the problem—an over-zealous social movement bent on extending legal rights to animals, whether or not thinking people like the consequences. The entire community of Santa Cruz is learning this week what can happen when human beings resist the sort of evolution the animal rights community has planned for them. And it’s not pretty.”
We’ve already seen how the New McCarthyists are exploiting crimes like this to push a broader political agenda. They’re saying if you oppose bombings, you must support legislation like the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and a new California “eco-terrorism” law. They’re saying if you oppose bombings, you must support home raids. They’re saying if you oppose bombings, you must support hauling activists before grand juries.
Their goal here is not to solve this crime, or stop underground groups. Why? Because the true threat here is not the tactic, the true threat is the belief system. This is a culture war. Don’t just take my word for it. Feedstuffs, an “agribusiness” publication, said the HSUS ballot initiative in California represented the threat of a “vegetarian nation.” Fight them with everything you have, it warned: The “dam must not be breached.”
In many ways, Feedstuffs and CCF are absolutely right. This is a turning point in history. Not just for the animal rights movement, but for a country showing frightening parallels to the worst eras of government repression. The question, then, is this: Should we all, like HSUS, try to buy ourselves a little time? Or should we step up and fight the New McCarthyists head on?
[And to continue the heated discussion on a previous post... Where do you draw the line in terms of activist groups proclaiming their disapproval of other activists? With awards for arresting activists? With counter-protests? With press releases? When (if ever) is it appropriate and effective?]
What do you think?