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Now, in the wake of the police riots in St Paul, seems to be an especially apt moment for my report trying viagra on the "History of Activist Repression" panel at AR2008, on which I appeared along with Heidi Boghosian and Will Potter. Here it is. . . feds spying on activists Speaking to a SRO crowd, executive director Heidi Boghosian led off the AR2008 panel on "the history of activist repression" with a succinct overview of that history within the United States. Trying viagra i can't begin to justice to that overview but, luckily, i don't have to. Heidi very generously passed along her PowerPoint presentation for me to share with Superweed readers and I converted it to PDF for ease of access. (If you want me to send you the huge ppt file by email, just say so. ) Here it is: It's an unusually succinct and comprehensive overview of state repression of activism from the foundation of the USA to the post 9/11 days of "terrorization" of activism. Check it out! Next up: Will Potter of Green is the New Red, to cover the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and associated recent efforts to suppress environmental and animal rights activism. I was relieved when Will said that he had been up late the night before, revising his comments over and over again, and was still not sure what to say because I was sitting there revising my own comments and still not sure what to say. It's all so urgent. It's not clear what will happen next. In that context, it felt especially important to be true and relevant, framing one's remarks in a way that would help audience members make their own sense of the situation and, most importantly, feel empowered and ready to resist rather than demoralized and terrified. Characteristically, Will used humor to leaven his message. It occurs to me now that Will's brand of bleak, absurdist humor is common among leftists facing state repression anywhere. It's a healthy response! I won't waste your time and my space summarizing the information Will imparted, since more cleverly worded than I could manage. I did notice that he focused on , which was both apt in the current context and (I hope) reminded everyone that protection of property is the function of the capitalist state, as evidenced by Heidi's litany of soldiers attacking striking workers and private goon squads acting like police. Animal rights activists need to see themselves within this history not only because it builds morale to realize that they are fighting back because we've cost them real money but also because we need to understand that real freedom for animals will never be gained within the context of private property rights backed up by state force. I went next, with the mandate of talking about what we can learn from this history and also finding a way to close the show on an upbeat note. After singing the praises of Green is the New Red and the NLG -- which, unlike the ACLU, is *always* there for activists and for which I have both affection and respect --- I mentioned that in that infamous year of 1976, when I both quit meat and came out, I also went to my first gay bar, which was raided by police moments after I left. From [trying viagra] the parking lot across the street, I watched gay men and lesbians literally tossed into police vans by cops calling them "faggot" and "dyke. " Back then, it was a kind of activism just to be visibly gay, so I do consider that a form of state repression of activism. (Also, I noticed that Heidi merged the history of repression of racial, ethnic, or other social groups into the history of state repression of activism and I do agree that those two histories ought to be perceived as intertwined. ) cops menace ACTUP-SF 1990 Cops menace ACTUP sit-in, San Francisco, 1990 Skipping forward some decades, I then talked about the early 1990s, when the AIDS activist group ACTUP was most dangerous to corporate interests and was also making linkages with other movements, for example when (during the first Gulf War) one activist stormed the set of the McNeil-Lehrer news hour and chained himself to the desk, chanting "fight AIDS, not Arabs. " Right around that time, our local ACTUP chapter started experiencing some strange situations. Counter-protesters showed up at an action we had not announced to the public or the press. People within the group started hating on each other for mysterious reasons, as if somebody was deliberately sowing discord. Several of us started getting anonymous threatening phone calls and notes. Luckily, we knew our history and it wasn't long before we started wondering: " all over again?" We called up some other chapters around the country and, sure enough, they were experiencing the same things. Of course, we'll probably never know if that was the case but that analysis allowed us to pull ourselves back together and not let ourselves be destabilized. Following that story, I gave some brief guidelines, for groups and individuals, for taking the possibility of state subversion, repression, or surveillance into account. First, brace for backlash, especially just after some sort of victory, because that's when it tends to happen. Next, interpret any backlash as a sign of progress. Next, structure your group in a manner that makes subversion more difficult. Double-team everything. Use the spider web rather than the bicycle wheel as the pattern of communication. Develop and maintain strong and trusting relationships. One study of survivors of the Mississippi campaign found that mutually supportive relationships helped activists to survive the trauma they suffered due to state repression trying viagra, so we know for sure that such relationships are important personally as well as for the survival of the group. I closed by going back to the gay bar and noting that the modern gay liberation movement traces its history to the Stonewall rebellion, during which patrons at a gay bar -- many of them in drag-- barricaded themselves inside the bar, lobbing bricks out at the police, rather than submit to yet another arrest. You don't have to wear a dress or actually throw a brick to follow their example, I told the audience. But you can use repression as an impetus for creative resistance, tossing a metaphorical brick back at the cops and then throwing a parade the next day. In the brief discussion that followed the panel presentations, Will Potter remarked that, looking back at Nazi Germany for example, you think that you would have known when the time came, when the line was crossed, when fascism that must be resisted had actually arrived, but it's so much more blurry when it's happening. I opined that the line has long since been crossed here in the USA: We've got a government that openly practices torture, that disappears people into secret prisons overseas, that holds people without charges for indefinitely. Thinking about that led me to realize that resistance to state repression itself is a potentially fruitful arena of intersection between animal advocates and activists in other movements. We don't have to agree with each other (yet) about the goals of our activism, but we can and should all get together to resist such things and, in so doing, can forge cross-movement relationships in which natural cross-fertilization of ideas and values will occur. And indeed that is happening. I was so happy to see someone from Amnesty International at the closing plenary session. Dalia Hashad, who is director of Amnesty's domestic human rights program and who previously worked with the ACLU's Campaign Against Racial Profiling, offered the most coherent survey of the ongoing repression of *animal* rights activists I've heard, stressing that what's happening to animal liberation activists right now in Austria must be seen as an emergency by everybody. I can't quite capture how tenderly heart-warming it was for me to see someone who felt so familiar to me from my years in the left standing on the stage of an animal rights conference, glad to be there, and genuinely expressing solidarity. I hope that animal liberation activists will seize any opportunity to make answering gestures of solidarity.


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