Discipline in the Trenches
from No Compromise Issue 7
By Groose Rats & Co.

Have you ever been arrested at a nonviolent protest for animal liberation? If so, read on.

You have become a part of history, a history rich in nonviolent protest actions dating back to the Boston tea party, Harriet Tubman's underground railroad, Henry David Thoreau's refusal to pay war taxes, the suffragette movement, the labor movement, and Mohandas Gandhi's campaign for Indian independence from the British Empire.

Being a part of history takes responsibility, and that responsibility is all about discipline. All militant forces have discipline. If we do not have the resources to set up animal liberation boot camps or visit them overseas, then we have to develop a strong sense of self-discipline to combat the forces working against our efforts toward animal liberation.

Why Discipline? In addition to being arrested at organized protests, one by one, outside of the usual protest situation, we are being brought in by the authorities to be questioned, railroaded, harassed, threatened, and set-up. Seemingly unimportant encounters with the police have resulted in fellow comrades being hauled in for questioning, their homes raided, their computers and files taken, and more. We must be prepared for this assault BEFORE it comes.

Discipline will prevent fear, loneliness, isolation, and insecurity from taking over and causing us additional stress that can lead to tragedy for the structure of our animal rights militia.

Discipline in Ten Easy Steps.

1. Acknowledge and come to terms with the reasons you are in this movement. If these reasons stem from some unresolved conflict with authority, forget it and move on. The animal rights militia needs people committed to animals and to other activists within their affinity* or cell groups. (*Affinity groups are self-sufficient support units of 5 to 15 people who work together toward a common goal. Whether or not you are planning to do civil disobedience, it is important to either form an affinity group or join an already existing one. Affinity groups serve as a source of support and solidarity for their members.)

2. Make a pact with your affinity or cell group. For example, my cell knows that I would never say anything that would incriminate any of them, no matter what. I also trust them to the same extent. This trust was built over many years. DO NOT TRUST ANYONE JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE WILLING TO DO CERTAIN THINGS.

3. If you are participating in a covert action, make your plan as foolproof as possible, but never think for a moment that you will not be caught. If you are caught, stay calm. Keep silent. Be prepared to rot in jail, but take comfort in knowing we are out here supporting you and your efforts. Prisons are not hotels. They can be hell holes and you might be harmed in one. Are you ready for this? If not, don't do anything that might land you in one.

4. Develop the ability to keep silent--in every circumstance. If you have an overwhelming desire to tell people what you have done, then you will eventually volunteer information to the police. They are trained to get information from people who don't speak. What chance do you stand? If you know someone like this, do not get involved with this person, period.

5. If you are arrested, be prepared to be separated and told lies by the police. Lies like: "All of your friends have bailed out," "So-and-so is cooperating," "We are keeping you longer," etc. These lies are intended to make you feel isolated and angry~angry enough to turn on the people who you think have turned on you. DO NOT BELIEVE THE POLICE! Have the discipline to handle the separation and take comfort in knowing that there are people supporting you on the outside. If someone has turned on you, deal with it. Do not make it worse.

6. Plan as much as possible. Before you participate in an action that might lead to an arrest, make sure that your life is in order. Make sure you understand the arrest procedure. Attend as many CD training classes that you can. Discipline falls apart when we are pressured to do something we are not prepared for. All our actions have consequences. If you follow the No Compromise philosophy, then you should follow through on it. If your affinity group knows what each person is able to do ahead of time, then chaos will be prevented. Activists who jump in for the fun or the thrill of the moment, might not be able to follow through on what others can do and this can lead to infighting and bitterness between activists.

7. Recognize that the best laid plans can fall apart at the last minute. Be strong. Have a plan B, C, D, etc. Or have a fall-back position, even if it is just knowing the plan can fall through. Be calm and resist causing additional stress by blaming it on someone or complaining about why the plan failed. The time to do an evaluation is later. Nothing is guaranteed.

8. If you are the only one arrested, be prepared to go it alone. If you were part of a larger group and everyone else has been released, stay strong in the knowledge that you will be out soon and things are not what they appear. Do not do or say anything you might regret later. Keep silent.

9. If the FBI, local police, or any other agency comes knocking at your door, do not let them in without a warrant. Do not speak to them on the phone either. Call Larry Weiss at (707) 576-1415. Preserve your right to privacy.

10. Learn more about what the government, private industry, and large PR firms are doing to destroy the animal liberation movement. Be aware of the tactics that have lead to other movements falling apart.

We can explore counter-intelligence and the tactics used in another article. [Check out Anne Crimaudo's article, Informers Are Everywhere] If we are prepared, we are strong. If we are strong, we cannot be manipulated. If we cannot be manipulated, then in time, the animals will be liberated.

Resources for further reading:

CovertAction Quarterly, Dept. MFW, 1500 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #732, Washington, DC 20005

Free the Animals! : The Untold Story of the U.S. Animal Liberation Front and Its Founder, 'Valerie' by Ingrid Newkirk

Institute for Global Communications, East Coast Office, 1731 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20009;

Nonviolence International, P.O. Box 39127, Friendship Station, N.W., Washington, DC 20016;

Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Handbook--


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