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ALF Interview | Can Başkent

Can Başkent

logic and the rest...

ALF INTERVIEW

CAN BAŞKENT - UTKU USTA - ALPER SARIKAYA

Hi. We are here just to learn more about Animal Liberation Front. So, let us begin with a short history, timelines and some victories as well as the failures.
This question is much too broad and general. It would be better if this was in a preface to the interview with information that you research yourself.

How do you form the activist groups? How do you aviod misuse of the name ALF by individuals / groups who may not act according to your guidelines? I ask because you organise in form of little affinity groups that we are familiar in non-violence literature. So, most activists may not know the other people involved in ALF?
Activists form themselves into groups without any assistance from anyone else. Activists work only with people they completely trust, this way they can be sure that there are no infiltrators or police agents amongst them. As well, no ALF member tells anyone else that they are an ALF member, except for those who they work with. As far as I'm aware, there has not been any or much "misuse of the name ALF" by anyone. In North America, where the ALF have been active for over 23 years, there has never been a breach of the ALF guidelines.

Cell-type organisation certainly avoids a kind of hierarchy appearing in ALF. Is this a political or practical choice?
Both. Political because a decentralised structure ensures autonomy in decision-making and control over activities by the activists who are involved, and practical because without a hierarchical structure thepolice cannot stop the organization if they arrest one small group amongst many.

What is the importance of being illegal of an action?
There is no real importance in the illegal nature of ALF actions, it just happens to be that saving animals and destroying the property of animal abusers is illegal in our society.

Could you please inform us about your perception of non-violence. As the politics, missions and the goals differs; non-violent strategies differs as well. So, what are your differences from any animal rights organisations in a manner of speaking of non-violence?
We believe that violence cannot be done to something which is not alive and/or does not feel pain or cannot suffer. Therefor a brick through a window is non-violent because the window is just a thing, not a sentient being. Violence can only occur against life.

For example do you perform consensus as the desicion making process? Do you have affinity groups? Do you reject any form of violence?
Each ALF cell is autonomous, as well as anonymous. I do not know how each ALF cell reaches their decisions, but I do know that each cell decides for itself what kind of action to take. Each ALF cell is similar to what you call "affinity groups." The ALF work under a strict guideline of non-violence.

The number of animals which ALF is able to liberate is positively correlated with the number of homes willing to adopt those animals. Since, ALF is an underground organisation, how does this home finding process take place?
The ALF cell which plans an animal rescue mission must figure out for themselves the homes they need for the animals they will rescue. There is no other group to take on that task.

Can you give us more detail about the famous Mars Company action?*
No, sorry.

What's ALF's definition of vivisection? What are your alternatives for it? Usually, people ask us what would you put instead of vivisection. Generally, vivisection is commonly accepted in nearly all societies.. What do you all suggest instead?..
This question is too broad and out of my range of expertise. I would generally say that vivisection must end completely, as with most forms of modern medical research. More denergy and resources must go into preventative research, and attacking the root causes of disease, such as cleaning up (and stopping the pollution of) our air, water, and food. Cancer and most ailments of our species are a result of our lifestyle, resource consumption, and pollution. Change all that first before torturing animals to find bandaid solutions to disease.

What are your plans about anti-genetix? It's claimed that further genetic researchs may lead animal-free experimentations. Your comments?
I have no plans about anti-genetix, and I have no general knowledge of the argument to pose to me.

What is your relations between Earth Liberation Front? Are there any organisations that you cooperate?
The ELF are considered the "sister organization" to the ALF because they operate under the same code of non-violence and use the same tactics, but are more broad in their scope of issues they address.

What are your ideas about the companion animals and the zoos?
The ALF believe that all animals must be free to live their lives without any interferance, manipulation, suffering, torture, death, etc. from humans. Zoos are no exception. Companion animals might in fact be rescued animals, so I do not see a problem with that. The problem is with the breeders, not the companions.

What do you think about the anarchism? We think that, you are rather close to anarchist ideals..
Not every ALF activist would consider themselves an anarchist, but I do agree that the ideals are similar in some respects.

What do you think about the global animal rights movement? Do you think that, antiglobalisation movements around the world would yield some benefit for the animal rights movement?
I think that the animal rights movement need to begin working with other environmental and social justice and anti-globalization movements, and vice-versa. We are stronger as a unified force on issues where we can find common ground.

Why didn't you quit activism after 11 September? As we know, most radical opposing groups quit activism after the mentioned tragedy? Did you lose any activist/supporters due to this decision?
I'm not aware of anyone "quitting activism" after Sept. 11, and I don't believe anyone changed their opinion about oppression against animals after Sept. 11.

What do you know about the political struggle in Turkey. As we know, we are quite mystic.
Not much!

How dou you evaluate following organisations: Greenpeace, PeTA, Earth First!..
Every group has its place in the larger movement, though we do not all agree on tactics, we are all necessary to move the struggle forward.

Do you participate in Mayday actions in your area?
Yes.

At the moment, are there any ALF or ELF activist in the prisons? What do you suggest our readers in order to support them in the prison? First thing we consider is writing a letter..
Check out http://www.spiritoffreedom.org.uk. Writing letters to prisoners is the best thing a person can do.

Palestenian and Israel conflict is something rather out of your perspective, but how do you evaluate the situation in the Near East?
This is not relevent to the discussion about animal liberation.

As I was informed recently, Animal Liberation Front contaminated the bottles of shampoo in New Zealand. But, as the old "Mars Company action", it seems as a hoax. Yet, we are deeply appreciate those kinds of actions. But, what happens if they don't rely on your press release, and go on to consume P&G products. Perhaps, in near future the effects of those hoax will decrease. Then, will you be able to find a new kind of non-violent action?
This is something I cannot possibly comment on. I am always happy to see new forms of non-violent actions take place.

North American Animal Liberation Front Press Office
***** The Voice of the A.L.F. *****
Spokesperson: David Barbarash
Email: naalfpo@tao.ca
Phone: 250-703-6312
Fax: 419-858-9065
Mailing Address: P.O.Box 3673, Courtenay, BC, V9N 7P1 Canada


* : One of the most famous actions carried out by ARM happened in England, 1984. The Mars Company had performed horrific tooth decay experiments on animals with no signs of stopping. By claiming to the media that Mars Bars, candy bars, had been poisoned, the company withdrew it's candy from the shelves which cost the company huge financial losses. ARM later acknowledged the poisoning was a hoax, but the company realized the potential for further actions and withdrew from animal experiments.