Florida ADL reports Earth First! Journal and local group as “animal rights extremists”

By Earth First! Journal editorial collective

A new report from the Anti-Defamation League titled Dark Side of the Sunshine State, which deals primarily with racist, right wing organizations, also includes a section subtitled Animal Rights Extremism. Before readers get any further, we intend to make it clear that as “extreme” as our collective may be in defense of biodiversity on the planet, we extend that passion to our disgust with fascists, racists and xenophobes across the board. We are saddened to see ADL’s extensive research wasted on our efforts. The group, which was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” and now claims to be the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, has gotten quite a bit far afield here.

But back to the ADL document at hand. Regarding the Everglades Earth First! group, it states: “The radical environmental movement has also long been active in Florida, though its actions are characterized primarily by sit-ins and demonstrations, rather than by the large-scale acts of property destruction carried out by radical environmentalists elsewhere. It is not uncommon for members of Everglades Earth First!, the local chapter of the national radical environmental group Earth First!, to be arrested for trespassing, unlawful assembly and resisting arrest during demonstrations against power plants and commercial developers they perceive as being responsible for urban sprawl and overdevelopment.” Okay, and the point here is?

It goes on to note that “Animal rights extremists also often target Florida corporations involved in the vivisection industry. Since 2008, companies like Primate Products, Inc., and Worldwide Primates, Inc., have been subject to break-ins, “liberation” of their animals, and, in one case, vandalism of an executive’s personal property…” and that “Florida is home to two magazines dedicated to promoting radical animal rights and environmental rights agendas. Bite Back, based in West Palm Beach, provides information about the criminal activities of radical animal liberation groups. The magazine has also featured threats of vandalism and violence against animal researchers, and, in 2007, settled a lawsuit in which the New York Stock Exchange accused Bite Back of “encouraging or inciting… extremist and illegal activities.”

And finally, in the closing line of the document: “The Earth First! Journal, which reports on the ideology and activities of what it describes as the “no compromise ecological movement,” announced in 2010 that it would be moving its operations to Lake Worth by early 2011.”

In Lughnasadh edtition, 2007, EF! Journal editors responded to the ADL’s listing of Green Scare defendants as “eco-terrorists” in an article titled Extreme Confusion: Why Do Civil Rights Watchdog Groups Care About the Earth Liberation Front, which asked,

“How did these organizations—which were founded with the express purpose of combating anti-Semitism and white supremacy, and which have enjoyed the strong support of liberals and progressives for decades—develop such a keen interest in the Earth and animal liberation movements? The answer lies in a disappointing, disturbing and largely unknown history of neoconservative political agendas, adherence to a centrist/extremist model of society, unethical and illegal intelligence-gathering activities, cooperation with law enforcement, poor journalism and fear-mongering…” The article can be read in its entirety here.

If the ADL is true to its mission, which states “Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination.” It may want to consider readjusting its priorities a wee bit. For some further reading on anti-fascist efforts from the Earth First! movement, check out the articles below from Journals over the last decade:

Kicking the KKK Out of Katuah, EF! Journal, Beltane, 2002

Practical Ideas for an anti-racist radical ecological movement, EF! Journal, Mabon, 2009

Razing Arizona/Arrasando Arizona: The ecological battle against borders/La Lucha Ecologica Contra Las Fronteras, EF! Journal, 30th Anniversary edition, 2010

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