Video taken from the South Devon Animal Rights Facebook page.
The Hunt Saboteurs are a voluntary-organisation on the frontline of ecological defence in the British Isles. Communique From Devon Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17 “Another easy day for us with the Eggesford Hunt, who met at Kelland Barton in Lapford. Blue skies and warm weather all day, even despite the north-easterly wind. This meant there was next […]
The Hunt Saboteurs are a voluntary-organisation on the frontline of ecological defence in the British Isles.
Communique From Devon Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17
“Another easy day for us with the Eggesford Hunt, who met at Kelland Barton in Lapford. Blue skies and warm weather all day, even despite the north-easterly wind. This meant there was next to no scent and hounds were only heard in cry once all day.
From the meet the hunt went east into the valley before turning back and heading towards Edgerley House, where they hold their opening meet each season. Here a foot team was already waiting for them and watched from a good vantage point as Gary cast hounds out in the valley between Edgerley and Fursdon. They moved on towards Cleavehanger and then north in direction of Park Wood. Sab teams in front and behind the hunt kept sight of them throughout as they carried on in direction of Burrowcleave Wood. Unbeknownst to the hunt, hounds put up a fox. Sabs covered the scent and hounds never got onto it.
The hunt headed back towards Park Wood and south in direction of Coleridge Barton, with hounds being cast through small coverts and along hedges on the way. Sabs followed them as the hunt held up cars on the main road whilst they rode back towards Cleavehanger. Here hounds were once again cast out. Sabs watching from three vantage points witnessed them break out of a covert in full cry, heading in a line towards Cleavehanger. However, just as sabs were about to intervene, hounds lost the scent. From here Gary made his way back towards the meet, via the coverts east of Furdson and through a field full of very young lambs…
Gary didn’t seem to have much of a plan today, and there was a lot of going around in circles. Sabs were with him throughout, taking up positions in front and behind of the hunt. The lack of scent and constant sab presence was evidently bothering Gary and in the early afternoon he lost his temper after our sabs declined his request that they open a gate for him! However, the hunt did pack up by 3pm. Another nice early finish for us!
We’d like to thank everyone who has recently donated to our Land Rover repairs fundraiser. We had to get major work done on the engine which cost us in excess of £1000. If you can help us recover some of the cost, it would be much appreciated. Without our vehicles, we can’t sab. https://ko-fi.com/devchs
Communique From Nottingham Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17
Today we joined several other groups to scupper the Woodland Pytchley’s plans.
Shaun Stacey’s stewards did their best to send sabs home by committing 3 assaults, but each group retained their composure, refused to lower themselves to Stacey’s level and stuck to the huntsman and hounds.
Eventually the police couldn’t ignore the thugs’ actions any more and arrested Stacey, while the many sab groups kept a watchful eye on the hunt from roads and in the field.
The huntsman trotted back to his kennels before 4pm while Stacey was being processed in the local cop shop. Videos of his assaults are on their way to police, watch this space.
Communique From Dorset Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17
“Hit Report Saturday 25th March 2017
Joined by our friends from South West Sabs and a hunt monitor we decided to pay a visit to the Portman Hunt today for their last Saturday meet of this season. The meet was at Smugglers Mead in Stepleton and after setting off the hunt headed along Smugglers Lane in the direction of Everley Down.
For the duration of the morning the huntsman stayed on the western side of Boynes Lane paying visits to Ball Pit Coppice, Preston Wood and Rolfs Wood. With two landy’s out today, working with the monitor and foot sabs breaking into two and sometimes four teams we were able to keep track of the hunt all day. They spent well over an hour in the Happy Valley and Furzehill area and we suspect this was due to that fact there is only one footpath leading through the middle. This did not deter foot sabs though who did a marvellous job of patrolling the foot path from each end.
After lunch there was the usual change of horses and this happened on the road outside Hill Farm under the watchful eyes of the sabs. When re mounted on his fresh steed the huntsman took the hounds across the road in the direction of Lime Pit Coppice.
For the duration of the afternoon the huntsman kept to the eastern side of Boynes Lane. Drawing through Heth Coppice, Boynes Coppice, Shales Coppice and Ashy Coppice then headed down to Rough Ground. Whilst searching Rough Ground the hounds picked up and there was a flurry of activity. With foot sabs either side and one of the Landy’s on the yellow road south of Rough Ground we kept them in our sights. At this point one of the teams of foot sabs observed the hounds with what appeared to be fresh blood, we have footage of this which we will be reviewing and releasing separately. The police had been called by one of the Landy’s and one of them was a Wildlife Crime Officer who was very interested in what was happening and we were grateful to have him around.
A hound and a horse had extremely close shaves with motor vehicles on the road today at seperate times, both escaping serious injuries by a gnats whisker ! There was another incident when a horse got caught in barbed wire and a foot sab had to try and free the horses leg, sadly despite this happening riders behind continued to jump the fence without a care in the world or seemingly for their horses.
We also found several hounds running along the road South of Shales Coppice, there was a man chatting to two females riding bikes and following the hunt and they caught the first hound. We stopped to tell them that there was another one further down the road but despite saying thank you they made no effort at all to go and get it ….. shortly after we spotted the third one !
The hunt packed up around 4.30pm. Thank fully this season is about to finish but our work will continue with sett surveying over the coming months. If you want to join us please email us at email@example.com
Massive thanks to our monitor for his help and a big thank you to the WCO from Blandford and his colleagues for their assistance today.”
Animal welfare, ecological welfare and human welfare are intimately connected; they’re fundamentally inseparable. And so long as people stand by and allow acts of cruelty, like those of fox-hunters, to pass us by unchallenged/unresisted, the welfare of the environment we live in and are part of will continue to diminish.
“Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.” Arthur Schopenhauer
In February last year, the far-right wing newspaper The Daily Mail reported that air pollution is “killing” 40,000 British people a year. Several months later, Greenpeace posted on their website that air pollution is causing 40,000 lives to be “cut short”.
These claims have been criticised within the British media and by scientists. And the truth seems to indicate that air pollution, rather than being the sole cause of these deaths, is actually a contributing factor in a situation that is highly complex and difficult to understand.
One of the central issues is throughout this debate has been that the figure of 40,000 was produced through statistical research. The problem here is that, statistical evidence, while it can be beneficial in some areas of scientific research, is reductive to the extent that it often limits the variables so as to remove all context from the findings and produce numbers that are don’t actually reflect the situational truth.
So the questions we really need to ask is, what is the truth, in its situated context? What can we say we really know, given that most of us aren’t scientists and are relying on evidence produced by those with personal agendas? Because the lies told by Exxon scientists regarding the harmful effects of oil and global warming serve as a reminder that scientific research isn’t performed in a non-political vacuum, free from authoritarian dynamics that serve the interests of elites.
It is highly likely that air pollution globally causes the death of more than 3 million people, 75% of which are in Asia, where economic globalisation has taken a foothold in, leading to the escalation of industrialism (often in the guise of “development) across the continent. This stands to reason, given the how much air pollution has risen across the worlds cities and the encroachment of urbanisation in the “developing” world. In fact, The World Health Organisation has previously reported that air pollution kills 6.5 million people a year and that pollution causes the deaths of 1.7 children a year. Proposed solutions to this problem, such as a new type of inhaler, are reliant on the production of technologies – technologies whose production are reliant on industrial production and distribution, which are the leading contributing factors in the global air crisis.
According to Carbon Brief, the UK’s carbon emissions fell by 6% in 2016, which would indicate a (slightly) improved situation. But primary air pollutants include – carbon dioxide, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, particulates, persistent free radicals, toxic metals, ammonia, chlorofluorocarbons, odours from sewage and industrial processes, and radioactive pollutants. So does this statistic reflect the situated truth? Professor Stephen Holgate, Medical Research Council Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology and Honorary Consultant Physician within Medicine at the University of Southampton, states in the video below that air pollution is “affecting our health in many different ways, that we’re only just beginning to understand”.
So far the focus here has been entirely anthropocentric – that is, with a focus on the impact on humans. So what of the non-human impact?
Air pollutants like sulphuric acid, when combined with the water droplets in clouds, can cause the water droplets to become acidic and form acid rain. This leads to physiological damage to plant cells and geochemical changes in soils and soil waters that obstruct growth by affecting absorption of nutrients by roots and by leaching nutrients from soil. In British trees this causes damage to their leaves, which limits the nutrients available to them.
Air pollution can also cause eutrophication. This is the process whereby rain can carry and deposit the nitrogen in some pollutants on rivers and soils, which adversely affects the nutrients in the soil and water bodies. This impacts upon the living beings, such as the fish, frogs, insects and birds who make rivers their homes, which impacts the wider biodiversity of these islands.
The ground-level ozone, produced via air pollution, is also highly harmful for vegetation and can have a drastic impact on ecosystems and the animals who make those ecosystems their homes.
So it is apparent that air pollution is a problem, for the human animal and non-human-living-beings, and the situation is one that is highly complex, confused through the mediums that attempt to reduce the context of the discussion to only those variables that suit their particular interests.
Proposed solutions are highly reliant on the effectiveness of state measures, which have so far failed to improve the situation, and technologies that involve the same industrial processes that are producing this worsening situation. The eco-extremist journal Atassa states – “We are now entering an age of extremes, an age of uncertainty, where leftist illusions and conservative platitudes can no longer prepare us for our future course”. This is a truth than anarchists and environmentalists need to embrace.
Biodiversity is the expression of healthy ecology. It may seem distant to these Isles because these Isles are sick. It has been said that civilised man walks the earth leaving deserts in his footprints. As the frontiers of this civilisation opened up, so the cedars of Lebanon and Broadleaf forests of this island were trampled underfoot. With the great forests all but destroyed the soils of Lebanon eroded, and washed and blew away. Thanks to this island’s mild temperate climate, its fate was to remain a different kind of desert. A desert of ploughed fields, of a thousand swaying barley stalks – from Cracks in a Grey Sky an anthology of Do Or Die: Voices from the Ecological Resistance
Theodore Kaczynski’s infamous status amongst radical environmentalists is unparalleled. His life as an underground activist and work as the Unabomber, for which he now serves 8 life sentences with no possibility of parole, have branded him a domestic terrorist within popular culture. And while he isn’t always viewed positively by environmentalists or anarchists, his influence in the world of tech-critical and radical-activist thought is undeniable.
Kaczynski, Harvard graduate who holds a PhD in Mathematics, is obviously a highly intelligent and analytic thinker. His cipher journals stumped the US intelligence agencies, “cracking” his code 10 years after his arrest after finding his own key to the code. So reading his book, Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How, with the intent to write a review was personally quite a daunting task.
Kaczynski starts the text by inviting the reader to look past the writings of similar thinkers and to focus on strategy, in such a way he suggests has not previously been done. He states that the book is not one to be read but one to be studied, suggestive of a program to be analysed by the reader and followed – a program he argues should be practiced “thoughtfully and creatively” rather than “mechanically or rigidly”.
The first section, The Development of a Society Can Never Be Subject to Rational Human Control, is extremely well argued. Kaczynski presents a well constructed argument as to why the “green revolution” has been “nothing short of catastrophic”, arguing that “(i)n order to control the development of a society you would have to be able to predict how the society would react to any given action you might take, and such predictions have generally proven to be highly unreliable”. He analyses predictions regarding macroscopic systems and argues that “(i)n some contexts, reasonably reliable and specific short-term predictions can be made …”, but ultimately concludes that “no society can be consistently successful in planning its own future in the long term”. He covers historical attempts to rationally control society by humans and states that “… not even a powerful dictator like Francisco Franco can overrule the laws of economics … (e)very complex, large-scale society is subject to internal developments generated by “natural selection” operating on systems that exist within the society … (t)he result will be that the development of the society in the long term will wander at random, rather than being steered in any consistent direction or in accord with any consistent policy as to what constitute desirable or undesirable outcomes”.
The second section, Why the Technological System Will Destroy Itself, opens with Kaczynski acknowledging foundationalist assumptions and that he will be drawing inferences from them. Over the course of this chapter, Kaczynski analyses self-propagating systems – “a system that tends to promote its own survival and propagation”. He presents an argument as to why “desperate competition among the global self-prop systems will tear the world-system apart … new self-prop systems will be arising all along to challenge the existing global self-prop systems and will prevent the hypothesised “world peace” from ever being consolidated in the first place … fierce competition among global self-prop systems will have led to such drastic and rapid alterations in the Earth’s climate, the composition of its atmosphere, the chemistry of the oceans, and so forth, that the effect on the biosphere will be devastating”. Most of this chapter follows this line of argument, covering Kaczynski’s pessimist and determinist positions on the potential for action.
In section 3 the line of argument takes a decisive and unexpected turn. Titled How to Transform a Society: Errors to Avoid, a number of postulations and rules for practical radical actions are presented for an anti-tech revolutionary movement. These rules and postulations are obviously written with the intent to create and maintain a structurally organised and pragmatic approach for the movement Kaczynski hopes to ignite through his work. Towards the end of the section he states “(a) neo-luddite movement would be able to gain control over the resources it needed only if it became big, powerful, well-organised, hence ripe for corruption. In order to carry out the necessary social reorganisation, the movement would have to be the dominant force in society, and the process of reorganisation would surely take at least a few decades … (c)onsequently, the reorganisation of society in accord with neo-luddite principles would never be completed”, which appears confused in conjunction with the rest of the chapter. Kaczynski draws from nationalist and Marxist political movements to support his arguments over the course of the chapter, stating “let’s follow Mao’s advice and ask what is the principal contradiction of the situation with which we are faced.”
The fourth section, Strategic Guideline for an Anti-Tech Movement, follows from previous one, presenting an argument that fits the politics of nationalists and Marxists more than those of anarchists and (even militant) environmentalists. Kaczynski’s Leninesque argument throughout this section draws from Castro, Trotsky and Stalin, in it’s appeals for organisational uniformity to his program. Later though he goes on to critique leftism and mainstream environmentalism, in a way befitting the typical green-anarchist criticisms of these movements.
The argument Kaczynski presents over the course of the text is highly reliant on determinist social-ontological presuppositions, drawn from a certain interpretation of evolutionary theory, which is open to criticism. Determinism is highly questionable in a metaphysical sense, as I argue in my book, and as such warrants exploration in radical environmentalist discourse. But if we do presume a determinist social ontology, following from Kaczynski’s arguments in the first 2 sections, why should anyone follow his program for an anti-tech revolution? Determinist philosophy seems incompatible with any radical project, so why should anyone who embraces determinist philosophy embrace any radical project?
Also, assertions like “(t)he principal contradiction, clearly, is that between wild nature and the technological system” presents a Manichaeist cosmic and moral dualism, of an entirely domesticated outlook – the ideology of the very system Kaczynski wants to stop. As I argue in my book Feral Consciousness, the struggle against this global system isn’t a moral struggle, alienated from the authentic Being of the individual, but an egoistic one; we aren’t living in a cosmic dualism of forces, but a corrupted cancerous monism, which should be treated as such; and, while tactical organised resistance is clearly needed to lessen the effects of this culture and hasten its collapse (with perhaps some strategic influence from similar movements to those Kaczynski draws from), we need to avoid alienating Symbolic narratives, that mediate us from the horrors of the Real we are immersed in, and forge personal subject-sensitive relations to the world.
Ultimately though, this book, even with its inconsistencies, is an important addition to radical environmentalist thought. It is engaging, well researched and is deserving of any potential readers time. I would suggest though that the reader doesn’t read it in isolation though as the-radical-environmentalist-book-I-read, as reading it alongside other writers who focus on this stuff, such as Zerzan, Jensen, the new Atassa Journal and (dare I say) myself, should help them identify the weaker aspects of Kaczynski’s arguments and separate them from the stronger elements.