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Comic Book Analysis and Review: Liberator #2

22 Jul

Matt Miner’s Animal Liberation Comic Gives Hero Themes a Reality Check

by Rabb!t / Earth First! Newswire

Liberator_iss2_PRFThe second installment of the ALF-inspired comic series, Liberator, comes out this Wednesday [Update: street date changed to 7/31], and I have to say this issue is even better than the first. The story, characters, and political issues are complex, the art is sharp, clean and vibrant, and the moments of ecologically-motivated property destruction and animal rescue are even more satisfying this time around. If you haven’t read the first issue or our first review, you may want to do so before you read on, in order to get some context for the following analysis. Be warned, there are a few minor spoilers ahead (but nothing you probably couldn’t guess from looking at the cover).

As an activist who enjoys reading comic books, I knew the Liberator series would resonate with me, but I was concerned that it wouldn’t be accessible to non-activist comic book fans, or non-comic book-reading activists. While portraying underground animal rights activists as superheroes sounded like a great idea, it had the potential to be forced into place, and consequently come across as either too hokey for the political issues or too serious for the medium. As it turns out, my concerns were unfounded. In fact, rather than alienating either set of potential fans, the unique combination of underground activism with classic comic book structure offers something for everyone, and adds a refreshing dose of realism and depth to traditional superhero themes.

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Documentary Film Review: ‘Grasp The Nettle’

19 Jun

by Nafeez Ahmed / The Guardian

Simon_Cop_arrest_2_460Two years before the Occupy movement sprang forth in New York and London, a motley group of land rights activists occupied a piece of disused land in west London to create an alternative model of moneyless, sustainable living. Little did they know they were about to embark on an extraordinary journey, at once harrowing and inspiring, that would take them into the heart of Westminster.

Dean Puckett‘s new documentary, Grasp the Nettle, follows the bewildering and even amusing exploits of this group over a one year and three month period. The result is a powerful film which raises often unsettling questions – not just about the draconian trajectory of state policy, but about the potential pitfalls of activism.

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Comic Book Review: Liberator #1

19 Jun

Liberatorfrom Earth First! Newswire

The first issue of the Animal Liberation Front-inspired comic book, Liberator, hits shelves today. Check it out for pages of awesome animal fury against cruel anthropocentrists.

Liberator #1 [Black Mask Studios, 2013] is about two activists—one who puts her freedom on the line by committing civil disobedience, and one who works underground, running an autonomous campaign of liberation and sabotage against dog fighting rings and fur farmers. Security culture, tactical diversity, shitty coworkers, asshole cops, explosions—Liberator seems to have it all. It’s refreshing to see a comic hero fighting for something I care about, rather than protecting the financial security of the rich and middle class. The comic world hasn’t had anything approaching this since Grant Morrison’s Animal Man chickened out during a laboratory arson.

The art, with illustrations by Javier Sanchez Aranda and coloring by Joaquin Pereyra, is lively and engaging, if a little more technophilic than I would have expected from such a niche publication. But where Liberator really sets itself apart is with its writing. In a medium dense with mutations and magic, Matt Miner presents us with a new kind of hero. Damon, the protagonist, is a barista by day and an almost Travis Bickle-like ski mask-donning animal rescuer by night.

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A Truly Revolutionary Chronicle of Women’s Resistance Behind Bars

22 May

by Sasha

In her latest edition of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggle of Incarcerated Women (PM Press 2012), Victoria Law offers us a whole-hearted chronicle of despair and resistance in the modern prison industry. It is worth a good read by anyone interested in the sociology of American life, as well as any radical with friends or comrades behind bars. Law’s accounts of women prisoners taking action are so inspirational that you will never be the same after reading them.  Continue reading

Catching Fire to the Reign

19 May

or, Why I think the second Hunger Games film will be a spark that reduces the US Empire to ashes, and in general, why we need to manifest a subversive potential of pop-culture

by Panagioti, EF! Newswire

That’s right, I just referenced The Hunger Games and Adele in one cheesy fell swoop… No shame here. I got nothing to hide. I want to see us usher in an era where it’s commonplace for experiences of popular entertainment to end in a riot, ala Igor Stravinsky’s 1913 Rite of Spring debut.  Yes, I want people to leave Adele’s concerts (when she resumes touring after the new album, allegedly later this year) setting cop cars ablaze—in the rain—either with joy over her beautiful voice, or disgust over her obscene commercial success. It doesn’t much matter. Those riots will be like warm-ups for the big one in the Fall…

[Tired of watching the same old anti-globalization indymedia riot porn re-runs? Check out this trailer…]

On November 22, when the second film in The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire, is released, I think we should anticipate every shopping plaza surrounding the corporate theaters to be ransacked, with every police station demolished (or the “Peacekeepers” as Katniss Everdeen knows them), and every building controlled by the State (“The Capitol”) occupied and turned into revolutionary day care centers where young children can be cared for while the rest of us are ripping up concrete and planting fruit tree forests across interstate super highways.

Defending the barricades, Les Miserables film

Defending the barricades, Les Miserables film

That’s right. No more fucking around.  Continue reading

An Image from the Future: A Review of “The East”

15 May
The East playing a little game of "spin the bottle."

The East playing a little game of “spin the bottle.”

[Warning: Spoiler Alert]

By Scott Parkin/ Earth First! Newswire

True Blood’s Eric Northman and Juno lead a state-smashing anarchist collective seeking justice against corporate crime lords?

All I can say is “where do I sign up?”

True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page star in director Zal Batmanglij’s new film “The East.” It’s a provocative new film trying to undermine the usual parade of boring formulaic summer crapola and start a conversation in the wake of popular movement frenzy from Occupy Wall Street to the Tar Sands Blockade. I saw it at a special screening in Berkeley with Batmanglij doing a question and answer at the end of movie for a rowdy crowd of  lefties.

I love movies and I love anarchists. So the tale that Batmanglij and co-writer (and the film’s lead) Brit Marling weaves is one part love story, one part espionage thriller and all anarchy. They tell the story of undercover corporate spy and ex-FBI agent Sarah Moss tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group, “the East,” wanted for executing covert attacks upon major corporations. Shot in an amazing 27 days in Baton Rouge, the film delves into questions around justice, violence, community, commitment, and ultimately…which side are you on?

Batmanglij and Marling spent the summer of 2009 traveling through the North American anarchist scene researching the film. As a loud and proud anarchist, two months is enough to get a tone and feel for our world, but not enough to really understand the politics or the participants in it.

Here’s a couple of things that stood out to me. Continue reading

Together, We Can Get Free: A Review of Towards Collective Liberation, by Chris Crass

9 May

by Sasha

Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy, by Chris Crass (PM Press 2013), is a challenging collection of essays and interviews. The concept of collective liberation, gleaned initially from radical scholar bell hooks, connotes a struggle lodged deep in the tradition of liberation movements—black liberation, GLBQTTI liberation, women’s liberation, and so on. CC insists, “we need liberation movements of millions of people, from all backgrounds, from all walks of life, with a wide range of experience, playing many different roles… everyone reading this book is needed in the process of building the powerful and successful movements we need to make the changes crucial for our future.” For liberation movements to connect at crucial strategic and ideological intersections, activists must overcome the problem by which “processes of inclusions and exclusions are reproduced in our organizing.” For collective movement organization to succeed, we need “a commitment to use different strategies and approaches.” The message of Towards Collective Liberation is that love, openness, and patient determination will prevail. It is an imperative lesson for everyone.

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Ready to get Wrenched?

3 Apr

A new documentary about the past, present and future of eco-resistance is on its way out


From the filmmakers’ website: Wrenched captures the passing of the monkey wrench from the pioneers of eco-activism to the new generation who have carried Ed Abbey’s legacy into the 21st century…

monkeywrench_collectionFrom Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle to Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring, American literature has a history of being in the vanguard when it comes to activism about controversial issues. The books of Edward Abbey carry on that tradition, with memoirs like Desert Solitaire and the classic comic novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang, taking on the degradation of the American Southwest.  Continue reading

Review: “The Evan Mecham Eco Terrorist International Conspiracy” by Leslie James Pickering

2 Apr

Cross Posted from the Vegan Police

We’ve followed, and been fans of Leslie’s writing on this site and I was excited recently to head over to Leslie’s radical book store  Burning Books – in Buffalo, NY to give a talk. The place is full of books I’d love to take home, but I made it a priority to pick up Leslie’s latest – a zine detailing the history of EMETIC or the Evan Mecham Eco Terrorist International Conspiracy.

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The Tiger: An Ecology of Teeth, the Anthropocene and Wild Revenge

22 Mar

illustration by becka rankin

review by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

There’s just something about a good tale of animal revenge: Moby Dick dragging the wretched Captain Ahab under the great shroud of the sea, yes! Or,  Tyke the Elephant, who, following her abduction from Africa and 20 years of service in a traveling circus, breaks from her handlers, kills her trainer, smashes through the railings of the ring, chases circus clowns and handlers, flips cars and fs them up and pulverizes property in the streets of Honolulu, uh…yeah give me more!

These stories provide hope that human supremacy has its weak points, that “man” has not won, has not completely jumped out of the game and into the captain’s chair. And our inspiration from these stories, whether open or in secret, is telling of our anxiety at being the species at the top of the genocide chain and also of our love of a good ole underdog. But of course, Moby Dick is fictional, and whales have been hunted and run over to near extinction and Tyke was gunned down. Her rhinestone tiara splattered in her own blood is now worn by another slave elephant. In the end its revenge and not animal liberation. We have to settle for that for now. But animal revenge, in the time of boring human supremacy, can be encouraging nonetheless. Continue reading