Beasts of Burden, Capitalism, Animals and Communism.

Beasts of Burden, Capitalism, Animals and Communism.

A discussion document with an additional text titled "Anarcho-punk, the ALF and the miners strike - a cautionary tale from the 1980s"

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    Beasts of Burden was first published in October 1999, almost exactly five years ago. The aim of the anonymous pamphlet was to initiate a debate between animal liberationists and revolutionaries -anarchists and communists (the author uses the term 'communist' repeatedly and means communism in its original sense: a stateless and classless society where people live together and 'the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all'.)
    The debate never took place and the pamphlet was all but ignored by both camps. Perhaps the timing of its publication had something to do with that. 1999-2000 was a period of frantic activity for both the animal liberation and the anticapitalist movements. Instead of attention being focused inwardly it was directed towards struggles on the streets. Now, however, may be a more appropriate opportunity for some sort of dialogue.
    The optimism of five years ago has been replaced by caution and to some degree apprehension. We are faced by a government prepared to trample on civil liberties and fuel a tabloid-driven agenda of fear and insecurity. Anti-terrorism legislation, Antisocial behaviour orders, public order laws and other repressive measures are freely used to manage and, if necessary, crush dissent. Those of us who want to radically change society must face up to the challenge; we no longer live in a progressive age: forces of darkness and despair conspire to limit our freedom and our desires. Is it possible to dare to dream any more?
    If we still believe in the politics of hope - in building a just, egalitarian world based upon human beings living harmoniously with nature - then it is more important than ever that we build bridges with like-minded groups and individuals. It is to be hoped that the republication of this ground-breaking pamphlet will go some way towards doing that.


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