Italy – Anarchist comrade Elisa Di Bernardo’s contribution to the IX Meeting for Animal Liberation


Translated by act for freedom now/B.pd

Note: This contribution was written by Elisa while she was still locked up in the Rebibbia prison following so-called operation Ardire. She was released on September 7 and she is now being subjected to restrictive measures.
Hi everybody!
To be honest (excuse me for the unpleasant word) I’ve never participated in any of the previous meetings for animal liberation. This is the first time I’m expressing my opinion on an occasion of this kind, although I’m locked up in jail.
What I’m about to write is not necessarily linked to a precise and univocal topic related to an agenda, but it is meant as a series of considerations and questions, which share a holistic perspective and an antiauthoritarian way to perceive the existent.

It may seem an inconclusive series of thoughts… do what you want with it, but I want to let you know that the main goal of my short contribution is to demolish some stereotypes and demystify some ‘absolute truths’. And now I’m going freewheel…
Even if I’ve been vegan for 14 years I’ve never claimed that veganism is an excellent ‘sign’ of absolute coherence… and in what respect? To the fact of being animalist, antispecist, environmentalist? By now these are overused words, which have been appropriated by an increasingly important and not at all antiauthoritarian fringe. You finish the sentence…
I’m convinced that veganism is not always harmless in terms of environmental impact (let’s think, for example, of the multinationals of soya production), unless it is practiced in an anti-industrial way. For this reason I’m sure that some forms of vegetarianism and omnivorousism are more eco-friendly (just to use an expression we all understand), again if they are not accomplices of industrial production. ‘Omnivorousism! Heresy!’ will yell some of the people at the meeting. Yes, omnivorousism. In my opinion, in fact, we have to pay attention to what we want to realize.
Radical environmentalism? The ideal would be to destroy all techno-industrial mechanisms, not to eat food products that have little connection to the soil; and at this point it doesn’t matter if these are vegetable or animal products. The inviolability of life? To protect all living beings from death and suffering is possible up to a point; and nature, which we claim to love so much is not so merciful as our mythic imagination leads us to believe. In this respect, for example, I know of vegans, animalists, antispecists (and all the ists you like) who like to interfere with the predatory instincts of the animals they live with, and to prevent possible preys from ending up in the jaws and paws of their predators, which are vegans like their ‘owners’… isn’t this a reflex of the anthropocentrism we want to overcome?
In my opinion an anarchist who claims to be against all forms of anthropocentrism shouldn’t become the saviour of other animal species involved in instinctive predatory dynamics. Do we belong to the nature we claim to respect, defend and free? In what way does the human being interfere with nature and the natural world? What do these words actually mean and in what way do they encounter or clash with our culture? How can we realize a ‘wild’ life? (Ah from how many voices, including nine, have I heard this very beautiful word!) How many of us would be ready to get rid of the so called comforts offered by a city (a very little natural place, I’d say)? In what way can we reconcile animal liberation and human liberation ideally and practically?
Certainly intensive farming and locked up animals are not tolerable, without compromise! I really think it is useful to stress the importance and urgency of animal liberation with all means necessary. However talking of animal liberation from an anarchist perspective should remind us that the human being is the animal that has been living in captivity for the longest time ever. Of how many cages we must get rid yet? Many, far too many! Sexism, to reconnect to one of the themes of this meeting, is one of them. I don’t know any truth but I’ve got convictions: as anarchist, and especially during this hyper liberticidal time, I refuse to use the concept of ‘rights’ in relation to humans so I don’t use it in relation to other animals either. It is a lie that helps the institutions in their work of representation through delegation.
Radical environmentalism and animal liberation can perfectly reconcile, or rather they should be inseparable. But obviously animal liberation is ‘only’ a part of a radical environmental approach. I really think that in a trajectory of animal liberation
we should reject all forms of specialization and separate issues, and understand that there can be no freedom without liberation from all cultural traps.
It is good to continue to free animals not only from the narrow cages of breeding farms and laboratories but, if I have to say it all, also from the larger and lovely ones of animal shelters… but would this be more acceptable if there were no roads and cars to interfere with the free running of these animals outside the shelters? Therefore it is necessary to also destroy the cages represented by roads and cars (for ourselves too)… therefore it is urgent to struggle against the cage of urbanization… therefore we cannot help destroying the cage of anthropocentrism… therefore we are facing a huge work of cultural subversion so as to free ourselves from all forms of dominion!
A rebel hug!
Elisa Di Bernardo

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