The Student Insurgent
A right-wing publication on campus recently published an article titled “The Student Insurgent loves terrorism”1. We have a policy of ignoring them, however we felt it was important to correct false impressions that people who read the article may have gathered about the Insurgent’s stance on terrorism or what the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is about. We want to begin by letting the author of the article above know that we are aware that the only reason he used the title that he did was to provoke, to cause anger and bad feeling and the only reason he said the things they did was because they are ignorant. We want them to know that we understand and that we forgive them, we know they are only poor, misguided souls and we hope that they take the opportunity we are giving them to read over what we have to say and honestly consider the arguments presented. That said the main audience of this essay are those students who may have been confused by the original article. To begin with the Insurgent staff don’t hold any common positions beyond those printed in the mission statement. Some of us are committed pacifists; others don’t necessarily foreclose on any tactic and rather select strategies and tactics based on their effectiveness. However, none of the Student Insurgent contributors who identify as revolutionaries would support what they consider to be terrorism, namely using or threatening violence against civilians in order to achieve political or religious goals. Trotsky put the attitude our staff hold about terrorism best:
“If we oppose terrorist acts, it is only because individual revenge does not satisfy us. The account we have to settle with the capitalist system is too great to be presented to some functionary called a minister. To learn to see all the crimes against humanity, all the indignities to which the human body and spirit are subjected, as the twisted outgrowths and expressions of the existing social system, in order to direct all our energies into a collective struggle against this system – that is the direction in which the burning desire for revenge can find its highest moral satisfaction.” -Leon Trotsky: Terrorism (1911)
It must be remembered however that the term “terrorism” is, in reality, nothing more than a convenient way for the powerful to slander dissident groups, devoid of any actual meaning or substance. In reality it is a justification of government passing draconian laws strangling your rights. The author of the article said that the ELF qualifies as a terrorist group because they employ violence and fear, we however believe that it takes more than the use of violence to make a group a terrorist group, surely they would not refer to the American revolutionaries, who certainly made use of violence, fighting for their independence from Britain as terrorists? As for fear that is simply a byproduct of using violence. The article also referred to ELF actions as “ineffective” and “counter-productive” to prove this they point to the fact that some ELF targets have insurance, which means they are able to rebuild after an attack let’s see what the ELF Press Office has to say about this:
“A common argument against the actions of the ELF has been that each target has been covered by insurance so the given entity fails to suffer little, if any, economic loss. While it is largely true that most if not all of the ELF targets have been insured it is completely ludicrous to believe that insurance companies can suffer losses of hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars without greatly raising the rates of insurance. If the given entity or even industry was targeted repeatedly by the ELF, insurance companies would either cease to cover these entities or raise the cost too high for a profitable business.
Of course there is a lot more that goes into how effective the group is, but that is a subject for a future article. The last argument the article brings up is that ELF actions are “insane”. To this we can only respond that we rely on a clean, sustainable environment for the survival of our species, and in the face of losing this, is any action insane?