This interview was not given by us at The Feral Space but was done by some comrades in Spain and published in 2nd volume of the anarchist animal liberation zine “Fiera”. We find great affinity with these comrades as we do with all comrades fighting oppression including the struggle against speciesism.
Assembly for the Antispeciesist Action, May 2013
In which context did the Assembly for the Antispeciesist
Action in Athens arise? Which are your goals and what are the
difficulties you are facing in realizing these goals?
The Assembly for the Antispeciesist Action was formed in 2010 on an
individual initiative. We are an anarchist collective whose goal is to
spread the word on total liberation. We feel it is important to note
that by using the term “total liberation” we do not only refer to the
struggle against any form of domination upon humans. We do not recognize
any form of human superiority against other species and therefore the
struggle for animal self-determination is an integral part of our
political identity, as well as the struggle against nature’s
exploitation. Our enemy is not only the core of the state mechanism but
also the whole technological-industrial complex that considers human,
animals and nature to be nothing more than raw material and production
If we could summarize the main obstacles for our struggle, these
would be: state repression either generalized or targeted. The deep
roots –religious or otherwise- of meat-eating in Greek society’s
culture. The indifference and apathy on behalf of the biggest part of
anarchists in Greece when it comes to animal-related issues.
Furthermore, these last years in the name of overcoming the economic
crisis there is a systematic effort by the state to reinforce the
primary production, providing all kinds of motives and financial support
to individuals and enterprises that aim to profit through animal
exploitation and the destruction of nature (such as the fur industry,
meat and milk industry, mining etc.).
On which topics are you working now? Actually, are you involved in any campaign right now?
We are active throughout the whole spectrum of the struggle against
human/animal/nature exploitation. In the past we have initiated protests
against the fur industry, animal experimentation, pet-shops etc.
Currently we are making some efforts to establish a more systematic
communication with ALF/ELF political prisoners around the world.
In Spain we get a few news about the struggle for animal
liberation in Greece. We remember some actions like the liberations of
thousands of minks in the middle of 2008 or the liberation of some rats
from a university laboratory. The feeling we had here is that growth of
the struggle for animal liberation is linked with the anarchist/antiauthoritarian movement but, which is the path that the
struggle has followed there?
In Greece, whatever analysis exists concerning total liberation comes
exclusively from anarchists or anarchist collectives. There is no other
organized effort. Of course, there are some initiatives from
individuals or associations but in most -if not all- cases they fail to
address these issues in their totality and they act in cooperation with
the state mechanisms.
How does the antispeciesist and animal liberation struggle
fit into the rest of the antiauthoritarian struggles? Is this connection
smooth or has it been the target of reticence and criticism from
At first, we should note that veganism among Greek anarchists is
neither self-evident nor widespread, in contrast with what happens in
many other countries. As a result veganism is being criticized very
often. As an indication of that, in many anarchist squats you may see
people eating meat on the occasion of religious events (e.g. roasting
lambs on Easter Sunday or making barbeques on Tsiknopempti – that is the
last Thursday before Easter fasting).
Moreover almost all of the collective kitchens contain meat.
Anarchists in Greece consider meat consumption as “normal”. Animal
Liberation issues most of the times are considered as a joke or at best
as something of secondary importance. Something that will be addressed
in a post-revolutionary world (sometimes, the same stance may someone
see on other similar matters such as sexism). That is why we are not
surprised to see so few people coming to the protests that we initiate
(e.g. against fur).
In Europe and around the world there are a lot of campaigns
(SHAC, KLM-Air France etc.) and projects like IARG (International Animal
Rights Gathering). Have you heard of them? In that case, which is your
assessment of these strategies and projects?
All actions both “aboveground” and “underground” are positive.
However our struggle aims to destroy all forms of domination and cannot
be contained by or fall within other types of struggle that call for
reforms instead of fighting against the state.
As far as the IARG is concerned we think that meeting other people
with similar beliefs, communicating and discussing with them is very
Some of the reports and news that were translated into
Spanish were from demonstrations made in Athens and ended with clashes
with the police, with high combativity from your side. This is not
really common in these kind of demos and sometimes it is being
criticized by people from the animal rights and animal liberation
surroundings. Do you think that this police brutality aims to silence
another front of the struggle that is growing and getting stronger? Or
do you think that it is simply a consequence of the repressive moment
that Greece is going through these days, and especially against
Both are valid. Of course this growing repression is part of a
generalized effort to mute every single form of reaction (squat
evictions, muting of counter-information networks, special forces inside
prisons, prisoners’ hunger strikes etc.). However, as far as our
demonstrations are concerned, we also had similar incidents of police
brutality in the past despite the fact that the consequences of the
economic crisis where not that obvious back then.
Is it possible to remain vegan in Greek prisons?
Generally, vegan diet is not facilitated in Greek prisons. This can
only be possible if a prisoner has people on the outside to provide
support on this issue by sending in vegan food.
What do you think about the continuous attempts to integrate the term “animal rights” into the animal liberation struggle?
For us the struggle for animal liberation is an integral part of the
anarchist struggle. Therefore we reject both the content and the use of
the term “animal rights” and the general notion of “rights” itself. It
is clear that a legal right could not exist without the state. Legal
rights exist only because there is a mechanism that creates them -a
mechanism that has always been a part of the hard core of the state- and
which distributes them. Legal rights come with obligations and with a
bunch of “protective” mechanisms: cops, prosecutors and the whole
judicial system. Accepting a legal right means recognition of the
authority that puts limits on our life. We fight for freedom, not just
parts of it.
As far as the non-human animals are concerned, it is obvious that the
whole “animal rights” issue embodies strong anthropocentric elements.
Among others it confirms some kind of superiority for human species over
the others. Of course, given the extent of violence and exploitation
that non-human animals suffer, some “victories” in the legal field are
welcomed, but they still remain fragmented. And they are always limited
within national borders. A struggle which does not go beyond that, a
struggle which does not reject anthropocentrism, a struggle which does
not attack the same existence of the dominant structures contains a
serious danger: it becomes a struggle for the embellishment of a
situation where humans, non-humans and nature are being treated as
disposable industrial feedstock and as commodities. Asking for “rights”
is not a struggle – it is negotiation and capitulation in a fight that
has already been lost.
To finalize this interview, the animal liberation movement takes an
increasingly activist and “professional” nature. Associations and
hierarchical organizations that work on similar patterns like NGOs are
deepening, neglecting the self-organization, combativity, horizontality…
Does this happen in Greece? Do you think we can trust and rely on such
As anarchists fighting for total liberation we reject all kinds of
struggle that might embody any type of hierarchical elements. In Greece
we do have similar cases, the overwhelming majority of which tend to
cooperate fully with the state mechanisms. We are clearly negative
towards any such cooperation.