This interview with Walter Bond was conducted when Bond was first imprisoned for the “ALF Lone Wolf” arsons. Press Officer Nicoal Sheen carried out the interview almost a year ago to dive into the mind of this inspiring A.L.F. prisoner of war.
Nicoal Sheen: Now that you openly admit to being the “ALF Lone Wolf”, can you describe what it was like preparing and organizing alone?
Walter Bond: Preparing for an action, on the technical end of things, was very easy. We tend to think of covert or illegal activity in the Animal Liberation movement as complicated. I personally found that to not be the case. Most of the supplies I used in the commission of the arson at the Sheepskin Factory I found in alleys and trash cans. All too often during A.L.F/E.L.F actions, incendiary devices haven’t gone off. I learned from that and did not create a device to do the work for me. This also, I feel, further minimized any possible harm to life. I have never been comfortable with there being any window of time between leaving a target and a fire breaking out. It’s important to know that it’s “all clear” at the moment of incineration. There’s too many unimaginable scenarios that can occur even within a 5 minute time frame. Mentally, it can be very difficult. The truth is, A.L.F activity is illegal activity. When you’re running around in the middle of the night destroying property, it takes nerves of steel. And control over your paranoia. I would become so hypersensitive to sounds during an action that it was bothersome. I dealt with this by wearing headphones beforehand so I was half deaf during the campaign. I could still hear but it kept me from stopping in the middle of my work to mind trip a creaky building, or every little noise.
NS: Were you ever skeptical about the successfulness of “lone” actions before carrying out one yourself?
WB: I have never been skeptical about the effectiveness of working alone. Earlier in my career as a Direct Activist, I worked with others. I didn’t like it. It always seemed that when three do what one can, the action becomes slow and sloppy and way too complicated. So that everyone feels like they did something significant. It’s far more effective to handle business and get gone fast than to take extra time communicating with lookouts. Of course, for large scale liberations, that level of coordination is necessary. But not for economic sabotage.
NS: Peter Young regrets not working alone when he was releasing mink before his capture and imprisonment in 2005, as he has stated in many interviews. Do you agree that working alone is “less complicated” and a greater advantage in an action?
WB: Generally I agree. Of course as I said, it depends on what the objective is. The likelihood of carrying out a university lab raid single handedly is highly improbable. But often we underestimate ourselves and what we can do. After which we realize we didn’t need the extra hand or snitch. But as they say, hindsight’s 20/20.
NS: In your essay “I am the ALF Lone Wolf”, you state you chose the name “Lone Wolf” to convey “one person can accomplish a lot”. Can you go into further detail of why you believe this to be important?
WB: It’s important to become self-empowered as Direct Activists. Because the leadership principle is a tool of the system. It plays directly into their hand. Contrary to what’s portrayed the government is not as concerned with groups of subversives as they make out. The more organization, the more people involved, the easier it is to infiltrate or monitor. One person acting alone has to either get caught in the act or make a fatal error. Even in the legal Animal Rights movement, we are led to believe that you need validation by affiliation. Yet when I was in the above-ground, I turned more people to Veganism by talking to them personally. I have never turned anyone vegan by giving an organization in another state a $50 donation. Doing things yourself is a surefire way to know what’s getting done. If every individual vegan and AR activist did that instead of waiting for a group to do it for them, animals would be saved by the millions instead of thousands.
NS: What do have to say to the critics of arson as a tactic in the animal liberation movement?
WB: I would say they should be more concerned about the murder of animals and the Earth than the application of arson as a tactic. Furthermore, I would say I believe in Animal Liberation, Whatever it May Take! Not Animal Liberation, as long as people think its OK! This is the A.L.F not Boy Scouts. Just because these critics will not employ arson as a solution doesn’t mean its wrong. I am not going to kill people to save animals but I would never speak out against it. Animals suffer and die the most cruel deaths in unimaginable numbers. My opinion is anything that saves them or stops others from exploiting or harming them is justifiable and anything that continues their Holocaust is wrong and must be fought. If you can watch footage of vivisection or a slaughterhouse and then tell me the solution is to write your congressperson or denounce us radicals that “risk our lives and freedom” to stop the carnage, then you are either a hobbyist or deluded about the level of evil you are up against. In either case these people should re-evaluate whose side they are on, animals or agribusiness. The two are mutually exclusive.
NS: Why did you employ arson rather than another form of economic sabotage?
WB: I used arson because the three most devastating elements to any standing structure are fire, smoke and water. With arson, all three do damage and its hard to recover from. Even if you do not completely destroy a building, smoke and water (from putting the fire out) takes a long time to clean up. It’s costly to the business. It also effectively sends the message that play time is over. I’m always when I hear about Direct Action but when it comes to property damage, breaking windows and spray painting an animal abuser’s building is fun but doesn’t send a message of Vegan Revolution.
NS: Has there been or are there specific people in your life you would consider heroes? Why or why not?
WB: Let’s see. Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Leonard Peltier, Sean Muttaqi, Rod Coronado, Peter Tosh, and Zumbi. These are all my heroes because they fought what they believed, did not compromised and kicked some serious ass and were trailblazers of their time.
NS: In your essay “I am the ALF Lone Wolf”, you have criticized vegans who are welfarist and stated that you “immediately felt out of place” at a local Denver vegan meet-up. What are your thoughts and feelings concerning animal welfare? Do you find welfarism to be progressive or regressive in the animal liberation community?
WB: I think a lot of people involved in the welfarist camp of A.R. mean well, but the approach is reactionary and regressive. And good intentions do not stop evil. If someone is oppressing you or your family to death and you want to preach pacifism or employ luke warm tactics that’s your own business. But this is Animal Liberation, as in other-than-human Animal Liberation and you have no right to plea bargain with animals’ lives for political stature or organizational financial gain. I have no problem speaking out against welfarism because it often works hand in glove with animal exploitation industries such as awarding slaughterhouse designers cash money for “humane designs” and in many cases promoting animal use. I understand that there are a lot of upper middle class white people that feel guilty about their privilege and really want to seem like they are helping animals while being told repeatedly and daily that they are heros of social justice, while also getting paid fat salaries. And never putting themselves or their reputations in harms way. These god damned pretend friends of animals are more concerned with potlucks than productivity and property over life! And while the true proponents of liberation – the abolitionist and animal liberation activists – educate people about Veganism (not Flexitarianism) and rescue actual animals’ lives, some of us rot away in prison or live homeless and on the run from the Feds, these cowards (welfarists) are often our most vocal adversaries. In summation, I think welfarism is a detriment to Animal Liberation and I have no respect for it.
NS: What are your thoughts and opinions about the label “terrorist” given to animal and Earth liberators by mainstream media, government and the oppressors? In your opinion, why do you believe society has accepted this label instead of challenging its validity?
WB: When I was a kid everything was about the communists now the buzzword is terrorist. Like any Orwellian newspeak word “terrorist” has come to represent a whole spectrum of emotional fear instead of any rational definition. Its no surprise to me that A.L.F/E.L.F are considered terrorists. The U.S. government has been calling us that for two decades before 9-11. Because we are effective and can’t be stopped, we get vilified. For instance, I’m facing 3 AETA charges, an enhancement of 30 years for being an AR arsonist. Had I been running around two burning things because of pyromania or some other sort of pathology, I would be facing considerably less time. The fact that the government invented such a ridiculous enhancement that can be used so broadly is testimony to their malice towards the bunny and tree huggers of America. However, at the end of the day, their personal malice of our movement and tactics is testimony to our effectiveness. I think that the general public accepts these labels of “terrorist” against anyone the government doesn’t like because they are fat, lazy and increasingly uneducated – which is exactly how farmers send animals off to the slaughter.
NS: What do you believe the animal rights/liberation community is lacking, if at all, and how does the community overcome such obstacle(s) in order to save animals’ lives?
WB: Much of the A.R. community is lacking a sense of urgency and clear focus. I think the best ways to change that is to get back to basics. Start feeling this movement with our hearts instead of our heads. By our hearts I mean passion. When you see a terrible injustice, a profound evil like what goes on in any animal use industry. The proper response is not fear or sadness. The proper response to evil is outrage. Our focus should be on justice, vegan justice.
NS: Many people have said there is a failure to see and act upon the interconnectedness of our struggles, such as you mentioned in your essay “X To Whom it May Concern X”. Reflecting on what it would be like to have a more cohesive liberation movement, what can we all do as communities to connect with one another?
WB: Outside Earth and Animal Liberation, I am really not very concerned with connecting with everyone else’s movement. Whether they use the word liberation in it or not. I have made that mistake in the past and it simply eats too much of my energy. I think that it’s time that other “liberation movements” stop eating dead animals and suckling the lactation of another species. I think that it’s alright for us abolitionist animal liberation activists to realize that we are the vanguards of social justice. Ours is the fight against the worst Holocaust ever! Billions and billions of the most innocent, the most defenseless dead! Murdered, tortured worse than any segment of humanity! As far as cohesiveness within Animal Liberationist circles, I would say enough with the politics. Left, Right, Libertine, Anarchist, lifestyles or religion, who gives a shit! Base your personal and organizational alliances on effectiveness for the Animals. On workability in action. Not philosophical denominations. If you are vegan or going vegan and are ready to kick ass for the animals, you are my sister, I am your brother. Everything else is details.
NS: Do you plan on writing a book with all essays you have collaborated so far?
WB: NAALPO has my full permission to publish my essays as they see fit. I will keep writing them while dealing with my 3 arson charges and AETA charges. And after I am sentenced to prison, I plan on writing two books to help motivate, educate and agitate.
Animal Liberation, Whatever it May Take!
North American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO)
[The North American Animal Liberation Press Office was founded to communicate the actions, strategies, and philosophy of the animal liberation movement to the media and the public. Many of these actions are illegal under a current societal structure that fails to recognize the rights of non-human animals to live free of suffering, but validates and promotes the "right" of industries to do whatever they want to animals for profit or research. Within these conditions, those in the underground working for animal liberation often cannot speak out directly. Nevertheless, their actions and message is urgent and deserve to be heard and understood. Since animal liberation actions either go unreported in the media or are uncritically vilified as "violent" and "terrorist" with no attention paid to the suffering that industries and individuals gratuitously inflict on animals, NAALPO seeks to clarify the motivation and nature of actions taken in defense of animals.]
Contact: (213) 640-5048
Animal Liberation Press Office
3371 Glendale Blvd. #107
Los Angeles, CA 90039