: Hey, Garloo,
: I disagree with your frustration with the people, and it should be obvious that the corporate media WANTS you to look upon them with disdain and ridicule. But I just wanted you to know that not all acitivists are young hooligans. Some are scientists! Please read on
Not that I disagree with your underlying sentiment, Sloop, but I feel the need to rise in defense of young activists who engage in nonviolent civil disobedience (CD) and nonviolent criminal activity -- things I did on behalf of the animal rights movement prior to my becoming a lawyer.
Nonviolent CD is a time-honored tradition in the United States and elsewhere; the Civil Rights movement is a well-known and well-respected case in point, as when blacks dared sit at the front of the bus in violation of the law. Similarly, forming a human chain in front of a fur store or animal research lab is also an effective way of demonstrating the depth of one's convictions (though unlike sitting in the front of a bus, this does not challenge unjust laws -- unfortunately, it takes human beings, who are indirectly affected by laws governing the use of animals, to protest on behalf of animals). So long as one is willing to face the consequences of one's actions (fines, jail), it's a thoroughly respectable, and quite effective, strategy.
As for nonviolent criminal action on behalf of animals and/or the environment (and like the CIA, I'll neither confirm nor deny my involvement in that sort of activity), such actions must be carefully considered before being undertaken, specifically, will they create more good than harm? Liberating lab animals or fur animals only makes sense if you can ensure their safety afterwards; releasing them to die in the wild is a nightmare both for the animals, and the movement. Destroying property will garner you bad publicity, but it may wreak unrecoverable economic and psychic damage on your opponents; threatening or actually attempting to harm people is wrong.
Activists are passionate by definition, and there's no one more passionate than a young activist new to the movement. They're ready to take on the world. On the one hand, their energy and idealism is vital; on the other hand, they often need to be guided by wiser, older heads. But that's the way with everything in life between young and old, eh?
As for radical actions like burning down a research lab or releasing fur animals and trashing the factory farms they're raised in, this generates negative publicity from the powers that be and also puts off the general public. However, such radical action also serves to make the more moderate activists seem downright mainstream, and so what was once a far out idea, like not killing animals for fur, suddenly becomes more of a centrist idea. You can thank the new radicals for making the old radical ideas more mainstream, and frankly, until an idea becomes mainstream, it will not prevail in society.
Note: terrorism can also effectively change societies, but I oppose the use of fear and violence as a tactic; it only exchanges one victimizer/victim for another.