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March 2004
What is the Earth Liberation Front?


The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is an international underground organization that uses direct action to stop the exploitation and destruction of the natural environment. The EFL realizes that all life on Earth is threatened by entities concerned with nothing more than pursuing economic gain at any cost. Therefore, the ELF uses clandestine guerrilla tactics in efforts to take the profit motive out of killing the Earth.

The ELF is organized into autonomous cells that operate independently and anonymously from one another and the general public. The group does not contain a hierarchy or any sort of leadership. Instead, the group operates under an ideology. If an individual believes in the ideology and follows the ELF guidelines, she or he can perform actions and become a part of the ELF. This means that anyone can be involved, even you.

The ELF is structured in such a way as to maximize effectiveness. By operating in anonymous cells, the security of group members is maintained. This decentralized structure helps keep activists out of jail and free to continue conducting actions.

It is stated nowhere that it is the goal of the ELF to attempt to gain public support for the tactical implication of covert direct action. This is the job of above-ground support groups. For the ELF to consider public opinion while planning an action designed to maximize economic damage against those profiting off the destruction of the natural environment, would be to potentially sacrifice the effectiveness of that action. Remember, direct action is taken to achieve concrete results, not to appeal to popular liberal opinion.

With the lack of results coming from legal, above-ground organizing, many are turning to clandestine guerrilla tactics to more effectively actualize social change.

If we are to actually succeed in preserving all that is sacred and which keeps us alive, then we need to engage ourselves in a manner that is most effective. How much are life and the natural environment worth to you? How far are you willing to go to protect them? If not you, who? If not now, when?

Earth Liberation Front Guidelines
• To inflict economic damage on those profiting from the destruction and exploitation of the natural environment.
• To reveal and educate the public on the atrocities committed against the Earth and all species that populate it.
• To take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and nonhuman.

What is the ideology of the ELF?
The ELF realizes that the destruction of life is not a mere random occurrence but a deliberate act of violence performed by entities pursuing economic gain. With this in mind, the ELF maintains that it is only logical to work to remove the profit motive from killing the Earth and all life on it. Anyone seeking to create actual positive social and political change must reflect on past attempts throughout history to learn what worked, what didn’t, and what can be taken to aid in the current pursuit. A refusal to make this reflection is also a refusal to make an honest life commitment to the cause of justice and protection of life on this planet.

The ELF recognizes that the popular environmental movement has failed miserably to bring about the protection needed to stop the killing of life on this planet. State sanctioned means of social change on their own rarely have and will have any real effect in obtaining the desired results. This is due to the obvious fact that the legal means of protest do little more than reinforce the same system which is a root of the problem. The state system is not going to allow any real change within it unless the state structure (government), big business, and finally the mainstream consumer society feels that change is really necessary. Matters must be taken into the hands of the people, who need more and more to step outside of this societal law to enforce natural law.

One definition of natural law refers to our dependence on the substances in the natural environment which enable all life to exist, primarily clean air, clean water, and clean soil.

The ELF ideology maintains that it is the very social and political ideology in operation throughout the westernized countries that creates the various injustices on this planet and ultimately the destruction of life. That ideology is capitalism and the mindset that allows it to exist. Capitalism and (what we have referred to in the States for years) the American Dream have long symbolized a form of economic opportunity and freedom. The idea that no matter who you are, if you worked hard all your life, you too could have the perfect husband or wife, the 2.3 kids, new BMW, the beach house in Maui and penthouse in New York City and loads of cash to play with.

What wasn’t and still isn’t told to the millions seeking the American Dream is that dream comes at a price. That price consists of everything from taking advantage of slave labor, dumping toxic waste into our waterways, murdering those who take a stand for justice, destroying cultures, destroying environments, and exploiting and oppressing anyone or anything that poses to be a threat, nuisance, or a bump along the path to riches.

The only way, at this point in time, to stop the continued destruction of life is to, by any means necessary, take the profit motive out of killing. Using real direct action, the ELF is targeting what the greedy entities care about, their pocketbooks. By inflicting as much economic damage as possible, the ELF can allow a given entity to decide it is in their best economic interests to stop destroying life for the sake of profit.

Capitalism as a target is not easily identifiable due to it being an ideology rather than a physical object. But forms and symbols of capitalism can be targeted successfully to greatly influence the impact the capitalist state has on life. Whatever the target may be, the ELF ideology promotes efficiency and effectiveness: choosing the most effective target possible and using strategies and tactics to cause the most amount of economic damage as possible. In addition, the idea of momentum is pushed to create a movement that continues to grow to successfully stop the destruction of life. More and more actions need to be taken in order for this success to become a reality.

Why don’t ELF members come forward and publicly take responsibility for their actions?
ELF members make a conscious decision to go and remain underground to create the highest level of effectiveness. The idea is not for the members to be rotting away in prisons but rather to be free each and every day to continue their actions.

One school of thought under the broad scope of nonviolence theory states that an individual must allow an entity in opposition to see the evil in his or her own ways and voluntarily change; that this will create lasting change. This belief places an extraordinary amount of faith in the human conscience which at this time has more than proven to be misguided. If an individual had a working conscience in the first place, would they actually engage in activities that threaten life on this planet? This is not a demonstration of a working conscience, and therefore, all the attempts in the world to appeal to the oppressor’s conscience will not work. There needs to be something more.

Edited excerpt from The Earth Liberation Front: 1997-2002 by Leslie James Pickering (Arissa Publications) and the ELF website Reprinted with permission.


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