27 April, 2013

Dhaka collapse: Walmart and C and A implicated: nearly 1000 killed. more demos today.

Originally posted on The Free:

Hundreds of thousands of Bangladesh’s garment workers protest over factory deaths

Among the garment makers in the building were Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tac, Ether Tex, New Wave Style and New Wave Bottoms. The New Wave companies, according to their website, make clothing for major brands including North American retailers The Children’s Place and Dress Barn, Britain’s Primark, Spain’s Mango and Italy’s Benetton. Ether Tex said Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, was one of its customers.walmart spring fashion

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Hundreds of thousands of garment workers walked out of their factories in Bangladesh Thursday, police said, to protest the deaths of up to 1000 people in a building collapse, in the latest tragedy to hit the sector.

Grief turned to anger as the workers, some carrying sticks, blockaded key highways in at least three industrial areas just outside the capital Dhaka, forcing factory owners to declare a day’s holiday.

“There were hundreds of thousands of them,” said…

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24 April, 2013

Food is a political issue: We are what we eat

Food is about class, religion, gender, environment, spirituality, celebration, art. It is big geopolitical issues, it is personal issues.

Cooking shows proliferate on our televisions, cooking competitions become ‘food porn’ as a nation loses its ability to cook a meal. Bread and circuses placated the Romans. Celebrity chefs fill both roles. Master Chef? Yes, mistress.

Who chooses between heating and eating? and who chooses between lobster and caviar?

Is meat a sexual issue (Adams, 1990)? Is fat and weight a feminist issue (Orbach, 1978)?

Are women and girls being denied food in hungry families in order to feed the males first?

Do men prefer to eat steak and women eat salad?

Do Scottish people really eat deep-fried Mars Bars, or is that just a myth? and do the Scottish people have the lowest intake of vegetables in the EU? (No, but Northern European countries consume less fresh fruit and vegetables than Southern countries.)

Who owns the land on which food grows? Do family farms exist any more? or are they all factory farms owned by huge multi-national conglomerates?

Who grows the food? Who harvests the food? Are they paid a living wage?

Are farmers committing suicide as they are paid less and less each year so corporations can give their shareholders and extra cent or two?

Are farmers across the world being driven into bankruptcy by chemical companies that have patents on the seeds of food they have grown for centuries?

Are we importing food from countries with lower wages, unsafe working conditions and grown in toxic fields, because grocery chains have more power than small farming suppliers, and they would prefer cheap food than clean food?

Which multinationals corporations own the brands and which sell the food? and where do they direct their profits?

What food is grown for local consumption and what crops are grown for export instead of food, so rich countries can get cheap cocoa and cotton while hungry people starve? Who decides that countries on the brink of mass starvation will grow coffee, sugar, tobacco, roses for cheap exports? Does the World Bank really decide?

Is chocolate really related to slavery, today, not centuries ago?

Will wars of the future, or present, be fought over access to clean food and water?

Despite enough nutritious food in the world to feed everyone, what nations are in famine, what nations are suffering obesity epidemics?

Is our food grown in our backyard, on our window sills or in a country on the other side of the world?

Does the environment our crops are grown affect our health? The sludge, toxic waste, industrial waste, radioactive waste, lead, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, sewage is this for our benefit, or because it is cheaper than a clean environment?

Does what our food eats affect our own health? Are fish and ocean animals farmed in human sewage? Are herbivorous livestock fed the rendered bodies of animals of the same species that were classed not fit for human consumption? (Is this where Mad Cow Disease evolved?)

Are we growing food to eat, or are we growing food to fuel our cars and stoves or to feed livestock who will become our food?

Which multinational corporations are chopping down the Amazon rainforest to create grazing land for cows for cheap hamburgers, and cropland for soy?

Are ancient forests being woodchipped to create disposable plates, chopsticks and toilet paper?

Which food is responsible for destruction of the orang-utan habitat (palm oil)? and can we eat foods without it?

Why have governments decided that our fields, pastures, orchards, vineyards a luxury, and replace them with Coal Seam Gas wells. In the battle between mining and food production, food production loses, and are we all completely fracked unless we can learn to eat CSG chemicals?

Are our milk, eggs, honey used for food, or going into cosmetics?

Does ‘free range eggs’ mean what most people would think it means, or is it just a meaningless phrase?

Are we destroying our environment for cheap food? Are we mining our oceans for pet food?

Are we eating plastic, formaldehyde, human hair, Styrofoam, coal-tar, tumours from diseased animals because we don’t ask where our food comes from?

Who is food? Why is there outrage over horse-meat in the Swedish meatballs (“scandal“), but no corresponding outrage about the cow meat in the lasagna?

Who lives? Who dies? Who decides and who profits?

Are Wall Street vultures driving up the price of staples so they can make even larger profits? Are starving people good for their business? Are entire nations driven to famine so the 1% can buy up their land in exchange for a handful of beans?

Are Goldman Sachs bankers getting rich betting on food prices as millions starve?

Hungry people cannot be good at learning or producing anything, except perhaps violence. – Pearl Bailey

Who gets to eat and who can’t eat? For cultural reasons, for gender reasons, for health reasons, for religious reasons.

Do we fast for religious reasons (Muslim Ramadan) or do we feast (Christian Christmas)?

Who chooses to not eat (“drop a dress size in a week”), and who throws away food, filling landfill sites with mouldy, uneaten food.

Who cooks the family meals, who shops for the family meals, who cleans up, and who becomes celebrity chefs?

The september 11 attacks on New York saw a resurgence in comfort food, such as mashed potatoes and apple pie, while the Iraq attacks saw steak become a statement of solidarity with the Cowboy president.

Is food sacred? Does it represent our shared cultural heritage that connects us to our community and ancestors through family recipes and rituals?

How do we use food to celebrate and mourn? National tragedies and personal grief, breaks ups and first dates? comfort food and fuel food, holidays and every days? Religious, secular and patriotic days where we eat foods because of “traditions” we have no longer have connections to, other than the advertising tells us that everyone else does.

Can food be racist? An Australian TV ad featuring the West Indian cricket team and the sponsors product (a multi-national fried chicken corporation) was branded racist by commentators in the United States. Since Australia does not have a shared history with the USA, chicken and West Indian cricket teams are not racist imagery, but is the US exporting is racism – or racist connotations – by insisting racism and food is universal? or are the US just imposing their racism onto food around the world?

Does Disney really sell vanilla confectionery with a blonde white princess on the packaging, and a brown princess on the watermelon flavoured version? (answer: Yes)

Is veganism a choice of rich, white, westerners? Or is that just an imposed stereotype from people who eat animals?

Who chooses to be vegan, fruitarian, or Big Mac-eating breatharian?

Why don’t meat-eating “freegans” call themselves something else, something that doesn’t sound like ‘vegan’?

Who are born with allergies that can lead to death upon contact with a peanut or a strawberry, and have no choice about that do and don’t eat?

Are life-threatening allergies really on the rise, or is that just a perception?

Is our food grown in the ground or assembled in a lab? Is it patented by Monsanto, is it irradiated? Does it contain built-in pesticides and/or smothered in pesticides as it grows.

Who washes the dishes? and what are those dishes made of – plastic or bone china (made from actual ground up bones)? What about our cutlery, plastic or woodchipped ancient forests? How many forests are destroyed to make paper napkins and plastic straws, and how many are never used?

What is food packaged in? how is it disposed? And how many plastic bags will be thrown out after being used only to carry groceries from the shop to the car, then from the car to the house?

Are Western countries really having eating competitions, when many people in the world don’t know where their next meal is coming from? Are there really people in the world that happily pay $500 for a burger (http://www.buzzfeed.com/stacylambe/the-10-most-expensive-hamburgers-in-the-world)?

Are there hamburger cafes whose selling point is the heart-attack inducing amount of saturated fat and sugar in their foods? (yes)

Are nations in famine or is it personal self-induced starvation, are there national obesity epidemics (can obesity even be described as an epidemic), are we eating ourselves to death?

How many children will die of malnutrition between the start of this sentence and when I finish typing it? How many adults will die from over-nutrition?

Is there a resurgence in diseases like scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) in the Western world among the poor, the homeless and students? (yes)

Is equal access to clean nutritious food – or access to any food – a human rights issue? or merely something for the free marketplace to work out?

Has health been priced out of range for many people? Cheap fast food full of things that will slowly kill us, or expensive healthy food. Is organic food a status symbol? or is it available to any community gardener who cares about what they eat?

Is bottled water merely tap water in a container that will take thousands of years to break down and choke our ocean life who mistake it for their food?

Are modern luxury apartments being built without kitchens? Just enough space for a microwave, coffee machine, a drawer to hold take-out and home delivery menus, and a bar fridge big enough to hold the alcohol.

Does the trend towards no kitchen – and lack of cooking skills – symbolise affluence, or idiocy as we hand over control of our health (via our food) to corporations?

Are supermarkets selling pre-peeled, cored, and cut apples an advancement for civilisation? Are pre-skinned, chopped, and season baked potatoes, that only need heating the end of evolution and a sign we are now going backwards?

Is our relationship to food totally screwed up by marketing? Women’s magazines that feature ‘sinfully wicked’ desserts then describe people on diets as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Celebrity diets, that are a staple of a women’s magazines, (that coincidentally feature brands that happen to be sponsors), are wedged between articles on what supermodels ate for breakfast and how to get a Hollywood body in 8 minutes a day (the need for your own personal trainer and chef, doesn’t rate a mention) and royal “baby bumps”, and getting your pre-baby body back with the speed of lightning.

Do we starve for appearance and ignore nutrition? Or do we eat for health?

Is it true that models eat cotton wool soaked in orange juice? (who knows, but a search for “models eating cotton wool soaked in orange juice” got 145,000 results)

Are there online communities that encourage / support those with eating disorders? Are there men paying morbidly obese women to watch them eat via webcam?

Is the circle of life transformative? – seed plant food compost seed?
Or is it destructive – born suffer die?

Slow food, fast food, no food, too much food, junk food, clean food, food miles and food deserts, boycotts, meat-free mondays and heritage cattle and pigs.

And once last but important question – where have all the girls disappeared to from breakfast cereal commercials? Busy mums waiting on their boys in every way imaginable, but no girls.

Food is a political issue. We are what we eat.

5 January, 2013

13 Steps To Vegan Beauty

I recently came across an article in a vegan magazine that was all about how to be beautiful. It was eerily no different from those articles in regular fashion magazines: buy lots of these products (in an amazing coincidence, all the products we recommend are also sponsors) and slap them on your face.
No, you’ll still be the same person, just wearing more cosmetics.

So, here is another list:

1. Be Yourself
If your ideal of beauty is to look like someone else, you will never be happy. Stop comparing yourself to others, whether on appearance, possessions, jobs, etc, it will only lead to dissatisfaction.

2. True Beauty Comes From Within
Everyone’s mother, grandmother, self-help book, fashion magazines has probably said those words.

Compassion is beautiful, Greed is not.

If you are a greedy, hard, selfish, brutal, person no amount of changing the outside will change that. If you are a warm, caring, thoughtful person, it will reflect on the outside.

3. Drink Adequate Amounts Of Water
Adequate for your body. Whatever is right for you may not be 8 glasses a day. It may be more, it may be less. Dehydration is bad for your skin, your brain, and everything else. Too much water can be fatal. Diet soda will not work either, as the vegan book Skinny Bitch says “There is nothing in soda that should be put into your body” (Kim Barnouin, Rory Freedman)

4. Consume Adequate Nutrients
Disclaimer: this does not constitute medical advice
Whatever nutrients your body needs, consume them. Water, B12 and other vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, carbohydrates, protein etc. Eat nutrient-dense food, cut down on nutrient-empty food, get the best food for your price range.

If you don’t know, get expert advice. If you do know, act upon that knowledge.

5. Vegan Beauty Products
Beauty products tested on animals or made from animals are not beautiful.
Whatever you use in your personal care routines: Soap, toothpaste, shampoo, lipbalm, moisturiser, etc – someone, somewhere makes a vegan version.

They might be a little more expensive, or they could be a whole lot cheaper (without that fancy brand-name and high fashion advertising, you may be paying closer to a products real value).

6. If you wouldn’t put it IN your body, don’t put it ON your body
Is it true that Western Women put more fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, cream, honey, eggs on their faces and bodies than entire populations in some countries consume? Who knows.

Macadamia nut oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, or any other plant oil, are usually single plant oils containing one ingredient. If they are cold-pressed, extra-virgin then these oils haven’t been extracted using chemical solvents, cheaper than brand name products, minimal packaging, available where ever food is sold, and you can understand the ingredients list.

These can be used as a non toxic massage oil, moisturiser, hand cream, make-up remover, cuticle oil, carrier for essential oils… get creative.

7. The Sun Will Give You Wrinkles
The sun will also give you vitamin D and other possible benefits. Tans might be fashionable, but I live in a country with the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, and there is nothing glamorous about melanoma.

So which ever way you come down on the ‘Sun / Avoid Sun’ divide: the sun particularly on your face, hands, décolletage and neck will produce wrinkles that will age you rapidly.

8. Passion And Activism
Having a dream and chasing it, caring about someone or something greater than ourselves, doing things with passion and energy. Activism is always more attractive than passivism.

Caring for our communities, our social networks and families, environment, animals, it might even be collecting the autographs from the cast of Glee or whatever your passion is, if it makes you happy, do it!

9. Laugh
If you go through life without a laugh for days or weeks at a time, you need to laugh more. It is good for you.

10. Show Gratitude, Give Forgiveness
At the risk of sounding like a bad copy of Oprah Winfrey, showing gratitude and giving forgiveness are healthy. Hanging on to resentments, keeping score and bitterness are aging.

Count your blessings, if you’re not happy with what you currently have, you won’t be happy with any more.

Let go of the past, live in the present with an eye on the future.

Saying ‘thank you’ and being grateful when people do things for you, whether it is someone cooking a meal for you or holding a door open, instantly takes 5-years off your face… well maybe not, but it makes you a nicer person to be around, and that is attractive.

11. Random Acts Of Kindness
There are lists everywhere on the internet. Do one. You will realise that you have the power to change someone’s day. You will focus on someone else. You will smile.

12. Focus On Something Bigger Than Yourself
For the environment, for animals, for a community. This relates to ‘beauty comes from within’ thing: Passion, commitment, caring, compassion, helping others, enthusiasm, these are beautiful qualities.

Martin Sheen once said he was an activist because he couldn’t not be an activist.

Find that one thing you cannot not do, and do it. You’ll be happy.

13. Take Time For Yourself

Half an hour, or a week. You need to put yourself as Priority 1 sometimes.

Too many activists get burnt out. Learn to say NO occasionally. Accept that you can’t do everything. Ask for help when you need it. If you’re feeling stressed, step back.

You’re entitled to give yourself the best in life.

Disclaimer: this does not constitute financial, spiritual, medical, legal advice, provided for entertainment purposes only

31 December, 2012

Easy Chocolate Ice-cream – Vegan (recipe)

★ Easy to make and even easier to eat. This chocolate ice-cream is a good substitute for those who miss it, or just want something that they can make at home to avoid the commercial products (which require a science degree to understand the ingredients list).

This recipe does not require an ice-cream machine. All measurements are rough-guides, adjust for taste.


This chocolate ice-cream stays smooth when frozen, does not form ice-crystals, and if left in a serving bowl too long melts into a tasty chocolate milk drink

Equipment:
Medium sized saucepan
Tablespoon – for measuring
Spoon – for stirring
Freezer-safe container with a lid
Grater (optional)
Measuring jug (optional)

Ingredients:
4 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder
3 heaped tablespoons of brown sugar (or char free sugar of choice)
2 heaped tablespoons of corn flour
pinch of salt
pinch of spice, eg. cinnamon, nutmeg
100 grams of grated chocolate (chocolate bar style chocolate)
conversion: 100 grams = 3.5274 ounces
3/4 of a litre / quart Milk of your choice (eg, almond, soy, rice)
conversion: 1 litre = 1.05669 US quart

Method:
Add some of the milk to the saucepan, heat over a very low heat

In the same bowl that ice-cream will be made in, mix the cocoa powder, brown sugar, corn flour, salt, spice

Add cocoa mixture to the slowly heating milk, mix well to remove any lumps

Chocolate milk mixture will start to thicken, stir well so it does not burn on the bottom

Add rest of the milk

Add the chocolate, grated or choc-chip sized to the milk, keep stirring. Do Not let the chocolate burn

When chocolate is melted, transfer to a freezable container.

Freeze, this will take a few hours

Variations:
add cherries to give it a hint at Black Forest flavour
add alcohol-soaked raisins for a more adult variety
add chopped banana and flaked almonds
grated chocolate for choc-chip chocolate ice-cream

16 December, 2012

A Vegan Christmas – How one family makes their vegan relative feel welcome.

How do vegans in western “christian” countries celebrate christmas / Christmas, a celebration so typically centred around meat products.

In different parts of the world the focus of the meal might be roast goose, turkey, pork, ham, in warmer climates it might be sea-animals (“seafood”) or barbecue. With creamy, buttery, bacony extras. A few vegetables thrown in for colour.

I have been vegan or vegetarian for over half my life, and my family still seem unable to cope with that.

A recent discussion with family members on plans for this year, I was told in no uncertain terms that I always ruin Christmas for everybody because I think I am “too good” to eat meat. (If the success or failure of Your christmas depends on forcing the vegan to eat meat or they will be excluded, it would probably be a failure even if you did convince them to eat meat).

How about I have a vegan christmas, a couple of days earlier, where I can make all the foods I enjoy and share them with my family? I suggested.

Nooooo! That would be me dictating to everyone what they can have for christmas, that would be me making christmas all about me, that would be me thinking I’m too good to celebrate christmas with the rest of my loved ones, that would be me spoiling christmas – again.

My sibling conspired with my mother on a whole range of foods that could be prepared (the same sibling who puts feta cheese in the vegan salad, on the basis that it is white, it must be vegan cheese).

But I don’t want anyone to go to any trouble. That would make me ungrateful, when my sibling is being so generous, that would be ruining christmas – again.

So, if I understand my family – my sibling making sort-of vegan food for the vegan is generous and a refusal is being ungrateful. But a vegan making a vegan meal is being selfish.

So what? What would it take to make you happy, what do I need to do to prove that I don’t think I’m “too good” to join in, do you actually want me to eat meat? Would that be not ruining christmas?

The answer, YES.

This was not an idle comment, this was a serious response from my loved one, Eating Meat is their idea of me not ruining christmas for them.

There is no words, this is something verging on impossible to comprehend. How can your family think the best way for you to celebrate christmas is for you to turn your back on almost a lifetime of belief, abandon the very core of who you are and how you choose to interact with the world.

Apparently, the ONLY WAY to not ruin christmas for everybody (it seems I’m not an everybody) is to eat meat.

To prove that I’m part of the family, I have to abandon who I am.

By abandoning who I am, my loved ones might accept me.

If I don’t show up, I’m ruining christmas.
If I show up and don’t join in the meal, I’m ruining christmas.
If I make my own food, I’m ungrateful and ruining christmas.
If I show up and don’t eat the non-vegan vegan food, I’m ungrateful and ruining christmas.

If I show up and eat meat, then, christmas – for everybody – is a success.

(And apparently I’m the one who makes every christmas All About Me!)


image of turkey from wikipedia, used without permission

This is a no win situation.

I lose myself or I lose my family.

Merry Christmas from Red Glitter (editor of VALA)

4 May, 2012

The Things You Learn About Activists on Social Media

Having recently seen a celebrity round up a posse to abuse someone who said that the celebrity wasn’t taking the issue of violence seriously, I’ve noticed how often celebrities and people who think they are celebrities over-react to people who disagree with them.


Clementine Ford: This is a self-described feminist – which I assume means she fights for women’s rights, not just her own. So what trolling did she experience? Someone called her a “bitch”. Oooh, harsh.

Classic #FirstWorldProblems

Meanwhile, Animal Rights Activists, Human Rights Activist, Earth Rights Activists, Online Rights Activists, Economic Justice Activists, Freedom and Independence Activists are being thrown in prison for standing up for their beliefs, being shot, tortured, detained under house arrest, “disappeared”, abducted…. of the “crime” of trying to make the world a better place. Imagine if anyone ever called them “bitch” – all the activism in the world would come to a screeching halt.

No, wait – it wouldn’t. Being called a bitch, is not trolling, and if that is the worst thing someone experiences in their day, boohoo for your first world problems.

She then publishes his email address. And adds the following “So, I say, use it. Send him links to feminist articles, email him really large photos that take ages to download. Send him daily philosophical thoughts, suggestions for discounted holidays.”

Using her fame and celebrity (whatever she is famous for) to harass someone who disagreed with her. Meanwhile George Clooney uses his fame to bring peace to Sudan, and Brad Pitt uses his celebrity to help with housing in hurricane ravaged New Orleans.

That is harassment and abuse. Must remember to add that to my arsenal of feminist tactics, how could I have missed that one.

Having seen Ford in action, I will pre-emptively state this: I have never contacted Ford, never tweeted her, never reblogged her, until 5 minutes ago, the only Clementine Ford I’d ever heard of was the actor from The L Word, Cybill Shephards daughter. If she does find this blog post, and calls it trolling. She will be wrong. If she directs anyone to come here and abuse me, she will be just as guilty as the person doing the abuse. And if anyone does come here because she told you to, think about your actions, think about her actions, Not Mine.

source of Tweet: here
Image of the trolling: here

4 May, 2012

If you protest, you may get shot by your government

May 4 1970, in Ohio state, USA, at Kent University, unarmed college students were shot by the Ohio National Guard. Guards fired 67 rounds in 13 seconds leaving four dead and nine wounded. The victimes were protesting the USA invasion of Cambodia, watching from a distance, or randomly walking past

24 April, 2012

Originally posted on Vegan Feminist Pirate:

Animal Liberation = Earth Liberation = Human Liberation

The word “vegan” (/ˈviːɡən/) was invented in 1944, by Elsie Shrigley and Donald Watson, who founded the UK Vegan Society. The British Vegan Society defines veganism this way:

The word veganism denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.

Anyone who is involved with Animal Liberation or Animal Rights Activism today can see how since 1944, the word has been twisted and pulled in all directions, and in some instances, ignored all together, an…

View original 1,670 more words

14 April, 2012

Is This What Abolitionist Veganism Has Come Down To?

I can honestly say that I don’t know anything about Randy W. Sandberg, but I have seen people tweet him into my twitter feed. But some fast research (google) has showed that he is / was Gary Francione’s webmaster (gary-francione.com).

There is no mention of veganism or anything even close in his bio https://twitter.com/#!/randywsandberg although, he may have a separate account for proselytising, I mean, being vegan.

Ayn Rand, the darling of the Tea-Party in the USA, of the Religious Right Wing Republicans cutting a swathe through women’s rights in parliaments and capital buildings across the USA.

There isn’t a lot of compassion contained within the writings of Rand, and I’m sure there are a vegan Tea-Partiers, vegan is outside of politics, and are left, right, centre and every shade in between. But Ayn Rand?

And while everyone is perfectly entitled to their own political views, this just reinforces what I have been told about certain Abolitionists, who no longer identify as such, but when they did, in my experience used threats of force to raise money (I have screen shots of these incidences)… wouldn’t it be better to just get back to saving some animals.

11 April, 2012

Changing The World

all available for personal use, but don’t put your name on it, if you know you didn’t create it, if you want to use any, a link back to my blog would be appreciated if you want to


Text of image: Maybe you can’t change the entire world, but you can change the world for one person.


text of image: I can’t change the whole world, but I can change my little corner of it.


text of image: if you want to change the world, change yourself

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