Tyranny or Revolution. One of two simple choices. Continue to live a dictatorship or stand up and say No.
Those are the options – either unquestioningly obey unjust laws or stand up against them. By fighting unjust laws you are standing up for justice, freedom, free-thinking, you are standing up for what you believe in, more importantly – what is right.
If you obey unjust laws, that you know are unjust, you are losing your freedom, independence of thought, and you are sitting back doing nothing, from a position of safety while others are subjected to unjust laws that selectively punish and discriminate.
“It doesn’t take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause.” H L Mencken
As we can see from many civil rights movements, from the abolition of the slave trade, sufferage for women, ending apartheid in South Africa, African Independence Movement and gay rights, the fight is for rights is not about a group asking or begging for their rights but about people taking the power that is already theirs and asserting their rights.
The fight for rights against those who hold power is an expression of power. People acknowledging there is injustice and standing up and fighting is an expression of strength, which challenges the common held notions of power relationships. Foucault (1990) said, it is in principle impossible to oppose power, because it is only with power that power can be opposed.
However, the fight for animal rights is an except to all civil rights and social justice movements, in that those who are victims and suffer at the hands of those with power, are never going to be in a position to assert their rights to life. What happens then?
Civil disobedience becomes duty.
“As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.” Clarence Darrow
If we don’t speak out when we see injustice we are silently and passively saying we agree. Our silence empowers those who wield the whips and chains of enslavement. And right now in the Animal Rights Movement there is a creeping silence settling on organisations and activists who seem to have forgotten how to fight.
The animals continue to be treated as mere commodities and activists are waiting… for, well, something.
This silence is what is happening in the animal rights movement. There is a growing popularity in Animal Rights Activism (ARA) of complacency. Led by a theoretical “activist” Gary Francione, they have taken over as the public voice of activism. They have elected themselves the moral guardians of veganism. They speak the loudest. Meanwhile the Real ARAs are out in the streets actually fighting for what they believe in and fighting against injustice and tyranny, against the suffering and cruelty forced upon animals in the name of economics and “choice” (consumer choice, the animal doesn’t get a choice).
“We know through painful experiences that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed“. Martin Luther King
The Francione-Lee Hall-inspired “pacifist dietary vegans” often appear to be confused about what ARA is. It is not (only) making vegan cupcakes and eating vegan marshmallows. While following a particular diet can be considered political action, it is not direct action. Friends of Animals contend that “veganism is direct action” without actually explaining what Direct Action is or how Veganism is Direct Action, apart from such suggestions as eat at a vegan restaurant, buy a vegan cookbook, join Friends Of Animals (which they claim is inexpensive). Direct Action Veganism seems to be related to how much money you spend, turning veganism into a consumerist action.
While it can be seen that choices at the supermarket are political – from the brands you support or boycott, the country of origin, the distance food is transported, its environmental impact in production, or the welfare of the ingredients in the case of animal products. The companies you support economically or economically sabotage shape the world, every consumers choice at the cash register has an impact on the world. From child slavery for chocolate or palm oil in your cakes to supporting brands that also own cigarette companies or avoiding animal products – these all have political consequences.
Although following a vegan diet might be regarded as passivism (passive + activism). And unless someone follows up advocating a vegan diet with actual actions you are a not an activist vegan, but a dietary vegan. The clue is in the word ACTIVism, it suggests some kind of ACTivity, ACTion, it involves acting one way or another, being an active agent in opposing the suffering and cruelty in the world. Part of the definition of vegan is someone who “promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment” (Watson and Shrigley). It is not telling other vegans how superior you are, that yours is the one true way, and the path to animal rights is found Only by blindly following Francione and Hall.
Words without action are meaningless.
The world will not, as Gary Francione and his followers say, be vegan if you want it. It will be vegan when people act on it. Get out and do something about it. Wishful thinking rarely achieves anything. It will take hard work, it will take risk, it will involve taking a stand FOR something, not just endlessly shouting down any Real ARAs who don’t blindly obey Francione.
What the world needs is a revolution, not another movement. The insistence of Francione and Hall followers of calling themselves “Abolitionist Vegan” divides Animal Rights. It artificially separates vegans, splintering what should be a united movement into Us v Them.
“We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Why We Can’t Wait, 1963
So while Francione and Hall are sitting around telling people to Buy vegan cook books, Buy memberships of their organisations, Buy meals at restaurants, Buy text books they write, Buy, Buy, Buy, and tell people this is “direct action”, there are real Direct Action Activists are refusing to accept the status quo of a society that puts a higher price on the death of an animal that they do on the value of that animals life.
This is not civil war between those that oppose all form of MDA – militant direct action and those who don’t condemn it. Because the dietary vegans who talk about peace being the only way, they are nothing but a distraction. Their beliefs don’t seem to be based on Animal Liberation but following gurus and their opinions, they will left on the side of the road long after Real ARAs are reaching milestones in the path to true animal liberation.
These milestones will be reached by people standing up against the tyranny of a society.
“What have you done for animals lately?”
This is not a criticism of meat eaters, this is not a criticism of vegetarians, nor is this a criticism on people who live a vegan lifestyle who don’t want to be ARA’s. This is pointing out the hypocrisy of people who call themselves “activists” and then do nothing but recruit for the members for the Abolitionism of Francione and Hall.
So get on the train or get off the tracks. Because when you target Animal Liberation for being not vegan enough, you are in the way, you are the hit squad for animal abusing industries.
“A revolution is coming – a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough – but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character, we cannot alter its inevitability.” John F. Kennedy
Taking the world vegan will require a revolution, in the way of thinking of six billion people. This will be achieved when those who want to see real Animal Liberation rebel against the tyranny from the Animal Agriculture industry and other vegans who stymie activists who are making a difference. It will involved standing up for your principles instead of attacking those who do. It means putting your life and freedom on the line, and if you’re not prepared to stand up for what you believe in, then just what will you do to save the life of an animal.
Eating vegan marshmallows does very little for preventing the suffering and death of an animal. And calling yourself an “animal rights activist” when all you do is shut down anyone who believes in a different form of activism achieves nothing – or rather it achieves nothing for the animals. It achieves a lot in slowing down Real ARAs, it sides with the abusers and enables them to continue inflicting their cruelty.
If you are fighting for animal rights and liberation, I will fight with you. If you are vegan, I admire you. If you reject the animal death industries, I respect you.
So… will we have Vegan Revolution or Tyranny?
A vegan revolution is inevitable, so what are we waiting for? Why not now?
Let’s start the Revolution today.