#OccupyWallStreet: a vegan perspective

To those who are fighting for justice, for anyone or any living being – I’ll stand with you.

And to those who think that I, have no right to comment on their fight and that vegans are irrelevant….

“Capitalism? Slavery? Genocide? Sitcoms? Guns? War? Pollution? Addiction? NAFTA? Thigh-Master? This is your fucking white-history, my “friend.”
So why don’t we start making a history worth being proud of and start fighting the real fucking enemy: the white male capitalist supremacist.”
–Propagandhi–

Once upon a time, in an anti-capitalist forum, far far away….
There was a recent discussion on an anti-capitalist forum, sparked by a digitally-altered picture of a burning Wall Street©$ office building with posters giving their opinions.

Some said burning the rich was the ultimate expression of anti-capitalism.

A couple of anti-capitalist vegans commented but these vegans were quickly, shunted off to one side, mocked as a niche issue, for the dilettantes and PeTA-wannabes and eating-disorder girls, meanwhile leave the heavy political issues to hard-core men-folk, Praise Marx and all that.

Capitalism:

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim:

The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.”
Bertrand Russell
(philosopher)

A lot of insults and name-calling ensued. Until…. gradually the vegans began making their opinions known on the subject.

The opinion of these vegans was this:

Not only is Veganism as expression of anti-capitalist ideas, it is perhaps the most effective of all anti-capitalist direct actions.

It is a complete rejection of the exploitation and ownership of all living beings, not just the human ones.
So, why hold Capitalism responsible?
The capitalist business ethic is based on one of exploitation – the earth, animals and humans. How much you can dig up, chop down, saturate with poison, slaughter – it’s all good, as long as you are making a profit.

How much pollution you create is irrelevant, fill those oceans and lakes with plastic, chemicals, oil, toxin – but make a profit.

Chop down all the trees and plow the fields – but make a profit.

Want to frack prime food-producing land and contaminate the drinking water of communities? sure go ahead – but make a profit.

Blow the tops of mountains, and dig huge strip mines? why not – but make a profit.

Want to build a private toll-road where a childrens playground / rainforest / Indigenous community is – sure, says governments – not only will we give you the land, but will you pay you taxpayers money if you don’t make enough profit!

Your life has NO VALUE other than that of a consumer – don’t believe me? Ask Ford

In 1977 the Ford car, the PINTO, had a design flaw which meant gas/petrol tanks were more likely to explode if hit in collisions. The cost of repairing this flaw was $11. Ford made the decision that it would be cheaper to let people die and fight off any lawsuits than correct the problem.

Capitalism does not care about feeding the starving, healing the sick, educating the children, providing care to the elderly, ensuring a safe working environment for the working classes, providing a safe, clean, non-deadly environment for communities – NO, the only goal of capitalism is to make money.

And if I was an owner, banker, investor, shareholder, I would be annoyed if the company did anything other make money, by any means necessary, regardless of social cost.

Capitalism has made all living things on the planet, and the planet itself fair game. Animals are property, the air is property, the water that falls from the sky is property (Bolivia has privatised the rain, the water that falls on your own property does not belong to you).

Monsanto is gaining an increasing share in the seed market. You don’t own the food you grow on your property. Want to save some seeds to plant future gardens? Nope, that is a crime.

Capitalism even own the genes in your body – Myriad Genetics owns your genes and mine.

(Who did they buy my genes from? How did anyone think they had the rights to sell your genes? What are they doing with the ownership of our genes?)

Think that is absurd, that a private company that you’ve probably never heard of owns your body parts?

Just ask a cow or a chicken.

Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

Ok, capitalism is evil, but that’s got nothing to do with VEGANS, has it?
Once you start talking about crashing the system, bringing down the banksters and gangsters of Wall Street, breaking the chains slave-wages or no wages while mega-corporations take their tax payer bail outs and take their factories offshore, the anti-capitalists are all for it.

They may even shout slogans like tax the rich, burn the rich or f-ck the system.

Yah, I’m down for that (say the VEGANS)
– how about we end the enslavement of 10s of millions of living beings who are sold like cattle, made to work non-stop producing more and more, without decent working conditions, for no pay, and when they are no longer useful, murdered.

Hell Yes! (say the rebels)

Then let’s all GO VEGAN!

. . .

Say what?

And, it is at this point that the Leninist-Trotsky-Marxists chime in – Now, you’re taking it too far, don’t you care about the exploitation of people? go hug a tree and weave some baskets in your hemp clothing, while us real anti-capitalists overthrow the system

Audi automobile with the license plate

Image via Wikipedia

Then they consume animal products…… contributing $Money to the exact same system they claim to want to over throw.

The vegans get side-lined, their issues are deemed irrelevant, when really, vegans should be seen as an ally of those fighting for justice, fairness and equal rights.

As can often happen, when fighting to achieve social change, those who fight off the dominate group, then turn around and apply that dominance against others – feminists who ignored issues of race (see the writings of Audre Lorde or bell hooks – Feminist Class Struggle, or anti-war movements resulted in men doing the thinking and women making the coffee and cakes (see the writings of Robin Morgan), or marriage equality activists who are dreadful racists (a certain Australian celebrity supports gays marriage but also supports racism).

Examples of this can be seen among anti-capitalist, who themselves enslave animals or pay others do so on their behalf. Hopefully this attitude is dying out.

To me, begin vegan is about ending the commodification of animals. It is about the end of a process which has seen the reproductive systems of cows and chickens morphed into a factory farm, where the more cruel you are the higher your profits.  It is about ending the enslavement, ownership, and exploitation of those who are just a little bit different from us.

This extract from a Mother Jones article shows how the business model of factory farming impacts on more than just the lives and deaths of animals.

How the Meat Industry Turned Abuse into a Business Model

Abuse of animals is routine. Entire ecosystems get trashed, as is the case of the Chesapeake Bay—once one of the globe’s most productive fisheries, brought to near-ruin by runoff from a stunning concentration of factory chicken farms. Family farmers are literally turned into serfs as they scale up to meet the industry’s demands. And we all face the menace of the antibiotic-resistant pathogens now brewing up on animal factory farms, which now consume 80 percent of antibiotics used in the United States (both to make livestock grow faster and keep them alive in cramped, filthy conditions).

Meanwhile, the industry can be expected to vigorously fight any attempt to curtail its abusive practices. Market power extends to the political sphere—the meat lobby is one of those powerful D.C. players that—like oil and banking—has the cash to maintain friendships on both sides of the political aisle.

And to think, some people say vegans don’t care about people!

If you consume any animal products, you have in effect, paid someone to kill on your behalf.

An animal is not a thing to be owned, murdered, enslaved, and yet, every day, millions and millions of animals are murdered and enslaved….. also by those who claim to be anti-capitalist.

They want to tear down the corporations that enslave people, yet own other beings, and at no point see a disconnect between the two. In fact, when this disconnect is pointed out to them, they deny it even more emphatically.

Some people speak lovely, angry words of revolution, of overthrowing the system, ending capitalism, no more ownership, but shove animal products into that same mouth, without a pause to consider their inconsistency, between what they say and what they do.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

How non-conformists are these anti-globalism activists, as they blog using their Apple ipads™®©$, drinking Starbucks™®©$ Mocha Frappuccino™®©$, wearing their Nike™®©$ and Adidas™®©$, and eating their McDonalds BigMac™®©$

If you think that you’re an anti-capitalist rebel, but eat animal products, you are enslaving animals. Yeh, way to be a rebel.

You think you are rejecting over-consumption while you consume the carcasses of a once-living, breathing animal whose entire life has been abject slavery and misery.

To those occupying Wall Street, I support you.

The conspicuously wealthy turn up urging the character building values of the privation of the poor.
John Kenneth Galbraith 

So what does the Occupation of Wall Street hope to achieve

Although the website https://occupywallst.org has issued a list of demands – a constitution  if you will, many of these demands are state issues or federal issues that probably won’t be achieved by the occupation.

However, if it provides an outlet for the anger people are feeling about the inequities in a society where 1% of the population own more wealth than the other 99%. Then who does it hurt.

The fact that this occupation has received very little coverage from mainstream media, is an example of what these protesters are up against. The media themselves being a corporation who benefit from an apathetic population whose only function is consumption.

And who knows, this might be an outlet needed to avoid London style riots.

Or, it might just raise awareness that people are not alone, they do have the power, and it might be start of a larger movement.

If you have something you would like to add, or if you disagree, leave a comment or find me on twitter @redglitterx

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4 Comments to “#OccupyWallStreet: a vegan perspective”

  1. Hi, I’ve been watching the OWS livestream form rural Australia for the past few nights with much hope. Efforts are underway for occupations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. However, I’ve been a concerned that the links between the oppression of humans and other animals, especially under capitalism may not be being aired. So it was terrific to stumble across your comments. I also read somewhere that their an animal rights working committee/group has been set up as part of the general assembly. Can you confirm? If it exists, how’s it going – sounds like the vegans on site might have made some headway. You know the old saying: ‘first they ignore you…’ Hang in there.

    • hi thanks for your comment
      I have no connection with #OccupyPerth, or #OccupyBrisbane, and @OccupySydney has just started up in the day, these are the only ones I know of so far; nor have they made contact with me…. however their websites send my virus checker absolutely crazy, so Im staying clear of those too.

      For more information there are lots of facebook groups and twitter accounts,

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful and thought-provoking blog post. I really enjoyed reading it as we decide as a family how to support the occupy folks around the country and support their message.

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