Archive for ‘Capitalism’

1 April, 2012

History Will Judge Societies and Governments Who serve the Rich

text in image:
History will judge societies and governments — and their institutions — not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.
– César Chávez

For more on César Chávez, read: César Chávez: the non-violent revolutionary

by @redglitterx
image is in no way intended to suggest that César Chávez would have in any way endorsed the contents of this post or this blog

31 March, 2012

The benefits are only for the corporations, for the money makers – César Chávez

happy birthday Chavez, March 31, 1927

Who gets the risks? The risks are given to the consumer, the unsuspecting consumer and the poor work force.
And who gets the benefits? The benefits are only for the corporations, for the money makers.
César Chávez


For more on César Chávez, read: César Chávez: the non-violent revolutionary

6 October, 2011

I’m showing solidarity with supplies for #occupy – for earth, animals and people

I have been outspoken in my reluctance to support my local #Occupy, however, I can’t let my lack of confidence in the organisers get in the way of showing my support.

This could be an important movement to bring attention to how animals and the planet are being abused and mistreated in the name of capitalism, not just people. (Tiger Tiger Burning Bright is one of the very few writers or blogs that makes the connection between all three liberation movements)

I spend a long weekend assembling supplies, an assortment of things that I traded, bartered, begged, cajoled, asked nicely, collected, was gifted, or in other ways found (except the vegan chocolates, I bought them, and will be very disappointed if they dont make it to the occupation) – and gathered a collection of items that could be useful to Occupiers.

It took nearly 4 and 1/2 hours of driving – one way – to get to my local capital city, with a small truck (ute) with supplies.

I have yet to hear back any response from anyone connected with #Occupy since I dropped off the supplies, so I am just going to go ahead and will be assuming they were appreciated and will be put to good use.

But the 9 hours of driving is worth it, knowing that I have done my part, and don’t have to give them another thought.

There were five twenty-somethings in Vendetta-style Anonymous Guy Fawkes t-shirts (you do know that Warner Bros and Time Warner are making money when you buy Guy Fawkes branded merchandise, right) and Anarchy shirts, who helped me unload, so a big shout of thanks to them.

This is what I delivered:

    • TARPS x16 and PLASTIC SHEETING x40

heres a tip for you city folks – the difference between tarps and plastic sheeting: tarps cost more than plastic sheeting, because it has eyelets which are used to tie tarps down, they also fray fast, so dont use tarps for sitting on, use plastic sheeting, also avoid umbrellas, they can poke someones eye out, if it gets wet, use the plastic sheeting as a poncho or instead of an umbrella, I know tarps are like gold, but they are also more expensive than plastic

    • LANYARDS – a whole bunch

places that do printing for promotions sometimes have orders that get canceled or spelling mistakes, these they cannot sell, so visit a bunch of places, you might get tshirts, caps, pens, etc, I got these because they were printed with “MY HAPPY PLACE” a cafe that went out of business apparently

    • YELLOW GARBAGE BAGS – lots and lots

yellow because it stands out, you dont want people putting rubbish in a bag someone is using to waterproof their clothes


I say second hand, because that is where I have just decided to keep my collection of workers songs, rebellion songs, protest songs, union songs, human rights songs, anti war songs, protest chants, PDFs on what to do if arrested, ideas for direct action, Gene Sharps 198 methods of non violent direct action, Saul Alinskys 13 rules for radicals, outdoor cooking for large groups, camping recipes, posters, etc – I am such a technological novice I just dont know how to delete them – I am not pirating music at all, definitely not


FOR telstra, optus, virgin (but NO vodaphone, these are active but not loaded with money)
suggestion to occupiers, get a new sim, take everything off that you dont want everyone to see, in case your phone gets lost, stolen or taken into evidence


those flashdrive size things you stick in the side of a computer, for mobile internet, active but not loaded


6 cotton blankets (wool is cruel) and a whole bunch of other blankets that may have a logo on them that happens to be the same as a certain airline


1 box of sandwich size plastic bags


individual 750ml bottles (lots) and large 20 litre containers (some)people can refill their individual bottles, really, youre not going to die if you drink from a plastic bottle more than once


– LEDA VEGAN TIM TAMS – 2 packets
– LEDA VEGAN SNACK BARS – 2 boxes (apple, mixed fruit)
– GLUTEN FREE snack bars – 2 boxes (apple, apricot)
– LONG LIFE SOY MILK – 2 x 1L containers

    • in a clear PLASTIC STORAGE CONTAINER (first aid items):

– single use eye washes
– roller bandages
– large gauze sticking plasters
– small gauze sticking plasters
– 1 box of latex gloves
– 1 box of non latex nitrile gloves
– 1 roll of adhesive tape
(there are NO medications, anti biotics, sterile swabs, ointments, blades or scalples)


– white cardboard sheets
– multi-colour marker pens
– regular poster paint
– neon paint
– polyester non-metal glitter (the kind that wont cut your eyes if you get a piece in stuck in your eye)
– a 30cm ruler
(there are NO paint bushes or glue (if people want them, they can supply their own, these are not easy to find vegan) or scissors)


they kind they use on planes; Im not sure what it is used for, someone gave me a roll of it


those big blue and red bags, the kind you get from a $2 shop; I call them storage bags, but Ive heard them described to me as refugee bags




a little bit old, but it works

Good Luck to everyone involved.

For more information, any of these links –


They seem unable to make up their mind, it seems like every second day there is a notification they are switching blogs, so I’ll include both blogs, and if they’ve switched, then hopefully one of them works.

27 September, 2011

#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.”

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.


“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

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 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

13 August, 2011

Bidder70: I’m not saying any of this to ask you for mercy, but to ask you to join me.

Bidder70, Tim DeChristopher, is an environmental activist who stood up against a powerful oil industry and went to prison for it.

We cannot let this stand. When Tim disrupted the auction, he did so in the fine tradition of non-violent civil disobedience that changed so many unjust laws in this country’s past. 
– Dr. James Hansen, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Robert Redford, Terry Tempest Williams
Peaceful Uprising

This was DeChristopher’s written statement to the court – JULY 26, 2011

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before the court. When I first met Mr. Manross, the sentencing officer who prepared the pre-sentence report, he explained that it was essentially his job to “get to know me.” He said he had to get to know who I really was and why I did what I did in order to decide what kind of sentence was appropriate. I was struck by the fact that he was the first person in this courthouse to call me by my first name, or even really look me in the eye. I appreciate this opportunity to speak openly to you for the first time. I’m not here asking for your mercy, but I am here asking that you know me.

Mr. Huber has leveled a lot of character attacks at me, many of which are contrary to Mr. Manross’s report. While reading Mr Huber’s critiques of my character and my integrity, as well as his assumptions about my motivations, I was reminded that Mr Huber and I have never had a conversation. Over the two and half years of this prosecution, he has never asked my any of the questions that he makes assumptions about in the government’s report. Apparently, Mr. Huber has never considered it his job to get to know me, and yet he is quite willing to disregard the opinions of the one person who does see that as his job.

There are alternating characterizations that Mr Huber would like you to believe about me. In one paragraph, the government claims I “played out the parts of accuser, jury, and judge as he determined the fate of the oil and gas lease auction and its intended participants that day.” In the very next paragraph, they claim “ It was not the defendant’s crimes that effected such a change.” Mr Huber would lead you to believe that I’m either a dangerous criminal who holds the oil and gas industry in the palm of my hand, or I’m just an incompetent child who didn’t affect the outcome of anything. As evidenced by the continued back and forth of contradictory arguments in the government’s memorandum, they’re not quite sure which of those extreme caricatures I am, but they are certain that I am nothing in between. Rather than the job of getting to know me, it seems Mr Huber prefers the job of fitting me into whatever extreme characterization is most politically expedient at the moment.

In nearly every paragraph, the government’s memorandum uses the words lie, lied, lying, liar. It makes me want to thank whatever clerk edited out the words “pants on fire.” Their report doesn’t mention the fact that at the auction in question, the first person who asked me what I was doing there was Agent Dan Love. And I told him very clearly that I was there to stand in the way of an illegitimate auction that threatened my future. I proceeded to answer all of his questions openly and honestly, and have done so to this day when speaking about that auction in any forum, including this courtroom. The entire basis for the false statements charge that I was convicted of was the fact that I wrote my real name and address on a form that included the words “bona fide bidder.” When I sat there on the witness stand, Mr Romney asked me if I ever had any intention of being a bona fide bidder. I responded by asking Mr Romney to clarify what “bona fide bidder” meant in this context. Mr Romney then withdrew the question and moved on to the next subject. That, right there, is the entire basis for the government’s repeated attacks on my integrity. Ambition should be made of sterner stuff, your honor.

Mr Huber also makes grand assumptions about my level of respect for the rule of law. The government claims a long prison sentence is necessary to counteract the political statements I’ve made and promote a respect for the law. The only evidence provided for my lack of respect for the law is political statements that I’ve made in public forums. Again, the government doesn’t mention my actions in regard to the drastic restrictions that were put upon my defense in this courtroom. My political disagreements with the court about the proper role of a jury in the legal system are probably well known. I’ve given several public speeches and interviews about how the jury system was established and how it has evolved to its current state. Outside of this courtroom, I’ve made my views clear that I agree with the founding fathers that juries should be the conscience of the community and a defense against legislative tyranny. I even went so far as to organize a book study group that read about the history of jury nullification. Some of the participants in that book group later began passing out leaflets to the public about jury rights, as is their right. Mr Huber was apparently so outraged by this that he made the slanderous accusations that I tried to taint the jury. He didn’t specify the extra number of months that I should spend in prison for the heinous activity of holding a book group at the Unitarian Church and quoting Thomas Jefferson in public, but he says you should have “little tolerance for this behavior.”

But here is the important point that Mr Huber would rather ignore. Despite my strong disagreements with the court about the Constitutional basis for the limits on my defense, while I was in this courtroom I respected the authority of the court. Whether I agreed with them or not, I did abide by the restrictions that you put on me and my legal team. I never attempted to “taint” the jury, as Mr Huber claimed, by sharing any of the relevant facts about the auction in question that the court had decided were off limits. I didn’t burst out and tell the jury that I successfully raised the down payment and offered it to the BLM. I didn’t let the jury know that the auction was later reversed because it was illegitimate in the first place. To this day I still think I should have had the right to do so, but disagreement with the law should not be confused with disrespect for the law.

My public statements about jury nullification were not the only political statements that Mr Huber thinks I should be punished for. As the government’s memorandum points out, I have also made public statements about the value of civil disobedience in bringing the rule of law closer to our shared sense of justice. In fact, I have openly and explicitly called for nonviolent civil disobedience against mountaintop removal coal mining in my home state of West Virginia. Mountaintop removal is itself an illegal activity, which has always been in violation of the Clean Water Act, and it is an illegal activity that kills people. A West Virginia state investigation found that Massey Energy had been cited with 62,923 violations of the law in the ten years preceding the disaster that killed 29 people last year. The investigation also revealed that Massey paid for almost none of those violations because the company provided millions of dollars’ worth of campaign contributions that elected most of the appeals court judges in the state. When I was growing up in West Virginia, my mother was one of many who pursued every legal avenue for making the coal industry follow the law. She commented at hearings, wrote petitions and filed lawsuits, and many have continued to do ever since, to no avail. I actually have great respect for the rule of law, because I see what happens when it doesn’t exist, as is the case with the fossil fuel industry. Those crimes committed by Massey Energy led not only to the deaths of their own workers, but to the deaths of countless local residents, such as Joshua McCormick, who died of kidney cancer at age 22 because he was unlucky enough to live downstream from a coal mine. When a corrupted government is no longer willing to uphold the rule of law, I advocate that citizens step up to that responsibility.

This is really the heart of what this case is about. The rule of law is dependent upon a government that is willing to abide by the law. Disrespect for the rule of law begins when the government believes itself and its corporate sponsors to be above the law.

Mr Huber claims that the seriousness of my offense was that I “obstructed lawful government proceedings.” But the auction in question was not a lawful proceeding. I know you’ve heard another case about some of the irregularities for which the auction was overturned. But that case did not involve the BLM’s blatant violation of Secretarial Order 3226, which was a law that went into effect in 2001 that requires the BLM to weigh the impacts on climate change for all its major decisions, particularly resource development. A federal judge in Montana ruled last year that the BLM was in constant violation of this law throughout the Bush administration. In all the proceedings and debates about this auction, no apologist for the government or the BLM has ever even tried to claim that the BLM followed this law. In both the December 2008 auction and the creation of the Resource Management Plan on which this auction was based, the BLM did not even attempt to follow this law.

And this law is not a trivial regulation about crossing t’s or dotting i’s to make some government accountant’s job easier. This law was put into effect to mitigate the impacts of catastrophic climate change and defend a livable future on this planet. This law was about protecting the survival of young generations. That’s kind of a big deal. It’s a very big deal to me. If the government is going to refuse to step up to that responsibility to defend a livable future, I believe that creates a moral imperative for me and other citizens. My future, and the future of everyone I care about, is being traded for short term profits. I take that very personally. Until our leaders take seriously their responsibility to pass on a healthy and just world to the next generation, I will continue this fight.

The government has made the claim that there were legal alternatives to standing in the way of this auction. Particularly, I could have filed a written protest against certain parcels. The government does not mention, however, that two months prior to this auction, in October 2008, a Congressional report was released that looked into those protests. The report, by the House committee on public lands, stated that it had become common practice for the BLM to take volunteers from the oil and gas industry to process those permits. The oil industry was paying people specifically to volunteer for the industry that was supposed to be regulating it, and it was to those industry staff that I would have been appealing. Moreover, this auction was just three months after the New York Times reported on a major scandal involving Department of the Interior regulators who were taking bribes of sex and drugs from the oil companies that they were supposed to be regulating. In 2008, this was the condition of the rule of law, for which Mr Huber says I lacked respect. Just as the legal avenues which people in West Virginia have been pursuing for 30 years, the legal avenues in this case were constructed precisely to protect the corporations who control the government.

The reality is not that I lack respect for the law; it’s that I have greater respect for justice. Where there is a conflict between the law and the higher moral code that we all share, my loyalty is to that higher moral code. I know Mr Huber disagrees with me on this. He wrote that “The rule of law is the bedrock of our civilized society, not acts of ‘civil disobedience’ committed in the name of the cause of the day.” That’s an especially ironic statement when he is representing the United States of America; a place where the rule of law was created through acts of civil disobedience. Since those bedrock acts of civil disobedience by our founding fathers, the rule of law in this country has continued to grow closer to our shared higher moral code through the civil disobedience that drew attention to legalized injustice. The authority of the government exists to the degree that the rule of law reflects the higher moral code of the citizens, and throughout American history, it has been civil disobedience that has bound them together.

This philosophical difference is serious enough that Mr Huber thinks I should be imprisoned to discourage the spread of this idea. Much of the government’s memorandum focuses on the political statements that I’ve made in public. But it hasn’t always been this way. When Mr Huber was arguing that my defense should be limited, he addressed my views this way: “The public square is the proper stage for the defendant’s message, not criminal proceedings in federal court.” But now that the jury is gone, Mr. Huber wants to take my message from the public square and make it a central part of these federal court proceedings. I have no problem with that. I’m just as willing to have those views on display as I’ve ever been.

The government’s memorandum states, “As opposed to preventing this particular defendant from committing further crimes, the sentence should be crafted ‘to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct’ by others.” Their concern is not the danger that I present, but the danger presented by my ideas and words that might lead others to action. Perhaps Mr Huber is right to be concerned. He represents the United States Government. His job is to protect those currently in power, and by extension, their corporate sponsors. After months of no action after the auction, the way I found out about my indictment was: the day before it happened, Pat Shea got a call from an Associated Press reporter who said, “I just wanted to let you know that tomorrow Tim is going to be indicted, and this is what the charges are going to be.” That reporter had gotten that information two weeks earlier from an oil industry lobbyist. Our request for disclosure of what role that lobbyist played in the US Attorney’s office was denied, but we know that she apparently holds sway and that the government feels the need to protect the industry’s interests.

The things that I’ve been publicly saying may indeed be threatening to that power structure. There have been several references to the speech I gave after the conviction, but I’ve only ever seen half of one sentence of that speech quoted. In the government’s report, they actually had to add their own words to that one sentence to make it sound more threatening. But the speech was about empowerment. It was about recognizing our interconnectedness rather than viewing ourselves as isolated individuals. The message of the speech was that when people stand together, they no longer have to be exploited by powerful corporations. Alienation is perhaps the most effective tool of control in America, and every reminder of our real connectedness weakens that tool.

But the sentencing guidelines don’t mention the need to protect corporations or politicians from ideas that threaten their control. The guidelines say “protect the public.” The question is whether the public is helped or harmed by my actions. The easiest way to answer that question is with the direct impacts of my action. As the oil executive stated in his testimony, the parcels I didn’t bid on averaged $12 per acre, but the ones I did bid on averaged $125. Those are the prices paid for public property to the public trust. The industry admits very openly that they were getting those parcels for an order of magnitude less than what they were worth. Not only did those oil companies drive up the prices to $125 during the bidding, they were then given an opportunity to withdraw their bids once my actions were explained. They kept the parcels, presumably because they knew they were still a good deal at $125. The oil companies knew they were getting a steal from the American people, and now they’re crying because they had to pay a little closer to what those parcels were actually worth. The government claims I should be held accountable for the steal the oil companies didn’t get. The government’s report demands $600,000 worth of financial impacts for the amount which the oil industry wasn’t able to steal from the public.

That extra revenue for the public became almost irrelevant, though, once most of those parcels were revoked by Secretary Salazar. Most of the parcels I won were later deemed inappropriate for drilling. In other words, the highest and best value to the public for those particular lands was not for oil and gas drilling. Had the auction gone off without a hitch, it would have been a loss for the public. The fact that the auction was delayed, extra attention was brought to the process, and the parcels were ultimately revoked was a good thing for the public.

More generally, the question of whether civil disobedience is good for the public is a matter of perspective. Civil disobedience is inherently an attempt at change. Those in power, whom Mr Huber represents, are those for whom the status quo is working, so they always see civil disobedience as a bad thing. The decision you are making today, your honor, is what segment of the public you are meant to protect. Mr Huber clearly has cast his lot with that segment who wishes to preserve the status quo. But the majority of the public is exploited by the status quo far more than they are benefited by it. The young are the most obvious group who is exploited and condemned to an ugly future by letting the fossil fuel industry call the shots. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific research, some of which you received as part of our proffer on the necessity defense, that reveals the catastrophic consequences which the young will have to deal with over the coming decades.

But just as real is the exploitation of the communities where fossil fuels are extracted. As a native of West Virginia, I have seen from a young age that the exploitation of fossil fuels has always gone hand in hand with the exploitation of local people. In West Virginia, we’ve been extracting coal longer than anyone else. And after 150 years of making other people rich, West Virginia is almost dead last among the states in per capita income, education rates and life expectancy. And it’s not an anomaly. The areas with the richest fossil fuel resources, whether coal in West Virginia and Kentucky, or oil in Louisiana and Mississippi, are the areas with the lowest standards of living. In part, this is a necessity of the industry. The only way to convince someone to blow up their backyard or poison their water is to make sure they are so desperate that they have no other option. But it is also the nature of the economic model. Since fossil fuels are a limited resources, whoever controls access to that resource in the beginning gets to set all the terms. They set the terms for their workers, for the local communities, and apparently even for the regulatory agencies. A renewable energy economy is a threat to that model. Since no one can control access to the sun or the wind, the wealth is more likely to flow to whoever does the work of harnessing that energy, and therefore to create a more distributed economic system, which leads to a more distributed political system. It threatens the profits of the handful of corporations for whom the current system works, but our question is which segment of the public are you tasked with protecting. I am here today because I have chosen to protect the people locked out of the system over the profits of the corporations running the system. I say this not because I want your mercy, but because I want you to join me.

After this difference of political philosophies, the rest of the sentencing debate has been based on the financial loss from my actions. The government has suggested a variety of numbers loosely associated with my actions, but as of yet has yet to establish any causality between my actions and any of those figures. The most commonly discussed figure is perhaps the most easily debunked. This is the figure of roughly $140,000, which is the amount the BLM originally spent to hold the December 2008 auction. By definition, this number is the amount of money the BLM spent before I ever got involved. The relevant question is what the BLM spent because of my actions, but apparently that question has yet to be asked. The only logic that relates the $140,000 figure to my actions is if I caused the entire auction to be null and void and the BLM had to start from scratch to redo the entire auction. But that of course is not the case. First is the prosecution’s on-again-off-again argument that I didn’t have any impact on the auction being overturned. More importantly, the BLM never did redo the auction because it was decided that many of those parcels should never have been auctioned in the first place. Rather than this arbitrary figure of $140,000, it would have been easy to ask the BLM how much money they spent or will spend on redoing the auction. But the government never asked this question, probably because they knew they wouldn’t like the answer.

The other number suggested in the government’s memorandum is the $166,000 that was the total price of the three parcels I won which were not invalidated. Strangely, the government wants me to pay for these parcels, but has never offered to actually give them to me. When I offered the BLM the money a couple weeks after the auction, they refused to take it. Aside from that history, this figure is still not a valid financial loss from my actions. When we wrote there was no loss from my actions, we actually meant that rather literally. Those three parcels were not evaporated or blasted into space because of my actions, not was the oil underneath them sucked dry by my bid card. They’re still there, and in fact the BLM has already issued public notice of their intent to re-auction those parcels in February of 2012.

The final figure suggested as a financial loss is the $600,000 that the oil company wasn’t able to steal from the public. That completely unsubstantiated number is supposedly the extra amount the BLM received because of my actions. This is when things get tricky. The government’s report takes that $600,000 positive for the BLM and adds it to that roughly $300,000 negative for the BLM, and comes up with a $900,000 negative. With math like that, it’s obvious that Mr Huber works for the federal government.

After most of those figures were disputed in the presentence report, the government claimed in their most recent objection that I should be punished according to the intended financial impact that I intended to cause. The government tries to assume my intentions and then claims, “This is consistent with the testimony that Mr. DeChristopher provided at trial, admitting that his intention was to cause financial harm to others with whom he disagreed.” Now I didn’t get to say a whole lot at the trial, so it was pretty easy to look back through the transcripts. The statement claimed by the government never happened. There was nothing even close enough to make their statement a paraphrase or artistic license. This statement in the government’s objection is a complete fiction. Mr Huber’s inability to judge my intent is revealed in this case by the degree to which he underestimates my ambition. The truth is that my intention, then as now, was to expose, embarrass and hold accountable the oil industry to the extent that it cuts into the $100 billion in annual profits that it makes through exploitation. I actually intended for my actions to play a role in the wide variety of actions that steer the country toward a clean energy economy where those $100 billion in oil profits are completely eliminated. When I read Mr Huber’s new logic, I was terrified to consider that my slightly unrealistic intention to have a $100 billion impact will fetch me several consecutive life sentences. Luckily this reasoning is as unrealistic as it is silly.

A more serious look at my intentions is found in Mr Huber’s attempt to find contradictions in my statements. Mr Huber points out that in public I acted proud of my actions and treated it like a success, while in our sentencing memorandum we claimed that my actions led to “no loss.” On the one hand I think it was a success, and yet I claim it there was no loss. Success, but no loss. Mr Huber presents these ideas as mutually contradictory and obvious proof that I was either dishonest or backing down from my convictions. But for success to be contradictory to no loss, there has to be another assumption. One has to assume that my intent was to cause a loss. But the only loss that I intended to cause was the loss of secrecy by which the government gave away public property for private profit. As I actually stated in the trial, my intent was to shine a light on a corrupt process and get the government to take a second look at how this auction was conducted. The success of that intent is not dependent on any loss. I knew that if I was completely off base, and the government took that second look and decided that nothing was wrong with that auction, the cost of my action would be another day’s salary for the auctioneer and some minor costs of re-auctioning the parcels. But if I was right about the irregularities of the auction, I knew that allowing the auction to proceed would mean the permanent loss of lands better suited for other purposes and the permanent loss of a safe climate. The intent was to prevent loss, but again that is a matter of perspective.

Mr Huber wants you to weigh the loss for the corporations that expected to get public property for pennies on the dollar, but I believe the important factor is the loss to the public which I helped prevent. Again, we come back to this philosophical difference. From any perspective, this is a case about the right of citizens to challenge the government. The US Attorney’s office makes clear that their interest is not only to punish me for doing so, but to discourage others from challenging the government, even when the government is acting inappropriately. Their memorandum states, “To be sure, a federal prison term here will deter others from entering a path of criminal behavior.” The certainty of this statement not only ignores the history of political prisoners, it ignores the severity of the present situation. Those who are inspired to follow my actions are those who understand that we are on a path toward catastrophic consequences of climate change. They know their future, and the future of their loved ones, is on the line. And they know we are running out of time to turn things around. The closer we get to that point where it’s too late, the less people have to lose by fighting back. The power of the Justice Department is based on its ability to take things away from people. The more that people feel that they have nothing to lose, the more that power begins to shrivel. The people who are committed to fighting for a livable future will not be discouraged or intimidated by anything that happens here today. And neither will I. I will continue to confront the system that threatens our future. Given the destruction of our democratic institutions that once gave citizens access to power, my future will likely involve civil disobedience. Nothing that happens here today will change that. I don’t mean that in any sort of disrespectful way at all, but you don’t have that authority. You have authority over my life, but not my principles. Those are mine alone.

I’m not saying any of this to ask you for mercy, but to ask you to join me. If you side with Mr Huber and believe that your role is to discourage citizens from holding their government accountable, then you should follow his recommendations and lock me away. I certainly don’t want that. I have no desire to go to prison, and any assertion that I want to be even a temporary martyr is false. I want you to join me in standing up for the right and responsibility of citizens to challenge their government. I want you to join me in valuing this country’s rich history of nonviolent civil disobedience. If you share those values but think my tactics are mistaken, you have the power to redirect them. You can sentence me to a wide range of community service efforts that would point my commitment to a healthy and just world down a different path. You can have me work with troubled teens, as I spent most of my career doing. You can have me help disadvantaged communities or even just pull weeds for the BLM. You can steer that commitment if you agree with it, but you can’t kill it. This is not going away. At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like. In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow. The choice you are making today is what side are you on.

source: Peaceful Uprising

For more background on who Tim DeChristopher is and what he did that got the USA government so upset:
many articles at Peaceful Uprising.Org


The Post-Human Condition

25 March, 2011

The Second Tsunami: Disaster Capitalism in Japan

When the pursuit of profits takes preference over life

“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.”
John Maynard Keynes

“Second Tsunami” is a phrase used by Naomi Klein in her book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism to describe the gleeful way the hyper capitalists reacted after the Tsunami of 2004.

When the water has washed everything away, when the earth has shaken all the buildings to the ground, those with money move in and Vulture Capitalists use the disaster to promote their own capitalist ideological agenda.

Naomi Klein, says here, in this interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, hyper-capitalists are very good at taking advantage of the shock a population experiences following disasters – “Remaking people, shocking them into obedience . . . these techniques don’t only work on individuals; they can work on whole societies: a collective trauma, a war, a coup, a natural disaster, a terrorist attack puts us all into a state of shock. And in the aftermath, like the prisoner in the interrogation chamber, we, too, become childlike, more inclined to follow leaders who claim to protect us.”
(for the full article… The Shock Doctrine: Naomi Klein on the Rise of Disaster Capitalism)

Because when hyper-capitalists see an opportunity to make money, nothing will stand in their way, not the plants, animals, clean air, clean water – it seems as if all life on earth becomes expendable.

How many safety corners were cut by a nuclear industry trying to save money and increase profits?

How many workers will lose their lives going into a nuclear power plant on the verge of a melt down, because they need the wages?

How many people and animals will die from radiation while the people that profited from these nuclear power plants live it in some 5-star beach resort, far away from the deadly radiation?

As happens daily under capitalism, profits are put before people. Making nuclear plants designed to withstand a worst case scenario and protecting the surrounding population is deemed too costly by the profit driven system..”
Japan nuclear disaster driven by corporate push for profits

Only a planned, socialist system, based on need, not greed, and global cooperation of the working class and oppressed can save the planet and free human beings from hunger, war, poverty and environmental destruction.

How capitalism made Japan’s disaster worse

By Gavrielle Gemma
Published Mar 23, 2011 9:37 PM

Based on a talk given to a Workers World Party forum on March 19.

The hearts of workers and the oppressed of the world go out to the Japanese people who have been hit by an earthquake and tsunami and are now threatened with nuclear disaster. We can never forget that more than 200,000 people, almost all civilians, were murdered by U.S. nuclear bombs dropped on Japan in 1945, while millions suffered from radiation poisoning, cancer and birth defects in the following decades.

But the hearts of the Japanese and U.S. capitalist governments, investment bankers and corporate plunderers are stone cold to the suffering of the people.

The quake and tsunami may have killed 30,000 people. Whole villages have been destroyed. Factories, stores, water, food supplies, homes, electricity, heating facilities for the cold north, the fishing industry and animal herds were demolished. Millions are suffering still. Food and water supplies are contaminated in a 100-mile radius.

Vital information about the nuclear threat is being withheld. The Japanese and U.S. capitalist governments, Tokyo Electric Power and General Electric, which built the affected plants, the International Atomic Energy Agency – all are tied to the profit-driven oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy industries and cannot be trusted.

The greatest threat arises from lack of water to cool 1,100 spent fuel rods, which emit deadly cesium and plutonium if ignited. A Tokyo Eletric {sic} Power executive admitted that the company delayed pumping sea water in, fearing it would ruin a valuable investment.

Since 1972 nuclear power experts have condemned the GE-designed plants for not venting hydrogen gas — which caused the explosions — and for unsafe storage of spent fuel rods. Tokyo Electric Power has been cited for numerous uncorrected safety violations.

While the imperialists on the United Nations Security Council rushed to get a resolution allowing them to wage war on Libya, the International Atomic Energy Agency, dominated by these same powers, said they’ll send some experts in a few days — a week after the crisis.

The Japanese government has told people in the area of the nuclear reactors to move 10 miles away. Yet all the corporate executives have been told to relocate at least 50 miles away. Most have fled to luxury hotels in Tokyo. Massive government-sponsored airlifts have been provided to evacuate corporate bloodsuckers from Japan, while working people freeze and go hungry.

Salute Japanese nuclear workers

The perilous job of racing to stop a nuclear catastrophe is being heroically and selflessly carried out by a small group of workers. The amount of radiation levels they can “safely” absorb is constantly raised by those sitting at a safe distance.

While adults and children were dying, the first “emergency” measure taken by the Japanese government was to dump almost half a trillion dollars into the stock market to prevent a crash.

The G7 countries held an emergency meeting March 19 attended by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke. They discussed their fear that the global capitalist crisis was deepened by this tragedy.

They each pledged to put money from their central banks — the working class’ money – into propping up currencies. Did they take up relieving the largest rise in food prices in 36 years? Did they discuss the fate of the Japanese people, or the planet? No, their concern was how to shore up the currency markets.

The central banks are rushing in to buy up government bonds to keep their interest returns high as countries sell them. They stated that the unfolding disaster sent a shudder through world markets as investors sought the safe haven of government debt. That will mean more interest payments as banks loot the treasuries.

How to make a profit from this tragedy was the order of the day. Warren Buffet, the third-richest man in the world, said, “Frequently, something out of the blue … really creates a buying opportunity [for shares in Japanese companies]. I have seen that happen in the U.S. I have seen that happen around the world, I don’t think Japan will be an exception.” (Reuters, March 21)

The Chicago Board of Trade soared 46 percent on currency speculation. An investment banker said, “It’s a great environment out there.”

Other “emergency” actions were taken by companies like Hewlett Packard, which set up a Pentagon-styled, 24-hour “situation room” to monitor where it would get parts due to closed Japan factories, so the process of making profits could go on. Most commodities these days are a product of global labor, but end up in the hands of private capitalist corporations.

U.S. gov’t backs nuclear industry

Military corporations, banks and energy industries, especially big oil, are the real powers behind the capitalist state. GE designed the Japanese plants and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt is a close consultant to President Barack Obama, who bizarrely named him to be his “jobs czar.” In November, Obama went to India with Immelt and 200 other executives. They forced and bribed the Indian government to pass legislation exempting GE from liability for nuclear accidents.

Countries everywhere were forced to turn to nuclear energy because of the U.S. monopolization of the oil industry. While we have an urgent, global need for safe, sustainable energy, saving the people and the planet plays no role in the decisions of Wall Street and the capitalist governments.

Our labor comes together around the globe, but the product of that labor is stolen by the private capitalist owners. We need a global public takeover from private industry of all energy resources and the creation of committees from the masses to oversee and create new sources and dismantle what is

Sam Marcy, the late chairperson of Workers World Party, wrote in 1990:
“At this critical phase in world history, it is only the deliberate activity of the masses themselves, when they intervene and threaten the system of capitalist exploitation and oppression, that can sweep away the polluters like the hazardous waste they created on this planet.” (Workers World, April 26, 1990)

Only a planned, socialist system, based on need, not greed, and global cooperation of the working class and oppressed can save the planet and free human beings from hunger, war, poverty and environmental destruction.

We stand with the working class and oppressed of Japan and demand that GE, Tokyo Electric and the governments that back them be held liable and that immediate and emergency aid be provided to all those suffering in Japan.

Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011

27 January, 2011

Cheese: The Other White Meat (why cheese eaters are problematic for vegans)

If you are a vegetarian, and would like to be vegan, my question for you is… what are you waiting for?

Vegetarians know the reality of where there food comes from – or rather WHO their food use to be, and it does not seem to bother them.

A lot of vegans, probably have at some point meet someone who says that they are “almost vegan” or “90% vegan – except for cheese”, or,

They may say something like – “oh I could Never be vegan, I love cheese too much” or maybe they do actually call themselves Vegan, yet has an occasional slip up, if they are at a party, and someone offers them some cheese, then they might “cheat” on their vegan diet

I met a “vegan” recently, who lectured me about how I was a “fake vegan” because I didn’t hate on ALF – animal liberation front – yet, this same person didn’t know that their morning protein shake made with whey wasn’t actually vegan.

Oh how I laughed!

Dairy is not benign, dairy involves huge amounts of cruelty and exploitation and DEATH.

And then these cheese-eaters pat themselves on the back, thinking that Vegan is just a different form of Vegetarian. I mean, we all love animals, right? It’s not like the animal has to DIE or anything, right?

Oh, but I never buy cheese myself! they protest. If someone offers it to me, or there is a pizza, or I’m hungry, or [insert excuse here]. That would be like someone saying “oh but I don’t smoke, I never buy cigarettes myself, I mean, if someone offers me one, or I get them off a friend when I’m at the pub after a late night, but, no, I’m not a smoker or anything”.

How is this any different? Just because you don’t buy it, does that mean it stops being cheese?

Here is my opinion… You know those old sayings “Milk – is liquid Meat” or “There is veal floating invisibly in every bottle of milk” or “Meat is murder, milk is rape” … vegans (by that I mean actual vegans, not faux cheeseatarian vegans) chose to not consume dairy in all its forms, because…

nothing could taste so good that it justifies rape and torture and slavery and murder.

That is what it comes down to:

If you consume dairy this is what you support

This PeTA video, shows the reality of the Land O’ Lakes dairy factory in Pennsylvania USA.

This is not an exception.

And don’t kid yourself – if you consume dairy products, and you haven’t personally met the cow, there is a very good chance that what you are eating came from cows just like this portrayed in the video.

And just why is that cow generously giving us her milk? Well she isn’t. Milk is meant for baby cows… it is baby food, for HER babies.

Like any mammal, she produces milk only to feed her babies.

Which means, she is forced to become pregnant against her will in order to create the baby that will get her body producing the milk.

And if people are stealing her milk (the cow doesn’t GIVE away anything), then there are babies out there, that are not drinking it.

So, what happens to those baby cows, which are surplus to requirements – if they survive the high infant mortality rate, they get sold into slavery, and become either milk cows or veal calves or pet food.

Pet food? Seriously, imagine telling that to a baby – your life is nothing, you are worth more to me dead.

or, Some may be shipped off to cosmetics companies to be turned into face creams or diet pills, because in some markets, it is illegal to use cows that are older than 30-months old in order to reduce the risk of spreading Mad Cow Disease (BSE – bovine spongiform encephalopathy).

Beauty products that are stuffed full with animal products are not beautiful. Nope, I do not want to be slapping dead calf on my face.

And this is a side effect of societies cheese-addiction.

Not much of a life, is it?

Then, what happens when the dairy cow gets too old?

After years of slavery, of being treated like a machine….

Cows that have been bred for maximum milk production, are unable to sustain the weight of their udders, which may be infected with mastitis, then what?

Is there a pension plan, and she goes off to a farm in the country to wander the hills and pastures and frolic in the clover… hell no, if she survives a couple of years of relentless torture in the dairy factory, she is shipped off to slaughter as soon as the milk production begins to slow up.

Thanks for the all milk, my dear, and don’t let the barn door hit you on the way out.

And then there is RENNET
Unless the label states “non animal rennet” – that cheese the vegan is eating, it isn’t even vegetarian.

Rennet is an enzyme used in cheese making, that is naturally present in the stomach of calves in order to digest the milk they are drinking.

Animal Rennet is taken from the lining of calves stomachs, and is often a by-product of the veal industry.

So when Vegetarians justify their continued animal consumption because “the animal doesn’t have to die”, What exactly do they mean? The baby cows that don’t survive to adulthood, the veal calves, the petfood calves or the cosmetics calves, the sick and dying milk cows, the retired cows who are sent to slaughter at 4 or 5 years old instead of well into their 20s which is the natural life expectancy of a cow.


This isn’t even going to go near the substances actually in the milk – pus, blood, leukemia cells, bovine growth hormone, anti-biotics, pesticides, herbicides, possibility of BSE prions, excessive amounts of protein and lots and lots of saturated fat.

Cheese eaters – what is the difference between that and eating meat for all the misery the production of milk entails.

And don’t get me started on vegans who eat HONEY……

Further reading
IVU: What’s wrong with dairy products?
Describing Some of the things wrong with dairy.

Vegina >> dairy is a feminist issue.
A look at dairy from a feminist perspective

NEGOTIATION IS OVER – Conklin’s Sadism
Yet another example of what is standard business practice for dairy, at an Ohio dairy factory.

“Jack LaLanne Said We Don’t Need Meat And Dairy” (

Del and RedGlitter
Feedback welcome

EDITTED TO ADD: There had been a MFA (Mercy for Animals) video in this piece, somehow it has been removed, and the link has been removed, without my knowledge. Even the text surrounding the video.

Is wordpress censoring vegan blogs now?

3 October, 2010

Why Vegan SICs (Single Issue Causes) Deserve Support

Edited 29/11 to add: there has been a lot of accusation about recently over this piece, things like, I support happy meat …ah- for the illiterate who said that, I do not support “happy meat” hence this video I made:

For the abolitionist who said, I am misrepresenting and am inaccurate – I am not aligned with any side, You – as an abolitionist may disagree, but since I am not “representing” abolitionism, I can hardly “mis-represent” it. And rather than blather on to other people about how inaccurate (huh?) it is, how about leave a comment and tell me Where! it is inaccurate – oh wait, I forgot, you are an abolitionist, all you do is criticise and bully anyone who doesn’t think exactly like you. You have no desire to engage with anyone who isn’t part of your little clique or debate or defend your ideas, your idea of “vegan education” is to insult and call people “wrong” but since you haven’t ever learned to think for yourself, you can’t explain Why! someone is wrong, unless your Leader tells you first What! to think.

So go pray to your cult leader and maybe when you are perfect then I will accept your judgment of me.

Single Issue Cause, or as abbreviated SICs, are often the feature of mockery amongst animal rights advocates. But there are valid reasons why I support them.

The people who criticise others for not doing everything, are often those who don’t even attempt to do anything, in case they in turn are criticised for not doing everything.

When I hear certain vegans saying silly little things such as “people are always organising Anti-Fur demos, but never Anti-Leather demos” or “why do people have campaigns to “Save the Whales” but never “Save the Cows” whats the difference?” or “Meat free monday tells people that it is okay to eat meat on the rest of the week”.

Or they harass without mercy vegetarians as being corpse-eaters, because any animal used for food, the suffering of dairy cows and egg-laying hens, as well as the male calves and chicks being slaughtered as useless to the industry means there is blood on the mouths of vegetarians.

Often these are the same people that leap to the defence of such “vegan” celebrities as Alicia Silverstone, who eats eggs and dairy, saying they are doing a good job, and what is a little dairy. Although her ads for PeTA have been for Vegetarian campaigns, never vegan.

However, in the war against cruelty and exploitation of animals, it seems to me, a bit naive to expect the entire world population of over 6-billion people to go vegan instantly.

In the meantime, animals are still be exploited and continue to abused and treated with cruelty.

As an activist, I have seen people who would step in front of an exploding harpoon to save a whale from a Japanese whaler, yet continue to eat chicken and pork. I have seen people who can write passionate online essays in defence of veganism, yet continue to own stock in pharmaceutical companies and in companies that have palm oil plantations in Sumatra. I have seen people who make movies about the fur-trade, and yet, turn to abolitionist vegans who spend every minute online decrying anyone who promotes “anti-fur” as being a SIC and therefore welfarist.

I have found it is often those who come to veganism quite late in life who are the most harshest judges of other people, possibly thinking, “If I can make the connection, then they should as well”. And yet, while they are so preoccupied promoting peace and violence hoping it will lead to veganism, they often neglect to show empathy and compassion to other humans. (And sometimes very little to the animals, their veganism sometimes presents as “I’m perfect, why aren’t you?” instead of seeking to end cruelty and exploitation of all animals).

What is wrong with engaging people with the causes they are passionate about and then encouraging them to extend their compassion wider?

I’m fighting a war against exploitation and cruelty, I’m fighting against some of the largest industries in the world, killing animals is extremely lucrative, and fighting for animals is only lucrative for those who are prepared to sell out.

So if someone wants to take some of the load off my shoulders and organise an Anti-Fur protest, I will say: good, thank you. …

I will not ask them to also organise an anti-leather, anti-wool, anti-silk, anti-suede rally… and then because cruelty goes beyond clothes, I must also ask them to organise an anti-vivisection, anti-meat, anti-dairy, anti-egg, anti-honey, anti-whaling, anti-tuna, anti-logging in Sumatra protest, anti-circus, anti-zoo, anti-horse racing, anti-rodeo protest… and then because vegan means anti-violence and pro-feminism and pro-LGBT, I will be asking them to organise an anti-violence protest and pro-feminist rally and pro-lesbian-gay-bi-trans march… at this point if we are still friends, their likely response will be “go to hell”.

How do you complete a walk of 10,000 kilometres? One step at a time.

Single Issue Causes, are a way of connecting with others who are just taking steps into learning about animal cruelty, and treating them with hostility and disdain, is nothing short of bullying on our part and diminishes us as human beings, and possibly alienates potential vegans. It is nasty, it is bullying and this harassment of part-vegetarians and welfarists needs to be reexamined. We should work on encouraging them to either take up the vegan cause or leave them alone.

Does bullying ever work to gain true believers?

Single Issue Causes raise awareness of issues with people who are yet to make a connection. You never know what it will be that triggers someone to finally see that the food on their plate used to be a living being and the clothes on their back use to have a life. To a meat-and-dairy eating, leather wearing individual, they have little interest in the politics of welfare v rights, abolition v liberation; they only see a movement full of nasty, brutal, hate-filled people who have no empathy for anyone who isn’t exactly like them.

Is this the first-impression that we as vegans and animal rights activists want to present? No, really, is it?

Harassment of Single Issue Cause activists, implies you know them intimately and know every single detail of their lives. Exactly how do the critics of single issue cause know that the people who speak out against fur on one day aren’t out there promoting veganism on the other 364 days of the year? How does it promote animal rights to hate on others that are trying to make a difference – and what are you doing to end exploitation and cruelty to others, besides spreading it to other humans.

To suggest that someone who is fighting a single-issue cause is not also fighting every other cause when they can find 2 minutes to take a breath is arrogant and judgmental.

Sometimes, when real animals are suffering, for example, a round-up of wild brumbies (horses) is immanent or duck-hunting season is about to open, do we debate the theories of speciesism or do we take up this single issue cause and fight for these animals. In cases like this, some activists might put aside their promoting of vegan education, and fight for animals who are about to die. Sometimes the way to prevent the deaths of real animals is to make alliances with non vegans and non animal rights people. And then you can debate theory afterwards.

How do you build the Great Wall of China? One brick at a time.

Also, for a movement that is constantly redefining itself as being all-movements (peace, non-violence, feminist, pro-LGBT, anti-agist, differently-abled, anti-slavery…. it is also strangely middle-class, white, urban, Buddhist, consumerist and elitist, and extends harassment to anyone who doesn’t match that criteria… see Suburban Vegans… Sydney vegans say ‘Forget You!’).

Most people work, have friends, family, volunteer, play sport, do housework, not everyone has the opportunity to spend all day, everyday online. And so, maybe all they can do it one or two issues that particularly touch their hearts. Who am I to criticise them for that?

I would no more criticise someone for focusing on a single issue, than I would criticise a 6year old just learning to read for not completing War And Peace, or criticise a toddler just learning to walk for not completing a marathon.

Single issues might be a way for someone new to activism to start to learn how to campaign. By starting with one issue, and learning as they go, they will soon get to know others, network, support, share, and be exposed to different ideas.

Focusing on one cause at a time, might also be a way to help groups or individuals when what seems like an over-whelming task – of re educating the entire population of the world about veganism. Fight one battle, win it, and move on. Rather than be paralysed at the enormity of the task in trying to reach over 6-billion people, activists start with what they can do, and complete it, freeing their mind, energy, emotions, money for the next task.

Single Issue Causes also can harness the activists working in local communities. I live over 500 kilometres from the ocean, trying to get locals interested in the plight of sea turtles might come across as being out-of-touch with the needs of local residents. On the other hand, talking about local issues that have an effect on the lives of people in my community might be the first time some of people in my town have thought about these issues.

And the reverse would apply, there would be people that live on the beach that love to fish, but also care about the conservation of sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks and penguins, do we say to these people – you have no right to be an activist, because we say so, only vegans are allowed to care about issues? How arrogant does that sound.

These complex and entangled roots feed our sense of disaffection and have bred the burgeoning single interest movement. Membership of political parties may have been in decline for decades but the number of people who can boast about their presence on a political march or their membership of a single issue group has done the opposite. The single issue has become the antidote to political apathy.
Apolitical animal? The rise of the single issue

Modern animal rights activists are not merely opposing single issue causes related to animals, they are opposing People are have different opinions that don’t matched their “every cause at once”.

They are quietly and subtly reworking the definition of vegan as “The animal rights movement is a new peace movement; a peace movement that includes all beings” – Gary Francione. … How long will it be, before veganism is an option in this reworked Peace Movement, or is Mr Francione positioning himself to be not only the father of Animal Rights (Donald Watson, you are irrelevant) but also the father of peace?

This kind of approach does not seem to be about making life better for the majority of living being on the planet, it seems to be about controlling the behaviour of a few followers.

The reliance of some vegans on “education” as a tactic, sounds eerily like Stalinist Gulags or North Korean “re-education camps”, it focuses on changing how people think, rather than the alleviating the suffering of those being exploited.

The fight to end the cruelty, exploitation and brutality against the animals of the world is overwhelmingly large, lets accept allies where ever they are.

30 September, 2010

Why Palm Oil can be important for Vegans

Palm oil, derived from the fruit of the palm tree, is itself a vegan product, yet its use is contributing to the deaths of endangered orangutans and continued use may end up resulting in the extinction of the orangutan species.

Orangutans, native to Indonesia and Malaysia, and found in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo. This endangered species, shares 96.5% of our DNA, that makes them one of our closet relatives.

Yet, we humans are doing as much as we can to kill them by destroying their habitat.

One of the reasons, our use of palm oil. Rainforest the size of over-300 soccer fields is destroyed every hour to create land for palm oil plantations.

[Crude Palm Oil] is used mainly as an ingredient for food production (i.e. margarine, ice cream, biscuits, cooking oil etc). It also has a number of other non-food uses including greasing and softening agent in leather production and as an ingredient in the production of plasticisers, paint and surface coatings. PKO, however, is generally used for other non-food purposes such as soap making, detergents, cosmetics, ingredient for insecticides and fungicides, hydraulic brake fluids and other substances used in the electronics industry.
Palm Oil Action: FAQs

Palm oil is also known on labels as
Vegetable oil – on food labeling, it may be hidden as “vegetable” oil.

In cosmetics, quite often in shampoo:
Sodium Laureth Sulphate (may also be sourced from coconut)
Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (may also be sourced from ricinus oil)
Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
Palm Oil Kernal

Elaeis Guineensis
Glyceryl Stearate
Stearic Acid

Other products which contain palm oil

Steareth -2
Steareth -20
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (both palm and coconut are sources)
Hydrated palm glycerides
Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye (derived from vegetable stearic acid)
Cetyl palmitate and octyl palmitate (and anything with palmitate at the end)

via Palm Oil Action: Shopping Guide

As this Greenpeace ad, which Nestlé attempted to ban shows, every choice we make, every action we take has an impact on the life or death of another.

Disclaimer: photo of Orangutan sourced from Flickr, for re-use if unaltered. Use of this photo in no way implies that the owner of this photo in anyway endorses the author of this blog, the owner of this blog, or the issues of this post. It’s use here is for illustrative purposes, and not an endorsement of the topic.

26 September, 2010

Animal Liberation group using animal products

Negotiation Is Over is a self-style global animal rights collective, yet, they are using images of an animal product to promote themselves.

In the post Negotiation is Over: Guide To Direct Action, (hover over link for preview) a picture of a burning match is used to illustrate that post.

The image of the match is also used in more than one place on this blog.

Presumably based on an image taken from the cover of this book:

For all their talk of revolutions, Gandhi is quoted in this book, just like he is in so many other books about social change. Which, in itself is far from revolutionary.

Much criticism has been leveled at PETA, and other large animal welfare groups for supporting initiatives such as cage-free eggs and anti-fur. How is this any different? The use of a match as a symbol perpetuates the idea that it is acceptable to use animal products.

And joining the chorus of detractors, against a blog that does a lot of work to bring attention to issues of animal welfare, does this actually achieve anything for the animals.

After all, it is just an image on the computer screen, it is a cover of book, it isn’t an actual match. But it does raise thoughts of what a “perfect vegan” is, and more importantly, does a perfect vegan in reality exist.

Or, is it only in theory, that someone can be a “perfect vegan”? Once you move beyond the abstract, the theoretical, all someone can do is reduce the suffering they cause.

Matches are products that are made from animal products,

Safety matches: all matches contain animal based adhesives on the head of the stick and on the striking strip on the box. In the monsoon this is substituted with casein derived from milk using acid. Wimco Home lights use casein throughout the year.
LINK: here

The vegan blogger “Vegansaurus” also details the animal products used in the production of matches:

gelatin is a part of the chemical cocktail on match heads, and …“animal protein” as an ingredient promoting oxidization… “animal glue” as both a combustor and adhesive, and isinglass as a “conditioner”
LINK: here

Although, what undermines their message is their use of animal products to sell that message.

To be fair, this book is an environmental wake-up call and not an animal liberation book. Although, one of the editors, Dr Steven Best, is one of the leaders of the animal rights movement and one of the editors on the Negotiation Is Over blog.

This is in no way intended to sound like Vegan Big Brother, carrying out hyper-surveillance on other animal advocates, this is just intended to highlight how ubiquitous the use of animals in every day life is.

It also highlights the absurdity of some vegans to push a concept of a perfect vegan. If you live in any society, and interact with other people you will come into contact with animal products, and there are some that are unavoidable.

There are many lists, in books and online that list just some of the ways animals are used and abused to make consumer products, such as this one LINK: here.

It brings into question the entire concept of being a “perfect vegan”, perhaps, people should just strive to be a better vegan than they were the day before, and stop worrying about what other vegans are or are not doing.

So when vegans gang up on other vegans and vegetarians and carnivores and call them out for not being perfect, maybe they should take a long look at their own lives and see how perfect they are.

Does it matter what image they use? Matches for Direct Action animal liberationists, or naked women for anti-fur PeTA campaigns, does the ends justify the means?

Any opinions welcome