Archive for ‘Gary L Francione’

20 February, 2011

The New Enemy: The Militant Vegan (say what?)

from the Militant Vegan collection

What is this Militant Vegan that has suddenly emerged on the blogs and social networks? This is my response to an article that has gotten a lot of attention recently. From Veggie Girl: An open letter to militant vegans.

Personally, I’m a Vegan-vegan, and anything else, is divisive. Designed to separate us, put us in a little box and slap a label on it.

And I will happily walk the vegan path with anyone who wants to stand beside me, regardless of what label they choose to put on themselves.

 

However…. For vegans out there who regularly participate in online forums, debates and social network sites, you may have noticed there is a new enemy out there… the mysterious, illusive and dastardly “Militant Vegan“.

This phrase “militant vegan” seems to have cropped up a lot recently, it seems to be an insult to active vegans.

I say Illusive, because I’ve yet to see one.

I do not know where it originated, this concept that vegans who refuse to love-on meat producers is someone “too militant” and gives “vegans a bad name”.

In this blog piece – the concept of militant vegan is examined….

An open letter to militant vegans
by Veggie Girl

… it doesn’t really tell me much about what a militant vegan looks like but if this writer represents the opposite of militant, then an “UNmilitant vegan” (like her) is a lot like a new-welfarist, pseudo-vegan collaborator with the animal-death industries.

Apparently, according to Veggie Girl, vegans are the new Westboro Baptist Church (for more information on who and what Westboro Church is Luna Coyote87 Presents: “Reason You Suck Post”: Westboro Baptist Church). That hateful, anti gay church that pickets funerals with the slogan “god hates fags”.

As Veggie Girl says: if you’re a militant vegan

you’re just an animal-loving version of Fred Phelps. And nobody likes that guy except his fellow church members

.

Whoa!

Seriously, a homophobic, hatefill, angry cult is just like being vegan? Are you kidding me??

I know a lot of vegans, and I have never yet met one who I would consider “militant” – I don’t even know what that means…

Because if you are not doing all you can to fight for the lives of animals, then what are you doing? Wasting time!

No seriously, WTF does “militant” mean? Someone doing everything in their power to end the slaughter, slavery, cruelty and exploitation of animals.

And if that is what Militant is, why are you proud that you’re not. I don’t find it particularly admirable that you admit that you are a lazy, ungrateful, apathetic, passive Inactivist. I don’t understand why someone would brag about that.

Meanwhile, if there is a strident, screeching, hateful, harridan example of militant – it would be this Veggie Girl.

Who knew that “consciously raised and slaughtered meat and eggs” – as Veggie Girl points out – is now acceptable to vegans.

How is it helpful to attack someone like Rachel Kesley, the chef at WaterCourse Foods, who was a vegan for three years but decided to add consciously raised-and-slaughtered meat and eggs back into her diet

.

Never heard of Rachel -the meat eater – Kesley until now, certainly never heard anyone “attack” her.

But let’s get away from the hyperbolic violent rhetoric for a minute – by “attack” does Veggie Girl mean that someone found Rachel and physically hurt her? Or in Veggie Girl’s world does attack equal “they used mean words”.

Come on, Veggie Girl – turn down the violent language just a notch, and then your attack on Militant Vegans may, perhaps, possibly have a bit more credibility…. and a lot less irony and hypocrisy.

Militant is a meaningless word in the context of fighting for justice and rights, and is used to discredit that person or group which someone disagrees with. One step away from extremist, emotive but useless.

Because in the parallel bizarro world that Veggie Girl lives in, eating “humanely slaughtered meat and eggs” is peaceful veganism, but pointing out humane is a myth is somehow militant.

Your poor dear, how do you get through your day, it seems like just about every vegan out there that you meet is militant and out to get you.

Because as this blog piece seems to think, you can have non-cruelty milk, cruelty free eggs, compassionately slaughtered meat and if you are really really nice, to the animal abusing death industry, and say pretty please with a cherry on top, you may just…

inspire them to adopt humane practices

Fail!

It seems that in the opinion of this Veggie Girl – humane slaughtered meat, and compassionate meat eaters who fight for welfare reform is what “vegan” is… and anything else is “militant”.

Hey, Veggie Girl, wanna see what “humanely slaughtered” meat looks like:
guess what – it looks exactly like inhumanely slaughtered meat.

Is this simply “dog whistling”*… “militant” is this the new phrase designed to attack “direct action” vegans? Because Francione has the market cornered on veganism as the new peace movement. … Is that what this is? Will anyone who has a different approach to the Minions of Gary Francione now be branded “Militant”?

Personally I have no problem with Gary Francione, at least when he talks about Veganism, he does prevaricate about what vegan means to him.

Is this some inference to ALF – balaclavas and camouflage?

In a similar way to the use of “new welfarism” and its design to silence Direct Action vegans, is militant meant to have anyone who speaks out on behalf of veganism quaking in their non-leather boots at a label?

My first impression, was this concept was the work of The Professor and His Minions, being all anti-violence, anti-ALF… but this “It’s all about Me-Me-Me Veganism” is more reminiscent of Tasha, the formerly Voracious Vegan.

As Rachelle, commented on Veggie Girls piece : You probably don’t mean militant. You probably just mean someone pointing it out to you and you don’t like it.

But let’s get real for a minute – why do we do this, why do we hyphenate vegan… ethical vegan, direct action vegan, mda vegan, abolitionist vegan, liberation vegan, and now militant vegan?

To quote Veggie Girl – Get off your high horse

Edited to addAn Open Letter From A “Militant” Vegan
Veganism is absolutely essential to the animal rights movement as veganism IS justice for animals. Yes, we are passionate, but not aggressive. Yes, we are relentless, but not lazy. Yes, we are unwavering…. Yes, we are vocal, as justice has never been won by silence.

*Dog Whistling= an Australian phrase, used in politics, involving coded words, that send one benign message to the general public, but another message to the target audience. Particularly around issues of race, for example “illegal refugees”.

Edited to add: thank you everyone who took the time to explain what “militant” means, I wanted to look at why there seems to be an increasing use of the phrase “militant vegan” by other vegans as a way to divide the AR movement.

When a vegan tells you to “shut up, youre too militant”, I’m asking, why they feel the need to do this, where as recently, the phrase used was “shut up, youre new welfarist”.

I am never going to shut up, rights are not given to the patient, the quiet, the meek – rights are fought for, its hard work, loud noisy agitation

Feedback welcome

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5 February, 2011

Dr Steve Best “borrows” BBC homage to British Suffragettes

Dr Steve Best, animal activist, associate professor at a Texas University and one of the leading voices in militant activism in the United States, a man who I think has been good for animal rights in his fight for “total liberation”.

However, Dr Best recently blogged this fascinating piece about the British Suffragettes

Note to pacifists: the UK suffragettes used sabotage, arson, and CD to win their campaign, attributed “Filed under: Uncategorized by drstevebest”. (*CD= civil disobedience)

Screen shot

Click image for full size

This blog piece explores the history of the fight for women’s vote (suffrage). It shines a light on some of the leading figures in the women’s Suffrage movement, and some of their tactics – arson, violence, sabotage and civil disobedience.

It starts with “The votes-for-women movement exploded in popularity the UK in 1903 – hence this year’s centenary celebrations – but the story of the campaign begins before the reign of Queen Victoria.” (source: Steven Best’s blog article – Note to pacifists: the UK suffragettes used sabotage, arson, and CD to win their campaign)

This is what made this piece stand out, something in the phrasing didn’t sound right. The maths didn’t add up.

We are long past the centenary.

So let’s try that again
The votes-for-women movement exploded in popularity the UK in 1903 – hence this year’s centenary celebrations – but the story of the campaign begins before the reign of Queen Victoria.” (Source: The history of the suffragettes By Dominic Casciani BBC News Online http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3153388.stm dated : Thursday, 2 October 2003, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK

A quick string search found the BBC article, dated 2003, written by Dominic Casciani. I can find neither the name Casciani or BBC or a link to the original article in the Best blog article.

The a screen shot of end of the Best page is found here: graphic of the end of the article, to show that there is no attribution at the end of the blog piece either.

The original BBC piece was written in 2003, to coincide with the centenary of the “votes-for-women” movement, and uses the word “centenary”, which is what the year 2003 would have been.

Although it is possible that the BBC borrowed their piece from Dr Best and back-dated their website, I’m not sure that it happened that way

Even the images used to illustrate these pieces are the same.

This 2011 version of this article has been reproduced here: Negotiation is Over , using the title of the Best blog post, rather than the original title on the original 2003 web post.

It seems strange to me, that so many in the militant divide of the animal rights infighting, point the finger at the “Cult Of Francione”, yet fail to notice their own enthrallment with Steven Best, to the point that anything he says is taken and reproduced as if it was sacred words – without even checking if someone else had written them first.

A simple reading of the text of the blog piece should alert any reader that phrasing is odd. It is 2011, it seems strange year to be celebrating the centenary of 1903 event, not even the British would take that long to organise a celebration.

I am not out to cause trouble for anyone, lest of all a university professor. However, I have been a university student, and If I had have handed in a paper that was as similar to something else, as these two articles are, I would be given an automatic fail.

I am also sure if someone went through my blog they would possibly find instances of graphics and pictures that haven’t been attributed correctly (though wordpress has a function that allows you to insert public domain graphics, which makes this easier). I try hard to list sources, and if I cannot find a picture I like, I will create my own.

I am probably going to end up alienating every animal rights activist and vegan who I have ever respected in posting this piece, but surely the leaders of the animal rights movement should be held to higher standards than a teenage undergrad. I am probably going to lose every shred of credibility I have ever had as a blogger on animal rights.

I imagine I will get hate mail, saying why must I be mean to Dr Best. I hope not, I don’t think it should be sacrilege to point out the similarity between the two articles.

I sincerely hope that followers of Steve Best can respect my reasons for pointing this out. I did not enjoy writing this, I even put out a request of other animal activists, if they could double check for me, and see if what I read was accurate.

I will happily remove this post, if I am asked to
(Edited to add, I will happily remove this post, IF I AM WRONG and am asked to).

3 February, 2011

If you start a debate with “I fight for animal rights, but I’m no vegan” don’t expect applause

If you fight for animal rights, you fight for the rights of all animals, there are no exceptions for those you think taste good.

Apparently my previous post upset a lot of people. (Justifying Meat Eating – ridiculous things meat-eaters say), even more so than my anti-vegetarian posts or where I point out that eating cheese isn’t actually vegan.

But the comments and insults are the same….

– Cut the vegan-cheese eaters some slack. Cut the meat eaters some slack. You are too militant and give vegans a bad name.

I even had one person say that I am too critical of meat eaters and that makes me a bad vegan. She justified her OPINION saying:

“I fight for animal rights, but I’m no vegan…”

Say what?

No really, say what? You fight for animal RIGHTS by EATING THEM??? or wearing them??

Did I miss something? How is it that you think consuming any animal product contributes to their rights?

I do not understand how someone who says they believe in animal rights can consume a product that is produced from slavery and torture and murder.

Perhaps they don’t truly believe at all.

Seriously, I do not understand – perhaps someone can explain it to me.

 

 

Eggs, consumed by animal loving vegetarians…
Does this look like “animal rights”?

 

 

How about dairy production?
What part of this Mercy for Animals video represents the rights of these cows?

Yeah, I can see how some animal rights activists might confuse this for liberation… um, no, I don’t.

Like a vegetarian who sees nothing exploitative with consuming, dairy or eggs or honey (some thoughtful reasons why this is a confusing rationale for a vegetarian to make, here: Why Veganism is a Feminist Issue). There seems to be a disconnect when people say they fight for animal rights, but continue to personally consume their corpses or products from their bodies.

If someone willingly and knowingly consumes any commercial animal product and does not see they horror behind it, they either cannot know where their food (and other consumables) comes from or they know and simply do not care.

As this previous post discusses, Cheese: The Other White Meat (why cheese eaters are problematic for vegans), the problem with cheese / dairy is that there is so much death involved. Similar stories are found in egg production and honey production.

And these are the people I’m not being NICE enough too?

You have got to be kidding me!

If you want someone being NICE about the reason people consume corpses, perhaps a blog called “vegan animal liberation” is not the place to go looking for it.

and, Why is it that VEGANS are always having to modify what they do, so they don’t “offend” those who eat the corpses of slaughtered animals. Ooh careful, don’t want to upset the very people whose selfishness is the direct cause of this exploitation, cruelty, slavery and murder.

Oh, and is it even possible to be too MILITANT when it comes to fighting for justice and liberation for animals, all animals.

Why must I, as a vegan, compromise. (As I am so often told I must)

From a vegan viewpoint, people who say they fight for animal rights, but aren’t yet vegan, make the fight a whole lot harder.

Outsiders who look at these people see them eating animal products or wearing animal products, may think that it is acceptable.

This is a common complaint that vegans, and in particular abolitionist vegans make against groups like PETA. When PETA campaigns for larger cages for the chickens used by companies like McDonalds or KFC, the message that non-vegans get is that animal rights activists think that there is an acceptable size of the cages. A concept that Gary Francione has called “New Welfarism”.

New welfarists … believe that welfarist reforms such as making cages bigger will eventually lead to empty cages

These welfarist campaigners are a worse than people who do nothing, that just make it a lot harder for real animal rights changes. (Imagine it from the other side – the meat producers say “what? you want no cages? no meat? no eggs? only last week, you said that if we increased our cages by an inch, you would consider that a victory”… such as the ludicrous demands from PETA to Sonic that “The company just agreed to begin purchasing eggs and to double the amount of meat it purchases from suppliers that use less cruel production methods.”)

I’m not laughing.

Although, I do appreciate what they do, I appreciate that they can contribute to fight, and I accept that meat eaters can do a lot, I don’t understand how they can say what they are fighting for is animal rights, but rather “animal welfare”.


So, all that remains is for me to ask these people – if you know all that know, why are you not vegan?

Personally, I don’t believe it is possible to fight for animal RIGHTS and not be vegan.

This is not about being militant, it is about the suffering and cruelty and exploitation of the animals.

Feedback welcome

Some people may take offense to this, thinking that I am saying what they do is not good enough. I am just trying to add another side to the debate, and like this post The Dreaded Vegan Discussion… Critical Thoughts Encouraged… shows – the vegan community is large and diverse and all voices are (should be) encouraged.

21 November, 2010

Injustice is always injustice

Today, I am going to take a little detour from Animal Rights Activism, and talk about Westboro Baptist Church, and the creative use of non-violent civil disobedience used by some to protect the rights of those targeted by WBC.

Oppression of others is what injustice looks like.

And it does not matter whether it is specism, sexism, agism, classism, racism, these are based on someone making judgments based on what group someone belongs to and deciding their membership of that group makes them “less than”.

Once a group has been decided they are “less than” everyone else, it is easy to remove their rights, because somehow they deserve them.

Injustice is always injustice.

Westboro Baptist Church display no christian values that Jesus would recognise. They spread hate, pure and simple hate.

For a great background on Westboro : this post Luna Coyote87 Presents: “Reason You Suck Post”: Westboro Baptist Church, describes some of the hatred they disseminate.

They picket and protest against the funerals of a whole range of people, that is hard to keep track of just who it is they hate every day.

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Elie Wiesel

But the fight-back has begun. Oklahoma vs. Westboro Baptist Church
Recently in Oklahoma, the Westboro minivan arrived to picket the funeral of f Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey, the people of McAlester, OK decided they had had enough.

The Westboro protestors they faced off with a massive crowd of jeering and taunting counter-protesters, estimated by the police chief, to be about 1000 people, who only drowned out the Westboro Travelling Road Show of Hatred with jeers and tauts, but also with raucous chants of “USA, USA” (Westboro protesters come up flat)

When they returned to their van, they found there tyres had been slashed – and no one in town would repair them.

Bravo, McAlester.

While, USAmericans will say, they are entitled to their rights of free speech and protest. The families of these deceased military men and women, who die protecting that right, are entitled to bury their loved one in peace.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
Bishop Desmond Tutu

When members of the Gary Francione’s flock talk about “direct action” the example they use 99 times out of 100 is burning down a building. They say that civil disobedience is neither vegan or animal rights.

However, as these examples from Oklahoma show, civil action can be creative and doesn’t always involve arson.

None are free, until all are free.




(I would imagine living with that kind of hatred against almost everyone day-in and day-out must have some kind of physical effect on the health of these people, carrying around that much anger against the world I would think is really unhealthy.)

from the Liberation archives

7 November, 2010

If you don’t know Steve Best or Camille Marino, you’re not really animal rights (say what?)

If fact, according to one comment on my recent blog post, if you haven’t read Camille Marino or Steve Best you can’t even call yourself “animal liberationist”.

ALF claim to rescue 129 rabbits from Highgate ...

not really animal liberation?

Here we go again – according to Carolyn Bailey, if you haven’t read every single word ever written by Gary Francione you’re a “fake” vegan; if you have a low IQ you are a not an activist; and if you happen to be an illiterate vegan… well that would just about give her a stroke.

And now we have the “redefining veganism” trend coming from the other side –

According to “Ryan”, my comment that I have never read Camille Marino or Steve Best is trash talk, and how dare I use words like vegan or animal liberation if I have never read these two.

I’m sorry, I seem to completely miss your point. Camille Marino who has been a vegan for probably 20 years less than me, now defines what my veganism is for me? “Ryan” are you serious? Are you kidding me?

I don’t want to get involved in the Best/Francione cat fight. To me that is not animal rights activism. It is pointless, and more to the point – really, really boring to 99% of the vegans in the world who are not USAmerican.

I don’t want to choose sides, I don’t want to align, but others keep insisting on doing that for me (much like the threats against my family and racist hatefilled comments I have received from abolitionists), people seem to have their own ideas of what “vegan” is, and if you don’t match that, then you are FAKE.

Oh please.

I have nothing against these people, I just have more local people blogging about animal rights in my country, issues that affect my life directly, rather than the abstract, which I read first and when I have time, then I will move on to people from other countries.

Or, is it case of Neo-Colonialism, as I said in my reply to “Ryan”.

If it is USAmerican, it is universal. When USAmericans speak, the rest of the world has to bow down before them, and go “oh you are so correct, how did I live my life before you blogged”. Ridiculous.

Someone should break it to “Ryan” that vegans exist in probably all countries in the world, some probably don’t read English, some may not even read, and some possible don’t have access to an internet or even a computer.

Much like Carolyn Baileys insane ramblings that if you can’t read you’re not an activist but you are a fake vegan, Ryan is now pushing the patronising view point that if you don’t read Camille Marino or Steve Best you really have no right calling yourself a vegan or even an animal rights activist.

I don’t really think I need to repeat my previous blog post, but Ryan seems to have missed my point before he rushed to judgement….

So, let us all stop worrying about what other people are doing, who is or isn’t vegan, who is or isn’t being read and concentrate on our lives. Vegan has a definition, let’s use it, and if you don’t like it, invent your own word, and we can all stop these pointless debates about the “fake” vegans who choose to ignore Francione.
If you’re not abolitionist, you aren’t really vegan

Or, as I now seem to have to add…. Let’s stop these pointless insults about the “fake animal rights activists” who haven’t read Camille Marino or Steve Best.

7 November, 2010

If you’re not abolitionist, you aren’t really vegan


Wow, for someone like me who is vegan, and yet doesn’t align myself with any faction – this was quite a shock to me to read.

Shocked, stunned and speechless.

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

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

The co-opting and corrupting of the word “VEGAN” by a minority of online vegans has been explored extensively in a previous blog post here Vegan.

If the word “vegan” inherently meant abolitionist, then there would be no need for these little groups to call themselves “abolitionist vegan”. They would be just simply “vegan”.

There is no need to hyphenate the word Vegan, it means what it means.

I feel strongly that there is something slightly odd with people who feel the need to redefine a perfectly acceptable word in order to exclude a large portion of the population of vegans in order to control what and who “vegan” is.

Many, many vegans across the world have never read Gary Francione and are lucky enough to have never been threatened and harassed by Francione’s followers – Roger Yates, Dave Warwak, Jamie Rivet, or Carolyn Bailey.

And yet this little band of abolitionists group-think warriors have decided that they and they alone are the only true vegans on this planet.

Carolyn Bailey herself has also gone so far recently as say that, a persons IQ decided whether they were an activist or not; and that a lack of reading certain peoples philosophies means that person is a fake activist!

Unfortunately (or rather fortunately) I have never read anything by Gary Francione, nor Steve Best, nor Camille Marino, nor Will Tuttle.

There is nothing, nothing whatsoever in the definition of “vegan” that says a person has to read these people, in fact, it doesn’t say you have to read anything at all.

So, let us all stop worrying about what other people are doing, who is or isn’t vegan, who is or isn’t being read and concentrate on our lives. Vegan has a definition, let’s use it, and if you don’t like it, invent your own word, and we can all stop these pointless debates about the “fake” vegans who choose to ignore Francione.

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeXHS5LRZCM

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.

10 April, 2009

Tyranny or Revolution… Choose

Tyranny or Revolution. One of two simple choices. Continue to live a dictatorship or stand up and say No.

Those are the options – either unquestioningly obey unjust laws or stand up against them. By fighting unjust laws you are standing up for justice, freedom, free-thinking, you are standing up for what you believe in, more importantly – what is right.

If you obey unjust laws, that you know are unjust, you are losing your freedom, independence of thought, and you are sitting back doing nothing, from a position of safety while others are subjected to unjust laws that selectively punish and discriminate.

It doesn’t take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause.” H L Mencken

As we can see from many civil rights movements, from the abolition of the slave trade, sufferage for women, ending apartheid in South Africa, African Independence Movement and gay rights, the fight is for rights is not about a group asking or begging for their rights but about people taking the power that is already theirs and asserting their rights.

The fight for rights against those who hold power is an expression of power. People acknowledging there is injustice and standing up and fighting is an expression of strength, which challenges the common held notions of power relationships. Foucault (1990) said, it is in principle impossible to oppose power, because it is only with power that power can be opposed.

However, the fight for animal rights is an except to all civil rights and social justice movements, in that those who are victims and suffer at the hands of those with power, are never going to be in a position to assert their rights to life. What happens then?

Civil disobedience becomes duty.

As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.” Clarence Darrow

If we don’t speak out when we see injustice we are silently and passively saying we agree. Our silence empowers those who wield the whips and chains of enslavement. And right now in the Animal Rights Movement there is a creeping silence settling on organisations and activists who seem to have forgotten how to fight.

The animals continue to be treated as mere commodities and activists are waiting… for, well, something.

This silence is what is happening in the animal rights movement. There is a growing popularity in Animal Rights Activism (ARA) of complacency. Led by a theoretical “activist” Gary Francione, they have taken over as the public voice of activism. They have elected themselves the moral guardians of veganism. They speak the loudest. Meanwhile the Real ARAs are out in the streets actually fighting for what they believe in and fighting against injustice and tyranny, against the suffering and cruelty forced upon animals in the name of economics and “choice” (consumer choice, the animal doesn’t get a choice).

We know through painful experiences that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed“. Martin Luther King

The Francione-Lee Hall-inspired “pacifist dietary vegans” often appear to be confused about what ARA is. It is not (only) making vegan cupcakes and eating vegan marshmallows. While following a particular diet can be considered political action, it is not direct action. Friends of Animals contend that “veganism is direct action” without actually explaining what Direct Action is or how Veganism is Direct Action, apart from such suggestions as eat at a vegan restaurant, buy a vegan cookbook, join Friends Of Animals (which they claim is inexpensive). Direct Action Veganism seems to be related to how much money you spend, turning veganism into a consumerist action.

While it can be seen that choices at the supermarket are political – from the brands you support or boycott, the country of origin, the distance food is transported, its environmental impact in production, or the welfare of the ingredients in the case of animal products. The companies you support economically or economically sabotage shape the world, every consumers choice at the cash register has an impact on the world. From child slavery for chocolate or palm oil in your cakes to supporting brands that also own cigarette companies or avoiding animal products – these all have political consequences.

Although following a vegan diet might be regarded as passivism (passive + activism). And unless someone follows up advocating a vegan diet with actual actions you are a not an activist vegan, but a dietary vegan. The clue is in the word ACTIVism, it suggests some kind of ACTivity, ACTion, it involves acting one way or another, being an active agent in opposing the suffering and cruelty in the world. Part of the definition of vegan is someone who “promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment” (Watson and Shrigley). It is not telling other vegans how superior you are, that yours is the one true way, and the path to animal rights is found Only by blindly following Francione and Hall.

Words without action are meaningless.
The world will not, as Gary Francione and his followers say, be vegan if you want it. It will be vegan when people act on it. Get out and do something about it. Wishful thinking rarely achieves anything. It will take hard work, it will take risk, it will involve taking a stand FOR something, not just endlessly shouting down any Real ARAs who don’t blindly obey Francione.

What the world needs is a revolution, not another movement. The insistence of Francione and Hall followers of calling themselves “Abolitionist Vegan” divides Animal Rights. It artificially separates vegans, splintering what should be a united movement into Us v Them.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Why We Can’t Wait, 1963

So while Francione and Hall are sitting around telling people to Buy vegan cook books, Buy memberships of their organisations, Buy meals at restaurants, Buy text books they write, Buy, Buy, Buy, and tell people this is “direct action”, there are real Direct Action Activists are refusing to accept the status quo of a society that puts a higher price on the death of an animal that they do on the value of that animals life.

This is not civil war between those that oppose all form of MDA – militant direct action and those who don’t condemn it. Because the dietary vegans who talk about peace being the only way, they are nothing but a distraction. Their beliefs don’t seem to be based on Animal Liberation but following gurus and their opinions, they will left on the side of the road long after Real ARAs are reaching milestones in the path to true animal liberation.

These milestones will be reached by people standing up against the tyranny of a society.

“What have you done for animals lately?”

This is not a criticism of meat eaters, this is not a criticism of vegetarians, nor is this a criticism on people who live a vegan lifestyle who don’t want to be ARA’s. This is pointing out the hypocrisy of people who call themselves “activists” and then do nothing but recruit for the members for the Abolitionism of Francione and Hall.

So get on the train or get off the tracks. Because when you target Animal Liberation for being not vegan enough, you are in the way, you are the hit squad for animal abusing industries.

A revolution is coming – a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough – but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character, we cannot alter its inevitability.” John F. Kennedy

Taking the world vegan will require a revolution, in the way of thinking of six billion people. This will be achieved when those who want to see real Animal Liberation rebel against the tyranny from the Animal Agriculture industry and other vegans who stymie activists who are making a difference. It will involved standing up for your principles instead of attacking those who do. It means putting your life and freedom on the line, and if you’re not prepared to stand up for what you believe in, then just what will you do to save the life of an animal.

Eating vegan marshmallows does very little for preventing the suffering and death of an animal. And calling yourself an “animal rights activist” when all you do is shut down anyone who believes in a different form of activism achieves nothing – or rather it achieves nothing for the animals. It achieves a lot in slowing down Real ARAs, it sides with the abusers and enables them to continue inflicting their cruelty.

If you are fighting for animal rights and liberation, I will fight with you. If you are vegan, I admire you. If you reject the animal death industries, I respect you.

So… will we have Vegan Revolution or Tyranny?

A vegan revolution is inevitable, so what are we waiting for? Why not now?

Let’s start the Revolution today.

Feedback welcome.