text of image: Activism is my rent for living on the planet – Alice Walker
VALA: animal liberation = earth liberation = people liberation
text of image: Activism is my rent for living on the planet – Alice Walker
What is the vegan community?
And who is part of it?
And, who gets to decide who else can be part of it?
A recent discussion on social network sites revolved around an activist (I don’t know anything about the case, so I will be vague) who was in prison.
I commented on a forum, that I had tried for a couple of years to make a connection with this person, and over the space of those years got absolutely nothing back, not even one single “hello”. This was someone who did not want my support, someone who had rejected my support, but now was in trouble, suddenly I was useful?
I pointed this out, and the fact I thought it was strange that there were people trying to make me feel guilty that I felt nothing about his arrest.
That set off a storm on the vegan blogs. I was selfish, a failed human being, stupid – you name it, the insults came fast and furious.
I should support my community without asking for something in return, and if this prisoner has not even said hello in two years of supporting his causes, then I should just keep giving to him, more and more and more.
(and by the way: it is laughable how often these comments come from people who are vegans of less than a year… give someone a copy of an Alicia Silverstone book and slab of Daiya and they think they are the Gods Of Veganism, lecturing to all and sundry about who qualifies for being vegan and what you have to do to Earn Your Place In Your Community.)
It was not surprising to me, just disappointing, at how many people said “I am unfollowing you” for not supporting “YOUR community”.
That doesn’t seem very supportive to me.
I jokingly said “I resign from the vegan community, as I don’t recall signing up”.
Talk about hate-mail avalanche!
It just demonstrates once again, how petty, nasty, spiteful, predictable, insular, cliquey, highschoolish, disgusting the behaviour is of some vegans towards other vegans who don’t faithfully fall in line behind the “gurus” or toe the line on doctrine.
This is the community that I am supposed to support?
These are the loving, caring, compassionate people, who lecture others on how a community treats its members.
It is hard to find the time to be a good community member when I’m too busy deleting the hate mail pouring in from the “real” community members.
By their reasoning, I am not a proper member for failing to support a vegan in trouble, because goodness knows, the vegan community is so talented with supporting its members (so clearly, I was never one of them, which makes it “ok” for them to send me hatemail).
yes, http://houseofhippies.tumblr.com/ I am looking at you
By defining an “us” and “them”, the Insiders and Outsiders, the real community members and the fakes, it is easy to hate others. Do exactly as we say, all of the times, and we will accept you. Have a different opinion, and you stop being a real member of the community, and you will become fair game. We will ignore you, hate you, belittle you, betray you, hack your accounts, because You Are Not One Of Us.
The same people attacking me were the same ones demanding I show more respect to others… because obviously the word “hypocrite” is not in their dictionaires.
The double standard of attacking someone who has supported you, for them not supporting someone who has completely ignored them for years – the double standard at work is laughable.
I try and try to be a good member, and get treated like, I don’t know… a melange of servant, moron, groupie, brain donor, ATM card, shitpile, football, doormat, yet when an animal activist is in trouble, I am supposed to reach out and do all I can to the very same people that have treated me like garbage.
My support has been rejected in the past, and I am a failed human being for going “you don’t want me around, I accept that, I will go away, like you want me to” and giving up… and here is the thing, you can only get kicked in the head so often before you say “I am not going to try anymore with that person”… until they are in trouble and suddenly they have a use for you.
People only pull the “be a good community member” card on you when they want something from you, and if you don’t do Exactly What They Want, When They Want It, then you are a failed human being!!!!
Being in a community is not, or at least should not, be a one way street. I find it hard to extend compassion to people who send me hatemail, or unfollow for a sarcastic comment, or take it upon themselves to be the final arbiter of who is a member of the vegan community or not.
I have seen little support and sense of community directed at me. And yet, I am asked to give more and more.
This is peer pressure at is more disgusting. Conform or you will be all alone.
Do what we tell you, and maybe you can be part of Our Community, because don’t think for one minute that just because you are vegan and animal liberation activist that you are part of Our Community. Oh No you are not.
In my experience, as someone who has been a vegan since I was 15, I have never experienced this sense of community with other vegans which people are always telling me I NEED to show to others, yet never extend to me.
Never, there has not be one single day, in the real world or online, when I have had that “I feel like I’m home” feeling.
In fact, every day that passes I feel more and more alienated from a cause which I work for practically every minute of my life.
Sometimes it feels like there is a rulebook, which all the vegans got, except me: the right forums to join, the right gurus to worshhip, the insiders, the outsiders, the right blogs to follow, you get that wrong and you just won’t ever fit in.
I often feel like I’m out here on my own, my own little vegan world of one or two, standing outside in the cold and the snow, rubbing the frost off the window glass, peering in, while all the other vegans are in a warm cozy room, huddled around a flickering fire, comfortable and secure.
Maybe I will never fit in, maybe I should sacrifice some of my beliefs (such as stop trying to convince people that leather wearing and cheese eating celebrities are not vegan; or vegans don’t necessarily need to have a USAmerican guru, and join the liberationists Or the abolitionists- must chose!), maybe it is time to compromise who I am in order to fit in better with a community that seems to constantly reject me.
It seems to be, that when ever I express an opinion, I am ostracised, and sent hate mail, I am called names, but do I really need to lie and say, “oh yes, celebrity in prison has my full support”, because he does not, and more to the point…. if I was ever in prison, I doubt he would take the five and half seconds required to give me a second thought.
So it seems my role in “my community” is to shut up, smile, reblog, promote other peoples causes, sacrifice my beliefs, never have an original – controversial – opinion, never disagree with anyone Ever, never ask questions, and suck up to the celebrities activists, and only then will I be accepted.
Only by changing everything about myself, is there ever any hope of fitting in with “my” community.
Because being part of a community is giving in to everyone unquestionly, and giving uncritical support every minute of the day, by pretending to be someone you’re not, so you can be completely ignored by everyone involved, except those sending you hate mail.
Yep, riiiight…. and people criticise me for saying, I don’t feel like part of THAT community?
Really? that sounds like something which people willingly want to be part of? And they wonder why so many distance themselves from “the vegan community”.
These side-shows, this online popularity contest, is best left to people who are still in highschool. The whole “I am unfollowing you” drama, really? this is how adults act? it’s time some people grew up (lunaselenaunicorn, I am looking at you, don’t just unfollow me, block me, because I don’t want to be reading about your mylittlepony obsession any longer).
If the spite, pettiness and nastiness is what it means to be part of “the vegan community” the one, true, very beige, homogenous, group-think community – then I am pleased I resigned my membership from YOUR community.
Oh, I am still a vegan, and will always be, I have just given up trying to feel some sense of belonging, a feeling of kinship, searching for a community – Your Community, which does not seem to exist for me, from people who send me hate mail about how I am a bad member of the community.
Eternally an Outsider:
This list was taken from Sharp’s work The Methods of Nonviolent Action, and describes instances where each of these methods achieved the goals that protesters set out to achieve.
This list was originally written in 1973, and could not have forseen the advances in technology that led to
Twitter-revolutions, television, mobile phones with cameras and internet, and satellites.
The fact this list is almost 40 years old does not invalid it, History is greatest teacher, and if something has worked in the past, it could work again.
Protesters should always use as many methods and tactics as needed to accomplish their goals, not just stop at one.
If you believe in something, it is worth fighting for.
Get creative, when one thing doesn’t work, use another, and another.
Sharp’s 198 Methods are a starting point, not a complete list.
Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak… Non-violence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win.
THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT PROTEST AND PERSUASION
1. Public speeches
2. Letters of opposition or support
3. Declarations by organizations and institutions
4. Signed public declarations
5. Declarations of indictment and intention
6. Group or mass petitions
COMMUNICATIONS WITH A WIDER AUDIENCE
7. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols
8. Banners, posters, and displayed communications
9. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books
10. Newspapers and journals
11. Records, radio, and television
12. Skywriting and earthwriting
Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
14. Mock awards
15. Group lobbying
17. Mock elections
SYMBOLIC PUBLIC ACTS
18. Displays of flags and symbolic colours
19. Wearing of symbols
20. Prayer and worship
21. Delivering symbolic objects
22. Protest disrobings
23. Destruction of own property
24. Symbolic lights
25. Displays of portraits
26. Paint as protest
27. New signs and names
28. Symbolic sounds
29. Symbolic reclamations
30. Rude gestures
PRESSURES ON INDIVIDUALS
31. “Haunting” officials
32. Taunting officials
Nonviolence is fine as long as it works.
DRAMA AND MUSIC
35. Humourous skits and pranks
36. Performances of plays and music
40. Religious processions
HONOURING THE DEAD
43. Political mourning
44. Mock funerals
45. Demonstrative funerals
46. Homage at burial places
Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.
47. Assemblies of protest or support
48. Protest meetings
49. Camouflaged meetings of protest
WITHDRAWAL AND RENUNCIATION
53. Renouncing honours
54. Turning one’s back
THE METHODS OF SOCIAL NONCOOPERATION
OSTRACISM OF PERSONS
55. Social boycott
56. Selective social boycott
57. Lysistratic nonaction
NONCOOPERATION WITH SOCIAL EVENTS, CUSTOMS, AND INSTITUTIONS
60. Suspension of social and sports activities
61. Boycott of social affairs
62. Student strike
63. Social disobedience
64. Withdrawal from social institutions
WITHDRAWAL FROM THE SOCIAL SYSTEM
66. Total personal noncooperation
67. “Flight” of workers
69. Collective disappearance
70. Protest emigration (hijrat)
That’s all nonviolence is – organized love.
THE METHODS OF ECONOMIC NONCOOPERATION: ECONOMIC BOYCOTTS
ACTION BY CONSUMERS
71. Consumers’ boycott
72. Nonconsumption of boycotted goods
73. Policy of austerity
74. Rent withholding
75. Refusal to rent
76. National consumers’ boycott
77. International consumers’ boycott
ACTION BY WORKERS AND PRODUCERS
78. Workers’ boycott
79. Producers’ boycott
ACTION BY MIDDLEMEN
80. Suppliers’ and handlers’ boycott
ACTION BY OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT
81. Traders’ boycott
82. Refusal to let or sell property
84. Refusal of industrial assistance
85. Merchants’ “general strike”
ACTION BY HOLDERS OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES
86. Withdrawal of bank deposits
87. Refusal to pay fees, dues, and assessments
88. Refusal to pay debts or interest
89. Severance of funds and credit
90. Revenue refusal
91. Refusal of a government’s money
ACTION BY GOVERNMENTS
92. Domestic embargo
93. Blacklisting of traders
94. International sellers’ embargo
95. International buyers’ embargo
96. International trade embargo
THE METHODS OF ECONOMIC NONCOOOPERATION: THE STRIKE h4. SYMBOLIC STRIKES
97. Protest strike
98. Quickie walkout (lightning strike)
99. Peasant strike
100. Farm workers’ strike
STRIKES BY SPECIAL GROUPS
101. Refusal of impressed labour
102. Prisoners’ strike
103. Craft strike
104. Professional strike
ORDINARY INDUSTRIAL STRIKES
105. Establishment strike
106. Industry strike
107. Sympathy strike
108. Detailed strike
109. Bumper strike
110. Slowdown strike
111. Working-to-rule strike
112. Reporting “sick” (sick-in)
113. Strike by resignation
114. Limited strike
115. Selective strike
116. Generalised strike
117. General strike
COMBINATION OF STRIKES AND ECONOMIC CLOSURES
119. Economic shutdown
THE METHODS OF POLITICAL NONCOOPERATION
REJECTION OF AUTHORITY
120. Withholding or withdrawal of allegiance
121. Refusal of public support
122. Literature and speeches advocating resistance
CITIZENS’ NONCOOPERATION WITH GOVERNMENT
123. Boycott of legislative bodies
124. Boycott of elections
125. Boycott of government employment and positions
126. Boycott of government departments, agencies, and other bodies
127. Withdrawal from governmental educational institutions
128. Boycott of government-supported institutions
129. Refusal of assistance to enforcement agents
130. Removal of own signs and placemarks
131. Refusal to accept appointed officials
132. Refusal to dissolve existing institutions
CITIZENS’ ALTERNATIVES TO OBEDIENCE
133. Reluctant and slow compliance
134. Nonobedience in absence of direct supervision
135. Popular nonobedience
136. Disguised disobedience
137. Refusal of an assemblage or meeting to disperse
139. Noncooperation with conscription and deportation
140. Hiding, escape, and false identities
141. Civil disobedience of “illegitimate” laws
ACTION BY GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL
142. Selective refusal of assistance by government aides
143. Blocking of lines of command and information
144. Stalling and obstruction
145. General administrative noncooperation
146. Judicial noncooperation
147. Deliberate inefficiency and selective noncooperation by enforcement agents
DOMESTIC GOVERNMENTAL ACTION
149. Quasi-legal evasions and delays
150. Noncooperation by constituent governmental units
INTERNATIONAL GOVERNMENTAL ACTION
151. Changes in diplomatic and other representation
152. Delay and cancellation of diplomatic events
153. Withholding of diplomatic recognition
154. Severance of diplomatic relations
155. Withdrawal from international organisations
156. Refusal of membership in international bodies
157. Expulsion from international organisations
THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT INTERVENTION
158. Self-exposure to the elements
159. The fast
– 1. Fast of moral pressure
– 2. Hunger strike
– 3. Satyagrahic fast
160. Reverse trial
161. Nonviolent harassment
168. Nonviolent raids
169. Nonviolent air raids
170. Nonviolent invasion
171. Nonviolent interjection
172. Nonviolent obstruction
173. Nonviolent occupation
174. Establishing new social patterns
175. Overloading of facilities
178. Guerrilla theatre
179. Alternative social institutions
180. Alternative communication system
181. Reverse strike
182. Stay-in strike
183. Nonviolent land seizure
184. Defiance of blockades
185. Politically motivated counterfeiting
186. Preclusive purchasing
187. Seizure of assets
189. Selective patronage
190. Alternative markets
191. Alternative transportation systems
192. Alternative economic institutions
193. Overloading of administrative systems
194. Disclosing identities of secret agents
195. Seeking imprisonment
196. Civil disobedience of “neutral” laws
197. Work-on without collaboration
198. Dual sovereignty and parallel government
“We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.”
Martin Luther King Jr
A Civilian’s Guide To Direct Action by CrimethInc
What it is, What it’s good for, How it works
For Animal Rights Activists, sometimes the rate of progress using just education seems like it is going too slow, and so activists might decide it is time to take Direct Action.
direct action . . . is intended to inspire and thus motivate others by demonstrating the power people have to accomplish goals themselves
If an activist does want to do an Action, this document sets out ideas from “Choose a project and devise a plan” and “Establish and prioritize the goals of the action” thought to building a coalition, what to do before, during and after an Action, up to “Consider the way the action will affect others” and “Quit while you’re ahead”.
for this full article, FREE… and many more free to download, or buy printed versions CrimethIinc
What is direct action?
Direct action is going outside usual means to achieve a goal. It has been used by movements as diverse as anti-slavery groups during the US civil war, Gandhi fight for independence of India, Suffragettes struggle for the vote, the US Boston Tea Party (the original Tea Party) and the UK’s Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.
It is not inherently violent, it depends on how the participants decide to take action.
Direct action could be violent, depending on your definition of violence. The use of threats, graffiti, petty vandalism, or larger actions such as those from groups like ELF (Earth Liberation Front) and ALF (Animal Liberation Front) or Sea Sherperd.
|Sí, se puede|
I don’t think any one event, or any one day, or any one action,
or any one confrontation wins or loses a battle. You keep that
in mind and be practical about it. It’s foolish then to try and
gamble everything on one roll of the dice—which is what violence
really gets down to.
I think the practical person has a better chance of dealing with
nonviolence than people who tend to be dreamers or who are
impractical. We’re not nonviolent because we want to save our
souls. We’re nonviolent because we want to get some social
justice for the workers.
If all you’re interested in is going around being nonviolent and so
concerned about saving yourself, at some point the whole thing
breaks down—you say to yourself,
‘Well, let them be violent, as long as I’m nonviolent.’
Or you begin to think it’s okay to lose the battle as long as you
remain nonviolent, the idea is that you have to win and be
nonviolent. That’s extremely important! You’ve got to be
nonviolent—and you’ve got to win with nonviolence! What do
the poor care about strange philosophies of nonviolence if it
doesn’t mean bread for them?
~ Cesar Chavez
|“We know we cannot be kind to animals until we stop exploiting them — exploiting animals in the name of science, exploiting animals in the name of sport, exploiting animals in the name of fashion, and yes, exploiting animals in the name of food.”
César Chávez a farm worker in California, who became a community organiser, labour leader and civil rights activist, and inspiration in non-violent campaigning for change.
Chávez, and Dolores Huerta, established the National Farm Workers Association, which became the United Farm Workers (UFW), and in the process showed what non-violent, compassionate, passionate activism can achieve.
In fighting for the rights of farm workers, the UFW was fighting for work place rights on behalf of a group of workers who had / have working conditions that very few other work places would find acceptable. As the recent death of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez due to heat stroke shows.
However, a family member says that Chávez was vegan. Camila Chavez, his niece, said: Cesar was a vegan. He didn’t eat any animal products. He was a vegan because he believed in animal rights but also for his health
Building on those who went before, Mexican Revolutionary – Emiliano Zapata, Martin Luther King, and Indian revolutionaries Nehru and Gandhi, he used as many tools as he could to gain rights for farm labourers.
|“There is no such thing as defeat in non-violence.”
31 March, César Chávez’s birthday, is a state holiday in California, in honour of his community service.
And in the way that Chávez was inspired by those who went before him, maybe he can inspire a new generation of animal rights activists, inspired by his slogan “Yes, you can” (Sí, se puede).
Perhaps, vegans could adopt that day also, for a day of Animal Rights activism, non-violent acts of Revolution and community vegan activism?
|“I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do. I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings.”
This video examines the legacy of Chávez, his fight for justice, human rights, work place safety, and even environmental protections with his attention to the use of pesticides in food production. Among those paying tribute are Robert Kennedy and Martin Sheen.
|Yes, you can.|
You are either an activist or an inactivist.
~ The Cove (2009) Documentary about Japan’s secret slaughter of dolphins
In solidarity with Russian protesters and in honour of Strategy 31 activists, I will be participating in the local version – Activism 31.
This just means, every day for the month of October, I will joining others in my area participating in actions that supports their causes. Not every action will be my causes, but I will join with others to support them, for social justice and human rights, not just animal rights, and in return they have committed to support me.
By supporting each other, we can be stronger, grow our network, weave the web of activism amongst local communities, we can all get stronger.
Strategy 31 is a growing movement in Russia, and now spreading to other world cities – London, New York, Toronto and Tel Aviv. It is a series of protests to support the Article 31 of the Russian constitution, which guarantees the right to peaceful assembly.
The protesters have attracted many Russians who have never before dared speak out against their government, showing a bravery of defiance of their government that some activists in western countries are yet to emulate.
One act of civil disobedience among protesters is to write “31” on the palm of their hand while attending protests, in defiance of the government crackdown on support of Strategy 31.
Beginning on 31 July 2009, and held on the 31st of every month with 31 days, protesters have gather in Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow and is supported by a number of human rights organisations.
Every one of the Stategy-31 actions since it commenced has been refused permission by the authorities on the grounds that other activities were planned to take place… These “counter-actions” included the “Choose Health, Be Like Us!” festival (July 31, 2009), a youth sports festival (August 31, 2009), the “Division” military-sports festivity (October 31, 2009), an action of the pro-Kremlin “Young Russia” movement (December 31, 2009), and the “Winter Amusements” festivity (January 31, 2010). Each of the Strategy-31 actions was dispersed by regular and riot police and accompanied by large-scale detentions of participants and passers-by.
… The strategy 31 action on 31 May 2010… was dispersed with “exceptional cruelty”, with over 100 arrests.
This “exceptional cruelty” included hitting an 82 year old woman, Lyudmila Alexeeva on the head shouting “Still alive, you old bitch?” at the 31 March protests.
So, If anyone has any actions they want participants for, if its local I will hold a sign and hand out leaflets, if it on the other side of the world, I will sign your petition and email politicians.
For more about Strategy 31: What is Strategy 31? by Maryana Torocheshnikova