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Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'

Health

All of the above are heinous and insidiously intertwined manifestations of a dominant culture constructed on the foundation of privilege and hierarchy… but only one of them is directly responsible for the murder of 53 billion land animals per year. Only one of them is directly responsible for deforestation, topsoil depletion, overfishing, water pollution, corporate control of the food chain, unspeakable animal cruelty, and so much more.

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

June 16, 2013

Racism

Sexism

Homophobia

Trans-phobia

Able-ism

Ageism

Anti-Semitism

Patriarchy

Speciesism

The list goes on and on…

All of the above are heinous and insidiously intertwined manifestations of a dominant culture constructed on the foundation of privilege and hierarchy… but only one of them is directly responsible for the murder of 53 billion land animals per year.

Only one of them is directly responsible for deforestation, topsoil depletion, overfishing, water pollution, corporate control of the food chain, unspeakable animal cruelty, and so much more.

Only one of them consumes and destroys one-third of the planet’s land surface.

Only one of them is the number one source of human-created greenhouse gases (translation: climate change threatening all forms of life on earth).

This most prevalent and dangerous of all privileges is, of course, speciesism.

Have it your way?
The above “rant” came to mind while recently perusing a livestream originating from just outside Gezi Park in Turkey. The streamer, along with several activists was taking a meal break at -- wait for it -- Burger King!

The irony, the denial, the hypocrisy makes me swoon…

By coincidence, as a speaker at National Animal Rights Day on June 9, I told a facetious story about entering a Burger King restaurant to demand it “my way”-- as per the company’s long-time catchphrase.

So, please allow me to re-visit that concept because my way would most certainly include my radical comrades recognizing the need to surrender the privilege of speciesism, e.g. not making side trips to death emporiums like Burger King during a protest or occupation.

Reminder to the non-vegan Left: The animals don’t need your mind games, they don’t need your academic exercises, and they don’t need your fuckin’ excuses. They need your participation… right now.

Speciesism is a privilege. To surrender that privilege (or any privilege) is a revolutionary act.

Check your options
My way would also mean an end to the practice of offering a “vegan option” at radical events. So often I’ve witnessed meat-eating activists reduce speciesism to a single pasta dish amidst all the animal by-products masquerading as “food.”

Imagine if I organized a large gathering at which racist language was the norm but in one small corner of the park, we provided the option of a non-racist zone.

Imagine if I organized a large gathering at which sexist and homophobic behavior was the norm but in one small corner of the park, we provided the option of a safe space.

Imagine if I organized a large gathering at which non-accessibility was the norm but in one small corner of the park, we provided the option of a tiny wheelchair-friendly zone. Oops… that already happens 99 out of 100 times.

#blindspot

Check yourself before you wreck yourself
As an active member of several radical groups and larger movements, I am understandably expected to check my white male privilege -- and I genuinely strive to do my imperfect best.

Conversely, as a high profile vegan/animal rights activist within these groups and movements…

  • I am often witness to activists unashamedly buying “food” at McDonald’s or ordering pizza to their demos.
  • I am often left with no option but to carry my own food with me because so many of my comrades remain willfully clueless on the ramifications of speciesism.
  • I am often subjected to insensitive, rude, and speciesist comments and behavior -- masked as “humor.”

It’s fascinating how many “activists” who wouldn’t dream or dare uttering racist-sexist-homophobic language think it’s hilarious to make bacon jokes. Here’s a minute sampling of what they’re laughing about:

Mic Check: Unless we believe we are the last generation of humans, veganism is not an “option.” Rather, it is the healthy choice, the logical choice, the compassionate choice, the eco-friendly choice, the anti-corporate choice, the subversive choice, the non-hierarchical choice.

If you're working to dismantle corporate power, expand freedoms, and create a safer, more sane culture, you already have plenty in common with animal rights activists. Why not take things even further and recognize that the mighty 99% also includes non-human animals -- and the entire ecosystem itself?

If you identify as radical, why are you eating like a reactionary?

Surrender the privilege of speciesism, embrace empathy for all sentient beings, re-imagine your relationship with the natural world, and allow revolutionary compassion to guide your choices.

#shifthappens

***

Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

© WorldNewsTrust.com -- Share and re-post this story. Please include this copyright notice and a link to World News Trust.

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Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option' | 19 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: greenred on Sunday, June 16 2013 @ 05:44 PM CDT

 

It is speciesism to claim that chickens and dairy cows should be treated like they are either wild animals or citizens of human society. They are artifacts of civilization whose needs, whose beings, whose very natures, are dependent on civilized human behavior. It's extremely annoying, and slightly funny, to have someone who grew up in the city and still lives there fantasizing about dairy cows cavorting around the woods with bears and coyotes, or perhaps being housed in luxurious apartments where someone will shovel out their manure for them. Veganism is a bad joke, nutritionally and environmentally. The Earth doesn't want veganism and neither does your body. Annual crops destroy topsoil and contribute to climate change; grass-fed beef creates topsoil and sequesters carbon. Join the animal kingdom (as if you could ever leave) and get over your anthropocentric self.

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: space1980 on Sunday, June 16 2013 @ 09:47 PM CDT

Trolls are writing whole articles now. What's this vegan flame bait doing on Infoshop News?

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: Kaos on Monday, June 17 2013 @ 03:39 PM CDT

Again I will point out another unforgotten bigotry, discrimination against the houseless. I don't have the luxury of being vegan because i am so poor that I have to take whatever people give me, which is often not vegan. Should I just throw their kindness away, simply because of morality? I refuse to die simply to placate your desire to see everyone vegan. Veganism is a privileged position, one enjoyed by highly opinionated anarchists who attack others for their dietary choices, without researching why those people would chose to have such a diet. Changing one's consumerist choices does not create change, because it fails to tackle the real issue which is consumerism, plain and simple. Becoming vegan will not end industrialized farming and cattle rearing, burning that shit to the ground is what will end it. If everyone suddenly became vegan and capitalism still existed, the planet is still getting screwed. If you have such an issue with your comrades eating habits, then maybe you should stop hanging out with them, or deal with it. This is not your revolution, this is our revolution. Attmepting to shove your monoculturalistic idealism on others, is just as oppresive as all the other forms of repression you highlighted. I agree that ultimately veganism is the healthiest choice for most people, but anarchism is about free will, so people are going to make choices that piss you off. It sounds like your personal choices are inflated by a huge ego, that blinds you to multiculturalism. People are going to do what they want, and often it will inconvience you, but that is all it is, an inconvience. You are my comrade, in the sense that we both agree that capitalism is the most despotic and destructive force on earth, but I do not live to please you, and you always have the free will to walk away from me if you don't want to watch me eat meat in order to assure i get to live to see tomorrow. You are not the president of anarchy, and you need to check your heirarichal tendencies. Though I am sure you will attempt to flip this on me and make me out to be the fascist. I love you, and i respect your right to be vegan, but respect my right to not.

Edited on Monday, June 17 2013 @ 03:42 PM CDT by Kaos
Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: vlad on Monday, June 17 2013 @ 05:58 PM CDT

I come across this type of argument a lot when talking to people that oppose veganism. To be honest it seems a bit much to accuse all vegans of bigotry towards non-vegans. I never met vegans that are as puritanical as some of you portray them to be. I don't think anyone has ever said you should die of hunger if you can't be vegan. The "i eat what i can afford" argument is pretty weak. If I could only afford sneakers made in sweatshops, would that make sweatshops right? The line between personal choice and political issues seems to shift very conveniently when one is simply not willing to give up on something.

Veganism is not about consumerism. It's about recognizing that not only humans are the victims of exploitation. How can it be a personal choice when others are clearly affected by the choices you make? Is feminism a personal choice because I am a man? Is fighting homophobia a personal choice because I am not gay? I understand people are different, but let's not use multiculturalism to defend practices that are abusive to others, humans or animals. 

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: Kaos on Tuesday, June 18 2013 @ 03:00 AM CDT

You are avoiding the broader point I was attempting to establish. Meat eaters are not responsible for corporations and industrialized farmings tyrannical rule over our animal comrades. If that were the case than the cavemen who ate wolly mammoth, during the ice age when vegetation was sparse, should be blamed for the whole thing. People who chose to be vegan are mking a personal choice when they choose to be vegan. If a man chooses to not participate in the partiarchical world he lives in, and choose to support feminist issues, that is also a choice. Supporting any cause is a choice, and not one made because of some moral guilt. Noone should do the right thing simply because they feel guilty. So honestly i don't know what your argument of personal choice does to further you evidence of my ignorance. Are people in third world countries accountable for consuming things that are not vegan in order to survive? Are they suddenly at fault? What if someone donates meat to an action, because they having nothing else to donate? Are you going to go and tell them to leave? Is their contribution suddenly invalid? Do you pay for the vegan food you consume? I would argue that participating in the currency system endangers the animals more, than eating an animal that is already dead. I also want to point out that multiculturalism applies to people's diet as much as their gender preference. Do you not realize that we are lucky to live somewhere where we have such control of what we consume. The fact that you are educated enough to understand the need to be vegan, blows most people's comprehension out of the water. This is first world narcissim. I also want to point out that I am not "opposed" to veganism. I eat a predominately vegan diet, and only go outside of that in desperation, Even then i attempt to remain vegetarian, and only eat meat when is absolutely necessary. I also believe that animals deserve to be treated with respect, but I do believe people have the right to eat meat, if they practice better and sustainable tactics. I am arguing for those so disenfranchised by capitalism that they do not have the luxury of choice, that we so lavishly enjoy as Americans. If someone chooses to give me meat, I am not going to just throw it away, i will give it away if nothing else. The world is a harsh and graphic place, we must learn to put that all aside and ignore the symptons of capitalism in order to work cohesively in order to eradicate the entire system. I alos want to point out that I am responding to this article, and this article is cleary not a representation of all vegans. I was speaking to the person who wrote the article, not vegans everywhere. A lot of my friends are vegan, but i also have comrades who chose to consume meat, dairy, and eggs. I will not kick them out of my life, simply because it affects my lifestyle choice.

Edited on Tuesday, June 18 2013 @ 03:14 AM CDT by Kaos
Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: vlad on Tuesday, June 18 2013 @ 06:08 PM CDT

Not every evil has it's roots in capitalism or industrialisation. Just as opression between humans has existed long before capitalism, so has human opression towards animals. Capitalism just made it worse.

I live in romania, a country where almost half it's inhabitants live in rural areas and depend on agriculture to survive. Although industrial agriculture has become the norm, there still are a lot of people that are practicing agriculture for their own substinence. The animals they use are in no way living a fairy tale life. They are better off than in industrial farms, but they too are often victims of abuse. Indeed they were bred and raised for this, but that doesn't change anything. Why shouldn't you bring up the subject of animal suffering or any subject for that matter with people that come from a different background than yours? I don't think you should enforce veganism on others, but to just keep quiet because of some "multicultural" taboo seems very selfdefeating. The way I see it if we strive towards an egalitarian society we should start treating people as equals and not just assume that it's impossible for them to grasp certain ideas. 

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: greenred on Monday, June 17 2013 @ 06:09 PM CDT

 

Carnivory is not the same thing as oppression. Everything kills to eat. Veganism is anthropocentric and anti-nature. 

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: vlad on Monday, June 17 2013 @ 06:35 PM CDT

It is anthropocentric if by this you mean that it approaches the problem from a human perspective. But this is a very biased definition for this term. Is it really possible to escape one's anthropocentrism? How can you say what's "natural" or not , if not from a human perspective?

Carnivory may not be oppressive, but domestication is. And the way we raise and use animals is anything but "natural" and it clearly causes a lot of pain and anguish. 

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: greenred on Monday, June 17 2013 @ 08:58 PM CDT

 

Domestication might be oppressive for an Indonesian jungle fowl, but it's not for a white leghorn. They have completely different natures and needs. Obviously, none of those needs include being shoved in tiny cages, debeaked and shat on for the brief period that they live. But you do not domesticate a wild chicken -- it has domestic DNA. And a well-treated domesticated chicken's life is no worse than a wild jungle fowl's. 

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: space1980 on Tuesday, June 18 2013 @ 01:48 PM CDT

Veganism is not the answer to factory farming, environmental problems or animal abuse. 95% of humanity eats meat. Most of humanity has been eating meat since the human species appeared on Earth a few million years ago. Most humans who were alive in the past ate meat. Most humans that are alive now eat meat. Most humans who are alive in the future will eat meat. Eating meat is part of human nature. Eating meat is the normal condition of the human species. Veganism is rare in humans. Less than 5% of humans are vegan.

 

Veganism is a very restrictive lifestyle that requires a high level of self control. Most people do not have enough self control to be vegan. Veganism would have to be imposed on most people by external forces like the police, military, government and society because most people want to eat meat. Most humans will never consensually become vegan. World veganism would require us to reject ideas like consent, freedom, democracy and choice because most people don't want to be vegan. Transforming humanity into a vegan species would require a massive amount of violence, mind control, oppression and genetic/biological manipulation. Transforming any meat eating species such as humans, wolves, leopards or sharks into a vegan species would require a massive amount of violence, mind control, oppression and genetic/biological manipulation. World veganism would require totalitarianism. To make most people vegan would require mass surveillance, mass incarceration and a global vegan military force. Vegan countries would have to invade, occupy, colonize and oppress meat eating countries. World veganism would not happen peacefully because humans are a meat eating, animal killing, omnivorous species. Under vegan regimes people who eat meat would be incarcerated, killed or brainwashed. World veganism is incompatible with anarchism, libertarianism or any other anti-authoritarian ideology. That is why veganism is wrong.

 

In most periods of Earth's history there has been one species that was at the top of the food chain. 200 million years ago giant sharks were at the top of the food chain. 100 million years ago tyrannosaurus rex's were at the top of the food chain. 15 million years ago saber toothed cats were at the top of the food chain. Right now humans are at the top of the food chain. Get used to it. 

 

 

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: vlad on Tuesday, June 18 2013 @ 06:02 PM CDT

In all those millions of years that the human species has existed, nothing resembled our current reality. Human culture changes constantly and not because of natural laws. It is strictly up to us if we extend our ethical concerns to animals, or to other humans for that matter.  

You are taking things a little too far. Veganism is not about forcing everyone to stop eating animals, it's about raising the question about how we treat animals. It's not a puritanical dogma. You are making some very weak generalisations based on no facts whatsoever. Are you even serious when talking about a "vegan regime"? 

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: space1980 on Tuesday, June 18 2013 @ 07:03 PM CDT

We came from nature just like every other life form on Earth. We are natural. Everything we do is natural. Everything we make is natural. The human species, technology, cities, buildings, roads, space travel and eating meat are just as natural as forests, oceans, rivers, mountains, rocks, animals and plants. The distinction between what is manmade and what is not manmade doesn't justify veganism. 

If most of humanity will never become vegan then why should I become vegan? 

I've have some bad experiences with vegans and it pissed me off. Mickey Z's inflammatory, aggressively toned article just adds fuel to the vegan versus meat eater conflict.

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: ISHI on Wednesday, June 19 2013 @ 07:33 AM CDT

 some vegans i have come across are extremely dogmatic---they remind me of 'pro-lifers', fundamentalist christians (god said it, i believe it, and thats all there is to it), and some old school marxist-leninist (actually stalinist/wwp) types, and also some ('self described') anarchists..  its a litmus test. (sometimes when dealing with these types i pull out a cigarette and exhale in their face---'sorry, excuse me').  (cigarettes are part of the survival tool kit----'what you doing out here? taking a cigarette break, ossifer').

to dogmatic vegans,  you are supposed to spend your life saving chickens (rescuing them from factory farms and then doing 24/7 nurturing ) or protesting something.  (an issue casme up when these people went after AIDS activists who decided they needed animal tested drugs to survive. )  

  meanwhile, i go out in the woods, and see snakes snag birds all the time, osprey cathcing fish.  (Perhaps i can with Mickey Z organize a large foundation, sortuh like PETA, with Bikini models, etc. and a multibillion dollar budget to convince the snakes, wolves, turtles etc to shop for organic produce at whole foods, though of course they'd have to get a job---maybe importing minerals from the congo so Mickey Z can have a (vegan) computer and internet connection  ).  Some of these vegans also have no big issue with driving BMW's and living in gated communities. I wonder whether they have checked whether the people who guard their communities are vegan too.

sortuh like driving.  i always try to explain to my chauffeur that driving is linked to global warming, so he should stop. s/he always says but i need a job.  i can't drive myself because of my principles aginst driving.

 

some vegans are  laid back---its a (often better) choice.  (i am about 80% vegan, off and on , but more like indigenous people---who are not vegan).  maybe the eskimos should not eat fish and seals, but shop at whole foods.

my main point is mickey z seems not to have dealt with issues like 'suburban sprawl' so his one note song is missing some harmony. 

  

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: vlad on Wednesday, June 19 2013 @ 08:05 AM CDT

By this logic hierarchies and opression are also "natural", so what's the point in fighting them? Most of the world lives under these conditions, so apparently that makes them the right choice. It's very wierd to find this type of argument on an anarchist website, it sounds a lot like the prequel to some social darwinist rant.

Humans are not confined by the natural world the way other species are. Human culture is subjective and doesn't follow some mechanic "natural" logic. This means we can see and transform the world as we want (considering of course tehnological limitations). Politics is the best example for this.

I really don't understand this fundamentalist position from some anarchists when confronting veganism. Consumerist neoliberal vegans are shit, you don't have to tell me, but this is not the issue here.

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: space1980 on Wednesday, June 19 2013 @ 09:15 AM CDT

 It's not a prequel to a social darwinist rant. Out in nature relations between different species are hierarchical and relations between members of the same species are egalitarian with few exceptions. If we take nature as our guide then we humans should eat non-human animals and human society should be egalitarian.

By the way, why is someone in Romania posting on a North American website?

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: space1980 on Wednesday, June 19 2013 @ 09:48 AM CDT

Human culture cannot be transformed into whatever we want it to be. Human culture is shaped by human biology. Eating meat is not a choice for most people. Humans eat meat because humans have bodies that need meat. We have sharp teeth. We have bodies that digest meat and derive nutrition from meat. I know someone who has developed serious health problems because they were vegan for at least 10 years. Many people develop health problems while on a vegan diet. The way a person's body responds to their diet may be influenced by their genes. The people who are healthy while on a vegan diet may have herbivore genes. The people who develop health problems while on a vegan diet may have carnivore/omnivore genes. Studies that say vegans live longer do not take into account the fact that the average diet is unhealthy and the fact that vegans are less likely to smoke tobacco, drink alcohol and are more likely to exercise. The average diet contains too much sugar, fat, calories and chemicals. Vegans are less likely to smoke tobacco and drink alcohol and vegans are more likely to exercise so vegans are going to live longer. Meat is not bringing down life expectancy. Too much sugar, fat, calories and chemicals are bringing down life expectancy. Smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol and lack of exercise are bringing down life expectancy. 

Edited on Wednesday, June 19 2013 @ 10:09 AM CDT by space1980
Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: vlad on Wednesday, June 19 2013 @ 11:07 AM CDT

Sharp teeth don't mean anything. Just look at gorillas, they have way bigger teeth than us and they are vegetarian. But this doesn't mean anything really, we are in fact omnivores, which basically means we are very oportunistic eaters. We aren't carnivores or herbivores. The common belief is that we started eating meat as scavangers, that being one of the main reasons why we have absolutely no natural adaptations for hunting. But being omnivores only means that we can survive both on flesh and on vegetation. As you said yourself, there is enough evidence that you can survive just fine on a vegan diet and in most cases even longer than with the standard diet. This isn't the issue, I don't know why you keep bringing it up. The issue is an ethical one and it's addressed to the people that are in the postion to make this choice, not inuits or whever tribe that can only survive on other animals.

And human culture may indeed be shaped by human biology, but human biology is not the driving force behind human culture. How can you explain religion and all the complex simbols and rituals we developed, that serve no basic biological needs.

 

By the way, why is someone in Romania posting on a North American website?

From time to time I like to check out this website, sometimes it has some interesting stuff. I don't see how me being from romania has any relevance though.

 

Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: space1980 on Wednesday, June 19 2013 @ 03:22 PM CDT

Being omnivores means that we need both flesh and vegetation to be healthy. That is the correct definition of omnivore. There may be a few people like you who can be healthy on a vegan diet but most people cannot be healthy on a vegan diet.

Edited on Wednesday, June 19 2013 @ 03:24 PM CDT by space1980
Hey Radicals: Veganism is Much More Than an 'Option'
Authored by: greenred on Saturday, June 22 2013 @ 07:00 PM CDT

 

We're out to destroy hierarchy and authority, not suffering. Kropotkin's contributions to anarchism derived in large part from his observations of nature. Oppression and hierarchy are unnatural and unknown in nature -- which is not to say that violence or suffering are unknown in nature. Our job is not to change the laws of biology or physics to make them nice; it's to learn from them and apply those laws to our societies. At least that's part of it I think.