Veganarchism

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Veganarchy symbol; popularised by Brian A. Dominick's Animal Liberation and Social Revolution pamphlet in 1995. The front cover combined the 'V' from vegan with the anarchist 'A' symbol.[1]

Veganarchism or vegan anarchism, is the political philosophy of veganism (more specifically animal rights and earth liberation) and anarchism,[2][3] creating a combined praxis that is designed to be a means for social revolution.[4][5] This encompasses viewing the state as unnecessary and harmful to animals, both human and non-human, whilst practising a vegan lifestyle. It is either perceived as a combined theory, or that both philosophies are essentially the same.[6] It is further described as an anti-speciesist perspective on green anarchism, or an anarchist perspective on animal liberation.[5]

Veganarchists typically view oppressive dynamics within society to be interconnected, from statism, racism and sexism to human supremacy[7] and redefine veganism as a radical philosophy that sees the state as harmful to animals.[8] Ideologically, it is a human, animal, and Earth liberation movement that is fought as part of the same struggle.[citation needed] Those who believe in veganarchy can be either against reform for animals or for it, although do not limit goals to changes within the law.[9][10]

The philosophy was first popularised by Brian A. Dominick in Animal Liberation and Social Revolution[1] and later promoted by anarcho-punk band Virus using symbolism, Roots of Compassion, a zine named 'veganarchy', and animal rights activist Jonny Albewhite.[2][3][11] The ideology is sometimes referred to as radical veganism, total liberation, or total revolution; however, not all who believe in the terms perceive them to be veganarchy.[7][8]

Terms[edit]

  • Veganarchists; those who believe in veganarchism, typically pronounced as v-ganarchism to correctly pronounce veganism, and to distinguish the ideology from veg-anarchism and anarchists.[11]
  • Veganarchy is the goal and aim of proponents of the political philosophy of veganarchism.[2][3]

Origins[edit]

The green and black flag of green anarchism.

The term was popularised in 1995 with Brian A. Dominick's pamphlet Animal Liberation and Social Revolution, described as "a vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism".[1] It was originally published by Critical Mess Media, then in 1997 re-printed by Firestarter Press and re-distributed for anti-copyright usage.[17][18] In 2002 it was translated into Portuguese by Discórdia edições and into German by Autonome Tierbefreiungsaktion Hannover in 2005, further circulating the essay abroad.[19][20]

The 18-page pamphlet explains how many young anarchists in the 1990s had been adopting deep ecological (animal-inclusive and anti-speciesist) mindsets as part of an overall green-anarchist political philosophy. Similarly animal liberationists were becoming increasingly influenced by anarchist thought and traditions, thus becoming veganarchists and adopting an overall praxis.[5]

Brian Dominick described his reasons for the necessity of veganarchism in the opening chapter The Veganarchists:[4]

In this essay I wish to demonstrate that any approach to social change must be comprised of an understanding not only of social relationships, but also between the relationships between humans and nature, including non-human animals. I also hope to show herein why no approach to animal liberation is feasible without a thorough understanding of and immersion in the social revolutionary endeavor. We must all become, if you will, "veganarchists".

Issues[edit]

Oppression[edit]

In Animal Liberation and Social Revolution, Brian A. Dominick describes how he believes relationships between oppressive dynamics within the establishment are interconnected, including; classism, economic oppression, statism, sexism, homophobia, patriarchy, racism (founded within ethnocentrism), ageism, and the result of human supremacy; speciesism and environmental destruction. He claims that throughout history the state has been dependent on these interdependent oppressions.[7] It is further understood that the fate of all species are intricately interrelated, so the exploitation of animals must play a major role on the impact of the human world. This includes the domestication of animals as being partly responsible for the "emergence of patriarchy, state power, slavery, hierarchy and domination of all kinds".[citation needed]

Radicalism[edit]

On radical veganism, Dominick defines what veganism means, concluding that to not consume the products of non-human animals is not the true meaning of the term, but one of its lifestyle choices; differentiating it from pure vegetarianism. He criticises self-proclaimed vegans who justify care free consumption of corporate products, citing poor workers conditions and treatment of human labor, comparing them to non-human suffering. Dominick therefore defines veganism as a radical understanding of what human and non-human animal oppression really is, therefore determining lifestyle choices by an informed and politicized opinion.

Reformism[edit]

Dominick describes veganarchists as either opposed to reformist measures for animals (considering them the task of liberals or progressives), such as granting non-humans suffrage, or include but do not limit their goals to changes within the law.[9] He criticises the need for the state to stand between humans and non-humans, detailing increased crime and violence due to alcohol prohibition and the war on drugs, believing a government orchestrated "War on Meat" would only cause more problems rather than curb animal abuse and the reinforced desires for animal products; preferring instead a non-coercive approach to eliminating animal consumption.[10]

Violence[edit]

In Violence in Everyday Life, Brian A. Dominick labels society as being largely based on violence, enhanced by corporate control media images.[10] Dominick depicts power as a social concept and that "those on the receiving end of violence naturally suffer a severe amount of disempowerment", usually asserting what little remaining power they have left. He affirms that victims often internalize oppression, carrying it with them, hence becoming victimizers. Further discussing violence, Dominick regards the abuse of animals - whether directly, as with the mistreatment of pets, or indirectly by eating meat, as correlating to social violence.

Direct action[edit]

The ALF acronym within the anarchist symbol 'A'

Some veganarchists engage in direct action. Organizing themselves through groups like Food Not Bombs, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF), in autonomous, covert cells, they may take action against the meat and dairy industries, animal testing laboratories, fur farms, logging industries and, more rarely, government institutions.

Such actions are normally, though not always[citation needed], non-violent. Though not necessarily veganarchists, activists have used the names Animal Rights Militia (ARM), Revolutionary Cells – Animal Liberation Brigade (RCALB), Justice Department, and others to claim responsibility for politically motivated violent attacks.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Dominick, Brian. Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: A vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism, Critical Mess Media, 1995.
  2. ^ a b c Alberwite, Jonny. Why Veganism if for the Common Good of All Life, letter published in Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group Newsletter April 2009, p7-8.
  3. ^ a b c Veganarchy.net. Veganarchy: Issue 1, July 2009.
  4. ^ a b Dominick, Brian. Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: A vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism, third edition, Firestarter Press, 1997, page 6.
  5. ^ a b c Dominick, Brian. Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: A vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism, third edition, Firestarter Press, 1997, page 5.
  6. ^ Dominick, Brian. Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: A vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism, third edition, Firestarter Press, 1997, inside page.
  7. ^ a b c Dominick, Brian. Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: A vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism, third edition, Firestarter Press, 1997, page 7.
  8. ^ a b Dominick, Brian. Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: A vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism, third edition, Firestarter Press, 1997, page 9.
  9. ^ a b Dominick, Brian. Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: A vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism, third edition, Firestarter Press, 1997, page 8.
  10. ^ a b c Dominick, Brian. Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: A vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism, third edition, Firestarter Press, 1997, page 12.
  11. ^ a b Roots of compassion. Veganarchist - unisex t-shirt, 2009.
  12. ^ *Errico Malatesta, "Towards Anarchism", MAN!. Los Angeles: International Group of San Francisco. OCLC 3930443.
  13. ^ Slevin, Carl. "Anarchism." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. Ed. Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  14. ^ "Memorandum of Association of the Vegan Society". About Us. Vegan Society. 1979-11-20. p. 1. Retrieved 2007-02-22. [dead link]
  15. ^ Stepaniak, Joanne (2000). Being Vegan. McGraw-Hill Contemporary. pp. 2,6,17,148–150. ISBN 978-0-7373-0323-0. 
  16. ^ "Criteria for Vegan food". Vegan Society. Retrieved 2007-02-17. [dead link]
  17. ^ Dominick, Brian. Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: A vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism, third edition, Firestarter Press, 1997.
  18. ^ Animal Liberation and Social Revolution, third edition, Zine library, 2008.
  19. ^ Libertação Animal e Revolução Social, Discórdia edições, November 2002.
  20. ^ Tierbefreiung und Soziale Revolution, Autonome Tierbefreiungsaktion Hannover, November 2005.
  21. ^ Dominick, Brian. Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: A vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism, third edition, Firestarter Press, 1997, page 11.

Reference: Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights [Paperback] Bob Torres