Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Veganarchism - Introduction: The Veganarchists

This part two of an ongiong series of posts featuring essays written by Brian A.Dominick and published in a pamphlet called "Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: a vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perpective on veganism" (with a preface by Joseph M. Smith). First published by Critical Mess Media in 1995.

Introduction: The Veganarchists 

For some time now, animal liberation and the activists who struggle in its name have been embroiled in heated discourse and action. Although animal lib theory and activism have rarely been welcomed or taken seriously by the mainstream Left, many anarchists are beginning to recognize their legitimacy, not only as a valid cause, but as an integral and indispensable aspect of radical theory and revolutionary practice. While most people who call themselves anarchists have not embraced animal liberation and its corresponding lifestyle-veganism-growing numbers of young anarchists are adopting ecology- and animal-inclusive mindsets as part of their overall praxis*.

Likewise, many vegans and animal liberationists are being influenced by anarchist thought and its rich tradition. This is evidenced by growing hostility among some animal lib activists towards the statist, capitalist, sexist, racist and ageist Establishment which has been escalating the intensity of its war not only on non-human animals, but also on their human advocates. The relatively new community of animal liberationists is rapidly becoming aware of the totality of force which fuels the speciesist machine that is modern society. As such awareness increases, so should the affinity between animal liberationists and their more socially-oriented counterparts, the anarchists.

The more we recognize the commonality and interdependence of our struggles, which we once considered quite distinguished from one another, the more we understand what liberation and revolution really mean.

Besides our far-reaching vision, anarchists and animal liberationists share strategical methodology. Without pretending to be able to speak for all, I will say that those I consider true anarchists and animal liberationists seek to realize our visions via any means effective. We understand, contrary to mainstream perceptions of us, that wanton destruction and violence will not bring about the end we desire. But unlike liberals and progressives, whose objectives are limited to reforms, we are willing to admit that real change will only be brought about if we add destructive force to our creative transformation of oppressive society. We can build all we want, and we should be pro-active where possible. But we also understand that we can make room for free creation only by obliterating that which exists to prevent our liberation.

I am vegan because I have compassion for animals; I see them as beings possessed of value not unlike humans. I am an anarchist because I have that same compassion for humans, and because I refuse to settle for compromised perspectives, half-assed strategies and sold-out objectives. As a radical, my approach to animal and human liberation is without compromise: total freedom for all, or else.

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 of 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." 


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