Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Veganarchism - Sharpening the Tools of Revolution

Since I have been a little low on energy these last few weeks, I am behind on my planned posting.  So while I work on some more essays, I thought that I would share with you, over several posts, some works first 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.


Preface: Sharpening the Tools of Revolution 

To embrace veganism and forgo the consumption and utilization of animal products is not an end, but a beginning; a new start affording the practitioner an opportunity to see everyday realities in a different light. However, to speak of the suffering of non-human animals and the benefits of a vegan lifestyle is often a disheartening situation to the vegan, for typically the first reaction of her audience is to disagree. Opponents of veganism say that the way vegans view human-animal relationships (i.e. radically) is wrong, and that, looming on the horizon, is a severe cost for such blatant societal insubordination. Ultimately, they prophesize, the error of veganism will become obvious and, eventually, the idea thrown away. In a strange way, however, veganism's critics are correct. Not until one realizes what makes veganism "unreasonable," will that individual realize the true reasoning behind what it means to be vegan. Not until one questions what it is that depicts veganism as "wrong," in the eyes of non-vegans will one gain the ability to adequately address the wrongs driving their refusal to accept humanity's violent and unwarranted treatment of non-human animals. Not until the principles of veganism are applied to the rubric of injustice as a whole will one understand the need for veganism at all. They are correct because veganism in isolation defeats the purpose for which it is intended. And so it goes, for the alienation experienced as an effect of breaking social conventions is often enough to make one "question" her commitment to veganism. As a philosophy, veganism stands in defiance to ideologies touching the core of Western thought. Opposed to the irrational belief systems which establishment institutions socialize people to "accept," the principles of veganism challenge individuals to confront the dogma they are issued and to construct new ethics and values based on the premises of compassion and justice. Confronting the existing belief systems, however, is a frightening concept to a society that has voluntarily conscripted itself to the dominant social paradigms of the state. However, as Brian Dominick so skillfully illustrates in the following essay, it is precisely this confrontation that we must agree to make if we are honest in seeking a true assessment of what social liberation has to offer. In the totality of this process, veganism is but one element in the compound structure of social revolution. It is in this light that Brian's essay shines its brightest. Animal Liberation and Social Revolution is a compact framework designed to assist us as we embark on the endeavor of recognizing what roles compassion, critical thinking, and rationality (ought to) play in our simultaneous deconstruction and transformation of society. Relentless in his quest to set the proverbial wheels of this transformation in motion, Brian presses us to confront the oppressive ideologies we harbor within ourselves and to uncover their linkages to the injustice that pervades every sphere of our existence. It is Brian's belief that each of us has been given the tools to draw these necessary conclusions. It makes no difference if you are an anarchist approaching veganism, a vegan approaching anarchism, or neither of the two. All that is required is the willingness to roll up your sleeves, sharpen those tools and start drawing, in a concerted effort, to challenge humanity's myopic vision of what constitutes a just society. 

-Joseph M. Smith November, 1995 


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