This part four of an ongoing 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.
Previous posts in this series:
Violence in Everyday LifeOur society, few would disagree, is one based largely on violence. Everywhere we turn, it seems, there is violence, a perception enhanced exponentially by corporate-controlled media images.
This violence, as part of our culture and our very existence, undoubtedly has a profound affect on us the extent of which we can hardly hope to ever truly understand. Those who are on the receiving end of violence naturally suffer a severe amount of disempowerment. Because power is a social concept, we as people do not necessarily comprehend what it means to us. When we perceive a loss of power, one of our typical reactions is to assert what little power we have left. Once we have internalized the effects of oppression, we carry them with us, often only to become victimizers ourselves. It is an unfortunate truth that victims often become perpetrators specifically because they themselves are victimized. When the victimization takes the form of physical violence, it often translates itself into still more violence.
That in mind, we can see clearly why abuse of animals-whether directly, as is the case regarding the mistreatment of pets, or indirectly, as through the process of meat eating-correlates to social violence. Humans who are mistreated themselves tend to mistreat others, and animals are among the easiest, most defenseless victims. This exposes yet another reason social oppression must be struggled against by those concerned for the welfare of animals.
What's more, this cause-effect dynamic works both ways. It has been shown that those who are violent towards animals-again, directly or indirectly-are also more likely to be violent towards other humans. People fed a vegetarian diet, for instance, are typically less violent than those who eat meat. People who abuse their pets are unlikely to stop there-their children and partners are often next.
It is absurd to think that a society which oppresses non-human animals will be able to become a society which does not oppress humans. Recognizing animal oppression thus becomes a prerequisite to radical social change.