First off, let us note that this is a project of the 269 Life organization. This is a group that reenacts graphic scenes of violence against humans . . . even endangering and traumatizing human babies who are included in their "demonstrations." I kid you not, they took a woman and a child, ripped her baby away, put the baby on the ground, then sexually assaulted the woman, beat her, made her bleed, then threw her in a van. And this is supposed to make us support Nonhuman Animal rights . . . by triggering real and lived violence against women that remains at epidemic levels across the globe. Then we have white activists getting chained and branded, as though it's okay to trigger people with histories of enslavement "for the cause." As though that even works. So, we should not be surprised when they announce hateful speech such as:
No one should be excluded from participation in animal rights activities based on their views on human issues. The non-human animals are in a situation of immediate emergency and need all the help they can get!Yes, rapists, racists, violent people, people who are misrepresenting our movement, and people sabotaging our movement with their misanthropy in general and misogyny in particular have no place in our movement. We don't need all the help we can get if that "help" is actually giving us more work to do.
The campaign argues:
Furthermore, the women’s rights, anti-racism, etc. movements have no requirement that participants reject species oppression and nor should the animal movement demand the adherence to human rights positions while animals are still in a state of emergency. Of course, every rule has its exceptions (as decided by individual groups) but these kind of bans and exclusions should not be the norm in animal rights.So, there is no requirement for human rights groups to include speciesism, so the Nonhuman Animal rights movement should not have a requirement to include humans? What kind of backwards logic is this? Nonhuman Animals are in a state of emergency, but humans are not? Victims of war, genocide, rape, starvation, disease, slavery, etc. are not in a state of emergency?
|The rape, beating, and murder of millions of women is not an emergency?|
|The mass starvation of millions of children (and adults) is not an emergency?|
|Ongoing genocide is not an emergency?|
|Child prostitution is not an emergency?|
Tactics should prioritise non-human animals, given their emergency situation and the fact non-human animals are being oppressed by the majority of humans. No tactical idea should be excluded from the discussion based on its conflict with human rights ideology.What a racist, sexist, disableist, homophobic, disgusting hateful thing to say. This statement is the epitome of white male Western privilege. To say such a thing indicates an unfathomably blatant and complete ignorance to how oppression works. YOU CANNOT END OPPRESSION FOR SOME WHILE ABETTING OR AGGRAVATING THE OPPRESSION OF OTHERS. This is because oppression is linked to the same source, the same root, the same cause. Oppressions work similarly and they are entangled. When 269 Life sexually assaults and beats a woman on camera in the street because "no tactical idea should be excluded from the discussion based on its conflict with human rights ideology," they are effectively making a mockery of my pain as a woman and a rape victim and the pain women everywhere. We live in a global rape culture, where violence against women is normalized, trivialized, and even encouraged. Does 269 really think that Nonhuman Animals are the only ones undergoing systemic rape and violence? Do they really think that hurting and humiliating women and encouraging similar tactics will mean everyone will suddenly stop thinking it's okay to do the same to Nonhuman Animals? "Oh, cool, I saw a woman get naked and beaten up on the street, women don't matter. I totally get it now, I'm going vegan!" Seriously? Their post demonstrates zero understanding of how oppression manifests, so I am thoroughly convinced they have no clue about how to dismantle it.
We are aware and concerned about the fact that some human rights improvements within a fundamentally oppressive system towards non-humans leads to increased oppression of non-human animals. For example, economic improvements leading to increases in factory farming, meat consumption, animal labs, etc. We therefore call on human beings to free their own (non-human) slaves before demanding their own rights.Right, yeah, well, that's not how it works Kings of Privilege. As an example (one of thousands), slaughterhouse employees are often undocumented, and have little rights whatsoever. They often cannot speak English, have no high school education, and are illiterate. They are sexually harassed, assaulted, and raped in the facilities. They are sometimes held against their will in those facilities for days. They experience the one of the highest rates of job injury and death in all U.S. industry. They are often denied benefits and have zero job security. They are living in poverty, and they are struggling to stay alive and to feed their children and families back home. So, please, explain to me how these people are in a position to first "free their own slaves" or even demand their own rights? What about children? Child abuse, child prostitution, and child slavery are occurring at staggering rates across the world. Are we to expect children to adopt anti-speciesist ideology and then worry about themselves? Who misinformed these folks that disadvantaged groups have this sort of power and agency? What planet are these organizers living on? Are they that out of touch with the reality of human slavery and suffering?
Supporters of this campaign insist that anyone who does not prioritize Nonhuman Animals is narcissistic. In response, one Maori-identified man wrote:
It's not me CHOOSING to fight the oppression of something other than nonhuman animals, it's fighting an oppression that I am subject to just by being me. Just by drawing breath, I am fighting against my subjugation. That's not to deny I experience privileges at the expense of others, but I fail to see how I am exercising a bias in this regard.One of the campaign's advocates called the above testimony a "sob story." How sickening. Not everyone has the "privilege" to fight specifically for Nonhuman Animals. Many, many humans have to worry about their own health and safety simply to survive.
But 269 Life insists:
This declaration is totally voluntary and we respect opposing views providing they are not used to exclude people from participation in animal rights activities.Yeah, except that by spouting off this excluding, marginalizing, bigoted, privileged crap, who in the world would want to participate? Except a few middle-class, white Western, men?
Let me make this perfectly clear; we have two groups operating at once:
Group #1 The Nonhuman Animal rights movement, male-led and staffed almost exclusively by white, middle-class persons
Group #2 Disadvantaged groups, those who are living with rape, violence, murder, enslavement, poverty, hunger, disease, and other rights violations and deprivationsSo Group #1, a group of extraordinary privilege, has a fundamental disconnect from Group #2, a disenfranchised group of people who make up the majority of the earth's human population. The extraordinary privilege of Group #1 obscures their ability to perceive the suffering of Group #2, allowing them to focus on whatever interest suits them, because systemic oppression does not touch them. This privilege allows them to hone in on one oppression and ignore all other oppressions, because none of those oppressions impact their communities or themselves as individuals. Their privilege is doing a lot of damage. In not recognizing how violence works intersectionally, they waste time and resources in counterproductive and offensive tactics.
Anybody with any training whatsoever in social movement mobilization must realize that marginalizing the largest demographic of humans (Group #2) and focusing only on the interests and worldviews of the tiny fraction of people in charge (Group #1) is ridiculously ineffective. If you want to focus on what a few privileged white people have the privilege of doing, okay, but don't expect to ever build a movement beyond the tiny fenced in backyard of privileged Nonhuman Animal activism in the social movement arena.
Anybody with any training whatsoever in social psychology would also tell you that separating people from the object of concern is not going to motivate them to do much. If we tell people to do x, y, or z because some anonymous group "out there" somewhere will benefit, some people will join up. If we encourage them to do x, y, or z because it will make an immediate difference to them, the ones they care about, and their community, guess what, you will see a lot more participants.
Seriously, this is basic social science . . . these people need to do their research and actually make sure the hate speech they sling at least makes sense before plastering it all over the internet and offending everyone.
By the way, did any of these folks take a basic biology class in grade school? Did someone fail to mention that humans are also animals? How the heck did they even start an animal rights group without realizing that humans are also sentient beings with a capacity for pleasure seeking and pain avoidance. They are dismissing the interests of disadvantaged groups like women and people of color, and they are also apparently evolution-deniers. Is this some right-wing group in disguise?
Excuse the tone of this post, but I am so incredibly offended. The arrogance behind such claimsmaking and the blatant disregard for the suffering of others is shocking. These people are representing our movement and billions of Nonhuman Animals. Absolutely disgusting. The prevailing attitude in our movement seems to be, "We don't know what works, so anything goes!" and "Anything helps!" Well, that's malarkey. We DO know what works and we DO know what doesn't work. Nobody can be bothered to read a book or conduct a study. Egos and money are involved in perpetuating bad, ineffectual tactics.
The fact of the matter is that we don't need just "anything," we need an intelligent, reasoned, evidence-based, logical, non-violent framework--one that is congruent with our goals, not antithetical to them. Do not come to the table with pornography, rape, slavery, bigotry, sexism, hate, unchecked privilege, and general ugliness. We don't need that; Nonhuman Animals don't need that. Take some time to educate yourself, make leaders accountable for the tactics they promote and the claimsmaking they broadcast. Without this reflexivity, we tread water at best, but stagnate or destroy the movement at worst.
1. This campaign was also being promoted (and defended) in the Facebook group "Vegan Feminists," a group that is, despite its name, largely opposed to theories of intersectionality. Due to their failure to moderate blatant bigotry, I am not affiliated with that group. I encourage anyone who is interested in anti-oppression work to join our group Vegan Feminist Network.
2. More evidence to the misogyny and misanthrophy of the 269 Life campaign: In response to this article, I was called uneducated, a "tosser," "loony," "idiotic," "arsehole," "fucktard," etc. I was also called anti-Semitic?