Intersectionalism is the convergence of common interests. On the left it is the commonality of opposition to oppression by the victims of bigotry, capitalism, misogyny, xenophobia, etc. Included among the victims of capitalism are animals. And animal activists should be an integral part of the political left.
Most on the left, however, rather than espousing universal rights, only concern themselves with their own narrow interests, be they gay, women, Black, etc. Most continue to oppress animals.
Most advocates for human rights are unlikely to consider ending animal oppression as a precursor to advancing human rights, let alone placing the interests of animals on a par with those of humans.
Animal activists are adding their voices in solidarity with the LGBT community, with people of color, with environmentalists, economic justice advocates, etc. Curiously, few of those communities are adding their voices in defense of animals.
The result is a growing disappointment in the animal movement with those who should be our comrades and allies. Many ask why we should bother to waste our time and energy when the animals get nothing from the left?
The answer is as simple as it is profound. Animal activists alone cannot end capitalism. We alone cannot pull off a revolution.
Our interest in intersectionalism should be to advance social revolution.
No oppression in human history begins to rival the horrors that are inflicted upon animals under capitalism. Sixty billion animals are murdered in slaughterhouses each year. Two and a half trillion sea creatures die in dredging, netting, traps, factory ships, and on long lines.
Unlike the human oppressed, the animals are unable to fight back.
The evils of capitalism are creating human opposition, revolutionaries hoping to bring down the economic system which is dependent upon an unending supply of cheap labor, natural resources, environmental destruction, and rampant consumption. Globalization ensures capitalists’ continued ability to rape the planet and to exploit the Third World. Governments are controlled banks and multinational corporations, democracy is an inside joke, their people chosen by governments, not their governments chosen by the people.
Philosophically, animal activists are enemies of every government on Earth. Practically, they should be in alliance with every revolutionary movement, every seditious organization, every terrorist cell, every enemy of capitalism.
To animals trapped in the food system, the human race is a race of Nazi criminals. Torturers, rapists, and murderers. And not just those who wield the knives and the chainsaws, but every one complicit in the horrors, everyone who eats meat, eggs, or dairy, everyone who wears or sits on leather, everyone who supports the system which allows all the cruelty.
If we were to indiscriminately shoot down humans on the street, the odds of killing an enemy of animals is greater than 99 out of 100..
Capitalist countries kill and consume more animals per capital than do socialist countries, which fact alone should have animal activists militating for socialist revolution. That fact alone should have us reaching out to comrades on the left, joining in broad leftist coalitions, supporting socialists and radicals around the world.
Revolution is likely below the horizon, but it must be our goal. It is the only hope for the animals.
There are not yet enough animal activists and revolutionaries to burn down the slaughterhouses and storm the halls of government.
Not enough of us to take over the corporate offices of the animal slaughter industries and arrest the boards of directors.
Not enough revolutionaries to occupy Wall Street and arrest the criminals who control the US economy.
We aren’t strong enough to bring down the government, the courts, and the thugs who protect them.
One day we may be.
I hope I live to see it.
An end to capitalism.
And end to the fascist state.
An end to those who run Big Agriculture, an end to slaughterhouses, feed lots, packing plants, and factory farms.
Until that day comes we must protect those animals we can. Rescue all we can possibly save. Recruit animal activists wherever possible.
And plan for the Revolution.
I am frequently asked how we do that. How can we be revolutionaries when the possibility of revolution is so minimal?
Revolution is as much a state of mind as it is social and political upheaval.
Revolution is a process, a plan, a goal, a dream.
Revolution is justice. It is the end of oppression. The beginning of fairness, of empathy, of freedom, of compassion.
The path to revolution is education. Informed activists are catalysts for recruiting and energizing others. And our target audience are those who rescue dogs and cats. Our brothers and sisters who love animals. It is a short step from caring about dogs to realizing that creatures in the food system are just as deserving of life as are pets. That when it comes to pain, suffering, and wanting to live, all animals are the same. Including humans.
Our task is to awaken those we work with, those we march with, those we live with, and those we care about.
It is another short step from animal protectionist to animal activist, and another to social revolutionary.
Each step we take brings animal liberation and social justice closer to reality. And each activist we recruit builds our revolutionary army.
We only get one shot at revolution.
Because if we fail, we are all dead or imprisoned.
It will only be a go when our numbers are big enough to pull it off.
Which might be decades into the future.
So what do we do in the interim?
Aside from educating, recruiting, and planning to bring down capitalism, we should be working on animal protection.
The horrors that animals face under our legal and economic system will continue until if or when we can end the system. Until that end comes, billions upon billions of animals will continue to suffer and die at the hands of businessmen and their employees.
Capitalism is the author of almost all animal suffering and death in the world.
We cannot stop it by urging them to stop. We cannot impact the horrors by boycotting meat or being vegan. We can’t do anything for animals trapped in the food system but to work for government to require more humane treatment. Bogus and ineffective as that may sound, only storming the boardrooms of Big Ag and burning down slaughterhouses could accomplish more.
Untold generations of animals are going to be tortured and killed by businesses. Our concern should be to reduce their suffering as much as possible. We owe them that.
Notions that we are going to end slaughter by recruiting others to veganism are ridiculous. We vegans are only non-combatants in the war for Animal Rights unless we do much more than simply not eat animals.
We need to be friends to animals. To be proactive in protecting them in the short term, and bringing down their enemies in the long term.
Their enemies are everyone in the chain of slaughter, from the thugs who wield the knives to the suits who run the companies. Every defender of capitalism. Every conservative politician. Every conservative voter. Every single thoughtless and uncaring consumer who feeds money into the system.
Bringing down capitalism and the legal system which permits it will be one of the greatest advances in human civilization. And the single most important event for animals in history.
Unfortunately, it is below the horizon. Much as we wish to bring an end to the horrors, to make animal consumption illegal, to proscribe the killing of our fellow creatures, it is presently a distant dream.
Our short term agenda must be to impact the way animals are treated by our government. We must defeat conservatives wherever we find them. Conservatives are the enemy. The enemy of animals and of animal activists. They defend and enable the slaughter industries, They block reforms. They are the reason there are still puppy mills, kill shelters, aquatic parks, horse and dog racing, rodeos, zoos, circuses. They are the reason there still are gestation crates, veal crates, debeaking, dehorning, tail docking, tooth extractions without anesthesia. They are the reason one of every 12 cows and calves have their legs cut off while still conscious: they refuse to slow down the slaughterlines to make sure animals are dead before they are cut up alive. Same with boiling chickens alive. Conservatives block attempts to slow down the slaughter, so chickens are still alive when thrown into vats of boiling water to remove their feathers. Fast slaughter lines mean more profits for the companies that kill animals. And conservative politicians do their bidding.
Same with conservatives supporting and funding Wildlife Services, an agency of the Department of Agriculture, which acts like it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the cattle industry. Wildlife Services kills millions of animals a year that are inconvenient to cattle ranchers.
Conservatives support the cruel wild Mustang roundups, horse slaughter, live exports of horses to slaughter in Canada and Mexico, wolf and coyote kills, hunting on federal lands, delisting of endangered animals by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They are even trying to abolish the EPA.
Conservatives carry water for the oil, mining, and timber industries. The deny that climate change is real, despite the overwhelming science that proves it is not only real, but is caused by industry, primarily by animal agriculture.
Conservatives are bought and paid for by Wall Street, Big Banks, Big Pharma, Big Oil, and Big Ag.
Fascism is the merger of corporate and state power. As long as elected officials can be legally bribed, fascism will continue to flourish. Democracy will continue to be a sham, the subject of derision and scorn by the oligarchs that run big business and the US government.
Our short term agenda should also be to lock arms in solidarity with other victims of capitalism, to work to elect caring and compassionate individuals to positions of authority, to join together in working for all our progressive agendas: Environmentalists, occupiers, social justice advocates, people of color, women, anti-war advocates, anti-globalization activists, gays and transgenders, seniors, homeless, the poor and working poor, prison reformers, ex-convicts, urban gangs, people of conscience, and everyone on the political left.
This article is an expanded version of The Conscience if a Revolutionary, previously published on the Armory.
Natasha Sainsbury, of Good Karma Graphic Design, has joined Armory of the Revolution as Editor, and is responsible for the transformation of the blog’s appearance.
Be sure to visit Armory of the Revolution’s new commissary and bookstore: The Supply Depot
You will find recommended reading on Animal Rights, revolutionary theory, politics, economics, religion, science, and atheism. There is also a section of supplies for animal liberationists, hunt saboteurs, and social revolutionaries. This is all brand new, and we will be adding lots more merchandise in the near future!