The Chasm Between Animals and Democrats

 

HillaryObama

Most animal activists are aware that we have little in common with conservatives. Philosophically, animal protection and animal rights are anathema to the right. Both require the exercise of government power and restrictions on individual freedom to exploit or harm animals.

There are no liberal Republicans, so most find ourselves casting our lot with the Democratic Party. But should we be?

There is a substantial chasm separating Bernie Sanders from Hillary Clinton, and an even greater one separating animal activists from Hillary Clinton.

If Hillary were to be elected president, how different would it be for the animals than if a Republican were to be elected?

Wildlife Services would still be murdering a million animals each year for the cattle industry. The Bureau of Land Management would still be rounding up wild horses to appease cattle ranchers; gestation crates, veal crates, de-horning and branding would still be the norm; slaughter lines would continue to operate at full speed (even though fast slaughter lines means one of every 12 calves is conscious when his legs are cut off with chainsaws and chickens are still alive when thrown into vats to boiling water to remove their feathers). Big Agriculture would still receive corporate welfare, price supports, and government subsidies. Hunting would still be permitted on federal lands, Big Oil would continue to be able to drill offshore and in the Arctic, animals would still be vivisected by the National Institutes of Health, animals would be still be killed in military exercises.

Women and minorities may fare better under a President Clinton, but for the animals it makes little difference if a Republican or a Wall Street Democrat takes the presidency.

Were Bernie Sanders to win the presidency, the animals would be far better off than if a Republican were to win. But even that assumes that Sanders will be able to restrict corporate money in politics. His stated objective is to achieve publicly funded political campaigns, eliminating corporate money from politics entirely. Such a development would mean a substantial improvement in the lot of animals, as bribery would no longer control government policy. And most government policy allows industry to do whatever they please to animals

Even under Sanders the Animal Holocaust would continue, although perhaps reduced somewhat in scope and cruelty. Animal Rights would still be a distant dream, well below the horizon. No reason to expect any changes in hunting, puppy mills, zoos, rodeos, circuses, aquatic parks, or in horse or dog racing. A Sanders presidency may well improve the lot of the poor, workers, the elderly, veterans, and students, but it offers little direct hope for animals unless corporate bribery of.politicians is banned.

The prospect of a conservative president appointing justices to the Supreme Court has been the driving force in keeping the left on the Democratic reservation.

But animal activists can rightly demand to know: What is in it for the animals?

Is there any likelihood that a future court will establish rights for animals?

Of course not.

A liberal court may expand the rights of women and minorities but is hardly likely to embrace animal rights. So why should animal activists fall on their swords for liberal Democrats?

They shouldn’t.

The only practical reasons for engaging in electoral politics are for the purposes of educating the public and for recruiting revolutionaries.

Animal interests will only be served by revolution. By bringing down capitalism. By ending the capitalist state. Our Democrat friends do not agree on this fundamental issue. They are certainly closer to us than are Republicans in values and ideology, but closer is still far short of the mark. Most Democrats support capitalism. Few are socialists. Fewer still are socialist revolutionaries.

But if we are to find allies, friends, supporters, comrades, revolutionaries, they will come from the ranks of liberal Democrats.

People who believe in social justice are far more likely to embrace justice for all creatures than are those who deny social justice to their fellow humans. In advocating for universal rights, social justice, and human and animal liberation, we will grow the radical political left.

In doing so we will be planting the seeds for political and social revolution.

 

Author’s Notes:

• 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!

• Feel free to comment. I encourage open discussion and welcome other opinions. I moderate comments because this blog has been attacked by hunters and right wing trolls.

I approve comments that are critical as well as those which agree with me. Comments that I will not tolerate are those that are spam, threatening, disrespectful, or which promote animal abuse and cruelty.

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19 thoughts on “The Chasm Between Animals and Democrats

  1. I don’t believe any of the democratic candidates would make the world better for animals. I can think of only two vegans recently in Congress–Dennis Kucinich (defeated) and Cory Booker. At the national level there is too much money involved to for a candidate to be an animal advocate. With the huge sums of money needed for campaigns, they cannot afford to alienate Big Agriculture, the NRA, research facilities and other powerful and wealthy groups. If the Democrats even had a candidate willing to take that chance, I can already imagine the Republican attack ads calling him/her a misanthrope or pawn of PETA. And while liberals tend to be more compassionate toward animals, we have not progressed very far. We are in the era of the Animal Enterprise Welfare Act and increasing bills for ag-gag laws. Any attempt to curtail business or personal abuse of animals brings out the special interest lobbyists, and laws enacted are so full of loopholes that they are virtually useless. They are also useless if there is no money or will to enforce them.

    A progressive or socialist state, were that ever to be achieved, would probably have more emphasis on the environment and on animals, as well as less of the concentrated wealth and power that we currently see in the hands of exploiters. Hopefully we would also see the end of the biblical justification for animal abuse found in conservative religions. However, it’s hard for me to believe a revolution would change the basics of human nature–the greedy, self-centered, pleasure-seeking behavior that demands hamburgers, luxury clothing, exploitative entertainment.

    For example, I note that while social justice groups have been fighting for equality among human beings, that concern for justice has not brought most of those seekers into the world of animal rights. When learning more about the intersectionality movement, which seeks to coalesce all disadvantaged groups to fight the “vectors of oppression,” I discovered that most in that movement do not care that the same forces cause animal exploitation. It seems reasonable to hope that people who have suffered pain and deprivation themselves would develop empathy for the other, nonhuman, victims. Yet that empathy seems to be stopping at the “chasm” separating Homo sapiens from the rest. Many members of the intersectionality movement are offended by the comparison between slavery and the abuse of animals, although both have a similar ideology built on the belief of the inferior status of the victims and the right of their superiors to own and exploit them. Many are also offended at comparing the relentless suffering and slaughter of farmed animals to the Holocaust, again because of the chasm. In other words, the suffering of animals is inconsequential compared to that of human beings because they belong to different species.

    In his Internet article “The Absurdities of Pacifism and Intersectional Activism in Animal Liberation,” Derk A. Brachman says we must assess our loyalties: “If you are of the family of creatures, brother or sister to the other animals, then you must stop cooperation with society and participating in the slaughter and fight for your family. If you are of the family of man, then don’t call yourself an agent or defender of the animals. You have a conflict of interest and not admitting it is doing animals more harm than good . . . . People who are of the family of man engage in tactics which are designed more to keep peace with other people than to free the animals. That is why most animal organizations are more concerned about public opinion than their effectiveness in liberating animals.”

    When discussing the intersectionality movement, Brachman notes, “In past, human-related struggles that the intersectional activists were taking part in were ALL human rights issues. They saw the connections of class struggle and systemic racism, etc., etc. Basically they just fought against all forms of human on human oppression. The new breed of intersectional activists is cut from a completely different cloth. The old guard was often pro-violence. The new breed is just another form of pacifism: “They hold signs, blog, and accuse anyone and everyone of some sort of “ism” . . . . But here’s where the biggest issue with them comes in. You can’t be an interesectional activist when it comes to animal liberation. The reason is simple. How can you fight for both the slave and the slave holder? How do you fight for both? Humans victimize animals to such a degree, and the victimization is so widespread, that you cannot be both a human rights activist and an animal rights or liberation activist.”

    Speaking for myself, if we are to make this earth a better place for our brother and sister animals I believe we have to makes sacrifices. Since we all have limited time, energy, and resources, we have to choose our battles and not fight them all. So I choose to focus on animals and live as an ethical vegan. I would love to see a new social and economic order that values and promotes justice and compassion for all species. But I wonder if human nature can ever bridge the chasm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahimsa, thank you for posting this. I see Brachman’s full article is available at https://animalliberationpressoffice.org/NAALPO/category/essays/ along with Jon Hochschartner’s articles on intersectionality, which I believe Roland is familiar with. All these articles provide a basis for a discussion of what strategy animal activists should follow.

      Brachman makes some good points, but he seems to equate any nonviolent action with pacifism, which properly refers to a principle that the only morally justifiable action is nonviolent action. We live in a violent society, and totally changing this society will ultimately involve violence. I think it is a bit premature at this stage of the animal movement to organize an armed militia on behalf of animals, and consequently, the actions we currently take will be nonviolent actions. On the other hand, merely displaying weapons (if, in fact, a significant number of animals activists currently have them), as Geoff suggest, is not, strictly speaking, violent (and might even be legal).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. He makes a note of what I call the pacifism of convenience, which is a lifestyle not conducive to commitment and is a lifestyle which the conservatives love: “The reason that these pacifists are so intent on not taking action is because many have comfortable, suburban homes. Many of these people are parents. They have a mini-van, etc. They’re living the “America dream.” Yes, paying a mortgage, buying the appurtenances of family life, and spending long hours in childcare can empty out the ranks of activists.

        He gives his thoughts on the road to take: “If we are to throw a wrench in this horror show, we have to fight this as a guerilla war. That means that CEOs of Big AG, vivisectionists, hunters, trappers, circus employees, breeders, and even purveyors of the products of animal suffering should be first warned to cease their activities, then they should have their property damaged, if that doesn’t work: exterminate them.”

        The Animal Liberation Front believed in most of the above, including property damage, but they were adamant about commiting no violence on animals or people. The reason for not harming the first group would be obvious. The rule to not harm people may have been a moral stance or simply the recognition that it would evoke a backlash.

        There is an case that sounds like it would follow some of Brachman’s advice. A group called SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Life Sciences) continued a 15-year battle against that organization which contracted with pharmaceutical companies, chemical and pesticide industries, and cosmetic producers to test on animals. They apparently used up to 75,000 rats, rabbits, pigs, dogs, and primates a year.

        SHAC swamped phone lines and e-mails of both Huntingdon and their contact companies. They demonstrated to embarrass them at offices and homes. They also engaged in property damage, from broken windows to a few yachts which apparently went down. When the news of the animal abuse went out, the public became sympathetic. The continuing attacks finally caused a number of the companies to break their contracts with Huntingdon, and at one point the company declined 90 percent in value.

        However, the Southern Poverty Law Center declared SHAC a terrorist organization. Eventually members were sent to prison, and the leaders declared the fight against Huntingdon over in 1914. The company later was bought out by Invigo and that enterprise seems to be going strong.

        So apparently some fights against Huntingdon were won, but it sounds as if the war was lost. I’m hoping the fight continues, and we have seen what the Internet and the media can do in the case of Dr. Palmer and Cecil’s death. The worst of the anger seems to have died down, but the office was closed for a couple of months. He is back at work but he has lost patients and gained notoriety. In the last pictures I saw, he was not looking good.

        Can we choose the right targets and methods that will help the most animals and then figure out how to sustain the motivation and interest in a society with fast news cycles and a new outrage every few days? I wish.

        Information: Keith Man, “From Dawn to Dusk”; Steven Best, PhD and Anthony J. Nocella II, “Terrorists or Freedom Fighters

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  2. When I think of right-wing zealots, Cliven Bundy comes to mind. It’s possible that such armed standoffs with the federal government will lead to a fully developed fascist movement, especially if the federal government continues to back down. I don’t see how such a “revolution” will benefit animals.

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    • The lesson of Cliven Bundy seems to be that if enough armed nuts brandishing their weapons and claiming to be prepared to die for “the cause” show up somewhere, the federal government, fearing another Waco or Ruby Ridge, will back down even if an individual is unequivocally breaking the law. Maybe animal rights advocates should take a lesson from that, polish their AK-47’s, and show up en masse the next time the police want to arrest someone for violating AETA or an ag-gag law or protesting a pigeon, coyote or prairie dog killing derby.

      Oh, I forgot, most animal rights advocates are pacifists who profess believing that “violence accomplishes nothing.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. There is that fear of Waco and Ruby Ridge, and so the government backed down. But what a bunch–Cliven Bundy and sons, their militia, and the Bureau of Land Management. What an assembly of the bad, the worse, and the worst.

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      • Roland, I’m flattered that you would invite me to publish an article on this excellent site! But I really can’t state the case any better than Derk Brachmann has done in “The Absurdities of Pacifism and Intersectional Activism in Animal Liberation” published on the NAALPO website. I’m indebted to ahimsaforever for calling my attention to this insightful essay.

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  3. Sanders- much better in all ways than Clinton. That includes economy, and war. But for animals- Sandes supports hunting. That alone makes him lose my vote. I’ll vote Green- for Stein. I dont know what she thinks of animals, probably like the rest, and she won’t win, but I know I wont vote for the establishment.

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  4. From today’s NY Times:
    > Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has called for a renewed effort to pass universal background checks and other gun measures, posted on Twitter: “What is wrong with us that we can’t stand up to the NRA and the gun lobby and the gun manufacturers they represent?”
    > Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another presidential candidate, said thet “we’ve go to do something,” although he added: “I don’t think anybody knows what the magic solution is.”

    Thus the choice in the Democratic primary: a shill for the bankers who is at least willing to stand up to the NRA, which is, first and foremost a hunting advocacy group, or Bernie Sanders, who refuses to challenge the NRA, and includes pro-hunting statements on his campaign website. Of course, this is only a hypothetical choice, as Sanders well knows that he will in the end lose to the bankers, even if his current fundraising comes close to Clinton.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The National Rifle Association encourages and promotes the murder of animals and tolerates the murder of people as an unfortunate but unavoidable by-product of the people’s Second Amendment rights.

      I do not believe it is politically possible to disarm the psychopaths who hunt or the lunatics who believe the government is out to collect everyone’s guns.

      The silver lining in all this madness is that right wing zealots and militia types will most likely be joining us in revolution should that day come. They will be targets of government troops and police should unrest rise to the level of insurrection.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think this says more about the hypocrisy and sliminess of Bernie Sanders than about the “bankers'” candidate. At least the latter is showing a scintilla of courage in standing up to the shooting lobby and thereby consciously engendering their wrath next fall.

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      • I don’t think standing up to the NRA in a presidential election is particularly courageous. Their power and influence is concentrated in red states and red Congressional Districts, and even their membership supports reasonable gun safety laws.

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