Many advocate for higher penalties for animal cruelty, for protecting wildlife, or for opposing horse slaughter.
Is there a litmus test that animal activists can apply to political candidates and political parties that would ensure our votes deliver the most benefit to animals?
Actually, there is such a litmus test,
But it probably is not what you would have expected it to be.
The single greatest enemy of animals, the single greatest cause of animal exploitation, cruelty, and murder is business. Profits, our economic system. Capitalism.
Few candidates for office in the US openly oppose capitalism, Bernie Sanders being the most notable exception.
Which means that almost every candidate for office, at the very least, tacitly supports the slaughter industries.
Hardly an animal-friendly position.
But there is a litmus test which will determine the extent that Wall Street and corporations can continue to control of government.
Public campaign financing.
An end to private political donations, an end to special interest influence in political campaigns, an end to legalized bribery, an end to Wall Street buying politicians, an end to lobbyists pulling the strings of government.
Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Oil murder billions of animals each year. They do so with taxpayer subsidies, with obstruction to regulation, with industry hacks being appointed to the very regulatory agencies charged with overseeing their very industries.
They do it with bribery.
If there is a single litmus test that would yield legislators who would be helping animals, even if indirectly, it is whether or not they would ban private financing of campaigns.
Public campaign financing is an issue almost exclusively supported by very liberal candidates, and many, if not most, contested elections will not even have a candidate supporting public campaign financing.
Where we cannot apply the litmus test, what should we look for?
The enemy is Wall Street and corporate America. The candidate most critical of the oligarchy would be closer to us than the candidate who takes marching orders from Wall Street.
And one of the most telling positions a candidate can hold is support for, or opposition to, Wall Street’s most important issue: international trade agreements.
The trade agreement du jour is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the agreement engineered by Wall Street and multinational corporations. It is the cornerstone of Obama’s legislative agenda and supported by Republicans and Wall Street Democrats.
The TPP is a twelve nation agreement that must be approved by each nation’s political leadership, and which will affect 40% of the world’s trade. It is a giveaway to multinational corporations, supersedes environmental and labor laws, is enforceable in corporate tribunals, and guarantees that impoverished nations will continue to be exploited by capitalist criminals.
Bernie Sanders, on the American political left, and Donald Trump, of the American political right, have been fighting to stop the TPP.
It must still be approved the Congress, and will come to a vote while Obama is still in office.
Hillary Clinton was involved in the early negotiations for the TPP, and was highly supportive as Secretary of State.
She has been hammered by Bernie Sanders on the TPP for months. She repeatedly refused to take a position as a candidate for president.
Hillary Clinton has a record as a Wall Street Democrat, and her positions and fund raising sources amply justify that appellation.
Now it looks like Hillary has grown a spine! She’s crossed swords with Wall Street and the multinational corporations which engineered the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Whether she is merely posturing because of pressure from Sanders on the left or the prospect of Biden on the right will become clear when Congress votes on the TPP. Will she put her prestige and campaign on the line to get Congress to defeat the TPP or will she stay on the sidelines and let the cards fall where they may?
Is she hoping Obama gets it passed before she assumes office?
Sanders and Trump will be fighting the TPP. I hope Hillary will, too.
For animal activists, the TPP is one of the most revealing positions a candidate for office can hold.
Simply put, a vote for the TPP is a vote against animals.
• I am unaware of any other blog with the Armory’s mission of radicalizing the animal movement. I certainly hope I am not alone, and that there are similar sentiments being expressed by comrades unknown to me.
If you know of other blogs dedicated to animal rights and the defeat of capitalism, please comment with a link.
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