The Humane Party: Wonderful People Wasting Their Time

humane party

Friends have asked my opinion of Clifton Roberts’ campaign for president as the candidate of the Humane Party. He has many wonderful, dedicated, and enthusiastic supporters. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but the animals will not be served by their efforts. The Humane Party will be a footnote to the 2016 elections. Completely irrelevant the day after voting. And all the work, hopes, dreams, and enthusiasm will go up in smoke.

Professionally, I am a political strategist. I have run political campaigns and consulted to politicians for 40 years. The American political process is designed to cripple third party efforts. The only affect of a third party is to throw a monkey wrench into extremely close contests, as Ralph Nader did in Florida in 2000.

The only time a third party actually displaced a major political party was when the Whigs were replaced by the Republicans in 1854, and that was a result of the Whigs being a part of the new Republican coalition.

A much more effective strategy would be to exact conditions from the Republicans for AR support, forcing the Democrats to cover the bet. I don’t think the Humane Party is a reasonable expenditure of money or effort. It may be one day, but there are much more productive things we can do politically than howl at the moon.

Supporting a third party is to be dealt out of the game. The prevailing party and candidate will owe us nothing. An embarrassingly low vote will punctuate our ineffectiveness and unimportance.  But if we are part of the winning coalition, the possibility exists that the animals may benefit, even if in some small way.

As a method of educating and recruiting, the third party route is particularly difficult. Unlike major party candidates, the media ignores third party spokespersons and platforms. Any inroads would have to be made one on one at small gatherings, which would primarily be attended by the already converted. Money spent on advertising, staff, offices, materials, faxes and phones would be wasted. The final votes will be embarrassingly low.

The most effective way to actually make a difference for the animals is to get those in power (or who wish to assume power) to agree to do something substantive, in return for our support. For example, we might be able to get an agreement from the Republicans to end Mustang roundups or do away with Wildlife Services (the killing branch of the Department of Agriculture). Once the Democrats get wind of the deal they would likely up the ante. Whichever team wins would be obligated to deliver on some or even most of what they promised. If we are outside the system looking in, we get squat.

Politics has often been described as the “art of the possible.” Zealots, like myself, will never be satisfied with a political solution to anything, as the very nature of politics requires compromise, settling, and accommodation.

Understanding the limitations of politics, and the advantages, is crucial to gauging our involvement in the political process.

Philosophically, I am an animal rights proponent. My objective is to secure rights for all sentient beings. Such a goal is well outside the realm of possibility under our capitalist political oligarchy. Recognizing the limitations of political action, I nonetheless delve into political campaigns where success would mean falling far short of my personal agendas.

Even so, I involve myself because political campaigns afford me the opportunity to recruit radical activists, and because even a limited objective reached might mean saving animals’ lives.

A case in point is the upcoming presidential election. I am supporting Bernie Sanders. He is hardly my ideal candidate, He is not vegan. He supports hunting. He would continue Obama’s outrageous drone program which kills innocent women and children as a matter of course.

But Sanders’ positions on campaign financing would change the political power structure in America. Presently, corporations, special interests, trade organizations, and lobbyists, are able to legally bribe Members of Congress and US Senators through campaign contributions. Were that institution to be replaced by public financing of campaigns, the back of the fascist machine that runs and owns the US government would be broken.



Author’s Notes:

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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19 thoughts on “The Humane Party: Wonderful People Wasting Their Time

  1. Humane Party viable? There are not enough people in the USA who care about animals to get any meaningful legislation passed. Carriage horses in NYC? No way. And that is the low hanging fruit. The Happy Meat people have gotten some “agreements” passed and the country goes wild for pleasure of eating less tortured animals, but not stopping eating nor coming out with any real pro-animal legislation. (Even the med schools did the teaching with animal vivisection “ban” as voluntary approach.)

    Forget help for animals via a new party.– the Greens don’t have a chance in hell of getting elected and they are well known and supported by many.


    • and your solution? griping to other animal advocates on blogs is just shouting into another echo chamber. all social justice movements/causes start out as “fringe”…


  2. I have to agree with you. Successes achieved for animals outside politics at least nearly always involve some kind of compromise. Idealism is laudable but often meets a brick wall. Pragmatism gets results.
    My blog by the way is devoted to Animal Rights, my passion & obsession. All my posts are intended to raise awareness and consider issues related to animal rights, and plant-based eating. You’re warmly invited to Follow, as I will you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In the EURO-elections in 2014 two Animal Advocacy Parties (Germany, The Netherlands) won seats in the Euro Parliament. In 2015 two other Animal Advocacy Parties (Australia’s New South Wales and Portugal won seats in parliament). The Netherlands has had two seats in parliament since 2006 and last year they doubled their seats in local elections from 7 to 14. As times go by there will be more and more wonderful people wasting or not wasting their time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My article addressed third parties in the US. We do not have a parliamentary system. The US electoral system makes third party efforts nearly impossible to succeed. Under parliamentary systems, alliances can be forged, governments can be brought down, minor parties can become part of ruling coalitions. Here, third parties are irrelevant.


      • I understand what you mean, but I do not think third parties or the Humane Party are wasting their time. Let me give you an example. The Animal Justice Party of Finland was registered as an organisation in March 2015. We have so far a budget of less than 400 $. We have had enormous media attention and the party has given almost 20 interviews during a year. I think the ideology of the Green Parties at least in Europe is withering because “political broilers” merely sees them as a way to make a career in politics. This year the Vegan Challenge in Finland has 4000 participants and one of them is Ville Niinistö, the party leader of the Green Party. The Green Party has had parliament seats since the early 1980s, but they did not see the necessity of veganism before an Animal Advocacy Party was in the making.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tina
        It seems you make Roland’s point. The fringe parties in Finland might be more effective and more electable than the Green, Libertarian, etc., parties in the USA. But probably not.

        The Green and Libertarian parties, neither strong AR supporters anyway, can’t even get on the debates. A weaker, smaller, party for AR doesn’t have a chance. But what is worse, even if it had a chance, it hasn’t the money to compete with agriculture and food animal industry lobbying.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I just found this topic while browsing your blog.While i agree that socalled 3rd party efforts in this country have been a deadend so far, they do provide an opposition to the prevailing political parties stranglehold. People in power, especially politicians only listen when they think it will serve their purposes; i.e. to get elected or reelected. Individuals are not listened to. The Humane Party, and I compare it at this point, to a BernieSanders type movement, is a vehicle, if nothing else to present a unified, committed voice, and if more people become involved, the numbers will get results. The priniciples/platform it represents will only get attention, or accepted,if the mainstream candidates, media, etc believe we are serious, and not a “flaky few ” calling and writing them as individuals.


      • The problem with a fringe party that polls less than one percent in the polls is that it’s message is never taken seriously afterwards. To effectively use our votes, we must use them as weapons, not as pacifiers. With the Humane party, we announce to the world that we are few, we are powerless, we are unimportant.


      • I dont think a revolution is anywhere in the near or distant future in America. And grumbling to other animal advocates in our online echo chambers….hows that working for the animals so far?


      • Nothing is working for the animals. The animal ag buys the politicians and AR people have nowhere near the money. Capitalism too promotes exploitation. I see no solution.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Right-on, again. Humane Party? No chance in hell it will get anwhere. Even a somewhat strong but comparatively weak party, like the Green Party, doesn’t have any chance to get in power. it is a fixed system. And the “fixing” is one of the many ways our “exceptional” country is exceptionally inferior.

    Liked by 1 person

    • you offer no alternative not very helpful and mainstream people only listen to people they think have the unified numbers to make a difference we can scream and shout as individuals, how has that worked for us so far?


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