I am hard pressed to imagine a greater waste of time and energy by those who care about animals than to rail against Bernie Sanders and to post about the Humane Party.
Those in the Humane Party are among the most dedicated animal activists with the very best of intentions. They no doubt would like to see Humane candidates elected and their policies become the law of the land.
Politics isn’t about purity of ideals, it is about raising issues and winning elections. We hope to makes progress two ways. We hope we may make a difference for animals in some way, and we hope to educate and recruit activists.
Neither can be accomplished through the Humane Party.
The American political system is rigged to thwart third parties. No third party in history has ever won the presidency. None have even come close, even when led by nationally known political figures. The closest was in 1912 when former president Teddy Roosevelt ran on the Progressive (Bull Moose) ticket.
Nor is it reasonable to believe that campaigning for the Humane Party will educate the public or recruit animal activists. In the cacophony of a presidential election cycle, the few voices for the Humane Party are being drowned out like a whisper at a World Series game.
No one is listening. The media is ignoring the much larger and more sophisticated Greens. Most political pundits have never heard of the Humane Party, let alone the general public.
Outreach to voters by Humane Party activists is primarily focused on the already converted. Animal activists and vegans are understandably disgusted with a political system in which both parties support animal exploitation and cruelty. Out of frustration some are turning to the Humane Party as a way to vent their outrage. But the Humane Party is not winning converts to animal rights or veganism. Indeed, it cannot do so. Political parties are not philosophical movements, they are organizations which mobilize their members and deliver them to the polls. A party with few members to start with has little to work with.
Preaching to the converted is both a waste of time and a waste of money. And the converted are the only ones that Humane Party activists can reach without spending a fortune on advertising. Those funds could do so much for animals in need!
The system will not succumb to changes at the ballot box when the candidates to be voted on are in lock step with the industries which have purchased their souls.
Only those challenging the system from within the major parties have any opportunity to elect insurgent candidates and to impact public policies.
The practical effect of third parties is to neutralize the power of their voters. By siphoning activists away from contests in which they might make a difference, third parties are unwitting accomplices of the status quo.
Politics is trade off. It is prioritizing issues. It is trading off items low on one’s list of priorities in service to issues at the top of the list. For animal activists that means we support candidates who will work for our issues even though we may disagree with their positions on many others.
We very infrequently have major party candidates that we can enthusiastically embrace. The last one I worked for was Dennis Kucinich in 2008. A vegan and supporter of animal rights, Kucinich was the most ethical person to have ever sought the presidency.
This year we have no such champion for the animals among the major candidates.
Our task is to pursue a strategy which will reduce animal suffering and deaths. As the candidates presently stand, only Bernie Sanders has a pro animal voting record and opposes Big Agriculture.
Should Sanders not win the Democratic nomination, the likely general election matchup will be Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump.
Clinton has vowed to continue the policies of the Obama administration. Obama has been no friend to animals. Obama has continued the Bush program of rounding up wild horses to remove them from lands used for cattle grazing. The Department of Agriculture runs an agency called Wildlife Services, whose entire mission is to kill any and all wild animals that cattle ranchers deem to be inconvenient. The Obama administration also permits the Navy to kill and maim whales and dolphins. The National Institutes of Health murders millions of laboratory animals each year. The Environmental Protection Agency has delisted wolves and supported hunting on federal lands.
Trump is no defender of animals. But his position on trade agreements makes him a better friend to animals than is Hillary Clinton.
Trump opposes trade agreements.
Clinton supports trade agreements.
She supported NAFTA. She lauded the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which she reluctantly repudiated in the face of overwhelming opposition of rank and file Democrats.
Trade agreements kill animals.
Both wild animals through environmental degradation, and those trapped in the food system through currency manipulation and trade incentives. Trade agreements abrogate US environmental laws, labor laws, and food safety laws. Trade agreements are written by lobbyists for the benefit of multinational corporations and Wall Street.
Trade agreements undermine US sovereignty.
Trade agreements allow trade disputes to be tried in tribunals that override US courts.
On paper, Trump is a better choice for animals than is Hillary Clinton.
But that is hardly good enough for the animals.
We must use our Nuclear Option for the animals!
Animal activists must use our voting power to coerce Hillary Clinton to pledge to stop wild horse roundups and to abolish Wildlife Services if she is elected.
Absent such a guarantee, animal activists should stand as one in voting for Donald Trump.
The animals have nothing to lose with a Trump presidency. And unless Hillary changes Obama’s policies, the animals will continue to suffer under a Hillary Clinton presidency.
Unless we work to impact the presidential elections, the animals will have been betrayed by our inaction.
For those of us for whom animal issues are of paramount importance, we must wield our votes as weapons on behalf of the animals.
To use our votes as palliatives to assuage our consciences would be both cowardly and criminal.
• 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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