Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lets get tough on activism!

(Contains some non-PG material :D)

The importance of good, effective, vegan activism and outreach cannot be overstated. In some way, I’m sure it’s responsible for you becoming a vegan or considering becoming one now. I would like to address a specific part of effective activism, the part I would consider the most important, talking to people about veganism. Obviously, we can’t do very effective outreach if we don’t engage in a dialog about our veganism with our non-vegan acquaintances. However, many people much to my surprise, are very uncomfortable talking about their veganism to the point that they deem any day to day outreach efforts as evangelizing and imposing our collective vegan will on others.

One of the most frustrating aspects of this anti personal outreach trend is this demented live and let live attitude that comes along with it. “I don’t care what other people eat; they can do what they want.” Seriously!? If you really believe that then why the fuck are you a vegan in the first place? You might as well just keep eating animals at that point since you seem to have no problem with animal consumption. Lets face it, you alone don’t make that big of a difference to the animals as a vegan if you do nothing but try and hide your veganism every chance you get. It’s when we help other people to go vegan that we really become useful to the real animal rights movement, ourselves, others, and the animals.

Now I’m not saying we should go around punching everyone in the face that eats a turkey sandwich (although that might be effective outreach too :D). What I am saying is that it is vitally important that when the topic comes up you do engage in a conversation about veganism. You don’t necessarily have to make a compelling case for abolitionist theory the first time you talk to someone, but strive to drive home main points such as: animals should not be used by people for any reason, there is no morally relevant distinction between using animals and using humans, and if you take animal interests seriously you must be vegan.
I strongly recommend visiting Professor Gary Francione’s website to learn more about abolitionist animal rights. It’s always much easier and fun to talk to someone about something you are familiar with and veganism is no different.

In conclusion try to talk to everyone you can about veganism, make it a goal to talking to at least one person a day about it. Start slow, just make sure you don’t make concessions in your argument to makes the conversation more pleasant. Other people may not agree with you and that’s fine, but for veganism to mean anything it must be a moral baseline, it must be nonnegotiable. Now get out there and talk to people!


Luke said...

I agree entirely.

"“I don’t care what other people eat; they can do what they want.” Seriously!? If you really believe that then why the fuck are you a vegan in the first place?" Sums it up quite nicely.

I ranted about this in a less articulate, but still very much pissed off way here

Luella said...

It's like an LGBT ally saying, "I don't care what other people do. They can support homophobic violence if they want." F*** that. An animal would never say, "I don't care what other people eat." You're a weak "ally," upholding the status quo, if you don't care that other people are doing so.

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