THANKS FOR VISITING! SO, WHY THIS BLOG, YOU ASK?
In the summer of 2010, we started this blog because we were concerned by what we consider to be an abundance of misinformation, sketchy research, emotional manipulation and bullying, and logical fallacy found in the book The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. The Vegetarian Myth is an anti-vegan polemic aimed at radicals and couched in the language of science, feminism, and radical ecology. In part a regurgitation of her guru Derrick Jensen’s ideas, it was published on Derrick Jensen’s own Flashpoint Press, complete with a front-cover blurb from Jensen himself claiming, “This book saved my life.”
What made Lierre Keith’s book infuriating enough for us to dedicate so many hours of our lives to its deconstruction is that (presumably) she’s not on the take from corporate marketers and capitalists we’re so used to analyzing. Rather, she purports to come from within our own movement: a self-described ecofeminist who nevertheless believes that other creatures actually appreciate her desire to violate their bodies owing to a connection she projects upon them. As frustrating as it has been at times to engage with such willfully obtuse writing, we feel like we’ve done a credible job of deconstructing much of the text. Our past posts will stand as a contribution to a growing knowledge base compiled by those who are skeptical of the ecological sustainability and ethical legitimacy of paleo-diets. Please see this post as a more detailed guide for Lierre Keith-specific critiques.
There comes a point with projects like this at which you either have to change topics or write a book. The Vegetarian Myth does not merit a rejoinder on that level, so we are expanding our scope. While still critiquing the paradigm that Keith is involved in, this blog now moves past her. We’ll expand our exploration of ideas regarding the myth of “humane” and sustainable animal agriculture, ecocide, ex-vegetarians and their discourse, sustainable vegan agriculture, and carnism in general– especially carnism that’s wrapped in radical or psuedo-radical language. Furthermore, we’ll be lending context to the status quo account of current affairs with the hope of enlivening our readers’ understandings of the ongoing relevance of radical veganism. We’ll be making connections between animal liberation, anti-capitalism, human rights, feminism, and other modes. We will also be soliciting essays and articles from outside contributors on their own personal stories of ethical living and ecological wisdom. And if Lierre Keith says anything that’s just too dumb to pass up, we’ll probably comment on it.
Food politics are more of a national conversation than ever now and that is a good thing. Even if they’re not sure what the answer should be, more and more people are trying to shake off the nightmare of agribusiness cartels, monocrops and CAFOs that have typified the last century’s food production systems. As radical vegans, we feel compelled to take part in this conversation on how to transition away from a manifestly unsustainable system. Specifically, we want the world to understand that environmentalism cannot be separated from animal rights, and that there’s no such thing as an “ethical” mode of food production that depends on the systematic murder, reproductive and sexual domination, castration and confinement of nonhuman animals.
SO WHO ARE WE?
My name is Carolyn Zaikowski. I live in Northampton, Massachusetts. I’ve been involved with human and animal liberation movements and environmental justice for over a decade. I’ve been vegan for fifteen years, a lifestyle that has not only been empowering and healthy, but has been inextricable from my feminist, human rights, and environmentalist paradigm. If you’d like to know more about me, my personal blog, Life Roar, is here.
I am concerned with the interconnected nature of oppressions, from carnism and speciesism, to racism, ecocide, sexism, militarism, capitalist domination, and all other manifestations of violence perpetrated by a dominant (and generally numerical minority) social group onto a subordinated mass. Furthermore, I am concerned with ecological justice and I do not think that the liberation of the earth (so often termed “environmentalism” even if it includes the unnecessary destruction of billions of bodies) and the liberation of its individual creatures (so often relegated to “just” animal rights) can radically succeed as separate movements. Not only is even the most “green” meat extremely destructive to the environment, but both the domination of the earth and the domination of its individual bodies are rooted in an ideology that deems it appropriate for life to be used haphazardly as an instrument, an object, a simple means to a dominator’s end. The majority of such objectification takes place not for survival, but in the face of other, minimally disruptive options. It is this ultimate objectification of bodies that I believe must be resisted–and replaced with creative movements towards simple living and shared power–if any of our individual, social, and ecological bodies are to heal. Since humans have split the atom, created languages, lived in space, mapped the genome, and created civilizations, I remain completely convinced that such a radical change is possible. If we can’t find a way to create a world that minimizes destruction and suffering, we are not trying hard enough.
My name is Alex. I am a Southern Indiana native living and working in West Philadelphia. I have a BA in social science from Hampshire College for whatever that’s worth. My grandfather’s generation built the cars that took the United States out of the Great Depression. My father’s generation did its best to land on their feet when the factories shut down. Now my generation is here and we’re trying to find a new way.
I have been vegan for going on nine years. This is inseparable from my being an environmentalist, a feminist, a supporter of GLBTQ rights, a supporter of immigrant rights, a supporter of workers’ rights and anti-war. I do not subscribe to the traditional left/right views of politics. I think that, in order for humanity to survive and thrive, we need to make a fundamental shift away from the nation state framework and toward localized communitarianism.
My goal with this blog is to send you love letters from the edge of a decaying society. My city is awash in poverty, violence, pollution and psychic trauma and the circumstance deepens each day. The accumulated effects of industrial and post-industrial capitalism are reshaping ecosystems at a rate that is far outstripping the pace of human adaptation. At the same time, we are living in an age of unprecedented digital reproduction and information sharing. Will we use it to organize ourselves and build a culture based on love, cooperation and mutual understanding? Or will our incessant jabbering eventually taper off into a quiet eulogy for the last human empire? I guess we’ll all find out. In the meantime, we might as well do our best to make things better. After all, what else is there to do?