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Vegetarianism as a Revolutionary Philosophy | <a href="http://canbaskent.net">Can Başkent</a>

Can Başkent

logic and the rest...

VEGETARIANISM AS A REVOLUTIONARY PHILOSOPHY

CAN BAŞKENT

Hand-Out

1. Vegetarianism
1.1 Economics

Raising animals to slaughter is expensive. %38 of world's grain goes to feed livestock. Thermodynamics says that the flow of energy towards the animals is not efficient once people replace plants with animals as the source of energy. Moreover, %80 of the agricultural fields in the world is used to feed livestock. If every person in the world went vegetarian, the earth could feed 10 times more people. From 1000 m2 of land, one can get 800 kg of nuts or 3000 kg of bananas or 20 kg of meat. In 2006, only in USA, more than 10bn animals (except from sea animals) have been murdered to be eaten.

1.2 Environment / Health

Livestock industry is the industry that pollutes the world the second most - only after car industry.

On the other hand, Almost 70% of all Americans are dying from ailments associated with their diets. About half of the Americans die of heart diseases. Whereas the risk of heart disease in Chine is only %5 of the risk that Western people face.

1.3 Moral

Killing animals is first-degree murder. Moreover, we also torture them! Chicken cages, slaughterhouses etc. prove it directly. We can symphatize animals, but then why still the tyranny over animals prevails.

1.4 Philosophy

Nonviolence philosophy and ethics are big critics of animal murders.

1.5 Then, why?

Why do people still consume animal flesh? This is where politics enters the game.

[Activity (5 min.): Write down the reasons you think we as a social entity exploit animals]

Let's now establish a similarity between animal liberation movement and feminism/glbt liberation movements. Consider this:

Not so long ago, any form of sexuality not leading to the conception of children was seen as, at best, wanton lust, or worse, a perversion. One by one, the taboos have fallen. The idea that it could be wrong to use contraception in order to separate sex from reproduction is now merely quaint. If some religions still teach that masturbation is "self-abuse," that just shows how out of touch they have become. Sodomy? That's all part of the joy of sex, recommended for couples seeking erotic variety. Oral sex? Some objected to President Clinton' choice of place and partner, and others thought he should have been more honest about what he had done, but no one dared suggest that he was unfit to be President simply because he had taken part in a sexual activity that was, in many jurisdictions, a crime. But not every taboo has crumbled. Heard anyone chatting at parties lately about how good it is having sex with their dog? Probably not. Sex with animals is still definitely taboo. (Peter Singer, Heavy Petting)

[Activity: Similarity game. What are the differences / similarities you think that animal liberation movement and feminism (or maybe prosex third wave feminism) share]

[Activity: Why is this hesitation then to engage in animal liberation movements]

2. Revolution

It's been rather long since we have not heard the word revolution in our political circles. There are reasons for that. Fair enough.

I name today's approach to the notion of "revolution" as "partial revolution", some people call it "individual revolution", some call it "revisionism" etc. Marxist revolution has been discussed extensively throughout the centuries. Just for the sake of pragmatism, let us now consider “partial revolution of vegetarianism”. Why it is partial and why it is revolution; this is our focus today.

2.1 Now!

Nevertheless, we can now start from the easier things. Diet is one of them. It requires a minimum prior work. It is also easy to implement it. Just do it.

2.2 Practice it!

There are many ways to implement the revolutionary diets. Guerilla gardening, supporting local farmers' markets, eating organic foods etc. are only few examples.

2.3 Solidarity

ALF and ELF are the top domestic threats to US government according to the FBI and Department of State reports. These reports are available online. "Green Scare" is on rise. They label all the activists as "environmental extremists" - which is unacceptable. Prisoner support networks demand your support and solidarity.

2.4 When a Revolution Finishes?

What is the main goal of vegetarianist politics? The answer should be obvious. Thus, sometime in the future, it will be completed.

3. Practicalities
3.1 Guerilla Methods

I’m not an expert on that, but maybe someone can share her experience with us.

3.2 Grassroots Methods

There are several working areas among the veggie movements. Antivivisection, anti-soy, anti-green scare are the immediate examples I can think of.

3.3 Global Actions

Remember Jose Bove – the French farmer. Similar movements were on rise in South America as well. Just refresh your memeories.