Comment on a Piece by Corey Lee Wrenn

Dezember 30, 2011

Corey Wrenn recently proposed the idea that „Putting the burden of proof on vegans“ is a phenomenon that is experienced by vegan activists in a way that it isn’t in the context of other social justice movements. She introduces us to Stevie, Lindsey and Mick who all work in different movements and their work is very much appreciated by their local environments, Christine as an abolitionist vegan activist, however, experiences resistance and the a feeling that she somehow has to justify her activism.

Here is, why I don’t find this comparison to be very helpful:
The moment that Stevie will start to speak up and educate people about how capitalism and peoples uncritical consumerism brings about an ideology of indifference to the weak and in particular the homeless she will face attacks that are very similar to Christine’s experiences.

The moment that Lindsey will start to engage people on the sexist comments that she encounters on a daily basis in her bread-work as a programmer in a respectful but explicit way; In that precise moment she will be attacked in a very similar way to Christine and be asked to justify her beliefs

And finally it also appears to be true that the moment that Mick will start to engage people about how their wasteful and unsustainable usage of goods and natural resources is in his opinion a global-social issue; I that moment he will be asked to justify his belief and he will be attacked just the same way that Christine is.

From my experience *any* anti-Xist who *engages* people on their violent ideologies experiences very similar hostilities. (X ∈ {sex, race, species, class, look, age, })

Veganism anti-speciesism is in that regard really not that special amongst the others. That is of course not to say that we should stop engaging people; all to the contrary. But the experience of hostility is nothing that distinguishes us from other social justice movements, so I think we should, to some extent, „just deal with it“.

„If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation […] want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.“ – Frederick Douglass: http://www.blackpast.org/?q=1857-frederick-douglass-if-there-no-struggle-there-no-progress

Actually I think you can even make an opposite argument, that vegans are in a socially privileged position and could chose to make themselves invisible in a way in which (say) an anti-racist person of color could not do in a normatively white environment, like is much of the US. From that would follow that we should show a lot more effort in „sucking shit up“ to practice solidarity and sensibility towards the struggles of others, that we want to consider our allies in our own struggle[s] against oppression.

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