Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated, allied, aligned, or connected with the Transformative Studies Institute, the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, Anthony Nocella II, or Richard Kahn. While I am a press officer for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office and am an associate of Jerry Vlasak and Steve Best, I am penning this piece independently of NAALPO and all of my allies.
Years of introspection and profound soul searching-intrepidly trekking the seemingly infinite number of unexplored, untamed, thorny and treacherous paths winding circuitously through my psyche-led me to naively conclude that I'd sketched out a nearly complete map of who I am, my worldview, and my purpose.
Fortunately a chain of events that began unfolding several months ago, and recently culminated when I immersed myself in the company of some of the most dedicated, knowledgeable, and passionate animal activists with whom I've had the privilege to associate, shattered my semi-complacency and ignited my passion to launch yet another thorough and harrowing examination of who I am and what I believe-a "revaluation of all values" if you will including the inevitable significant growing pains of personal evolution. While I recognize that my core sense of self, general worldview, and essential beliefs are relatively immutable, there's still plenty of room for discovery and growth.
Steve Best commented to me about a year ago that he wanted to make philosophy dangerous again. With that in mind, I've come to some radical conclusions about us humans and our largely reprehensible ways of being as a species. Indulge me as I "philosophize with a hammer," driving home some ideologies, thoughts, observations, principles, and assertions that will bludgeon some of the sacred tenets of the anthropocentric Judeo-Christian status quo of Western Civilization, evoke the wrath of hardened speciesists who lash out like spoiled children when people challenge their "unassailable right" to torture, murder, and eat other sentient beings, and leave me about as popular as an agitated, unleashed pit bull at a Cat Fanciers' Association show.
Despite the nearly unanimous anthropocentric belief that we human animals are superior to nonhuman animals, we are equal-AT BEST. In fact, our collective malevolence, greed, apathy, belligerence, arrogance, selfishness and tendency to dominate, exploit, and mutilate the Earth and its other inhabitants, have me convinced that we are inferior to other animals, both morally and, in a perverse way, intellectually. We're just intelligent enough that we've developed a devastatingly destructive superiority complex, believing that our capacity to engage in complex forms of thought and communication endows us with the right to serially abuse the planet and other sentient beings, create artificial barriers to alienate us from the rest of nature, and to litter and contaminate the land-base and waterways with all manner of toxic, putrid, noxious, infectious, and disgusting liquids and solids, many with half-lives that exceed the 10,000 years that the disease we call civilization has existed. Homo sapiens, the "superior species," has taken "stewardship" of the planet and is careening toward self-destruction and mass extinctions of other species. How intelligent is that?
Nonhuman animals are sentient, and an increasingly impressive body of peer-reviewed research scientifically legitimizes the empirical, common sense observations that many other animals are also 'subjects of a life' in that they lead relatively rich and complex intellectual, emotional, and social lives. Intentionally killing them is as much murder as it is to kill a human being. That's right; I wrote it. "Meat" is murder. As are vivisection, fur, dog-fights, co*k-fights, dairy and egg production, and the rest of the myriad monstrous atrocities committed by the animal industrial complex around the globe. While the consumers and end users are complicit, it is the sh*t-laden toilet of the speciesist capitalism system that we need to smash into a million shards of porcelain by wielding the most massive sledgehammer we can find.
To dam the torrential rivers of blood flowing from the veins of billions of slaughtered animals; to silence the cacophony of their agonized and pitiful moans, bleats, squeals, and shrieks; and to redeem ourselves for this seemingly endless holocaust, one of two things must happen. The human species has to become universally vegan. Or if our cravings for flesh consumption, our desires to wear the skin of another, our cowardly compulsions to stalk defenseless creatures and riddle them with bullets or pierce them with arrows, or our perceived need to subject other animals to heinous torture to "advance our science and medicine" are too strong to overcome, we need to put human flesh on the menu, stock the store shelves with shoes and coats fashioned of human skin, turn our hunting rifles on human targets, and fill our research laboratories with human subjects. After all, if we're going to use, abuse, and slaughter sentient beings to please our palates, enhance our lives, and vivisect, in order to restore justice and to put an end to abject hypocrisy, we need to include our own species in these activities.
Destruction of property, equipment, buildings, machinery, laboratories, and virtually any inanimate human construct or "resource" used in the exploitation, oppression, maiming, raping, or murder of human animals, other animals, or the Earth is not violence. It may be illegal under a system that fetishizes property and profits, but it is not unethical. In fact, in many cases it is the right thing to do.
With respect to true violence harming or killing sentient beings (hateful speciesists will, of course, limit the definition to human beings)-the corporatist state (of nearly any nation, as corporate capitalism is virtually ubiquitous) and its myriad components, agents, sycophants, agencies, bureaus, businesses, branches, soldiers, employees, propagandists, officers, blindly obeisant citizens, and their ilk are far and away the most egregious perpetrators of directly violent acts. In stark contrast, the animal liberation movement has committed no direct violence-not one human animal exploiter death to its credit. However, we as a movement are guilty of committing indirect violence in that our collective restraint in the face of the torture and murder of billions of other animals each year has enabled the unfathomably cruel direct violence of the corporatist state, the animal exploiting industries it supports, and the billions of relentless, hardened speciesist foot soldiers who are so anthropocentric that they grieve or pay respects when sociopaths like Harry Harlow, Philip Armour, Ray Kroc, and their ilk die while turning a blind eye to innocent raccoon dogs being skinned alive so that privileged humans can wear "fur."
Philosophically speaking, the animal liberation movement needs to embrace 'counter-violence to protect innocent beings' as one of many tactics in the war to end the animal holocaust. Attacks on incorrigible, empathy-deficient, sociopathic speciesist animal torturers and murderers by courageous underground militants are both necessary and morally acceptable aspects of the fight to liberate nonhuman animals. From an ethical standpoint, such acts would be readily justifiable as a form of extensional self-defense on behalf of voiceless, defenseless sentient beings.
Given the opportunity and the means, nonhuman animals would obviously slay their tormentors and killers-be they ranchers, Big Ag executives, hunters, vivisectors, puppy mill operators, or the like. Just imagine how many billions of nonhuman animals would be spared at the cost of a relatively miniscule number of human lives if activists were to act as proxies in some instances and simply do that which nonhuman animals would do for themselves if only they could. Once obtaining their bloody lucre or satiating their desires became too much of a risk, the players in the "exploitation game" would fold their hands and the industrialized carnage of nonhuman animals would come to a grinding halt.
While the corporatist state employs extreme levels of institutionalized violence to make profits, rape the Earth, and maintain social order, many oppose any counter-violence on the grounds that it is ineffective and that even limited use by a few activists turns public opinion against entire social movements. Yet there are no social justice victories in history that were won without violent tactics, even if such tactics played a small role. Nor did public disdain for the use of violence prevent movements like Abolitionism, Women's Suffrage, Civil Rights, or Anti-Apartheid from succeeding.
Centralized governments, their closely aligned corporatist-capitalist entities, and all those around the globe who enable, perpetuate, or perpetrate wholesale, large-scale animal exploitation invite and deserve the enmity of those of us in the animal liberation movement. As ridiculously out-numbered as we are, and in light of the overwhelming power of our enemy, we need to confront this multi-headed hydra with as many tactics of asymmetrical engagement and with as much determination as we can muster, battling them within the framework of the inherently corrupt political and legal systems that are heavily stacked in the favor of anthropocentric murderers; struggling to educate and win the hearts and minds of the people whose empathy hasn't been eradicated by the soul-murdering narcissism and consumerism of the dominant culture; allying ourselves with other anti-capitalist liberation movements; and undertaking various forms of direct action on behalf of the billions of nonhuman animals immiserated and annihilated by speciesist capitalism every year.
If the corporatists and their faithful flock can shoot, trap, slash, cage, enslave, cut, gut, slit, slaughter, butcher, burn, shock, inject, beat, stomp, rape, wear, eat, and brutally murder voiceless sentient beings, how can we anti-speciesists, in good conscience, allow them to operate unchallenged and with impunity? In light of the unimaginable horror, pain and suffering they've inflicted on nearly countless billions of our nonhuman animal friends, nothing our movement does to challenge, impede, harm, stop, or decommission either the system or individual animal exploiters could be morally reprehensible or excessive. We needn't worry about maintaining the moral high ground. Dante wrote an unpublished addendum to the Inferno that includes a Tenth Circle just for our opposition.
In the corporatist state's legal system, which principally serves to protect profit and property, an activist who killed a factory "farmer," a vivisector or a hunter would be punished as a murderer. Yet in the court of nature's higher laws, those who didn't engage in some form of activism (be it direct or indirect, violent or non-violent) to defend nonhuman animals would be tried as accomplices to murder.
Apathy is complicity. With whom do you want to ally? Thanatos or Gaia?
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