Among the replies we have got about our post regarding the non-violent approach we thought there are 2 types we should address.
The first is that since activists who would engage in violence activities towards non-vegans would get caught very fast, it is counterproductive. That is despite the fact that we have clarified in the preface of the post that we don’t suggest sporadically killing non-vegans.
What we do argue is that killing every meat eater who wasn’t convinced by advocacy is morally justifiable, but since it is absolutely impracticable we don’t suggest or support that. It won’t help even one animal and would even end up hurting more animals by labeling animal activists as even more extreme and violent by the general public. It is a bad option which was never suggested nor implied.
Another type of reply is that since activists obviously can’t kill every non-vegan who was not convinced by their arguments (since they would probably get caught after the first one), they are not violent and speciesist for choosing advocacy.
It is crucial to emphasis that the point of this argument isn’t that activists are actually violence supporters and speciesist because they don’t kill meat eaters, but that they are because they don’t think they ought to.
We are not arguing that if you practically don’t kill every human who wasn’t convinced to stop consuming animals you are a speciesist. We are arguing that if you don’t think that theoretically you must stop (by whatever means it necessary) every human who wasn’t convinced to stop consuming animals you are a speciesist since that human is going to keep abusing.
This is not semantics but rather a crucial difference which relates to the first claim of the sporadic killing. If we have truly suggested that activists must kill every non-vegan who wasn’t convinced (since not doing so is letting them continue with their violent habits) then since we all agree it is impractical and simply a non-option, it is truly strange to define advocacy as inherently speciesist and violent. But since we don’t suggest activists must kill non-vegans sporadically, but all of them, the argument that activists would get caught after the first kill is irrelevant. While sporadic killing would obviously end up with activists getting arrested very soon, this is not the case with activists working in research institutions searching for ways to end it all with no one knowing what they are up to.
Activists who oppose killing non-vegans for non-practical reasons are violent and speciesists by letting non-vegans inflict much more violence on much more sentients.
Activists who oppose killing non-vegans for practical reasons on the other hand, are violent and speciesist, as they let this violent and speciesist world continue by not looking for ways to end it such as the non-sporadic killing option we suggest.
Only a thorough examination of all the options, and choosing advocacy after ruling them out would prove it wasn’t speciesism that caused activists to choose it over the other options.
But we don’t think that activists can honestly say that they have covered all the options they can think of, ruled out the ones they found to be impractical and were left with advocacy. Unfortunately advocacy is the first and obvious tendency and also the last sort of action.
One of the prominent arguments we made in the post is arguing that advocacy is inherently speciesist since it essentially lets the abusers decide whether to abuse or not. Obviously activists oppose humans’ abuse, that should go without saying, however by advocacy they support the notion that it is humans’ decision whether to abuse or not. Opposing the way humans treat other animals isn’t in itself a sufficient element indicating that activists are not inherently speciesist. Opposing the concept that it is humans’ decision in the first place is an indication of a non-speciesist approach. A non-speciesist approach focuses on what the victims need, not what the abusers are willing to do.
As we wrote in the original post, claiming that options other than asking the abusers to stop abusing aren’t seriously discussed only due to their impracticality, is too easy.
The fact that most activists haven’t chosen non-violent advocacy after a thorough examination of the options, rather it was self-evident that what must be done facing the greatest horror in history is to inform the abusers what they are responsible for, indicates how human oriented the moral scope is, and how bounded the discussion is. It reveals that what really bounds it is not practical limitations, but immoral values regarding violence and regarding humanity.
Our mission should end when the suffering does, not after we gave humans all the information we hold, plead all the arguments we know and deconstruct all of their excuses.
So many efforts are currently wasted on thinking how to influence humans to make the right decision instead of taking the power to decide out of their hands.
If activists truly choose advocacy for tactical reasons and not speciesist ones, then we would have seen the opposite scenario of the one we see today in the movement which is that new activists, though often join AR groups with enthusiasm, don’t think we must tear the animal exploitation system by any means necessary and it is some of the veterans who are so despaired out of humanity that they start thinking in terms of annihilation. That’s another indication of how human oriented activists’ intuitions are. The basic notion is that first we must try to convince the abusers to stop abusing and only after we tried every advocacy option we can think of, we are ready to consider violent options (which are anyway rejected).
There are lots of disputes in the animal liberation movement between activists over what is the most efficient way. Yet violent suggestions are extremely rare. That goes to show that it is not really an option. Otherwise we would have seen violent activities over the years (again, not that we wish for ones). The fact that we hardly see such activities proves that it is not among the considered options. Violence is not a disqualified option but not an option at all.
Stopping all the suffering is what should be our goal and thinking how we can do that is where we must start, not from advocacy which is an extreme compromise on the animals’ expense. You start at the best option and only if it turns out to be irrelevant should you turn to such an extreme compromise as a world with as many vegans as possible, which is a horrible world as we explained in the third and final part of the series about violence.
So in light of the option of killing all humans and by that ending for good the most violent oppressing system ever in history, we argue that compromising on animals’ expense is violent and speciesist. This is our argument. A non-violent and non-speciesist approach should lead you to first consider the best option for the animals which is a sufferingless world (and not a vegan one let alone a world with some more vegans which is most probably what would be accomplished with advocacy).
We argue in the post that if activists truly believe that in their relation to nonhumans all humans are Nazis, why aren’t they all Partisan guerrilla fighters?
Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner and John Brown (which we mention in the post regarding slavery) used violent tactics against slavery and the Partisans didn’t handout leaflets with footages of Auschwitz and the unbearable numbers of humans exterminated in gas chambers.
You can argue that there are huge differences between the horrors since they were much smaller in scale and had much more supporters around the world than we in the animal liberation movement have. But that is an argument that only strengthens the case against advocacy as the solution. We don’t offer an Underground Railroad or salves rebel. We offer to destroy this world. It is much more complicated practically, but it doesn’t rely on humans’ cooperation. In fact the dependency on public opinion is one of the reasons we think there is only one solution. Moral issues are not supposed to be decided by what the public is willing to accept.
Currently activists’ moral standards are influenced by what they believe the public is ready to accept. But what is right remains so regardless of how the majority sees it or whether humans are ready to implement. Public opinion is basically infirm as opposed to moral principles which are supposed to be solid. The fact that activists are influenced by what they think humans think, indicates a twisted morality. It is a reversal order of events.
Suffering is suffering is suffering. For the victim it is always bad, regardless of what the abuser is willing to do about it.
And considering that currently humans are far from being willing to adopt even the first ethical step – veganism, which is in itself far from being a moral solution, then all the more so must we act to attain the world we think is moral which is a sufferingless world and not a world with more vegans.
We find it hard to believe that you are not disappointed by the fact that humans are ready to use violence for much smaller atrocities than the biggest one ever in history with no proportions to anything else. And you can’t seriously think it is all because of tactical reasons.
Activists can argue that society is so inherently speciesist and violent and so they are bound to act as if they are practically speciesist despite that they are conceptually not. But that is exactly the point we are trying to make. Our point in the post and in many of our other texts is not to show that even animal rights activists are speciesist but that even animal rights activists can’t not be speciesist. The point we are trying to make is not about the particular activists in this particular era but about AR activism in general, the mere conceptuality of AR activism which is bound to be violent and speciesist and therefore bound to be immoral. And in a vaster scope, if the world can’t be moral, it clearly shouldn’t be.
And lastly we would like to address another point regarding impracticality. We are well aware of the fact that the idea we are promoting is perceived as impractical and for obvious reasons. We are not fantasts, clearly the solution we ask you all to focus on is highly-complicated. However we find it irrelevant for the discussion regarding the inherent speciesism and violence of advocacy since again, the thought process of activists is not examining first how to stop all the suffering, find it impractical and then compromising on options which essentially aim at reducing some of the suffering. The inherent speciesism and violence is derived of the fact that it is the first and last option. Examining all the options and more importantly of all the suffering sources in the world and how to confront them, necessarily leads to the conclusion that this world must be destroyed. Only after all the possible ways to achieve this goal were investigated and failed, you can argue that the solution we suggest is impractical. Currently activists start and end their activism with giving the abusers the power to decide whether to keep abusing or not, without even trying to reclaim the power they should have never given to humans in the first place.
It is not that activists reach the conclusion that the world must be destroyed but disqualify this option since it is impractical and go for advocacy. Rather they go for advocacy and some at some point reach that conclusion and usually for the wrong reasons such as hate and despair. We are not motivated neither by hate nor by despair. It is the vision of a world without suffering that motivates and inspires us.
We doubt that any of the activists who argue that the annihilation idea is impractical claim so after seriously examining the option. As long as we don’t know that the only solution to the world suffering is impossible, we all must try.