This is the last part of the series about slavery. It is a very important issue since many activists compare slavery with animals’ institutionalized exploitation. They use it as a rhetoric tool, trying to convince the public that just as discrimination based on skin color is arbitrary and wrong so is discrimination based on species, and they use it as an inspiration source arguing that just as discrimination based on skin color was ended, discrimination based on species can also end.
In the former posts we argue that drawing inspiration from ending slavery is false since slavery was never really ended. In fact there are more slaves than ever before. And even what is falsely considered as the end of slavery in the US didn’t happen for moral reasons despite the common narrative that activists tend to cling on to. Not only that, but the American civil war and the 13th amendment didn’t even end the enslavement in the US at all.
The hopes of the animal liberation movement are laid on an institution that exists for about 15,000 years, was never ended nor reduced but increased to the point that there are more slave today than ever before in history. The fact that slavery kept growing in size regardless of the fact that it is illegal now in every country in the world, shouldn’t be inspiring but alarming.
In this post we argue that not only the inspiration is false but that the comparison itself is false and it is so for several reasons: Continue reading
The formal estimations of the numbers of salves in the world that are mentioned in the former post don’t include the hundreds of millions of sweatshop slaves. The people trapped in these extremely exploitative systems are not formally owned by another person, and they are not formally forced to work under these conditions. However, they can’t leave, in many cases they can’t negotiate their working conditions, they must compromise their physical and emotional health, they work very hard for very long hours, for very little pay, not allowed to talk with fellow workers or move away from their working station without permission and they have no other options except for transferring to another place and work under more or less the same conditions.
When all the options are of the same awfulness only in a different location, choosing is only theoretical, practically it is slavery. Maybe not formally, but definitely practically.
Almost 600 years after the trans-Atlantic salve trade was started and about 200 after it was allegedly ended, and we are in the middle of the greatest slave trade yet. Continue reading
In the end of the second part of the slavery series we argue that if ending slavery is at all a test case for ending animal exploitation, then since slavery didn’t ever end, what activists should draw from the fight against slavery isn’t inspiration, but disillusion, a wakeup call to look for other ways to end animal suffering.
What makes things even worse is not only that slavery was never ended, 150 years after the formal passage of the 13th Amendment and 67 years after Article 4 of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights banned slavery and the slave trade worldwide, there are more slaves today than at any time in human history.
Since slavery is illegal it is hard to find an accurate number of slaves. The formal estimations are of between 21 and 38 million slaves. That is by a very tolerant definition of the term which mainly refers to what is called Trafficking – the transport or trade of people from one area to another and into conditions of slavery. Considering the appalling working conditions in sweatshops and at least some forms of child labor, as we think is must, then the estimations are of hundreds of millions of people. That’s why we’ll discuss sweatshops separately in the next post and focus here on the exploitation forms which are formally considered as slavery. Continue reading
We chose Valentine’s Day for the third part of the series about slavery since today is the day humans commercialize love, most iconically by consuming chocolate for the ones they care for on the expense of the ones they don’t.
Chocolate is one of the unofficial symbols of modern slavery, the topic of this post.
There should be no wonder that humans, who express virtually everything through consumption, have commercialized love and affection, buying chocolate for the ones they care for. Unfortunately there is also no wonder that at the same time they care so little for the ones who picked the cacao for their consumerist gesture. Continue reading
Tomorrow is National Freedom Day in the United States, commemorating Lincoln signing the 13th Amendment, and celebrating freedom from slavery. In this second part of the slavery series we argue that the celebrations were and still are too early.
Not only that the American civil war didn’t break to end slavery as we argued in the former post, it didn’t end slavery at all. In fact it took another century for slavery to really formally end in the United States and even then it wasn’t for moral reason but again for strategic ones.
For slavery to really end, it took watertight prohibition laws and the will to enforce them. Blacks didn’t have the first to their help and whites didn’t have the second.
The allegedly emancipatory 13th Amendment has an exception which is involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime. Humans like humans, used this exception as a loophole to keep slavery active and thriving by systematically criminalizing African Americans.
We are not talking about the notorious Jim Crow laws which were designed to further exclude blacks from society (mainly by absolute social segregation) but about the former discriminatory system known as the Black Codes, which were directly designed to further enslave blacks by establishing a legal basis for neo-slavery. Continue reading
Today, 150 years ago, William Seward the United States‘ Secretary of State, proclaimed the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment which formally abolished slavery and involuntary servitude (excluding as a form of punishment). A good opportunity to discuss slavery abolishment as it is one of the greatest inspirations of the animal rights movement.
We find this inspiration utterly false for several reasons and in the following posts we’ll focus on the main ones.
In the first one we argue that neither the Thirteenth Amendment nor the civil war were a product of a moral struggle.
In the second we argue that both didn’t end slavery in the United States.
In the third, fourth and fifth that slavery wasn’t ended at all and is still extremely prevalent.
And in the last part that even if slavery did end, animal activists can’t draw conclusions from human slavery since the two oppressive systems are fundamentally different.
The following post is largely an historical review of the political, economic and moral climate before and during the American civil war, in an attempt to present the real reasons behind it. We find this analysis crucial for this discussion specifically, since many cling on to these kinds of myths, building around them their activistic philosophy, and since generally, it sheds a light on human society and how things work in this world, and why.
The Civil War broke for many reasons, none of which had to do with any sort of moral cause as the abolition of slavery.
Wars don’t break for moral reasons. And they definitely don’t break between two sides over the rights of a third one. Wars generally break for money or power, and usually both. And so did the American civil war.
As opposite to the myth that the war was over slavery, the war’s real reason and actually the official casus belli was the decision of 11 southern states to secede from the Union due to the results of the election of 1860, and the North’s decision to militarily force them to stay. That is the power cause, however to understand the political climate preceding the secession, we must start with the money. Continue reading