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Human liberation - Animal liberation/groups?

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John Oswald
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Apr 29 2010 13:07
Human liberation - Animal liberation/groups?

Comrades,

As someone who departed from the Socialist Party of GB because of their arrogant speciesism, I have been pleased in general by Anarchists` tendency to accept the importance of joint emancipation of human beings and our fellow animals. Let me say that I am also at odds with animal rights` folk who ignorantly disdain human liberation!

In the spirit of the book MAKING A KILLING by Bob Torres (published by AK) and the pamphlets ANIMAL LIBERATION & SOCIAL REVOLUTION (Brian Dominick) and BEASTS OF BURDEN (anonymous), both published by Active Distribution, I seek an Anarchist-Communist group which accepts that human and fellow-animal exploitation is interlinked and does not despise talk of animal liberation.

I am alone in the Bournemouth area. I pay for everything I distribute by myself, which is hard, and I distribute my own social anarchist material with antivivisection material under the name of The Percy Bysshe Shelley Agitators` Group. I also have Facebook groups: True communism, and The Friends of the Brown Dog (re: the Brown Dog Riots of 1906).

Is anyone interested in helping me/making contact?

JR Cash
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Apr 29 2010 14:15
John Oswald wrote:
Comrades,

As someone who departed from the Socialist Party of GB because of their arrogant speciesism

The concept of speciesism is a ridiculously constructed concept by those who seek to put the use of animals on a par with the exploitation of people.

Admin: no flaming.

Unless you have some sort of Doctor Dolittle powers to talk to animals then you have no more right than anyone else to speak for them.

mons
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Apr 29 2010 14:27
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Twats like you who equate so called speciesism with sexism, racism, etc need to get the fuck out of libertarian politics altogether.

Unless you have some sort of Doctor Dolittle powers to talk to animals then you have no more right than anyone else to speak for them.

I cannot believe you just called the poster a twat. Totally uncalled for!
And your last paragraph is a poor argument. Carried to its logical conclusion that would apply for babies, people who are dumb, and maybe even people whose language is different to yours to the extent that you can't fully understand what they want. Nobody fully knows what any other person/animal wants, there are just degrees of certainty. I think it's fair to assume that animals have a preference for life, and not excess suffering.

On the other hand, I agree that the concept of speciesm is wrong. And humans are way more important than other animals (but they still have some innate value). For me it's quite simple. Humans, as more intelligent, consious than other animals have more value. Or, as Murray Bookchin puts it:

Quote:
The fact is that human communities are consciously formed communities---that is to say, societies with an enormous variety of institutions, cultures that can be handed down from generation to generation, lifeways that can be radically changed for the better or worse, technologies that can be redesigned, innovated, or abandoned, and social, gender, ethnic, and hierarchical distinctions that can be vastly altered according to changes in consciousness and historical development. Unlike most so-called "animal societies" or, for that matter, communities, human societies are not instinctively formed or genetically programmed. Their destinies may be decided by factors---generally economic and cultural--that are beyond human control at times, to be sure; but what is particularly unique about human societies is that they can be racially changed by their members---and in ways that can be made to benefit the natural world as well as the human species.

Human society, in fact, constitutes a "second nature," a cultural artifact, out of "first nature," or primeval nonhuman nature. There is nothing wrong, unnatural, or ecologically alien about this fact. Human society, like plant and animal communities, is in large part a product of natural evolution, no less than beehives or anthills. It is a product, moreover, of the human species, a species that is no less a product of nature than whales, dolphins, California condors, or prokaryotic cells. Second nature is also a product of mind---of a brain that can think in a richly conceptual manner and produce a highly symbolic form of communication. Taken together, second nature, the human species that forms it, and the richly conceptual form of thinking and communication so distinctive to it, emerges out of natural evolution no less than any other life-form and nonhuman community. This second nature is uniquely different from first nature in that it can act thinkingly, purposefully, willfully, and depending up on the society we examine, creatively in the best ecological sense or destructively in the worst ecological sense. Finally, this second nature called society has its own history: its long process of grading out of first nature, of organizing or institutionalizing human relationships, human interactions, conflicts , distinctions, and richly nuanced cultural formations, and of actualizing its large number of potentialities---some eminently creative, others eminently destructive.

Finally, a cardinal feature of this product of natural evolution called society is its capacity to intervene in first nature---to alter it, again in ways that may be eminently creative or destructive. But the capacity of human beings to deal with first nature actively, purposefully, willfully, rationally, and one hopes ecologically is no less a product of evolution than the capacity of large herbivores to keep forests from eating away at grasslands or of earthworms to aerate the soil. Human beings and their societies alter first nature at best in a rational and ecological way---or at worst in an irrational and anti-ecological way. But the fact that they are constituted to act upon nature, to intervene in natural processes, to alter them in one way or another, is no less a product of natural evolution than the action of any life-form on its environment.

As for the original question: AFAIK there are no anarchist-communist groups who explicitly support 'animal liberation', but there are individuals within groups who may support these things, and almost certainly a disproportionate number of people who embrace vegetarianism or veganism or something.
I don't despise talk of animal liberation, but it does seem a little bit silly. I am however concerned about the way we treat animals. But how can animal and human liberation be interlinked? Even if you accept they're both good things.

JR Cash
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Apr 29 2010 15:05
tobias wrote:
I cannot believe you just called the poster a twat. Totally uncalled for!
And your last paragraph is a poor argument. Carried to its logical conclusion that would apply for babies, people who are dumb, and maybe even people whose language is different to yours to the extent that you can't fully understand what they want.

I don't believe it is uncalled for. Those who put forward the notion of speciesism would have us believe that it is akin to racism and sexism. I see this as highly insulting. Telling someone who has experienced racist discrimination that his or her plight is no more important than a poor wee bunny rabbit is to me more offensive than calling someone a twat.

And I disagree completely that the logical conclusion of my argument leads to the same logic being applied to humans who can't communicate. As fellow humans we can communicate in a number of ways and this is not limited to speech.

My reason for being so critical of this animal liberation bollocks goes back to a belief that for too long anarchism has been associated with this nonsense and we need to completely disassociate ourselves from it

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Entdinglichung
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Apr 29 2010 15:27
John Oswald wrote:

As someone who departed from the Socialist Party of GB because of their arrogant speciesism,

there are few areas on which the SPGB has correct positions, I think, "speciecism" is one of them

mons
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Apr 29 2010 16:05
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Telling someone who has experienced racist discrimination that his or her plight is no more important than a poor wee bunny rabbit is to me more offensive than calling someone a twat.

Agree. Which isn't what he did.

Quote:
As fellow humans we can communicate in a number of ways and this is not limited to speech.

Agree. And animals do too, but yes they communicate in ways more hard to comprehend for humans - as I said there are only degrees of comprehension. I think the arguments against animal liberation must be because animals are innately less valuable than humans, not because they're not good at communicating so when we act for them we might do the wrong thing - which I think your argument suggests is the case.

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for too long anarchism has been associated with this nonsense and we need to completely disassociate ourselves from it

Agree.

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jesuithitsquad
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Apr 29 2010 16:05

since you're into "beast of burden" you may want to give this a read.

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JoeMaguire
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Apr 29 2010 22:46

I think there should be an attempt to formulate an approach towards a libertarian communist theory around our interaction with biodiversity, but animal rights is frankly not it and forms no component of such I have come to believe. Its at odds on so many levels with communist politics. (I will read Dauve's article later) Theory aside I think praxis as to play a huge part in this. The pro-AR guys who I know who had non-misanthropic outlooks and good class politics I could count on one hand and I have known and met many AR people. That said below still holds value for me.

Quote:
Communism is not the application of a universal moral code, or the creation of a uniform society, and there would be no state or similar mechanism to impose, say, veganism, even if many people thought it desirable. The question of how to live with animals might be resolved in different ways in different times and places. The animal liberation movement would form one pole of the debate.
Others might take a different position, arguing perhaps for free range, non-intensive domestication of the goat in the garden variety (although this apparent idyll would probably still have to involve cruel practices like castration and the separation of animals from their social units).
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Dano
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Apr 30 2010 02:51

John, it seems that in the UK is where anarchists are more resistant to veganism. In places like Latin America, USA, Spain, Portugal, and France you probably would have more luck.

Like Tobias said, no big anarchist-communist organization explicitly supports it, but one of the first anarchist-communists, the communard Elisée Reclus, practiced and supported vegetarianism and influenced many anarchists in latin countries with his ideas of libertarian naturism, so there was (and there still is) a lot of them.

Let's keep in touch, John! Cheers!

Yorkie Bar
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Apr 30 2010 09:30

"libertarian naturism"

I have a feeling that this doesn't mean what you think it means...

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Dano
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Apr 30 2010 10:30

I have a feeling you never heard about it.

Yorkie Bar
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Apr 30 2010 11:07

My sources have failed me:

Sounds gross though.

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Dano
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Apr 30 2010 11:15

Try "naturismo libertario".

Yorkie Bar
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Apr 30 2010 11:26

Would it be sort of like this only with more circle-as?

http://www.vidoemo.com/yvideo.php?i=Qmh3RG5pcWuRpaXpiakU&reportagem-congresso-naturismo-brasil-2-2-2008

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Dano
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Apr 30 2010 11:32

No.

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Steven.
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Apr 30 2010 11:43
Dano wrote:
John, it seems that in the UK is where anarchists are more resistant to veganism. In places like Latin America, USA, Spain, Portugal, and France you probably would have more luck.

finding vegans in France?! Good luck! No anarchists there I know are even vegetarian.

Animals should be treated with dignity as much as possible, but fighting for the liberation of E. coli bacteria and malaria carrying mosquitoes on a par with humans (i.e. being anti-speciesist) is just about the stupidest thing in the world.

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Dano
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Apr 30 2010 12:21

Never heard about anyone trying to "liberate" E. coli! eek

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PartyBucket
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Apr 30 2010 12:35

I once saw a vegan straight-edge fella who swept the floor in front of him as he walked so as not to kill teh mikro-organizmz.
It was in the USA though, probably considered normal behaviour there wink

John Oswald
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Apr 30 2010 13:06

I see you are not my comrades and I am as disappointed with you anarchists as I am with the socialists. You are a disgrace to the memories of Elisee Reclus and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Goodbye.

Boris Badenov
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Apr 30 2010 14:12

Elisee Reclus (who was an anarchist and a socialist btw) also endorsed propaganda by the deed; is that something we should follow?

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888
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Apr 30 2010 21:51
BigLittleJ wrote:
"libertarian naturism"

I have a feeling that this doesn't mean what you think it means...

It means eating raw food. Also, your search was UK only. Bad!

Yorkie Bar
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Apr 30 2010 21:54
Quote:
It means eating raw food. Also, your search was UK only. Bad!

Don't you go oppressing me.

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JoeMaguire
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May 1 2010 11:06
John Oswald wrote:
I see you are not my comrades and I am as disappointed with you anarchists as I am with the socialists. You are a disgrace to the memories of Elisee Reclus and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Goodbye.

At a guess, I am thinking your anarchism is really a cover for you doing animal rights. In which case I would advise you take your liberal ill-thought out ideas somewhere else.

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Denna
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May 2 2010 11:35

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Alsation21
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May 28 2010 15:50

Anarchists Unite For Total Anarchy !

JR Cash
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May 28 2010 16:06
Alsation21 wrote:
Anarchists Unite For Total Anarchy !

Idiots Unite For Total Idiocy!

gypsy
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May 29 2010 16:19
notch8 wrote:
I once saw a vegan straight-edge fella who swept the floor in front of him as he walked so as not to kill teh mikro-organizmz.
It was in the USA though, probably considered normal behaviour there ;)

are you joking? Or did this incident happen?

madcat
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Jul 11 2010 19:58

That's a lot of anger directed at a guy who seems a pretty decent person.

"Twats like you who equate so called speciesism with sexism, racism, etc need to get the fuck out of libertarian politics altogether.
Unless you have some sort of Doctor Dolittle powers to talk to animals then you have no more right than anyone else to speak for them."

I don't feel the need to express my personal belief on animal liberation or speciesism mainly because I am unclear on it myself. But I will say it seems somewhat small minded to think that the things we do to animals purely because we are superior in many ways are incomparable to "sexism, racism, etc.". I don't think that anyone here thinks the problem is that the animals are upset that they aren't treated equally it's the things we justify doing to them because they're just animals. You also said that humans communicate in more ways that words, though perhaps not in exactly those words. I dont think anyone thinks it requires a high level of intelligence to see when someone or something is massively PHYSICALLY suffering or in massive PHYSICAL pain, I don't believe the subject is deep emotional or psychological pain that humans may experience and animals may or may not.

I don't think there will be much argument if I say it's obvious animals feel physical pain, and physically can suffer, in some cases causing mental problems ie. self mutilation, etc. There may be some argument if I said animals can be fearful ie. be in fear of something and also distress. If anyone has worked in a slaughterhouse or any other situation similar with non human animals they might agree with me there. But to leave it at just physical pain which must be agreed upon by everyone, inflicting physical pain and suffering onto any animal human or non human isn't something I'd relish doing. I don't see how it is incomparable to a degree that causes that level of anger to compare treating something which can feel pain, suffer, and be fearful in a way that makes it feel pain and be fearful for any period of time to racism or sexism. The finer details of speciesism I may disagree on but that seems quite clear cut to me.

"Telling someone who has experienced racist discrimination that his or her plight is no more important than a poor wee bunny rabbit is to me more offensive than calling someone a twat."

Have you experienced racial discrimination yourself?

madcat
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Jul 11 2010 19:57

"I see you are not my comrades and I am as disappointed with you anarchists as I am with the socialists. You are a disgrace to the memories of Elisee Reclus and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Goodbye."

It doesn't make sense not to believe in something because of a tiny percentage of the other people who also believe in it. I hope you meant the GB socialist party and you did say you anarchists.

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jef costello
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Jul 27 2010 01:01
madcat wrote:
But I will say it seems somewhat small minded to think that the things we do to animals purely because we are superior in many ways are incomparable to "sexism, racism, etc.". I don't think that anyone here thinks the problem is that the animals are upset that they aren't treated equally it's the things we justify doing to them because they're just animals. You also said that humans communicate in more ways that words, though perhaps not in exactly those words. I dont think anyone thinks it requires a high level of intelligence to see when someone or something is massively PHYSICALLY suffering or in massive PHYSICAL pain, I don't believe the subject is deep emotional or psychological pain that humans may experience and animals may or may not.

Good point, just because I am superior to women and blacks does not mean that I should treat them cruelly.

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Aug 1 2010 14:59

Animals should be treated with dignity as much as possible, but fighting for the liberation of E. coli bacteria and malaria carrying mosquitoes on a par with humans (i.e. being anti-speciesist) is just about the stupidest thing in the world.

I do not like absurd reductionist rhetoric but it does hit the point here. Jeremy Bentham suggested that humans should respect the capacity of animals to suffer and to avoid inflicting suffering on them and I think that is a good starting point for the ethical treatment of animals but to place the "rights" of animals on an equal status as the rights of people is clearly nonsense.
Domella Nieuwehuis was himself vegetarian and t total but would serve meat and wine to guests at his table. I eat a vegan diet my self but cook fish and meat for my partner because she does not share my views and can not cook for herself. I do not like the fact a beast died to make her dinner but I think it would be even more reprehensible to inflict my values on someone else.
(My reason for a vegan diet is that it broke my heart to cut up the body of a pig I had raised from a weaner and just felt the whole meat eating thing was wrong.)