WSM and Animal Rights?

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dublin dave
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Dec 1 2006 14:29
WSM and Animal Rights?

I've recently been reading documents on the WSM website (I used to live in Dublin and I'm trying to keep in touch with struggles/politics over there) and I have a few questions about the attitude of the WSM towards Animal Rights.

In a document entitled "Relations with other left groups in Ireland", I found the following point. "There are some groups that might call themselves anarchists or libetarian communists whom we would share almost nothing in common, for example one based around animal rights. We are under no obligation to work with, march near or otherwise relate to such groups."

Firstly the reference to "some groups who might call themselves anarchists or libertarian communists" seems to be slightly sectarian. It seems to infer that some groups are not anarchist or libertarian communist. Are there any particular groups in Ireland who self identify as anarchist or libertarian communist who you don't believe to be actually anarchist or libertarian communist? The document then goes on to refer to "one based around animal rights." Is this refering to a particular group or does the WSM believe that anarchism and animal rights are fundamentally incompatible?

In the document entitled "The Environment & Animal Rights" there is only 1 specific point out of 18 in the document referring to animal rights. It states, " We oppose animal liberation campaigns which endanger workers lives through firebombing of stores or labs, and the harmful contamination of foodstuffs, etc."

Does the WSM therefore support the majority of animal rights actions which don't endanger workers? The following are recent (Oct 2006) examples of AR actions in Ireland. Info taken from (www.directaction.info).

"October 2006. A Bookmakers premises in County Carlow had its locks glued in retaliation for the cruelty involved in the racing Industry. ALF was sprayed on its windows. Let us hope he lost some business.

October 2006. Butchers shop belonging to an abbatoir owner has its walls covered with red paint. This is the third time this premises has been damaged. Give up this death trade. Meat is murder.

When darkness falls...ALF"

"Tonight members of the Animal Liberation Front destroyed another Ward Union Hunt sign advertising their Point-to-Point this Sunday. Red paint was smeared over it, completely covering the whole sign. This action was for every animal those sick bastards murdered, the red paint symbolizing the blood of innocent life on their hands.

Our message to Hunt Scum: We've only just begun.

For Every Animal,

ALF Ireland"

"Anti-Hunting Action.
Four very large advertising signs for the Ward Union Point to Point were destroyed with paint. The ALF is watching your cruel activities and will stop you any way we can. Release the tame stags at your premises and give hunting up now.

Anti-Circus Actions.
Over 40 Advertising signs for The Royal Russian Circus in County Meath were destroyed or removed. This Courtney circus have in its trailers, giraffes and Elephants. They had not started their performances yet on the site. Lose the animals or you will have no peace.

Over 60 signs belonging to Circus Hoffenburg erected on the Navan Road and in Fairyhouse were removed and destroyed. Another name change for a Courtney Circus. Are you ex-Sydney or ex-Vegas? It does not matter, animals are imprisoned in chains in your beastwagons and abandoned this season alone.

Till all are free....ALF."

If you look at www.directaction.info it is hard to find many actions out of hundreds reported this year which endangered workers. Most refer to sabotage of vehicles, liberations or are targeted at the managers/directors of companies.

powertotheimagi...
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Dec 1 2006 14:38

Hmm, I'll only post on here once as its the Ireland forum, and dosen't need me ranting anymore than normal but DD here is what i'd say:

Never ask any specific class struggle anarchists about ar, they just dont like it-simple, I would think Mr Cass himself has more liking for ar then they do.
Its a shame but I suppose speciesism runs pretty deep hey? wink

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AndrewF
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Dec 1 2006 14:49

The paper being talked about can be found at http://www.wsm.ie/story/827 - it was last amended 8 years ago.

dublin dave wrote:
I've recently been reading documents on the WSM website ..
In a document entitled "Relations with other left groups in Ireland", I found the following point. "There are some groups that might call themselves anarchists or libetarian communists whom we would share almost nothing in common, for example one based around animal rights. We are under no obligation to work with, march near or otherwise relate to such groups."

The first draft of this document is from some time around 1988 which is before my time so I'm not sure if that reference is to any particular group. I think there was an issue with incendary devices being left in a retail outlet around then so I suspect this may be where it stems from. And outside of Ireland you do come across anarchist groups which are pro-aniaml rights.

dublin dave wrote:
I does the WSM believe that anarchism and animal rights are fundamentally incompatible?

Our position is as stated in the document, there isn't a second secret document that spells it out in more detail.

dublin dave wrote:
Does the WSM therefore support the majority of animal rights actions which don't endanger workers?

See above.

I'd say a fair interpretation of the document is that while we don't see any requirement for anarchists to be for animal rights but we've no objection to individuals taking such a position providing their actions do not endanger workers in such industries. I'd guess maybe 10% of our membership are vegans or vegetarian although I don't think any of them are involved in any animal rights stuff.

http://www.wsm.ie/story/827

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Dec 1 2006 15:00
revol68 wrote:
Just tell them the WSM doesn't give two flying fucks about animal liberation as an organisation, anymore than the progress of Chelsea in the champions league

Hey I don't want to upset any Chelsea fans that might be members. That aside what you say above wouldn't accurately summarise our position - the paper does identify a couple of issues around which we would care (eg whistle blowing workers) whereas AFAIK we don't mention football anywhere.

I just noticed that some of the questions are based on another (also pretty old position paper) called 'Relations with other Left Groups' - its at http://www.wsm.ie/story/850

ronan
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Dec 1 2006 16:34

the number of vegans/vegetarians is more than 10% (i can count six). id make the point that being hostile to animal rights (or liberation) is different to not seeing it as an issue for a revolutionary organisation which would be my position. the relevant documents are quite out of date, 'relations with other left groups' should probably be changed in light of the growth of the libertarian movement. there's probably a few points that i'd add to the 'animal rights and environmentalism' paper but the debate would probably be a waste of time since our practice isn't going to change. although maybe we need to have a better worked out position on environmentalism.

dublin dave
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Dec 1 2006 17:51

Cheers for the replies Joe/Ronan. On the issue of how up to date the documents are, the WSM site states that they were ratified in April 2006. I understand that WSM documents cease to be current if they are not ratified every 3 years but it does seem strange to ratify documents that are out of date in relation to other left groups and the environment.
Respect,
Dave.

jen
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Dec 1 2006 21:55

How can any true working class person support Chelsea FC ?

The Chairman of the club epitomises corporate greed to degrees that would make Enron look Marxist.

gurrier
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Dec 4 2006 15:54
ronan wrote:
the number of vegans/vegetarians is more than 10% (i can count six). id make the point that being hostile to animal rights (or liberation) is different to not seeing it as an issue for a revolutionary organisation which would be my position. the relevant documents are quite out of date, 'relations with other left groups' should probably be changed in light of the growth of the libertarian movement. there's probably a few points that i'd add to the 'animal rights and environmentalism' paper but the debate would probably be a waste of time since our practice isn't going to change. although maybe we need to have a better worked out position on environmentalism.

I'm personally hostile to the very notion of animal rights and animal liberation. I'm also opposed to veganism and vegetarianism in their political manifestations, as well as in their health implications.

If non-human animals are to have rights, then they must have the most fundamental right, the right to life. The existence of carniverous animals and prey animals means that it is impossible to claim that all animals have the right to life - if a carniverous animal has the right to life, then it's prey does not and vice versa. Attempts to force carnivores to adopt meat-free diets are about as dangerous as you can get in terms of ecological engineering.

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Joseph Kay
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Dec 4 2006 16:13
gurrier wrote:
Attempts to force carnivores to adopt meat-free diets are about as dangerous as you can get in terms of ecological engineering.

i'm not sure anyone advocates that, unless you're claiming Homo sapiens are carnivores? :S

and what health implications, btw?

gurrier
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Dec 4 2006 16:27
Joseph K. wrote:
i'm not sure anyone advocates that, unless you're claiming Homo sapiens are carnivores? :S

and what health implications, btw?

Some people do. But that's not the point. The point is that it's the only way to give animals the right to life. If animals have the right to life, then animals do not have the right to eat other animals and they must be prevented from doing so in order to protect the most fundamental right of the prey.

gurrier
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Dec 4 2006 16:51
revol68 wrote:
animal rightists might be a tad incoherent and philosophically tied in knots but they tend to argue that humans as moral agents can make a choice whether to eat animals or not

Humans can make choices shocker! Everybody, regardless of their view of animals, would agree with this statement, as it's just so bleeding obvious. What I'm disagreeing with is their idea that there is something morally wrong with eating animals.

revol68 wrote:
they don't think animals have that moral responsibility, of course that poses questions about the nature of rights but that certains around responsibility and consciousness not around some fundamental right to live.

The point is, one more time for the hard of thinking, that animals do not have rights in any meaningful sense and any attempt to construct a moral framework which grants them rights will inevitably lead to absurd conclusions.

If animals do not have rights then there is no basis for placing moral weightings on the decision to eat animals or not.

gurrier
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Dec 4 2006 16:54
Joseph K. wrote:
and what health implications, btw?

It's more difficult to have a diet which supplies the required nutrients to the body if you avoid meat. Hence, an elimination of meat from the diet of the species would result in a marked decline in human health.

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Tojiah
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Dec 4 2006 17:22
gurrier wrote:
The point is, one more time for the hard of thinking, that animals do not have rights in any meaningful sense and any attempt to construct a moral framework which grants them rights will inevitably lead to absurd conclusions.

If animals do not have rights then there is no basis for placing moral weightings on the decision to eat animals or not.

I thought "human rights" was bourgois morality. It makes more sense to speak from a liberation point of view. As noted on a similar thread, animals do, in fact, struggle to be free from industrialized oppression and torture, and I don't see why it's "incoherent" to show solidarity with them and assist in their cause.

In any case, I certainly see no need to react so vehemently towards AR/AL advocates.

Mike Harman
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Dec 4 2006 17:28
revol68 wrote:
We don't afterall let children torture cats.

That's at most a question of welfare rather than rights - we don't normally let children smash DVD players on the floor for fun either but that doesn't mean lengthy discussions over ascribing rights to DVD players (maybe child discipline though).

Quote:
This is where the problem for most animal rightists comes in, on one hand they emphasis how humans are no better than the rest of the animal kingdom yet any argument for having a moral relationship with other animals already implicitly assumes the particular superiority of humans, namely our ability to make moral choices.

Edit, yep.

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Dec 4 2006 17:47
revol68 wrote:
oh wise the fuck up!

Temper, temper...

revol68 wrote:
It's not exactly the underground railroad or the Paris Commune. Animals don't have any concept of oppression or torture, they are reacting they have no ability nor ability to construct a different world.

This is where the problem for most animal rightists comes in, on one hand they emphasis how humans are no better than the rest of the animal kingdom yet any argument for having a moral relationship with other animals already implicitly assumes the particular superiority of humans, namely our ability to make moral choices.

I think the relevant common ground between humanity and the rest of the animal kingdom is the ability to experience pain and distress and, more over, to attempt and resist it. No, they won't be setting up a new society (unless we get out of the way, and that's only stop-gap, some other hairless ape will evolve eventually and take our place), but neither will quadriplegics. Not a good enough reason to snub them.

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Joseph Kay
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Dec 4 2006 18:05
gurrier wrote:
Joseph K. wrote:
and what health implications, btw?

It's more difficult to have a diet which supplies the required nutrients to the body if you avoid meat. Hence, an elimination of meat from the diet of the species would result in a marked decline in human health.

non sequiter mate, your assumption being that people who do eat meat already have a healthy balanced diet, which is bollocks. i mean i don't attach any political weight to my dietary choices, and don't see a moral problem with predation per se, but your argument doesn't follow.

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Joseph Kay
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Dec 4 2006 18:08
tojiah wrote:
I think the relevant common ground between humanity and the rest of the animal kingdom is the ability to experience pain and distress and, more over, to attempt and resist it. No, they won't be setting up a new society (unless we get out of the way, and that's only stop-gap, some other hairless ape will evolve eventually and take our place), but neither will quadriplegics. Not a good enough reason to snub them.

iirc, even some single-celled organisms exhibit 'behaviour' like avoiding harm, so i don't think that argument's enough really.

Mike Harman
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Dec 4 2006 19:29
Joseph K. wrote:
gurrier wrote:
Joseph K. wrote:
and what health implications, btw?

It's more difficult to have a diet which supplies the required nutrients to the body if you avoid meat. Hence, an elimination of meat from the diet of the species would result in a marked decline in human health.

non sequiter mate, your assumption being that people who do eat meat already have a healthy balanced diet, which is bollocks. i mean i don't attach any political weight to my dietary choices, and don't see a moral problem with predation per se, but your argument doesn't follow.

Plus a massive reduction in (not elimination of) meat consumption would allow for a higher quantity of food production given the additional land space required to produce most livestock (which means extra water and energy inputs as well).

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Tacks
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Dec 4 2006 19:35
gurrier wrote:
[craziness]

Man, you're crazy!

dara
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Dec 4 2006 20:03
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Veganism is an awkward and usually ill-thought out stage that most people trying to fit in with the euro-punk scene go through to prove themselves, little more. A minority stick with it into later life

homes, don't make blanket statements like that. i happen to have pretty well thought-out ideas about my diet, which have nothing to do with issuing moral commandments about what people 'should' do. Jaysus, its about how we want to create ourselves through our relationships to the world.

and gurrier, that whole animal rights tirade is total ninnyflappery. I heard one story about some eejit who did want to stop animals eating other animals, but the story was told within a group of vegetarians/vegans as a joke. You may have noticed that I've never attempted to tell you to stop eating meat/animal products in the pub comrade, yet i am fairly solidly vegan. Its a personal choice, nothing to do with how i see revolutionary change occurring.

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Dec 4 2006 20:19
Joseph K. wrote:
tojiah wrote:
I think the relevant common ground between humanity and the rest of the animal kingdom is the ability to experience pain and distress and, more over, to attempt and resist it.
...

iirc, even some single-celled organisms exhibit 'behaviour' like avoiding harm, so i don't think that argument's enough really.

Can single-celled organisms be said to expeirence pain or distress in any meaningful manner?

Hell, if I was going on avoidance alone, I'd have to stick to minerals.

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Dec 4 2006 20:21
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Jaysus, its about how we want to create ourselves through our relationships to the world.

Okay now i've no idea what its about. I thought it was about not wanting to support the agricultural industry cos of cow rape etc.

dara
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Dec 4 2006 20:26

talkin bout my own particular perspective there, should have made that clearer. but i think calling it a 'stage' is pretty reductive. anyway, i think there is a certain common thread in a lot of vegans as to reconceiving themselves. not everyone whatever. but either way, i don't think my not supporting the dairy industry makes any difference to them, and i'm not interested in trying to build a boycott against them.

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Dec 4 2006 20:34
dara wrote:
its about how we want to create ourselves through our relationships to the world.

is this a fancy way of saying 'you are what you eat'?

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Dec 4 2006 20:38
dara wrote:
talkin bout my own particular perspective there, should have made that clearer. but i think calling it a 'stage' is pretty reductive. anyway, i think there is a certain common thread in a lot of vegans as to reconceiving themselves. not everyone whatever. but either way, i don't think my not supporting the dairy industry makes any difference to them, and i'm not interested in trying to build a boycott against them.

are you drunk? these sentences don't make sense.

dara
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Dec 4 2006 20:53

hmm. that is quite illegible. let me put it better.

i think the things we do in life make us what we are. diet is one of these things, and a fairly integral lifestyle choice. I guess you could say 'you are what you eat' but i think its a bit more complex than that. Dietary patterns are a constitutive part of identity, forming class, ethnic, racial, and gender distinctions. So it is interesting to see how people consciously change their dietary patterns as part of a way of consciously shaping their identities.

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Dec 4 2006 21:02
tojiah wrote:
Can single-celled organisms be said to expeirence pain or distress in any meaningful manner?

i don't know, how do you define 'meaningful'?

makaira
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Dec 4 2006 21:05

This thread is crazy, so of course I'll have to leave a comment.

Saying that it's more difficult to have a vegetarian diet that provides the proper nutrients to sustain a healthy life is true. It is harder. It's also harder to fight for the rights of workers then merely allowing the elites to rule. Does that mean that one shouldn't seek change? What I'm merely saying is that because it is much more difficult to have a well sustained vegetarian diet now doesn't follow that eating meat is healthier, it is merely illustrating the convenience of meat to our diets in today's market. We're anarchists, which one of us is really content with today's market? "No one," is probably the correct answer.

As was said before, growing crop is a much more efficient use of land than grazing animals. So, in actuality, it is much easier to have a well sustained and nutritious diet (if knowledgeable of what this consists of) through resources that do not involve grazing.

I'm not an animal rights activist, but I am a vegetarian. Having said this, I do not believe that mistreatment of animals should be tolerated unless doing otherwise provides such an inconvenience to the human that it interferes with his or her ability to sustain a healthy life. I'm sure this is something that most people can agree on.

dara
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Dec 4 2006 21:14
revol68 wrote:
dara wrote:
hmm. that is quite illegible. let me put it better.

i think the things we do in life make us what we are. diet is one of these things, and a fairly integral lifestyle choice. I guess you could say 'you are what you eat' but i think its a bit more complex than that. Dietary patterns are a constitutive part of identity, forming class, ethnic, racial, and gender distinctions. So it is interesting to see how people consciously change their dietary patterns as part of a way of consciously shaping their identities.

so your basically preaching lifestylist shite that imagines your diet has some sort of political significance. Tell me how eating or not eating meat is constitutive of identity, ehtnicity or gender?

what a charming guy you are.
i'm not preaching anything, merely explaining my diet.

well. an anecdote. when i became vegetarian, my mam started saying all this stuff to me about vegetarian men having lower sperm count and testosterone. which seemed, to a defensive lifestylist like me, as if masculinity and eating meat were fairly connected.

I don't think its at all over reaching the point to look at how meat is made into a token of masculinity. Carol Adams talks about the sexualisation of meat in advertising, which is an interesting approach, but I wouldn't agree with most of her conclusions. Her politics are pretty dire as far as I can see. look at some of the images on this page for example.
http://www.triroc.com/caroladams/slideshow.html

Are you suggesting that diet is without cultural significance?

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 4 2006 21:21

Hi

Quote:
Having said this, I do not believe that mistreatment of animals should be tolerated unless doing otherwise provides such an inconvenience to the human that it interferes with his or her ability to sustain a healthy life. I'm sure this is something that most people can agree on.

What most people can't agree on is what constitutes mistreatment and inconvenience. Any organisation that sets itself up as the moral standard deserves its marginalised status. The fundamental problem is not one of cruelty vs kindness, but of a bourgeois regime of production and power. Apologies for posting on an Irish thread.

Love

LR

dara
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Dec 4 2006 21:22

i don't think i've ever had any of the sort of experience you're alluding to with a crusty girl.

if i went so far as to change my diet, do you not think a silly hairstyle would be in order? so much easier.

i don't want to be too dismissive, but it does seem to me that you are just reacting to europunk silliness.