In Part 1 of this article I look at some of the minuses that are occurring in our movement in recent times. In Part 2, I will put forward a “vegan business plan” - a group of ideas – to move us forward in a positive and successful manner for the animals, for the planet and for ourselves.
Frankly, in 2014 the movement has never achieved greater success in “standing still” at the very best and, “going backwards) at the very worst. We have problems.
Harsh words? Yes.
As a movement we are currently rudderless in a sea of self-doubt and confusion. We are trying to be all things to humanity and to the animals. We have become universal soldiers fighting battles on numerous fronts that ultimately are exercises in futilty ( that even promote speciesism in some cases), that renders us easy targets for the animal exploiter's snipers.
We are cleverer than that.
Our movement in 2014, needs more: we need a plan.
With a good plan we can not only win against the might of factory farming but we can also win against other animal exploiters too.
(More about this in Part 2.)
So, let us look at some of the “minuses” that are inhibiting our growth as a successful, effective movement.
TOO MUCH IN- FIGHTING. Generally speaking, there are two main groups welfarists and the abolitionists. Essentially, to win against Big Ag, we either have to reach common ground or go our separate ways. The in-fighting between (groups and individuals0 is handicapping the movement.
NO CENTRAL FOCUS. A lot of activists (myself included) have tried to juggle multiple campaigns. It doesn't work. There is a very simple solution (see Part 2).
THE MOVEMENT HAS NO LEADERSHIP. Actually, this is not a minus. In many ways it is advantageous. The power of the individual is awesome in today's world of instant communication – your can and will be heard. However, it is essential for the vegan activist to have common and agreed upon goals. To win, we all have to be heading in the one direction, no ifs or buts.
TO SELL AN ETHICAL MOVEMENT WE NEED TO USE ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR. We have to be honest and credible in our educative pursuits. At all times we have to check our sources of information and research, research, research!
WE LACK ORIGINALITY. Every day on social media we see the same pics, quotes and videos regurgitated. (Ideas to change this in Part 2).
WE HAVE TO DISTANCE OURSELVES FROM THOSE ORGANISATIONS THAT ARE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY. This is vital. These organisations are in bed with the enemy. They promote welfare protocols (cage-free, bigger gestation crates, etc.)
that only benefits the economic bottom line of the producers and fills the coffers of those organisations. In addition, in relation to other social movements, veganism is marginalised because, in part, to the sexism and racism displayed in some campaigns by the greedy “elite”.
FANATICISM HAS TO BE TEMPERED. Fanatical behaviour scares people. It gives our detractors an excuse to ignore us.
SUPPORTING NON-ETHICAL COMPANIES. Just as I never go to a butcher's shop, there is no way I would knowingly support any company that sells meat products – even if they introduced the world's best veggie burger. (More about “economic activism” in Part 2.)
VIOLENCE. There is no place in an ethical vegan movement for violence.
WE NEED MORE POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT/ENGAGEMENT. This is the way of the future. If we are ever going to realise long-term change, we need to make our voices omnipresent in the political arena.
DON'T PREACH, EDUCATE. It is not hard to be vegan. If, however, you are a vegan involved with advocacy, it is a long, frustrating road. Beset with many challenges, but also rewarding. Preaching achieves nothing. Patience, understanding and being non-judgmental are the keys. As well as leading by example.
SINGLE ISSUE CAMPAIGNS. This is a vexatious issue that stirs passions. Most single issue campaigns never have a strong vegan message and this is unforgivable. If you take the time and effort to be active in a particular campaign, it is imperative that veganism be promoted.
The vegan movement is a “business” like no other business. We are (or should be) in the business of trying to save the lives of billions of sentient beings, not to mention the planet.
I, we, all of us have to do better. We need a plan.
See “The Vegan Business Plan, (Part 2) in May
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