FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis

Writing at RenewAmerica, Cliff Kinkaid takes Angela Davis to task for “going vegan” (“Black Power icon goes vegan to save animals,” September 21, 2016). Rather than actually consider the extreme torture and grizzly slaughter of animals perpetrated by humans, Kinkaid seems wedded to the standard tactics of other animal oppressors — basing his attack solely on innuendo, deflection, guilt by association, and flat out falsehoods.

The very title of the article implies that Davis’s veganism is some new whim she’s seized onto in order to gain relevance. In fact, Davis first alluded to her veganism as far back as 2012 in a speech at the Empowering Women of Color Conference, where she stated that animal liberation is inextricably interwoven with other anti-oppression movements. She simply doesn’t talk much about it, she said.

By implying that Davis has only recently “gone vegan,” Kinkaid uses the tried and true approach of distracting from the issue at hand — the plight of non-human animals, who die by the hundreds of billions each year thanks to uncontrollable human greed and bloodlust. Kinkaid’s smears don’t stop there. He goes on to list a litany of causes Davis is connected with: communism, Islam, Black Lives Matter, prison abolition, and anti-capitalism. He even goes so far as to call Davis PETA’s new poster-child; PETA, an organization he says “places the rights of animals above human needs,” a laughable claim to anyone remotely familiar with PETA. By spending most of his article tying Davis to movements and entities Kinkaid considers disreputable, Kinkaid hopes the reader’s takeaway about animal liberation and veganism will remain obscured and uninformed.

Kinkaid’s broadside against Davis really isn’t anything to write home about, though. His brand of obfuscation is yet one more contribution to a repugnant and repressive anti-animal worldview held by the masses. Kinkaid, however distasteful his Professional Patriot shtick, presents what’s basically the same smokescreen-as-justification that most readers of this article do themselves at the dinner table each night.

Kinkaid’s purposeful ignorance of the injustice done to animals — the routinized beating, knifing, raping, burning, boiling, skinning, electrocution and countless other modes of torture and dominance employed — is to be expected. Nobody should be surprised by a racist, climate denying, pro-war, Christian fundamentalist, covering up atrocities against animals. But for anarchists, libertarians, progressives and others of the Left, partaking in or making excuses for the unspeakable crimes committed against animals — who have an interest in their continued existence, their families, and their habitats — is utterly beyond the pale. For those who claim to be passionate about justice for all, while at the same time contributing to the mass slaughter of animals, shame on you. Rutgers law professor Gary Francione aptly labels this “moral schizophrenia.”

No doubt, many will characterize any vegan or animal advocacy as secular zealotry. While animal liberationists are at least tolerated by some on the Left, harsher treatment is reserved for vegans, despite their actions being a far more passive means of protest than outright liberation of confined animals. That is because causing friends, family, and other members of one’s community, to pause and consider, for the briefest moment, the gruesomeness that brings food to their table, is the ultimate spoiler. It is taboo — tantamount to putting a mirror in front of a person who must see their true self.

Would otherwise compassionate social justice activists minimize or mock the oppression of racial, sexual, ethnic or other minorities? Yet when a challenge to the barbarism of one’s dinner plate is put forth, defense by any means necessary is employed by both Right and Left. Says Davis: “The food we eat masks so much cruelty. The fact that we can sit down and eat a piece of chicken without thinking about the horrendous conditions under which chickens are industrially bred in this country is a sign of the dangers of capitalism, how capitalism has colonized our minds. The fact that we look no further than the commodity itself, the fact that we refuse to understand the relationships that underlie the commodities that we use on a daily basis…food is like that.”

Forget about Kinkaid and his ilk. They’re beyond reform. It’s time we on the Left stop patting ourselves on the back for yelling loudly about the injustice du jour with a mouth stuffed full of it.

More articles by:

Chad Nelson is senior editor at the Center for a Stateless Society. He’s an attorney based out of Providence, Rhode Island and a Fellow at C4SS. He considers himself one of the world’s biggest Pearl Jam fans despite their blind obedience to the Obama administration. Follow him on Twitter @cnels43.

August 16, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
“Don’t Be Stupid, Be a Smarty”: Why Anti-Authoritarian Doctors Are So Rare
W. T. Whitney
New Facebook Alliance Endangers Access to News about Latin America
Sam Husseini
The Trump-Media Logrolling
Ramzy Baroud
Mission Accomplished: Why Solidarity Boats to Gaza Succeed Despite Failing to Break the Siege
Larry Atkins
Why Parkland Students, Not Trump, Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize
William Hartung
Donald Trump, Gunrunner for Hire
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Morality Tales in US Public Life?
Yves Engler
Will Trudeau Stand Up to Mohammad bin Salman?
Vijay Prashad
Samir Amin: Death of a Marxist
Binoy Kampmark
Boris Johnson and the Exploding Burka
Eric Toussaint
Nicaragua: The Evolution of the Government of President Daniel Ortega Since 2007 
Adolf Alzuphar
Days of Sagebrush, Nights of Jasmine in LA
Robert J. Burrowes
A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival
August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omarosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail