Fw: <alter-ee> Introducing . . . . . FREE RADICAL from L.A.Kauffman

Gordon Fitch gcf at panix.com
Wed Mar 8 22:20:08 PST 2000

Gordon Fitch wrote:
> >The people who were busted in the ruins of Esperanza a few
> >nights ago are the very same vegans some of you have been
> >putting down and are still putting down as redolent of Nazi
> >ideology. I spoke to two of them at Food Not Bombs last
> >Sunday; both of them had been beaten up, and their friends
> >were still in jail.
> >
> >So, people want to stand in their light now? Ironies abound.

Doug Henwood:
> Hey, look, it's one thing to say that an obsession with health and
> purity can have unpleasant political associations, and another to say
> that vegans are crypto-Nazis. Even though I like hamburgers, I'm full
> of admiration for the garden-occupiers.

Carrol Cox:
> The objection (and the comparison with the Nazis) is a very narrow
> one: It is an objection to making vegetarianism a political principle.
> As a political principle it can only triumph through totalitarian means.
> It brings to politics the same bloodthirstiness that the Trinity brought
> to theology. This is the usual result of any attempt to impose an
> abstract moralism on society as a whole. There were many martyrs
> in defense of the trinity. I have as little respect for martyrs in the
> cause of vegetarianism as I have for martyrs in the cause of the
> trinity.
> And incidentally -- the very realistic thesis that cruelty to animals
> should be resisted is endlessly confused by moralistic vegetarians.
> I have worked with many vegetarians quite happily -- but they
> were all vegetarians who chose that diet as a personal choice,
> not as a political principle or ethical proposition.

I assure you that the people in Food Not Bombs think that the question of whether or not it is good to eat meat and wear fur is both an ethical and a political question, although being anarchists (I think) I doubt if they mean to resolve it by totalitarian means.

As it happens, the system of events which led up to the scene at Esperanza began with the FNB supporting (that is, feeding) a benefit for the Animal Defense League at C Squat. The Animal Defense League is not like PETA -- they break the windows of fur stores and disrupt fashion shows and go to jail, yet again, it seems, the venue of choice for the conscience of, uh, humanity. Apparently this confluence of historical forces thinks animals have a _right_ not to be harmed, just as they think people have a _right_ to eat and a _right_ to be housed, in a world which hasn't been wrecked and poisoned by capitalists and their fascistic politician-servitors. (Forgive me for dipping into liberal terminology, but as I said, we're sort of stuck with it.) As far as I can see, they're on the front line -- one of the few effective front lines we've got at the moment.

Clearly, if they're falling into the grip of Nazi demons we _owe_ it to them to straighten them out and warn them from the abyss. As an old crank I might be able to, ah, guide them to the light, eh? Or at least provide a few moments' humor. However, that requires evidence and reason, not disparagment and effacement. Obscure chains of association running through Hitler's dog and turn-of-the-century German nature romanticism will not do. These kids are smart, unlike the idiots I ran around with forty years ago. They might even be smarter than me.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list