I’m a practicing vegan.
I am also pro vegan.
Veganism to me is not something I am or have become, but is instead a powerful tool I have fortunate easy access to in the praxis of anti oppression.
Practicing vegan is a term I say now as It comes from a place of understanding the limitations in the system that we have right now.
So don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that the message or label “I’m a vegan” needs to go in the trash. There is room for both, this is about addressing the obstacles in an already vegan movement, and about being more discerning with the meanings behind what we do and why.
Too often the label is confused as a final destination, and the entire identity of someone. Which is why we feel personally attacked and discouraged to change if we are operating in a way that could be better:
Why should I grow, why should I critically, introspectively look at myself when:
a) I’ve already arrived
b) I AM vegan. I AM this body of work. You obviously have a problem with me as a person.
But we always need to keep evolving and learning, and it becomes incredibly dangerous to employ a label by way of meeting prerequisites rather than being a process we just humbly and compassionately always work on.
Veganism does not exist in a vacuum.
So when we start asking each other,
Are you worried about bone char, are you worried about sharing a grill cooking meat, are you worried about your antibiotics, painkillers you have to take, or vaccinations, are you worried about using dollar notes, are you worried about sitting on a leather couch, wearing your leather belt, are you worried about sitting at a table where animals are being consumed, are you worried about the life of a fly, are you worried about emulsifiers..
all of these blurred lines, and this confusion is quickly “resolved” by stacking all our indifference on top of each other until we are left looking at a brick wall, and welp, you’re not vegan enough, or doing enough if you’re on the other side.
We continue to celebrate this notion that ‘giving up’ things which includes in many cases, on top of the consumerist aspects; friends and family members or partners as well, livelyhood, recreation activities, social activities, having a life outside, self care, or being alive at all (cough- antinatalist-cough) is the kind of sacrifice that makes a vegan.
All of this is encouraged no matter what your circumstances are and without any real interest in ones position or access to support and resource to even do such. It all just equals ‘amazing work’.
Truthfully, I think it’s a dangerous type of purity cleansing, which remains to only serve how the individual gets to feel…
“If I worry about all these things, and cleanse my body and living environment, then I get to live with myself. I get to be free from ‘hypocrisy’ and I never have to confront my human privileges again. I have denounced my privileges with my sacrifices. I am reporting this from my island of purity. And I’m not sorry the system won’t support you to do what I do the way it has supported me to do what I do. That’s your problem not mine, but also I’m going to make you feel bad.”
Where are the animals in this advocacy at all? When we are so focused on participation and politically regressive behaviour towards each other that is not at all ambitious in dismantling systems of oppression.
I feel like ‘vegan’ today has moved so far away from its grass roots philosophy that is -allyship
Today it has become a green card that will be removed from you if you don’t tick all the boxes. And those who are deciding what qualifies as vegan and what doesn’t, when looking at the demographic of people who openly advocate these politics are all people who have privilege. When I say privilege, I refer to people who do not experience disenfranchisement based on skin colour, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disabilities. Right of the bat, without any real critical application, that should be enough information to say hang on, this can’t be right. Look around you, in your groups of purity cleansing and ask yourself who are you left sitting with. If it’s looking predominately white, male, able bodied-
I mean. Do I really have to finish that sentence..
That’s called eliteism not veganism.
We quickly forget (conveniently forget) that we actually don’t all have the choices we believe we do. Everything we buy and the way we live has been choosen for us. How we move through the world is never a shared narrative. We are not equal within these constructs. You know this already because you’re vegan.
It’s time we stop fronting with these ideas and stop placing all ownership entirely of the deaths of animals on individuals while the real problem; The Systems *sips on tea.
We all live in a system that we can’t change fundamentally, which is why we have to make compromises.
And I’m just going to throw this one out there; People shouldn’t have to live on rice and beans, it’s cute that you think it’s the solution, but it’s actually a very narrow view on how oppression operates. To have the audacity to even say that while you’re enjoying your $8.99 box of organic flaxseed crackers from whole foods paired with a tub of hommus -upholds classism as it vilifys each other for all the various ways we are not experiencing life equally, rather than just saying, actually I understand why today you’re living with these decisions to wear your belt until it’s broke, eat that packet of crackers with the palm oil, or buy the budget bread with the emulsifiers, i understand why today, you’re dealing with a myriad of circumstances that prevent you from living a certain way, and I think we all deserve to live by our morals so collectively let’s put the conversations of access and support into our framework, so that we can really begin to challenge what expansions as a fully inclusive equality minding resistance should look like. Thats an outcome worth our energy more than vetting each other in order to wear a label based on autocratic arbitrary lines in the sand.
Practicing vegan or being pro vegan does not mean giving a hall pass to everyone to just continue being complicit in the ongoing oppressions of animals, it means that we nurture each other, show compassion for each other, and do not operate under another system that runs as a dictatorship, no different from the systems that already exist. Believe it or not- that’s radical
This wave is love.
We got love.
Rabbit hole 👇🏽