By Marv Wheale
The Vegan Feminist Network is dedicated to scrutinizing the interconnections among speciesism, genderism, heterosexism, colonialism, racism, poverty, disablism, ageism, sizeism, ecocide….. Today I would like to concisely examine some related elements that could exercise a role in overcoming these structures of subordination.
We know that veganism is the credible stance to take against the ideology and praxis of human supremacy. Yet when we practice and promote a vegan way of life within capitalism, veganism stands unopposed to the continuation of economic inequality, middle class values/lifestyles, the larger systems of animal use and ecological erosion (obviously vegans do mitigate these troubles to a limited extent).
For veganism to succeed and not be isolationist it must be anti-capitalist and degrowth. Though socialism may resolve economic class divisions, it’s emphasis on growing the economy puts a strain on ecosystems, nonhuman species habitats and climate (possibly as much as capitalist development). Mining, industrial agriculture, intensive logging and fossil use are integral parts of many socialist agendas, except the green kinds. Perpetual production growth is a dead end for a liveable planet.
Compulsory societal wide frugal living is required for securing biosphere sustainability and enhancement.
We could call it “revolutionary simplicity”. But how do we end indigence with economic contraction? Don’t the poor need growth to have a dignified life?
Not in the conventional sense. Improving employment, wages, living conditions, local vegan food production, education, public health and transportation and providing clean water don’t have the same devastating impacts on nature as aggregate expansion for private or government gain.
Dispersing wealth evenly, vegan living, green energy, social housing, workers’ cooperatives, working less hours, men care-giving instead of worshipping porn and sports teams, cultivating talents, idle contemplation and revelry are types of progress that don’t ravage the earth and living beings like commercial extractivist societies do.
Redistribution, economic democracy, animal/human animal equality, producing and consuming less, and post-growth economies would be powerful forms of intergroup solidarity and justice for all.
Veganist degrowth and redistribution is not a full-grown theory, plan of action or affiliation. It is nonetheless worth exploring and perilous to dismiss. Something nonvegan socialists and capitalists should adopt as well.
Dreamer? Climate disruption, environmental despoliation, destitution and war may force us to take radical measures. Now is the time to spread the conversation to raise consciousness to act for a nonviolent transition.
Marv is a moderator for the Vegan Feminist Network Facebook page.