Really Knowing and Interfering in Reality

Marv Wheale

Species are socially composed by human animals into a vertical chain of worth.  Species, gender, class, race, ability, size and age structures of nations are material extensions of patriarchal logic.  Vegan Feminism is the way onward and upward.

Assigned “edible animals” have a unique type of non-status in the species pyramid of patriarchy that is obscured by generic terms like speciesism and human supremacy.  These animals share no allowable claims to personhood and space; they are treated as a horde not as individuals; most of the places they inhabit are unlivable.

Another feature of consumable animals is that they are a mainstay of “men” made structures across time and location.  Whichever human animal society you study, – tribal, spiritual, religious, monarchical, feudal, nation state, capitalist, etc – has been built on the use of these animals and their secretions.

Capitalism, for instance, is dependent on food designated animals to achieve and reproduce itself.  Inducting them is not simply adding another product to the economic system.  Eating flesh (and plants) fuels both capital and labor to carry out their unequal power roles.  Huge profits are made by businessmen in the purchase and sale of bodies, dismembered parts, human labor, land, buildings, machinery, insurance, feed grains, fertilizers, water systems, fossil fuels, electrical power, transport, veterinarian skills, pharmaceuticals, human healthcare (to deal with the symptoms of eating other animals) and funeral industry services. The wealth gained is spent in part to boost more growth in buying and selling death, contributing to the expansion of the whole economy. 

Some theorists think capital is structurally indifferent to edibly purposed animals in the process of production and reproduction.  The hypothesis maintains that capitalism has no innate requirement for animals but merely makes use of them as opportunistic instruments to create another market for profits.  If there was no significant demand for animals in the future due to growing consumer awareness of animal suffering and of impacts on the biosphere, the system would move on to capture more lucrative ventures.

Historically however, in lived practice, “extra-economic” inequalities have always been part of the inner workings of capitalism and key to its dominating and alienating success.  Animal and human animal subjugation is a legacy from pre-capitalist times, a social inheritance baked into capitalism’s nature.  The economic model evolves past oppressive ties in varied ways to suit its own drive for accumulation.

The capitalist productivist mode could not endure without the nation state to regulate it.  Unrestricted market relations would end in a destructive free for all in an economically lawless world.  

In relation to consumable animals, state entities mediate the production and reproduction of such animals for capitalists.  Welfare state provisions/subsidies keep the system hardy, along with cruelty prevention laws (extolled by animal advocacy nonprofits), to ensure animals remain captive to capital use and keep the public content. 

What might we learn about social transfiguration when we start with the premise that eating animals is a keystone to the existence of capitalism, nation-building and male dominance not merely a correlation?  Could it be the adoption of Vegan Feminism, the commitment to veganism and to solidarity with anti-patriarchal-capitalist-racist organizations?

Nonhuman animal welfare fixtures and their fixations have omitted this assessment altogether.  They have dominated public policy shaping for nonhuman animal exploitation redress, without reference to the interconnections between patriarchal capitalism and the consumption of other animals.  Their short-sighted step-by-step proposals to the government and industry are otherwise known as incrementalism and siloing. Championing veganism and human equality coalitions in unison, as the solutions to animal and human animal oppression, go against the establishment’s standard practice of fundraising, publication, and lobbying to reduce harm.  What becomes of redress when mediocrity and decontextualizing injustice are the plan for change?

A Vegan Feminist paradigm recognizes eaten animals’ full structural position in the world through authentic ways of seeing, knowing and interceding.

*The revelations of this piece are not original to me

Veganism, Degrowth and Redistribution

Bird subsumed in oil spill

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).

Chicken corpses on conveyor belt

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.

Free vegan food being offered at a Food Not Bombs tabling

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.