Frederick Douglass monument

Abolitionist Winter Viewing List—2019

History holds a treasure trove of resources for vegan, abolitionist, animal rights activists, but many of these resources remain untapped by the movement.  This omission can, one hopes, be partly remedied through articles and film dramatizations pointing to information about moments in history from which readers and viewers can extract valuable lessons, glean techniques, and draw moral support.

Pride house

Humane National Committee (USA): Class B seat clusters published for 30-day public-comment period

In 2018, the overall parameters for the Humane National Committee were finalized by the Humane Party after expiration of the associated public-comment period and internal review. Assignment for the seats of Class A, which takes a geography-based approach related to that used in the U.S. House of Representatives, was also finalized after public comment and review. Proposed seat clusters for Class B are today published through The Humane Herald for public comment. The public is invited to comment on these proposed seats during the next 30 days.

Veganizing the Great Works—the “Classics”—of Literature

While subjection to speciesism may be required by physical and political forces in the real world, no such necessity holds in imaginary worlds.  The author, editor, and publisher of a story, a play, a novel, a poem, a song, a movie script, a video game, or some other piece of literature wield plenary power over the manufactured universe in which that piece is set.  If we want readers and viewers to escape from speciesism, even just for a little while and even just in their imaginations, we can enable that escape by keeping speciesism and animal exploitation out of literature altogether.  This end can be achieved both (i) by writing new works that are, from the outset, free from anthropocentric and speciesist content and (ii) by editing existing works to meet that criterion.

Personhood, Yes—But “Peoplehood,” Too

In support of the Humane Party‘s zoocracy concept and model, the present article seeks to offer a conceptual framework that may be regarded as fully including personhood but also as being more comprehensive, with respect to the goal of animal protection, than that of personhood alone, namely, that of “peoplehood.”  Personhood does not necessarily imply peoplehood, and, without recognition of this latter concept—recognition of other animals’ cultures, their relationships, their languages and communication styles, their full-fledged existence, dignity, and sovereignty as other “peoples”—animal-protection measures will tend to be severely under-inclusive in theory and under-performing in practice.

Zoocracy:  Placing Permanent Political Power—Yes, the Vote—in the Paws, Claws, and Jaws of Other Species

Zoocracy is a representative form of government in which members of all sentient species—not just homo sapiens—hold permanent political power of equal dignity.  Zoocracy is akin to democracy, in that decisions are made by vote of an enfranchised population.  But democracy pertains to an enfranchised population that is limited to humans, whereas zoocracy extends the franchise to all species.

A Christmas Carol (Dickens) | Fantasy Literature for Activists #3

The present article marks the third installment of the “Mythology and Fantasy Literature for Activists” series.  The story of A Christmas Carol has been presented, re-made, copied, and imitated in so many forms that it and its progeny serve as perennial landmarks of the modern Christmas tradition.  The essential event and theme Dickens permanently installed into this tradition—personal transformation and redemption as a result of new insight—has many features to which vegans can relate, and revisiting this story can serve to prompt reflections on and new insights regarding one’s life choices for modern activists just as it has for several generations of other readers and viewers over the last 150 years.

Vegan Literary Theory and Criticism: Toward a “Literature of Their Own”

This article briefly proposes an initial framework for articulating and formalizing a literary theory informed by the values of veganism and ahimsa and for applying that theory through literary criticism of individual works of literature. “Literature” here is broadly construed so as to include fiction and non-fiction written and spoken material as well as works in the fine and performing arts and in all expressive media, from painting and sculpture to audio and video recordings to video games and computer-generated simulations.

Mythology and Fantasy Literature for Activists #2: Watership Down

The first installment of this “Mythology and Fantasy Literature for Activists” series sought to introduce the potential value of mythology and fantasy literature for activists. Examining such literature may yield insights that reading history alone may not readily provide, particularly when one faces a challenge that, as far as the historical record goes, has never been overcome. Since animal emancipationists face just such a challenge, this potential value is, in the present author’s view, worth exploring. The previous article provided an example of a possible gleaning from Tolkien’s mythology-rich universe in which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy are set. The present article continues to explore fantasy and mythology as a source of insights and inspiration for activists by means of another example.

Mythology and Fantasy Literature

Mythology and Fantasy Literature: A Role in Activism

In seeking to abolish the property status of other animals, animal rights activists are pursuing a hitherto unattained goal: no human culture, at least to the author’s knowledge, has ever achieved animal emancipation and personhood. In short, modern abolitionists can rely upon no roadmap drawn by “someone who’s been there.” But analogy and vicarious experience can help serve at least some of the functions of a roadmap. The present article begins to explore fantasy and mythology and the types of teachings one might take from fictional worlds and tales.