I’ve waited a few days before commenting to review the other comments made. Thanks to Terry and Jonah who have taken the time to look at the situation and look at my position in the round and not jump to conclusions. They explain my position well: appreciated.
It’s been said that we need “more money in the animal advocacy movement.” I completely agree with that. However, setting aside that we’ll probably not have anything like the resources available to the animal user industries for a good long time, there is quite a lot of money in the animal movement. The question that begs is: where does it go – and what is the tradition of the funding structure of the animal movement?
The money has always been funnelled by and large into the large national groups and generally AWAY from the grassroots. To answer the point made about Nathan Runkle and Juliet Gellatley (MfA and VIVA!), since the 1980s I have been critical of the money train that is the national group structure. We have a power elite in the animal movement and that, indeed, is shockingly counter-revolutionary. We need an empowered and enabled mass grassroots movement of critically-thinking activists who don’t follow the rules and who don’t follow “leaders,” or “prime movers” as sociologist would have it.
In the 1980s, I helped to start the Federation of Local Animal Groups which was dedicated to critique and change the funding structure of the movement and develop and financially serve the grassroots. I don’t expect George Martin to know this because, if I’ve learned anything in my time as a vegan since 1979, it’s that participants in this social movement are wilfully ignorant of the movement’s history. I’ve seen claims – quite serious claims, apparently – that Gary Yourofsky began the vegan movement! It seems that activists’ knowledge of their own movement stretches back an impressive four to five years max, which is why the new vegan entrepreneurs are regarded as some sort of “veterans” of the movement, and Yourofsky their king.
Gary Yourofsky wasn’t born when the vegan social movement was born in the 1940s. He was two years old when Ronnie Lee (and if you are thinking, “who,” then you make my point) began to live vegan. He was nine years old when I became vegan.
So, since the 1980s, there have been critical voices about the national group structure –its waste, its duplication, its counter-revolutionary set-up. And now, apparently, 21st century vegans want to replicate all this repression within what they regard as the new grassroots of the movement.
It was said that we need media campaigns. Check out Go Vegan World and, maybe, you may find that media campaigning is already in existence. Go Vegan World was launched in 2015, so that may be ancient history for many of you. It specialises in massive billboard campaigning, ads on trams, buses, and trains, ads at bus stops, and TV ads during sports events.
Finally, I apologise with hindsight for using the term “minimum wages, maximum hours.” I clearly failed to see how it would be misread and/or deliberately distorted. I certainly did NOT mean some government version of minimum wages. There is a little history to this. Back in the day, when there were probably hundreds of grassroots “full-time activists,” the activists would fund themselves by being long-term “unemployed.” Unemployed is a grossly misleading term, however.
I have vivid memories of activists being able to ring each other at any time of the day, including in the middle of the night, if other animals were in need. I remember people like Dave Callender (“who”) of the HSA up at 4am to complete work for the Hunt Saboteurs. This is all before the ease of the internet, of course. What I am saying is that the “unemployed” activists I knew were among the hardest working people I have ever known. My own brother once remarked that I worked much harder than he did, yet I was officially unemployed and he had a job.
So, I get it – long-term "unemployment" is probably not feasible now. That’s why I am not opposed to animal advocates being paid. What I mean by “minimum wages/maximum hours” is that people should fairly and very honestly assess their needs, and take **no more** than they need. In the 1980s, a pensioner would regularly approach our outreach events in Liverpool. Back then, we showed videos with a large TV, VCR player, and a petrol-driven generator. She was tearful and really heartbroken on every visit, saying things like, “oh dear, is this still going on?”
She would donate a pound coin in our collection box every time and, in the 1980s, that was a lot of money. I was on the executive committee of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection then, and I, in turn, was heartbroken having to claim my £12.50 travel expenses to attend the monthly committee meetings. I would think of the old tearful woman and her pound coin donations.
So, I think of money that comes into the movement as belonging to the [other] animals and in defence of their rights and, in that sense, we should damn well be extremely careful how we use every penny – and spread as much money about within the grassroots as possible.
If people read this and still think I’m all or any of the negative, sometimes ageist, things they’ve said about me, then so be it.