Hope you like it....
Trinity College Dublin's Vegan Society organised a "Vegan Day" (12th March, 2019) and I was asked to deliver my Vegan Pioneers Rock! talk as an introduction to the history of veganism as a social movement.
Hope you like it....
It was my pleasure to take part in a recent day of action and evening of talks, organised by Oppressed and Unheard, and featuring VEGO (Vegan Education on the Go) and VIP (Vegan Information Project).
This is the talk and the Q&A. Hope you enjoy them both.
My SMTN is happening right now. When I read and taught social movement theory, I learnt about the problems caused when a social movement takes off, and lots of people join. There's a probability that these new recruits do not share the same vision as the people who began the movement - or they adhere to a version of what the movement stands for.
This, I believe, is what has happened to the vegan social movement over several years. In recent times, I've been concerned to make known the views and radical vision of the people who started the British vegan movement in the 1940s and 1950s. The radicalism that they represent is being lost to various forms of reducetarianism, including the "the vegan for the animals (only)" people.
In recent months and years I have found myself trying to explain to these "animals only" folks that they are out of step with the movement's founders. Some responses have been blunt: "F*** the founders," I was told. So, it's the SMTN in action - activists who reject (and, most often, have absolutely no idea about) the vision of the movement's founders are now telling us what veganism is all about. Frankly, it is not a veganism I recognise.
They are often so ignorant of the history of their own movement that I'm sure they think that veganism starts and ends with human-hater, Gary Yourofsky. But Yourofsky showed little sign that he knew anything of the revolutionary views of the people who founded our movement. Even if he did, he would reject those views because of his hatred of humanity. In contrast, the pioneers of the vegan movement believed that humanity is in crisis - but that veganism is the solution to the problem. They didn't regard human animals as parasites as Yourofsky does: they saw the philosophy of veganism as the vehicle to bring about the positive moral evolution of humanity, thereby saving humans, as well as liberating other animals from human oppression.
Most recently, because I refuse to hold the "animals only" version of veganism, I was told that I'm not a vegan at all - but am some sort of "plant-based" person. As an ethical vegan since 1979, I find being lectured on my position by people who are effectively hijacking the vegan movement both dangerous and appalling.
I think it is time to fight for the heart and soul of the vegan social movement. Please watch the video below which provides an outline of the vision of the vegan pioneers - the people who began OUR movement.
Are we going to let a bunch of newbies take the vegan movement away from us?
Dr. Roger Yates is a rights advocate and sociologist