Let’s Talk About Activism

Let’s Talk About Activism

We are being told by other vegans that “we” need to be “active” and do some “activism”.

Though, do you need to be yelling at people, wearing a mask or gaffa tape over your mouth to be an “activist”?

Or are there other forms of activism that a person could do to promote veganism or animal rights.

What is Activism?

Before we start talking about the different types of “activism”, we need to understand what “activism” actually is.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “activism” as:

a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue

* political activism

* environmental activism

borrowed from German Aktivismus, from aktiv active + -ismus -ism

 

What Types Of “Activism” Is There?

Now this is where it gets interesting.

To some, the ONLY form of activism there is are things like “Cube of Truth” or “Direct Action Everywhere”. Or last week’s poorly thought out Beerburrum piggery protest.

Except it isn’t.

There are any number of things that can be done that are type of activism.

Wearing A Pro-Vegan T-Shirt

This in itself is a form of activism as it exposes people to veganism. We know from marketing and Google’s Zero Moment of Truth, that consumers need a certain number of exposures to an idea/product/service before they are ready to buy.

Wearing simple, non offensive vegan t-shirt can help with increasing awareness of veganism.

Making A Plant-Based Meal

Yes, I do understand that this isn’t exactly promoting veganism, though as food plays such a major part of our social activities it does help to bust the “nothing but lettuce” myth surrounding veganism.

Something that I do, is when I have a business meeting with a client, I request that they order something that is vegan suitable. I have also found that most chefs are actually eager to do this as it gives them a chance to exercise their creativity, and make something they are passionate about.

Of course, this all depends on the type of place that you are eating at, and how you bring this request up with the wait staff.

Then during the meal, once business is out of the way, the conversation usually turns to questions about why I am vegan, how long, etc. It isn’t too hard to have a rights based discussion with them when they have brought up the subject.

Tabling

This is where you set up a table at a market or event, and have conversations with people when they turn up.

The Vegan Information Project are a good example this.

This is different to “cube” events as there are no mask, “suffering” videos, etc.

 

Become a supporter

Have you thought about becoming a supporter of the Vegan Police?

Start A Blog or Podcast

I genuinely believe that this is the best form of activism that a person can do.

You can do it under your own name or create a nom de plume, you can have your own blog or guest post on someone else’s.

Why do I recommend blogging and podcasting?

For the simple fact that it gives the best return on investment (ROI).

All you need to do is write/record something once, and as long as the website is hosted somewhere it will be online. (There are free podcast hosts so you don’t even need to pay to have your podcast online).

For example, this article I wrote in 2014 still gets traffic from search engines.

If you structure your posts right, they will start creeping up the rankings and may even appear on page 1.

Now compare this to attending a “cube” event.

They usually last 3 hours. If we include 30 mins travel time there and back, total time is 4 hrs.

Multiply that by the 30 people who attend these events and you have 120 hours spent on an activity where once it is over, it’s over. (Yes there are some who record their “conversations” and put them on YouTube, though that doesn’t help the person who is faceless behind a mask).

Now consider this article.

It is about 1,000 words, took me about 3 hrs to write. Then once it is published about 20 minutes today to post online in different groups, platforms, etc.

Total time 3hrs 20 minutes. (40 minutes less than a “cube” event).

Now if the 30 people who attended a cube event did the same, and linked to each other’s articles, the reach and SEO power would be so much greater.

The potential audience for this article is worldwide, whereas a “cube’s” audience is only limited to those who are pass by the location at that time. Let’s say 300 people.

120 hours have been used to reach a possible 300 people. In the marketing world, this is a poor ROI.

Compare that to the article I wrote about the movie Lucent in 2014.

As you can see below, in the last 3 years it has been read over 1800 times. And that is with no promotion, outside of VeganPolice.com.au.

Doesn’t that seem like a better ROI to you?

So What Should You Do?

Really, that is up to you.

Do you to be an anonymous backdrop to someone else’s fame, or do you want to make an impact yourself?

If you simply want to yell at or scare people, you probably know what the answer is.

Whereas if you want to create something that you won’t be embarrassed about in a year or two, your best bet is to avoid “cube” events.

One Last Thing

Whatever type of activism you choose to do, you shouldn’t be pressured into doing it.

Nor should you put your own safety at risk. Becoming a martyr for the cause doesn’t help anyone.

It shouldn’t cause you distress, despite what some say, nor should it be something you do to give you life meaning.

Anything that you do end up doing, should be done to promote or create a better understanding of veganism or animal rights, not to make you famous or for your Patreon supporters.

Do We Need Another Animal Welfare Movie?

Do We Need Another Animal Welfare Movie?

The vegan world is abuzz with Dominion fever. The sequel to the previous animal welfare movie that focused on pigs, Lucent.

This new documentary will feature high quality footage of our treatment of other animals. It also claims to feature footage never seen before in Australia.

Though the question should be asked, do we really need another treatment focused movie?

Don’t Traumatise Yourself

If you are already vegan, or about to go vegan, do yourself a favour and don’t see the movie.
If you are going to see it, what do you hope to gain by doing so?

If you want to support the film, director, location, animals, etc. Just give them your ticket.

Don’t put yourself through the trauma of seeing footage you don’t need to see.

Sure, you may be able to boast about it on facebook, and get a few selfies, though is the psychological trauma worth it?

Remember, this trauma may not show itself immediately, or if it does, may appear as something else. Like increased aggression, broken sleep, etc.

If you, or anyone you know is experiencing or thinks you are expereicngin the effects of trauma, please seek help.

What Will It Achieve?

What do you, the vegan, hope to achieve by going to see the film?

Do you want to maintain your rage against humanity?
If this is the case, then it probably isn’t a good idea that you go an see the movie. The last thing the ‘movement’ needs is more angry vegans.

Do you think it will cause people to think differently about where their food comes from?
It might, though if they are persuaded by the film, they are likely to be persuaded back again with a glossy MLA campaign.

Do you think it will get people to go vegan or reduce their consumption of animal (by) products?
It may, though remember, if they are swayed by a movie, they are most likely to be swayed by the next celebrity ad they see promoting animal products.

Treatment Is The Wrong Message

As with every other animal welfare movie before it, Dominion will likely be focusing on the way that other animals are treated.

There will be footage of practices that are deemed “cruel”, or cause animal “suffering”.

When these key words are used, it gives the animal ag industry an “out”, to dismiss what has happened. Practices can always be improved.

Once these practices are “improved”, the end product will become more expensive than it previously was.

A Safer Option For You

Instead of going to this movie, when don’t you curl up at home on a comfy chair or in bed, and read a good book about animal rights?

Tom Regan’s books are a good place to start.

Or, how about learning the motivators that cause people to change behaviours?

Those skills, if practiced and improved, will help you and the animals, long after the movie Dominion has been forgotten about.

We Must Protect The Innocent

We Must Protect The Innocent

When I started drafting this article, I planned to write something about how the vegan movement won’t have its own “Weinstein moment”.

Sadly so many things that have happened in past few weeks, that the original draft was no longer relevant.

Before you continue reading, I ask to have an open mind, and put any bias, prejudice or misandrous views aside.

If you don’t, it is almost guaranteed that you will get annoyed by what follows.

Behaviour Is Unacceptable

It goes without saying that the behaviour that is being talked about is unacceptable.

And it baffles me that there are those who are defending it.

Come on people. In what world is it acceptable to send unsolicited images of your genitals to someone else?

To those of you who say it is or even defending it, how would you feel if you were on the receiving end of it?

Or, what if it was your son or daughter?

Everyone MUST Be Believed

It has been said and shared on social media is that we need to believe the allegations made by females.

I totally agree that we should.

I also agree that those who do make a complaint should be supported and not asked to ‘prove’ things.

By the same token, we should also believe the male when they say that they are innocent, or didn’t do whatever it is.

None of us are qualified to pass any judgment of guilt on anyone for something that someone says they have done.

Nor should we be demanding proof from either party that what happened, did or didn’t take place.

Most Western justice systems are based on the belief that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

https://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/HumanRights/Human-rights-scrutiny/PublicSectorGuidanceSheets/Pages/Presumptionofinnocence.aspx

There is only one place where a person’s guilt or innocence should be tried and judged. And can tell you that Facebook isn’t that place.

Power Corrupts

Many of us are familiar with the saying by Lord Acton, Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Though how many of us have considered that things are the way that they are because of the ‘power’ imbalance?

People act in a predatory way because of the power, actual or perceived, that they have over their victims.

The ‘power” isn’t only physical strength.

It could be that they are the organiser of events, and the victim wants to be part of a particular social group.

They have a larger/more active social media following, and have the power to gather a bigger ‘posse” if things go ‘public’.

They believe they are more ‘popular’ than their intended/actual victim, and more likely to be believed.

Once a power imbalance occurs, the ‘weaker’ group/individual will eventually be exploited by the ‘powerful’.

If veganism truly is a ‘social justice’ movement, a power imbalance is something that should never be allowed to happen.

What will this movement become, if one group of people are automatically condemned?

Especially if that group is one that you are actually trying to attract INTO the ‘movement’?

Collateral Damage Is NOT Acceptable

No movement that claims to be about justice for all should ever accept the condemnation of an innocent person as ‘collateral damage’.

Dismissing concerns about false reporting does just that.

While false allegations are rare, in the ‘corporate world’ they can impact whole families, due to the loss of a job. Putting strain on families and individuals through loss of income and identity.

What impact will ostracising someone from a social group/peers have on a person?

Would you be willing to have your partner, son or brother to automatically be considered guilty simply because they are male?

Equally concerning is that by jumping on a social media bandwagon to condemn someone could result in a defamation suit.

Your First Obligation

There is no other obligation that should come above the obligation to yourself to stay safe.

This means, not putting yourself in harm’s way.

If you have concerns about how another person is behaving or has acted, report it.

If the ‘action’ continues, leave the event.

Most organisations and events have a ‘responsible person(s)’. This is who concerns about your safety should be reported to. Not an admin of a facebook group.

Should the ‘responsible person(s)’ ignore the complaint/concern raised with them, they may be in breach of Health and Safety legislation if something happens.

Time To Step Up

If you are the ‘responsible person’ of an organisation or group, now is the time to step up to the plate.

Make it clear that complaints will be taken seriously, and remain confidential.

Make it clear that as the ‘responsible person’ of the organisation/event that you take the safety of your volunteers and visitors seriously.

Have a publicly available reporting process for those who do want to make a complaint.

To those who are attending an event or volunteering, if the organisation hasn’t done, or doesn’t do the above, don’t go.

Pedestals Are Shaky

Social media has become a fertile ground for some to promote themselves as champions of a particular cause.

And others are starting to sing that tune.

Before you join that chorus, be wary of those who are put on a pedestal as being a ‘decent’ or ‘brave’ person.

Promoting these people could be insulting to the victims whose pleas they ignored in the past.

For example the victims of ‘dead boy’ or ‘Mr Mensa’ would be insulted that a certain person is now on a pedestal. (Complaints about their actions were dismissed with ‘that’s just who they are’, or ‘they are harmless’, ‘X isn’t like that’).

Would a ‘champion’ of this cause demand a ‘heart to heart’ hug of those they have just met?
Would they talk about masturbation in a livestream?
Would they position themselves as a “leader” in an attempt to gain attention from those of the opposite sex?

Of course they wouldn’t, because they would know that those behaviours are what others are complaining about.

It Is OUR Movement

If there is a movement, it belongs to ALL of us, and not those who think of themselves as ‘leaders’.

“We” are the ones who have made it, and “we” are the ones who set the standard of it.

No behaviour that intimidates or threatens another should be accepted or tolerated within it. Regardless of who the initiator or recipient is.

If you see of someone being harassed or bullied on social media, stand up and make it clear that behaviour is unacceptable.

If you know of someone who has harassed or assaulted another person, tell them that behaviour is unacceptable.

If they have broken the law, encourage the victim to report it to the police.

If you are receiving harassing or threatening behaviour from someone in your local community, I urge you to seek legal advice on what options are available to you.

About that Meme

About that Meme

Animal advocacy is a funny ‘thing’ to be involved in.

The more vocal, or talk about issues, the more likely you are to become a target of those who want to maintain the status quo.

Though one thing you don’t expect is to be the target of those within the animal advocacy movement.

And that is exactly what has happened to me recently. (more…)

Animal Liberation Queensland – Evaluation

Animal Liberation Queensland – Evaluation

Organisation Details:

NAME: Animal Liberation Queensland
ABN 66 010 101 005
ACNC Registration: Yes
Tax Concessions:

GST Concession
Income Tax Exemption
FBT Rebate

Established: 1979
Paid Staff: No
Volunteers: 100
Constitution: Yes
Allow Members: Yes – Paid
Democracy Rating: 7/10 (Document submitted to ACNC is around 40 years old. Needs updating and modernising). (more…)

Good-bye 2017, Hello 2018

Good-bye 2017, Hello 2018

2017 has gone, and the paint is still wet on a brand new 2018.

It is usually at this time that we pause to reflect on the year gone by, and set plans for the year to come.

Sadly 2017 was the year that Tom Regan passed away.

The world has lost one of the genuine pioneers of the animal rights, and vegan movement.

Despite not knowing him personally, I will always be indebted to him for the impact that he has had on my advocacy and understanding of animal rights.

If you are making a list of things that you want to do this year “for the animals”, please make sure that reading one of his books is at the top of it. (more…)