Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 25: Vegan nomz & Bowl-a-thons!

March 6th, 2011 1:00 pm by Kelly Garbato

Vegan cookies are distributed

Vegan cookies are distributed at a Prop 8 rally in Riverside, CA, circa 2008.
CC image via Flickr user lierne.

For this edition of Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, let’s start with some shiny happy news for a change, shall we? Namely, cross-movement bridge-building with vegan nomz and bowl-a-thons!

(Take note, carnists and defensive omnivores: vegans are not, in point o’ facts, all single-minded activists who prioritize nonhuman over human animals. Also: we are quite capable of multitasking, thankyouverymuch.)

Vegan Protest Fuel: Feeding the protesters in Madison, WI

Vegan Protest Fuel is the first of two projects I’d like to share with y’all (and, if you happen to have a little extra scratch laying around, encourage you to contribute to). Started just last week in response to the ongoing protests in Wisconsin, the good folks at Vegan Protest Fuel deliver vegan food to peaceful protesters defending their rights – because “Everyone Needs to Eat.” Naturally, their first campaign is feeding “the tenacious heroes in Madison, WI, who are fighting to preserve their precious collective bargaining rights and for economic justice in their state against a radical conservative governor and assembly.” Over time, they hope to expand their program throughout the United States and, possibly, the world.

Powered by tofu: it’s not just a slogan on a tee, yo.

See also: Food Not Bombs, Food for Life Global, HIPPO, A Well-Fed World and Ample Harvest.

Team Vegan Vixens: Bowling for abortions in the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon!

Team Vegan Vixens needs your support in the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon! Held throughout the month of April,

The Bowl-a-Thon is a nationwide series of local events that allow community members (you!) to captain your own bowling team, participate in a kickass national event – and raise money to help women and girls pay for abortions they couldn’t otherwise afford.

Abortion Funds are local, grassroots groups that work tirelessly to help low-income and disadvantaged women who want an abortion and do not have enough money to pay for it. Abortion Funds help women pay for their abortions, help them buy bus or plane tickets, and even offer women a place to stay when they have to travel for an abortion. Abortion Funds make a difference in women’s lives…and you can join them!

With $236 raised so far, Team Vegan Vixens is currently the top fundraiser for the Chicago Abortion Fund, which ranks #8 overall. Help Team Vegan (Vixens!) represent by pledging your support. Or sign up to participate your own bad self!

Fuck yeah, pro-choice vegans.

Katrina Fox @ The Scavenger: Racism versus speciesism: A moral battleground?

In the course of attending a feminist conference in Sydney in April 2010 – and subsequently planning for the next conference in 2011 – the subject of vegan catering became a point of contention between vegan and non-vegan attendees. Vegan feminist Katrina Fox writes of the debate that ensued in online forums; whereas some non-vegan women of color took the position that an all-vegan menu would be racist and colonialist in its imposition of western values on indigenous Australians, vegans argued that defending the exploitation of nonhumans on purely cultural grounds is speciesist. (Incidentally, I’m one of the white vegans quoted in the article.)

While I come down firmly in the former camp (meat and animal byproducts, I asserted, hold great cultural significance in Western societies as well; Thanksgiving Day corpses and attendant family dramas, anyone?), I hope that all vegans and animal advocates will read this piece with an open mind. On Facebook and elsewhere, I spotted a disheartening number of class- and race-privileged comments along the lines of “what’s race got to do with it?,” “why must people be so divisive?,” and (my personal least favorite) “omg special interests!”

Though I disagree that animal exploitation can be justified by “tradition,” I’m also in disagreement that we’ve entered some new “post-racial” era, where race and class privilege (etc.) are suddenly rendered moot. In industrialized nations, for example, people of color, urban dwellers, and those living in poverty face a number of barriers to obtaining fresh, healthy foods – not to mention, health care, a good education, employment and the like – than those with privilege. Recognizing and addressing these issues can only make us stronger as a social justice movement.

On Nonhuman Slavery: Speciesism, Racism and Sexism Intertwined: Presentation by Nekeisha Alexis-Baker

Wake Up Weekend – Nekeisha Alexis-Baker from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

Along these lines, Fox also cites this presentation by Nekeisha Alexis-Baker. A self-described black woman vegan, Alexis-Baker links the oppression of nonhuman animals to that of marginalized humans, including women and people of color.

“The same ideology that supports speciesism is present in ideologies that encourage and justify sexism and racism…As a black woman who is vegan, I am particularly sensitive to the ways in which forms of exploitation are intertwined… So rather than being concerned with animal liberation or women’s liberation or black and other people of color’s liberation, I think we need to understand how they are all tied together and to know that we can’t free one group if we allow the same kinds of oppressive ideologies to enslave another group. Liberation has to come for all.”

The presentation was part of Wake Up Weekend 2009, “a two day celebration of animal-friendly food, art, education, and advocacy,” held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Clocking in at 36 minutes, the video is a bit lengthy – but well worth a watch. (If anyone knows of an online transcript, please share? I was unable to find one.)

vegansaurus!: HOT GIRL-ON-VEGETABLE ACTION! Great move, Peta!;

Time: Cracking Down on the Super Bowl Sex Trade; and

Reuters: Super Bowl a magnet for under-age sex trade

Although I briefly addressed PETA’s 2011 Super Bowl ad last week (see: “PETA is about as feminist as it gets.”), the links bear repeating. In addition to everything that meave said, over on her FB page, Carol Adams observed that sex trafficking – including that of underage girls – was expected to increase in Texas during the Super Bowl:

Because the hoopla surrounding the Super Bowl has expanded beyond Game Day to an entire week of parties and other festivities, large numbers of pimps and their workers flood into the host city each year. In Miami last year, police estimated that as many as 10,000 prostitutes from outside the area arrived for Super Bowl week.

The numbers alone have provided a challenge for law enforcement. But only in the past few years has it become clear that child prostitution is a feature of Super Bowl revelry as well. Two men were arrested last year for an ad on Craigslist’s Miami board advertising sex with a 14-year-old girl as a “Super Bowl Special.” And in 2009, Florida’s Department of Children and Families reported 24 children — most of whom were runaways — as victims of sex trafficking for the Super Bowl.

In light of such fears, PETA’s softcore pseudo-porn – complete with sleazy, uncomfortable casting session clips – is especially troubling. Also: decidedly un-feminist.

(fwiw, I refuse to link to the website or embed the video, but you can view a few screenshots here.)

Grist: Male-dominated Big Ag woos women with paternalistic marketing blitz

Grist reports on Big Ag’s new, $30 million campaign to convince the public that women are farmers, too – and since women are apparently so delicate and flower-like, you should go easy on ’em already! (Certainly don’t strip them of their federal subsidies!) In reality, women operate a scant 14% of U.S. farms, with greater representation in eco-friendly (friendlier) farms, such as small and organic operations. Unfortunately, there’s no breakdown given for animal ag.; much of the focus is on corn, soybean, wheat, cotton, and rice – i.e., “the five crops that together collect 90 percent of federal farm subsidies.” (Even so, subsidies for feed crops help to prop up animal agriculture and keep the price of meat, eggs and milk artificially low.) This new coupling of green-washing with pink-washing (woman-washing? gender-washing? does there exist such a term for this?) is enough to make any vegan feminist gag.

Lauren Denitzio @ I Live Sweat…: “You know what makes me feel unsafe?” Lauren Denitzio of The Measure [SA] on her experiences of sexism in the punk scene

Let’s play a game! Replace the word “punk” with “vegan” (“concert” with “potluck,” etc.) in this kickass article by musician Lauren Denitzio, and see what happens:

No one is perfect, and I don’t expect that. What I do expect, however, is the ability to be held accountable for your actions, to apologize and hear everyone’s experience as valid. If you’re doing something that makes me feel unsafe at a [conference], I don’t care how long you’ve known me, or your history interacting with women, or how much you love [Natalie Portman]. If you can’t be held accountable and apologize, then none of those other things really make a difference to me. This applies to anything from jokes in poor taste to sexual assault. Just because we’ve all known someone for years at [demos] doesn’t change them calling me a cunt, or assaulting their partner. Once people stop making the excuse of “we’re all on the same page” and start being honest with each other, we start creating real, physical, safer spaces for everyone, not just women.

Word.

Non-vegan readers (if you exist!): substitute in your own social movement of choice. It doesn’t matter which; any will do. Like sexism, this analysis transcends borders. Play and learn.

Journal for Critical Animal Studies: Volume VIII Issue 3 2010 (Special Issue – Women of Color in Critical Animal Studies)

The final issue of ICAS’s Journal for Critical Animal Studies in 2010 is a special collection, dedicated to “Women of Color in Critical Animal Studies.” Contributors include A. Breeze Harper, Maneesha Deckha, Claudia Serrato, Laura Shields and Anastasia Yarbrough. You can download an issue (for free!) in either pdf or doc formats.

George Carlin: Pro Life, Abortion, And The Sanctity Of Life

An oldie but a goodie, and one that I’ve been holding onto ever since it made the rounds on Facebook oh, say, eight months ago? Just overlook the pap about chicken eggs being abortions (not unless they’re fertile) and the equation of gang affiliation with moral failings (one word: poverty), mkay?

Here’s another question I have: How come, when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelet? Are we so much better than chickens all of a sudden? When did this happen, that we passed chickens in goodness? Name six ways we’re better than chickens. … See, nobody can do it! You know why? Because chickens are decent people. You don’t see chickens hanging around in drug gangs, do you? Nah. You don’t see a chicken strapping some guy to a chair and hooking up his nuts to a car battery, do you? When’s the last chicken you heard about that came home from work and beat the shit out of his hen, huh?

RIP, George.

I really haven’t been keeping pace with my Google Reader in the last few months – I could blame it on work, but that’d be a lie; in reality, the headlines have just been so damn depressing lately – so please, drop your own links or suggested reading in the comments!

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One Response to “Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 25: Vegan nomz & Bowl-a-thons!”

  1. Vegan Flower Says:

    Aw, George. Such an awesome guy & what a great clip. I’ve never seen that one!

    This is the first I’ve heard of Vegan Protest Fuel. What coolness! Things have certainly been heated here. Mike and my father in-law are in a private union and my parents are both retired public educators, so it’s been a bit tense at work. I’ve had to bite my tongue a lot in order to keep my job because there’s a sad amount of people supporting the union busters.

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