Anarchism in its most mature form in the United States,
has demanded freedom, not for one individual or one group, but for each and
---Eunice Minette Schuster
Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: we are burial places! I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.
--Leonardo da Vinci
Due to a number of transitions, challenges and new endeavors, I haven't reached out to you--TPC's 5,000 plus email contacts--for a couple of months. To each of you, I simply want to say thank you for your readership, support, and the activism that you do on behalf of humans, nonhuman animals, and the Earth.
Here is a brief summary of a few of the changes related to Thomas Paine's Corner:
a. Dr. Jerry Vlasak, who is a board-certified surgeon specializing in trauma and critical care, a seasoned activist, and a press officer for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, is now our Senior Editor of Animal Liberation.
b. Dr. Steve Best has become TPC’s Associate Editor. He is also an associate professor of philosophy at UTEP, an award-winning writer, a noted speaker, a public intellectual, an author or co-author of 10 books, and a seasoned activist.
c. Dave Warwak has joined TPC as Senior Editor of Radical Veganism. He is a meditator, philosopher, poet, humanitarian, artist, musician, and author of “Peep Show for Children Only”. Formerly a tenured middle school art teacher, he became an animal rights activist after he was notoriously fired for teaching kindness (veganism) to his students. Warwak’s mission has since been to tell children the truth about our world. He also publishes and edits Vegan School 101.
d. Vi Ransel, TPC’s new Senior Editor of Anti-capitalism, is a researcher and poet of exceptional caliber. Very little is known about her.
e. Jason Miller, Senior Editor and Founder of TPC, has joined the North American Animal Liberation Press Office as a press officer. (That doesn't mean I'm spending less time on TPC, my writing, and my other forms of activism. It means I'm getting less sleep!)
For your amusement, education, inspiration, or perhaps even irritation:
1. The North American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO) was founded to communicate the actions, strategies, and philosophy of the animal liberation movement to the media and the public. Many of these actions are illegal under a current societal structure that fails to recognize the rights of non-human animals to live free of suffering, but validates and promotes the “right” of industries to do whatever they want to animals for profit or research. Within these conditions, those in the underground working for animal liberation often cannot speak out directly. Nevertheless, their actions and message is urgent and deserve to be heard and understood. (Note: NAALPO and its staff do not engage in illegal activities and receive anonymous communiqués from underground activists who do, thus having no knowledge of their whereabouts or identities).
2. Why is Thomas Paine's Corner advocating veganism and animal liberation in conjunction with its anti-capitalist agenda?
For reasons partially captured in this video: http://www.meat.org:80/
Click on the link below to find a collection of essays that form a comprehensive treatise on animal liberation and how it is inextricably linked to the total liberation of human animals, nonhuman animals, and the Earth:
NOTE: In the interest of alliance politics, despite the fact that we are vegan and animal liberationist in our worldview, we are willing to work with liberationists, radicals, and anti-capitalists of all stripes, provided they respect and support our pursuit of animal liberation.
3. Classwar in America, the Ongoing Assault – From the Gilded Age to Tea Bagger Rage, a Romp through the Recent Episodes of the Class War in America by Vi Ransel
Americans have learned that every time we rise up, we are viciously whipped back down, leading to an obedient, peasant mentality. We “know better” than to get uppity. We’ve become victims of Maggie Thatcher’s notorious TINA dictum, “there is no alternative.” We allow our children to be mis-educated, as we were, to pledge allegiance and abject obedience to nationalism, xenophobia and consumerism, to accept their place in the pecking order. We just knuckle under and get down to work. (If we’re still allowed to have a job.)
4. Minding the Animals: Ethology and the Obsolescence of Left Humanism by Steve Best
Despite our deep-rooted biological and social evolution, “humanity” is a social construct involving the identity and conception humans have of themselves as members of a species. In its arrogant, alienated, and domineering Western form, human identity reflects a host of problematic assumptions, biases, prejudices, and myths derived from religion, philosophy, science, and culture as a whole. The massive, tangled knot of ideologies involved in the social construction of our species identity need to be critically unraveled, so that we can develop new identities and societies and forge sane, ethical, ecological, and sustainable life ways. To an important degree, the new identities must emerge from an ethic of respect and connectedness to all sentient life – human and nonhuman – and to the Earth as a whole.
5. On the Unmasking of Demons: Yes We Must by Dr. Bee Z. Bywydd
We are a species of superstitious monkeys, in insectoid mutational phase, armed with mass-incineration weaponry, at the edge of a teeming galaxy. All of us are possessed by demons, a lying Legion of deceptions and delusions. Our Earth has maxxed-out on demonic monkeys and now She’s coughing out storms to flush our fires away. So we’re all in a Panic. Or running for our lives, shivvering in the deep freeze, slogging through toxic flood waters. Deep in the Voodoo, shite out of luck, over the falls in a Titanic barrel of insane monkeys. Because our society is an onion of lies within lies, all ruled over by ominous wargods and mass-incineration weapons. We chatter on about superstitions and pseudo-news, nearly cut off from any natural identity. Our instincts have been hijacked and most of us are living like serfs in Roman-occupied city-ghettos. Being entrained to think we must kill to get our way. This is “God’s will”?
6. Consumerism: an Historical Perspective by Sharon Beder
Consumption was promoted through advertising as a “democracy of goods” and used to pacify political unrest among workers. With the help of marketers and advertisers exploiting the idea of consumer goods as status symbols, workers were manipulated into being avaricious consumers who could be trusted “to spend more rather than work less.” But if we admired wisdom above wealth, and compassion and cooperation above competition, we could undermine the motivation to consume.
7. Presence of Malice: UK Activists v. Lee Hall by Steve Best and Jason Miller
The militant direct action (MDA) element emerged in the 1960s with hunt saboteur groups who used various tactics to confuse hunting dogs and place themselves in the path between the hunters and the hunted. In 1974, the Band of Mercy emerged as a more militant sabotage-oriented movement that attacked hunting and vivisection until its leaders Ronnie Lee and Cliff Goodman were captured and jailed for a year. Goodman turned police informer, but in 1976, after his release, Ronnie Lee began a new and more militant underground organization, aptly named the Animal Liberation Front (see Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella II, “Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals”).
8. The Stink of Privilege by John Steppling
A culture of tips. Service workers are the organ grinders’ monkeys, the obsequious men in starched collars behind the bar, or carrying your bags, waiting diffidently for the guest to dig into his pocket for a coin or two. The question of snobbery is raised here too. The snotty head waiter or girl at an exclusive clothes store. Such is the dialectical sado-masochistic dynamic of privilege. And sadistic it is. The exchange value of humiliation. When one stays at a five star or four star hotel, or resort, one is buying into an almost sexual relationship that is about domination. It’s an almost dumb play that stands in for the larger societal forces of domination. The hatred is not just directed one way, from the bell boy to guest, but from guest to bell boy and from guest to him or herself. It’s a constant doubling down on self- loathing.
9. Who’s Afraid of Jerry Vlasak? by Steve Best
Vlasak has defended the use of violence on two grounds. On moral grounds, he believes that any tactics – ranging from threats and break-ins to sabotage and even assault or murder — are legitimate given the suffering exploiters inflict on animals, the impossibility of ending their misery through legal systems that cater to exploitation industries and define animals as property, and the moral imperative to save animals from the violent clutches of exploiters. On pragmatic grounds, Vlasak believes that the use of violence would be an effective intimidation tactic and would stop numerous individuals from exploiting animals while preventing others from ever embarking on that heinous path.....Similarly, when Vlasak urges animal liberation by any means necessary, he is asserting the right of animals to self defense. But since they cannot defend themselves (except for instances such as where elephants or tigers justly kill their trainers), humans must act on their behalf. And if violence is needed to save an animal from attack, then violence is legitimate as a means of self defense for animals. If one likes, this could be called extensional self defense, since humans are acting on behalf of animals who are so vulnerable and oppressed they cannot fight back to attack or kill their oppressors.
10. Weed It and Reap by Joseph Fasciani
In spite of all our manipulative techniques, we are really only one species of critter surrounded in the air, water, and land by countless other critters, most of whom we go through life completely unaware of, although it’s finally become obvious that we do so at our immediate and fatal peril. But that’s as it should be, for this is how the systems interact, exchange information, then rebalance as best they can with what remains. Do we believe we are somehow miraculously exempt from this overarching reality?
11. Invisible Paths by Charles Eisenstein
In a sense I am not describing a path at all, since there isn’t one in the new territory of the pioneer. Indeed, what I am describing is a departure from a path, the ready-made paths laid out before us, and the creation of a new one. You know the ready-made path I’m talking about. Typified by that odious board game “Life,” it begins with school, traverses the territory of marriage, kids, and career, and, if all goes well, ends in a long and comfortable retirement. This program has been rumbling for decades now, as high rates of divorce and radical career change demonstrate. I, for one, am not planning for retirement; the very concept feels alien to me, as does the notion that my Golden Years are to be any time other than right now.
12. Man’s hereditary ignorance has a reservation in the cold ground by Dave Warwak
Earth is the Universe’s cosmic toilet shitting out the hate into the cold ground and keeping the love to rejuvenate itself. We have all been hoodwinked in the worst possible way. This is the hereditary ignorance we must fight today. Will we save ourselves for another loop around the Milky Way, or will the misery and hate suck us in and away, only to implode and scatter for another time?
13. A Society Of B.S. (Bad Science) by Sylvain Lamoureux
We are told that ‘crime’ is opportunist but yet we live an opportunistic life ourselves. We jump at a ‘good deal’ or an ‘investment’ opportunity without thinking of who had to ‘lose’ in order to allow us this ‘deal’; another’s misfortune may just be our gain. We have learned to ‘accept’ and ‘adapt’ to this system while perpetuating it through to the next generation. The kids grow up with concepts like ‘you owe me’ or ‘criminals are bad people’, echoing the lies of society and making themselves a part of it. They are led to believe that one must not stray too far from the herd and that ‘hope’ and ‘love’ will make everything better.
14. He no longer heard the cries of the animals or saw the flowing blood…. by Jason Miller
Like the primitive religious and scientific dogma that spawned it, vivisection is a relic of the past that has out-lived its usefulness, if it ever had any. From an animal liberationist’s standpoint there are no moral justifications for tormenting and murdering nonhuman animals to “advance science,” but even when considered from an intelligent hardened speciesist’s perspective, vivisection is a detrimental practice, for it is a tremendous waste of time, money and effort, and it is more of a threat to human health than it is a safeguard.