Friday, 4 September 2009

In Support of Non-Violence

Since the abolitionist approach was developed in the writings of Gary Francione, it has been marginalized by those who represent what abolitionists refer to, and criticize as, new welfarism. For as long a time, there have been attacks against Francione from the very same side, which are openly directed against his integrity as a scholar and animal rights advocate. While his opponents have been unprepared to address any of Francione's arguments in a substantial way, they have shown no hesitation to denounce and disparage him by means of whatever inflammatory rhetoric has to offer.

The efforts to defeat abolitionist ideas, in particular the idea that the animal rights movement should be a movement of peace and non-violence, by trying to discredit Gary Francione, has reached a new, unprecedented quality in blog posts and other online writings targeting him in ways which go beyond the limits of tolerability, according to standards which should apply to a social justice movement. A few examples, a small selection, of what has been spread on the internet lately in this regard are mentioned in Francione's blog announcement concerning his decision to leave the social networking site Facebook.

Anyone who is seriously concerned about the substantive points at issue should reject this way of dealing with them as illegitimate in itself, counterproductive in terms of fostering constructive dialogue, and, most importantly, as cultivating the idea that one can be an animal rights advocate while supporting violence which is only suited to turn the public off the cause and to provide an excuse for dismissing a serious moral issue.

We agree, with Gary Francione and other abolitionists, on veganism and non-violence as the non-negotiable baseline of the animal rights movement and on creative, non-violent vegan education as the only way to achieve the abolition of animal exploitation.

By Karin Hilpisch and James Crump

Other statements and comments in support of nonviolence have been posted by:

Vincent Guihan: An open letter to Gary Francione

Randy W. Sandberg: On Regulation and Breaking Laws

Dan Cudahy: On Militant Direct Action