life under capitalism

Don't kid yourself into thinking veganism will save the world

Most vegans I meet just believe that hunger is the result of wasted food (either by distribution or by animal agriculture consumption) even though its actually a result of the social relations of our economy. You ask most people who live in countries that grow coffee or chocolate and you discover that they have never tasted either, it’s too expensive. Certainly animal agriculture effects some of these. And a reduction in AA would help world hunger in places that grow soy, because they would stop growing soy. The problem there is that EU subsidies for beef and cheese are so high that the price of soy is drastically lower than it should be, and the price of all other vegetables is similarly pushed down. So where farmers used to grow a range of vegetables that they could live off, now they can only grow soy, leading to a range of health problems.

But regardless I would never trust capitalism to find a reason to solve a problem unless there is financial gain in it.

I would love to say that vegans are naturally anti capitalist but it’s just not true. Most that I meet just uncritically accept the idea that the environment would be saved by veganism (it won’t) that hunger would be ended by veganism (it wouldn’t) and that everyone is healthier when they are vegan (they aren’t). I was debating this stuff with a vegan at a protest recently, and they just quoted statistics (like the 51% greenhouse gas one) without knowing the source of the statistics or why they are problematic or even what they entail.

More broadly it’s a problem of strategy. We won’t save the world through individual ethical consumerist action. Veganism pretends that we will.

Just like the hippies who ran for the hills to live sustainably in the 80s betrayed our generation by not staying to change society but instead soothed their own consciences, we have to change everything about the way society governs in order to survive the 21st century. We need to rethink all of agriculture, of globalisation, of energy use, of working-nine-to-five etc etc. We can only do these things by actively toppling the current power structure that benefits from it, not by individually removing ourselves from it where we can, when our privilege allows us to. Those less privileged have not that option, and they are alienated by our attempts to do so.

Certainly veganism is important, but it is important because only by stepping outside of an ideology can you truly see it. Human supremacy and animal exploitation is so wide spread, weaved into every little part of our lives that it is invisible.

In order to achieve animal liberation we have to see what we are fighting, and veganism gives us a strong lens with which to do that.

Claude Monet, Walking Near Argenteuil, 1873

“‘Worldly asceticism’ emphasizes an 'inner-world’ which paradoxically has two sides: not only a moral severity and self-control but also the context for pursuing 'personal visions’ as compensations for the demands of every day life under capitalism.”

- Modernity and Modernism: French Painting in the Nineteenth Century p.130


Some improved campaign posters from the anti-Brexit ‘Remain’ campaign.

Neither referendum option has anything to offer the working class.

As with all the false choices given to us by the ruling class, the real choice is between exploitation, ecological disaster, unending war, poverty, and all the miseries of life under capital, or revolution.