Contact

To contribute translations, editing-corrections and/or original material for publication, such as updates from the streets, reportbacks from actions, responsibility claims, texts of imprisoned or persecuted comrades, calls, brochures, opinion articles, etc.: contrainfo(at)espiv.net

PGP Key

Click here (.asc file) to download our pgp key.

‘Freeganism is not anarchy, it’s just easy’

Final version received December 23rd:

INTRODUCTION

We are writing this zine to create a discussion about freeganism and whether or not it has any place in the struggle towards total liberation. We (the authors) identify as anarchists, and recognise that human supremacy is one of the most widespread and destructive authoritarian constructs to exist in the shit hole that is industrial society.

Veganism for us is not about dietary or consumer choices but is part of an intersectional approach to living in a non hierarchical way that seeks to actively confront and challenge the structures and ways of life under the various systems of authority.

This zine is directed at people who associate themselves with anarchism and seek to challenge hierarchy in their day to day lives.

If you seriously think that you can vote with your money and that consumer choices will shape the future of human relationships or the wellbeing of the earth and all of its inhabitants, then please put this zine down and continue living in your bubble full of hope. We aim to create a more radical critique of human supremacy than a simple economic-centric catch phrase.

Since the antiglobalisation movement has discovered there is food to be found in dumpsters, people made up this funny word freeganism, and created an anticapitalist critique to go with it, some might even claim it is a lifestyle. This trend is blocking the path towards total liberation since it is blurring the lines between speciesism and anticapitalism[1], creating confusing situations. Such as walking into an anarchist space to find people with ALF patches skinning a rabbit in the middle of the room and preparing a pot of stinking roadkill bone broth, preaching that this is a more natural way of living. Which is exactly the same kind of rhetoric that homophobes and sexists use to defend their stupid shit.

[1] This blurring of lines between anticapitalism and speciesism is problematic, as it is the blending of anticapitalist and ANTI-speciesist critiques that we believe will create a more well rounded anarchist analysis. Since the anticapitalist movement in itself is not free from hierarchy and in many ways is unreflective on the methods and tactics that it uses, anti-speciesism, feminism, and so on are often pushed aside by staunch anticapitalists in order to say that these problems are products of capitalism itself and will be solved automatically when capitalism is removed/reformed (delete as applicable).

We would like to start this discussion by defining veganism, freeganism and anarchism as we interpret them.

Veganism
To exclude and avoid as much as possible the use, cruelty to and consumption of animals and products derived from animals, for food clothing and entertainment. To view all animals (human and nonhuman alike) as separate individuals each with the desire and will for freedom. Veganism for us is a logical extension of our anarchist thought to recognise the situations faced by all beings under attack by oppression.

Freeganism
Some would say common activities practised world-over for centuries like hopping trains, hitchhiking, shoplifting, table diving as methods to not spend money to live are part of a ‘freegan lifestyle’ for reasons such as carbon footprints, environmental reasons and to ‘make a stand’ against capitalism. The practise of paying lip service to veganism is adopted by some freegans by only eating animal ‘products’ that otherwise would be wasted, as an anticapitalist attempt to combat meat and dairy industries.

Anarchism
A method of working towards dismantling hierarchies and social relations that are built on authoritarian structures, to create moments of freedom where we are not suffocated by oppressive bullshit (i.e. patriarchy, religion, states, racism etc.[2]) by constantly attacking and challenging these vile constructs wherever they may arise with whatever tools available, within each individual’s personal ability.

[2] These constructs are not put in any specific order of importance, nor is it in any way a wholly comprehensive list of the oppressive systems faced by individuals.

ANIMALS ARE NOT PRODUCTS

Freegan arguments such as using the corpses and secretions of animals that are not directly paid for is better because it does not directly contribute monetarily to these industries or that is more ‘respectful’ to ‘honour’ the dead body by eating it, do nothing to develop a radical critique outside of the narrow lens provided by capitalism itself.

This last argument is inherently speciesist in the sense that no freegan would attempt to eat your dead dog to prevent their corpse from ‘going to waste’, because we are socialised by the capitalist-industrial media to view ‘pet animals’ such as dogs as individuals (to an extent) and not cows, chickens, pigs, fish, sheep, and so on (unless they are viewed as one’s personal property). Even to view these animals and their secretions as ‘waste’ is deeply entrenched in a capitalistic and anthropocentric mindset, since it still sees animals as ‘things’ to be used by humans and not to be reabsorbed into ecosystems as they would naturally.

By eating or wearing the corpses and secretions of animals, we normalise the idea that their sole existence is to serve ‘humanity’ as mere products and resources to be harvested and consumed rather than living individual persons. This plays directly into the hands of the hierarchical, human supremacist ideals which are the foundations[3] of the oppressive capitalist-industrial system that anarchists oppose.

[3] “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” This quote (Genesis 1:26) already shows us that the idea of human supremacy and a feeling of entitlement over the lives of other animals (as well as patriarchy, racism, and so on) was and still is fundamental to the development of the global techno-industrial system which is rooted in Christian morality, forced onto the idiot masses by superstition and authoritarian tyranny.

THE MYTH OF SUSTAINABILITY, AND CONSUMER CHOICE

Many freegans would say that their lifestyle is rooted in some idealistic activism and that they try to engage with their political surroundings by aiming to live ‘sustainably’ with a low carbon footprint. They see their spending or rather, non-spending habits as something that interacts with supply and demand, thus creating the illusion that by changing their methods of consumption they have a voice with which they can shape society. The relationship between freegans and the global capitalist system is akin to a sort of personal greenwashing. By taking the ‘waste product’ from dumpsters and roadsides freegans attempt to rid themselves of the guilt of directly contributing to the exploitation of animals and the earth.

Freeganism is often cited as a ‘sustainable answer’ to the wastefulness of society. But there can be no such thing as freeganism without industrialised agriculture and a manufactured dependency on petro-chemicals. In order to mean anything it requires the overproduction of everything. It is merely a symptom of exploitative capitalistic relations rather than an answer to them. A philosophy as empty and limited as the society it’s built upon.

How can anyone call freeganism a sustainable way of living? It is a supposed solution built upon the problem and cannot go beyond the initial problem because it is passive in its nature and does not directly confront the unfair distribution of food, but simply exploits the privilege of living in countries where food[4] is so readily wasted.

This is not to say that we see dumpster-diving as a waste of time in itself, we just do not support the idea that it is a political strategy to affect change. We dumpster dive and shoplift for survival, and to free us from the burden of work so that we have more time to spend hitting cops and breaking things and other subversive projects relevant to anarchism.

[4] And by food we obviously mean fruit, vegetables and stuff.

FREEGANISM IS NOT ANARCHY, IT’S JUST EASY

We see veganism not merely as a dietary choice, but as part of a wider anarchist analysis and critique of anthropocentric morality, as well as a method of questioning and subverting the day to day power structures which in turn leads us to the constant anarchist attack against authority and towards total liberation.

Freeganism on the other hand is a completely passive and parasitic approach towards attack, and can’t even be called a radical line of thought and contradicts itself with anarchism time after time. It is not intersectional and promotes human supremacist (and thus capitalist) ways of thinking. Not buying a product does not stop its production.

In this way freegans reduce veganism to a boycott strategy rather than an antispeciesist/anarchist analysis of the ways that humans relate to their surroundings by justifying eating animals and their secretions by stating it’s ok if it’s not bought and otherwise would be ‘wasted’.

If you really want to eat corpses, at the end of the day that’s your choice, but what you buy or eat out of a bin doesn’t make any difference, just stop acting like it is part of some deep political analysis. Eating meat is easy, our whole society is built on it and there’s a macdonalds on every corner, and they are all surrounded by bins. So stop identifying this passive negation with anarchism and veganism.

Freegans may be challenged to find an un-bleached dumpster or some roadkill that isn’t full of maggots, but this does nothing to challenge social relations, hierarchy and the dominion of humans over everything.

PRIMITIVISM, HUNTER-GATHERERS AND MISCONCEPTIONS OF WILDNESS

Some people see activities such as scavenging through bins and finding roadkill as something that equates to being some sort of ‘modern hunter-gatherer’ and claim that it is a natural way to live, by ‘returning to our inner wildness’ or using fabricated/appropriated ‘ancient hunting rites’ to claim that they are fulfilling some sort of ‘promise’ or paying ‘respect’ to the hunted person with the half-arsed application of the ideological band-aid of freeganism.[5]

It is strange that so many attempt to debunk veganism by asking tired and redundant questions such as ”would you kill an animal if you were living in the wild/post civilisation/desert island?” or saying things like ”I don’t think there’s anything wrong with killing a wild animal because it’s more fair and honest than buying [carcasses] in a shop”. Many more also romanticise tribal/wild/indigenous cultures and appropriate their cultural views or relations towards animals and somehow try to apply this to living in a civilised and domesticated environment.

First of all we are not living on a desert island, and no matter how much we may wish for it to have happened already, civilisation has not yet ”collapsed”. These arguments just show how anthropocentric and human-supremacist these popular analysis are since they determine what is ‘fair and honest’ based on various ancient misconceptions and domesticated interpretations of ‘wildness’. Crusty freegans and primitivists using appropriated ideas of ‘respect’ and ‘spiritual connectedness’ towards animals whilst living inside/on the fringes of this techno-industrial prison society is a total farce as it is in no way relevant to our situation and therefore incapable of developing further as a radical critique and tool to be used against society.

In what way does more humans living in ‘wild’ places and killing the inhabitants do anything to bring this civilisation to a halt? Perhaps instead of killing deer, fish and small animals and using idiotic notions such as ‘tradition’, ‘honesty’, ‘spirituality’ and ‘fairness’ they could better spend their time targeting big yellow machines, factories, cops and bureaucrats, instruments of state oppression, industries, and so on since this actually has some potential at all at reducing humans’ impact on the living environment and creating a sustainable world.[6]

We cannot ignore the fact that humans view their needs as a species as the most relevant and their addiction to oil, meat and animal secretions[7] has lead to the extinction of near to 200 species a day, the total eradication of most ancient wooded areas in the world and pollution of a vast array of diverse ecosystems as well as the direct and indirect enslavement of the human population.

Knowing these facts, how can one ignore this context and go on referring to wildness and ‘human nature’ after our species alone is responsible for the destruction of most of what we would recognise as ‘wild’? We find it very disappointing that people who seem to have some sort of interesting political analysis (like ol’ petey) completely ignore the cultural and historical context in which we currently live, and very clearly have no idea what veganism is actually about and diminish it from an analysis of human supremacy to a consumer activity. The fact that Peter Gelderloos actually seems to believe he understands veganism well enough to critique it, is about as funny as the actual articles he wrote about it.

We would like to stress that we definitely view humans as animals, as much as every other species, but the clear and very significant differences which we feel must be addressed lie in the fact that we have the ability to dominate so many other species, and this is so often overlooked for the easiness of playing ‘hunter-gatherer’ in the woods where all apex predators have been hunted to extinction or live in enclosed environments/big cages.

Also we find it weird that freegans who are so clearly dependent on industrial civilisation use these arguments in their day to day lives when they for the most part have nothing to do with their way of life as a domesticated human.

[5] We are referring to some confused ex-vegans, those who fetishise undomesticated humans and distorted historical misinterpretations such as Kevin Tucker, Peter Gelderloos and some outright pricks such as Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith (transphobic, anti-anarchist traitors) without addressing the context of civilisation and taking into account the differences between human animals and nonhuman animals, as long as it fits their agenda and sense of entitlement to eat salmon.

”An ancient hunting rite is the promise to the animal that is killed to ensure that it will never be domesticated or taken without reason. That is a promise to look over its future generations and ensuring that they will grow up and live in the same wildness that all life should live in.” – Kevin Tucker talking shit.

[6] This is not to say we believe in such utopic and hopeful rhetoric as ”building a better world” or ”saving” the earth. We are just using this same example to address the passiveness of this approach.

[7] Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. We do not wish to use this argument to further the agenda that somehow ‘everyone going vegan’ will save the planet/society, merely to point out the obvious impact of industrialised animal agriculture has on the living environment.

TOWARDS TOTAL LIBERATION

We would hope by now that we have made it clear that our approach to veganism is one of constant attack against the many-headed hydra of this oppressive capitalist civilisation. It is one that leads to individual liberation, and a more intersectional anarchist analysis of our everyday existence. When we use the term intersectional we aim to point out the way that most oppressive systems are intertwined, and how this collaboration of power structures maintains the totalitarian nature of civilisation.

For example the gendered abuse of animals and how their bodies are viewed; it is very common for the female reproductive system to be objectified and seen as something to be consumed while the male reproductive systems and functions of animals are not so commonly viewed as a delicacy, or normalised to the extent of eggs, milk, and so on.

Given this intersectionality of oppressive systems and the multiform of struggles against them, is not possible to reform or change any one aspect of this society without affecting another.

Thus, we advocate the total destruction of society, and the total liberation of every individual from its suffocating yoke.

Veganism (or feminism, anti-racism, anti-fascism and eco-terrorism etc.) in this respect, is not an end goal, as we do not believe end-goals, instead we propose the constant reflection and deconstruction of our personal position, behaviour and actions in the forever changing relationships between individuals, the world around us and the dominating systems imposed onto us.

We hope that this zine will create a more radical discourse than whatever freeganism or the antiglobalisation movement has to offer. We are not trying to personally attack or shame individuals[8] but we are trying to create a more direct process of reflection about everyday oppression and how we relate to others in this world, with the aim to create a debate that will lead to a more intersectional and in-depth understanding of anarchism and authority which inspires the everyday attack against the existent.

[8] Excluding you, Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith you transphobic pieces of shit, go choke on some fucking salmon. We also hope that having acknowledged this, more anarchists, radical news websites, authors, and so on will stop plugging these assholes, and their vile authoritarian and sexist organisation DGR. As queer-identified folx, we feel that anarchists who are supporting these obscene lines of thought such as lierre keiths opinions that the “phenomenon of trans” was created from porn culture and “that men insisting they are women is insulting and absurd” are hindering the collective and individual ability to effectively combat the state and civilisation, towards total liberation.

Many examples of their disgusting rhetoric are to be found on many blogs, videos, articles, and so on. Inform yourself and create your own radical critiques of these organisations and mindsets.

A LITTLE BIT OF RECOMMENDED READING, AND SO ON

From Animals to Anarchism by Kevin Watkinson and Donal O’Driscoll, published by Dysophia

The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams

Return Fire vol 1 and 2 by Anonymous/V.A.

Actualising Collapse by V.A.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

and for laughs, Veganism: why not? by Peter Gelderloos

For a bunch of great communiques and in-depth analysis regarding anarchist insurrection and struggles relating to animal liberation and stuff check out the following sites:
directaction.info
en-contrainfo.espiv.net
325.nostate.net
actforfree.nostate.net
rabble.org.uk

and then you could check out the countless other blogs and publications listed on these websites…

have fun, stay dangerous.

in pdf (unedited)

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>