Leftist Vegan Guide
I hope that this is more helpful than overwhelming.
Please comment or reach out for support. I will continually update this.
“Veganism at its most liberatory is a political praxis to dismantle the oppression of humans and nonhumans. Veganism at its most oppressive is a tool to enforce White supremacy and colonialism. Veganism at its most reductionist is a consumer boycott…
There is no such thing as a pure vegan. Among the eight different ways we exploit animals: Food, Pets, Fashion, Research, Entertainment, Wildlife, Textiles/Industry, and Labor, we will all participate in the system…
The single most effective thing we can do as abolitionist vegans is empower slaughterhouse workers. They do not want to be killing hundreds of animals a minute. That is what the Capitalists want.”
- Pierce Delahunt, Liberatory Politics of Veganism
Organizations + People
Books + Readings
Video Resources: Docs + Talks
Reclaim the Animal (@reclaimtheanimal) * Instagram photos and videos
583 Followers, 211 Following, 78 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from Reclaim the Animal (@reclaimtheanimal)
Intersectional Political Analysis
- Veganism is a political praxis, not a consumer checklist. Praxis Veganism slides Left; Purity Veganism slides Right.
- Vegans get crap for not thinking about farm workers of plants. Some of this is legitimate criticism, and we need to do better. Still, the same people who offer these critiques more often use them as justifications to do nothing, and think little of the conditions of the workers of slaughterhouses and animal farms, which are arguably worse;
- Animal Agriculture has a >100% turnover rate, with high rates of injury, and preys on undocumented women of color of reproductive age, some minors, rife with sexual harassment/assault, low pay, no benefits, et cetera.
- As with plant farmers, some of these folk live as outright trafficked labor.
- No longer farming animals, and redistributing the plant crops, would end world hunger. Actually.
- Animal Agriculture is oligopolized by big business corporations that overtake small family farms and their local communities.
- Fast Food Chains targeting communities of color in their advertising.
- Animal farm operations operate on such scales that they mostly have no means of safely using/discarding the animal shit, so they store it in pools (called lagoons) that are leached into the ground/water. Some spray it into the air, to the detriment of neighboring communities, mostly of color.
- Animal Agriculture, among the primary contributors for climate change and every other environmental degradation, most hurts the low-income communities of color on a global scale. Climate refugee populations are on the rise, for example.
- Claiming land for cow grazing is among the top contributors of deforestation.
- A processed animal product diet is a leading contributor to the top 15 preventable causes of death in the US, cholesterol + cancers being most prominent. See How Not to Die (book + video below) for more on this.
- Animal agriculture, being based on a monoculture model of animal life, promotes hyper evolution of super-resistant bacteria and viruses. 1918 flu, swine flu, avian flu, “Mad Cow,” Covid-19, and many more come from animal farming.
- At the same time, by wiping out forests, animal agriculture is also destroying one of our two best hopes to find new forms of antibiotics. (The other is caves.)
- Accordingly, animal agriculture is a top client of the antibiotics industry. Think Big Pharma is corrupt? Animal Ag is a bedfellow.
- Of course, Animal Ag does its own lobbying as well, and receives billions of dollars from the State.
- Peter Singer advocates for the murder of disabled babies. There is no need to worship this guy.
- Gary Yourofsky regularly disparages marginalized people, including calling Palestinians “the most psychotic group on this planet,” and wishing for the sexual assault of women who wear fur. (I am not aware of his suggesting this for men/people who wear fur/leather.) There is no need to worship this guy.
- Many vegans enforce racism in their advocacy, called White Veganism. Some explicitly deny caring about humans, until perhaps the animals are free. There is also a strong individualist sentiment in the raw fruitarian community, for example: “I am sorry you did not prioritize your health enough to overcome systemic barriers like ‘Institutionalized Racism.’ I guess you will have to deal with the consequences. Too bad!” (Confused about racism/White supremacy? Read more here.)
- For more on all this, check out the podcast Vegan Vanguard.
- Veganism is a political praxis, not a consumer checklist.
- “Healthy” is relative. Fried vegan burgers are healthy for you if you are currently eating fried cow burgers. Smoothies are always great though.
- Search “vegan” in your maps app of choice. (Happy Cow is popular.) Reviewing and adding missing restaurants is helpful, easy activism.
- Load up on fruits + veggies. Mushrooms, too.
- Organic, fair trade, vegan, whole foods. Little/compostable packaging.
- Eat before you are hungry for more mindful decisions.
Nutrition/Substitutes: (some info in linked videos)
- Really. Load up on fruits, veggies, and mushrooms.
- I do not even think about protein. Impossible to get enough calories and not enough protein without planning for that to happen.
- No Cholesterol in plant-based food. None.
- Animal protein is sulfuric/acidic, and leaches calcium phosphate from our bones to compensate for this, making our bones more brittle, not stronger. Not so with plant protein (not sulfuric/acidic).
- Milk has way more estrogen than soy or other plants. And plant-estrogen is a different kind (phyto-estrogen), which is less hormonally potent to us.
- B12 is the main concern. Most veg-replacement foods, including non-dairy milks, are fortified with B12 and other vitamins (iron, vitamin A).
- Nutritional Yeast (nooch) is your friend.
- There are tons of non-dairy milks. They are always making more. You will like one: (Unsweetened Vanilla is most preferred) Soy, Oat, Coconut, Hemp, Almond, Rice, Hazelnut, Brazil Nut, Banana, etc
- Pets: Just as AntiSocialism produces an overabundance of all consumer goods (warehouses of unbought fidget spinners), it also produces an overabundance of animals for purchase. Hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs are killed every year, let alone other animals. Rescue/adopt. Do not buy.
- Fashion: You do not like plastic. Fair. The chemical processing of animal textiles ain’t all that great either. No purity in this.
- Research: Lush does not do animal testing. Most big companies do.
- Entertainment: Cirque Du Soleil is all humans.
- Wildlife: Reduce your garbage, especially plastic.
- Textiles: There is no such thing as a pure vegan.
- Human Trafficking: Completely violates the vegan ethos, and is a fundamental component of White Supremacist AntiSocialism.
- Ethical Nuance: I am always here for those tricky questions. Much of the time, though, it is about determining what works best at the time. Not always a correct answer. No one is pure in our society/culture. Veganism is a political praxis, not a consumer checklist. Praxis Veganism slides Left. Purity Veganism slides Right.
- Plastic will madden you.
- Friends will look to you for questions, both curious and confrontational. You do not have to represent all vegans, or have all the answers, though many of us (myself included), love to be a resource for them.
- You will mess up. Do not beat on yourself. Look out for whey + casein. (The brand Veggie Cheese uses casein, for instance.) I ate pad Thai for months before learning it, and many other dishes, are usually made with fish sauce. Learn and move on.
- Early in my transition, I got sick and craved a steak. I determined I was likely missing iron, incorporated vegan sources into my diet (dark leafy greens, nuts/seeds), and never had a craving for steak since. Now, when my body needs iron, I crave dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
Organizations + People
Food Empowerment Project founded by lauren Ornelas
Black VegFest founded by Omawale Adewale
Sistah Vegan founded by Dr A Breeze Harper
Aph Ko: Black Decolonial Vegan Theorist
Christopher Sebastian: Queer, Black Vegan Political Theorist
Black Vegans Rock co-founded by Aph Ko
Ron Finley Project co-founded by Ron Finley
Mexie (YouTube) + Vegan Vanguard (Podcast)
Vegan Princess Warriors Attack (Podcast)
VINE Sanctuary co-founded by pattrice jones
Books + Readings
Colonization, Food, + the Practice of Eating ARTICLE by Dr Linda Alvarez
Animal Liberation + Marxism ARTICLE: Weekly Worker interviews Assoziation Dämmerung
Aphro-ism by Aph + Syl Ko (racism + speciesism)
Beasts of Burden by Sunaura Taylor (ableism + speciesism)
Veganism in an Oppressive World by Julia Feliz Brueck
Sistah Vegan, edited by Dr A Breeze Harper (anthology by Black vegan women; strong Ital influence)
Brotha Vegan by Omawale Adewale(anthology by Black vegan men)
Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J Adams (sexism + speciesism)
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (culture of carnism)
Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs (of adrienne marie brown’s Emergent Strategy series)
How Not to Die by Michael Greger, MD
Dreaded Comparison by Marjorie Speigel (relationship between / comparative analysis of mechanisms of human and animal slavery — not oppression olympics)
Video Resources: Docs + Talks
Systemic Racism + Animal Agriculture: They’re Trying to Kill Us
(My Personal Favorite Documentary Ever)
Black Lives Matter and Food Justice: Leah Penniman
Blackness + Vegan Intersectionality: Invisible Vegan
White Meat: Eating Animals and the Alt-Right: Christopher Sebastian
What Can Mad Cows & Queer Ducks Teach Us About Intersectionality? : pattrice jones
AntiCapitalist Direct Action: Animal People
Animal Agriculture Info: James Wildman
Personal Health: Forks Over Knives
Intersectional Health: What the Health
Animal Rights: Earthlings (organized by industry: Pets, Food, Clothing, Entertainment, Research)
Animal Rights: Dominion (organized by species)
Environment: Cowspiracy (trailer; feature on Netflix)
Or here for $5: http://www.cowspiracy.com/
Fishing + Aquaculture (often neglected): Seaspiracy
Personal Journeys: Vegucated
Liberatory Politic of Veganism: My Own Talk (!) @ Manhattan College