Angela Davis on a revolutionary perspective

I wonder why Hochschartner didn’t link the transcript from the 27th Empowering Women of Color Conference in his article which is basically a series of quotes from Angela Davis. Oddly he linked the wrong blog when quoting Dr.Davis again from a blogpost with video A. Breeze Harper uploaded. Hochschartner is a rubbish writer and uses ‘blind’ as a slur, but what to do, the existing talk and Q&A are getting more attention just because he writes for money, or something. Is there a bias that perhaps gets put on hold from reading a non-vegan publication or one that has a version that costs money? Here are the quotes (not a rehash of his article) from “On Revolution: A Conversation Between Grace Lee Boggs and Angela Davis”, part of the 27th Empowering Women of Color Conference, ‘A Holistic Approach: Justice, Access and Healing’.

“I usually don’t mention that I’m vegan but that has evolved, I think it’s the right moment to talk about it because it is part of a revolutionary perspective – how can we not only discover more compassionate relations with human beings but how can we develop compassionate relations with the other creatures with whom we share this planet and that would mean challenging the whole capitalist industrial form of food production. It would mean being aware – driving up the interstates or driving down the 5, driving down to LA, seeing all the cows on the ranches,” she stated. “Most of people don’t think about the fact they’re eating animals. When they’re eating a steak or eating chicken, most people don’t think about the tremendous suffering that those animals endure simply to become food products to be consumed by human beings. I think the lack of critical engagement with the food that we eat demonstrates the extent to which the commodity form has become the primary way in which we perceive the world,” she said. “We don’t go further than what Marx called the exchange value of the actual object- we don’t think about the relations that that object embodies- and were important to the production of that object, whether it’s our food or our clothes or our iPads or all the materials we use to acquire an education at an institution like this. That would really be revolutionary to develop a habit of imagining the human relations and non-human relations behind all of the objects that constitute our environment.”

At a talk Dr. Davis gave, in response to a question from Dr. Harper: “I don’t talk about this a lot but I’m going to do this today because I think it’s really important. The food we eat masks so much cruelty. The fact that we can sit down and eat a piece of chicken without thinking about the horrendous conditions under which chickens are industrially bred in this country is a sign of the dangers of capitalism, how capitalism has colonized our minds. The fact that we look no further than the commodity itself, the fact that we refuse to understand the relationships that underly the commodities that we use on a daily basis. And so food is like that.”

Dr. Davis suggested the audience watch the film Food, Inc. and added “And then ask yourself, what is it like to sit down and eat that food that is generated only for the purposes of profit and creates so much suffering?”

“I think there is a connection between, and I can’t go further than this, the way we treat animals and the way we treat people who are at the bottom of the hierarchy. Look at the ways in which people who commit such violence on other human beings have often learned how to enjoy that by enacting violence on animals. So there are a lot of ways we can talk about this.”


5 thoughts on “Angela Davis on a revolutionary perspective

  1. This is interesting. I have never considered becoming a vegan (I am “pescetarian” and I get my fish locally) I don’t personally feel that my individual choice to not passively consume mistreated, for-profit animal meat would effect any kind of change. I say this because the US knows its animal cruelty; people know they’re eating part of an animal and all have different responses to justify them with today. I wonder if there needs to be a different approach, because let’s face it– vegans have a notoriety like bra-burning feminists. People unfortunately don’t take them seriously. If people simply knew how much limiting or removing meat from their diets positively affects their body (people in the US are selfishly individualistic) perhaps movement could begin from that corner.

    • There are indeed different approaches, with the selfishly-motivated as you say, being popular. I value self-care, but stay away from the ‘vegan for health’ spaces which I often find oppressive to me, a chronically ill disabled person for whom there is no cure or miracle diet. I don’t usually put it so plainly but I’ve been abused most of my life so I became vegan early gradually figuring out what may harm animals, just like I fell into social justice. I think every little bit adds up, and matters to individual animals but many vegans and non-vegans, like you, disagree. The mainstream image, any vegans who usually get publicity and those at the forefront are privileged oppressive people who think they are always right or try to have that image. The visible part of the worldwide movement seems much like white feminism, except that here, people of colour mimic imperialist oppressive behaviour in the vegan movement. I wish people didn’t take them seriously here.

      • Hi Thārana, thanks for the reply. Right, I agree with your points about mainstream imaging of vegans. I should clarify that I am considering ‘effective change’ on that same level, and mainstream images are entirely orchestrated by the privileged, and often white. That’s where I see personal investments not directly affecting, but I do not deny that individual, lower-level engagement isn’t something substantive. I wish people didn’t take them seriously, but a lazy society (US) only begets lazy access to info. I don’t like to generalize, but I am a bit jaded by excess and passivity here.

      • Hi Chewls, thanks too and sorry for the slow reply. What comes to my mind as you’re speaking of lazy access to information: Is it necessarily laziness when time is a resource some lack much more than others? Yet I use that word to avoid explaining the complexity of lacking time and/or energy at times myself. By the way, if you click on the name of the other commenter above, her blog might interest you if you don’t know it already. Breeze often writes about the health or wellness perspective for aspiring vegans, vegans and non-vegans.

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