WHY PROTESTS ARE FOR THE MOST PART USELESS

Protests have been part of our history and all cultures of the world for the longest. People have protested all sorts of things, from war to poverty to women’s rights and animal rights. But how useful is it to even protest? With this article, I am possibly bringing a controversial take on the effectiveness of protests but I need to make a point here.

The need to protest is something I completely understand. I did protest in the past, against wars, for immigrant rights, against fur and animal cruelty. Then I came to realize that it was a waste of my time. The reason for this is that it has little educational value.

During the Vietnam War, thousands of people were drafted against their will and even though there were a lot of protests, the war was ended because a strong minority of people were against the draft and refused to go to war.

When Bush decided on the war in Iraq, there was no draft forcing some of us to go to war. War is now a voluntary venture. If you decide to put a uniform on, you are for war, whether you think you have a valid reason or not. The decision to start the Iraq war prompted the largest peaceful protest in human history, with millions of people all over the world peacefully protesting against it. Did it stop the war? Well we know the answer to that one. But why not?

Let’s look at how society functions and for that matter it applies to animal rights as well. Most people are cogs in a machine. They don’t function consciously. There is so much going on in their daily routine that they can’t see beyond what’s going on in their lives. No one is making a case to them that there is value in changing a few things in their lives and opening their minds to a different way of thinking. There are however a lot of groups out there to tell them to change their light bulbs, change their cars and buy so-called “free range” eggs, that’s about it. Where is the profound shift? Telling someone to change light bulbs or buying “free range” doesn’t create a meaningful or profound shift in the person’s belief system; it keeps the status quo in place. However, challenging peoples’ deepest held beliefs in a peaceful and non-preaching way forces them to think (maybe for the first time in their lives).  People are made to believe in myths, whether these myths are about what’s good for their country or what’s important in their daily lives. Societies are built on conditioning and false beliefs to which people are held hostage to. All of this is controlled by a tiny elite who has all the financial power to keep the status quo going and no incentive to change in order to keep said power in place. The Iraq war happened because some of us put on a uniform and were ok going to war, therefore feeding our masters. Most people are not even aware that they are being controlled and manipulated against their own interests. Can talking to people possibly change them? Yes. Will it change a lot of people? That will depend on our effectiveness as speakers and how we make our case. But if we are ourselves still part of the general conditioning, we need to change first so we don’t become the blind leading the blind.

It is the same in the animal rights movement. We protest but we keep buying from corporations, McDonald or Wal-Mart types corporations as well as animal type corporations (read the large animal “rights” organization). The latter are telling us that protesting is good and that giving them money is good because it will make a difference to the animals just like we believe that shopping at Wal-Mart is good for us or that sending our sons and daughters to war is good for our country.

In all cases, this is delusional. We are still manipulated and brainwashed. If protests worked, they would have stopped most wars and killed the animal industries a long time ago. But they simply don’t because they do not change people from the inside and deprogram or change their habits. Protests may get others to think but there is usually little education done. Protests usually attack the institutions but they do not change the ones who feed these institutions. As long as you have soldiers, you will have wars. As long as you have people who believe that a piece of land is more important than your neighbor’s well being, you have wars. As long as you believe that your religious beliefs matter, you have wars. As long as people eat animals, you will have starvation and therefore wars. Violence feeds violence and ignorance keeps people enslaved and pawns to the elites who are the ones who keep profiting. If you believe all the above doesn’t apply to you, you are even more brainwashed than you think. As long as you have people spending money at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart you have corporate masters who buy governments. As long as you don’t create peaceful community education, you won’t change how people think and show them how to stop feeding the system which enslaves them and other beings. The only changes possible are those which address the roots of our problems and not its symptoms.

What can be done? So far the Peace Movement has not made the connection with the Vegan Movement and recognized that they are part of the same fight. The first step is for the peace movement to connect ALL the dots. You can’t have peace in the world if you have violence on your plate three times a day. How do you expect to feed the starving when you munch on a cow’s corpse for lunch and dinner? Your meat is directly linked to starvation in the world as most of the grain (which could feed people) is fed to cattles (up to 80% of the US grain currently). Your meat is also directly linked to environmental devastation as the Rainforest is currently torn down for cattle grazing and feed for bovine slaves. Animal “foods” are behind most of the soil erosion and water and air pollution of the word. Don’t believe me; check what the United Nations’ report “Livestock Long Shadow” and the WorldWatch Institute say about this. If you care about the environment and desire peace, you have to change your lifestyle completely. Your health is directly linked to what you eat. When you eat that steak today, think about what it does to your body and how this benefits big pharma and their drug industry. You directly contribute to a disease care system which keeps you drugged and docile.

Second, people who want peace (and are vegan) need to truly educate others as to the reasons why they should do everything in their power to starve the system. Once again it is a matter of individual choices. If you pretend to be for peace but you are ok with your son taking on the uniform to become cannon fodder for the rich, you are living a dream. If you are ok with feeding the system by shopping at Wal-Mart, you are feeding those who profit from it, the ones at the very top or the 1% as we call them. You are not a human being anymore, you are just a consumer. Why do you think Bush said to people to go shop after 9/11? Because he knew that people’s habit of consuming would dumb them down and the power elites could do whatever they want. If you have a dumbed down and ignorant citizenry, it is easy to dupe them and do whatever you want for profit.

The Peace movement just like the Animal Rights movement is somehow cowardly when it comes to truly educating people. The large animal “rights” organizations waste millions of dollars on managing exploitation. In the 19th century, if abolitionists had wasted their time on regulating exploitation of slaves, we would still have institutionalized slavery. Slavery, in itself, is unfortunately not gone, but no one (except maybe a few staunch racists out there and giant corporations who profit from slave labor) would agree that it is ok to enslave other humans. If instead of protesting, we had tables everywhere in the country (and possibly the world) on peaceful vegan education and how to be true citizens (as opposed to consumers), we could educate thousands of people. And better yet, educating people on how to be true earthlings would be even more empowering than the idea of nationalist citizenry which just continues to reinforce separatism among people and other beings of this planet.  

Maybe you will perceive me as fantasist and unrealistic. Possibly. However, I have never seen any real effectiveness in protests, except as a good way to vent our frustrations. Tomorrow, we can all have a town hall and decide to band together to provide solar panels to our communities to reduce the demand for fossil fuels. Tomorrow we can have a town hall and explain to people why their demand for flesh is starving others and destroying the environment, their health and the lives of non-human victims uselessly. Instead of blindly following the so-called non-profits, we can have groups of people setting up educational workshops. Why don’t we do this? Because of the constant brainwashing that our institutions and the so-called peace and animal rights organizations impose upon us because we let them. There is no profit in Vegan/Peace education. But there is a lot of money to be made in single campaign issues for either humans or non-humans.

We will never change the system by protesting the institutional abusers (of humans and non-human animals) if we don’t eliminate demand for everything which oppresses us. But we have to become conscious of our own oppression and conditioning. We will however make changes when all of us finally decide to work together and peacefully educate others on how to de-condition and deprogram each others. Then and only then can we hope for a better world. Peaceful Vegan education is the key, so go out there and talk to people.

© copyright May 2013. All rights reserved. No printing without authorization.

END OF THE LINE: Failure to recognize the real problem

The 2009 documentary End of the line, based on the book by British journalist Charles Clover, documents the state of « fisheries » in the world and how we are driving entire species to extinctions. It also shows what is happening behind the scenes with governments and corporations whose race to catch the last fish is destroying the worlds’ oceans.

This is a very informative documentary. However, I have two warnings: one, this is a mainstream, speciesist point of view. Not once do they even wonder what this must be like to the animals themselves. Everything is seen from a human-centric point of view.

Two: there are some very graphics images of what is done to the fishes. They don’t hide human brutality on the ocean and the animals (which makes it really even more disgusting). It shows humans as these aggressive predators who rape and tear up the fabric of ocean life. So if you are very sensitive, I wouldn’t recommend it.

If you can get past these two things however, this is a very good documentary which reinforced my views that going Vegan really is the only answer. The documentary does not address the fact that we don’t even need to eat fishes in the first place. There are some very haunting images in the movie. Some scenes are beautifully filmed which makes it even more compelling, although hard, to watch.

One of the most damning statements in the movie, made out of ignorance by a fisherman in Senegal, is when he says: “The Sea betrayed us”. In fact, it is humans who betrayed the sea with their greed.  Although I understand that this is this man’s subsistence and culture, it demonstrates the speciesist mentality at large. There is no consideration of alternatives anywhere in this documentary. The emphasis is on how to reduce the impact, not whether we need to catch fishes or not. It gives the usual pathetic recommendations of getting the list of what fishes are endangered and to be avoided and those “safe” to eat because they are not. It is about as bad as comparing Factory Farms to “humanely raised” animals. The same grotesque speciesism permeates the thinking behind this. It goes even further when it notes Wall Mart (sic) as an example of sustainability (when it comes to fishes).

How about not eating fish at all?

The impact of our tax dollars on the developing countries is very well documented. We are in essence paying for large boats and monstrous fishing trawls to rape the ocean in developing countries just so we can enjoy eating fish in an expensive restaurant. The little fisherman is a substance fisherman, as demonstrated by the man in Senegal. Just down the road from his home, giant boats are ready to make millions of dollars. The only profits are done by the European Union and other “developed” countries. And let’s not forget how wasteful this industry is. 10% of all the world’s “catch” is released in the ocean, from sea birds to turtles and even whales because they are not target species. One big issue in this documentary is that a lot of the fishes being caught are processed into feed for other fishes and livestock which we then eat. It is 40% of all the catch. So, this is also a human rights issue. This 40% does not go to feed poor humans, it goes to feed rich people in the west who want animal flesh. No one seems to realize that we have turned herbivores (cows) into fish predators to feed other herbivores (us). The best way to reduce that is stop eating animal flesh from land animals. Fish farms are also devastating. It takes about 5 kilos of anchovies to “make” one kilo of salmon.

In retrospect, I wonder what is wrong with the so-called human species. How immoral have we become? How greedy? There are no solutions, clearly, coming from governments as politicians are corrupted by the corporations who rape the oceans. One exception is Alaska which has fishing quotas well below the recovery threshold. But it still does not answer the question of whether we have a moral right to exploit other species, which we don’t. And it doesn’t make fishes any healthier for human consumption. Fish is fat and cholesterol that we don’t need. We can get the benefits of Omega 3’s from plant sources like hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, etc… I realize that this is not a documentary on health but answering that question makes eating fishes redundant if you are in a developed country.

The only hope that I can see is for Vegan education. As long as we see the ocean and the animals whose lives depend on it as commodities and things to use for our own profit and dubious benefit, we remain spiritually dead. Veganism is the only way to wake people up and show them alternatives. The person in Senegal may not have a choice, but someone in the western world does. We have a choice of not consuming what contributes to destruction when faced with healthy plant based foods which do not harm the planet. Let’s make this choice today and educate others to do the same. This documentary is a good tool to educate people to what is happening but clearly, we can go further.

 

For more on this documentary, visit the official website Endoftheline.com

You can watch a preview of the movie at Topdocumentary.com. You can also watch the entire movie instantly on Netflix.

And if you want to purchase, go to the official website or click this link : The End of the Line

For more information on adoption a healthy Vegan diet, please visit my website YourVegLife.com

 

Note: I have used the word « fishes » vs « fish » purposefully in the article to emphasize the animals as individuals even though it is not a common use.

© Copyright November 2012. All Rights Reserved. No printing without permission.