Dr. Steve Best Total Liberation

August 1, 2009 at 1:31 am 20 comments

Oh dear…as much as I share Dr. Steve Best’s views on animal rights I think his approach is more like that of a Hitler Youth rally. The enemy is not the vivisectionists, the slaughterhouses and the capitalist corporations. The truth is there is no single enemy, we are all gulity collectively as a species.  Ethical evolution is in the awaking of the heart of the ordinary person. As Gandhi said you have to become the change you want to see in the world.  Don’t get me wrong I am as angry as the next person in the line but  its about REAL long term effects and that is not about destroying property its about creative ethical education.


Entry filed under: ethics, meat, vegan. Tags: .

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  • 1. Camille  |  August 13, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    You said: “The enemy is not the vivisectionists, the slaughterhouses and the capitalist corporations.”

    I believe that every nonhuman individual being tortured at this second would disagree with you. The sadists who commodify death are definitely the enemy.

    But I think I understand your point. If you’re ever confined in a cage having your skullcap sawed off or electrodes attached to your eyeballs or if you’re chained up in a claustrobic crate…. I’ll be angry…

    But instead of fighting to free you, I’ll throw a nice peaceful vegan potluck!

    That’s what’s wrong with this movement. It’s been hijacked by myopic morons.

    • 2. anonymous  |  March 28, 2010 at 9:02 am

      I agree with your rage and horror, Camille. As a vegan and animal rights activist, I’m continually grieving for the untold numbers of animals horrifically tormented at the hands of stupid humans. It never goes away. I can never be innocent again.
      Humans are the most evil thing on this planet, that is plain for anyone to see.

      What we’re dealing with is the deep root of evil that allows for these atrocities to occur at all — and to occur in such unimaginable numbers.

      But precisely because the evil runs so deep and is so rampant, widely accepted, ignored and allowed, we cannot blunder in — no matter how covertly and devotedly — and rescue only small numbers of animals from small numbers of facilities. Because these facilities already have so much backing, they easily recoup their relatively small losses.

      The very fact that the FBI tracks your every move tells you how huge their “side” is. So, as unfathomably horrific as it is to say and contemplate — we can’t get a large enough army together to overthrow these multi-layered, evil busineses and facilities by direct action.

      Most of the result of it is that people — who want only to rescue these animals — get thrown in jail or prison, where they can then do NOTHING to save a single animal. And it solidifies the idea in the mainstream public’s mind that animal rights’ people are crazy, extremist, violent, and irrational.

      We’re then playing right into their hands, doing just what they want us to do — giving them everything they need to shut us down, lock us up, and keep the truth of their evil hidden.

      What I’m trying to say (and bear with me, it’s late here and I’m exhausted) is that we have to be way, way smarter about it, and approach it from a multitude of levels, and dismantle the foundations of these businesses from a multitude of angles.

      The animals need more and more and more of us to be awake to these horrors, and they need us to be strong and FREE to help them.
      They DON’T need us to be hounded, tracked, arrested, and thrown in prison.
      If we stay on the “outside” we can do far far more to dismantle these evil empires from the ground up.

      Everyone who is NOT awake to these horrors, who ignores, allows, condones or participates is directly culpable. Every one who purchases animal products is directly culpable. Everyone who defends animal testing/torture is directly culpable.
      So to me it makes far more sense to work tirelessly and devotedly to wake people up, and to educate them about how completely insane these practices are, and about the myriad alternatives they have to animal use, abuse and killing.

      Rather than meeting covertly in cells and donning black hoods and storming facilities — only to rescue a very tiny fraction of animals (even though my heart howls at not doing this) — many of which end up right back at these facilities — why not use our rage, horror, anguish, love, and strength to be out on the streets every day approaching every one who passes by?
      Why aren’t there thousands upon thousands of books talking about the necesssity of animal rights and animal liberation? Why isn’t it taught in schools? We could write these books, we could shout it from the rooftops and every streetcorner — perfectly legally and peaceably — we could get it taught in schools. We could make this change.

      We could do a myriad of things — which we are not doing as we sit here typing, and arguing over whether or not to storm facilities, get arrested, get FBI black-listed and get thrown in prison — that have DIRECT positive impact on people to wake up and demand answers and change from the industries using, abusing and killing animals.

      I AGREE that more and more and more and more people need to WAKE UP and GET MOVING to help animals. But to help them in tiny numbers from jail doesn’t make sense to me, in the long run. THAT seems to me like the “long way round”.

  • 3. Gloomy Vegan  |  August 13, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Many thanks Camille for your view point and I understand your anger and your passion. Your also right if I was being tortured at the hands of these humans I would want you to take direct action for me and not have someone like me who might just throw a vegan pot luck and not engage in direct action.

    However I truly believe it is you who has myopic vision as I think direct action saves the few to the sacrifice of the majority. There has been 39% increase in animal experiments since 1997. Direct action is not a smart game its a game that make you feel like a hero but at a price. We as vegans need to become the norm, the guy next door. Not the guy in the mask. You have to fight the smart fight, the sighted have to find the blind not make them see us as the enemy.

    I do respect your views however and thanks.

  • […] yesterday I learned from a supposedly vegan blog  that “the enemy is not the vivisectionists, the slaughterhouses and the capitalist […]

  • 5. Gloomy Vegan  |  August 14, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    There are many Prominent Abolitionist Vegans who disagree with Dr. Steven Best approach…such as Gary Francione, Adam Kochanowicz and so on. I don’t think destroying property is the way forward at all and there are many more Vegans who agree with that than don’t. The “Hitler Youth Rally” comment was tongue in cheek like the rest of my blog but I do think he is inciting young people to destroy property / violence which is highly irresponsible at best. Why does he not do what he preaches?

    “Negotiation is over: Go Vegan or Die!” (your blog) because violence always leads to peaceful resolution. My point which I think you missed is that I do not believe for one second that an aggressive and angry approach will ever lead to animal abolition. I am not saying do nothing I am saying we have to use our minds not our fists.You can not use violence to end violence.

  • 6. Lucy  |  August 14, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Who are we as vegans , surely we are peace keepers and using the best of our intelligence. We are lucky in the UK (for me) to have a choice, and society does not support the vegan choice. Our children are bombarded with McDonalds and the rest… Does that mean that people that eat meat are bad, uneducated, stupid, need to be pounced on – because that is what will make change. Will that make change? I doubt it. Radical reform never works – we are human beings that that react far better to understanding than force. We are complex in our make up – I think ‘hitler’ was harsh, and I understand the passion as I’m sure a lot of vegans would. Though I would never want to promote the anger, because as a vegan I love animals and can make sense of why people are not – and I wish them no harm.

  • 7. Gloomy Vegan  |  August 15, 2009 at 12:15 am


    I agree with what your comments 100%

    Thanks for your reply

  • 8. Camille  |  August 15, 2009 at 12:41 am

    @Gloomy Vegan,

    There are also many abolitionists who believe Gary Francione is endemic of everything that’s stalled this “movement” in neutral.

    Yes, many vegans agree with you that property damage is unproductive. But this lack of a cogent argument is also a common thread among passive tolerant complicit vegans who advocate an asinine agenda that does nothing more than placate the oppressors.

    If the foundation of your position is, “well, everyone else thinks so” then I’m sorry to tell you that you epitomize the sycophantic followers of Francione who can’t see that he’s infected this movement with a paralyzing disease.

    Your last sentence sums it up. You “can understand” why people are not vegan — that is, you are tolerant of those who perpetuate the holocaust; you probably socialize with the enemy over mutilated corpses on a plate.

    If they were human babies being slaughtered for their mutilated body parts, could you and Lucy muster up some anger? Or is it only the nonhuman holocaust you can rationalize?

    Miltant direct action is an expression of love for the enslaved. Passivism is an expression of submission to the oppressors.

  • 9. Lucy  |  August 15, 2009 at 1:20 am

    nothing makes sense of it, but its not what we are about as people that can make choices.

  • 10. Quirky Vegan  |  August 15, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    I don’t agree with the militant stance, I think it plays right into the hands of the “oppressors”. Vegans who take this tact marginalise all of us, and although they may fancy themselves as the “big guns” of the vegan movement, they are in fact keeping veganism out of the mainstream, the preserve of weirdos and extremists, which is just what the animal agriculture industry wants.

    If the fact that I don’t go fire bombing pet shops in my spare time makes me less serious about my veganism, then so be it.

    Some people have so much anger, it makes me wonder if it’s really about the cause at all.

  • 11. Camille  |  August 15, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve never firebombed anyone — much as I might like to.

    If playing to the mainstream worked, veganism would not exist on the fringes of society. The mainstream is what needs to be overhauled. Activists who feel the need to placate the masses and fold themselves into the problems are deluded.

    When vegans tacitly approve of every mainsteam aberration, we are sanctioning every insidious form of animal abuse that society condones.

    This fundamentalist pacifist mentality is either some pathological defect or pure speciesism. If the norm in society was to rape babies and then socialize over their charred mutilated body parts, I don’t believe for one second that the pacifists would be as tolerant as they are about nonhuman torture.

    Keep wondering… if your way worked, we would have a movement… instead we have a self-congratulatory lovefest among the impotent and delusional.

  • 12. Quirky Vegan  |  August 16, 2009 at 7:12 am

    @Camille erm… I never said you firebombed anyone?!

    What is interesting is your definition of “fundamentalism” – here’s an exerpt from Websters

    “fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon, characterized by a sense of embattled alienation in the midst of the surrounding culture”

    Wow that sounds familiar. I’d say that a phrase such as “Negotiation is over” is pretty fundamentalist.

    So, education of the masses isn’t working, let’s just force them into submission. Through violent means if necessary. I guess this is just what Al-Qaeda thought when they bombed the world trade center – it’s ok that hundreds of people are killed, because we’re getting our message across and they WILL obey us.

    It doesn’t work And killiing is wrong. But you’re a vegan, I don’t need to tell you that, right?

  • 13. Camille  |  August 16, 2009 at 9:30 am

    who told you al queada bombed the wtc?

    observe, question, resist

    • 14. marge  |  July 24, 2011 at 9:26 am

      who told you that you could leave the asylum?

      shut-up. fuck-off, drop-dead.

  • 15. Captain Graviton  |  August 18, 2009 at 10:14 am

    @Camille I feel your anger and frustration, really I do. So often I am awash with such rage and the instinct to dish out a can of irony to those folk that thoughtlessly torture and hurt animals, either directly or by ignorant proxy. Like that kid on “The Sixth Sense” only, “I see stupid people, walking around like regular people. They don’t know they are stupid”.

    But I was one of those very stupid ignorant people once myself. What snapped me out of it? What woke me from my slumber? I can tell you what it wasn’t.

    As much as I may well have deserved to have had my face kicked in, or my house raided and my property damaged, as much as slogans sprayed on my car may have given me a moments pause for thought for your cause, I can tell you right now that my instinct for revenge would have overshadowed any meaningful ponderings on the irony. In fact, what I would have done was become my enemy, saught them out and acted the same upon them two fold. And if I couldn’t get my mitts around their necks then by their Gods I would tar and feather their names and discredit the whole lot of them.

    In short. I understand direct action, but it just does not work. It really doesn’t. It achieves the opposite. And turning on other Vegans whose methods DO work, and DO have results (frustratingly small and slow, I’ll admit) is like the Army slagging-off the Navy.

    What turned this humble individual around was facts. Scientific facts, and logic. Calmly put in a non-threatening way. After a while, the light came on, and since then I have been ACTIVELY fighting the cause by speaking out and not participating in the system of cruelty that we both loathe so much. My actions have saved many sentient lives already and I did it without punching anyone’s lights out. Vegans may be many things, but they are NOT passive. Their conscious choices are active and make positive permanent difference.

    In addition, the mainstream view the word “Vegan” as a some sort of dirty word (I believe it’s because they are reluctant to admit that what we have been saying has been right all along). So now I see on diet programs and documentaries, adverts and the like all suggesting what is essentially a Vegan diet, but without using that dirty V-word. So it’s “Eat your five-a-day kids” and “naturally packed with antioxidants” and everything else that means Go Vegan only don’t admit they were right all along. In this respect, I see that Veganism is taking a hold and growing, not in the way I would like, but it is a successful approach to changing hearts and minds.

    Great debate anyway.

  • 16. rmgw  |  September 11, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Could it not be that both the firebombers and the non-firebombers need to co-exist in some not-so-peaceful collaboration? Creative tension, perhaps. I don’t think trying to drag examples out of history for why one approach or the other is the right one (i.e., gets the job done in a reasonably ethical way), is going to solve the problem, because many movements seems to have consisted of a (sometimes very uneasy) coalition of methods and styles. I don’t even think it matters that vegans spend a lot of time sniping at each other – it’s all part of the process. Humans tend to think what they do is terribly important, but often it isn’t in the long run. At least we’re all agreed that human behaviour to animals is unacceptable – we’ll get there in the end.

  • 17. Gloomy Vegan  |  September 12, 2009 at 12:58 am

    What I care about is that the marketing of veganism to the masses is not hindered by negative marketing. It’s easy to sell to a specialist market but the profits are small. The big corporations are not scared of ARA they however scared shitless if Tom, Jane or Harry goes mmmm….I never thought about it like that before.

  • 18. john  |  June 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    i see best and francione on different sides of the same coin, yet also on different planets. yet both are needed, and both serve a significant purpose in the same movement. they appeal to different sensibilities and will inspire like-minded individuals to resist or take action, to have no part in the slaughter. personally, i see more flaws in francione’s approach and his reasoning, but i’m glad he’s participating if his doing so makes a positive difference. i observe that it does. i’m glad for the critiques from each side. engaging with the issues really helps one pinpoint where one stands, which is a good thing to know.

  • 19. john  |  June 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    and to those who say direct action does not work, you are very wrong. it works for the animals. it may not turn a lab operator into a vegan–probably nothing will–but it frees his animals, and perhaps renders his lab inoperable. that is something.

  • 20. steve  |  June 14, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    errrrrm, has anyone considered that there is plenty of room in this movement for both peaceful education and property destruction and violence as proffered by Steve Best to coexist?


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