Lisa Kemmerer in London 06.09. 7PM

lisa banner

We are happy to announce that Dr. Lisa Kemmerer will spend an evening with us in London, speaking on ‘Ecofeminism: Bitches and Bollox’.

Dr. Kemmerer, professor of philosophy and religions at Montana State University Billings, is the author/editor of nine books and a hands-on activist for the animals, the environment and social justice.

Dr. Kemmerer will address ‘Ecofeminist theory [that] connects animal advocacy with other social justice movements, highlighting the importance of a more expansive vision of liberation. In this view, anymal activism requires solidarity with other social justice causes such as [those against] racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism, and classism’

We are inviting people of all genders to join us for this very special evening at the London Action Resource Centre (LARC).

Free Entry!

The pre-party will begin at 6PM where our allies from the LARC will kindly provide vegan snacks (Thank You!) and you will have the opportunity to meet and chat with our organisers. Books, zines and art work will also be for sale.

Dr. Kemmerer’s talk will begin at 7pm. The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions afterwards.

Please share this event widely!

Here are the details:

 

Address: 62 Fuelgate St., London, E1 1ES

Free Entry + All welcome

Doors open: 6pm

Talk begins: 7pm

Accessibility: The room is wheelchair accessible and there are also gender neutral toilets.

This event will operate under out Safer Space Agreement but please be aware that it is open to the general public. If there is anything specific we can do to ensure your safety beforehand, please let us know!

A Case for Police Abolition

written by aga


CW: discussion of racist police brutality and murder

Police as part of kyriarchal oppression

The justice system in democratic capitalist countries – and with it the police and the prison industrial complex – are inherently white supremacist institutions enabling kyriarchy. Abolishing the police would mean chipping away a very potent piece of this imperialist and racist system that makes deviant bodies (non-white but also non-male, non-heterosexual, non-property-owning, non-human etc.) imperceptible and non-existent.

Kyriarchy makes sure to symbolically erase black production of meaning – in media and everyday conversations, in school curriculums, through marketing and consumer products, etc. The extent of this becomes obvious every time racist murders occur, globally or locally: The only way white allies seem to know how to express their outrage in these cases is by sharing footage of the acts, including the brutalised and dead bodies of black people. In doing so however, we only help kyriarchy perpetuate the image of the removed or dead black body. Further, by sharing these images, as white people, we traumatise communities of colour and so inflict additional pain (head over to Aphro-ism to delve deeper into this subject).

The police and prison system, as part of the white supremacist structure that is kyriarchy, is then responsible for upholding the prohibition of black expression and production of knowledge and meaning in this world through practically and literally removing and murdering black bodies merely for their existence in a white-dominated world, such as most recently Alton Sterling and the countless others who were killed by US police (click here for a video visualisation of names of the victims and the things they were doing when shot, indicating that white production of meaning constructs the black body as inherently suspicious and dangerous as well as worthless).

Abolish the police because Black Lives Matter

Amongst most white activists the fear of and hatred towards police begins with showing up to a demo or an action and ends by leaving it and returning to the safety of our homes. Yes, the cops terrorise some of us in our homes and they try to ruin our lives by criminalising us, but generally speaking they don’t brutalise us nor do they kill us and get away with it.

And yes, most of the police in the UK do not carry fire arms which statistically lowers the rate of murder victims killed by UK cops but this does not mean that the police here don’t discriminate against and brutalise black people (the MacPherson enquiry comes to mind, deeming the Metropolitan Police as ‘institutionally racist’).

So the fact remains that the police is an inherently racist institution established to protect the white rich status quo. To practice anti-racism then, as a logical consequence, we have to start rejecting and abolishing the police.

So instead of derailing the conversation from ‘Black Lives Matter’ to ‘All Lives Matter’ or comparing your white activist arrest to what is happening to the Baton Rouge protestors for example, white activists, including me, should shut up and listen. Inform yourself, get involved and remember that it is your job to dismantle white supremacy.

Police abolition – but how?

If you are new to the topic of prison/police abolition, a good start would be to read ‘Are Prisons Obsolete’ by Angela Davis, where she sketches a history of the prison industrial complex that shows exactly how prisons have been established as a means to remove black bodies from the city and uphold the white status quo. Davis takes her knowledge about the history and applies it to today’s white supremacist politics. By doing so she automatically invites the reader to question and reject the perceived connection between prisons and  protection, safety and justice.

As a next step head over to Imagine Alternatives where you can access one of the most thought provoking essays including a set of exercises that will help you navigate life with as little reliance on police as possible.

Googling ‘police abolition’, ‘restorative justice’, ‘community accountability’ will give you an additional flood of ideas on how to stop relying on police and how to start actively dismantling this dangerous, racist and classist arm of kyriarchy.

 

7 Ways to Combat the Hostile Post-Brexit Atmosphere in Your Community

~ by aga


Only two days after Brexit I was greeted by a flood of outraged friends in my facebook feed, sharing horrible examples of xenophobia, racism and islamophobia happening in their communities. Of course these events aren’t new but it really seems like Brexit gave racists the validation they needed to become more active in their hateful ways.

Outrage is good but solidarity is better

The overwhelming amount of personal stories being shared on social networks in which people describe the hateful things happening to them and their friends since the British people decided to leave Europe is only contributing to my worries and fears. What will happen when I return to the UK after the summer, should I even bother coming back or would I be better off leaving my friends and my life behind and starting over elsewhere?

Of course  I am happy that the people on my facebook feed despise the hate and bigotry popping up across the country, yet their posts make me feel shit inside because they give a platform to – and thereby amplify – what a minority of British people have to say. Despite the Brexit result, I still believe that most people in Britain are not all horrible racists. I know that all my friends miss me and would love for me to come back. Yet seeing all these examples of hate makes me as an immigrant, feel unwelcome and sad.

So I started wondering what people, not just in the UK, can do to make refugees, immigrants, muslims and people of colour feel welcome and safe(r).

Here are five suggestions that anybody can go for right now.

1. Spread messages of solidarity

Write a message to a person who could be affected by anti-immigrant hate speech, ask them how they feel and let them know that despite what they are hearing in the media and on the streets, they are indeed welcome, valued and important.

Get some chalk and leave messages on the side walk and the street:

‘Refugees Welcome’, ‘I love my Eastern European friends’, ‘People of Colour are loved’, ‘Racists fuck off’, ‘My muslim friends rock’ etc.

Or write your messages on paper and stick them to trees, bus stops, lamp posts, leave them on public transport, around your school or university, etc. Here is an example of some signs our very own Casey made:

casey picture solidarity

 

You can also head over to the Active Distribution Shop and get some solidarity stickers to leave anywhere and everywhere you go.

2. Show your solidarity with tokens

Get some cookies, sweets, sandwiches or any other vegan snacks and put them on a stool or little table on the side walk near your house. Next to it, on a piece of cardboard, let people know who this is for and why:

‘For my Polish (or Rumanian, muslim, Asian, etc.) neighbours. We say no to Brexit (or racism, xenophobia, etc). Solidarity and Love to all of you. Enjoy’.

You can do this with anything, a thermos with tea/coffee and a few mugs, a bunch of books you won’t read ever again, board games, plush toys, or roses, such as a vendor in Bristol did (image shared by Best of Bristol):

bristol flowers for immigrants

A bucket of roses with a note that reads: If you are an immigrant to the UK please take a rose! And remember 62% of Bristolians voted to stay in the EU!

3. Organise a demo

This act of solidarity with the victims of a hate crime against a Polish community center in London is an amazing example of people coming together in protest agains xenophobic attacks bringing gifts and messages of solidarity. It probably didn’t need much organising and came about rather spontaneously as a direct response to hateful graffiti sprayed onto the community center’s walls.

Organising a protest or demo for the first time might sound like a huge endeavour and might be quite intimidating. It also is a very empowering experience that actually doesn’t need much prep work and can often work very well if it’s even just a spontaneous stunt. In England you don’t even need to register a static demonstration with the council or the police. If you are planning a moving march or parade you will have to get a permit first.

There is nothing stopping you from grabbing a few friends and/or creating a facebook event page for a static demo in a well visited public place. You can meet beforehand and paint some banners (recycle old cardboard, sheets or the back of advertising banners from shops) with messages of solidarity on them. You can stand there with your banners and chant (with or without a megaphone). Some of you could give out tokens of solidarity, such as flowers or fruit from vendors who would throw these items away at the end of the day. You can ‘leaflet’ by giving little notes of solidarity to member of the public. One of you could bring a guitar/a drum/ a tambourine for some noise. You can sing songs and celebrate your international friends. Anything goes and it will bring a smile to people passing by.

4. Use social media to spread the love

Use your social media accounts to share pictures of acts of kindness like the above. Write a status update reminding your friends that they are welcome in Britain and that they are important to you. Take a profile picture with yourself holding a sign with a solidarity message on it. These little things might seem like a cheap excuse for activism but they actually go a long way. I had my facebook account deactivated for a couple of months until the day of Brexit. I received so many emails from my concerned friends in the UK that day and yet I felt a bit alone, sitting in my room in far away in Sweden, staring at my inbox. I felt the need to log into facebook to be closer to my friends and to experience this shock together. This was vital for my well being as it reminded me that not everyone in the UK felt hateful towards immigrants. So, if reflecting your solidarity online is something you can do, go for it!

5. Volunteer for refugees

If you live near Calais, consider travelling there for a day or two over the weekend. Friendly faces and a lot of help are always needed down there. You can find many local action groups on facebook by searching facebook for these (or similar) key words: ‘calais refugee cambridge’ for example. There is also a map on google showing where refugee aid is needed the most (but it’s only updated during winter).

No matter how you decide to help, always listen to the refugees and be there to empower them not to patronise or decide for them. Show your support and don’t act without consent.

6. Wear a safety pin

You’ve probably seen this campaign on social media: To show your solidarity and to make yourself approachable by people who are suffering from the horrendous hate crimes you can simply wear a safety pin on your top. You can get a pack of 50 very cheap in Boots or Superdrug or any stationary shop. This way you will have enough pins to give out to your friends or to pin to every item of clothing you have.

Additionally, pin a little rainbow flag to your DIY brooch (you can even just draw one on a piece of paper and pin it to your clothes). This way MOGAI/ LGBTQAI+ refugees, muslims, European immgrants and people of colour who suffer from multiple hateful attacks will know they can turn to you.

7. Don’t be a bystander

If you bear witness to a hate crime, be it the smallest act of hate, do something. Make sure you are safe, but don’t be afraid to be the first one to speak out. It is very easy to succumb to the so called bystander effect. So when we find ourselves in a large group of people and someone needs our help, it is very easy for us to not feel responsible for providing help. This is because psychologically we tend to justify to ourselves that in the mass of people, there must at least one person who is faster or more qualified to help than we are. On the other hand, if we then see somebody providing help, it is easier for us to join in and take action ourselves. So chances are high if you’re in a mass of people, everybody will wait for someone else to take action and at the same time if they see you take action they might find it easier to join in.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to speak out against a xenophobic slur for example, a simple: ‘Shut your mouth!’ or ‘You’re not speaking for anybody else here’ could do the job. You don’t necessarily need to turn to the attacker. To disrupt the violence, you could simply engage the victim in a conversation. Take their attention away from the bigot. Smile at them. Ask them to talk to you. Ask them where they are headed, talk about the weather or what they had for lunch yesterday.

________________________________________________

Send us pics and videos of the examples of solidarity you have seen (we have a brand new instagram and twitter account). We want to spread the love to balance the few but dominant messages of hate out.

Music Monday with Casey

by aga

 

We are launching Music Monday today!

Every Monday we will try to give a platform to a vegan non-binary or female musician. If you know anybody who falls under that category let us know!

We will start off with our very own Casey who sings and plays guitar about everything to do with liberation. They are an acoustic folky singer with a powerful voice and even more powerful messages. Their songs deal with animal exploitation and other kinds of oppression. They are fierce and speak their mind, so their songs might not always be safe for work but they will always give you that energy you need to face another day in world full of shitty people. In the end, Casey does always remind us that solidarity wins over hate, though!

Casey is about to record their first album, so stay tuned for more. If you want to hear what they have released so far or find out about gig dates and locations, keep in touch with Casey here:

Casey on Soundcloud          Casey on Bandcamp          Casey on Instagram

They are playing at Ely Festival and the totally vegan Kaos Skola Festival in Sweden (all Kaos Skola proceeds are going to two animal charities and a refugee organisation to buy tickets go to the festival website).

For much needed solidarity and love after Brexit we chose to share with you Casey’s brand new acoustic improv song about Xenophobia in the UK.

We hope you enjoy it and we are looking forward to your suggestions for future Music Monday features!

 

London Pride 2016

by aga

We hope you had a marvellous Pride weekend and took the time to celebrate your beautiful selves! We wish you a happy and safe year with nothing but love and happiness!

We want you to know that we are here for you and we are trying our best to fight this horribly violent system until we all feel that we can be ourselves everywhere we go.

At London Pride, our very own Lex marched with the Migrant and Anti-Racist Bloc organised by the Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary & Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants. They got interviewed by Paolo Zeriali, explaining why it is important to fight all oppression. Watch the video below to hear Lex speak or read the transcript below the youtube video.

TW: Lex briefly mentions hateful violence towards them.

 

[Interview Transcript:

Interviewer: We are in London pride with Lex right here with “destroy transphobia, fight kyriarchy and smash borders”. Let’s try to explain what do all these slogans mean.

Lex: So, as a trans individual I feel that there is so much transphobia and people, like, always misgender me, I was physically attacked last year just for being trans. So I want to destroy transphobia, so every person would be able to live as they are despite whatever gender they are or lack of gender. Kyriarchy is kinda like patriarchy just connecting all oppressions. So it is a fight against racism, transphobia, homophobia, patriarchy and all those. They go into kind of oppression kyriarchy all connected. And I’d like to smash borders so we would live in a place where people can move freely and that wouldn’t depend on if you have papers, what kind of country you are from, because no one choose where to be born, but you should be free to choose where to live.

Interviewer: So your struggle is dealing with multiple oppressions?

Lex: yeah as we don’t live in single issue world, meaning as a queer person I can face oppression as a queer person, but also I am an immigrant, so I face xenophobia and as trans individual I face transphobia. And I cannot separate which issue is affecting me the same like another person cannot say which oppression and how you… So you cannot fight just one oppression, you should realise that they all are connected. Also a disabled person I face ableism. So I think it is important to fight all oppressions and realise how they all are connected.]

~aga

4 Reasons To Be Devastated about Brexit

~ by aga


Solidarity with everyone affected by this horrific result

Britain voted to leave the EU in a people’s referendum yesterday.

We, at the Anti-Speciesist Collective, are devastated and spent half the day in disbelief over this result. None of us can imagine the consequences this political decision will have but we know that none of them will be beneficial to the people in or outside the UK, the animals and the planet.

First, let me say, I am not an EU-sympathiser. Under ordinary circumstances I always criticise the neoliberal imperialist politics and classist austerity measures that are results of EU politics. And I will, of course, continue to do so. However, I am devastated at Britain’s decision to leave, as the -by far- lesser evil would have been to stay.

We, as a collective, want to express our solidarity with everyone who will feel immediate (or indirect) repercussions of this dramatic shift in global politics.

In the rage, despair and anxiety I experienced receiving the bad news, it was hard to actually picture some of the consequences that are awaiting us now. In this blog post I tried to articulate 4 of my fears.

1 – The Rise of the far right

This referendum decision is a victory for nationalism and far right leaders (and followers) across Europe and beyond. The leave-campaign rhetoric was fuelled by nationalist, xenophobic and islamophobic propaganda from start to finish. There was no access to critical information engaging with horrific EU policies affecting women and non-binary people, people of colour and the working class in Britain or elsewhere and most information was based on polarising polemic fear mongering. So any supposed comrade who tells you they voted ‘leave’ out of some sort of leftist solidarity and in protest of EU austerity measures in Greece or elsewhere unfortunately sold their vote to Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen, Vladimir Putin etc. who will all gain even more momentum now. Even Donald Trump is already touring the UK in his quest for fascist unity on this side of the Atlantic. The ultra conservatives are celebrating and Nigel Farage went as far as to claim today as ‘Independence Day’. Centuries of colonial violence perpetrated by Britain and gruesome struggles for actual independence by the colonised are disrespectfully stomped upon, invalidated and forgotten about in one day. I don’t want to imagine where else this will lead.

2 – Geopolitics is a human concept of division that animals suffer from

I do denounce the concepts of borders, nation states and private property as violent for the economic and physical conflicts and devastation they cause. There are ideas about diminishing and even abolishing the sovereignty and power that nation states have so as to establish one unified, global government (this is worked on in theories about Cosmopolitanism, for example). The EU is precisely such an experiment on a continental level.

I like to imagine state and border abolition, along more anarchist lines. The former merely moves the power holder from one institution to another, where potentially differences would be erased and many parts of our lives could be assimilated to whoever will be in power (in a eurocentric capitalist world, implementing such a government would most likely not better the experience of most people in this world). An anarchist imagination on the other hand, removes the idea of a government, a patronising centralised institution that exerts its power over a variety of people and could never possibly accommodate their differences. Instead we think about localised, destratified and bottom-up decision making.

We need to remember that borders are a human construct. They were put into place to determine private property, to separate and protect possessions so as to ensure sustenance and even abundance for one party at the expense of another. In a world dominated by white cis human men, it is clear who is on the losing end of this deal.

Ideas such as private property, economics and geopolitics are alien to animals, yet they are affected by human divisions of the world just as much as we are. The help animals in certain countries get depends on the economic and geopolitical status of that state. Rumanian street dogs for example are at the mercy of Rumanian domestic and foreign politics just as much as Swedish law decides which animals can be shot for sport when and where in the country. With a reduced international influence upon the UK, it is questionable whether the welfare of cows on British farms, foxes and badgers in British forests, and dogs, rats and monkeys in testing laboratories will improve. Britain has a long history of opposition to vivisection and animal activists have celebrated many successes. The EU has also played a big part in influencing vivisection practices across the globe. Now it brings chills down my spine to even think about these poor souls imprisoned in British universities, breeding facilities and animal testing companies.

So Britain’s decision to leave the EU will have horrendous consequences upon animals inside and outside the monarchy. Additionally, international influence and restrictions upon environmental hazards (fracking, GMO, pesticide use) will be reduced, affecting the climate and all life far beyond the island.

3 -Austerity in Britain

cw: mention of suicide

Britain is already suffering from budget cuts to much needed services whilst at the same time private companies are sweeping them up. Recipients of disability benefits were already seeing drastic cuts to their finances and a experienced a reduction in their well being when Britain was still part of the EU.

Women’s shelters are being shut, doctors are overworked and underpaid like all staff in the care sector is, and Brexit has reduced Britain’s chances of outside support of these already suffering services.

Tuition fees skyrocketed during EU membership and universities are being privatised like nowhere else in Europe. Now that the education system will be even less influenced by Europe, British universities are likely to be more deregulated and education will become even less accessible.

Those who will suffer the most are of course young people of colour, the MOGAI/ LGBTQAI+ youth and girls as well as disabled kids and those growing up in a working class home.

Suicide rates amongst these marginalised identity groups are on the rise in the UK as it is.

4 – The EU brings social unity not just political and economic (in)depence

The press speaks of economic and political consequences but nobody ever mentions the social impacts Brexit has. Simply put, Brexit sends one very clear signal to Europeans living on the island: ‘We don’t need you. You’re not welcome here’.

The anti-immigration propaganda is very dominant in England. Islamophobia and xenophobia especially towards the many Eastern Europeans in the UK has been highly dangerous in recent years.

In his resigning speech, David Cameron made very clear that the referendum’s result will not have any initial effect upon the Europeans living inside the UK, nor on British citizens. In reality he knows, as do we, that families and friendships will suffer from Brexit making travel and migration in and out of the country harder than it already is. Access to services for non-citizens will be reduced (as it is already being reduced for citizens) and possibilities to form private connections to people through travel (without economic or political purposes) will become increasingly harder. This is not just due to upcoming policies but more so due to the interpersonal climate of fear and hate created by Brexit propaganda.

What They Said

Here are some quotes we collected by vegan feminist authors for our first zine:

Quotes page

 

Emily Gaarder: ‘When women make the choice to become animal rights activists, they should be considered, in the words of bell hooks, “political thinkers making political choices” (1989, 95). Only within this framework can we begin to understand the social and political relevancy of women’s narratives of activism, and the majority status they hold in the movement for animal rights. Such a framework might also inspire women activists to reimagine the significance of their extraordinary political choices’.

Patricia MacCormack: ‘”of course animals enjoy interactions with humans” or “we can help as much as hurt”, “animal systems can teach us how to be posthuman”, or the most basic question: “we need to think differently about animals”. No. We need to think about the undoing of us, whatever that means.’

Melissa Santosa: Veganism cultivates an attention to minute details of food ingredients, clothing labels, and how the things you consume are produced. This mindfulness leads to the deeper investigation of all the things you consume, not only as to their material content, but also the conditions in which the products are manufactured, and the standard of living they create for all those on the chain of raw material, manufacturing, selling, buying, and disposing.’

Lisa Kemmerer: ‘Marriage grants a man “legal license to his wife’s sexual and reproductive services, [while] the model of animal husbandry grants agribusiness and wildlife managers access to the bodies and reproductive services of other-than-human animals” (Kheel, Nature, 231). Women and nonhuman animals are exploited for their reproductive abilities, and both are devalued as they age and wear out – when they are no longer to reproduce’.

Joan Dunayer: ‘Even the word nonhuman divides all animals into two, seemingly opposed categories: Humans and everyone else. With equal validity we could categorise all animals as robins and nonrobins’.

Breeze Harper: ‘The British who sipped their sugary teas considered themselves civilized, despite the torture and slavery it took to get that white sugar into their tea cups, along with the cotton and tobacco they used. Collectively, maybe we in the U.S. are too addicted to see clearly, to see past the next fix. This addictive behaviour has occurred for centuries. Sadly, those who were originally enslaved to harvest sugar cane (Africans and indigenous Americans) are now enslaved in multiple ways: as consumers of sucrose, hormone-injected processed meat and dairy products, and junk food’.

Pattrice Jones: ‘Women make most food purchases and preparation decisions. If women are going to both go vegan and withstand the demands of male family members for meat, women must be emboldened to resist their own subordination and at the same time reject the oppression of nonhuman individuals’.