Now, consider these words from Mickey Z, who's a long time vegan and social justice activist.
If we do not connect our struggle against speciesism to other anti-oppression struggles, we are failing ourselves, failing our fellow humans, and failing the non-human animals in a major way. Unless we do the work to meet other activists where they are, we’re doomed.Ok? He's telling us that we must reach out to our fellow humans, especially those who are suffering oppression, and engage them in meaningful ways. That means taking their struggles seriously and making their issues our issues.
Here he talks about this in a brief video.
It doesn't take much thinking to make sense of this. If you or some human important to you was being abused...that's what would be uppermost in your mind and you would be most concerned with making things better for yourself or for them.
Ask yourself...would you be likely to be particularly interested in making things better for other Earthlings while this situation was going on? Who would you be more likely to listen to...someone who allied with you about your concerns and tried to help or someone who ignored your situation or, at best, expressed sympathy but offered no assistance...or someone who pitched in and expended time and effort to make things better for you or those who were important to you?
If you have a stick poking you in the eye and someone comes along and asks you to quit eating animals...and then says...sorry about that stick in your eye...or says nothing about it at all...versus someone who comes along and is genuinely concerned about the stick in your eye and takes steps to try to help you remove the stick and treat the damage...and then asks you to consider stopping harm to other Earthlings...which of the two someones are you more likely to give some credence?
I've been deplorably under concerned about this previously (and I'm profoundly disappointed in myself) and I'm certainly aware that many (maybe most) vegan/animal liberation advocates are guilty of this comprehension void also. There's a real tendency, on my part and on the part of others, to confuse the word for the deed. Vegan groups or individuals will pay lip service to the notion of no racism, sexism, abelism and so on...but then do nothing about these odious implementations of oppression and/or exploitation. The sad sad truth is that if we aren't actively working against this crap we're (inadvertently or not) supporting it...either passively or actively.
If you oppose oppression...and then focus your efforts solely on preventing harm to one group of oppressed beings while ignoring other instances of oppression...or only paying lip service to being against those other instances...you're sort of exposing yourself as not being real serious about ending oppression.
There are lots of cliches...that actually have meaning...about this. If you want to have good friends, be a good friend...if you want to have good neighbors, be a good neighbor...injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere...and on and on. It isn't that we don't know these things...it's that we tend to have allowed the import of them to have been obscured by their familiarity. These are genuine and vital truths but they must be lived in order for them to manifest their power and strength...spouting words just won't cut it. We have to live them.
I'll end this with a cautionary note...if you decide to get off your tush and start to put some of this into action...be prepared for some shocks. You may find that the humans you think you know aren't quite who they seem to be. I recently experienced a surprising and disappointing situation because of some differences between appearance and reality. I'll eventually write about that here...in the meantime you can get some inkling of this by reading about a talk that didn't happen in this essay.
We can be a strange bunch of beings.