Many times, you’ll find people of varying political ideologies (particularly on the radical left) either using veganism to justify their political ideologies or associating the two when espousing their opinions. They will act as though veganism is somehow linked to their social justice agendas and create links between the two leading to nothing short of a political hijacking of a movement that can not be more alienated from the political realm.
That is problematic. Let me explain why:
Firstly, it alienates people on the other side who are considering a vegan lifestyle. It creates division and tells those people that unless they follow political party X, Y or Z they can’t be taken seriously as vegans.
I’ve encountered Socialists or Communists claiming that if you’re a vegan but do not adhere to their political and societal values, then you’re a hypocrite. All that did was spark a not so productive internet war between them and Capitalist vegans which, in turn, led to nothing but division (it was interesting to read as a lurker but incredibly negative). It created further division among vegans. How are we going to eradicate animal cruelty and create a worldwide presence if we’re being divisive towards each other? A unified movement is a strong and effective movement, but people who bring their political fervor to the cause do nothing but tear the cause apart.
Veganism is about avoiding, at all costs, the use of animal products. It’s about not using animals for entertainment, food, clothes, and testing. Veganism has got nothing to do with humans. Vegan activism is not sponsored by any political party and almost all vegans who engage in activism do it for one thing: the animals. Not to stamp their political message in a fancy, trendy kind of way.
Regardless of whether you’re on the left, right or center, you can be vegan and you should not feel pressured to let anything else distract you. To the animals, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Trump or Bernie supporter. What you choose to eat, wear or attend Is all that matters, really. We should avoid falling into the trap of succumbing to our innate tribalistic nature by creating ego-fulfilling ‘sub-tribes’ within the vegan movement. Veganism is not a tribe. It does not exist so that you can rediscover your meaning nor is it a mode of therapy. Veganism is merely a positive lifestyle. It really is just about being a good human.
The two are mutually exclusive, and people should stop deterring outsiders from becoming vegan by setting political ultimatums. Because in the end, the only ones that suffer are the animals.
Let me know your thoughts below.