Vegan Chews & Progressive News {9-18-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote vegan food (an outgrowth of anti-speciesism) and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as important in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Just a reminder that Chickpeas & Change accepts submissions from the community! Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Hi, folks! Sorry about last week–the school year is picking up in a big way, and I’ve had to sacrifice a bit of my blog duties to keep my head screwed on right (more on that on Monday). But here! Look! It’s another edition of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews)! No commentary today because, you know, school is my life now…but! I’ll see you on the flipside of the weekend. Enjoy!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Pan-Fried Green Tomatoes with “Buttermilk” Dipping Sauce
Via YumUniverse

Photo via Heather Crosby.

Photo via Heather Crosby.

Sweet

Thin & Chewy Pecan Cookies
Via Blissful Bites

Photo via Ashley DeMillo.

Photo via Ashley DeMillo.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Tempeh-Potato Croquettes with Creamy Dill Sauce
Via The Colorful Kitchen

Photo via Ilene at The Colorful Kitchen.

Photo via Ilene at The Colorful Kitchen.

Must-Read News Article

Why is Fortress Europe building bigger walls?
By Nicole Colson at Socialist Worker

Photo via Socialist Worker.

Photo via Socialist Worker.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Seattle Strike Enters Fifth Day as Teachers Protest Testing Policies, Racial Inequity & Low Wages
Via Democracy Now!

Photo via Democracy Now!

Photo via Democracy Now!

Book Recommendation

The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880-1950
By Susan Schulten at University of Chicago Press

Photo via U-Chicago Press.

Photo via U-Chicago Press.

In solidarity, Ali.

FROM THE COMMUNITY: Rethinking Veganism Beyond the Lives of Animals {by Julie Gannon}

Hi there, folks! Today, I’m more than thrilled to share with ya’ll the first “From the Community” piece published here on Chickpeas & Change. Penned by Dubliner-turned-Londoner Julie Gannon of the blog Pint Sized Vegan and founder of the London Freethinkers for Animals Meetup group, this piece encourages self-identified animal rights activists to think and act beyond non-human animals, to understand the urgent need to work in solidarity with activists of all stripes.

If I may add my own two cents, interpreting “our struggle” as separate from those of our fellow working-class folk is exactly what the ruling class of the capitalist system wants. In doing so, we prevent ourselves from understanding the interconnectedness of oppression under capitalism, and diminish our chances of uniting in revolutionary uprising. But, if we work in solidarity with one another, we have the best possible odds of dismantling the systems and structures that keep us from living in a free and equitable world.

Got your own piece to submit to C&C? Check out this page for submission guidelines.

This piece originally appeared on the Pint Sized Vegan blog.

***

Rethinking Veganism Beyond the Lives of Animals
by Julie Gannon

Take Courage (Credit Hannah Nicklin)

Take Courage (Credit Hannah Nicklin)

When I walk by these lights in New Cross, I think about the type of person I want to be. I imagine a brave and beautiful woman: a red-haired Celtic warrior, ready to stand up for herself — and for others — when it matters. To show solidarity for animals, vegans choose to step outside of the social norms that cause animals harm, and boycott the industries involved in their exploitation. But does a similar mindset frame our choices where human exploitation is concerned? And if not, are we not then denying humans the same considerations we afford to animals? Does it even matter, anyway?

Animal Liberation • Human Liberation (Credit The Sparrow Project)

Animal Liberation • Human Liberation (Credit The Sparrow Project)

I’ve participated in enough vegan-led events to see the slogan “Animal Liberation • Human Liberation” faithfully woven into campaign manifestos and sewn onto flags. And while I don’t doubt the sentiment, at times I’m not wholly convinced of our ability to manifest it—and I leave feeling disheartened and empty. Perhaps this feeling is more a sober recognition of the part I’ve played in side-stepping issues around human exploitation, or maybe it’s a manifestation of my wavering belief that the vegan movement alone can challenge the societal values that commodify life, and the institutions that gamble with it.

Take the world’s largest corporation, for example (Dullforce). Apple’s commitment to human rights has come under fire amidst allegations of exploitative working conditions at its supplier factories in China (China Labor Watch, SSACM). The poetry of former Foxconn employee Xu Lizhi (1990-2014) provides a glimpse of what life is like for workers on iPhone assembly lines at the factory’s facilities in Shenzhen, China. Problems linked to suppliers in Indonesia have also surfaced, with reports claiming that tin used to manufacture iPhones is being sourced from unregulated mines rife with dangerous working conditions, child labor, habitat destruction and environmental pollution (Friends of the Earth).

While conditions such as these are not atypical within the electronics industry, senior Apple representatives insist that the company is doing more than its rivals “to ensure fair and safe working conditions” (Williams). To further the perception of the company’s “corporate conscience” and its commitment to sustainability, Tim Cook (CEO) launched Apple’s “Better” campaign on Earth Day in April, 2014. Manufactured in Silicon Valley, California, this brave new world seems light years away from the daily reality of factory life experienced by workers further down Apple’s supply chain—and Xu’s story is a testament to how easily the most vulnerable individuals become invisible in a system that safeguards profit over people. If Tim Cook’s shoulders feel heavy, however, I don’t think he is solely to blame. (I know I can’t claim immunity as I sit here typing on my Apple Mac…).

Xu Lizhi 许立志 (Credit London Review of Books)

Xu Lizhi 许立志 (Credit London Review of Books)

So what’s this got to do with veganism?

The Apple case — and Xu’s story in particular — has led me to question whether we’re justified in flying the cruelty-free flag of veganism if we financially support or remain silent about companies or industries that we know contribute to the harm of others—beyond our dinner plates. At the risk of getting tied up in ethical knots over every single thing we do, this raises the thorny question of what it really means to be vegan: is it enough to remove animal products from our lives and to shop ‘cruelty-free’, or is veganism something more than a zeitgeist consumer lifestyle with health benefits?

Rethinking veganism in this way does not mean losing sight of the billions of animals exploited on farms, locked in labs, or caged in circuses and zoos, but it does mean examining how our own attitudes and behaviors affect individuals other than animals, and questioning whether we’re committed to standing up against all forms of oppression and violence. If we say veganism is “for the benefit of people, too” then it’s incumbent on us to consider our footprint beyond the lives of animals, and to understand how our work intersects with other social justice causes–whether we’re helping or hindering. Otherwise, we run the risk of losing credibility as a legitimate movement, being dismissed as a disconnected social club or, worse still, tokenizing issues such as workers’ rights and environmental sustainability for our own agenda, with manifestos that amount to little more than empty rhetoric—in a similar vein to Apple.

Recognizing the shortcomings in our movement starts with recognizing those in ourselves, and realizing that being vegan is a means, not an end. We don’t lay sole claim on trying to create a “better” world: whether it’s childbirth (Suzanne Arms), chocolate (Lauren Ornelas), or corporate finance (Brett Scott), there are lion-hearted individuals far beyond our movement working hard to shake the structures of society that prop up and perpetuate unjust divisions and exploitative relations between us. Despite differences in our thinking about animals, recognizing the good in other social movements can provide a starting point for opening up conversations about potential ways of working together in our capacities as activists, artists, educators, citizens, community workers, or political campaigners, toward a shared goal of cultivating a non-violent world, where everyone is counted and everyone is loved. In his message about standing up to injustice, Henry David Thoreau said, “For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever.” The challenge, as I see it, is to face those conversations and new beginnings with grace, with guts, and with our eyes wide open.


Julie Gannon is an animal advocate based in London trying to challenge conventional ways of thinking about human-animal relations. She gives talks on animal ethics and vegan cookery demonstrations in schools across London. She first started thinking about animal liberation after seeing the 1987 film Project X. She went on to study environmental science at Trinity College Dublin and has postgraduate qualifications in sustainable development and third level learning and teaching. She created the London-based network #freethinkers4animals to examine how animals are represented in philosophy, literature, art, science, religion and popular culture. When not campaigning for animals, she’s out exploring South East London on her bike, eating dates and listening to electronic music.

You can get in touch with Julie at pintsizedvegan [at] hotmail [dot] com, or connect with her on Twitter.

DISCLAIMER: Chickpeas & Change publishes submissions whose overarching political message I support, not necessarily those whose every word and idea I agree with wholeheartedly. I welcome all submissions created with a goal of contributing in some way– large or small — to dismantling dominant structures of violence and oppression, and that include non-human animals among the beings whom we need to include in a struggle for collective liberation.


References

Dullforce, Annebritt. “FT 500 2014.” FT.com. 27 June 2014. Web. 1 April 2015.

China Labor Watch. “Beyond Foxconn: Deplorable Working Conditions Characterize Apple’s Entire Supply Chain.” ChinaLaborWatch.org. 27 June 2012. Web. 1 April 2015.

Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour. “Workers as Machines: Military Management in Foxconn.” SACOM.hk. 12 October 2010. Web. 1 April 2015.

Friends of the Earth. “Mining for Smartphones: the True Cost of Tin.” FOE.co.uk. 24 November 2012. Web. 1 April 2015.

Williams, Rhiannon. “Apple’s Letter to UK Staff over Chinese Factory Conditions.” Telegraph.co.uk. 19 December 2014. Web. 1 April 2015.

Thoreau, Henry David. “Civil Disobedience.” xroads.virginia.edu. 1849. Web. 1 April 2015.

Where Can Animals Fit Into Revolutionary Socialism?

Hi, folks, and happy Labor Day! I took a Monday hiatus last week as I settled back into Vassar campus life here in Poughkeepsie, NY (my last time doing so…), but I’ve returned today to discuss a topic that has become increasingly important to me over the past few weeks: revolutionary socialism. I’m still working out my thoughts and feelings on whether or not I believe that this particular political stance is our best hope in bringing about collective liberation, but after attending a meeting of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) back in my hometown and consuming a whole lot of resources, I’ve gotten pretty jazzed about it.

Just to give you a brief overview before I launch into today’s discussion, the ISO’s political philosophy operates around six principles, as laid out in their Socialist Worker newspaper:

1.) Socialism, not capitalism. Standing in the Marxist tradition — founded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and continued by V.I. Lenin, Rosa Luxembourg and Leon Trotsky — the ISO understands war, poverty, exploitation, oppression, and worldwide environmental destruction to stem from the capitalist system in which a minority ruling class profits from the labor of the majority working class. They advocate instead for a socialist society based on workers’ collective ownership of their own labor and wealth.

2.) Workers’ power. Workers play a central role in the capitalist system of production — without them it cannot function — so they also have the power to shut the system down. When workers collectively take control of the wealth they create instead of having it stolen by the ruling class, they can plan that wealth’s production and distribution according to the needs of the planet and all of its inhabitants.

3.) Revolution. While economic, political and social reforms can improve working-class conditions, they cannot in and of themselves bring an end to the oppression that capitalism perpetuates. Our present state was built on capitalism and designed to protect that very system, so we need an entirely different kind of state — one based on a democracy of workers. To achieve this, we must dismantle capitalism.

4.) Internationalism. Since capitalism pervades the globe, the socialist struggle must unite workers worldwide. As such, the ISO opposes imperialism, U.S. military intervention, and immigration controls while supporting struggles for self-determination among oppressed nations.

5.) Full equality and liberation. To ensure that the working class cannot rise up in revolution, the capitalist ruling class divides workers along sexual, gender, racial, national and other lines. This is why the ISO opposes racism in all its forms, supports the struggles for immigrant rights and Black liberation, fights for real equality for women, and advocates an end to discrimination against LGBTQ people.

6.) The revolutionary party. The ISO aims to build an independent socialist organization rooted in workplaces, schools and neighborhoods that unites the most militant workers in order to achieve socialist revolution.

Sounds good, no? Again, I’m still trying to gather more information on the Marxist tradition and the ISO’s activism — critiques of both, in particular — before I commit to focusing my full energies on this revolutionary socialism stuff (“commie shit,” as my housemates affectionately call it). Today, though, I want to explore the question of non-human animals in regards to socialism, especially because most of the socialist literature I’ve read (see the reference list below) seems hostile to integrating anti-speciesism into a socialist politics.

And honestly, I think this hostility is, in many ways, deserved. The most visible animal rights activists and proponents of veganism tend to equate speciesism with racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression; insist that animal agriculture is akin to the Holocaust and U.S. plantation slavery; and take inexcusable stances on issues of oppression worldwide, such as by diminishing police brutality against Black people in the U.S., or by claiming that Palestinians deserve the genocide they face at the hands of Israel because they eat animals. Indeed, most if not all of the socialist literature I found regarding non-human animals heavily cited Peter Singer and his deeply troubling brand of utilitarian, racist, ableist animal rights philosophy.

If we understand speciesism in such a way, then no, I don’t think that we should include anti-speciesism in our collective struggle toward a socialist society. However, if we conceive of speciesism as an ideology that conditions humans to understand non-human animals as commodities that exist purely for human use, and to insist upon the superiority of that use over alternatives that do not involve infringement upon the bodily autonomy of non-human animals, then I think that anti-speciesism falls well in line with a revolutionary socialist politics.

It is capitalism that has conditioned us to think of other beings — human and non — and the earth as commodities, and it is capitalism that has rendered plant-based foods inaccessible to many (with the exception of those like Inuit peoples whose geographical location and climate dictates the animal basis of their diet). With this in mind, I would encourage socialist decriers of anti-speciesism to reconsider speciesism’s basis in capitalism, and to look to those who integrate a more nuanced, kyriarchy-based approach to anti-speciesism into their much broader activism (such as A. Breeze Harper, and Aph and Syl Ko).

Let me be clear: I am not asking for revolutionary socialists to take up anti-speciesism as the driving force behind revolutionary struggle. Far from it. It makes perfect sense to me that, under a politics that depends upon the mass organization of the working class into a united cadre of radicals, we would not focus our energies on a group of beings that literally cannot be organized (save for on an Orwellian Animal Farm).

However, for the socialists listed in the references below — who are truly amazing activists and scholars, to be sure — non-human animals’ inability to “possess the biological and physical attributes that would allow them to engage in the activities and behaviors we associate with ‘liberation'” (D’Amato) seems to preclude us from considering non-human animals among those who will be liberated through working-class revolution. No, non-human animals will not liberate themselves or even be able to engage in working-class struggle, but I certainly don’t think that this “failure” of theirs to function within an anthropocentric framework of social movements should mean that we can just forget about them altogether.

It seems to me that, given the capitalist roots of speciesism, it would make sense to bring non-human animals along in socialist revolution. This doesn’t mean that we dedicate our energies to the impossible task of organizing non-human animals in working-class struggle, just as we don’t dedicate our energies to the similarly impossible task of organizing the physical earth in struggle against the capitalist-induced ecological crisis. What it does mean, at least in my opinion, is that we recognize how oppressive power structures, ideologies and institutions affect non-human animals, and make sure that in a future socialist society, we — as humans — do not re-enact the speciesist aspects of those entities.

In solidarity, Ali.


References

D’Amato, Paul. “Socialism and ‘animal rights.’” SocialistWorker.org. 26 October 2009. Web. 5 September 2015.

Gilbreath, Paul, Doug Burkhart, Doug Harvey, Roger Yates, and Den. “Views in brief.” SocialistWorker.org. 29 October 2009. Web. 5 September 2015.

Grey, Sarah and Joe Cleffie. “Peter Singer’s Race Problem.” Jacobin Magazine. 6 August 2015. Web. 6 September 2015.

Muldoon, Amy. “Socialism and the lives of animals.” SocialistWorker.org. 6 November 2009. Web. 5 September 2015.

World Socialist Movement. “What is Socialism?” World Socialist Movement. n.d. Web. 5 September 2015.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {9-4-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote vegan food (an outgrowth of anti-speciesism) and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as important in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Just a reminder about the exciting news that Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions! I’m thrilled to be able to open this space up to voices from the anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist community. Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Hi, folks! Welcome to another installment of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews), this one comin’ atcha from Poughkeepsie, NY, where I find myself in my last year of my undergrad education (eek…). I’ll probably need plenty of potent condiments, Midwestern ice cream flavors, and sticky-sweet-smoky tempeh to get me through it all (oh, that thesis…), so thankfully this post covers all those bases. As for stories, we’re doing things a bit differently today: I’m skipping the article to include a podcast episode, a book recommendation, and an awesome project. So! I’ve got coverage of the Dyett hunger strike for a public high school in Chicago; I’ve got a book from which virtually anyone who has ever had a disempowering educational experience would hugely benefit; and I’ve got a conference that’s eager for your conference proposals. Onward!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Magic Ancho Chile Relish
Via 101 Cookbooks

Photo via Heidi Swanson.

Photo via Heidi Swanson.

I don’t think there’s any flavor that can quite match that of the smoky-spicy-unctuousness of ancho chiles. So when you puree them into a concentrated condiment…well, you have something that I’ll slather on just about anything (be sure to scroll to the bottom of Heidi’s post for suggestions on just which anythings she recommends using with this).

Sweet

Blue Moon Ice Cream
Via Avocados and Ales

Photo via Lacey Siomos.

Photo via Lacey Siomos.

Non-Midwesterners, you may not understand, but Blue Moon ice cream will forever and always occupy a special, cone-shaped spot in my heart. Novel in color and flavor (Froot Loops, anyone?), Blue Moon succeeds in stumping child and adult alike in terms of just what exactly goes into creating that one-of-a-kind ice cream flavor. With this recipe, Lacey takes a valiant (and vegan!) guess at the Blue Moon code, and I could not be more excited to try it for myself.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Tempeh Bacon
Via Healthy Happy Life

Photo via Kathy Patalsky.

Photo via Kathy Patalsky.

My promise to you? After trying this recipe, you’ll never need another version of tempeh bacon ever again. Ever.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Yana Kunichoff on the Dyett Hunger Strike
Via Radio Dispatch

Photo via TSJ Chicago.

Photo via TSJ Chicago.

There’s some pretty incredible stuff happening in Chicago right now: on August 17, twelve parents from Bronzeville launched a hunger strike in front of Dyett High School to protest the injustices they and their children have suffered at the hands of the Chicago Public School administration and the Board of Education. This interview with independent journalist Yana Kunichoff gets into the details, and to stay up-to-date on the very latest news, be sure to bookmark this page.

Book Recommendation

Pedagogy of the Oppressed
By Pablo Friere

Photo via Continuum.

Photo via Continuum.

One of the foundational texts in the field of critical pedagogy, this book is an absolute must-read for anyone who has ever taught or been taught (so…everyone…?). Friere wrote as a Brazilian Marxist, seeking to challenge the capitalistic goals for which contemporary educational systems continue to strive, disempowering just about everyone with whom it interacts in the process. After almost 50 years, this book is still hugely relevant and important.

Awesome Projects You Should Totally Check Out

2015 3rd Annual International Students for Critical Animal Studies Conference
Via Students for Critical Animal Studies

Photo via Students for Critical Animal Studies.

Photo via Students for Critical Animal Studies.

We’re hosting a conference! That’s right–this year, the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) is working with the Students for Critical Animal Studies (an offshoot of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies) to host their third annual conference here at Vassar. And we want your submissions! (Really…like, we REALLY want them.) To present at the conference, send a presentation title, 150-200-word abstract, and short biography to studentsforcas@gmail.com by the end of September. We hope to hear from you!

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {8-28-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote vegan food (an outgrowth of anti-speciesism) and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as important in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Just a reminder about the exciting news that Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions! I’m thrilled to be able to open this space up to voices from the anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist community. Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Hello, all! Ready for another installment of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews)? Good, because for this week’s recipes I’m sharing with ya’ll some well-spiced eggplant bites, a unique and oh-so-summery ice cream, and an easy way to eat up lots of cabbage. For stories, I’ve got an article lambasting Peter Singer’s utilitarian philosophy (because you really can’t have too many), a documentary on the continuing response to Hurricane Katrina, and an important book in the progressive education canon. No commentary on these ones from me today, folks–I’ve gotta go pack up my life in Madison to return to school in New York. Catch ya later!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Eggplant Meatballs with Za’atar & Kale Pesto
Via The First Mess

Photo via Laura Wright.

Photo via Laura Wright.

Sweet

Vanilla-Maple Sweet Corn Ice Cream
Via Fragrant Vanilla Cake

Photo via Amy Lyons.

Photo via Amy Lyons.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Rice Bowl with Sweet-and-Sour Purple Cabbage & Tofu
Via Martha Rose Shulman at The New York Times

Photo via Andrew Scrivani.

Photo via Andrew Scrivani.

Must-Read Article(s)

Against Charity
By Matthew Snow at Jacobin

Angelina Jolie visits refugees in 2012. UNHCR / Flickr

Angelina Jolie visits refugees in 2012. UNHCR / Flickr

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

New Orleans: Recovery or Removal?
Via The Laura Flanders Show at Truthout

Photo via The Laura Flanders Show.

Photo via The Laura Flanders Show.

Book Recommendation

More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing
By Jesse Hagopian at Haymarket Books

Photo via Haymarket Books.

Photo via Haymarket Books.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {8-21-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote vegan food (an outgrowth of anti-speciesism) and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as important in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Just a reminder about the exciting news that Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions! I’m thrilled to be able to open this space up to voices from the anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist community. Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Hey there, folks! Welcome to the 62nd (wow…) edition of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews). This one will take care of all your colorful-and-hearty salad needs, then will touch upon homelessness and racism in relation to speciesism before sharing with ya’ll a media library chock full of revolutionary talks on important social issues. Happy Friday!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Israeli Couscous Salad with Burnt Citrus Dressing
Via Quite Good Food

Photo via Amber at Quite Good Food.

Photo via Amber at Quite Good Food.

I’m super intrigued by the process employed in this recipe of roasting lemons and oranges before making a dressing out of their juices — it certainly upholds my theory that just about anything tastes better after a trip in the oven for some caramelization. After you take a gander at the recipe, why don’t you hop on over to Electronic Intifada to get the latest on the Israeli genocide against Palestinians? (What, you really thought I was going to feature a recipe that uses Israeli couscous without reminding ya’ll about its country of origin?)

Sweet

Blondie Crisps
Via Bittersweet Blog

Photo via Hannah Kaminsky.

Photo via Hannah Kaminsky.

If you’re anything like me, you jump for the crispy-chewy-gooey corner pieces in any batch of brownies or blondies. Leave it to vegan baker extraordinaire Hannah Kaminsky to craft a blondie recipe that produces only those ideal edge pieces, and in the form of a cookie, no less! Magic.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Curried Sweet Potatoes & Broccoli with Cashews & Raisins
Via 86 Lemons

Photo via Livvy at 86 Lemons.

Photo via Livvy at 86 Lemons.

Veggie-packed salads with crunchy nuts, chewy dried fruit, and creamy mayo-based dressings never fail to please me. And this one certainly didn’t fail to please my housemates, either! Everyone scarfed down this salad at dinner this past Monday, leaving no leftovers to speak of.

Must-Read Article(s)

Homelessness is the crime, not the homeless
By Allen Arthur at SocialistWorker.org

Photo via SocialistWorker.org.

Photo via SocialistWorker.org.

Homelessness and the criminalization of homeless people has been at the forefront of my mind lately, since my hometown has recently taken action against Madison’s homeless population, such as by removing from a downtown street the decorative rocks that homeless individuals would sit and sleep on. This article gives a great overview of similar measures taken all over the U.S., as well as the reasons — rooted in capitalist white supremacy — why municipalities enact such measures.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

The Problem with Appropriating Speciesism-Black Oppression Representations
By Liz Ross at Sistah Vegan

Photo via Sistah Vegan.

Photo via Sistah Vegan.

This video from the 2015 Sistah Vegan Conference features keynote Liz Ross speaking about racism and white supremacy within vegan circles, why we cannot directly compare manifestations of racism to those of speciesism, and how to connect racism and speciesism in ways that do not perpetuate a long, violent history of comparing Black people and non-human animals in order to demonize the former.

Book Recommendation Awesome Projects You Should Totally Check Out

WeAreMany.org
Via the Center for Economic Research and Social Change

Photo via WeAreMany.org.

Photo via WeAreMany.org.

This website is a veritable treasure trove of radical voices calling for all those who face oppression in the world to organize together against injustice. Most of the audio and video come from the annual Socialism conferences, dating back to 2009. I have been listening to these nonstop, and feel invigorated after each one.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {8-14-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote vegan food (an outgrowth of anti-speciesism) and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as important in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Just a reminder about the exciting news that Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions! I’m thrilled to be able to open this space up to voices from the anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist community. Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

One-Pot Cheesy Tomato & Broccoli Pasta
Via Ceara’s Kitchen

Photo via Ceara at Ceara's Kitchen.

Photo via Ceara at Ceara’s Kitchen.

I’m super enthusiastic about the idea of sticking a bunch of yummy stuff into a pot, covering it up, and opening it after a couple of minutes to find a completed dish. And when that dish involves toothsome pasta, tender broccoli, and juicy tomatoes in a noochy, herby sauce…even better.

Sweet

Frosted Walnut Cake
Via Wallflower Girl

Photo via Aimee Ryan.

Photo via Aimee Ryan.

Frosted cake is perhaps my favorite dessert. What’s not to love about moist, light baked goods coated in creamy sweet goop? This recipe features nutty cake encased in an aquafaba-infused frosting.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Waffled Zucchini “Parmesan” Fritters
Adapted from Food52

Photo via Alpha Smoot.

Photo via Alpha Smoot.

Okay, so I really adapted this recipe. Egg=flaxseed meal, milk=non-dairy milk, parmesan=ground almonds + nutritional yeast, all-purpose flour=whole wheat flour, waffles=pancakes. But hey, they still turned out deliciously!

Must-Read Article(s)

24 Actions You NEED to Take to Help Trans Women of Color Survive
By Lexi Adsit at Autostraddle

Miss Major, prominent trans activist who served as a primary player in the Stonewall Uprising. / Photo via Outside the Frame.

Miss Major, prominent trans activist who served as a primary player in the Stonewall Uprising and who is featured in the film “Major!” / Photo via Outside the Frame.

What with the inexcusable number of trans women of color killed since the beginning of this year, the blatant whitewashing of the new Stonewall movie, and the countless institutional barriers trans people face to adequate healthcare, housing, and more, this article could not be more important.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

pattrice jones at the 2015 National Animal Rights Conference
Via Stacey B on YouTube

Photo via Stacey B on YouTube.

Photo via Stacey B on YouTube.

So the annual National Animal Rights Conference happened two weekends ago. I was not there, but activist extraordinaire pattrice jones of VINE Sanctuary was! The Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) had the immense privilege of welcoming her to campus last semester, so I can say from experience that seeing her speak is a real, thought-provoking treat. In this “New Directions for Animal Advocacy” plenary, pattrice speaks about taking a more kyriarchy-focused approach to animal activism

Book Recommendation Awesome Projects You Should Totally Check Out

Aphro-Ism
Via Aph & Syl Ko

Photo via Aph & Syl Ko.

Photo via Aph & Syl Ko.

Hey remember that Our Hen House podcast episode I hosted where I interview Aph Ko about kyrarichy-focused animal activism? Remember how awesome Aph Ko is? Yeah, it’s pretty hard to forget. Which is why it’s sososososo exciting that Aph and her sister Syl have launched a new blog that focuses on black feminism, veganism, animals, and anti-racism. I suggest that ya’ll subscribe to it immediately.

In solidarity, Ali.

On the Roots of Intersectionality

Hi, folks! So it’s been a hot second since Episode 285 of the Our Hen House podcast aired, in which I interviewed Hana LowAph Ko, and Jaqueline Morr on the importance of intersectionality in anti-speciesist activism. In my intro with my good friend Kaden, we briefly discuss the origins of the praxis (theory + practice) of intersectionality, but I want to further emphasize those origins here, since they often get lost in a white-dominated rhetoric of social justice activism (as emphasized in this important essay by Dr. C. Michele Martindill on the Vegan Feminist Network blog, which I would highly recommend to all y’all).

In my experience, many conversations among white activists employ intersectionality as a buzzword of sorts, a trendy thing to “do” that will further one’s own reputation as an activist. This phenomenon is pretty predictable, seeing as white supremacy functions to center whiteness and white people in every situation, especially when it comes to talking credit for the ideas and practices of people of color. As such, when we white activists refer to our activism as “intersectional” without understanding the original meaning of the term, we are upholding the very system of white supremacy that we purport to struggle against.

So. Intersectionality. Black legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw first coined the term in her 1989 essay entitled “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine,” proposing intersectionality as a theory and practice of understanding the way multiple oppressions – specifically, racism and sexism – are experienced. Crenshaw uses the following description of a street intersection to illustrate the concept:

“Consider an analogy to traffic in an intersection, coming and going in all four directions. Discrimination, like traffic through an intersection, may flow in one direction, and it may flow in another. If an accident happens in an intersection, it can be caused by cars traveling from any number of directions and, sometimes, from all of them. Similarly, if a Black woman is harmed because she is in an intersection, her injury could result from sex discrimination or race discrimination. . . . But it is not always easy to reconstruct an accident: Sometimes the skid marks and the injuries simply indicate that they occurred simultaneously, frustrating efforts to determine which driver caused the harm.”

As part of this lived experience of multiple oppressions, Black women also tend to be invisibilized in analyses of gender oppression and racism, since the former prioritizes white women while the latter prioritizes Black men. Think of White feminism, for example, described by Cate at BattyMamzelle as “a set of beliefs that allows for the exclusion of issues that specifically affect women of color. It is ‘one size-fits all’ feminism, where middle class White women are the mold that others must fit. It is a method of practicing feminism, not an indictment of every individual White feminist, everywhere, always” (qtd. in Uwujaren and Utt).

Of course, Crenshaw was not the first to experience and recognize the multiple oppressions faced by Black women. Indeed, since the days of plantation slavery in the U.S., Black women have described their lived realities under systems of white supremacy and patriarchy with such terms as “interlocking oppressions,” “simultaneous oppressions,” “double jeopardy,” and the like (Smith). Think, for example, of Sojourner Truth’s 1851 “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech, which describes the disparate treatment of Black and white women in 19th-century United States.

As you can see, intersectionality developed as a way to understand the particular experiences of Black women, oppressed under intersecting systems of white supremacy and patriarchy. So, when we call our activism “intersectional,” we are claiming that we are working to dismantle those two systems (perhaps among others), which we understand as being interconnected. We cannot use the term “intersectional” to describe activism that connects any and all forms of oppression, because to do so erases the specific experiences of Black women in order to uphold a white-centric narrative of social justice.

Additionally, we white activists cannot call ourselves “intersectional.” As Black feminist scholar Patricia Hill Collins notes, those with power in systems of white supremacy and patriarchy cannot claim to “be intersectional,” since we do not live as the people by and for whom the concept was developed (i.e., Black women). We can strive for our activism to incorporate an intersectional understanding of white supremacy and patriarchy, but we ourselves cannot “be intersectional.”

In a time when intersectionality has become a buzzword and a trend, I think it’s of supreme importance to remember, honor, and act on the Black feminist origins of the praxis. For more information on the topic, check out the (few among many others out there) References I’ve included below.

In solidarity, Ali.


References

Crenshaw, Kimberle. “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.” University of Chicago Legal Forum 139 (1989): 139-168. Web. Hein Online. 9 August 2015.

—. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.” Stanford Law Review 43 (1993): 1241-1299. Web. 9 August 2015.

Martindill, Dr. C. Michele. “Lessons in White Fragility: When Vegan Abolitionists Appropriate Intersectionality.” Vegan Feminist Network. 6 May 2015. Web. 9 August 2015.

Smith, Sharon. “Black Feminism and Intersectionality.” International Socialist Review 91 (July 2013): n. pag. Web. 9 August 2015.

Uwujaren, Jarune and Jamie Utt. “Why Our Feminism Must Be Intersectional (And 3 Ways to Practice It).” Everyday Feminism. 11 January 2015. Web. 9 August 2015.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {8-7-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote vegan food (an outgrowth of anti-speciesism) and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as important in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Just a reminder about the exciting news that Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions! I’m thrilled to be able to open this space up to voices from the anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist community. Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Hello, everyone! Hope ya’ll are well and ready for another edition of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews). Today’s recipes boast a varied mix of veggies, peanut buttery decadence, and toothsome, protein-rich yums. As for stories, gear up to read and hear all about the continued colonialism represented in the Puerto Rican debt crisis, discrepancies between reform and revolution, and the links between socialism and sexuality. Onward!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa with Tahini Dressing
Via Harriet Emily

Photo via Harriet Emily.

Photo via Harriet Emily.

Some of my favorite veggies (sweet potatoes, kale, green peas) prepared in my favorite style (roasted) and tossed in a dressing redolent of my favorite flavor (tangy)? Count me in on this rainbow of a dish.

Sweet

Peanut Butter S’Mores Parfaits
Via The Frosted Vegan

Photo via Abby at The Frosted Vegan.

Photo via Abby at The Frosted Vegan.

Nope, I still haven’t tired of all this aquafaba enthusiasm, especially when the meringue-able bean liquid is featured atop a bowl of creamy, sweet, chocolate-peanut buttery goodness. I mean really, can you blame me?

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Chickpea Cutlets
Via Veganomicon (Recipe on The Post Punk Kitchen)

Photo via Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Photo via Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

So this past Monday my housemate and I prepared a fancy French-inspired multi-course vegan meal for our fellow housemates, and our main course consisted of these infamous chickpea cutlets from vegan cookbook magician Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The verdict? My housemates could not stop asking me for the recipe, and demanded that I never leave the house (too bad I’m moving out in August!). So yeah, serve these to ya’ll’s friends.

Must-Read Article(s)

Puerto Rico’s economic ‘death spiral’ can be helped if Washington allows the island to declare bankruptcy
By Juan Gonzalez at New York Daily News

With unemployment over 12% and thousands of citizens fleeing to the mainland U.S., Puerto Rico is set up to be in serious economic trouble for years to come. / Photo via The Washington Post.

With unemployment over 12% and thousands of citizens fleeing to the mainland U.S., Puerto Rico is set up to be in serious economic trouble for years to come. / Photo via The Washington Post.

In this article Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez lays out the U.S. political posturing behind Puerto Rico’s economic crisis and, importantly, connects that crisis to this country’s vast history of colonialism. Read the article, then watch this clip from Democracy Now! for more info.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Chepe on Social Movements and Revolution
Via Radio Dispatch

In this episode of the Radio Dispatch podcast, radical activist Chepe discusses a topic that is often on my mind: what sorts of actions will lead us toward the society in which we want to live, the one that affords us all collective liberation? Should we throw out reforms altogether, in favor of total, immediate revolution? Should we support non-revolutionary actors (i.e., Bernie Sanders) in our struggle toward revolution? Chepe touches upon these questions and more in this riveting episode.

Book Recommendation

Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and the Theory of LGBTQ Liberation
By Sherry Wolf

Photo via Haymarket Books.

Photo via Haymarket Books.

Recommended to me by my ISO-member friend, this book by feminist activist powerhouse Sherry Wolf (omg watch her videos she’s incrediblefeatures essays on the roots of LGBT oppression, the construction of sexual and gender identities, and how to win sexual liberation for all. Good stuff, ya’ll.

In solidarity, Ali.

Why I Don’t Share Many Animal-Related Articles on Social Media

Hello, all! I apologize for the whole “no-post” thing last Monday; the social construct of time (wink) got the best of me. I hope y’all had great weeks, though!

First off, I’m thrilled to let ya’ll know that the second issue of the feminist, vegan, intersectional zine known as Project Intersect will be hot off the presses in early September, and I’ll have an edited version of my piece on veganism & consumerism published alongside a diverse array of critiques of structures of oppression. I’m honored and humbled to have my work included alongside so many other writer-activists. Check out this Facebook post to see the full list of contributors. Huge shout-out to Jacqueline Morr and Ashley Jo Maier for editing the issue. Be sure to follow Project Intersect to get your hands on their first two issues!

 Second, I wanted to talk a bit about why I don’t share very many animal/vegan-related articles on Chickpeas & Change’s various media outlets. If you follow the Chickpeas & Change Facebook and Twitter accounts, you’ll notice that not much stuff about animal agriculture, vivisection, wildlife, cute animal videos, etc. pops up in there. My reasoning for this is twofold:

1.) Most articles from the progressive news sources I follow tend to condemn large-scale animal agriculture for its detrimental impact on the environment, as well as its violent treatment of non-human animals. Great! However, I’m kind of sick of perpetuating the narrative that we need to include non-human animals in our realm of moral consideration only because the method in which we exploit them for food contributes hugely to environmental devastation, and/or because they’re suffering from unbelievable violence.

Implicit in these narratives is the belief that, if we can figure out an environmentally sustainable, “humane” method by which to violate the bodies of non-human animals for our own gustatory pleasure, then we humans have every right to use those bodies as we see fit. And that belief is inherently speciesist, as it depends upon the assumption that non-human animals exist purely for human use.

So, because there isn’t much media out there written from an anti-speciesist perspective, and because I’m continually striving in my activism to challenge the discrepancies between veganism and anti-speciesism, I don’t share much about animals and veganism. That stuff is written on my own blog, and from the pens of fellow radical anti-speciesist activists.

2.) As a proponent of veganism with racial, class, and ability privilege, I feel it necessary in my activism to emphasize my solidarity with those who do not live with such privileges. I aim to work against the mainstream, consumerist face of veganism that remains ignorant of systems of oppression beyond the exploitation of non-human animals. As such, the vast majority of the articles I share report on/discuss such issues as Black Lives Matter, Israel and Palestine, queer organizing, gender liberation, body acceptance, anti-capitalism, and the like. I do this in the hopes that my audience — many of whom are attracted to my blog for the vegan recipes and from my position as Media Coordinator for Our Hen House — will begin/continue to understand veganism as merely a logical extension of anti-speciesism, which in turn is a necessary aspect of collective liberation for all beings.

Soooo…yeah! I’m sorry if you’ve been confused as to the small amount of animal/vegan-related articles shared on my social media outlets, and I hope my reasoning makes sense. I would love for y’all to send me any articles that you think promote an anti-speciesist perspective, and I’d be happy to share them on the C&C pages.

In solidarity, Ali.