Another Canadian winter is upon us, and of course, with that comes endless “anti-fur” campaigns. Around this time of year, not a single day passes where I can scroll through Facebook without being bombarded with local “activists” promoting their next big single-issue campaign event. But what about the other vegans? You know, the vegans who promote Veganism instead of the public bullying of strangers caught wearing Canada Goose jackets?
Well for those vegans, expect some activist shaming. If you refuse to partake in slapping “I’m an asshole, I wear fur, ” stickers on strangers, or handing out “Thank you for not wearing fur” leaflets to people in the business district who are CLEARLY wearing silk ties, wool suits, leather shoes, and down-filled jackets, then YOU qualify for a bombardment of online trolling, the likes only sharing a Gary Francione quote has even seen. Yes, a vegan cannot criticize the message of another group of vegans without being bullied.
“You’re not an activist”, is what they will tell you. “You’re not a real vegan!” is what they’ll type, all while holding their PETA bible close to their hearts. If you’re not out there, doing the “hard work,” you’re not a friend to the animals, allegedly. But never ONCE in any of their “outreach” programs will they take the time to explain to someone the moral imperative to go vegan. Belittling another person for making a poor wardrobe decision doesn’t help them make the connection to the need to end all exploitation like a discussion on veganism would. But everyone acts as if there’s no point to being an activist if you can’t post a photo of a protest, vigil, or die-in online. And what happens when you suggest that they educate people about veganism instead of seeking personal gratification from welfarist outings? They insist that fur campaigning is a “gateway” topic, and that other topics are too complicated for tiny human brains to understand.
If you’re a vegan who would rather educate your family, friends, co-workers or curious strangers in line behind you at the grocery store on why veganism is the only solution to end animal use and injustice, there is good news; you don’t have to drink the punch that the welfarists are serving. If you refuse to blindly follow the actions of corporate welfarist groups, or sign every industry-supporting petition, you are not any less of an advocate or vegan.
Successful activism is NOT harassing strangers, or creating mass amounts of unwanted litter in the streets from pamphlets that non-vegans couldn’t give a single fuck about. Activism is education. It is the education of yourself and of others, both vegan and non-vegan. With patience and effective communication, you can help others go vegan, and only by educating other vegans about effective activism can we ever hope to move veganism forward. The peer pressure that tells us our voices don’t matter unless they’re screaming along with this choir need to be replacement with the encouragement that our voices alone are already enough.
Would the outcome of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment been different if the protesters of the 1980s demanded “SOFTER BEDDING” instead of “FREE MANDELA”? Why is activist shaming of a vegan who refuses anything less than freedom for all animals the norm? For those vegans who are guilty of activist shaming, I ask that you PLEASE remove your head from your ass, and PLEASE rethink your approach on activism and it’s effect on the animal rights movement at large.