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Will We Make The Big Post-Sandy Connections? | Mickey Z.

Photo credit: Mickey Z.Photo credit: Mickey Z.

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

Before going any further, I’d like to encourage all readers in the New York/New Jersey area to contact Occupy Sandy Relief and get involved any way you can. Everyone else can help right now by visiting this ingenious “wedding registry” and having supplies shipped directly to the on-site relief workers. Thanks…

That said…

…this article was conjured up as I sat home during the snowy nor’easter of Nov. 7. Unable to participate in post-hurricane relief efforts, I was left to witness far too many of my fellow activists celebrating the electoral victory of a politician unwilling to address climate change.

To add insult to injury, some of those same activists were opting to ignore or downplay the No. 1 reason why the relief was needed in the first place: the global animal food (sic) industry.

When I told two friends about this, I got virtually the same reply from both: “Uh-oh, I sense a new article coming on.” So, here goes…

DeOccupy “Our Way of Life”
Hurricane Sandy -- the second such storm to hit the northeast in the past 14 months -- cannot be discussed in any useful manner without including these two words: climate change.

By coincidence, those same two words were never uttered by either presidential candidate during the televised debates (sic).

So, while many on the Left cheer the re-election of a Wall Street-funded war criminal, the ecocide continues unabated. For anyone who can see past the hype, this comes as no surprise.

When Barack Obama was inaugurated in January. 2009, he clearly and firmly announced to the planet: "We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense."

As the Pope of Hope continues to work -- mighty hard -- to keep this promise to his corporate brethren, please allow me to remind you all that "our way of life" is based on violence, expansion, consumption, domination, and predatory capitalism.

Our way of life directly resulted in the force and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. And thanks to lefties buying into the two-party lie, the hits will keep right on coming.

Mic Check: The precarious state of affairs on Planet Earth is not some preordained theology or unstoppable force of nature. We're in this mess thanks to human decisions. If different decisions had been made in the past, different outcomes would've likely occurred. If different decisions are made and different actions are taken -- starting right now -- perhaps different outcomes can still transpire. I say we find out…

Occupy the Plant-Based Life
One of the few myths more deeply entrenched than America’s electoral deception is the meat/dairy-based diet -- and “entrenched” is putting it lightly. Thus, we have the recent suggestions within OWS to hold a Thanksgiving event to help those displaced by the storm -- an event featuring (drum roll, please) animal products.

Let’s re-cap: Greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. Climate change contributed to the impact of Sandy. The impact of Sandy resulted in folks being displaced. And the No. 1 cause of human-created greenhouse gases is (wait for it) the global animal by-products industry.

(All this without even touching on the genocidal origins of this “holiday” -- but that’s for another article.)

After hearing the dinner plans, I politely suggested we hold a vegan Thanksgiving meal at which OWS relief workers could take a much-needed breather and locals impacted by Sandy could have a place to mark the day together.

Here’s one of the replies received: “Enforcing diets on a community without access to the information on why seems unreasonable and possibly alienating.”

Some of my thoughts on this:

  • It can be dangerous (and truly patronizing) for an activist to assume that an entire “community” is “without access” to the same information s/he has.
  • It can be even more dangerous to not share information with anyone you genuinely believe is “without access.”
  • Let’s reserve terms like “unreasonable” and “alienating” for those supporting the system that helped create this mess in the first place.
  • I’m “enforcing?" Really? By that same logic (sic), OWS “alienated” hurricane victims by “enforcing” the concept of “mutual aid not charity” upon those “without access” to enough information. How unreasonable of them…
  • If folks were planning a gathering for survivors of a drunk driving accident, would it be alienating to suggest they not serve alcohol?

Undaunted, I refrained from saying all of the above and tried again, characterizing such a dinner as a potential “teaching moment” -- and got this reply: “I agree … but I don't see why it has to be exclusively vegan.

To my ears, the phrase “I don't see why it has to be exclusively vegan” -- when uttered by an activist -- sounds no different than “I don't see why it has to be exclusively non-sexist” (or non-racist or non-homophobic or non-patriarchal). It seems we at OWS will put our collective foot down and “enforce” whenever harmful choices are made... except at mealtime.

Mic Check: There’s a lot more to food justice than screaming “Fuck Monsanto.”

Occupy Wall Street has been a source of so many new and creative ideas and has never been shy about introducing them. In the name of education, agitation, and outreach, we will enter a bank dressed in costumes and perform a radical song-and-dance number in front of people who have probably never seen anything like that in their entire life.

But when it comes to a fundamental issue like food, we’re warned to not “enforce” or “alienate.” Can you say: “blind spot?"

Teaching Moment
As I’ve written before... it's not nearly enough to rise above the latest man-made conflicts and differences and proudly declare oneself a "humanist." In the name of holistic justice and planetary rebellion, we must go deeper to identify as earthlings and stand -- fists raised -- in solidarity with all of our fellow earthlings.

Before anyone tries the “what I eat is my personal choice” defense, please allow me to remind you that factory farming is the No. 1 source of human-created greenhouse gases -- and that’s just the proverbial tip of the proverbial iceberg.

My fellow Titanic passengers, what you eat cannot be a “personal choice” when every time you order a pizza to one of your rallies or get a quick bite at McDonalds (or any such death emporium) or opt to chow down on Ben & Jerry’s because the owners are so “progressive” or plan a turkey dinner for climate change victims, you are voting with your meager dollars for unspeakable animal cruelty, a human health holocaust, higher profits and more control for the 1%, and irreversible environmental degradation.

It's all connected within a culture constructed on the insane premise of unlimited growth and it must all remain connected within any movement aiming for holistic justice.

The correlation between animal rights and the Occupy movement is clear. The system being challenged by OWS is built, in a major way, on the exploitation of non-human animals and the eco-system.

Mic Check: Dark green environmentalism is an OWS issue. Animal liberation is an OWS issue. Veganism is an OWS issue.

If you're already working to dismantle corporate power, expand freedoms, and create a safer, more sane culture, you already have plenty in common with animal rights activists. Why not take things even further and recognize that the mighty 99% also includes non-human animals -- and the entire ecosystem itself?

Our way of life -- including how we vote and how we eat -- must be de-occupied as soon as possible. If the impact and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy doesn’t wake up us, what will?

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Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook.

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