[Marxism] Books on Vegetarianism (Not Just a Dietary Choice)

Bonnie Weinstein giobon at sbcglobal.net
Tue Dec 21 11:24:14 MST 2004


I have to agree with Calvin, you can't deny a pigs scream. Can it be
resolved in this profit-driven, land-wasting, water and air-poluting,
oil-grabbing, water-stealing, oil-spilling, rotten capitalist system.

Peace, love and solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein, Socialist Viewpoint


On 12/21/04 4:16 AM, "Calvin Broadbent" <calvinbroadbent at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> 
> First of all, I found the discussion on the sustainability or otherwise of
> vegetarian diets very interesting. Not once did I come off with moralistic
> or preachy discourse about the evils of human carnivorousness (although I do
> indeed consider it a moral, as well as practical-political, question). I
> knew as soon as I had broached the subject of vegetarianism that I would be
> accused of self-righteousness- a standard barb aimed at vegetarians by proud
> meat-eaters. For the record, obviously being a vegetarian does not make you
> politically revolutionary. Many vegetarians are into not eating meat so as
> to increase their self-understanding as disciplined and ascetic
> *individuals*, rather like the old Victorian advocates of temperance. Such
> people are often holier than thou bigots, admittedly. Some aren't.  At any
> rate, wasn't it Engels (or maybe Marx) who castigated those who would use
> socialist forums as vehicles to promote such causes as vegetarianism?
> 
> I am neither an idealist nor, thankfully, a mystic. The German philosopher
> Schopenhauer formulated the old Chinese proverb, the 'golden rule' of
> morality, thus: 'harm no one, rather help as much as you can'. This is not
> the same as the ascetics' 'harm no one'. I am quite shocked to learn that
> the USSR 'stamped out vegetarianism' and that this was made (by whom,
> exactly? Pravda?) one of that State's greatest achievements. Do you have any
> references to support this statement, Suresh? If vegetarianism was 'stamped
> out', I have no doubt that this due to some pressing economic necessity. I
> would hesitate to make a virtue, still less a socialist virtue, of the
> slaughter of so many animals. Finally, my concern for other species stems
> considerably from my ability to relate to their pain and capacity for
> pleasure as a consequence of our each posessing a nervous system.
> 
> cheers.
> 
> 
> SURESH WROTE:
> 
>> Meanwhile, vegetarianism is also suited for idealists
>> and mystics; to the Tolstoyean and Gandhian
>> sensibility. The philosophy of asceticism and "do no
>> harm" has apparently nothing to offer revolutionary
>> politics. Because of this, and the implicit rather
>> than explicit nature of Marxist ethics, it isn't so
>> surprising that the stamping out of vegetarianism was
>> made one of the achievements of the Soviet worker's
>> state. I have to admit, however, that I find this
>> history of antagonism between socialism and animal
>> welfare to be quite unfortunate and unnecessary, and
>> simply another example of the tendencies of a vulgar,
>> reductionist Marxism, which can conceive of no
>> conflict outside of class relations. A materialist and
>> monist perspective, imbued with an understanding in
>> the latest evolutionary and phylogenetic science,
>> almost demands a concern for other species.
> 
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