[Marxism] A socialist analysis of the value of the animal liberation movement

Haines Brown brownh at hartford-hwp.com
Mon Jun 9 13:08:01 MDT 2008

I'm not at all clear why a Marxist would find this position
congenial. The analysis, which calls itself "socialist" for some
reason, is hostile to relations of dominance. Apparently by blocking
the dominance of people over animals, it is a blow in the battle
against the dominant impulse in human nature.

This strikes me as woolly-minded. For one thing, it conflates
determination, dominance and exploitation.

a) Economic exploitation in Marxist terms has little to do with
dominance. It has to do with the fact that while labor is justly paid
for its value in the labor market, it is only a factor of production,
while surplus value emerges from the combination of these factors and
is greater than their sum. This would be entirely equitable except for
the fact that we are social beings, not just lonely individuals. 

b) Mankind dominates its natural environment because that is a
condition of biological subsistence and of human development. While
such domination may be a necessary condition for pointless or
counter-productive environmental or biological destruction, it is not
the same. The Native American apology to the buffalo before bringing
it down did not prevent him from doing it.

c) Any act determines the object of the action, as is implied by the
notion of action. There is no reason why one should be concerned about
determinations per se, which is simply causation, but only about those
specific cases in which a determination plays a negative role. So you
don't attack determination itself, but those specific instances in
which there is demonstrable short- or long-term harm to the quality of
human life.

Haines Brown 


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