[Marxism] Animal Liberation and Socialism

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Wed Oct 28 14:44:46 MDT 2009

At 08:59 28/10/09 -0700, Max Clark wrote:
>>The ignorance and bigotry camouflaged as a critique of this "fad" are 
>actually an impoverishment of Marx's heritage. For shame. 
I'm not sure who you're talking to, but I think I was the one who used the
word "fad," and I don't apologize for that. And I never said that "Marxism"
had no relevance to this or any other subject. I only made the obvious
point that animals are not part of the class struggle and can't be
described in terms of usual categories of Marxist thought such as class,
the productive forces, and revolutionary struggle.

And that reducing the question of animal welfare to "rights" is doubly
confused, first because most rights which we advocate for humans are not
those that (almost) anyone would seriously advocate for animals. Secondly,
the discussion shows that among ourselves, we have no definite concept of
what is meant by "rights." To some (including me) "rights" are a
description of laws which give a specified privilege to a specified group.
Others use "rights" in a normative sense, as something that we should have.
There is also the idealist idea of "rights" that existed (somewhere,
somehow) before they were taken away by governments. I don't think that any
of these concepts is terribly important for specifying how the welfare of
animals can be insured.

But personally I am very concerned with the well-being of animals, which
you may call moralistic or anything else. Wildlife management programs
which confine certain animals to a safe environment are in contradiction to
the animals' "right" to free movement (a right I support for people), but
are a good idea AND in the interests of those animals. Controlling the
population growth of certain animals (so that the population doesn't become
limited by starvation, and that the species doesn't endanger other species
including humans) might involve forced contraception or sterilization,
again contrary to reproductive rights which I support for people. Any
movement that talks about animal rights in the same context of rights
applying to humans, without referring to such specifics, both trivializes
the importance of our rights and the struggles by which they were obtained,
but also fails to address the real issues affecting the welfare of animals
which depend on the actions of humans, not deliberate actions by the
animals themselves enjoying their "rights."

- Jeff

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