I first started The Vegan Ideal as a personal blog, but this new website is best understood as the manifestation of over a decade and a half of writing, thinking and organizing around veganism as a social justice movement.
One of the first thing worth noting about this site is that I use the words "vegan" and "veganism" differently than they are widely (mis)understood – specifically, the superficial definition given in the dictionary, which says a "vegan" is "a person who does not eat or use animal products."
Here I use the broadest and most basic interpretation of veganism, as articulated from the movement's early beginnings. At its simplest, vegan means non-exploitation, and veganism denotes a movement to end all forms of oppression. The "vegan ideal," for which this site is named, is therefore a world free of exploitation or oppression. The distinction is not about redefining veganism, but rather, as Leslie Cross wrote in "Veganism Defined," to "clarify the goal towards which the movement aspires."
On a similar note, this is not an "animal rights" website, nor do I focus exclusively on so-called "animal issues." As opposed to taking a rights-based approach, I return to the anti-oppression model, with its commitment to solidarity, rooted at the vegan movement's foundation.
Anti-oppression movements, as Tina Lopes and Barb Thomas explain in Dancing on Live Embers, "recognize that inequitable power exists in society. Unless this inequality in all its forms is actively challenged, it reproduces itself whether we intend it to or not." So while The Vegan Ideal works to foreground how society exploits nonhuman animals, I'm always equally concerned with how other humans are also being exploited in our society, and how humans and other animals are both oppressed by the exploitation of the resources and life systems of our shared planet.