A Tale of Power & Vision



A recent commenter asked, "could ... abolitionist have provided any vision powerful enough to defeat the heteronormative, speciesist, patriarchal racism of 95% of the country in the 1860's to declare *full equality* to men of all races *and* women, *and* queers, *and* animal others?" He answers by stating:

Personally, I cannot imagine such a scenario (though, I wish it had occured). I don't agree that failing to imagine this scenario is "oppressive." My position is that these struggles take a long time to be overcome and that multiple methods ought to be employed as long as they are consistent with and explicit in one's vision.

I believe our internalization of oppression limits our imagination, creativity, and vision. This internalization of oppression leads us to fall into pessimism and pragmatism. If we cannot imagine a broad-based, multi-issue, intersectional anti-oppression scenario, then how can we work for a consistent and explicit vision of liberation?

I'd like to urge everyone to watch the video "A Tale of Power & Vision." I think it brilliantly illustrates how our "pessimism" and "pragmatism" works to foster apathy and how "power" and "vision" can get us where we want to go. I'd like to suggest that while internalized oppression leads to pessimism and pragmatism, veganism can lead us to power and vision.

Re: A Tale of Power & Vision

My question would be: why does the abolitionist need to defeat all of those at once? The abolitionist is abolishing an institution. Once policy is established, once the institution has lost the support of the government, then rights can be fought for: other policies can follow. Gay people are not slaves, nor are women, as far as I can tell. The difference I see between slavery and these other forms of oppression is that institutionalized slaves inherently belong to the economic support system of the oppressors, whereas free women and gay people and black people do not. This is why I am worried that is right, that it is not the same as domestic partnerships vs gay marriage. Now, I'm not sure what domestic partnerships did in terms of promoting gay marriage, except perhaps encouraging proponents by way of success. I don't think they played much of a role in discouraging gay marriage either, but opponents had far less to lose than do slaveholders.

On the other hand, since I know of no examples in which any kind of animal farming has been successfully abolished, it's quite tricky to predict how animal emancipation will differ from black emancipation. Black people, after all, were able to communicate, run away, and overall had more power to resist.

Black emancipation occurred through civil war, which (correct me if I'm wrong) was brought on by a desire for unity rather than emancipation per se. I'm not sure what conclusion to draw, but perhaps this still has to do with vision, unity and emancipation being two different visions.



Re: A Tale of Power & Vision

Someone asked me once what I would do if I "got everything I want," if oppression as we know it ceased to exist. That was more than a year ago, probably two now, and I still have absolutely no answer at all. I do think my creativity has been taken from these situations because I see no way our collective goals could realistically be achieved. That's almost as depressing as the knowledge of our shared oppressions.