Veganism and Backlash

As long as human supremacy exists, veganism will engender backlash. Veganism puts pressure on the system of human supremacy, and backlash represents speciesist resistance to loss of privilege and human supremacy.

I'm sure most of us vegans experience some form of backlash on a regular basis. And backlash can take any number of forms – from labels, stereotypes, and mockery to outright verbal and physical abuse.

For instance, an intensely aggressive form of backlash involves forcing vegan children or vegans of all ages under institutional control to consume and use products from the exploitation of nonhuman animals.

The purpose of backlash is to eliminate opposition to oppression and reaffirm the status quo. Backlash directed at vegans represents specific expressions of speciesism that aim to marginalize, neutralize, co-opt, silence, and control veganism.

But this backlash doesn't just come from non-vegans. The backlash can come from other vegans and from within ourselves. This type of backlash comes out of our own internalized dominance, which occurs when as humans we accept human superiority as normal and deserved, and when we deny the oppression experienced by nonhuman animals.

This sort of backlash is, unfortunately, not uncommon. Often coded in terms of being "pragmatic," "practical," and "effective," this backlash seeks to silence, marginalize, and discredit vegans who persist in challenging human supremacy. In this case, backlash represents the deliberate misrepresentation of veganism based on the logic that ends justified the means.

A number of self-identified "vegan" activists and organizations routinely engage in backlash tactics against vegans and veganism. These tactics are often justified with talk of making veganism "mainstream." The subtext being the assimilation of veganism into the existing social order – the very thing veganism is supposed to challenge. For those using the backlash tactics, the so-called "mainstream" represents the promise of "real" power, but it's a power rooted in speciesism and internalized dominance.

Re: Veganism and Backlash

I have experienced a lot of backlash in terms of food, I think. While I understand that sometimes we must make concessions for where people live and availability of what they can buy/grow, I have been increasingly disturbed over the past eleven years by the corporatization of vegan food. Many vegans seem to assume if the actual finished product is vegan, then it's okay to buy it. If you look at ConAgra, which owns Lightlife, and you see how involved ConAgra is in the meat industry (as well as plenty of other unsavory practices around the world, including genetic engineering, which frequently involves animal exploitation) you realize that the reason ConAgra bought Lightlife was not to assist vegans in making a vegan world, but rather to grab up a market that it was starting to lose. That could make you think, ooh, they were LOSING US and they were concerned! But their concern, I think, is for any kind of missed profits and for control. If you look at the bigger picture, if you look at what ConAgra does and where it exploits people, you begin to realize that this little vegan niche it's carved out is not about to change ConAgra into a happy feely vegan company, but to let vegans freely spend their money to continue enriching a corporation that stands against everything most vegans hold dear.

People whine and complain about how hard it is to buy from a smaller, independent company, but they never stop to ask why that is. Certainly in the USA there are many places where choices are severely limited, and it can make things harder. But I think about the guy who coined the term "vegan" having been so in 1944. Don't tell me he had an easy time of it then! If he could do it then, before soymilk was common and meat substitutes, why do we think we need those things now? Why do organizations like Farm Sanctuary and COK promote ConAgra, Silk and other corporations that profit mainly from animal exploitation, and give nary a word to Soy Boy (which I think is a vegan company) or Living Harvest (their hemp milk is sooo good)?

I could proabably say this a million times more and continue to hear: "but if we all support ConAgra, they'll make more vegan foods!" Aside from the health issues of Lightlife pseudo-food, I don't understand what's difficult about requesting SoyBoy or Tofurky products instead; show the market what YOU want, don't let the market lead you.

Okay, the end. Thanks for posting this.