War, Fascism, and the Psychology of Meat

Host/Sponsor: 
Independent Advocates for Animals
Room: 
Timeslot: 
Abstract: 
A link between wars and the eating of animal flesh is often noted, even though a meat-free diet does not necessarily make one a pacifist. "We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature," Rachel Carson wrote. Gandhi, Tolstoy, Schopenhauer, I. B. Singer, among others, also argued that war as such will not end until meat eating ends. Melanie Joy suggests that the dominant, invisible belief system behind meat eating, a system of denial she named "carnism," from the very outset generates violence. Both wars and meat production entail massive violence, obscene sadism, self-anesthetizing, radical depersonalizing, a studied looking away, and, to use Wilhelm Reich's phrase, a "suppression of life impulses." Though the architects of wars and the architects of slaughter may differ, the animals in the abattoir and the victims of warfare ultimately share a common oppressor—an implied fascist system. If slaughter, that is, is a form of Hitlerism, and all animal agriculture moves toward that end, then Hitlerism, at least on a subterranean level, is what the meat eater tacitly assents to and vicariously practices, even though, obviously, not every fascist eats meat. If "Fascism is the vampire leached to the body of the living, the impulse to murder given free rein ... " [W. Reich, THE MASS PSYCHOLOGY OF FASCISM], then it is not merely the logical and psychological culmination of a might-makes-right ideology and comportment, it is a systematized parasitism marked by an absence of limit. With particular reference to fascism, this panel will explore some of the psychological, political, and philosophical connections between war and meat.
Reading List: 
W. Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism; L. Tolstoy, "The First Step"; Vasu Murti, "MEAT: Root Cause of Endless War ..."; M. Joy, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows; Plato, Rep. II; T. Adorno, "Education After Auschwitz."
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker First Name: 
Joan
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Last Name: 
Harrison
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Affiliation: 
Independent Advocate for Animals
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Biography: 
Joan Harrison taught philosophy for twenty-two years and Latin grammar for about ten. About fifteen years ago, after a life-transforming experience with a herd of Vermont cows, she gave up meat, eggs, and dairy and turned to animal activism. She writes letters, essays, reports, and poems for animals. She wrote an introductory pamphlet on animal liberation that’s been widely distributed. She fasts several times a year to raise consciousness about slaughter. She's fighting to end the annual USDA wildlife massacres at NYC parks and refuges. And she’s organized an animal liberation panel for each of the last four years—this being the fifth—for the Left Forum, with the hope of raising awareness among the Left about the importance of animal suffering for social justice issues.
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator First Name: 
William
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Last Name: 
Crain
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Affiliation: 
Professor of Psychology at City College, co-founder of Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Biography: 
William Crain is a professor of psychology at The City College of New York and co-founder of Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary in Poughquag, NY. His most recent book is The Emotional Lives of Animals and Children: Insights from a Farm Sanctuary. He is also active in the defense of wildlife and this year spent eight days in jail for protesting the New Jersey Black Bear Hunt.
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator First Name: 
Adam
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Last Name: 
Weissman
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Affiliation: 
Global Justice for Animals and the Environment
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Biography: 
Adam Weissman is the founder of Global Justice for Animals and the Environment (GJAE), an organization addressing the threat posed by free trade agreements to animals, the environment, sustainable food, and environmental defenders. He also represents GJAE in Trade Justice New York Metro, a coalition of local organizations from diverse social movements working together to resist the NAFTA model of trade deals for the 1%. As a coordinator of Trade Justice Alliance, he supports grassroots fair trade activists with resources including webinars, e-newsletters, and the tradejustice.net website.
Panel/Workshop Organizer First Name: 
Joan
Panel/Workshop Organizer Last Name: 
Harrison
Panel/Workshop Organizer Affiliation: 
Independent Advocate for Animals
 

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