Author Archive

Negotiation is Over!

Posted in Animal Liberation, Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Revolution with tags , on September 13, 2010 by drstevebest

Dr. Steven Best explains why “Negotiation is Over!”

Interviewed by Thomas Janek of Wild Time (Dublin radio, aired July 5, 2010)

Special Thanks to:

Thomas Janek (Wild Time) for providing the audio, Richard Gomez (NIO Toronto) for creating the video, & Ryan for creating the mp3 link

Entire interview available on MP3: Click Here

OneBigTorrent Download: Click Here

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Total Revolution: Revolution for the 21st Century

Posted in Animal Liberation, Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Police State, Prisoner Support, Revolution with tags , , on May 17, 2010 by drstevebest

by Dr. Steven Best, Negotiation Is Over

My friends, we are winning many battles in the fight for freedom, rights, democracy, compassionate ethics, peace, interspecies justice, and ecology.

But we are losing the war.

The war against greed, violence, plunder, profits, and domination. The war against transnational corporations, world banks, the US Empire, and Western military machines. The war against metastasizing systems of economic growth, technological development, overproduction, and overconsumption.

Despite recent decades of intense social and environmental struggles, we are nevertheless losing ground in the battles for democracy and ecology.

In the last two decades, neoliberalism and globalization have destroyed social democracies, widened gaps between rich and poor, dispossessed farmers, and marketized the entire world. Alongside good-old fashioned imperialism and resource extraction, people now confront genetic engineering, biopiracy, the patenting of genes, and the control of the seed supply. McDonaldization swallows up diversity as agribusiness engulfs the world’s farmers. Corporate power is growing as people power is shrinking.

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The Loss of a Halo: Francione and the Mask of Jainism

Posted in Animal Liberation, Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Revolution with tags on February 23, 2010 by drstevebest

steve pilloriedBy Steven Best, PhD.

“Brothers and sisters, friends, and I see some enemies. I think we’d be fooling ourselves if we had an audience this large and didn’t realize that there were some enemies present.”

Malcolm X often started his talks with this ironic greeting, as his audiences often contained a nest of agents, traitors, and spies. And when I look out at the diverse aspects of the animal advocacy movement, I see the same, including FBI and law enforcement, those who condemn militant direct action while knowing nothing about it, those who monitor my pages on social-networking sites to report to their pacifist leaders, and those sad victims of the Stockholm Syndrome who have more sympathy for the “humanity” of seal killers than for the courageous members of the underground who risk it all for nonhuman animals.

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Rethinking Revolution: Animal Liberation, Human Liberation, and the Future of the Left

Posted in Animal Liberation, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Revolution with tags , , on February 6, 2010 by drstevebest

“Animal liberation may sound more like a parody of other liberation movements than a serious objective.” Peter Singer

“Animal liberation is the ultimate freedom movement, the `final frontier.’” Robin Webb, British ALF Press Officer

Introduction: Framing the Unframed Issue

It seems lost on most of the global anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist Left that there is a new liberation movement on the planet ―animal liberation― that is of immense ethical and political significance. But because animal liberation challenges the anthropocentric, speciesist, and humanist dogmas that are so deeply entrenched in socialist and anarchist thinking and traditions, Leftists are more likely to mock than engage it.

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From “Man the Hunter” to Homo X: Rethinking Human Nature

Posted in Animal Liberation, Environment, Indigenous, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , on January 7, 2010 by drstevebest

In their myriad telling, “scientific” narratives of human evolution have accumulated a ton of ideological baggage; human origins accounts often are more rooted in fiction than fact, and many were spawned before recent archaeological and scientific breakthroughs. Few models are as dominant as the story of “Man the Hunter.” This theory of evolution and human nature argues that human beings (1) are natural carnivores, (2) were always hunters, and (3) are inherently violent and aggressive. Not only prevalent in science, these assumptions spread into culture and everyday life, where they shaped anthropocentric worldviews and sedimented into “common sense.” Yet each element in the Man the Hunter model is a fiction and myth that both stems from and perpetuates false concepts of human identity. The prevalent notion of “human nature” has no grounding in historical reality and in fact is a social construction with troubling implications and consequences.

Clearly, these three assertions sustain and support each other. If humans are natural carnivores, they have to hunt to survive; since hunting, moreover, is impossible without killing, violent behaviors form the basis of social life.  To say that humans are natural carnivores is to state that since our hominid beginnings 5-8 million years ago we ate a meat-based diet and killed animals to satisfy our cravings for flesh and blood. But it also makes a stronger claim that the human physiology requires meat and cannot flourish or function properly on a vegetarian diet. Meat consumption is primordial, natural, good, and necessary. Thus, humans cannot and should not live without killing animals, and violence is inherently and necessarily a part of their existence. Natural carnivores are therefore born to hunt and kill; they are violent not only toward animals but also toward each other; carnivorism is our original sin.

The Man the Hunter view has influenced many views about the biological basis and evolution of violence in human life. These are arbitrary claims rooted in speciesist, carnivorous, and patriarchal biases, and we shall take them apart one at a time.

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Minding the Animals: Ethology and the Obsolescence of Left Humanism

Posted in Animal Liberation, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Revolution with tags , , , , on January 1, 2010 by drstevebest

Dr. Steven Best

With few exceptions, Leftists have systematically devalued or ignored the horrific plight of animals as a trivial issue compared to human suffering, and they have therefore mocked or dismissed the animal liberation movement that emerged in the 1970s to become a global movement more dynamic, powerful, and widespread than virtually any human cause or liberation movement. Despite their affirmation of Darwinian theory, which views human beings as natural beings who co-evolved with other animals in an organic continuum, the humanist elements of Leftist culture ― which emphasize the radical uniqueness and singularity of humans as “superior” animals ― prevailed over the naturalist elements ― which emphasize the continuum of biological evolution, even as it phases into social evolution and cultural development.

This essay raises various questions concerning human identity politics ― the social, political, and environmental implications of how humans view and conduct themselves as members of a distinct species in relation to other species and the Earth as a whole ― and situates Left humanist views as a variant, rather than rejection, of Western anthropocentrism, speciesism, and the pathology of humanism. As part of the problem rather than the solution, I argue that Leftist humanist theories (including “eco-humanist” variants) fail to advance a truly revolutionary break with the mindsets and institutions underpinning hierarchy, oppression, violence, species extinction, and the current global ecological crisis. I claim that because of the atavistic, unenlightened, pre-scientific, and discriminatory views toward nonhuman animals, such as led them to miss some of the most profound scientific and moral revolutions of the era, Leftists cannot regain their place of pride in progressive culture until they jettison their shopworn hierarchical and exploitative views, a process that can be catalyzed by engaging the major themes and findings of ethology.

Read more at Inclusive Democracy…

Postmodern Politics: Fragmentation or Alliance?

Posted in Animal Liberation, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Revolution with tags , , , , on December 29, 2009 by drstevebest

Dawns, Twilights, and Transitions: Postmodern Theories, Politics, and Challenges

By Steve Best & Douglas Kellner

The postmodern turn which has so marked social and cultural theory also involves conflicts between modern and postmodern politics. In this essay, we articulate the differences between modern and postmodern politics and argue against one-sided positions which dogmatically reject one tradition or the other in favor of partisanship for either the modern or the postmodern. Arguing for a politics of alliance and solidarity, we claim that this project is best served by drawing on the most progressive elements of both the modern and postmodern traditions. Developing a new politics involves overcoming the limitations of certain versions of modern politics and postmodern identity politics in order to develop a politics of alliance and solidarity equal to the challenges of the coming millennium.

“What’s going on just now? What’s happening to us? What is this world, this period, this precise moment in which we are living?” Michel Foucault

In the past two decades, the foundational claims of modern politics have been challenged by postmodern perspectives. The grand visions of emancipation in liberalism, Marxism, and other political perspectives of the modern era have been deemed excessively grandiose and totalizing, occluding differences and neglecting more specific oppressions of individuals and disparate groups. The liberal project of providing universal rights and freedoms for all has been challenged by specific groups struggling for their own rights, advancing their own specific interests, and championing the construction of their unique cultures and identities. The Marxian project of revolution, worldwide and global in scope, has been replaced in some quarters by more localized struggles and more modest and reformist goals. The result is a variety of new forms of postmodern politics whose discourses, practices, and effects are beginning to register and come under critical scrutiny.

Read the full article at Democracy & Nature

Who Is Winning the Battle for Food Regime? Vegans or Carnivores? Dare To Know

Posted in Animal Liberation, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Revolution with tags , , , , , on December 28, 2009 by drstevebest

By Dr. Steven Best, Negotiation Is Over

We often hear about the many “victories” the vegan movement is piling up with new products on the shelves, new restaurants, growing coverage with celebrities and talk show hosts, and evolving consciousness in general.

As this article shows, an expanding awareness that meat production is environmentally devastating means that vegans have grounds for hope and optimism.

But the big picture and full context brings sobering realities to light; the fact is that this is all too little and too late and, while we win some battles, we are badly losing the overall war to save the planet from ecological collapse. Consider just a few of many grim facts and narratives:

1) As Carl Boggs notes “Animal-food production in the United States alone has increased no less than four times since the 1950s, despite the more recent spread of popular knowledge concerning the harmful effects of meat consumption. At present there are an estimated 20 billion livestock on earth. In the United States more than 100,000 cows and calves are slaughtered every day, along with 14,000 chickens. The Tyson plant at Noel, Missouri kills some 300,000 chickens daily while the IBP slaughterhouse at Garden City, Kansas and the ConAgra complex at Greeley, Colorado both disassemble more than 6400 steers a day. All told 23 million animals are killed worldwide to satisfy human and food demands daily. In a McDonaldized society Americans now eat on average 30 pounds of beef yearly, with seemingly little concern for well-known health risks. Conditions of factory farming, said to be improved owing to reforms, are in fact worse by most standards — more crowded, more painful, more disease-ridden, more drug-saturated even than at the time of Upton Sinclair’s classic The Jungle (written in 1906).

Read more at Negotiation Is Over

Magical Abolitionism: Francione Admits Defeat and Irrelevance As He Degenerates into Self-Parody

Posted in Animal Liberation, Environment with tags , , , on December 20, 2009 by drstevebest

by Steven Best

“The World is Vegan If You Want It.” This the most delusional campaign in recent history; it is symptomatic of a vegan movement which has, in fact, degenerated into a satire of itself and reinforces the worst stereotypes of vegans as elitist, privileged puppy-hugging whites indifferent to the nightmare of oppressed races and classes amidst the collapse of the industrial-capitalist world order. This last campaign shows, more clearly than ever, that Francione is throwing in the towel, admitting defeat, acknowledging his utter impotence and complete irrelevance in a time of planetary crisis. Nothing could be more disabling that this campaign at this time.

Let’s be honest. The animal rights movement as we now know it will never become a revolutionary struggle because the representatives of the oppressed enjoy enough privilege from the system they oppose to prevent them from supporting, let alone engaging in actual revolutionary activity that would risk those comforts.” —Rod Coronado, Former ALF Activist and Political Prisoner

Read more at Negotiation Is Over

Manifesto for Radical Abolitionism: Total Liberation By Any Means Necessary

Posted in Animal Liberation, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Revolution with tags , , , on November 23, 2009 by drstevebest

By Dr. Steven Best, 11/13/09

I.

The nonhuman animal advocacy movement is at a crucial crossroads where truly it is now do or die. In the early 1980s, a new animal rights movement glowed bright with potential; in just a few years, however, the light faded to black as corruption, opportunism, and bureaucracy snuffed out the promise of genuine change. As they evolved, it became increasingly obvious that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other groups emulated the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to become corporate behemoths and mainstream machines. Increasingly co-opted and compromised, animal rights groups frequently worked with, rather than against, the exploitation industries in order to regulate, not eliminate, the ongoing nonhuman animal holocaust.

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