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Animals and Socialism: Are Leftists More Supportive of Animal Rights?

In college, a lot of my socialist friends were also vegetarian or vegan, or at least ecologically focused, so I thought most leftists cared about non-human life. Once I graduated I realized that wasn’t the case.

JON HOCHSCHARTNER: ‘Dayton Martindale is a founding member of the Democratic Socialists of America’s Animal Liberation Working Group… The associate editor of “In These Times” discussed capitalism’s adaptability, animals in Marxist theory…

QUESTION: How have your views regarding animals been received on the socialist left?…

ANSWER: “In college, a lot of my socialist friends were also vegetarian or vegan, or at least ecologically focused, so I thought most leftists cared about non-human life. Once I graduated I realized that wasn’t the case.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with meat-eating leftists where they seem really receptive, even explicitly tell me they think my argument for animal liberation is correct or that they don’t have a good counter-argument. Some want to continue the conversation and I think they’re potential allies, but then there are others who don’t really care to follow up and tell me they are content to remain, in their own words, hypocritical, inconsistent or irrational on this issue. Which always surprises me coming from people who are otherwise driven by strong moral and political principles, a willingness to question and challenge the status quo.

I’ve also met many socialists who are personally vegetarians but don’t necessarily integrate that into their politics. They don’t think fighting for non-human animals is a high priority or winnable, necessarily. But I’ve also come into contact with a lot of people who share the politics of animal liberation and are excited to see it brought into left spaces. The other vegans have maybe felt isolated in socialist spaces in the past and, even if they can’t get involved with the working group, support what we’re trying to do”.’ SOURCE…

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