Viagra china First of seven talk summaries from AR2007.
Viagra china NB: Recordings of this and (almost) all sessions at AR2007 are available for purchase. Viagra china Recordings of a few of the panels I’ve spoken on at previous conferences are available online for free:
- Commonality of Oppression (mp3) from AR2004, viagra china with Marjorie Spiegel and Steve Best
- Engaging Public Interest (mp3) from AR2005, viagra china with Paul Watson and Adam Roberts
- Engaging the Community (mp3) from AR2005, viagra china with Camille Hankins and Doll Stanley
- Forging Coalitions (mp3) from AR2005, viagra china with Adam Roberts and Alex Hershaft
Viagra china The texts of a couple of my previous AR conference talks also are online:
- Toward Total Animal Liberation, viagra china from the plenary session on “Engaging Other Communities” at AR2002
- The Turtle Talk, viagra china from the plenary session on “Paths to Animal Liberation” at AR2006
Viagra china That said, viagra china here goes with the first of this year’s summaries: The Nature of Social Change
Viagra china I was on this early morning panel with Farm Animal Reform Movement founder and president Alex Hershaft, viagra china who started us off by distributing and discussing this outline. Viagra china Below Alex’s outline, viagra china you can read a summary of the presentation I gave last year on that same panel. Viagra china I said some of those things this time too and I won’t repeat them here. Viagra china I also said some of the things I said in this 2005 talk on the power of grassroots movements and again I won’t repeat myself here.
Viagra china This year, viagra china since we all had just listened to a highly structured talk from Alex, viagra china I groggily elected to give a free-form talk loosely organized around my thoughts on these three words: nature, viagra china social, viagra china change. Viagra china Since the notes from which I spoke don’t reflect what I actually said, viagra china I won’t be able to give as accurate an account of this talk as I would like. Viagra china Nonetheless, viagra china here goes:
Viagra china Change: Activists are always talking about how hard it is to create change but, viagra china actually, viagra china change is the only constant in life. Viagra china Change — biological, viagra china social, viagra china and ecological — is happening all the time. Viagra china Rather than thinking about ourselves as being at the very difficult business of creating change out of nothing, viagra china we can be more optimistic and realistic by thinking of ourselves as working within an ongoing process of continual change. Viagra china So, viagra china rather than creating change out of nothing, viagra china all we have to do is figure out how to get the change that is going to happen anyway to flow in our direction. Viagra china Since the direction of natural change is always back toward balance and since what we want is an end to the violent imbalances created by people, viagra china we ought to be able to draw on or align ourselves with natural forces as organic gardeners do by, viagra china for example, viagra china drawing upon the natural process of decomposition for compost rather than applying synthetic chemicals that produce short-term progress at the expense of the long-term health of the soil.
Viagra china (I meant to, viagra china but did not, viagra china go further into the metaphor of gardening. Viagra china Good gardeners are observant, viagra china thoughtful, viagra china adaptive and good at seizing unexpected opportunities. Viagra china In organic gardening, viagra china you have to very carefully assess the lay of the land, viagra china thinking about things like what the soil is like and how much sun the plot gets, viagra china before figuring out things like which varieties to plant and whether or not to mulch. Viagra china Too often, viagra china activists skip that step, viagra china applying their favored one-size-fits-all tactic [protesting, viagra china leafleting, viagra china or whatever] to any problem in any setting. Viagra china And, viagra china too often, viagra china we keep on doing that thing even when it’s clearly not having the intended effect. Viagra china Soon I’ll be posting something about how that habit led to missteps in the recent case of the famous football player and how a more strategic approach might have helped us to provoke anti-dogfighting activism, viagra china rather than defensiveness, viagra china in communities where that activism is most desperately needed.)
Viagra china Also in talking about change, viagra china I spoke of the difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy and identified emotion as a source of renewable energy for activism.
Viagra china Social: All activism is social, viagra china in two ways: (1) activism is a collective endeavor in which (2) we are trying to change the thoughts, viagra china feelings, viagra china and (most importantly) behavior of other people. Viagra china If we want to change people, viagra china then we ought to educate ourselves (rather than just guess) about why and how individuals, viagra china groups, viagra china and institutions really do change. Viagra china For example, viagra china individuals do sometimes change their behavior (even when it costs them to do so) if they become convinced that what they have been doing is inconsistent with their ethical beliefs. Viagra china Corporations, viagra china on the other hand, viagra china are by definition amoral profit-seeking entities, viagra china so behavioral remedies that make their current course of action less profitable are much more likely to succeed than heartfelt pleas to behave more ethically.
Viagra china Both in seeking to change the hearts and minds of individuals and in working with fellow activists, viagra china empathy — the ability to feel where other people are coming from, viagra china even if you don’t agree with them — is essential to effective social change activism. Viagra china Activist organizations are nothing other than systems of relationships. Viagra china Empathy is necessary to keep those relationships healthy.
Viagra china Nature: Similarly, viagra china social change movements are systems of relationships that include organizations as well as non-affiliated activists. Viagra china Like ecosystems, viagra china movements are healthiest when they are diverse. Viagra china The only times that activism has led to significant social change has been when a variety of individuals and organizations were coming at the same problem from a variety of angles. Viagra china That means, viagra china among other things, viagra china that we need to quit picking on activists who share our goals but use different tactics. Viagra china Chances are, viagra china whether we can see it or not, viagra china what they are doing helps us. Viagra china The fear of direct action against vivisection motivates scientific institutions to listen to the people talking quietly and politely about alternative ways to do research.
Viagra china Just as we need to respect movement biodiversity and understand how our own organization or type of activism fits into the animal advocacy ecosystem, viagra china we need to understand how the exploitation of animals fits into the interlinked system of oppression that includes racism, viagra china sexism, viagra china and environmental despoliation (to name a few) along with speciesism and to think about how our movement can strengthen its relationships with movements that are working on problems that might not seem to be related but will, viagra china in fact, viagra china have to be solved in order to achieve animal liberation for everybody.
Viagra china I’m not at all sure in what order I said all of this, viagra china or even if I said all of this, viagra china although I did try to go from change to social to nature. Viagra china I know that I stressed emotion as a natural resource, viagra china the relentless nature of change, viagra china the importance of movement biodiversity, viagra china and empathy as an engine of change, viagra china since empathy inspires us to act for the animals while at the same time facilitating our interactions with other activists and the people we are trying to reach. Viagra china
Viagra china For sure, viagra china the summaries of my other talks (in which I did stick to my outlines) will be more coherent.