In 1995, Brian Dominick’s pamphlet ‘Animal Liberation and Social Revolution’ called for ‘a vegan perspective on anarchism and an anarchist perspective on veganism’. Dominic advocated ‘veganarchy’, arguing that philosophically and politically, anarchism has some connections with understanding and contesting the domination of non-human animals. However, many anarchists are resistant to such a call for the problematising of species domination. ‘Gentle’ anarchists critiquing militarism and arguing for anarchist non-violence, have stopped short at contesting the mass slaughter of certain species for food. Whilst incredibly attentive to the ‘linked hierarchies’ of intra-human domination, and the necessity of challenging the exploitation of non-human nature, Bookchin, for example, held fast to the dichotomy between humans and all other animals and was bitterly critical of ‘lifestyle anarchism’ – a negative appellation he applied to a range of politics (from eco-feminism to primitivism). This panel considers historical and contemporary attempts to connect anarchism with projects that resist the domination of non-human animals, and problematize human power and human species identity.
Certainly, those within the animal liberation movement have engaged with anarchist theory and praxis. In terms of practical politics, we have seen the influence of anarchist ideas about leaderless and autonomous political organisation, direct action, attacks on ‘property’ and debates about ‘violence’ and ‘terror’ in the struggle for animal liberation. Theoretically, there have been engagements with ideas about linked hierarchies and dominations and attempts to bring together the insights of various critical theory (feminisms, poststructuralism and political ecologism, for example) with anarchist ideas of multiple dominations and understandings of the domination of other animals. Very differently, and perhaps more controversial within green and anarchist politics, have been the critiques of the effects of domestication on both human and non-human animals by those advocating ‘primitivism’ and re-wilding.
Such connections are not entirely new. The problem of the oppression of non-human animals is an undercurrent in the history of anarchist though and seen in the writing of those such as Tolstoy, Thoreau, Reclus and Ghandi amongst others. Kropotkin, following Darwin, emphasised the importance of understanding species not as difference but as differentiation, in ways taken up by contemporary scholars in animal studies who question hierarchical models of species distinction. This multi-disciplinary panel seeks papers which focus on various forms of connection between anarchism and non-human animals from a wide range of perspectives, including but not limited to the following themes:
• Feminism and animals: critiques of dualism, intersectionality, ecological feminism, feminism and the ethical treatment of animals
• The history of the anarchist naturalism movement: vegetarianism, nudism, free love and living in the woods
• Anarchoprimitivism and its critics: from Thoreau to Zerzan, the critique of civilization and domestication, de-domestication, ferality and re-wilding
• The spectacle of species domination
• Heterotopic spaces of species relations
• The animal-industrial complex, animals and capitalism
• Human relations with other animals in the history of anarchist thought
• Anarchism and posthumanism: decentering the human in theory, politics and scholarship
• Animal liberation and ‘eco-terrorism’
• Animal liberation and anarchist politics: direct action, the meaning of violence, autonomy and leaderlessness
• Theorizing the domination and oppression of non-human animals
• The meaning of animal liberation
• Human species identity
• Colonial forms of species relations, species colonialism
• Hierarchy, reciprocity, mutual aid and animal cultures
• Anarchism, vegetarianism and veganism
Please send your proposals of no more than 300 words, along with your name, title of your contribution and your contact details to the panel conveners: Erika Cudworth (University of East London) firstname.lastname@example.org; and Richard White (Sheffield Hallam University) Richard.White@shu.ac.uk. The deadline for abstracts is 31st March 2012.