Excellent Conference: Left Forum, New York City, Pace University, March 16-18 2012

I’m participating in the Left Forum as part of the Panel focused on Anarchism’s Post-Capitalist Vision.

With the rise of Occupy Wall Street, which was initiated by anarchists and people inspired by anarchist politics, people might ask the perfectly logical question: “What do anarchists have to offer us in place of capitalism and the state?” This panel discussion focuses on the many anarchist post-capitalist visions, attempting to provide some broad answers to that question. We will talk about the major proposals anarchists have put forward and link them to anarchist practices of resistance and creation and analyses of the present. Similarly, we will discuss debates and work within the anarchist milieu conceptualizing post-capitalism. This discussion will be centered around pieces on anarchist vision in the new book, “The Accumulation of Freedom: Writings on Anarchist Economics” (AK Press).

My co-authored chapter (with Professor Colin Williams ) in this book is titled: Escaping the Capitalist Hegemony by re-reading the Economic Landscapes of the Western World.

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Call for Papers ‘Anarchism and Other Animals’ panel at the 2nd Anarchist studies Network conference ‘Making Connections’ Loughborough University, 3rd-5th September, 2012.

Anarchism and other animals – making connections across species boundaries

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) e.calvo@uel.ac.uk; and Richard White (Sheffield Hallam University) Richard.White@shu.ac.uk. The deadline for abstracts is 31st March 2012.

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Forthcoming Event: SHU 12th April 2011, 5.30-6.30pm

Sheffield Hallam University
Guest Lecture
Tuesday 12th April 2011
Dr Les Mitchell, PhD

“Moral Disengagement and Support for Nonhuman Animal Farming”

 City Campus, OWEN 223

5.30pm – 6.30pm

About the lecture

This is the Abstract taken from Les’s recent paper of the same title.

Nonhuman animal farming, by its fundamental nature, involves a greater or lesser degree of ill treatment and oppression. Definitions of abuse or cruelty in relation to nonhumans, however, are inconsistent and ambiguous. People support nonhuman farming by purchasing its products, but the majority of people do not themselves mistreat nonhumans. How can this incongruity be explained? Any account is likely to be complex, but work in experimental psychology has identified a number of conditions that can contribute toward individuals becoming morally disengaged from abusive acts. This paper shows that a number of these conditions are embedded in the nonhuman animal farming industry, thus providing some insight into why consumers may be disconnected from the mass abuse carried out by an industry they support. Recognizing this process can help advocates for nonhumans take steps to counter this disengagement and so allow consumers to examine their ethical choices more clearly.

Link to full article: Animals & Society 19 (2011) 38-58

About Les Mitchell

Les Mitchell is the Director of the Hunterstoun Centre at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa. He is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, an advisor for the Journal of Animal Ethics and on the Advisory Board of the Palgrave Macmillan series on Animal Ethics. His research interests are critical realism, non-human animals, discourses, power in society, genocide, moral disengagement, and alternatives to violence.

Read more here: Hunterstoun Centre

If you are interested in attending please contact me at: Richard.White@shu.ac.uk

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Journal for Critical Animal Studies, Volume VIII, Issue I/II (2010) just published

To read the contents of this open-access, free-to-view journal,please click HERE

JCAS header

ISSN: 1948-352X


Full Issue

Editorial Board, Table of Contents, and Editorial
Richard J. White, Chief Editor
Pgs. 1- 7


“Green” Eggs and Ham? The Myth of Sustainable Meat and the Danger of the Local
Vasile Stănescu
Pgs. 8-32

My Pet Needs Philosophy: Ambiguity, Capabilities and the Welfare of Domestic Dogs
Heather Hillsburg
Pgs. 33-46

From Marginal Cases to Linked Oppressions: Reframing the Conflict between the Autistic Pride and Animal Rights Movements
Daniel Salomon
Pgs. 47-72


The Love Whose Name Cannot be Spoken: Queering the Human-Animal Bond
Carmen Dell’Aversano
Pgs. 73-125

Animal Absolutes: Liberation Sociology’s Missing Links –  Part II of II essays on animals and normative sociology
David Sztybel
Pgs. 126-175


Abolition a Multi-Tactical Movement Strategy
Anthony J. Nocella, II
Pgs. 176-183

Healing Our Cuts
Anthony J Nocella, II
Pgs. 184-187


! For the abolition of the bullfight, the people took the streets ¡
Center of Abolitionist Studies for Animal Liberation
Pgs. 188-191


Interview with Anthony J. Nocella, II on Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex (co-edited with Steven Best and Peter McLaren, AK Press, 2010)
Richard J White
Pgs. 192-198

Interview with animal liberation activist and former political prisoner Peter Young
Laura Shields
Pgs. 199-203

Interview with author, anarchist and feminist Abbey Willis
Laura Shields
Pgs. 204-208


9th Annual Conference for Critical Animal Studies, SUNY Cortland, New York
Sarat Colling
Pgs. 209-211

1st Annual European Conference for Critical Animal Studies, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
Jessica Groling
Pgs. 212-215


Animal Encounters by Tom Tyler, Manuela Rossini, and Manuela S. Rossini (2009)
Reviewed by Amy L. Fletcher
Pgs. 216-221

Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look At The Modern Poultry Industry by Karen Davis (2009)
Reviewed by Dylan Ravenfox
Pgs. 222-225


The Cove (2009)
Reviewed by Laura Shields
Pgs. 226-230

Disgrace (2008)
Reviewed by Jacqueline Dalziell
Pgs. 231-240

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1st European Conference For Critical Animal Studies, Liverpool, April 23rd, 2010

The inaugural European CAS conference took place in Liverpool last week.  The speakers included: Alistair Currie (PETA); Professor Celia Deane-Drummond (Chester and CAFOD); Jasmijn de Boo (Animals Count); Professor Robert Garner (Leicester); Dr Simon James (Durham); Dr Dan Lyons (Uncaged Campaigns); Dr Karen Morgan (Cardiff); Dr Anat Pick (UEL); Dr Richard Twine (Lancaster) and myself. For full speaker information and programme click here.

The event was organised by Prof. Stephen Clark.

The conference harnessed an extremely interesting range of speakers and critical topics which provided much needed insight and awareness. Beyond the content, it was really good to finally get to meet some individuals who I had long known about by reputation and influence in the animal rights literature and advocacy movements.

My talk at the end of the conference: Some thoughts on Building Alliances between Academic and Activist Communities: a focus on Sheffield appeared to be well received, and prompted some interesting questions and further discussion afterwards.

Key areas of the presentation that I drew on were on particularly inspired by conversations with  Dan Lyons of Uncaged, Bob McKay (Sheffield University) and Olly, Donna and Johnny from Sheffield Animal Friends: I owe a large debt of gratitude to them for the time and energy they gave!

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Change.org: Focusing on the intersectionality between species

Change. org: An excellent website which promotes many arguments, resources and additional links on Animal Rights, Homelessness, Women’s Rights, Global Warming, Human Trafficking and Health Care and, in doing so, focuses much needed attention on the intersectionalities that exist between humans and other animals.

Hopefully this will encourage more intelligent (deeper) thinking among detractors who unreflectively and uncritically state that, for example that you can be an activist for either  animal rights or human rights but not both/ and (as if the two were mutually incompatiable  and exclusive –  i.e. humans and other animals exist in some sort of splendid ideological, cultural, political, economic, etc. etc. isolation).

Depressingly, such a (willfully) shallow reading is in my experience particularly prevalent within the so-called ‘radical’ academic communities…

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