Nonviolent Communication is for the Privileged

by Raffi Marhaba I am a lover of words. I speak 7 languages, hold a BA in Translation, write and perform poetry and am deeply fascinated with the power and impact of language. When I first heard of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), I was curious and intrigued about it, especially because it was becoming so popular among some of the activists I engage with. As someone who has done primarily nonviolent forms of activism, it made sense to pick up Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg. Like anything I commit to learning, I also heavily ...

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My Trip to Palestine and the Struggle to Decolonize Eastern Food Systems

by Yousef Shami Veganism has become significantly more accessible around the world in the past few years. As I prepared for my trip to Palestine, I didn't have any concern that I'd have to suffer or make concessions from my values. It was quite the contrary: I view plant-based foods as closer to the roots of indigenous cultures around the world, including in the Levant, rather than as a new Western diet fad. In this way, I strongly believe that the transformation of food culture is an important facet of colonialism, especially in Palestine. The Food Culture A ...

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Veganwashing and the Lie of Vegan Unity

by Chris Hendricks "Veganwashing" refers to a form of whitewashing meant to encourage positive association of a subject with veganism or animal rights. It occurs, for example, when a company introduces plant-based alternatives to their non-vegan product line to raise their image among compassionate consumers and compete for a share of the vegan market without ever actually reducing their contribution to animal suffering. The veganwashing strategy has in recent years been employed for political purposes as well, most notably in the advancement of the Zionist project ...

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Emptying the Cages: For the Abolition of Prisons and Animal Agriculture

by Matthew Kelly, edited by Lilia Trenkova Trigger warnings: Sexual Assault Torture Violence Murder Racism Slavery Why are the cages here? Cages exist to petrify their inhabitants. If you exist within a cage, you cannot choose to walk outside, you cannot choose when you eat, you cannot choose who you interact with. Those who control and own the cages intend to confine not only the inhabitant, but their possibilities for existence. The occupant of the cage is converted into an object for the use of their captors, and is denied experiencing life on their own ...

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Renouncing vegan birthright

By Julia Tanenbaum The new Vegan Birthright program sponsored by Jewish Veg and Mayanot Birthright exemplifies how Zionists so often exploit the struggle for animal rights in the service of colonialism. Since 1999 Birthright Israel has handed 500,000 young Jews worldwide a free trip to Israel at the hidden cost of the dispossession of millions of Palestinians. As both Vegans and Jews we have a moral duty to renounce this program that supports Israel’s ongoing colonization of Palestine and apartheid policies. Over 5 million Palestinian refugees are to this day ...

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The Intersections of Species Politics, Colonialism, Food Justice, and Gender in Okja

By Tori Lion, CF Toronto Organizer ​(Please note that this article contains spoilers.) ​Recently, after completing an intensive course, I finally had the opportunity to watch Bong Joon-ho’s new film, Okja, which has been receiving a lot of attention in the vegan and nonhuman animal rights activist communities. Aside from applauding it for being a beautiful film that will hopefully inspire many viewers to consider the subjectivity of nonhuman animals reduced to commodities within the agricultural industrial complex, I would like to focus on the interesting ...

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Elsie Shrigley: the Woman Behind the Word Veganism

By Sarah W. Fox, CF Vancouver organizer Where Are the Women in the Animal Rights Movement? "Patriarchy is a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property." [1] Sadly throughout history and the history of veganism there are many examples of how patriarchal the vegan and animal rights community is--and how it always has been--excluding of, or hardly mentioning, women who have made huge contributions to both veganism and the animal rights communities. Who ...

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3 Reasons Why You Should Become a Pro-Intersectional* Activist

By Lilia Trenkova, CF Co-Founder *Intersectionality theory was created by Kimberlé Crenshaw and other black feminists in the 1960s and 70s as a form of resistance to the predominantly white (read: racist) feminist movement and the predominantly male (read: sexist) civil rights movement at the time. It introduced the idea that 1. People who experience multiple - layered - forms of oppression (e.g. racism and sexism) face more struggle than people who experience less forms (say who only experience sexism) because 2. These oppressions feed into and support one another ...

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Your Organizer Voted for Trump, Now What?

By Raffi Marhaba &  Lilia Trenkova, Collectively Free Founders Whether you're part of an activist community or an organizer yourself, chances are you have had to deal with conflict in your network. Conflicts come in many shapes and sizes and can be as small as a disagreement or as large as activists/organizers no longer believing in your mission; they can range from cases of microagressions to actual infiltrators. We like to look at conflict as an opportunity to become stronger - to use a metaphor by a friend of a friend, “Whenever there's a bone fracture, the ...

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Capitalism, White Supremacy, Patriarchy, and Anthropocentrism Are Killing Us: Why We’re Joining Disrupt J20

by Tori Lion, CF Toronto Organizer It is not a coincidence that Donald Trump rose to power at a time when open challenges to capitalism, colonialism, and white supremacy have become commonplace. In 2011, during my first year of undergraduate studies, I watched in admiration as Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring uprisings captivated the world. More recently, the Movement for Black Lives and the No Dakota Access Pipeline campaign have mobilized countless young people; the latter, although facing new threats under the incoming Trump administration, has been ...

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