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Humans inflict untold suffering and death on many billions of animals every year, and the overwhelming majority of humans are heavily complicit. - David Benatar, The Misanthropic Argument for Anti-natalism (2015), p. 43
  • Our species is prone to a flattering view of itself. Humans have regarded themselves as the pinnacle of creation, formed by and in the image of an omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent God, and inhabiting a planet at the center of the universe—a planet around which all others revolve. Science has done much to debunk some of these ideas. We now know that our planet is not at the center of the universe: the earth revolves around the sun rather than vice versa. And we know—or at least some of us do—that we are Johnny-come-lately products of a long, blind evolutionary process.
  • Through our predatory behaviors, systems of exploitation, and growth-oriented societies, we have lived in contradiction to one another, other species, and the planet for so long that we have brought about a new geologic epoch. We have hastened the end of the Holocene Era, which endured over the last ten thousand years, and thereby have precipitated the arrival of the Anthropocene Era–whose very name proclaims our global dominance and the severe environmental impact of Homo sapiens. In our current Anthropocene period of runaway climate change, the sixth great extinction crisis in earth's history, resource scarcity, global capitalism, aggressive neoliberalism, economic crashes, increasing centralization of power, rampant militarism, chronic warfare, and suffering and struggle everywhere, we have come to a historical crossroads where momentous choices have to be made and implemented.
    • Steven Best, The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century (2014), pp. xii-xiii
  • The definition of humanity typically extols our cultural brilliance as manifest through millennia of mythology, religion, philosophy, art, music, literature, dance, architecture, and science. The praise of humanity's multifaceted achievements is well deserved, but this stunning radiance also has a macabre and dark side that is an inseparable part of human history and nature. This underbelly of "civilization" is barbarism–the unbroken timeline involving hierarchy, domination, colonization, violence, war, genocide, extinctions, and environmental ruination.
    • Steven Best, The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century (2014), pp. 131-132.
  • Our future is problematic at best and doomed at worst. There is no inherent purpose we are here to fulfill, no destiny at which we are assured to arrive at in glory, however tardy, tattered, bruised, and blackened we might be. There are no guiding angels to protect us from failure and no God to save us from an apocalypse. Countless millions of species have been annihilated in past extinction events, our Homo ancestors are gone forever, we are dispatching thousands of other species into oblivion, and there is nothing but the determination of aware, concerned, and committed peoples to save Homo sapiens from vanishing into nothingness as well.
    • Steven Best, The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century (2014), p. 164.
There can be no full or even adequate understanding of the systemic problems of capitalist society, of the origins and dynamics of hierarchy, and of a future rational, autonomous, ethical, and ecological society until we address the 10,000-year legacy of speciesism and the barbaric exploitation of other animals. - Steven Best, The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century (2014) p. 135
  • As we have seen, in the years 1945-1990, a loose network of US-backed anti-communist extermination programs emerged around the world, and they carried out mass murder in at least 22 countries. There was no central plan, no master control room where the whole thing was orchestrated, but I think that the extermination programs in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, East Timor, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, the Philippines, South Korea, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Vietnam should be seen as interconnected, and a crucial part of the US victory in the Cold War. (I am not including direct military engagements or even innocent people killed as "collateral damage" in war.) The men carrying out purposeful executions of dissidents and unarmed civilians learned from each other. They adopted methods that were developed in other countries. Sometimes, they even named their operations after other programs they sought to emulate. I found evidence indirectly linking the metaphor "Jakarta," taken from the largest and most important of these programs, to at least eleven countries. But even the regimes that never influenced by that specific language would have been able to see, very clearly, what the Indonesian military had done and the success and prestige it enjoyed in the West afterward. And though some of these programs were wildly misdirected, and also swept up bystanders who posed no threat whatsoever, they did eliminate real opponents of the global project led by the United States.
  • The progress of the last 40 years has been mostly cultural, culminating, the last couple of years, in the broad legalization of same-sex marriage. But by many other measures, especially economic, things have gotten worse, thanks to the establishment of neo-liberal principles — anti-unionism, deregulation, market fundamentalism and intensified, unconscionable greed — that began with Richard Nixon and picked up steam under Ronald Reagan. Too many are suffering now because too few were fighting then.
  • Our account echoes the account of suicide by Emile Durkheim, the founder of sociology, of how suicide happens when society fails to provide some of its members with the framework within which they can live dignified and meaningful lives.
    • Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism (2020). p. 8
  • Covid-19 has revealed glaring failures and monstrous brutalities in the current capitalist system. It represents both a crisis and an opportunity. Contests for controlling the narratives around the meaning of this pandemic will be the terrain of struggle for either a new, more humane common sense and society or a return to the status quo ante. The outcome of those contests is uncertain; everything depends on the actions that people take into their hands.
    • Noam Chomsky and Marv Waterstone, Consequences of Capitalism: Manufacturing Discontent and Resistance (2021), p. 344
Pursued through policies of privatization, deregulation, and financialization, and buttressed by an ideology of private property, free markets, and free trade, neoliberalism has entailed cuts in taxes for the rich and cuts in protections and benefits for workers and the poor, resulting in an exponential increase in inequality. - Jodi Dean, The Communist Horizon. (2012). p. 123.
  • American labor was strongest when the threat of communism was greatest. The apogee of America's welfare state, with all its limitations, was coterminous with the height of the Cold War. The dismantling of the welfare state and the labor movement, meanwhile, marched in tandem with communism's collapse.
    • Gary Gerstle, The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era. (2022) p. 12
  • In general, the core moral and philosophical question at the heart of animal rights activism is now being seriously debated: Namely, what gives humans the right or justification to abuse, exploit, and torture non-human species? If there comes a day when some other species (broadly defined) — such as machines — surpass humans in intellect and cognitive complexity, will they have a valid moral claim to treat humans as commodities whose suffering and death can be assigned no value? The irreconcilable contradiction of lavishing love and protection on dogs and cats, while torturing and slaughtering farm animals capable of a deep emotional life and great suffering, is becoming increasingly apparent.
  • As long as the Earth is viewed as the personal property of the human race, a belief embraced by everyone from born-again Christians to Marxists to free-market economists, we are destined to soon inhabit a biological wasteland.
  • My attitude toward becoming a vegan was similar to Augustine’s attitude toward becoming celibate — “God grant me abstinence, but not yet.” But with animal agriculture as the leading cause of species extinction, water pollution, ocean dead zones and habitat destruction, and with the death spiral of the ecosystem ever more pronounced, becoming vegan is the most important and direct change we can immediately make to save the planet and its species. It is one that my wife — who was the engine behind our family’s shift — and I have made.
  • The oligarchs are happy to talk about race. They are happy to talk about sexual identity and gender. They are happy to talk about patriotism. They are happy to talk about religion. They are happy to talk about immigration. They are happy to talk about abortion. They are happy to talk about gun control. They are happy to talk about cultural degeneracy or cultural freedom. They are not happy to talk about class. Race, gender, religion, abortion, immigration, gun control, culture and patriotism are issues used to divide the public, to turn neighbor against neighbor, to fuel virulent hatreds and antagonisms. The culture wars give the oligarchs, both Democrats and Republicans, the cover to continue the pillage. There are few substantial differences between the two ruling political parties in the United States. This is why oligarchs like Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg can switch effortlessly from one party to the other. Once oligarchs seize power, Aristotle wrote, a society must either accept tyranny or choose revolution.
Any sensible person right now would join an anti-capitalist organisation. - David Harvey, RSA ANIMATE: Crises of Capitalism . RSA on Youtube (2010) 9:15 minutes in.
  • Assange committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, callous disregard for human life, rampant corruption and innumerable war crimes. Republican or Democrat. Conservative or Labour. Trump or Biden. It does not matter. The goons who oversee the empire sing from the same Satanic songbook. Empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds. Rome’s long persecution of the Carthaginian general Hannibal, forcing him in the end to commit suicide, and the razing of Carthage repeats itself in epic after epic. Crazy Horse. Patrice Lumumba. Malcolm X. Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Sukarno. Ngo Dinh Diem. Fred Hampton. Salvador Allende. If you cannot be bought off, if you will not be intimidated into silence, you will be killed. The obsessive CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, which because none succeeded have a Keystone Cop incompetence to them, included contracting Momo Salvatore Giancana, Al Capone’s successor in Chicago, along with Miami mobster Santo Trafficante to kill the Cuban leader, attempting to poison Castro’s cigars with a botulinum toxin, providing Castro with a tubercle bacilli-infected scuba-diving suit, booby-trapping a conch shell on the sea floor where he often dived, slipping botulism-toxin pills in one of Castro’s drinks and using a pen outfitted with a hypodermic needle to poison him.
  • The United States, as the near unanimous vote to provide nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine illustrates, is trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism. No high speed trains. No universal health care. No viable Covid relief program. No respite from 8.3 percent inflation. No infrastructure programs to repair decaying roads and bridges, which require $41.8 billion to fix the 43,586 structurally deficient bridges, on average 68 years old. No forgiveness of $1.7 trillion in student debt. No addressing income inequality. No program to feed the 17 million children who go to bed each night hungry. No rational gun control or curbing of the epidemic of nihilistic violence and mass shootings. No help for the 100,000 Americans who die each year of drug overdoses. No minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation. No respite from gas prices that are projected to hit $6 a gallon.
  • If we dig behind the rhetoric, it becomes clear that Western support for right-wing coups had little to do with Cold War ideology, and certainly nothing to do with promoting democracy (quite the opposite!); the goal, rather, was to defend Western economic interests. The veil of the Cold War has obscured this blunt fact from view.
    • Jason Hickel, The Divide: Global Inequality from Conquest to Free Markets (2018), p. 140
  • Capitalism itself creates pressures for population growth: more people means more labour, cheaper labour, and more consumers. These pressures filter into our culture, and even into national policy: countries like France and Japan are offering incentives to get women to have more children, to keep their economies growing.
    • Jason Hickel, Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World, 2021, pp. 110-111
  • The rich are only defeated when running for their lives.
Unions break down political divides, bringing workers of all political persuasions together to fight a common oligarchic and corporate foe. Once workers begin to exert power and extract demands from the ruling class, the struggle educates communities about the real configurations of power and mitigates the feelings of powerlessness that have driven many into the arms of the neofascists. - Chris Hedges, "America’s New Class War" Scheerpost, January 18, 2022
  • Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.
  • People often say that violence accomplishes nothing, that it's ineffective. Violence is dreadfully effective. That's why those in power use it.
    • Derrick Jensen, quoted in The Pied Pipers of Pacifism: Lee Hall, Gary Francione, and the Betrayal of Animal Liberation by Steve Best and Jason Miller (2009). p. 12.
  • Outside, perhaps, of the less than three booming decades that followed World War II, austerity has been the mainstay of capitalism. It has been true throughout history that where capitalism exists, crisis follows. Where austerity has proven wildly effective is in insulating capitalist hierarchies from harm during these moments of would-be social change.
    • Clara E. Mattei, The Capital Order: How Economists Invented Austerity and Paved the Way to Fascism (2022). p. 3
  • The capitalist system was and is not a benevolent social force created to best serve the needs of humans through the "marketplace," contrary to the propagandizing that has inundated at least the citizens in the West for a century and a half and that continues in educational systems and mass media today. Indeed, it would be impossible for an egalitarian, beneficial political-economic system to emerge from thousands of years of hypermasculine, violent, oppressive, and war-torn reality. In truth, capitalism, which morphed from the highly oppressive systems of "economic development" of the Eurasian past, simply represents a more sophisticated form of social relations in which the accumulation of wealth continues to result from exploitation, predation and violence.
    • David Nibert, Animal Oppression and Capitalism (2017), p. xiv
  • The overthrow of communism gave a green light to the unbridled exploitative impulses of Western corporate interests. No longer needing to convince workers that they live better than their counterparts in Russia, and no longer constrained by a competing system, the corporate class is rolling back the many gains that working people in the West have won over the years. Now that the free market, in its meanest form, is emerging triumphant in the East, so will it prevail in the West . . . Having never understood the role that existing communist powers played in tempering the worst impulses of Western capitalism and imperialism, and having perceived communism as nothing but an unmitigated evil, the left anticommunists did not anticipate the losses that were to come. Some of them still don't get it.
    • Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism (1997), p. 58
  • Putting an end to the population explosion will not of itself save the ecosphere, but not ending it will add greatly to the dangers the planet faces. The environment can sustain a quality of life for just so many people
    • Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism (1997), p. 155
The rise of capitalism, rather than delivering improvements in human welfare, was associated with plummeting wages, a reduction in human stature, and a marked upturn in the incidence of famine. - Dylan Sullivan and Jason Hickel (2023). "Capitalism and extreme poverty: A global analysis of real wages, human height, and mortality since the long 16th century". World Development. Vol. 161.
  • Veganism is real conservation in action. It goes beyond talking about climate change and diminishment of biodiversity and actually does something to address the problems.
  • Let's take the case of slavery. While capitalism legitimizes itself as the economic system that implies and furthers personal freedom (as a condition of market exchange), it generated slavery on its own, as part of its own dynamics: although slavery became almost extinct at the end of the Middle Ages, it re-emerged in colonies from early modernity till the American Civil War. And one can risk the hypothesis that today, with the new epoch of global capitalism, a new era of slavery is also arising. Although there is no longer a direct legal category of enslaved persons, slavery acquires a multitude of new forms: millions of migrant workers in the Saudi peninsula (UAE, Qatar, etc.), who are deprived of elementary civil rights and freedoms and subjected to restricted mobility; the total control of millions of workers in Asian sweatshops, often consciously organized as concentration camps; the massive use of forced labor in the exploitation of natural resources in many Central African states (Congo, etc.). This new de facto apartheid, this systematic explosion of a number of different forms of contemporary slavery, is not a deplorable accident but a structural necessity of today's global capitalism.
    • Slavoj Žižek, The Courage of Hopelessness: A Year of Acting Dangerously (2018), p. 29