In response to being called out for claiming that leafleting to college students & faculty couldn’t have any whiff of classism about it, Elaine Vigneault offers up her reasoning for why she chooses to focus on animal rights activism as her priority. There are some things that could be picked apart in the post, but what stuck out most for me was this:
I advocate veganism predominantly to the privileged precisely because they are privileged. They have the most power to affect significant change in our society on behalf of animals, the environment, and public health.
So instead of denying, as in the comments on Prof Susurro’s post, that leafleting solely to college students & faculty might possibly have a class element to it, Elaine now turns around & says that this is a deliberate tactic, that those who are privileged must be prioritized for their power.
In other words, let’s bank on their privilege instead of, I don’t know, working to help other people become empowered.
What are the rest of the people supposed to do in the meantime? And what about people from non-privileged groups who are doing advocacy work within their communities? Are they then wasting their time? Is grassroots work pointless unless it targets the government (as a body Elaine cites as having power to change attitudes about nonhuman animals) or other powerful groups? Should we hinge all our efforts on legal change? What would animal activism that (further) ignores marginalized groups look like? Where will it get us? How do we gain by setting our eyes on those with the most power?