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  • Owen Gunden

On terminology: liberationism

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

As activists, we often debate whether veganism is a good term or concept to be promoting. The critique says that by centering ourselves and in particular, the consumer choices we're making, we are taking the focus away from the animals where it belongs.


I want to sidestep that debate, because while I understand the above argument, I also understand that people who actively take the step to become vegan out of humility and respect for animals are making a huge shift and a powerful statement, and I don't want to take anything away from that statement.


But what I would like to do is tease out a specific kind of person, who exists at the intersection of veganism and concern for justice towards animals. In other words, those who are vegan, yes but more importantly, they are vegan for the animals and not just for their health, a fad, or even the environment. I'm calling people who fit this description liberationists.


Most liberationists want to do more than just make vegan choices. They also want to help bring about justice and mercy for animals. Some of them already do more.


Why is this a useful distinction to make? Well, once you've read this post and you understand what I mean, it gives me a concise term to use that doesn't risk being mixed up with a consumer choice or dietary orientation, especially when communicated outside of our movement.



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Max Broad
Max Broad
Jun 08, 2023

I am extremely drawn to this term, liberationism. I agree; I am not vegan for the food, I do it for the animals and to rebel against the powers of oppression associated with animal farming. To me, a key question is not just what I think of the term, but what our audience thinks of it. Who are we communicating to and what are we hoping to message to them when we use terms like vegan or liberationism? Does it change the way they relate to us? I'd use the term Dufus Poopoohead if it meant it got us closer to a future of animal liberation.

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