Vancouver Media Co-op. Oct 6:
Thanksgiving – NO THANKS: Leafletting To Promote Total Liberation
On Oct. 4th, at the corner of Burrard and Robson, a crew of punks and anarchists flew a banner that read “Total Liberation: None Are Free Until All Are Free”, and handed out leaflets (see bottom of article) addressing the colonial and genocidal roots of Thanksgiving, and the intersecting systems of oppression that promote the mass murder and consumption of turkeys at this time of year.
This action was prompted by a call-out for turkey leafletting made by PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA asked that their activists to “dress conservatively” and “stand up straight and hold signs prominently”. Their blatant classism and conservatism prompted a response from the Black Pawprint Collective.
It’s not enough to ask people not to eat meat for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a celebration of colonization, Indigenous genocide and capitalism at its worst. As such it is a celebration of violence and oppression. Simply abstaining from the most overt expression of this violence (saving turkeys, as PETA suggests) does not erase the oppression that Thanksgiving perpetuates. There can be no such thing as compassionate Thanksgiving.
The problem with Thanksgiving is not hard to grasp for anyone with a critical and compassionate perspective on the systemic racism, classism, and violence towards non-humyn animals that permeates mainstream western culture. Even the folks at PETA came around, and by the end of the day PETA members were handing out Black Pawprint’s literature. An ironic turn of events considering PETA’s consistent disregard and contempt for other liberation struggles, most notably the feminist and anti-capitalist movements. After an hour and a half, the collective packed up and left. Many conversations, no arrests.
THANKSGIVING: CELEBRATING GENOCIDE ON STOLEN LAND SINCE 1621
For many North Americans, Thanksgiving is a time to come together around the table and give thanks for everything we are thankful for. It is a family time, a gluttonous feast.
THIS IS WHAT YOU’RE CELEBRATING
Civilly appointed Thanksgiving (harvest celebrations existed on Turtle Island/Canada long before colonizers declared war on Indigenous peoples) was created in 1621 to commemorate a colonizer settlement’s first harvest. This celebration of agricultural prowess paved the way for cultural extermination and religious assimilation to ravage the Indigenous population.
Colonization is ongoing. Foster care and prisons have taken up the assimilation program that residential schools have been working at for generations. We must stand against the destruction of culture ongoing across this continent.
TURKEYS: STUFFING CAPITALIST POCKETS EVERY YEAR
The agricultural industrial complex has mechanized the process of food production to maximize profits, with no regard for workers’ safety or conditions for the animals.
Turkeys are forced to reproduce; female turkeys are artificially inseminated – which without consent constitutes rape – by machines held by wage laborers who are violently oppressed by capitalist scum bosses. Millions of turkeys are killed** at this time of year so that we can celebrate Indigenous genocide and assimilation.
Ⓐ STAND AGAINST OPPRESSION! Ⓐ
The oppression of any life is the oppression of our own. Make the effort to become educated on the ongoing effects of colonization. Fight the institutions that are keeping liberation and self-realization from your grasp, and instead of eating them, fight alongside the turkeys who are protesting their death until their last breath.
** A poultry slaughterhouse can be explored without leaving town: look in the alley north of Hastings at Commercial Drive.