Consequences: The Inexorable Nature of Conflict
Since Julian Langer and I have passionately decided to air out our dirty laundry for the world to smell, might as well give a little background.
According to Julian’s bio on his page Eco-Revolt, Julian Langer is an “Eco-anarchist and guerilla ontologist philosopher. Lover of woods, deer, badgers and other wild beings. Musician and activist.” Julian has written many texts including “Becoming Animal: My Feral Individualism”, “My Anti-Cull Philosophy”, and “An Eco-Egoist Destruction of Species-Being and Speciesism”.
On October 22nd, 2021, Ria Del Montana, a vegan primitivist, asked Julian Langer this question in a private Facebook group called Vegan Primitivist Anarchist:
“Hey Julian Langer. Does your interpretation of anti-speciesism include veganism? Just wondering cuz it’s not mentioned in your strong anti-speciesism piece.”
Julian responds: “It depends on what you mean by include and also by exclude. First and foremost, for me, anti-speciesism isn’t an ideology or Cause, but a way of relating to other living beings/individuals, and with that I don’t have a destination for anyone to try and follow. Secondly, I take issue with the politics of include and exclude, particularly because of how they relate to the apparatus of capture/cages and so on (I wrote about this in Feral Life, where I also wrote the only really substantial thing I’ve written on food-politics as well) — inclusion-as-capture is comparable to how this culture includes farmed animals that serve a function within production and exclusion-as-capture is comparable to the prison system. I’m not interested in building a system that includes what I can capture to serve the needs of the system. That doesn’t mean that I reject vegans or have any issue with individuals embracing that diet. I don’t eat a vegan diet and usually describe my diet as conscientious-cannibalism. I didn’t include veganism within this piece mostly because I wasn’t seeking to advocate this-or-that food politics.
I hope that answers your questions!”
(At this point a few other vegan anti-civ anarchists, including myself, joined the discussion with questions of our own in response to Julian’s dietary “conscientious-cannibalism”. Did Julian really believe that a facebook group full of anti-civ vegans wouldn’t have questions and opinions on this perception of veganism as a mere diet?)
Julian Langer: “I am not going to engage in this type of bad-faith public scolding bullshit. Neither of you [Flower Bomb and Ria Del Montana] know what I do as my daily practice, know what my diet does or does not consist of, and the arrogance that either of you think that you are an authority on-me and an authority in a position to put me under trial is revolting morally-superior bullshit. This is not a loving act Ria, especially given how multiple individuals have told me that you contacted them asking them to weigh in on this — which is nothing short of gang-tactic cowardice. I am sad/disappointed that individuals I considered to (digital) friends and contemporaries now seem like nothing of the sort! Utterly disappointing!”
Ria Del Montana responds: “Julian Langer I apologize for using sarcasm, comes off as cruel when I’m trying to keep it light with humor. My points are legit but my tone is just jokin. If the self-contradictory anti-speciesist/nonvegan essay wasn’t published, this convo could have been private. Would have commented directly where it was published, but there’s no comment option. When there’s an interesting discussion I invite a few others to it, without knowing their stance even, to enrich the discussion. You might ask your friends who contacted you to join with their honest opinion. Not sure if you’re aware of my history of publicly confronting anarchists who make ridiculous arguments against veganism... I’ve published rave reviews of your books, which remain true. Instead of focusing on how the difference is playing out, want to stick to the crux, the anti-speciesism/vegan dichotomy. Want to throw up any other support for your stance for discussion? I’ll discuss without humor, won’t personalize it. Just brace to be trounced, cuz ya gotta know there’s no winnable way to justify what you’re trying to justify. No amount of distracting personal dynamics will change that.”
Julian Langer responds to that with: “As I said, I’m not willing to engage in what you’ve done here. I am going to send you and (Flower Bomb) a private message later. I’d appreciate you turning off the comments here!”
At Julian's request, Ria Del Montana turned the comments off.
Immediately after this, and despite a flurry of Facebook posts made by Julian outside of the group — posts that presented an exaggerated, victimist portrayal of what happened including complaints and outcry about being harassed by “police” — I still private messaged him my sincere apology. My apologies stemmed from an understanding that online discussions can be complicated by how emotional expression fails to translate through digital mediums. I also recognized that not everyone responds to criticism well – especially when the criticism is coming from multiple people simultaneously. To be honest though, after having shared many friendly jokes and playful teasing over the years, I was a little surprised by Julian’s reaction to what was supposed to be fun-loving argumentation in a private Facebook group. It was not at all the first time we’ve all shared some form of disagreement and playfully debated each other. I was thoroughly unprepared for this to be any different. Nevertheless, I felt an apology was necessary.
The private messaging and apologies didn’t seem to be going anywhere as Julian continued to blur the line between being hurt by the way this debate happened (which I profusely apologized for), and using the emotionally charged situation itself as a criticism of veganism (and I also made it clear that my disagreement with his criticisms of veganism still stood). It became increasingly obvious that Julian was attempting to use his emotions as an escape from any and all dialog specific to his non-vegan lifestyle choices. So eventually I came to the conclusion that it was best to give Julian some space, and after letting him know that, he expressed appreciation for it.
I continued on with my life, confronting other outspoken anti-vegan anarchists, leftists, identity-politicians and the like, and traveling and publishing more zines. I decided to write and publish a few more texts of my own before taking an indefinite break from the internet all together. After having not been online for a while I began getting word from offline sources that Julian somehow mistook my “Egoist Vegan: Some Thoughts on an Individualist Animal Liberation” writing as a personal “jab”, and in a frenzy wrote a response and shared it all over the internet. Anyone who has read the text that fired him up might have been as confused as I was since my quoting Julian was done in good faith:
“'To affirm the individual is to destroy the species. I find myself experiencing bio/eco-centrism as ego-centrism. From this, I have found a union of egoists that includes all living beings, where anti-speciesism is a living encounter, not a dead-moralistic revolutionary Cause.' -Julian Langer from An Eco-Egoist Destruction of Species-Being and Speciesism
In the quote above, Langer beautifully summarizes individual as ungovernable by species, recognizing an anti-speciesist union with all other living beings.”
Somehow this was interpreted as an “indirect jab”. I have to wonder: why, out of all the vegan anarchists on the internet, I, Flower Bomb, am the one privileged with living rent-free in Julian Langer’s head? Does he believe that every text I write (and have written) on veganism is about him? Was this text a “jab” because it happened to be the only one that mentioned his name?
The actual intent of my text was to further expand my writing to include conceptualizing an egoist vegan lifestyle since I had previously written on veganism from both a nihilist and simple anti-authoritarian perspective. Julian’s assumption that I wrote this about him simply because I didn’t inform him of this writing is nothing less than a failure to understand that I don’t go online much, let alone make a habit of telling people every time I publish a text. And because the text was not about him in the first place, I didn’t feel a need to tell him. When Julian wrote a “A Direct Response to An Indirect Jab”, he sent it to every possible known associate of mine. Did I do that when I wrote “Egoist Vegan”? If I had not, then why wouldn’t he just assume the obvious: the text wasn’t about him.
Another thing I couldn’t understand is why Julian would think I was the type to take a jab at someone indirectly. As long as I have been vegan, I have directly confronted and challenged the proud-and-shoutin’ anti-vegan types on and offline. Anyone who knows me knows that my reputation for confrontation is unmistakable. If I wanted to take a jab at Julian in a piece of writing, I would have made it clear, as I have made clear my jabs at leftists, identity politicians, and so on. If it isn’t already clear for you Julian, here is my jab – and it is anything but indirect.
In my writing, “Egoist Vegan: Some Thoughts on an Individualist Animal Liberation”, I quoted Julian not only because I found the line beautifully articulated but also a friendly shout out – especially after having felt regretful of his perceived “trial by public”.
Nevertheless, here we all are today. And now that I have some free time in between train hopping adventures and tabling zines at anarchist events, I figure I won’t make Julian wait any longer. Since Julian has, in every way possible, sought my undivided attention, I am now available and more than happy to grant it to him — at least for the purpose of this response. I can’t guarantee that I will feel inclined to respond to any future responses of his as I feel this soap opera has gone on long enough. So all that I intend to say to him on this subject matter will be contained in this response as much as possible. But the question is: will Julian be happy with the attention I intend to give him? Since he wrote a piece directly addressing me, I feel it is only appropriate and fair that I reciprocate.
Julian, if you are reading this, I must ask… is your heart dancing in your throat? Is this the excitement you so desperately desired while attempting to get my attention? I apologize for making you wait so long for it. I am ready to play! Are your fingers trembling as you read these lines, desperate to respond already? I have only just begun! You have my full attention now, my beautiful friend, and I hope you have brought with you an hefty appetite for constructive criticism! From this point forward I will be responding to you, and your “Direct Response To An Indirect Jab” directly...
“'There is no one right way to live.' Daniel Quinn, Ishmael”
So this is the quote you, Julian Langer, chose to start off with in your piece “A Direct Response To An Indirect Jab”. It’s an interesting quote to choose for the beginning of a text related to discussing oppression, don’t you think? Since it serves to preface your view that supporting speciesism with your diet is just another “way to live”, I can’t help but wonder if you considered how that quote would sound at the beginning of a text that supported racism, or sexism, or was prefaced from the perspective of a rich oil tycoon or wall street millionaire.
Indeed, there is no one “right” way to live because how the concept of “right” is defined is subject to individual interpretation. So sure, by that logic there is no one right way to live because over a large enough group of people the concept of “right” will have varying and sometimes conflicting meanings depending on who you ask. But let’s be honest here, Julian. If you are as individualist, anti-authoritarian as you defiantly proclaim in your writing, I am certain there are “right” ways of living that even you oppose. Is it “right” for the badgers that you care so deeply for to be systematically killed? For many people, it is very right. There are various personal gains to enjoy from killing badgers. Why wouldn’t you simply sit back and allow these individuals to live their lives killing badgers without consequence? What is it exactly that compels you to challenge badger culling? Perhaps a personal relationship? A sense of bonding based on shared animality? And if so, I wonder if your feelings are similar to the feelings that vegans like myself experience when compelled to challenge your consumption of non-human animals. And here we come, full circle; “There is no one right way to live”.
In the beginning of “A Direct Response To An Indirect Jab” you announce wanting to be “open and honest”. My entire text could be summarized in a single question for you Julian Langer: How long will you allow yourself to be imprisoned within your cage of self-dishonesty? For a “conscientious cannibal” I bet you have never, once, dined upon a human animal. I wonder why that is. There wouldn’t happen to be an anthropocentric bias involved in that, would there? Or is it that, thanks to human supremacist ideological thinking, and a speciesist society, factory farms make it easy for you to cannibalize the bodies of other animals after you pay capitalism to slaughter and mutilate them for you? We’ll touch more on that later.
I admit, fully and openly, that I would cease all criticisms and challenges toward you Julian, as well as conversation or debate, if only you openly admitted to being an ideological contrarian – more specifically that is, living a lifestyle that contradicts the anti-authoritarian portrayal of yourself that you illuminate in your writing. And the only reason I care at all about ideological contrarianism in this case: animals. Anytime the killing of animals is involved – within the anarchist movement or outside of it – I am there to shake shit up, similar to your anti-badger cull activities, which, with you, I stand in total solidarity for. And I know you and your writing well. I was the one that published some of your first pieces of writing through my distro. What made your writing such a delicacy for closer examination and critiquing was the fact that on any given occasion, you portrayed veganism as a liberal politics based on moralism and consumer activity. If you knew me well, you would have known anarchists with this mentality are a particular favorite of mine for confronting and critiquing. It is sincerely a lifestyle enjoyment disrupting the sedating luxury that a human supremacist society grants the speciesist conformist. Please don’t feel bad. You are not the only one. Again, my reputation is unmistakable. I am also drawn to those who declare themselves anti-speciesists while proudly upholding lifestyles that put human supremacy into practice. To the surprise of myself (and a few others), you conform to this.
Veganism isn’t just about food. It’s about a relationship with animals that sabotages a speciesist network of globalized commerce paid to reduce animal lives to mere commodities for consumption. Put into perspective, this “policing” of your “writing, identity and/or lifestyle” that you find to be revolting “grotesquely liberal political narratives” is nothing less than an act of sabotage; by publicly (and privately) criticizing your defense of consuming other animals, I am creating tension and social discomfort. This is what I like to call “consequences”. What you, Julian, seem to have difficulty understanding is that your writing does not exist in a vacuum. Speaking for both of us, we have critics of our writing, we have haters – in addition to lovers and supporters. But to release writing without the expectation of any consequences is naive at best.
I open my anti-speciesism essay with an affirmation of anti-speciesism that extends towards including flora and mineral individuals, as well as fauna. With this, I don’t consider animals as hierarchically greater than plants or minerals; nor do I consider them less. My biospheric-egalitarianism includes a rejection of the entirety of the concept of “the great chain of being”, which I experience as being at the core of speciesism.”
Julian Langer, are you being honest with yourself with this totalizing conflation of animals, plants, and minerals? For being a self-championed individualist this is probably the most homogenizing mindset I have seen you illustrate in writing. Your “biospheric-egalitarianism” reeks of a warped communist mysticism that ultimately says “I see no individual uniqueness! All things are equally the same!”. Egalitarianism is an anthropocentric doctrine that, when applied to living beings outside the realm of societal domestication, attempts to flatten differences in pursuit of a glorified illusion of “equality” and “unity”. I can’t help but wonder if this is the type of thinking you require to convince yourself that your dietary choices are trivial in this “grand scheme” of things. “Biospheric-egalitarianism” even from your own perspective is a contradiction in practice because you don’t extend equal rights and opportunities to non-human animals; you consume them the same way anyone else with a human supremacist mindset would.
The homogenizing application to all living beings is also a mentality that has functioned well as a tool of western colonization. In order to massacre Indigenous populations, colonizers had to assume a mentality that removed them from their emotions; a mentality that refuses to see living beings as complex and individually unique, each with a personality and independent desires. This same colonial mindset conditions one to view the whole of nature as merely a machine with moving parts. This way when the land is carved up, excavated or destroyed all together, it can be interpreted as modified machinery – not the dismantling of biological networks home to millions of complex living beings. Biospheric-egalitarianism echos the mechanized wholeness of a workplace. Again, if individual lives are viewed as mere parts, all unified for the full functioning of a machine, they are also viewed as easily disposable. The assembly lines of automobile factories mirror the assembly lines of cows and chickens in a slaughterhouse. And Julian, when you say “I don’t consider animals as hierarchically greater than plants or minerals” are you aware of the inherent dishonesty? It seems obvious that you don’t apply that same logic to the badgers you defend from being killed, am I wrong? Is the life of a badger the same as a plant and mineral? As an animal yourself, would you not reject someone’s comparison of you to a weed in their garden?
“Now, I don’t care if FB is or isn’t vegan – it honestly doesn’t matter to me.”
The extent to which I have become a source of stress, frustration, and writing material for you – simply for talking about veganism with you – says otherwise...
“I respect that it is fucking difficult to survive within this humiliating and annihilating death camp and only want to affirm individual will-to-life/will-to-power/will-to-survive.”
As mentioned before – veganism is more than just a diet. And are the animals you consume not individuals possessing a “will-to-life/will-to-power/will-to-survive.”?
The food aspect of veganism is secondary to the establishment of a relationship to animals which dismantles one’s perception of them as “food” in the first place. It sounds to me like your survival in this world renders you hopelessly subservient to human supremacy. And therefore it is anthropocentrism – not me or any other vegan – that informs, polices and governs your perception of non-human animals, and therefore your dietary intake of them.
“I also appreciate that most individuals who adopt the diet, politics, philosophy, etc., come from a will-to-care that is beautiful!”
Allow me to make myself abundantly clear to you Julian: my critique of self-proclaimed anti-authoritarian lifestyles that embody authoritarian domination and oppression toward non-human animals does in fact come from a “will-to-care” – both for the animals and for the people burdened by the weight of glaring hypocrisy. I care about the total liberation of all animals including you and myself, from social control and domination. But because it is on an individual level that the logic of control and domination can materialize, inspire manifestation in others, and create vast social networks of human domination, I challenge it where I see it.
"I do feel to state here that, to my eyes, there is nothing inherently anti-speciesist about being vegan and that, despite what is popular within the ideologies, veganism is a mode of speciesism. Yes, this might read as counter-intuitive, but I feel that this holds true. My reason for stating this is entirely due to veganism operating on the moral axiom that the life experience of animals is more important than that of plants and minerals, which means that abuse towards animals is worse than abuse towards flora and minerals. Monocultures of crops are less bad, and supporting that industry is less bad, than factory farmed meat and supporting that industry – apparently.
Considering veganism as a mode of speciesism; I utterly reject the notion that there is anything inherently anti-speciesist about 'egoist veganism', or FB’s praxis. Let me be clear here – I am not saying that FB is doing anything wrong or attempting to police their politics, diet or philosophy. I simply feel to respond to the jab of anti-speciesism = veganism."
Here, you and I are in total agreement! A vegan lifestyle that’s driven by, and supports, monoculture, industrial means of food production and ultimately capitalist, morality-based modes of affirmation is inherently speciesist. Allow me to turn my attention to my fellow non-radical vegans. Industrial society and capitalism are based on the colonial logic of social control and domination. This includes, but is not limited to, land occupation, deforestation and the displacement of Indigenous populations, as well as the subjugation and enslavement of Indigenous and non-human animal bodies. One can not thoroughly confront anti-speciesism without confronting civilization and colonization. A capitalist worldview that deploys monocultural methods of land usage is essential to an expanding colonial project of human supremacy.
Now, back to you, Julian. With all that said, veganism from an anarchist perspective is an act of anti-speciesism. Just as you identify as an anarchist and maintain anarchist ideas that challenge conventional societal norms, a vegan lifestyle challenges conventional societal norms – speciesism being one of them. Veganism, even under capitalism, is anti-speciesist by simply undermining the continuity of social participation. For example, if you went vegan today, and made it public to everyone you know, you and I both know there would be a public outcry. Now, is that because most people really believe veganism is a pointless, moral form of dietary policing? Or could it be because the comfort in people’s social conformity to consuming animals would be challenged? For example, as an individualist yourself you must be aware of the resentment many leftists have toward you and your writing. Why? Is it not because your individualist views create tension and social discomfort among them, perceiving your views as a threat to their worldview? Also, how is “difference” typically perceived by mass society, especially “differences” that challenge cultural or traditional norms in general? Is it not with hostility?
Socially, culturally, and traditionally consuming the flesh and secretions of slaughtered animals is normal. This normality is the foundation of speciesism – the perception of non-human animals as mere ‘food” items for consumption rather than complex living beings. This normalized de-personalizing and de-individualizing, along with the industry names given to their mutilated body parts (pork, ham, meat, dairy, etc), is what informs one’s perception of them as objectified food. So then it is no surprise that society at large possesses a perception of veganism as pertaining to diets.
The difference between identifying as an anarchist and identifying as a vegan is that in terms of veganism, identification can be quickly determined by a lifestyle change that challenges the norm. With identifying as an anarchist, anyone can be an anarchist so long as they proclaim to be one in name or label. And unless an anarchist actively engages with anti-social practices that challenge the norm – like being vegan for example – they remain limited by theoretical “politics” and philosophy.
The next point I wish to make here pertains to the tragic aspect of FB’s failure to understand the matter of species-being – which I consider the foundation of speciesism. This failure is that where FB states within their Vegan Egoist piece that they reject the notion of species-being, while repeatedly stating that they identify as the species(/conceptual-collective-object-type) of vegan."
No Julian, it isn’t a failure to understand. Words only have meaning when meaning is applied to them. I could very well get through life without identifying as a “vegan”. My lifestyle and actions alone would express my hostility toward human supremacy. However, I also understand that the word “vegan” creates tension and discomfort in a world normalized by speciesism. Therefore my decision to use the word “vegan” is for the sake of weaponizing it against society — the same way I use “anarchist”, “nihilist”, or “individualist”. Don’t be dishonest with yourself, Julian, do you “fail” to “understand the matter of species-being” anytime you identify as the “species(/conceptual-collective-object-type)” of individualist or anarchist?...
“Not only do they seek to position themselves as the species-object of vegan (repeatedly), they position, within their rhetoric, vegans as a superior mode of species-being, above the non-vegans – or at least, that is how they read to me. This collectivist posturing, to me, in no way reflects anything of the individualism/egoism, which they also seek to posture through their writings.”
This is merely your (internally defensive) interpretation. I never said or implied that vegans are a “superior mode of species-being, above non-vegans”. I point out logical inconsistencies. I have no use for moralist judgments.
On its own, “killing” is amoralist or neutral. What gives it “good” or “bad” meaning, is dependent on who or whom is engaged with it. I’ve made it clear in other writing that my opposition to killing non-human animals isn’t based on the idea of “good” or “bad” but rather an innate, personal empathy that compels me to react. This reaction is without a speciesist lens, and without the superiority-complex of an anthropocentric mindset. My being vegan isn’t governed by a doctrine of pacifism; I am in no way committed to non-violence. Violence can be very useful depending on the situation, and I would kill a non-human animal, just as I would kill a human animal if necessary. Killing happens all the time in nature — — ask any non-vegan who’s evoked the ‘but lions’ argument before: they’re right, but not in a way that justifies what they or you, Julian, is trying to justify.
Besides, to make a moral judgment of non-vegans is far too trivial and distracts from my primary point of contention: anti-authoritarians (including individualists and nihilists) who assert their contempt for authority, while exercising authoritarian power dynamics over non-human animals. Individualists whose speciesism predetermines their view of non-human animals as not having individualities and therefore lacking emancipatory desires of their own. The nihilists who mock moralists while subjugated by anthropocentric morality themselves. But when any of these types openly admit their hypocrisy, there is nothing left for me to say (in terms of debate), and so I seek fun elsewhere.
“For the sake of clarity, I want to emphasise that I am not suggesting that an egoist-veganism is impossible or necessitates species-being; but there is a difference between an egoist-veganism and a vegan egoist – veganism being an activity, philosophy, politics, diet, etc., and vegan being an identity. Following this, FB destroys any belief I have in their praxis being individualist/egoist, through their rigid, dogmatic and unplayful vegan-species-being – which is actually fine by me, because I don’t care if they are vegan or not, or what their praxis is.”
Yeah, you keep saying that but I think you do. A whole lot. And predictably for much longer after you read this response. Just be honest. I, and my vegan egoism (or egoist veganism) continue to cause you discomfort. Enough to write about it, or respond anytime you see or hear my name. Don’t forget, the goal here is honesty.
So far all you have done is point out the obvious: moralist, pro-industrial, pro-capitalist veganism is anti-individualist/egoist. But you are not addressing a pro-capitalist, pro-industrial, moralist vegan. A quick read of my other writings on veganism (yes, believe it or not I have been writing about veganism long before I met you) would have informed you of that. And speaking of “rigid, dogmatic and unplayful”, why is your understanding of veganism so limited? Perhaps the “sameness” analogy you apply to nature was applied to veganism? Do you honestly believe that all vegans are in favor of monoculture? Do you think we all only eat soy, corn, and seaweed? Speaking of “collectivist posturing” you seem to maintain a very collectivist interpretation of things you know little about. For someone who speaks so defiantly against veganism, you appear to have a very limited understanding of it – especially when it comes to vegan, anti-civ anarchists – despite having been in a group called Vegan Primitivist Anarchist.
“(Those who know me well will know that I will generally identify as a badger, following my anti-cull activities, but this is an entirely playful embrace of species-being, done partly to mock the idea that knowing my label means anything of knowing me.)”
Nice try attempting to brush those glaring contradictions under a rug of “playful embrace”. You also “generally identify” as an anarchist and individualist too. Does that mean it too, is “an entirely playful embrace of species-being, done partly to mock the idea that knowing my label means anything of knowing me.” and perhaps you might not really be an anarchist or individualist at all? Oh! Your “anti-cull activities” – I meant to ask — is it morality that compels you to take a position against culling? Do you feel you are a “superior mode of species-being, above” those who aren’t anti-cull?
I know that when I use the term “individualism” I am not using it in the way generally used within any discourse – and I don’t care. My individualism is mine and I do not expect anyone else to conform to my individualism, as they are not the individuals I am. With regards to the individuals that other individuals are, my desire is to affirm the lives of other individuals and to care as best I can.”
Aside from the redundancy of your individualism being yours, do you honestly desire to affirm the lives of other individuals and care as best you can for them? My issue isn’t with you simply not being vegan. There are millions of people who conform to a non-vegan lifestyle. My issue is with the hypocrisies found in your declaration of one thing, which is then contradicted by you doing another. You wrote an entire text critical of speciesism – yet you affirm speciesism in your daily life and dietary choices. Considering you and I are living in a human supremacist world – a world where the mutilated body parts of tortured animals are sold at every grocery store – how is your “individualism” anything less than re-branded social conformity/speciesism?*
Human supremacy not only maintains social conformity through individual acts of speciesism, but is also anti-individual. Human supremacy requires the assimilation of individuals into its vision of the world in order to reproduce itself on a mass scale. Human supremacy, carried out through individualized speciesist lifestyles, upholds the belief that non-human animals are devoid of individual emotions and desires. Therefore, through a speciesist lens, animals are all just a collection of “beings” available as resources for exploitation and consumption. Even a basic, non-radicalized vegan lifestyle negates this authoritarian, mechanistic view of animals by acknowledging the individualities of non human animals, and respecting each individual’s desire to live.
“Seeking to police, condemn or repress an individual living being, due to how they differ from an ideological norm, to me, is not individualism and is more a mode of anti-individualism, due to its hostility towards the individual living being.”
Perfect summary of speciesism Julian! Here, let’s put it into perspective...
(Speciesism) seeking to police, condemn or repress an (animal) individual living being, due to how they differ from a (human supremacist) ideological norm, to me, is not individualism and is more a mode of anti-individualism, due to its hostility towards the (animal) individual living being.
“As I don’t see living individuals as anything other than being worthy of care, with each praxis of care being unique for each differentiated individual, my rebellious desire and the focus of my critique/challenge/resistance/de-struction/de-construction is not where I encounter life. No! I wish-to, seek-to and attempt-to – as best I can and in an entirely imperfect, polluted, absurdist and somewhat desperate way – rebel against what Perlman called “artificial worms”, Agamben called “anthropological machines”, what Quinn called “totalitarian agriculture”, what some call the “technosphere”/”anthropocene”, and what could easily be described as this-culture/this-Reality, which is now (basically) totalising across this planet – and I desperately want it to de-totalise itself faster, through its techno-auto-cannibalism (as in, the mode of accelerationism Camatte suggests in his theories). In many ways, this approach to luddite/anti-tech-rebellion is entirely the opposite of the praxis embodied by the Unabomber/Kaczynski and those he inspired, which is and was entirely anti-individualist, in that it involved physical-abusive-hostility, through technologically mediating apparatus, towards individual living beings.”
Do I detect a moral condemnation of the Unabomber coming from the glorified anti-moralist, Julian Langer? And while I don’t care to waste time praising “Uncle Ted”, the core of his praxis was lone-wolf styled attack. How is that anti-individualist praxis? He didn’t wait for any leftist project or organized masses. He took it upon himself and carried out his attacks in solitude. Lone-wolf attack was the strategic core of individualist anarchy dating back to the early 1900s where French and Italian individualists celebrated their anti-morality by bombing public places like Wall Street. They rejected all leftist ideals of an organized mass movement and instead carried out individualized clandestine attacks that made it difficult for the State to trace.
Coincidentally, many of these individualists (Georges Butaud, Louis Rimbault, The Bonnet Gang, etc) were also vegan and vegetarian.
Anyways, if you “don’t see living individuals as anything other than being worthy of care”, why has a praxis that attempts to maximize the care, individual potential, and freedom of non-human animals become a target of your critique? Is a relationship that rejects the commodity status of non-human animals not considered a form of care to you? Is it not a form of care to dismantle the worldview that non-human animals are all just objects for human benefit? And do you really mean to tell me, Julian, that this extraordinary declaration — “No! I wish-to, seek-to and attempt-to – as best I can and in an entirely imperfect, polluted, absurdist and somewhat desperate way – rebel against…” does not, and will not include a relationship to non-human animals that liberates them from their anthropocentric commodity status as “food”? Am I to understand that your seek-to and attempt-to – as best you can rebellion will never include basic respect for the bodily autonomy and life of those fellow animals killed for your consumption?
“If I were to offer here a linguistic object-form to this individualism, in the same way that FB objectifies their praxis as Vegan Egoism, I would do so somewhat carefully (and reluctantly). Rather than anti-tech-individualism, or luddite-individualism, where the individualism is captured by a mode of ideology; the way that I would linguistically enframe this would be individualist-anti-tech praxis, as the rebellion against artificial worms/anthropological machines/totalitarian agriculture/the technosphere/the anthropocene/Leviathan/civilisation/Moloch/this culture/this Reality (whatever the fuck you want to call it) extends from my individual experience, desire, life, being, will, presence and, ultimately, is, for me, a praxis of care – care being an expression of positive affirmation.”
The irony here of course is that your “care” as an expression of “positive affirmation” is arguably not so positive – or careful – with those slaughtered in factory farm prisons in order to accommodate your purchases at a nearby store. The hypocrisy (and dishonesty) present in this paragraph is the part where you claim to divorce yourself from ideology, and posit a “rebellion” against the “artificial worms/anthropological machines/totalitarian agriculture/the technosphere/the anthropocene/Leviathan/civilisation/Moloch/this culture/this Reality (whatever the fuck you want to call it)” — all the while being possessed by the ideology of human supremacy which embodies all the things you are against. It is here, yet again, I see anarchy in writing, contradicted by a lifestyle that in essence materializes all the things you claim to exist against. Whether you call it “vegan” or nothing at all, if your material actions in life actively, directly, financially support animal agriculture, and your actions as you exist, uphold the commodity status of non-human animals with your dietary intake, what value is there in merely speaking of rebellion if rebellion is confined to mere words and philosophy?
'The obscure streets of life do not offer the conveniences of the central thoroughfares: no electric light, no gas, not even a kerosene lamp-bracket. There are no pavements: the traveller has to fumble his way in the dark.' Shestov
'Everything takes on a tinge of fantastical absurdity. One believes and disbelieves everything.' Shestov
I have sought to be direct here and, equally, I am aware that I have not written this as a message, email or letter (even a published open-letter) to FB, but as a response piece, which is directly in response to what I see as a largely passive aggressive jab at me. While I have differentiated and (maybe) challenged here, I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting that FB is “bad”, or “wrong”, or needs to change anything of their ideology/praxis. If I had never found the piece that fuelled my fires to write this, I almost certainly would never have written anything like this about them, as I largely no longer care about their writings.”
Despite your clarification, you are again, being dishonest. You absolutely are suggesting I am “bad” because what fueled your fire was your perception of my writing as a “largely passive aggressive jab”, as well as my criticisms viewed as “policing”. And rather than reaching out to me directly to first clarify if, in fact I jabbed you with my piece of writing, you wrote out a whole ass response and then frantically shared it all over the internet.
As for you “largely” no longer caring about my writing, well, we will see if I can change that once you are finished reading this one. But even that’s not true. Your continued obsession with me can be observed even today in your latest “Revolting” text. As I mentioned before, it is clear that as of September 2023, I am still living rent-free in your head.
“Following life experiences, like being a brain tumour patient and others, I am intensely oriented towards my self-care, self-preservation and well-being, in all sense. So I do not take jabs without either defending myself of hitting back. This is me, carefully (and with more respect than I have been shown), hitting back.”
As I have said before privately, I do sincerely apologize for the experience you had, and continue to encounter with having a brain tumor. However I am unsure as to how this makes your writing immune to criticism. And speaking of care and well-being, are the animals you openly support consuming less deserving of care and well-being? Even further, why not just be honest and admit that your “hitting back” was a response to me challenging what appeared to me as ideological inconsistencies in your writing? My criticisms were never intended to attack you personally, Julian — only the ideological inconsistencies that I found present in your writing. As writers, are we both not accustomed to critical analysis, especially constructive criticism when it comes to our writing? Criticism opens the door for intellectual expansion and understanding, does it not? I wasn’t born vegan. I shared views similar to your own against veganism once upon a time. It was only through experiencing criticism (and of course my own willingness to receive it) that I was able to acknowledge my own inconsistencies. The same way that I, a queer, anarchist of color raised in poverty, understood racism, homophobia, and classism from first-hand experiences, understanding the consumption of animals as a speciesist tool of discriminatory oppression, I came to realize that a vegan lifestyle was consistent with a lifestyle of anarchist negation.
“To speak directly to FB here; I feel very much, in most areas of my experience “in the dark”, as in unsure, uncertain, not-knowing, etc., and don’t pertain to much further than this. I believe in a great deal – will-to-life, wild-Beings, myself, etc., – and don’t believe in a great deal to. And while I know that I have stated this privately in our messages following the “trial by public” that you orchestrated with RDM, given that you have publicly sought to side-jab me in your Vegan Egoism piece; I want to state here publicly and directly that I don’t believe you – I don’t believe what you write about yourself. I am not suggesting that anyone else needs to not believe you – I am just stating that I don’t. I live an ocean and more away from you, as you do from me. So we cannot sincerely claim to have any authentic or direct experience of each other. But my experience of you, through these digital exchanges that we have had, has left me in a state of disbelief, which I don’t see changing.”
Julian, if you truly feel “very much, in most areas of my experience “in the dark”, as in unsure, uncertain, not-knowing, etc.,” why would you have jumped to the conclusions that you did without direct clarification? You wrote a ‘direct’ response to something that you never directly asked me about. I apologized to you directly, privately, and attempted to correct your misperception of the conversations between you, myself, and RDM. I made it clear that this was not a “trial by public” and was sorry that you perceived it that way. This was a debate in a private facebook group called Vegan Primitivist Anarchist. Since it is a group for vegans, why did it surprise you that we were discussing veganism (or the lack of) in your piece about speciesism? Nobody imagined you would have reacted so strongly to having a debate – something you and I and others have done between each other many times before.
“I am going to end this by sharing a personal desire here, which is non-specific to this situation. Through these digital means of communicating I don’t really, authentically, directly, get to be-with individuals, in a way where I can have personally-embodied-knowing of the individual. This does not negate my desire to, as best I can, respect and care for the individuals, who are the living beings at the other end of these artificial worms we communicate through.”
In response to this, I will say that I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiment. I reiterate again, that my criticisms were never intended as attacks on your personal character, Julian. My regret in all of this is the assumption that everyone responds to criticism similarly, especially over digital mediums, and especially within the topic of veganism. My apologies were sincere, whether you believe them or not. I am not in the habit of apologizing if I don’t really mean it, and I am not in the habit of denying responsibility or accountability for my actions. This entire conversation would have probably been better over a zoom chat, and more ideally face to face.
The Eternal Flux of Conflict and Consequences
This debate/argument/conflict between us, while unique to us as individually unique people, is not uncommon. Over the years I have come to accept the consequences of my vocal negation in a world that demands my silence. Everything from petty internet debates to offline physical confrontations – the experiences are vast and fluid with my existence. And these consequences will only continue as long as I continue to create tension and discomfort through anarchy. I carry with me a dagger with the expectation that those who despise me will also carry daggers. The politics of safety are as bankrupt and naive as the leftist dream of a revolt capable of over-throwing industrial society. I am not possessed by any delusions of veganism overthrowing industrial society. Aside from my respect for animals, I am vegan because it disrupts normalized processes integral to the full-functioning of industrial society. A vegan lifestyle is one of many daggers that I aim at society, creating the desired effect of chaos where there is social comfort and order.
Your reactions to my criticisms – and predictably this text – satisfy my understanding that on an individual level, and with enough determination, one can really shake shit up. You are by far not the only one I have fired up. Remember, rather than surrendering to a witch hunt of groups who called me and my project out for supporting “Julian Langer the eco-fascist”, it was I who encouraged you to write “An Eco-Pessimist Revolt Against Fascism” which I excitedly published as a laugh in their faces. As long as you and I continue to write, we will be loved and hated. Similar to the amount of laughter you incite within me with your desperate attempts to sound edgy, inventing concepts in order to portray yourself as more than just another domesticated human working a job and living in a house, I will continue to cause a small fire in your head.
Upon the mine-field of our ideological clashing, we find ourselves united through conflict like the matrimony of wild reactions, the cosmos of chaos. And since you have publicly stated your position, allow me to formally state mine:
Your interpretation of my criticism as “policing” is only a product of the discomfort I have created deep within you – like a silent alarm alerting you of a breach of security at the base of your castle – a castle of self-dishonesty built with bricks of hypocrisy.
As a nihilist, I invite you deeper into nihilism by acknowledging the morality that comforts your sense of entitlement to the bodies of non-human animals – a speciesist entitlement, since it is safe to assume that a systemic slaughter of humans for consumption would repulse you (judging by your outrage toward the Unabomber), the same way that I assume you are repulsed by the subjugation and slaughter of Indigenous populations around the world, and even more closer to home, the repulsion you feel in response to the badger cull that you actively speak out against. It is only through a speciesist lens that you see no reason to be repulsed by the slaughter of cows, chicken, fish, etc.,- or enough to declare personal non-participation in socially upholding their commodity status as “food”.
Your speciesism acts similar to a Cordyceps fungus, governing your every action with its own vision and objectives. Speciesism formulates in your mind an interpretation of criticism as an infringement upon a “right” to consume the flesh and secretions of animals – a “right” morally granted by the privilege of being human in a civilization maintained by human supremacy. If this speciesism is still unclear to you, adjust your lens; would you not laugh at a white supremacist who, after being criticized for their racism, accuses you of “policing” their views? Would you consider yourself “the police” for challenging the mindset of a patriarch or misogynist? Would you back down and stop speaking out against badger culling if people starting calling you a cop for openly opposing it? You have made a few public outcries that I am “policing” your “writing, identity and/or lifestyle”. All because I have merely pointed out hypocrisies in your line of reasoning? And for critically responding to your criticisms of veganism?
I invite you, Julian Langer, into becoming-a-more-consistent being with your individualist animalism by dismantling the “all are the same, therefore all are consumable” human supremacist mantra. The same way that you beautifully – (no, this is not a jab) — illuminate your views and the complexity of your personality through your writing, illuminating a relationship to animals which dismantles their status as “food” could only expand your anti-authoritarian potential. I invite you, Julian Langer, into a more-honest-with-yourself being rather than drawing justification from make-believe fantasies of the carnivorous, conscientious cannibal that you imagine yourself to be.
I wonder why you chose “conscientious cannibal”. I assume the simple answer would be as a self-considered animal, you are cannibalistic toward other animals. But if so, humans are animals. I bet you haven’t tried even a single “human”. As a matter of fact, as a cannibal, your dietary range is pretty limited — conveniently limited to the same three or four animals already designated as “food”. And what a coincidence. Humans consider them food too. So then, are the majority of “human” animals also “cannibalistic”? And conscientiously so, since the majority of them chose not to be vegan or vegetarian? If my speculation here is correct, it would appear that all you have really done is re-branded a typical, speciesist diet with something that sounds edgy. Julian Langer, the Conscientious Cannibal – who stalks his prey from aisle to aisle with a grocery list in one hand, capitalist currency in the other. In this fantasy, a grocery store is a jungle. And I admit, reality does sound more exciting when portrayed this way!
Whether it’s Julian’s “conscientious cannibalism” or the more common “carnivore” or “omnivore” claim made by many anti-vegan green anarchists, it amazes me to hear them speak of these things while knowing that if they even tried to eat raw flesh from the bone, down to the bone with nothing left but the bones they would gag and vomit all over themselves. Thanks to capitalism and years of desperate modification – and the use of factory farms, under-paid workers who are tasked with killing the animals for them, fire, and a wide-range of seasonings and sauces to deny the honest taste of flesh, and utensils — now flesh and secretions can be comfortably consumed without activating a gag-reflex.
All the while, somewhere in Africa a lion rips apart a zebra with its teeth and claws, swallowing blood, fat, and tissue raw.
But at the end of the day, and at the end of this response, who am I to tell you who and what you are, to point out hypocrisies or criticize your writing? As I mentioned earlier in this response, it is the individual who, on an individual level, ultimately makes decisions based on the information available to them. And just as well, you could choose not to be honest with yourself, and refuse to acknowledge your hypocrisies. You do, in fact, have the power, as an individual, to maintain your view of yourself as a bonafide individualist, animalist, cannibalistic carnivore who refuses to conform to veganism — or any remote idea I may have about who you are. You could rebel, Julian. Rebel against me, Flower Bomb, the “vegan police”! Against the “morally-superior bullshit!”...
As long as you remember that our worlds, actions, or writing don’t exist in a vacuum. When I walk outside and take a deep breath I smell trees, leaves, flowers, car exhaust, factory pollution, and distant gun powder. Conflict is everywhere, Julian. As you often enjoy pointing out yourself, everything is connected. And therefore everything that moves, breathes, or speaks — experiences conflict, becomes conflict. It influences and shapes our understanding of the world, and exists all around us permeating our “safe spaces”. I am confident that I am not, and will not be, the only consequence, conflict, or individual that critically confronts your anti-speciesist, non-vegan praxis.