jump to navigation

On the Merits of Refusing Saints and Sacredness: The Vegan Trolling of Chelsea Manning May 20, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
Tags:
trackback

Chelsea Manning Go vegan

Twitter user (((mikayla))) has made rounds in radical circles for telling Chelsea Manning to “Go vegan” in response a pizza post Manning made after eir release from prison.

Obligatory virtue-signalling: Of course Manning deserves the status of radical saint if anyone does. Ey’s an inspiration to revolutionaries across the United States and the world. Hell, even Richard Spencer gives props.

I initially reacted to the “Go vegan” comment with the expected scorn, interpreting it as disrespectful to Manning and woefully out of place. Upon further reflection, I don’t know that comment was wrong. It violated social norms, definitely. It wasn’t cool/hip/proper/tactful/etc. But I’m all about smashing norms.

I sympathize with the act of making a legitimate ethical claims at an inopportune times, of ignoring the implicit sacredness of Chelsea Manning right after release. It’s kind of like calling out Louise Rosealma for their dreadlocks after seeing them get punched by Nathan Damigo. Assuming you agree with cultural-appropriation arguments about the racism of dreadlocks on white people, it’s a fair critique to make even if bringing it up is arguably a jerk move in context.

Personally, while I eat vegan and more or less hold vegan ethical principles, I don’t talk or write much about it. I tell myself I do this because I care about humans more than other animals and because focusing on veganism doesn’t accomplish anything under most circumstances. In terms of self-interest, nonhuman animal suffering doesn’t directly affect me as a human and veganism isn’t super popular in my local radical scene, so it’s convenient to put it on the back burner.

My point here is about the dynamic of disregarding sacredness. I perceive potential in that model. In all (most?) human social systems I’m familiar with, certain folks have an inviolable aura. You’re not supposed to mess with these people, which typically forbids anything that could be interpreted as critical. Sometimes it’s your grandparents. Sometimes it’s your boss, a distinguished scholar, or a pillar of the movement. As with all social power, this lends itself to abuse, inefficiency, and other bad outcomes.

Anarchism, science, and critical theory alike reject such sacredness and encourage asking questions. If taken too seriously, this principle threatens the foundations of society. What’d be the point doing anything if any random jackass with a decent argument could still criticize you without your fans/family/friends/colleagues slapping them down? Isn’t it fundamentally human to both give and desire to receive deference? Incessant rational critique stands out as downright alien and monstrous.

Maybe so. I feel the pull of social capitalism, of prestige, of increased status, and so on. I virtue signal to my ingroup(s) regularly. Regardless, I ultimately want to abolish or at least radically transform  current webs of social power. Refusing the sacredness of a radical saint like Chelsea Manning leads in that direction.

Advertisements

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: