Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Non-Profit Industrial Complex: Effective Animal Advocacy & Your Checkbook

I received the Effective Animal Advocacy organization's first newsletter last week.  In it, they tout their mission to improve advocacy by, you know, making sure it actually works.  But, mostly, they spend the bulk of the newsletter talking about money, money, money.  Big news, they're allowed to start taking tax-deductable donations!

And if you're not donating to them, let them know when you donate to others!
Remember to let us know whenever you give to one of our recommended organizations. We rely on the self-reporting of our members to keep track of how many donations we're directing toward these organizations. Even if you only donate a few dollars, please report it publicly to us. Public donations help to spur others to donate, so taking the time to report to us will not only help EAA show efficacy, but it will also inspire others to give.
This should go without saying, but, how much money an organization rakes in does NOT determine efficacy.

The professionalization of organizations dilutes our ability to create social change.  It hands over our power to the large organizations who prioritize fundraising above all else.  When fundraising becomes the primary focus, that means compromises are made.  The state loves it this way:  a compromised movement is a non-threatening one.  This is what is known as the Non-Profit Industrial Complex.  Non-profits work to benefit the state in quelling dissent against inequality, the state repays the favor by legitimizing the organizations.  It's a cozy relationship.  Meanwhile, the non-profits seek to ease the suffering of those who suffer because of the state's failings.  The state rewards the non-profits for doing the work the state should be doing itself.  The state cooperates with non-profits because they ease suffering without challenging the root of the problem:  An unequal, oppressive, exploitative, state-sanctioned social structure.  The state oppresses, that oppression hurts others, non-profits pick up the slack in a state-approved, compromised manner, and we pay for it with donations!

Consider the "cage-free" chicken.  She suffers in cages, so non-profits rally to remove the cages.  A minuscule amount of suffering is reduced, immense suffering remains, she will still be tortured and killed.  People will still keep eating her body.  Humans will still suffer and die from preventable diet-related diseases.  The environment will still continue plummeting into disaster from Nonhuman Animal agriculture.  Zero challenge to the system has been made.  But producers, the state, and the non-profits support the meaningless reform.  None of these institutions promote veganism:  Something that the individual can do, something that will require substantially less fundraising, and something that will demand a total restructuring of the oppressive system.

Non-profits are happy because they can claim a victory, the state is happy because business continues as usual and the dissenters are placated, and the people are happy because they think change is happening.

It is also worth noting that by pitting organizations against each other in a desperate clamor to win the most donations, organizations have a lot of pressure to insist that their tactics are "effective," and there is little incentive to cooperate with other organizations or movements who are seen as the competition.  As long as it's every org for themselves, anything and everything they do will be framed as "effective."

The way to make change is to go vegan.  Period.  There is no mention of veganism anywhere in the EAA newsletter, of course, and that is a terrible shame.  It's all about money and self-sufficiency, not about changing the world.

Instead of "inspiring others to give," why not inspire others to go vegan?