Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Join the Vegan Club for the Low, Low Price

Vegan Outreach has repeatedly explained in a number of essays, position statements, and interviews that they do not want a "vegan club."  A consistent vegan position, they explain, is sanctimonious and off-putting. Vegans are angry, loud, and too concerned with morality. "Meeting people where they are," they insist, is a more "practical" approach. What this means is that promoting reductionism (eating less "meat" or "humanely-raised" "meat," vegetarianism, flexitarianism, etc.) is most appropriate. In order to protect this compromised position, they spend a great deal of effort "bashing" veganism. So, imagine my surprise when I received an email invitation from Vegan Outreach this morning asking me to join their vegan club.

That's correct, Vegan Outreach has launched their own vegan club and you don't even need to be vegan to join. True to Vegan Outreach practicality, one only needs to fork over $120.  In other words, their club membership is a monthly $10 donation. It is membership by proxy.

When Vegan Outreach says they don't want a "vegan club," what they mean is that they are opposed to holding veganism as the baseline, a basic requirement for taking the interests of Nonhuman Animals seriously.  A vegan club to them is a nonpolitical, non-active, non-involved donor. Vegan or not vegan, it doesn't matter as long as you pay up and buy stuff.

The following is pulled directly from today's Vegan Outreach newsletter (I've included the sexist "Chicks Dig Vegans" logo for context. It appears sexism is becoming as standard in animal advocacy as donating as activism).

Making a Difference without Breaking the Bank!

A $120 donation may sound like a lot, but what about $10 a month? That’s less than four cents a day, but it makes a big impact for animals! You can sign up now for an automatic monthly donation to Vegan Outreach, and make a huge difference by giving a little at a time throughout the year! And you’ll become a member of the “Vegan Club” through VO’s membership program, making you eligible for awesome gifts like our Chicks Dig Vegans bumper sticker, a copy of Betty Goes Vegan, and so many others!
Check out our membership levels, thank you gifts, and ways to give at

The first course of action for anyone who wants justice for Nonhuman Animals is to go vegan. The second course of action is to educate others about veganism. Donating is not activism (and "activism" of this sort is reserved only for the privileged few who can afford it). We cannot buy the revolution. When non-profits convince a generation of would-be activists that we can change the world if we just pull out our credit card, we've already lost the battle.  When non-profits that claim to represent the interests of vulnerable Nonhuman Animals convince a concerned public that reduction and donation will satisfy their obligations to Nonhuman Animals, this movement is a movement no longer. Rather, it is simply another moneymaking capitalist venture.

NOTE: Vegan Outreach issued a correction: 
In encouraging you to consider a monthly donation to VO, we said that $10 a month breaks down to four cents per day, when actually, it's forty cents per day. [ . . . ] PS. Coincidentally, four cents a day does add up to $36 a year, which, as a one-time donation, would make you an official Member of The Vegan Club and get you some pretty neat membership gifts as well.