Some people asked me why I’m criticizing Francione (and the franciobots) like this, and are telling me I’m making the same mistake he does: going against people who basically have the same purpose. Or they are saying that it is a waste of time and energy. In part, these are sound objections, and I’m sure part of me is driven by some amount of frustration – rarely a productive emotion – by what I see happening.
You see, I feel it had to be done.
I feel that there is not enough criticism of Francione’s approach and his behaviour out there. Maybe it is because the organisations and individuals he targets are more civilized than he is (and than I am, apparently). Maybe they don’t want the movement to seem even more divided than it already is. And undoubtedly, they are investing their time in things that are more effective.
But I feel that especially new activists, when falling for Francione’s tirades about how awful and ineffective animal rights organisations are, should be able to hear some other voices too. These few posts are my modest contribution to the body of material critical of Francione and those who mindlessly follow him in his negativiy. And if especially the post on the Rise of the franciobots may be seen as slighly rude towards some people, I hope it gives those same people an impression of what it is to be on the receiving end of criticism.
I do not think that Francione is all bad. Like I said, his books have their merits, and if put to good use, he has the charisma and eloquence to do real good in this world. And personally I support his stance against violent tactics. But there’s so many buts. The way he maintains and widely publishes that organisations are counterproductive and that their staff have sold out, the way he opposes all welfare reforms, the way he personally attacks people and groups, the way he has everyone blocked from his Facebook who disagrees with him (go ahead, try!), the way he even tries to block speakers from conferences… Those are all things that I think cannot and should not be condoned. I feel I should not tolerate that kind of intolerance.
Anyway, I’m finishing this series of posts here, because indeed, there are more productive and peaceful things to focus on. But I’ll finish with expressing some hopes…
I hope that activists can see that rather than betraying the vegan message and selling out to the industry, most organisations are pragmatic and strategic (rather than overly ideological and purist, like Francione is), and this is nothing to blame them for. Quite the contrary. Maybe the animal industry’s response to, for instance, HSUS is an indication. Francione, on the other hand, does not even feature on this map the meat industry puts together.
I hope that activists can take note of how damaging the divisive attitude of Francione is, and how the industry profits from it.
I hope we can all believe in each other’s good intentions, in spite of differences in approach.
I hope that, even when people don’t actively support them, they at least stop opposing welfare reforms
And I hope, most of all, that someday we can be the united, undivided movement that the animals need and deserve.
In case you want to read more, here’s just a small selection of resources critical of Francione:
On the road to liberation: scroll down to the very bottom, to the related posts
Ok then, Francione (see also the links under the article)
Science weighs in at last (by the late Norm Phelps)