disillusion – fraudulence, misogyny, and cults

activist, author, former political prisoner

Camille Marino
July 1, 2018

While I’m still re-inventing myself and carving out yet another path to achieve the ultimate goal, I’m not sure I still consider myself a part of the “Animal Liberation Movement.” I am genuine. The movement is not. And, yet, I’m not using my site to speak to the mainstream public because that is a community into which I no longer fit either. So I write for me with no direction and I’ll see where it takes me; speaking to neither activists, alleged activists, jokers masquerading as activists, self-appointed leaders of the sideshow, or anyone else. Maybe I’m speaking to the victims. It is for them that I ache.

I just had a long conversation with a good friend; also someone who is maybe hovering on the perimeter of the movement, disillusioned and questioning all that’s transpired. I have difficulty signing into my Facebook profile, posting a pic or a quote, identifying myself as vegan and, therefore, as an activist. This is the nonsense that’s disgusted me for a decade and something with which I will never identify. I may log into FB, but I’m only writing books at the moment. Let’s all stop pretending that writing books and making speeches is helping anyone but the authors. Let’s say I’m on an activism hiatus.

Animals are dying. Some people are out there day and night trying to save their lives. We call them rescue workers and they are largely the most active and dedicated individuals. Many of them are not vegan. Yet they do more for some animals than most vegans I’ve met do for any. I guess this is the first hypocrisy with which I take issue. WTF gives any vegan a right to criticize anyone in the trenches until they’ve gotten dirty themselves. And I don’t mean by getting flour on their apron.

Next to those rescue workers, who is actually working to help animals?

Before I was shut down by unadulterated collaborators, I am confident that my network — consistent, dedicated, and focused — posed the single-most-effective threat to vivisectors at the time. We shut down one primate lab at least before we were irreparably sabotaged. I know of one woman in Australia who is consistent, focused, and dedicated to protecting kangaroos, as well as other oppressed beings, from mass genocide. Her name is Carolyn Drew and I’ve seen videos of her standing alone with a camera in pitch-black darkness confronting mercenaries with guns. I can think of one woman in California, her name is Ellen Ericksen, who organizes consistent, dedicated, and focused Seaworld protests and, in her spare time, is at rodeos, dairy farms, or literally anywhere else her voice is needed. I know of only one academic — her name is Dr. Kim Socha — who writes about liberation and then puts her words into action with consistent, dedicated, and focused action. I’m sure there are more and I know exactly why I don’t know their names.

Because consistent, focused and dedicated — exactly what the animals need — is not sexy. So the women who are actually on the front lines forcing change and living their beliefs remain in the background. And who is the face of the Animal Liberation Movement? Men. With very few exceptions, they are abusive, sexist, patriarchal, racist, homophobic men. I think this is the case because well-meaning activists are blinded by the empty — yet provocative and articulate — words of men who’ve done absolutely nothing but self promote. Men who are focused on money, marketing, and recruiting to make more money. Men who maybe perform some random media stunt here and there for a photo op and donations, then use their fawning fans to elicit praise and more profit. The figureheads may change but the dynamic is the same. The Animal Liberation Movement is fodder for cultists and the followers upon whom they prey. And if a man is spending all his time self-promoting, cultivating followers, and marketing, there isn’t much time left for Animal Liberation except to toss around the toxically-manipulative phrase “for the animals” here and there; the words that no one ever questions.

I never understood that I was overtaken by a cultist until I was more than a year distanced from it. And I’m sure that many will be unable to see their own indoctrination until they are outside of their cults. I was recently talking with a colleague who simply noted that he didn’t know whether I was still “pursuing your feud” with the one-time demagogue who put me in jail to silence me. Feud? When one of these misogynistic false gods declares all out war on a woman and she’s fighting for her life, that’s not a feud. It’s an atrocity. It’s an atrocity that should offend every allegedly anti-oppression male in our community. Yet this is what happens to every woman or non-binary person who threatens the power of an Animal Liberation cult leader. They are minimized and discredited. They are smeared and abused until they yield the floor back to the abusive idol. I think my punishment was so severe because I was never going to be silent. I was never going anywhere. And I almost feel like I have an obligation now to try to empower those who are falling victim to those who’ve filled the idol worship black hole that my cult leader’s demise left. There is no boundary these men will not cross in order to gain and maintain power and control at the expense of the animals.

I’m not sure what the answer is. I wish I had a magic wand for critical thought that I could wave over the vegan community. But, hell, in this movement, you can put activists in jail, testify for vivisectors, and still maintain a fan base. I know of a handful of people who give their all for the struggle. It makes me wonder why everyone else is even here. To post disturbing and violent pictures on social media from your couch? To gossip? To follow the crowd to a Saturday afternoon brunch? To feel like you cause no harm so you’re better than someone who actually tries to help? To make a name? Travel? Give speeches? Write books? And, yeah, I am different from the writers and speakers who pretend to be activists. I’m an activist who is spending some time writing books.




3 Responses

  1. I know of many activists who keep on keeping on. One such now dead was my sister Karen. I support what you are doing from a wheelchair now but slowly learning to walk again. My time is limited any more. My wife requires 24/7/365 care because of dementia (not Alzheimers) and insurance will only pay for four hours a day outside help. In the meantime, I put out Elders Wisdom and thoughts days when I can find the strength. If you will send me anything on being Vegan, Animal Liberation, being a voice for prisoners or whatever I will use it in my thoughts or opinion posts. I consider myself a Seneca Wisdom keeper from the 50’s but one who shares wisdom to give a foundation for a renewed world. You may share my name and e-mail address because what are they going to do to a survivor who wants a new world of peace, justice and responsible relationships and peace for all the worlds creatures.

    • admin says:

      hi robert,

      it’s such a nice surprise to see your thoughts. how did your candidacy go? i guess that’s a rhetorical question almost. the green party rarely — if ever wins. the corporatocracy with it’s imbecil-in-chief, the darling of the christian- and right-wing fascists, seem to have that under control for the time being.

      fyi, i was in a wheelchair for the better part of a year in 1993; but i haven’t used one in over 2 decades. and i admire all your sister was able to accomplish. please contact me anytime if you’d like to discuss our combined revolutions further. maybe we can figure out how to merge our struggles and go forward.

      warmest regards

  2. Camilla, I know of another activist who has done time for what she believes in. My sister Karen joined your battle for a short time. Then Found she had to battle cancer. She lost six years ago.

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