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Response to Naomi Klein

"...the environmental movement had a series of dazzling victories in the late ’60s and in the ’70s where the whole legal framework for responding to pollution and to protecting wildlife came into law. It was just victory after victory after victory... And then it came to screeching halt when Reagan was elected. And he essentially waged war on the environmental movement very openly. 
"We started to see some of the language that is common among those deniers – to equate environmentalism with Communism and so on. As the Cold War dwindled, environmentalism became the next target, the next Communism."
--Naomi Klein
Yes. Animal liberation, too, has its antagonists. "I'll tell you what the environmental movement is in this country today, folks," insisted Rush Limbaugh on an April 22, 1993 television broadcast, "It is the modern home of the socialist/communist movement in America." According to Limbaugh, the "real mission" of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) "is destroying capitalism, not saving animals." (The Way Things Ought to Be, p. 108)
The reality? As a secular moral philosophy, ethical veganism and purchasing only cruelty-free consumer products are comparable to economic boycotting -- a political tactic used by liberals and conservatives alike.
In The Case for Animal Rights, Dr. Tom Regan observes: "The rights view is not antagonistic to business, free enterprise, the market mechanism, and the like. What the rights view is antagonistic to is the view that consumers owe it to any business to purchase that business's goods or services. The animal industry is no exception."
According to Dr. Regan: "The rights view's denunciation of standard toxicity tests on animals is not antibusiness. It does not deny any manufacturer the liberty to introduce any new product into the marketplace, to compete with the others already there, and to sink or swim in the waters of free enterprise.
"All that the rights view denies is that the toxicity of any new product may be pretested on animals in ways harmful to them. Nonanimal alternatives are not ruled out by the rights view. On the contrary, their development should be encouraged, both on the grounds of the public interest and because of the legitimate legal interests of the manufacturers.
"Nor is the rights view antiscientific," concludes Dr. Regan. "It places the scientific challenge before pharmacologists and related scientists: find scientifically valid ways that serve the public interest without violating individual rights."
Abolitionists are almost always accused of being anti-capitalist by the very industries they attack: "(The abolition of the slave trade) would be extreme cruelty to the African savages, a portion of whom it saves from massacre, or intolerable bondage in their own country, and introduces into a much happier state of life," claimed James Boswell, an 18th century pro-slavery writer.
According to Boswell: "...the anti-slavery crusade...the ranting of a handful of moralistic bigots, (which attempted) abolish so very important and necessary a branch of commercial interest, must have been crushed at once had not the insignificance of the zealots who vainly took the lead in it, made the vast body of planters, merchants and others, whose immense properties were involved in the trade...suppose that there would be no danger."
Social progress means change. The invention of the automobile and the end of the Second World War brought about radical change in the work place. Anti-abolitionists claimed that the end of human slavery would bring with it the collapse of the economic structure of the Southern United States. 
In his book, The Status of Animals in the Christian Religion, author C.W. Hume noted:
"The major cruelties practiced on animals in civilized countries today arise out of commercial exploitation, and the fear of losing profits is the chief obstacle to reform."
"Now, the movement at that stage could have responded in one of the two ways. It could have fought back and defended the values it stood for at that point... Or it could have adapted itself to this new reality, and changed itself to fit the rise of corporatist government. And it did the latter. Very consciously... We now understand it’s about corporate partnerships... it’s casting corporations as the solution, as the willing participants and part of this solution...
"The Big Green groups, with very few exceptions, lined up in favor of NAFTA, despite the fact that their memberships were revolting, and sold the deal very aggressively to the public. That’s the model that has been globalized through the World Trade Organization, and that is responsible in many ways for the levels of soaring emissions. We’ve globalized an utterly untenable economic model of hyperconsumerism. It’s now successfully spreading across the world, and it’s killing us...
"It’s not that the green groups were spectators to this – they were partners in this... I think that’s a huge part of the reason why emissions are where they are."
--Naomi Klein
Naomi Klein is Canadian. I don't know about Canada, but change happens slowly in a secular democracy dominated by a two-party system (the United States). For legislation to be successful, it has to have bipartisan support. Proponents have to reach across the aisle, cross party lines. The legislation can't be tied to a single ideology, political party, or administration.
(Pro-life Democrat Robert Casey felt, for that reason, a pro-life Democratic presidential candidacy would prove successful: conservatives would vote for a pro-lifer, and liberals and Democrats would vote for a Democrat convincing them abortion is a secular human rights issue, rather than a "religious" issue, or someone else's "religious beliefs" which don't apply to them.)
The other side is quick to demonize the animal rights and environmental movements as socialist/communist (see Rush Limbaugh's comments above), so activists have no alternative but to work within the system to bring about change.
The debate over creating an alternative challenging the status quo Vs working within the system to bring about and demand change has been going on since the Vietnam era. 
The hippies dropped out of "straight society" and with the exception of The Farm, a pro-life vegan community of hippies in Tennessee, founded in the early '70s, have been largely forgotten. 
On the other hand, many of the trappings of the hippies and the counterculture (long hair on males, marijuana, spiritualism or an interest in East Indian philosophy, free love or casual sex, etc.) were quickly absorbed into the mainstream.
Music writer Nicholas Schaffner concluded along these lines with an optimistic note in his 1977 book, The Beatles Forever: that Jimmy Carter has long hair, can quote the lyrics to Beatles and Bob Dylan songs, that his kids have smoked pot, as have the kids of the president before him, that John Lennon and Yoko Ono (almost deported by the Nixon administration years earlier!) were present at the Carter inauguration ceremonies, as were James Taylor and Carly Simon, that there are generals in the Pentagon practicing Transcendental Meditation, etc. 
And in a rare display of populism, the President and First Lady, Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter got out of the presidential motorcade and walked along part of the parade route.
There's the liberal bumper sticker: "Well-behaved women rarely make history."
The San Francisco Vegetarian Society (SFVS) refers to nonvegetarian restaurants which are veg-friendly as "mixed" restaurants.
In 1990, my friend Atma Khalsa (an American Sikh follower of Yogi Bhajan) and I were the only vegetarians at Emerald Systems Corporation in San Diego. On one occasion, for lunch, rather than go to a vegetarian restaurant, we went to a nonvegetarian restaurant, a Japanese restaurant, and Atma, without even looking at the menu, said to the waitress, "We're vegetarian!" And she demanded to know, "What can you offer us?"
In his 1975 book, Animal Liberation, Australian philosopher Peter Singer writes that the “tyranny of human over nonhuman animals” is “causing an amount of pain and suffering that can only be compared with that which resulted from the centuries of tyranny by white humans over black humans.”
Singer favorably compares animal liberation with women’s liberation, black liberation, gay liberation, and movements on behalf of Native Americans and Hispanics. He optimistically observes: 
“...the environmental movement...has led people to think about our relations with other animals in a way that seemed impossible only a decade ago.
“To date, environmentalists have been more concerned with wildlife and endangered species than with animals in general, but it is not too big a jump from the thought that it is wrong to treat whales as giant vessels filled with oil and blubber to the thought that it is wrong to treat (animals) as machines for converting grains to flesh.”
Similarly, it is not too big a jump from the thought that it is wrong to purchase products which exploit workers (child labor, sweatshops, restaurants which fail to treat employees fairly, etc.) i.e., the fair trade movement, to the thought that it is wrong to purchase products which contribute to or involve the suffering and death of animals.
In a letter dated March 26, 1992, presidential candidate Bill Clinton wrote to Don A. Jones of Marietta, GA:  
"Thank you for writing to express your concern for the rights of animals. I have always loved and respected animals and abhorred any cruelty toward them. Please be assured that a Clinton Administration would be extremely sensitive to these issues and concerns."
If Bill Clinton's reasons for recently transitioning to a plant-based diet were solely health-related, he would not have written to Ingrid Newkirk, Executive Director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) describing his pleasant experiences due to the change in lifestyle. 
Now that Bill Clinton is free from political pressure from the other side (e.g., going "sport" hunting after the Brady bill was signed into law, to "prove" to the NRA he supported the rights of hunters to own firearms), perhaps he can now support animal rights causes through the Clinton Foundation.
Another Bill (Gates) is funding "Beyond Eggs," a vegan egg alternative through his own philanthropic foundation.
These men should be encouraged by animal activists!
It was through a series of email exchanges that Lauren Ornelas (Viva!), herself politically left-liberal, convinced John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods to go vegan. 
Mackey commented in Veg-News (a slick, trendy vegan periodical out of San Francisco) that corporations like Whole Foods can put vegan products on the marketplace to sink or swim in the waters of free enterprise, but the public has to actually want these products if they're to succeed. That's capitalism. 
(Mackey, a libertarian, later incurred the wrath of the American Left when he wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal expressing his opposition to health care reform!).
Ingrid Newkirk similarly said in an opinion piece in the now-defunct Animals' Agenda in the late '90s that the veggie burgers, soy "ice creams," etc. we now see in supermarket chains didn't appear there magically... they came about through consumer demand!
Far from being wild-eyed leftists, animal activists are working within the system and the political process to bring about social change.

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