Overview

This page includes questions that have been generated while reading and reflecting on the possibilities of an anarchist agroecology.

My initial intentions were to focus on speciesism and its relationship to agroecology. However the broadening of my reader triggered me to a explore a more holistic, systems-orientated, intersectional and anarchist perspective. As I was unable to contain my subject area without seeing the tensions and interconnections.

I was unable to summarise these thoughts succinctly, so have asked open questions to the reader instead. These questions can inform future output work and collaboration. The different areas include aspects of the political ecology we live in that affect how we organise, these include the our relationship to the state and wider capitalism, racism, sexism and speciesism in food sovereignty/agroecology movements.

PLEASE NOTE THIS PAGE IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE WORDCOUNT

State

  • How have modern agrarian movements taken on globalisation/capitalism as a struggle but accepted the state as an omnipotent and benevolent force?
  • How do actions reinforce the legitimacy of the state?
  • Do participants in alternative agriculture movements understand the state's role and function in our society? Its monopoly on violence? Its protection of private property? How does this influence tactics and methodologies?
  • Where have the roots of nonviolent dogmatism come from in agrarian movements?
  • What risk do movements have of institutionalisation and co-option if they see the state as an alley?
  • How do groups expect to achieve systemic changes, such as land redistribution, without attracting repression from the state? How will nonviolent ideologies interfere with revolutionary or radical aims?
  • How congruent is a framework which gives power to states that have colonised, repressed and dominated populations for decades? Are we not perpetuating the oppression of ‘others’ to create privilege for small farmers and peasants?

Growing food at the Police Station - Incredible Edible Todmorden.

"This appeal to such comprehensive and progressive state action is launched in a histori- cal context in which most states most of the time are deeply implicated in the ongoing march of capitalism (and once state socialism) ‘against the peasant’, as some Food Sovereignty analyses emphasise. Indeed, as indicated earlier, the immediate target of much agrarian populism historically – as movements as well as ideology – was not capitalism but rather the state."
- Henry Bernstein

Race

  • How do western food movements reinforce white privilege?
  • Is an awareness of racism and white supremacy explicit in movements confronting the food system? Are organisers committed to eradicating racism? Or are efforts tokenised?
  • What role does food play in decolonisation?
  • How are migrant workers exploited in the food system? What inspiring models of resistance are there?
  • How can food movements achieve racial justice rather than a few privileged people eating better?
  • How does race, food and rural poverty, relate to the prison industrial complex?

Photo from Detroit Black Community Food Security Network

Capitalism

  • In what ways is transformation of economic and social relations by organised resistance funneled into lifestyle and consumer choices?
  • In what ways is the consumer-producer-market model reproduced in agrarian movements? Is there a commitment to changing these economic relationships?
  • Are we 'gardening in a battlefield' when more energy should be invested in destroying capitalism? Can we really build new food systems while the current ones exist and oppress us?
  • How often are organising efforts situated in (explicit) anti-capitalist analysis?
  • Is an anti-capitalist analysis sufficient? Should it be more explicitly extending to an anti-civilisation worldview?

"Although it seeks to be strategic in nature, practical veganism creates a false understanding of capitalism and a false sense of moral purity or superiority, both of which are fatal to the struggle against domination."

- Peter Gelderloos

Class

  • How often is food system change work centred in an analysis of class? How does it (or not) explicitly challenge class inequalities?
  • When does class prejudice inform tactical decisions? How are working class people problematised or victimised? E.g. poor people need to eat better/learn how to cook/learn how to manage their money.
  • What role do wholefoods/alternative food enterprises play in gentrification?
  • How does class influence agrarian movements in the UK? What are the tensions for landless people (often urban) rather than rural smallholders/farmers (commonly privileged landowners)? How do the class backgrounds of organisers influence their tactical decisions?

Milk protests in Brussels, 2014.

Resisting police oppression at the oppression of another? How do we find allies and where do we draw the line?

Speciesism

  • How are we reinforcing the oppression of animals by normalising animal agriculture?
  • How is veganism privileged?
  • What role does animal farming/husbandry play in different cultures? Is it colonialist to reject animal agriculture?
  • What are the patterns of neocarnism? What threat do they play to animals?
  • How can we work in coalitions with people that farm animals?

Gender

  • How is carnism related to gender?
  • What role does gender play in food sovereignty movements? What historic developments have there been around gender equality in agrarian movements?
  • How does the birth of agriculture relate to the beginnings of patriarchy?
  • How does sexism still persist in alternative food movements?