We are the primary authors of the Food Justice Guidelines. We are Muslim women of color, Palestinian human rights attorneys, animal rights attorneys, public defenders, racial justice attorneys, and intersectional social justice activists.
We were compelled to write the Food Justice Guidelines in an effort to push the Guild to be more intersectional, rather than piecemeal, in our work. We have incorporated intersectionality into our own personal legal work and feel strongly that the Guild must do the same.
We see Food Justice Issues as intersectional and essential to work on collectively. Social justice, such as racial justice, justice for Palestine, and animal rights, all work collectively against violence, oppression, and the marginalization and exploitation of the “other” by means of power and privilege. Intersectionality does not equate oppressions or struggles, but simply states that violence is violence, oppression is oppression, and discussing whether one is worse than the other is simply a race to the bottom and not a position of solidarity between struggles for justice. For example, we are not interested in debating whether undocumented day laborers in California suffer more or less than transgender youth of color in prisons, as we find comparisons between struggles offensive and belittling to each struggle.
We as folks of color working on numerous struggles refuse to be told that we cannot include animal rights in our framework, but must instead leave one struggle behind in order to advance the other. A world that works towards one struggle while maintaining other forms of violence is not a world we wish to see. It also disempowers people of color led struggles for animal rights. One key example is the Palestinian Animal League, which is a Palestinian organized and run animal rights organization in Palestine. To say that Palestinians cannot work on their own human rights struggles as well as support the struggle for animal rights is racist and ignores their agency. Just as it ignores the agency of thousands of folks of color who support their own liberation as well as that of others, including animals.
Those who wish to block incorporating animal rights into the Guild’s framework have used our struggles as Muslims and folks of color to defeat the animal rights issue. They have spoken for us and our communities, stating that it is offensive to “equate” the struggles of animal and human liberation. We have our own agency and have decided for ourselves that we wish to struggle for collective liberation.
We rise together and fall together, and will not stop our struggle until EVERY CAGE IS EMPTY.
THE UNITED PEOPLE OF COLOR CAUCUS (TUPOCC)
FOOD JUSTICE GUIDELINES
At the April 2015 National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, the NEC appointed a subcommittee to develop food justice guidelines for the national Law for the People Convention to address food justice issues intersectionally. The subcommittee created the guidelines below and were approved by the Guild’s Executive Council (EC). These guidelines currently only pertain to the National Convention, but local chapters are also encouraged to adopt them or use them as a guide. Visit www.nlg.org/news/announcements/nlg-food-justice-guidelines for resources.
Whereas the Guild recognizes the personal is political, and that each time we sit down to eat, we make not solely a personal choice, but also a political one;
Whereas food justice includes labor rights, racial justice, environmental issues, sustainability, affordable access to healthy food as a right and not a privilege, and animal liberation;
Whereas we as the Guild recognize and combat injustice in all its forms, regardless of the power or lack of power of those subjugated,
Whereas the Guild strives to be at the forefront of radical social justice and stand in solidarity with forward thinking social justice movements,
Whereas the Guild stands in solidarity with those facing violence and repression worldwide: the undocumented, the incarcerated, communities of color, the occupied, political dissidents, and those whose bodies are treated merely as reproductive machines, fabric, entertainment, food, and for scientific torture/ experimentation;
Whereas we have called for divestment from Israel both in 2004 and 2007 and boycott in 2007 based on Israel’s gross human rights violations until Israel complies with international law,
Whereas the 2007 Boycott and Divest Resolution calls for and supports a boycott of Israeli goods (which would include Israeli food products produced in Israel),
Whereas the Guild has begun to recognize and include animals and animal rights within our larger anti-oppression and anti-violence framework,
In light of the resolutions already passed regarding divestment from Israel, the Guild expands the NLG’s food justice policy to be more just and consider animals, workers and the environment, the Guild recommits itself to anti-oppression and anti-violence by establishing the following guidelines:
That the food served at all of our National Conventions be BDS compliant and free of Israeli products including Israeli food products;
That all the food served at all of our National Conventions be entirely vegan, free of any animal products such as meat, dairy, including eggs and other animal byproducts;
Encouraging local chapters to apply these guidelines;
Encouraging the National Conventions strive to use locally sourced, organic food when possible and to purchase from businesses owned or run by marginalized communities and which have good labor practices;
Offering the Palestine Subcommittee, Animal Rights Activism Committee, and The United People of Color Caucus (TUPOCC) as sources of guidance and support for those organizing the National Conventions to help them comply with these guidelines should such help be necessary. ■