go vegan
The term vegan first appeared in the name of the Vegan Society, founded in 1945. It is used for a strictly vegetarian diet and for a lifestyle which avoids the (ab-)use of any animal products, i.e. in clothes (leather, wool, silk), food, medicine and "entertainment" (zoo, circus). Some people don't eat meat, milk, eggs etc. for health reasons, others because of their ethical attitude or responsibility towards nature (so do I). Vegans won't consider their behaviour as a sacrifice, but as the last chance to prove wo/men as intelligent creatures and to prevent us from the further destruction of "our" planet.
Intensive livestock farming causes dangerous harm to earth and water, it is responsible for erosion, pollution of air and water and the destruction of the rain forest. Animal tests are ruthless if done for the sake of cosmetic research and useless in medical terms. The fate of animals in zoos is an example for the perverse cruelty we commit just to satisfy our own, selfish pleasure.
Not only are animals and land exploited due to the greed for a nutrition which is unnecessary (and even unhealthy), but the so-called civilized societies also force people in poor countries to clear land and produce grain for "our" cattle while the people there are starving to death. The same area which is required to feed 1 person on a beef basis would provide 5 with protein from vegetables or 9 with carbohydrate from potatoes; the production of 1 pound of beef swallows 11,200 litres of water, the same amount of rice only 1,800 litres.
Sometimes it seems hard to be consistent on this path. Just have a look at the list of ingredients on most of the products in a supermarket; if you don't understand the single labels this might well be deliberate: e.g. an item labelled lecithine is obviously more delicious than calling it blood (actually the used lecithine is of vegetable or synthetic origin in nine out of ten cases - but why can't it be called so, then?). The only way to be sure what you eat is to get information about what is hidden behind the so-called E-numbers or the chemical terms. The force on producers to declare the origin of ingredients is not strong enough in most countries, just look at the genetic manipulation, but don't we have the right to know what our daily bread consists of?
There will be hardly anybody who can be called one hundred percent vegan, but that's not the matter. Being vegan means to open your eyes and to feel responsible for your companions: men and women, animals and plants. It's just a matter of attitude (nothing esoteric or crap like that), and sometimes of knowledge. So if you want to get more precise information on this subject I invite you to read: Kath Clements, Why Vegan, London: Heretic Books Ltd., 1995 (Vegan, Göttingen: Echo-Verlag, 1996), or visit one of the websites listed in my links section.
If you are a vegetarian of the ovo-lacto type (i.e. you eat dairy products and eggs) because you can't stand the atrocities done to our fellow creatures in the farms, slaughterhouses and during transport, please don't stop half way. Take into account that calves have to be bred and are murdered for milk (it's a myth that cows generate milk without having babies, nor is milk essential or even healthy for us) and that livestock farming with chicken is unbelievably brutal. Vegetarianism is a starting point, but veganism seems more consistent.


stolen from srini

Being vegan also implies to have a critical look at capitalism (by the way, the term capitalism is derived from cattle). As long as industry tells us lies like we needed meat for a healthy diet, animal tests were necessary or leather was less polluting than synthetics etc. (the same goes for the force to buy certain clothes or other products to be "in".) I feel free to say that capitalism is a more brain-washing than it is a democratic institution.
I guess it's not reasonable to state a "crisis" or something like that for capitalism. This would mean that something had gone wrong. But that's not true: The system itself seems to be wrong.
It might be a utopia to proclaim an anti-capitalistic society with just wages and an ecologically balanced production system. But if you (or I) don't start to fight for a fair society, whom else should we blame? A first and probably the most important step (and an easy one as well) is to boycott products of companies which obviously violate laws of humanity or animal rights. You needn't feel as an outsider or an alien if you avoid McDonald's or Procter&Gamble food etc. Quite on the contrary, you will be able to gain much self-confidence.
All this doesn't mean to live without money at all (nevertheless we should try and establish communities which are able to live on the base of a non-profit system). But if the neurotic need for money expands into mass-psychotic trends, as is the current euphoria for share-holding and the stock market, we mustn't be surprised if the unemployed start riots before long and throw bricks into our windows or demolish our beloved cars. Shares kill jobs, so we'll have to wait and see whether such a system is able to maintain social justice.

Anarchy vs Democracy

Anarchy seems to be a utopia, too. I don't think it is impossible at all, but I guess for large societies the least of all evil is social democracy, maybe socialism (I call it an evil because an ideal society wouldn't need any form of government, yet this hardly seems possible to realize).
I can (partially!) understand the views of the hardline movement, they are vegan, reject drugs, endorse sports etc. (things I do, too), but I won't share their elitarian attitude towards anarchy.
Peace can be pursued, but not enforced! This, again, is a matter of consciousness and political awareness, not of blindly following any dogma. Just be yourself - this is an anarchistic and a democratic slogan.