(The following was originally published in Species and Class.)
Dean Capone, who has announced his intention to seek the 2016 Socialist Party USApresidential nomination, recently gave an interview to Species and Class in which he discussed non-human politics. According to his campaign website, he has been an active member of SPUSA and is a former treasurer of the organization’s Tampa Bay, Fla., local. He supports a national basic income, union growth, and public ownership of heavy industry.
Species and Class : Why should those concerned by the treatment of animals vote for you?
Dean Capone: I became vegan as an act of compassion and not economics. But I’m am aware that systemic cruelty, exploitation and destruction of animals is, in fact, an underpinning cause of many social, health and economic issues — in addition to being cruel.
SC: What is Socialist Party USA’s official position on animal exploitation? How might it be improved?
DC: [Here’s] the party’s position: “The Socialist Party recognizes the rights of animals to live free from unnecessary pain and suffering, and the responsibility of people to protect those rights. We support the spaying and neutering of pets to prevent the massive extermination resulting from overpopulation. We oppose entertainment that causes pain to animals. We call for the banning of the fur trade. We support greater inclusion and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act. We call for a ban on animal experimentation for product development, and for an oversight board to examine and limit the use of animals in scientific and medical research. We oppose factory farming practices of overcrowding, drugging, and otherwise cruelly treating animals.” I believe this could be improved by taking greater action on these points, as well as partnering with organizations who are not necessarily in support of ‘farm’ rights, but animal rights.
SC: What do you mean by farm rights as opposed to animal rights?
DC: Socialists sometimes only think of the workers — farmers — and not other species.
SC: For you, how, if at all, are the fights for economic justice and better treatment for animals intertwined?
DC: Animal exploitation, destruction and consumption is responsible for a great deal of the health, environmental and economic issues mankind places on its own species, by willfully exploiting other species. For instance, destruction of the rain forests, catastrophic injuries, poverty and oppression among workers in the industry, the waste of millions of tons of foodstuffs that could feed people, but is instead used to feed animals for destruction. The relationship between class and species is direct. But if you analyze the growth of say, factory farming in the 20th-21st century, I think one could find many indicators that species exploitation and class oppression are one narrative.