Deep Green Resistance: Occupy (and more) till civilization falls
“The goal of Deep Green Resistance is to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor, and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet.”
by Duggan Flanakin (reviewer)
(CFACT)–The central theme of Deep Green Resistance, written by Aric McBay, Lierre Keith, and Derrick Jensen (author of Endgame), is simple. To save the planet, its wildlife and some of its people, the enlightened few must rise up in resistance – not to reform, but rather to totally tear down the corporate capitalist economic system, and even civilization itself as we know it.
Jensen presents his thesis in the book’s preface. “The dominant culture – civilization – is killing the planet, and it is long past time for those of us who care about life on earth to begin taking the actions necessary to stop this culture from destroying every living being.”
So it was no surprise that Jensen used Skype to address the assemblage at Occupy Wall Street – and then used YouTube to broadcast his message across the globe. Bizarrely but perhaps even less surprising, he cited the American Declaration of Independence as legal authority for a resistance movement for which he is already a major spokesman. In the midst of an appeal to local police to join forces with the “Occupiers,” Jensen quoted Jefferson:
[W]henever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Echoing (but going well beyond) Al Gore, James Hansen, Ted Danson, Ted Turner, and others, Jensen and his coauthors rattle off scary statistics as evidence of the global disaster allegedly upon us because of corporate capitalism, even the liberal kind. [The authors even give electric cars short shrift, noting that their widespread use would require massive quantities of fossil-fuel-generated electricity.] Indeed, their mission is to move today’s counterculture from passive to active resistance, given their premise that merely withdrawing from this “destructive” civilization does little if anything to threaten the existing power structure.
The authors are quite clear in stating their goal, and the methodology by which they intend to achieve it. “The goal of DGR [Deep Green Resistance] is to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor, and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet.” Simply put, “Industrial civilization [including corporate agriculture] must be stopped,” and direct actions against strategic infrastructure (even blowing up dams and destroying electricity grids) represent just one set of tactics in their arsenal.
In a recent interview, McBay says, “I think one of the problems with industrial society in general is that it tries to come up with some answer that it can impose everywhere on the planet, and that just doesn’t work.” He envisions a new social order based on small communities that can obtain their food locally (shades of Bill McKibben!) and use energy that the land around them can provide. All three authors are firmly convinced that the corporate civilization has opened a Pandora’s box of global warming, toxic chemicals, and other ills (including drastically reduced natural fisheries and depleted soils) that may only recover over time (if that is even possible, they assert). Indeed, to these revolutionaries, even “sustainable agriculture is an oxymoron.” After all, the authors say, Aristotle, Socrates and Plato all said the world in their day was being destroyed by agriculture.
Also fueling the Occupy Wall Street movement is its growing belief that government at all levels today serves corporate interests far better than it serves individual human beings. Yet it is not “the 99 percent” that Keith is looking to for change – or to “protect” under her new world vision. As she says, “usually there is only a small percentage of the population that will rise up and take on the power structure.” So she wants to go after “the 2 percent” who might join her in what she hopes will be the coming revolution.
The “Occupiers” themselves have now found common ground with what is emerging as the “Arab Spring” leadership, who appear to be increasingly devoted to Shariah law and quite happy to ensure that their people never embrace the comforts (or equal rights) of Western civilization. A recent communiqué from Egypt has been posted with approval on the OWS website. It states, “An entire generation across the globe has grown up realizing, rationally and emotionally, that we have no future in the current order of things.”
Those of us who are heavily invested in the current culture may see this movement as bizarre, if not inspired by our political enemies. Indeed, they are enemies of technology, modernity and all that we and our ancestors labored to create – to end human bondage to the cruel elements and lives that for most of human existence were nasty, brutish and short.
We certainly should not forget that many of today’s youth are heavily burdened by student loan debt, a shrinking jobs market, wars revolutions, earthquakes and hurricanes even in New York City (and other natural disasters so eerily covered by worldwide media outlets). But natural disasters have been a common affliction mankind for millennia, and modern prosperity and technology help to soften their impacts. Student debt and job problems are in large part the result of a political establishment that promised what was simply not sustainable under any economic system. And far too much of this Deep Ecology, Planet in Crisis ideology (or religion) is taught today in schools where traditional religion is taboo and prohibited.
While there is a strong move by establishment liberal politicians to harness this unrest (often with more empty promises), the Deep Greens urge their followers not to trust anyone invested in (and profiting from) the dominant culture.
Keith, an avowed feminist (but anti-vegetarian), condemns “the troika of industrialization, capitalism and patriarchy” for “skinning the planet alive.” She lampoons Al Gore, noting that his solutions are like a band-aid to a gushing wound, and arguing that there are no quick fixes: “Industrialism itself is what has to stop,” she insists. Sarcastically, she notes, “I have been to workshops where global warming was treated as an opportunity for personal growth, and no one there but me saw a problem with that.”
Keith attacks the Lockean view of society for “loosen[ing] the ethical constraints that had existed on the wealthy” and thus “turn[ing] the powerless over to the economically powerful, simply swapping the monarchs for the merchant barons.” But she is just as harsh with “the reformers” who, despite seeing government as “the only institution that could break the economic stranglehold of the big trusts,” nonetheless still believed in individualism.” She is utterly disgusted with today’s “vaguely liberal alterna-culture, “ which she describes as “identifiable by its meditation classes and under-cooked legumes, its obsession with its own psychology, and its New Age spiritual platitudes.”
Hat Tip: 1000 Monkeys