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View Full Version : An Environment's Environmenatalist - Eco-Warrior and Truth-Teller



Peter Lemkin
12-06-2008, 02:40 PM
Most of you know me on fora as to my interest in JFK or Deep Political matters. That is me, but my training at university and my 'other' job is as an environmantal scientist and as an environmentalist. Derrick Jensen is one of the best of the best. This might be new territory for many of you - but I think shortly into the video you will see the parallels with the other battles I and you fight. This is the underlying one, and the gravest and most immediate threat to us all. Give Jensen a hearing - he's much fun to listen to - and speaks truth to power. He is a friend of Ward Churchill (http://www.wardchurchill.net/), Mumia Abu-Jimal (http://www.freemumia.org/), and others more known for their 'fighting the Beast' on the political level. This is part I and there is also Part II. He has a great new book out, as well. I'd also like to see an Environment section to our Forum on which to post. Here's Derrick speaking for the salmon, all living things, Nature, and for me....He is really at the forefront of the War to save the Planet. The best part is the last 3 minutes - about the picket pins - but don't go there without first hearing him out. Think about what he has to say, and his method of attack - we on the political and deep political front can learn from this warrior, much. I'd like to develop further the direct and intimate relationship between the war against the environment and the war against all humans not in the Uberklass. We need to start to see the nexus here. I long ago knew of it and came to the JFK Assasination from being a governor's environmental aide - later....but the same philosophy [sic], and the same people and entities underlie our oppression, as well as the destruction of our polity and the environment!
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8649250863235826256&hl=en


and his website is here: http://www.derrickjensen.org/

One person's take on Jensen:
Author Derrick Jensen is as rare a person as you will ever meet. He is so keenly attuned to the natural world that he feels every knife cut civilization inflicts on it. With every word he speaks he seems to be saying, "If you could feel the Earth's pain as I do, you would spend every moment of your existence trying to stop it."

Before he came to town last week, I had read only some scattered essays by Jensen and had never before seen him speak. At first I tried to take notes. But then I gave up and simply let the wave of pathos emanating from this man wash over me. He was at turns erudite, crude, poetic, caustic, and misty-eyed--as gifted a performer as I have ever seen. But what was his performance about?

He spoke at length about patriarchy, conquest, empire, slavery, wage slavery, cruelty to women, cruelty to minorities, cruelty to indigenous people. He plumbed the depths of the modern psyche, our attachment to machines and their effect on our brains. He talked about the effect of language on perception. Is that a forest full of trees--an oak here, a walnut there, with a black squirrel scurrying around the trunk and a sparrow alighting on a limb--or is it simply lumber waiting to be cut? Sometimes the forest is euphemistically referred to as a "natural resource" by environmentalist and forestry company executive alike.

Do you understand how exploited and damaged you really are? As long as you think about how you might get a bigger piece of the pie, you are trapped. As long as you think social justice is about getting a bigger piece of the pie for others who are deprived, you are trapped. All of your normal, civilization-derived concepts are likely traps. Can you see your way through them? Let Derrick Jensen help you.

And, he does. But not directly. As an audience member you are simply following him around as he destroys one notion after another about what constitutes justice, what constitutes truth and what constitutes peace. Jensen is an environmentalist so he must be for peace, right? No, not really, not if you take into account the tremendous violence that modern societies inflict on nature, even while they are at nominal peace with one another. You'll never overcome that violence by working for peace. You must resist the foundations of civilization, sometimes with violence.

How about justice? Surely, we must share the fruits of civilization more widely with the poor. No, those fruits aren't worth sharing because they are poisonous. OK, but surely we would be better off by choosing to keep some of the machines brought to us by modern civilization while discarding others that are known to be bad? Those machines are the product of a civilization built on violence and oppression. The violence and oppression are built right into the machines. How will you filter that out?

Jensen's own childhood seems to have been the point of departure for his analysis. An abusive home life seems to have led him not to the provinces of psychology, but to those of sociology. He does not ask what type of monster his father was. He asks what kind of society produces fathers who are monsters. His answer has led him to the conclusion that fathers can't be fixed until civilization is fixed.

He ostensibly came to talk about his latest book, Endgame. Can industrial civilization survive? Answer: No. Is there anything we can do to make a gradual transition from industrial civilization to a peaceful, sustainable world? Answer: There is, but we won't do it.

Are you saying that industrial civilization is so harmful to humans and nonhumans alike that we ought to hasten its inevitable demise? Answer: It is and we should. Won't a lot of people die if we bring down industrial civilization today? Yes, but a lot more will die if it continues to expand before meeting its inevitable demise; and, the damage won't be inflicted just on human beings, but on all the creatures of the biosphere, injuring and wiping out vast numbers of them even while changing the climate and basic habitability of the planet.

Aren't you, Derrick Jensen, inflicting damage yourself on the biosphere by doing what you do, traveling, publishing books, using electronic communications? Answer: It is inevitable. No one can escape this contradiction. But that doesn't mean we have to accept it and do nothing. Aren't you really just using the tools of the master to try to dismantle the master's house? Answer: Yes, and I'll borrow my neighbor's tools and your tools and steal some tools from Wal-Mart if I have to.

I wondered whether Derrick Jensen believes that there was a pre-agricultural golden age of hunter-gatherers who were neither exploitive of one another nor damaging to the environment. I'm not quite sure based on this one encounter. But I think he would like to find out if such an arrangement would at least be healthier for the humans and other beings on planet Earth.

There is one thing I am sure Jensen believes: Nature is not the remorseless, amoral force that modern civilization assumes it to be. And, despite all our colossal abuse of it, the actors of nature continue to try to do their appointed work of keeping it running. "Nature is waiting to welcome us back," he assures us. But, do we really want to go back? http://resourceinsights.blogspot.com/2007/12/pathos-of-derrick-jensen.html

Another interesting video by Jensen: http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=derrick+jensen&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&resnum=4&ct=title#

Keith Millea
12-06-2008, 07:27 PM
Thanks for this post Peter.Unfortunatly,I only have dial-up connection and can not view long videos.I will though send it along to my youngest son.He is a student,and just changed his environmental science major to a minor,and has Philosophy as his new major.I am sure that he will be very interested.

Keith

Peter Lemkin
12-07-2008, 07:15 AM
Thanks for this post Peter.Unfortunatly,I only have dial-up connection and can not view long videos.I will though send it along to my youngest son.He is a student,and just changed his environmental science major to a minor,and has Philosophy as his new major.I am sure that he will be very interested.

Keith

I will try to find some Jenson materials on my computer and internet to post. Fair warning: Jensen is a no-nonsense Eco-Warrior in defense of Gaia, and willing to do battle with those who are destroying / killing the Environment and the Planet. He uses very frank language, at times, and has [to many] extreme views - spoken with much humor and sincerity. I don't think his views are extreme - but I'm sure he has a huge FBI (and other agency) files. He doesn't advocate offensive things; only defensive - and to defend those who can't 'speak' and act with as much agency as we. I think, also, his views can and should be taken, in part, into the political action community. His last book is in two parts. Both parts are called Endgame. The second part is called Resisistance -and is his philosophical treatise on how to fight the forces destroying the Environment and Humanity, as well. I could also suggest other Environmental thinkers, not so radical. May I also suggest you pass on to your son and that Forum Members with broadband [I can NOT live without it - and it is more easily availble in Europe than in the USA - another conspiracy....] look at the film called Life At The End Of Empire - What A Way To Go (http://fuckcopyright.blogspot.com/2008/08/what-way-to-go-life-at-end-of-empire.html). It is very well done and sober [if painful, at times] wake-up call to the immediate crisis facing humanity and the Planet on the Environmental Front. The filmmaker has serveral interviews intercut in the film of Jensen and the other better spokespersons and thinkers on this subject. Jensen is saying - as few others are saying - time to stop talking about a solution (or only complaining) - the time is past to make our stand [he uses the picket-pin as his analogy]. One Native American tribe had a practice where the warriors in battle would place a large picket-pin [stake] hammered into the ground, to which they were attached by a long rope. In battle they could not move the pin - unless it was forward - no retreat was possible. Jensen in the end of his books and in his talks asks every reader, every listener, everyone - "what will it take; where in the ongoing deterioration of the Planet's and Polity's infrastructure - until you are willing to make a stand and act?! When and where will you put in your picket-pin"?! I ask each in this Forum to ask this of themselves - on the Environment and on the Political issues we post about. Jensen challenges our notion of 'civilization' and calls for its dismanteling, partly to make a point, but very much as his desire to get back to where humans once were, long ago - sustainable and in harmony with, not in opposition to Nature. It is the philosophy of the most radical (in the good sense, I think) of the Environmental movement - but (speaking here as an Environmental Scientist), the ONLY one that can possibly lead to a sustainable and long-term future for both humans and many creatures with which we share the Planet. Even if one doesn't share his conclusions, I think his analysis is brilliant and will make one loose sleep - as well we should, these days.

Peter Lemkin
12-07-2008, 08:05 AM
The 20 Premises used in the book by Jensen:

Premises of Endgame

Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.

Premise Two: Traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed. They also do not willingly allow their landbases to be damaged so that other resources—gold, oil, and so on—can be extracted. It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities.

Premise Three: Our way of living—industrial civilization—is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

Premise Four: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

Premise Five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

Premise Six: Civilization is not redeemable. This culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living. If we do not put a halt to it, civilization will continue to immiserate the vast majority of humans and to degrade the planet until it (civilization, and probably the planet) collapses. The effects of this degradation will continue to harm humans and nonhumans for a very long time.

Premise Seven: The longer we wait for civilization to crash—or the longer we wait before we ourselves bring it down—the messier will be the crash, and the worse things will be for those humans and nonhumans who live during it, and for those who come after.

Premise Eight: The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system.

Another way to put premise Eight: Any economic or social system that does not benefit the natural communities on which it is based is unsustainable, immoral, and stupid. Sustainability, morality, and intelligence (as well as justice) requires the dismantling of any such economic or social system, or at the very least disallowing it from damaging your landbase.

Premise Nine: Although there will clearly some day be far fewer humans than there are at present, there are many ways this reduction in population could occur (or be achieved, depending on the passivity or activity with which we choose to approach this transformation). Some of these ways would be characterized by extreme violence and privation: nuclear armageddon, for example, would reduce both population and consumption, yet do so horrifically; the same would be true for a continuation of overshoot, followed by crash. Other ways could be characterized by less violence. Given the current levels of violence by this culture against both humans and the natural world, however, it’s not possible to speak of reductions in population and consumption that do not involve violence and privation, not because the reductions themselves would necessarily involve violence, but because violence and privation have become the default. Yet some ways of reducing population and consumption, while still violent, would consist of decreasing the current levels of violence required, and caused by, the (often forced) movement of resources from the poor to the rich, and would of course be marked by a reduction in current violence against the natural world. Personally and collectively we may be able to both reduce the amount and soften the character of violence that occurs during this ongoing and perhaps longterm shift. Or we may not. But this much is certain: if we do not approach it actively—if we do not talk about our predicament and what we are going to do about it—the violence will almost undoubtedly be far more severe, the privation more extreme.

Premise Ten: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

Premise Eleven: From the beginning, this culture—civilization—has been a culture of occupation.

Premise Twelve: There are no rich people in the world, and there are no poor people. There are just people. The rich may have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something—or their presumed riches may be even more abstract: numbers on hard drives at banks—and the poor may not. These “rich” claim they own land, and the “poor” are often denied the right to make that same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with. These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.

Premise Thirteen: Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

Premise Fourteen: From birth on—and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case—we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes—and our bodies—to be poisoned.

Premise Fifteen: Love does not imply pacifism.

Premise Sixteen: The material world is primary. This does not mean that the spirit does not exist, nor that the material world is all there is. It means that spirit mixes with flesh. It means also that real world actions have real world consequences. It means we cannot rely on Jesus, Santa Claus, the Great Mother, or even the Easter Bunny to get us out of this mess. It means this mess really is a mess, and not just the movement of God’s eyebrows. It means we have to face this mess ourselves. It means that for the time we are here on Earth—whether or not we end up somewhere else after we die, and whether we are condemned or privileged to live here—the Earth is the point. It is primary. It is our home. It is everything. It is silly to think or act or be as though this world is not real and primary. It is silly and pathetic to not live our lives as though our lives are real.

Premise Seventeen: It is a mistake (or more likely, denial) to base our decisions on whether actions arising from these will or won’t frighten fence-sitters, or the mass of Americans.

Premise Eighteen: Our current sense of self is no more sustainable than our current use of energy or technology.

Premise Nineteen: The culture’s problem lies above all in the belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.

Premise Twenty: Within this culture, economics—not community well-being, not morals, not ethics, not justice, not life itself—drives social decisions.

Modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the monetary fortunes of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the power of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are founded primarily (and often exclusively) on the almost entirely unexamined belief that the decision-makers and those they serve are entitled to magnify their power and/or financial fortunes at the expense of those below.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: If you dig to the heart of it—if there were any heart left—you would find that social decisions are determined primarily on the basis of how well these decisions serve the ends of controlling or destroying wild nature.

More excerpts from his book endgame here
http://www.endgamethebook.org/excerpts.html

some of the excerpts from the above url - but get the book!
APOCALYPSE

When a white man kills an Indian in a fair fight it is called honorable, but when an Indian kills a white man in a fair fight it is called murder. When a white army battles Indians and wins it is called a great victory, but if they lose it is called a massacre and bigger armies are raised. If the Indian flees before the advance of such armies, when he tries to return he finds that white men are living where he lived. If he tries to fight off such armies, he is killed and the land is taken anyway. When an Indian is killed, it is a great loss which leaves a gap in our people and a sorrow in our heart; when a white is killed three or four others step up to take his place and there is no end to it. The white man seeks to conquer nature, to bend it to his will and to use it wastefully until it is all gone and then he simply moves on, leaving the waste behind him and looking for new places to take. The whole white race is a monster who is always hungry and what he eats is land.

Chiksika



As a longtime grassroots environmental activist, and as a creature living in the thrashing endgame of civilization, I am intimately acquainted with the landscape of loss, and have grown accustomed to carrying the daily weight of despair. I have walked clearcuts that wrap around mountains, drop into valleys, then climb ridges to fragment watershed after watershed, and I’ve sat silent near empty streams that two generations ago were “lashed into whiteness” by uncountable salmon coming home to spawn and die.

A few years ago I began to feel pretty apocalyptic. But I hesitated to use that word, in part because of those drawings I’ve seen of crazy penitents carrying “The End is Near” signs, and in part because of the power of the word itself. Apocalypse. I didn’t want to use it lightly.

But then a friend and fellow activist said, “What will it take for you to finally call it an apocalypse? The death of the salmon? Global warming? The ozone hole? The reduction of krill populations off Antarctica by 90 percent, the turning of the sea off San Diego into a dead zone, the same for the Gulf of Mexico? How about the end of the great coral reefs? The extirpation of two hundred species per day? Four hundred? Six hundred? Give me a specific threshold, Derrick, a specific point at which you’ll finally use that word.”

* * *

Do you believe that our culture will undergo a voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living?

For the last several years I’ve taken to asking people this question, at talks and rallies, in libraries, on buses, in airplanes, at the grocery store, the hardware store. Everywhere. The answers range from emphatic nos to laughter. No one answers in the affirmative. One fellow at one talk did raise his hand, and when everyone looked at him, he dropped his hand, then said, sheepishly, “Oh, voluntary? No, of course not.” My next question: how will this understanding—that this culture will not voluntarily stop destroying the natural world, eliminating indigenous cultures, exploiting the poor, and killing those who resist—shift our strategy and tactics? The answer? Nobody knows, because we never talk about it: we’re too busy pretending the culture will undergo a magical transformation.

This book is about that shift in strategy, and in tactics.

* * *

I just got home from talking to a new friend, another longtime activist. She told me of a campaign she participated in a few years ago to try to stop the government and transnational timber corporations from spraying Agent Orange, a potent defoliant and teratogen, in the forests of Oregon. Whenever activists learned a hillside was going to be sprayed, they assembled there, hoping their presence would stop the poisoning. But each time, like clockwork, helicopters appeared, and each time, like clockwork, helicopters dumped loads of Agent Orange onto the hillside and onto protesting activists. The campaign did not succeed.

“But,” she said to me, “I’ll tell you what did. A bunch of Vietnam vets lived in those hills, and they sent messages to the Bureau of Land Management and to Weyerhaeuser, Boise Cascade, and the other timber companies saying, ‘We know the names of your helicopter pilots, and we know their addresses.’”

I waited for her to finish.

“You know what happened next?” she asked.

“I think I do,” I responded.

“Exactly,” she said. “The spraying stopped.”
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VIOLENCE (part 1)

A visitor from Mars could easily pick out the civilized nations. They have the best implements of war.

Herbert V. Prochnow

The second premise of this book is that, for obvious reasons, traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed. They also do not willingly allow their landbases to be damaged so that other resources—gold, oil, and so on—can be extracted. It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities. This can be accomplished more or less physically, such as through the murder of the peoples and the land on which they depend, or more or less spiritually or psychologically, through the destruction of sacred sites, through aggressive and/or forceful proselytization, by forcefully addicting them to the aggressor’s products, by kidnapping their children (most often legally), and through many other means all-too-familiar to those who attend to the relations between the civilized and noncivilized.

* * *

Resources for the civilized have always been more important than the lives of those in the colonies. A German colonial officer in South West Africa was more honest than many: “A right of the natives, which could only be realized at the expense of the development of the white race, does not exist. The idea is absurd that Bantus, Sudan-negroes, and Hottentots in Africa have the right to live and die as they please, even when by this uncounted people among the civilized peoples of Europe were forced to remain tied to a miserable proletarian existence instead of being able, by the full use of the productive capacities of our colonial possessions to rise to a richer level of existence themselves and also to help construct the whole body of human and national welfare.”

* * *

Following quickly on the heels of the second premise is the third, that this way of living—industrial civilization—is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread exploitation and degradation. This includes exploitation and degradation of the natural world—for what is unsustainability except a fancy word for exploitation and degradation of natural communities?—and it includes exploitation and degradation of those who do not want us to take their resources (or, to another way of thinking, to kill and sell their nonhuman neighbors). It also includes harming those humans and nonhumans who will come later, and who will inherit a pauperized world.

A few months ago I received an email from an activist who wrote, “I’ve been inspired by Bucky Fuller’s vision for years. He says that we have enough of everything to give everyone on the planet a standard of living no one has known so far. But it will require taking all of our resources and technology off of weaponry and fully devoting them to ‘livingry.’ In other words, we can make it happen, but there’s no room for greed in the equation. His whole thing was ‘a world that works for everyone with no one left out.’”

Leaving aside the standard conceit that the civilized have higher standards of living than traditional hunter-gatherers (if you measure by some standards, such as the number of automobiles, yes; if you measure by others, such as leisure time, sustainability, social equality, and food security—meaning no one goes hungry— hunter-gatherers win hands down), Fuller’s is a powerful—and powerfully dan-gerous—fantasy, and an odd statement coming from someone living on land taken by violence from its original inhabitants, and using the sorts of technolo-gies—for example, industrial forestry, mining, smelting—that violently shape the world to industrial ends. Just because Fuller designed groovy structures like geodesic domes (the one at Expo ’67 in Montreal was way cool!) did not mean that violence was not done to the land—and to people—both there and elsewhere. Where, precisely, did Fuller believe these resources came from, and how did he believe he would get them without using force against both the “resources” themselves and against the humans who live in close proximity to them?

I enjoy railing against the absurdity of the U.S. military budget as much as the next sane person. I often marvel at the extraordinary amounts of money that are spent seemingly for no other purpose than to kill people, and dream of what good could be accomplished if those who serve life had the same easy access to cash as those who serve death. Corporate Senators and Representatives are fond of complaining, for example, that it’s too expensive to save species driven to the brink of extinction by the actions of the industrial economy, and that the corporations these men (and token women) represent must be allowed to continue their actions unimpeded. An industry front group calling itself the “Grassroots ESA Coalition” (a subgroup of the similarly deceivingly named industry front group “National Wilderness Institute”) has stated that total costs for “the ten species covered by the most expensive endangered species recovery plans are: Atlantic Green Turtle $88,236,000; Loggerhead Turtle $85,947,000; Blunt-Nosed Leopard Lizard $70,252,000; Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle $63,600,000; Colorado Squawfish $57,770,000; Humpback Chub $57,770,000; Bonytail Chub $57,770,000; Razorback Sucker $57,770,000; Black-Capped Vireo $53,538,000; Swamp Pink $29,026,000.” I’m not sure I trust their research, or, for that matter, their intelligence because even when trying to show how expensive implementation of the Endangered Species Act is, they left off more pricey efforts. Costs for projects aimed toward recovering salmon in the Northwest (or rather, projects aimed at providing the illusion of recovery while allowing business to continue as usual) were $119 million just in 1995. Not including land acquisition, annual expenditures for recovery efforts for all endangered species went from $43 million in 1989 to $312 million in 1995. Recently, the federal government made big news when it granted more than $16 million to twenty-five states to promote the conservation of such varied species as marbled murrelets, salmon, bull trout, aplomado falcons, Karner blue butterflies, Florida scrub jays, and the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse. This may all seem like a lot of money, but in fiscal year 2001 the federal government spent more than $5.7 billion on the physical impossibility called the Ballistic Missile Defense System (a.k.a. Strategic Defense Initiative, a.k.a. Star Wars, and most especially a.k.a. a black hole into which money disappears, to conveniently reappear on the ledgers of favored corporations). It spent $3.9 billion on new F-22 fighters, $3 billion on new C-17 Transport aircraft, $1.7 billion on new V-22 Osprey aircraft (which seem capable so far only of killing their own crews), $4 billion as a partial payment on a new aircraft carrier, $3 billion as a partial payment on a new submarine. Even prior to the events of September 11, the military received nearly one billion dollars per day during fiscal year 2001. Just in the last seven years, the military spent more than $100 million on airline tickets it did not use. The tickets were fully refundable, but the military never bothered to ask for a refund. The United States government spends $44 billion per year on spying. I used to often fantasize about using all that that money used for harm—real money, not the crumbs tossed in the direction of wildlife—to help salmon, spotted owls, Carson wandering skipper butterflies (listed as endangered only after having been reduced to a few individuals), Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits (of whom only fifty remain in the wild), Mississippi gopher frogs (of whom only one hundred members remain, breeding in one pond), Tumbling Creek cavesnails (down to forty individuals), and so many others. But the truth is that this will never happen.

The reason that my fantasies are nothing more than fantasies, and the reason that the same is true for Buckminster Fuller’s more well-known fantasies, is that the money must be spent on weaponry, and not on livingry. To believe the U.S. military does not serve an absolutely vital purpose is to have failed to pay any attention to the path of civilization for the past six thousand years. The importation of resources into cities has always required force, and always will. And that’s why Fuller’s fantasy is dangerous—as is my own, when I forget it is a fantasy—because it pretends that resource extraction can be accomplished without force and exploitation, thus diverting attention toward the outrageous and obscene military budgets and away from the social and technological processes that require them. If you need—or perceive yourself as needing—gold, wood, food, fur, land, or oil that resides in someone else’s community, and if this other community does not want to hand these resources over to you—and why on God’s green earth should they?—how are you going to get them? We have seen this process too many times to not know the answer.

* * *

In late 2001, the United States military began bombing the people and landscape of Afghanistan, at a cost to the American public of approximately a billion dollars a day, or about four dollars for every man, woman, and child in this country (or more was spent in three hours than in all of 1995 ostensibly to save salmon). This amounts to about forty dollars per day for every one of the human targets, that is, every Afghan man, woman, and child. Based on Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, forty dollars is about twenty times their average daily income. It would, in a sense, be the equivalent of a government spending about eighteen hundred dollars per day per person in the United States to kill us here.

Much as I enjoy being the center of attention (I am, after all, a male), given the choice, I’d be willing to settle for a lot less attention were it given to me in the form of cash or foodstuffs, rather than bombs. No, thank you, I’d say politely, I don’t really want a bomb, nor even a “bomblet,” not even one as cool as a BLU-26 Sadeye, although I might be able to use a few of the hundreds of razor-sharp projectiles to cut some things around the house. Instead, a cow would be nice. And some chickens. And some native trees. You could buy all of that for me in one day. And then tomorrow we could talk about a bicycle, and then the day after that we could start thinking about a new well. Truth be told I wouldn’t even know what to do with eighteen hundred dollars every day, or its equivalent in the Afghan community. I’d probably give most of it away. But I still think I’d rather have a cow and some chickens than a bomb.

On further reflection, do you know what I’d like even more? To simply be left alone.

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ABUSERS (part 1)

Violence against women and violence against the Earth, legitimated and promoted by both patriarchal religion and science, are interconnected assaults rooted in the eroticization of domination. The gynocidal culture’s image of w oman as object and victim is paralleled by contemporary representations that continually show the Earth as a toy, machine, or violated object, as well as by the religious and scientific ideology that legitimates the possession, contamination, and destruction of Mother Earth.

Jane Caputi

We have been too kind to those who are killing the planet.

We have been inexcusably, unforgivably, insanely kind.

I understand now. For years I have been asking whether abusers believe their lies, and I’m finally comfortable with an answer.

This understanding came in great measure because I finally stopped focusing on the lies and their purveyors and I began to focus on the abusers’ actions. I realized, following Lundy Bancroft, that to try to answer the question of whether the abusers believe their lies is to remain under the abusers’ spell, to “look off in the wrong direction,” to allow myself to be distracted so I “won’t notice where the real action is.” To remain focused on that question is exactly what abusers want.

Bancroft helped me realize some very important things. He writes specifically about abusers, emphasizing perpetrators of domestic violence, but what he says applies as well to this whole culture of abuse, and to perpetrators of the larger scale abuse I’ve been writing about.

His central thesis seems to be that the primary problem is not that abusers particularly “lose control” or that they are particularly prone to “flying into a rage,” but instead that they feel entitled to exploit, will do anything in order to exploit, and will exploit precisely as much as they can get away with.

Bancroft excels at exploding misconceptions. When a woman stated that her abusive partner Michael loses control and breaks things in a rage, only to feel remorse afterwards, Bancroft asked whether the things that were broken were Michael’s or hers. She answered,“I’m amazed that I’ve never thought of this, but he only breaks my stuff. I can’t think of one thing he’s smashed that belonged to him.” Bancroft asked who cleans up. She does. He responded, “Michael’s behavior isn’t nearly as berserk as it looks. And if he really felt so remorseful, he’d help clean up.”

I remember a time my father was berating and beating my teenaged sister, and her boyfriend showed up an hour early for their date. My father immediately ceased calling her a slut, dropped his hands to his sides, smiled, and walked to greet her boyfriend as if nothing had happened. His rage was not out of control, but something he was able to turn on and off like a light switch.

Or picture this. My father hits my mother. He has hit her many times before.

But this time she slips into another room, calls the police. She comes back out. My father hits her again and again. He is interrupted by the doorbell. He points one finger at her, runs his other hand through his hair, walks to the door, opens it. There are two policemen. My father is cool, calm, as though nothing has happened. My mother is frantic, frightened, having just been beaten. The cops sympathize with my father for living with someone so emotional—they also sympathize because their allegiance already runs to the abuser (see, for example, the arrest rates for rapists in Humboldt County)—and they leave. The door closes. My father resumes beating my mother. His rage, once again, could be turned on and off.

My mother can perhaps be forgiven for her naïveté in relying on authorities to assist her. She was, after all, nineteen years old, with two children and preg-nant with a third. But at this point, especially on the larger scale, the rest of us should not be so naïve.

Abusers are not out of control. They are very much in control. I never under-stood that till I read Bancroft’s book.

Similarly, I speak of this culture’s destructive urge, and how those in power destroy those things they cannot control. I have written of clearcuts, of devastated oceans, of murdered poor and extirpated species. But corporations and those who run them do not flail willy-nilly at everything around them. Like Michael, they do not destroy what belongs to them. And of course they do not clean up their messes, no matter how much remorse they may feign, and no matter how much they may claim to have moved beyond petroleum, or into new forestry, or whatever other words they may wish to throw around.

Bancroft asks the abusers he works with what are the limits of their violence. He might say, “You called her a fucking whore, you grabbed the phone out of her hand and whipped it across the room, and then you gave her a shove and she fell down. There she was at your feet, where it would have been easy to kick her in the head. Now, you have just finished telling me that you didn’t kick her. What stopped you?” His point is not so much the question as the answer. He says the abusers “can always give ... a reason.” Some of the reasons: “I wouldn’t want to cause her a serious injury.” “I realized one of the children was watching.” “I was afraid someone would call the police.” “I could kill her if I did that.” “The fight was getting loud,and I was afraid neighbors would hear.” The most frequent response is, “Jesus, I wouldn’t do that. I would never do something like that to her.” Only twice in fifteen years has Bancroft heard the answer, “I don’t know.”

His point is that when abusers are committing their atrocities, they remain acutely aware of the following questions, “Am I doing something that other people could find out about, so it could make me look bad? Am I doing some-thing that could get me in legal trouble? Could I hurt myself? Am I doing anything that I myself consider too cruel, gross, or violent?”

These questions are asked word-for-word in corporate boardrooms. I spoke at length a few years ago with a former corporate lawyer who recovered her con-science, quit, and began working against the corporations. “The people who run these corporations,”she said,“know exactly what they’re doing. They know they’re killing people. They know they’re destroying rivers. They know they’re lying. And they know they’re making a lot of money in the process.”

Bancroft continues, “A critical insight seeped into me from working with my first few dozen clients. An abuser almost never does anything that he himself considers morally unacceptable. He may hide what he does because he thinks other people would disagree with it, but he feels justified inside. I can’t remember a client who ever said to me: ‘There’s no way I can defend what I did. It was just totally wrong.’ He invariably has a reason that he considers good enough. In short, an abuser’s core problem is that he has a distorted sense of right and wrong.”

This is true on the larger social scale. Clearly, a culture killing the planet has a distorted sense of right and wrong. Clearly a police department that arrests tree-sitters yet neither deforesters nor rapists has a distorted sense of right and wrong.

Bancroft asks his clients whether they ever call their mothers a bitch. When they say they don’t, he asks why they feel justified to call their partners that. His answer is that “the abuser’s problem lies above all in his belief that controlling or abusing his female partner is justifiable.”

Once again, the connections to the larger cultural level should be obvious. In some ways this is a restatement of premise four, but it’s different enough and important enough to become the nineteenth premise of this book: The culture’s problem lies above all in the belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.

It all comes down to perceived entitlement. As Bancroft states, “Entitlement is the abuser’s belief that he has a special status and that it provides him with exclusive rights and privileges that do not apply to his partner. The attitudes that drive abuse can largely be summarized by this one word.”

This same attitude applies on the larger social scale. Of course humans are a special species, to whom a wise and omnipotent God has granted the exclu-sive rights and privileges of dominion over this planet that is here for us to use. And of course even if you subscribe to the religion of Science instead of Christianity, humans’ special intelligence and abilities grant us exclusive rights and privileges to work our will on the world that is here for us to use. And of course among humans, the civilized are especially special, because we are such a high stage of social and cultural development, with especially exclusive rights and privileges to use the world as we see fit. And of course among civilized humans, those who run the show are even more special, and so on.

The flattering belief that one is entitled to exploit those around him is a major reason abusers so rarely stop their abuse. Although this is, according to Bancroft, “rarely mentioned in discussions of abuse,” it “is actually one of the most important dynamics: the benefits that an abuser gets that make his behavior desirable to him. In what ways is abusiveness rewarding? How does this destructive pattern get reinforced?”

He also states,“When you are left feeling hurt or confused after a confrontation with your controlling partner, ask yourself: What was he trying to get out of what he just did? What is the ultimate benefit to him? Thinking through these questions can help you clear your head and identify his tactics.”

My father tells my sister to do the dishes. She complains that she has never seen him do them. He stares at her. She does them. He points out a place she missed on a plate. He hits her. Never again will she suggest he do dishes, unless she is willing to accept the consequences.

My father wants sex. My mother tells him no. He stares at her. He pouts. Later that day he hits her because of something unrelated. But this happens again later that week, and again the next week, and the week after, until finally she makes the connection. Never again will she tell him no, unless she is willing to accept the consequences.

As Bancroft writes, “Over time, the man grows attached to his ballooning collection of comforts and privileges.”

This takes us right back to William Harper’s 1837 defense of slavery: “The coercion of Slavery alone is adequate to form man to habits of labour. Without it, there can be no accumulation of property, no providence for the future, no taste for comforts or elegancies, which are the characteristics and essentials of civilization.”

On the larger scale, too, each time we are left confused or hurt by the lies or other tactics of those in power—as ExxonMobil changes the climate, as Boise Cascade deforests, as Monsanto poisons the world, as BP lies about its prac-tices, as politicians lie about everything—we need to ask Bancroft’s questions: What are those in power trying to get out of what they just did? What is the ultimate benefit to them?

* * *

One of the bad things about abusers as compared to other sorts of addicts is that at least substance abusers sometimes “hit bottom,” where their lives become painful enough to break through their denial. No such luck with those who abuse others.

Bancroft states that partner abuse “is not especially self-destructive, although it is profoundly destructive to others. A man can abuse women for twenty or thirty years and still have a stable job or a professional career, keep his finances in good order, and remain popular with his friends and relatives. His self-esteem, his ability to sleep at night, his self-confidence, his physical health, all tend to hold just as steady as they would for a nonabusive man. One of the great sources of pain in the life of an abused woman is her sense of isolation and frus-tration because no one else seems to notice that anything is awry in her part-ner. Her life and her freedom may slide down the tubes because of what he is doing to her mind, but his life usually doesn’t.”

* * *

Many Indians have asked these questions about the civilized. I have asked these same questions about CEOs, corporate journalists, politicians. How do these people sleep at night?

Soundly, in comfortable beds, in 5,000 square foot homes, behind gates, with private security systems, thank you very much.

* * *

It is others who lose sleep over their activities.

* * *

Within an abusive family dynamic, everything—and I mean everything—is aimed toward protecting the abuser from the physical and emotional consequences of his actions. All members are enculturated to identify more closely with the family structure and its abusive dynamics than with their own well-being and the well-being of their loved ones and other victims. Because the dynamic is set up to foster the well-being of the perpetrator, every action, then, by every member of the family—and more to the point every member’s every thought and non-thought and feeling and non-feeling and way of being and not-being—has as its goal the protection of the abuser’s well-being. This “well-being” is a particular sort, devoid of relationship and accompanying emotions, heavy on the kind of external rewards abusers reap because of their abuse (and of course precisely the kind of external rewards emphasized by a grotesquely materialistic culture), and most especially focused on allowing the perpetrator to avoid confronting his own painful emotions, including the pain he inflicts, the pain he received as a child (and adult) that caused him to separate from his own emotions (to identify not with himself but with an abuser and an abusive dynamic), and the pain of living in an abusive dynamic where rewards gained through abuse never quite compensate for the emptiness of living a “life” devoid of real relationship.

In my book A Language Older Than Words I detailed, among other things, the importance of amnesia or selective memory to the survival of abused children. If you are powerless to prevent yourself from being harmed or to defend yourself in any way, it serves no purpose to consciously remember the atrocities. In fact it can be lifesaving to read and then identify more closely with the perpetrator’s emotions and state of being than one’s own. After all, the child’s emotions don’t matter, but the child needs to be capable at all times of reading and if possible placating the powerful adult’s emotions. But I did not mention the function this induced amnesia serves for the perpetrator: it allows him to confront neither the emotional consequences nor the emotional motivations for his abusive behavior.

Everyone at every moment acts to protect the abuser. Think about it in your own life. How many times has someone abused you and you did whatever was necessary to make sure the other person did not feel bad? What did you do to take care of the other person? Here is a story a woman just told me. She was sitting in a bar with her sisters, drinking Coca Cola. A man struck up a superficial conversation with her. Soon she walked into the bathroom. When she emerged from her stall, he was waiting for her. She asked what he was doing. He forced her against the wall, pushed his hips hard into her. She somehow slipped from his grasp, and returned to the main room. He followed. He remained within ten feet of her. She stayed for another hour. Now here’s the point: Not only did she not make a scene, but she did not even leave. Even as she was slipping away from his attempted rape and all through the next hour she was thinking, I don’t want to hurt his feelings.

I cannot tell you how many times I have similarly betrayed myself to protect an abuser.

Years ago, in the midst of one of those abusive relationships I mentioned earlier, a friend was counseling me through the latest incident of abuse. At one point I said, “I don’t think she meant to hurt me. Here’s what I think she was thinking—”

My friend cut me off: “If I was interested in what she was thinking, I would talk to her. But I’m not, so I won’t. I’m interested in what you were thinking, and feeling.”

I didn’t have an answer. I had no idea. I was too busy taking care of the other person’s feelings.

To care about another, to have compassion for another, is beautiful and life-affirming. To care about and have compassion for another who is abusing you is a toxic mimic of real compassion, and is one of the obscenities spawned by a culture of abuse.

The same thing happens all the time on the larger scale. I also cannot tell you how many times I have been told that I must have compassion for CEOs, who are human too, and who once were children. We must never hurt their feelings, nor especially their person. We must always be polite to those who are killing us. If we insist on using any hint of violence, we are told, if we absolutely must kill them back, we must kill them only with kindness. This is supposed to somehow be effective at something. But the only one it helps is the perpetrator.

Bancroft states that one of the most common forms of support for abusers is the person “who says to the abused woman: ‘You should show him some compassion even if he has done bad things. Don’t forget that he’s a human being, too.’” Bancroft continues, “I have almost never worked with an abused woman who overlooked her partner’s humanity. The problem is the reverse: He forgets her humanity. Acknowledging his abusiveness and speaking forcefully and honestly about how he has hurt her is indispensable to her recovery. It is the abuser’s perspective that she is being mean to him by speaking bluntly about the damage he has done. To suggest to her that his need for compassion should come before her right to live free from abuse is consistent with the abuser’s outlook. I have repeatedly seen the tendency among friends and acquaintances of an abused woman to feel that it is their responsibility to make sure that she realizes what a good person he really is inside—in other words, to stay focused on his needs rather than her own, which is a mistake.”

We have all been trained to identify more closely with the abusive personal and social dynamics we call civilization than with our own life and the lives of those around us, including the landbase. People will do anything—go to any absurd length—to hide the abuse from themselves and everyone around them. Everything about this culture—and I mean everything—from its absurd “entertainment” to its equally absurd “philosophy” to its politics to its science to its interspecies relations to its intrahuman relations is all about protecting the abusive dynamics.

R. D. Laing named three rules that govern abusive family dynamics, that allow the family to not acknowledge the abuse:

Rule A: Don’t.

Rule A.1: Rule A does not exist.

Rule A.2: Never discuss the existence or nonexistence of rules A, A.1,or A.2.

These rules hold true for the culture. We see them every day in every way, from the most intimate to the most global. This culture collectively and most of its members individually will give up the world before they’ll give up this abusive structure.

-----------------------------------------
ROMANTIC NIHILISM

One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have whole-hearted enthusiasm. One needs to feel that one’s life has meaning, that one is needed in this world.

Hannah Senesh



During the conversation in which my former agent told me that if I ever wanted to reach an audience, I’d have to tone down my work, she also told me that I was a nihilist.

I felt vaguely insulted. I didn’t know what a nihilist was, but I knew from her tone that it must be a bad thing. I pictured an angry teenager leaning against a building, wearing black slacks, turtleneck, and beret, scowling and chain-smoking.

But that’s not me, so I looked up nihilist in the dictionary.

The first definition—that life is meaningless and that there are no grounds for any moral truths—clearly doesn’t fit me. Nor is it true that I do not believe in truth, beauty, or love. The second definition—that the current social order is so destructive and irredeemable that it needs to be taken down to its core, and to have its core removed—fits me like a glove, I suppose the kind you’d put on to not leave fingerprints.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with Casey about nihilism, and about how the whole black turtleneck thing really doesn’t work for me. And how I rarely scowl. Emma Goldman is famously (and incorrectly) quoted as saying, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” Well, I don’t like to dance, but if I can’t laugh, then you can start the revolution without me.

One day Casey said, “I’ve got you figured out.”

I raised my eyebrows.

“You,” he said, “are a romantic nihilist.” And then he laughed.

So did I. I laughed and laughed. Yes, I thought, a revolution of romantic nihilists. I would be down for that. Count me in.

* * *

I did a talk in Portland the other day. I heard that afterwards something of a firestorm erupted on a local discussion website, as some pacifists attacked me for not adhering to the One True Way of Social Change™, and then non-pacifists responded, pacifists reresponded, and so on. A friend told me not to bother going to read the whole thing (“There’s nothing useful. Lots of heads in the sand.”) but did send me one post that seems to me to capture the essence of what I’m trying to get at (in four short paragraphs instead of hundreds of pages). Here it is:

“Himalayan blackberries are not native to Oregon. Their hideous thorny brambles have taken over huge tracts of land here. They kill native species. They hurt like hell when you step on one or fall into a clump of them. If you try to hack them down they’ll grow back (they are tough suckers). If you try to pull them out by the roots their thorns bury themselves in your thumb and fester. The best thing to do for a big field full of blackberries would be to burn it, then bulldoze the hell out of it. Get them out of there down to every last root.

“The social, political and psychological state that we find ourselves in is the cultural equivalent of blackberries. Our culture is invasive, destructive, painful, and should never have been planted in the first place. We are a part of it (whether we want to be or not).

“Derrick Jensen wants to burn it all down.

“I want to drive the bulldozer.”

A few months ago the editors of The Ecologist started a new feature in their magazine: Each issue they ask an environmentalist or writer a series of questions about the books that have most deeply influenced them, and what books they would like to recommend to others. Many of the books are those we might expect, Small is Beautiful, When Corporations Rule the World, The Lorax. One writer evidently decided to forego modesty, and recommended his own books.

They asked me. I guess I must have been in a black turtleneck mood, because I let fly with a response that could charitably be described as scowling, if such is possible in writing.

Question one: Which book first made you realise that something was wrong (with the planet/political system/economic system, etc)?

My answer: It wasn’t a book. It was the destruction of place after place that I loved. And it was the complete insanity of a culture where so many people work at jobs they hate: What does it mean when the vast majority of people spend the vast majority of their waking hours doing things they’d rather not do? The culture itself convinced me something was wrong, by being so extraordinarily destructive of human happiness and, far more importantly, the world itself.

That said, Neil Evernden’s The Natural Alien was the first book I read that let me know I was not insane: that the culture is insane. It was the first book I read that did not take the dominant culture’s utilitarian worldview as a given.

Question two: Which one book would you give to every politician?

Answer: One that explodes.

Before you freak out, let’s change the question and see what you think: Which one book would you give to Hitler, Goering, Himmler, and Goebbels?

Let’s ask this another way: Would a book have changed Hitler? I don’t think so. Unless it exploded.

And before you freak out at the comparison of modern politicians to Hitler and his gang, try to look at it from the perspective of wild salmon, grizzly bears, bluefin tuna, or any of the (fiscally) poor or indigenous human beings. Those in power now are more destructive than anyone has ever been. And they are for the most part psychologically unreachable. And if someone does reach some politician, that politician will no longer be in power.

I recently shared a stage with Ward Churchill. He said the primary difference between the U.S. and the Nazis is that the U.S. didn’t lose.

I responded with one word: “Yet.”

Question three: What book would you give to every CEO?

Answer: See above.

Question four: What book would you give to every child?

Answer: I wouldn’t give them a book. Books are part of the problem: this strange belief that a tree has nothing to say until it is murdered, its flesh pulped, and then (human) people stain this flesh with words. I would take children outside and put them face to face with chipmunks, dragonflies, tadpoles, hummingbirds, stones, rivers, trees, crawdads.

That said, if you’re going to force me to give them a book, it would be The Wind in the Willows, which I hope would remind them to go outside.

Question five: It’s 2050. The ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising. You’re only allowed one book on the Ark. What is it?

Answer: I wouldn’t take a book, and I wouldn’t get on the ark. I would kill myself (and take a dam out with me). I do not want to live without a living landbase. Without a living landbase I would already be dead. No book would even remotely compensate. Not a million books. Not a million computers. Not a million people would compensate.
-----------------------------------------

NB - while these excerpts are Jensen, I think you need to see a whole lecture or read a whole book of his to get the message fully. He is using a different style and different voice - a different method of analysis than most of us are used to - and you have to realize he is often saying this with a deadly serious smile and love.

Jensen emphasizes the hate, dishonesty, and destructiveness in contemporary industrialized culture. He argues that this culture will soon collapse because of the damage being done to the planet.

Jensen proposes that a different way of life is possible, and it can be seen in many past societies including many Native American cultures. This different way of life is characterized by honesty, appreciation of beauty, and connection with the natural world.

Politically Jensen's work is in favor of a revolution in values, the self, and society. His ideas are often in line with eco-anarchism, anarcho-primitivism and neo-Tribalism.

Keith Millea
12-07-2008, 06:55 PM
Peter,
I feel so overwhelmed with all the great material that's posted on this site.So much to read,so little time.I appreciate all your postings.With Christmas vacation coming up in a couple weeks,my son will have some much needed time off from his schooling.I will surely have him come to the forum to read this info for himself.He'll probably learn more here than in the classroom.:cool:



Keith

Keith Millea
12-08-2008, 06:38 PM
I just got home from talking to a new friend, another longtime activist. She told me of a campaign she participated in a few years ago to try to stop the government and transnational timber corporations from spraying Agent Orange, a potent defoliant and teratogen, in the forests of Oregon. Whenever activists learned a hillside was going to be sprayed, they assembled there, hoping their presence would stop the poisoning. But each time, like clockwork, helicopters appeared, and each time, like clockwork, helicopters dumped loads of Agent Orange onto the hillside and onto protesting activists. The campaign did not succeed.

“But,” she said to me, “I’ll tell you what did. A bunch of Vietnam vets lived in those hills, and they sent messages to the Bureau of Land Management and to Weyerhaeuser, Boise Cascade, and the other timber companies saying, ‘We know the names of your helicopter pilots, and we know their addresses.’”

Peter I'm not sure what time frame this action was taken,but if it was back in the late 70s' this was OUR battle.If I'm wrong,then this is just another story of taking on the beast.And first a disclaimer,I am a Vietnam veteran,and I know nothing of the story about the Vietnam veterans in the above quote,Honest.........


I was part of the "counter culture" migration that moved North from the Bay Area up into the mountains of Northern California,Oregon,and Washington.I landed in the lush rainforests of the Oregon Coast Range mountains.Supremely wild and basically unihabited except for locals that worked in the mills,and the loggers that have lived there for several generations.Their families were the original homesteaders.This area has an average annual rainfall total of around 112-118 inches.Most people who live back in these woods use the many springs that come off the side of the mountains as their main water source.Simple gravity fed systems.So you see that the dioxin was finding it's way into our drinking water.


It was the women who first connected the dots.After having conversations with women from several other isolated communites,the women had come to a realization that there seemed to be an awful lot of miscarriages amongst them.This was the beginning.My only role in this fight was that once I drove into town and joined a protest at the Courthouse.My wife(we were not together then)was very much involved in the beginnings of this battle.This action was started from just a few women (real grass roots stuff here).Once they made this awareness known to the whole community,things started to role.


What most people don't understand is that these "Hippies",were not vagrant druggies like most percieved.These were people with a vision of a new way of living (The Utopians).Many of those who chose to "drop out",were indeed very well educated with PHDs' and so forth.In the small side valley that I lived in,there were about eight or so adults.Two lived there part time.One guy being a Marine biologist,and the other was working at Oregon State in some kind of forest biology department.These two were the leading researchers from my small community.Enough evidence was finally produced to take the Forest Service to court.A study was ordered which produced the conclusion that our women had miscarriages at 3 times the level of both Eugene and Corvalis.We proved our case,and WE WON.The Govt' was forced to stop spraying Dioxin(agent orange) on logged cleacuts.


Finally,I have read that this study was one of three that was used in the class action court case that Vietnam Veterans had against Dow chemical.We won that case also.:)

Just one small battle in the neverending war

Keith

Peter Lemkin
12-08-2008, 07:18 PM
Peter I'm not sure what time frame this action was taken,but if it was back in the late 70s' this was OUR battle.If I'm wrong,then this is just another story of taking on the beast.And first a disclaimer,I am a Vietnam veteran,and I know nothing of the story about the Vietnam veterans in the above quote,Honest.........


I was part of the "counter culture" migration that moved North from the Bay Area up into the mountains of Northern California,Oregon,and Washington.I landed in the lush rainforests of the Oregon Coast Range mountains.Supremely wild and basically unihabited except for locals that worked in the mills,and the loggers that have lived there for several generations.Their families were the original homesteaders.This area has an average annual rainfall total of around 112-118 inches.Most people who live back in these woods use the many springs that come off the side of the mountains as their main water source.Simple gravity fed systems.So you see that the dioxin was finding it's way into our drinking water.


It was the women who first connected the dots.After having conversations with women from several other isolated communites,the women had come to a realization that there seemed to be an awful lot of miscarriages amongst them.This was the beginning.My only role in this fight was that once I drove into town and joined a protest at the Courthouse.My wife(we were not together then)was very much involved in the beginnings of this battle.This action was started from just a few women (real grass roots stuff here).Once they made this awareness known to the whole community,things started to role.


What most people don't understand is that these "Hippies",were not vagrant druggies like most percieved.These were people with a vision of a new way of living (The Utopians).Many of those who chose to "drop out",were indeed very well educated with PHDs' and so forth.In the small side valley that I lived in,there were about eight or so adults.Two lived there part time.One guy being a Marine biologist,and the other was working at Oregon State in some kind of forest biology department.These two were the leading researchers from my small community.Enough evidence was finally produced to take the Forest Service to court.A study was ordered which produced the conclusion that our women had miscarriages at 3 times the level of both Eugene and Corvalis.We proved our case,and WE WON.The Govt' was forced to stop spraying Dioxin(agent orange) on logged cleacuts.


Finally,I have read that this study was one of three that was used in the class action court case that Vietnam Veterans had against Dow chemical.We won that case also.:)

Just one small battle in the neverending war

Keith

Yeah, the not-yet-ended war....but Jensen and others are in for the longhaul - win or die trying to win. There are many fronts and we each have to chose which 'fit', but the environmental front and the deep political front don't have room for one thin sheet of paper between them! I, personally, have a foot in each camp and don't have to keep my legs apart. Same people; same corporations; same wrong paradigm; same blindness and hubris; same old same old......

I don't know exactly when Derrick is referring to, but I'd hazzard to say about 10 years ago or a bit more...but the same stuff goes on all the time - or varients - spraying for fruit flies or whathaveyou.

Speaking for myself, veterans are most welcome in the battle and have faced the beast sometimes at closer range than most of us..... Gulf War Syndrome; Vietnam Vets with cancers and other problems due to Agents Orange, White, et al.... DU rounds...all madness - not to mention the gimmics thought-up about the righteousness of the 'wars' - and the immorality involved in fighting them had it been only with chess...but it involved napalm, indiscriminate killing, white phosphorus, and more.

Well, now there is a war on all that lives by all that seeks only profit and exploitation. While many particpate in it some, only a very small group are driving this. May I suggest you get ahold of Jensen's last book and/or find a way to watch his speech at the link I gave [about 3 hours]. I could name other similar people. Each has their own special way of connecting to the reader/listener - but the message is much the same - we are nearly OUT of time and even if things changed tomorrow - the Planet and many species are in deep ****. It is currently estimated that every day we loose about 200 species forever [extinct] and that rate is picking up very quickly - half will be extinct by the end of this century! This is obscene and humans are on that list..maybe not today or next decade...but if we don't stop killing the others, we will surely kill ourselves sooner, rather than later. The Native Americans [and most indiginous peoples] had it nearly correct and we have it all wrong. We are a plague on the Planet living like we do in the 'developed' world. We are the ones with the huge environmental footprints. The average American consumes and produces the waste equivalent to 250 people in the poorest developing nations.

....and I could go on and on and on...and will :D

Alastair McGowan
03-27-2009, 02:13 PM
Hello, mys first post on this forum

There is a forum for those who agree with Derrick Jensen's approach to stopping the destruction of environment and people at http://forum.derrickjensen.org/

It is not a debating forum but a place for those who agree with his premises (in this thread) and who want to take Endgame:Resistance to future conclusions and decisions.

No doubt any of us using that forum will have been noted since many of the topics are about how to defend nature and our communities if and when the onslaught turns intra-state. If that happens I will already have headed for the hills, I am not going to wait around to see what happens cos I already know what will happen to people like me.

If you had been there and had been able to resist the Nazis would you have done so? That is the position many of us now feel we are in. Personally I am doing it overtly by the legal and peaceful process of subverting globalisation through local economic relocalisation efforts - suck energy away from the beast - but others may have more proactive intentions.

Alastair

David Guyatt
03-27-2009, 02:39 PM
Welcome Alastair, our forum would benefit, I'm sure, from a greater array of informed insights into these matters.

Can you expound further on what you mean by "resistance to future conclusions and decisions"? I suppose the logical assumption is that future decisions have yet to be taken and, therefore, committing to take action here and now is presumptuous. However, I think you will have gathered that many of us here also view the trend of the future with some trepidation anyway. Can the train bearing down on us be stopped in time?

David

Peter Lemkin
09-13-2009, 03:12 PM
Derrick Jensen 26April08
Deep Green Resistance

Recording (http://www.peacejournal.org/activeingredients/DerrickJensen26April08_AImedia.mp3) 1:17:58 35.6 meg
Program (http://www.peacejournal.org/activeingredients/DerrekJensen26April0816bit.mp3) 58:59 . 27 meg

"Does anyone think this culture will voluntarily transform to a sustainable way of living?"
www.derrickjensen.org