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Derrick Jensen Q & A

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I'm just going to get things kind of warmed up. I made a statement earlier about the 350 Day of Action and how much it reminded me of the global protests in the run up to the war in Iraq and how it essentially, it didn't stop the war. Do you have any thoughts on that? Yeah, I was sharing a panel with Vandana Shiva and Cathy Pedler and a nun whose name I never can remember. Can you hear me OK? Anyway, I was sharing a panel maybe a year, year and a half ago with those three and all of us on the panel understood that we don't live in a democracy and you know I ask people all over the country do you believe we live in a democracy, nobody ever says yes If you ask does the US, or Canadian government, it doesn't matter which take better care of corporations or human beings You know, we all know the answer to that. a government of occupation what it does, and the way you can really define it what it does, is it moves in, facilitates resource extraction and maximizes production. That's what it does. It doesn't take care of communities. We have, we don't have, we are under a government of occupation. Of course, my American Indian friends say So what the hell took you so long to figure this one out? Anyway, so we're sitting on this panel talking and we all accept that we don't live in a democracy and everybody in the audience accepts that we don't live in a democracy and at one point during the panel I turn to the nun who does this great anti-war work, she's a wonderful anti-war activist I turn to her and I said, So how would your activism be different and how would you act to stop the war differently if you fully internalized the understanding that we don't live in a democracy? and she turned to me and she said, I have no idea. So that's one of the lessons that we get from this today is I'm not saying that we shouldn't mobilize, we shouldn't organize of course we need to mobilize we need to organize but we should never forget that the function of the government, and any government really, is to serve those in power and we should also never forget that those in power are quite often psychopaths. About a week ago, a week ago tomorrow, I was interviewed by Chris Hedges for an article that came out last Monday on Truthdig and it's gotten a lot of play. During the interview, one of the things that didn't make it to the final draft was you know, he said, You talk about the need to bring down civilization and the need to act decisively to defend the planet, so does that mean that you don't really like people like Bill McKibben and I said, No no, that's not it at all for a couple of reasons. One is I think that I'm not one of those people who believes in the reform vs. revolution dichotomy. But I think, if we all wait for the great glorious revolution there's not going to be anything left and if at the same time all we do is reform work and all we do is beg, then this culture is going to grind away. I think we need it all. So if this is seen as one part of a broader culture of resistance then I think that's really great and really important. If, somehow people believe that all we need to do is petition the king, I mean, the government then, that's not very helpful because it's still begging, it's still asking without the power to back it up, to say or else is merely begging and begging isn't sufficient. I mean, there have to be consequences Before we got on the skype here, before I went public, when Frank was talking to me privately. He asked if I had watched the film that he sent me today that he showed you and I said No because I got burgled again I've been burgled 8 times in the last year and a half and it's getting really old and for a while, it's like Well, maybe they'll just quit on their own, and after that it was like, Well, I need to take care of myself so one of the things I've done, I mean, I have a gun for one thing but that's not really the point the point right now is I got video cameras, and I've got their pictures and I now have their names because it's a small community I showed the video tapes to, it's very nice, they're so stupid. They wore bandanas coming into the house but once they got into the house they took the bandanas off. It's just Smile for the cameras mother-fucker! It's a small town so I've got their names and last week I went to a private investigator because I still didn't want to go to the cops, so I went to a private investigator and he was going to go scare them by saying Look, you're either going to go to prison or you're going to stop but they came again today so fuck it, I'm going to the cops and the point is that before today what I was going to do is send the private investigator to talk to them and ask them to stop but he wasn't going to but he wasn't going to simply ask them to stop, he was going to say Either you stop, or you go to prison. Because in California burglary of a residence is a mandatory prison sentence and a mandatory felony. You can't plead it down. So, he was going to ask them...nicely It's like the old Al Capone line, You get a lot more respect, let's see how's it go? You get more respect when you use a nice word and a gun than when you just use a nice word. The point is that, If 350, if all it is is just begging then, Then we're even more fucked than we think we are. But if it's part of organizing a larger culture of resistance then that's great, but I want to say one more thing which is that only two percent of the IRA ever picked up weapons. 98% of the people did support work. Before you had the IRA you had 800 years or 900 years of British occupation, but you also had like the Gaelic language revival and the literature revival and those are important parts of any culture of resistance. You know, I love to make fun of pacifists, but the truth is you couldn't have had underground railroads without the Quakers And so, we need the 350 movement as an above ground arm of a movement to stop this. But you know, I got to say one more thing, I don't like 350 I think it should be called the 250 movement because giving 350, that's, that's really fucked up. Because what carbon dioxide levels have to be is 250 and that's pre-industrial. And so, it should really be called the 250 movement but they didn't ask me. Anyway, so that's my quick sort of quick, overview. Hello - Hey. I have two questions, the first one really quick where do you align yourself along a political spectrum? In that, do you consider yourself left, libertarian, socialist, humanist, what have you If you want to give yourself a label Which you probably don't. That's the first one. The second one is, you're very anti-civilization in general Are there any civilizations you believe have closely, or have come anywhere near close to what you would consider sustainable or human, personally post-Civil War Spanish anarchist society probably represents that to me Is there a society that ever represented that to you or was close? And what is it? Thank you. So far as the first one, it took me a long time to even identify myself as a writer. Because all the label thing really scares me 'cuz I don't know, I don't know what the hell it means. I have, over the past several months been kicked out of the anarchy club. I'm probably going to have to return my secret decoder ring that I got in my box of Anarchy Jacks. So I don't know. Where do I put myself? I put myself OK, I'm comfortable saying that I'm an animist. I believe that everything is alive and sentient. And numinous I think, if I'm using that word correctly. But that's not really political. I don't know, it's pretty funny because I fall, if I have to pick issue by issue you know, as long as we're going to have civilization I think the United States should have some sort of socialized health care So that makes me a fucking liberal. But then, on the other hand I think that, I mean, I'm against the death penalty because it's racist and classist, but actually my biggest problem with the death penalty is that I think it should be a lot more broadly applied. One of the jokes I used to tell it's not very funny. It's two riddles. The first one is what do you get when you cross

Video Details

Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes and 26 seconds
Country: Canada
Language: English
Producer: subMedia
Director: Franklin López
Views: 296
Posted by: stimulator on Nov 9, 2009

subMedia recently held a fundraiser for END:CIV in Vancouver where we premiered the latest clips from the movie. We also beamed in Derrick Jensen via weblink where attendees could ask him questions and have an interactive discussion. The Q & A went so well that we decide to release the video online.

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