A Reality Check from the Brink of Extinction by Chris Hedges

by Chris Hedges
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Oct. 19, 2009

We can join Bill McKibben on Oct. 24 in nationwide protests over rising carbon emissions. We can cut our consumption of fossil fuels. We can use less water. We can banish plastic bags. We can install compact fluorescent light bulbs. We can compost in our backyard. But unless we dismantle the corporate state, all those actions will be just as ineffective as the Ghost Dance shirts donned by native American warriors to protect themselves from the bullets of white soldiers at Wounded Knee.

“If we all wait for the great, glorious revolution there won’t be anything left,” author and environmental activist Derrick Jensen told me when I interviewed him in a phone call to his home in California. “If all we do is reform work, this culture will grind away. This work is necessary, but not sufficient. We need to use whatever means are necessary to stop this culture from killing the planet. We need to target and take down the industrial infrastructure that is systematically dismembering the planet. Industrial civilization is functionally incompatible with life on the planet, and is murdering the planet. We need to do whatever is necessary to stop this.”

The oil and natural gas industry, the coal industry, arms and weapons manufacturers, industrial farms, deforestation industries, the automotive industry and chemical plants will not willingly accept their own extinction. They are indifferent to the looming human catastrophe. We will not significantly reduce carbon emissions by drying our laundry in the backyard and naively trusting the power elite. The corporations will continue to cannibalize the planet for the sake of money. They must be halted by organized and militant forms of resistance. The crisis of global heating is a social problem. It requires a social response.


via Truthdig

Copyright © 2009 Truthdig

Chris Hedges is the author of the new book “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.”



The Extinction Distinction by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

The Polemics of Carrying Capacity by Frank Joseph Smecker

Capitalism is Incompatible with Human Nature

18 thoughts on “A Reality Check from the Brink of Extinction by Chris Hedges

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  6. There will be no revolutionary acts in the name of the earth because Americans are intellectually flaccid, effete, spoiled, lazy and craven. The authors of this article are good for nothing whiners; good for sitting at a computer spouting words but unwilling to do anything that might endanger the pitiful remnants of power, property and privilege that they still retain.

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  12. The calls in this piece, for “sabotage” and resistance “by any means” are certain magnets for FBI infiltration and cointel pro actions and other forms of extreme counter actions by the police state. The scale of resistance called for by Jensen and Hedges require organizing on a magnitude that is just as daunting as the magnitude of the wrongs they address in the deep green movement. An outlet for this type of organizing already exists, and that outlet needs to be the focus of any anti-corporate action of any significance. That outlet is organized labor. Yes, organized labor is now in a deplorable state thanks to decades of corporate-government anti labor legislation and poisoned media characterizations. The leadership of labor is also at fault for playing an endless losing game with their phony friends the democrats, and by refusing efforts to democratize the unions themselves. This can change with a new strategy and a new sense of urgency. What corporations and governments fear most, is organized labor. Organized labor. Rather than wasting time and valuable lives, including their own, the organizers of the Deep Green Resistance need to re-direct their organizing efforts from futile sabotage talk to finding ways to form their own organized labor force or reinvigorating those unions ready to make the leap. We have militant unions already. That’s a good place to start. Those unions run shipping and transport. As the economy continues to fall to the effects of the deep corrosion of finance capitalism, the ground will become more fertile for such an effort. For starters, a company to focus on would be WalMart. WalMart has resisted unionization with everything under its diseased belt. Once workers start a chain reaction of organizing successes, the movement will become unstoppable. Organized labor did this once before at the turn of 19th century in America. It can do it again.

    Chris and Derrick, you need to inspire an army of workers, not energize a rabble of saboteurs.

  13. First, you need to stop buying the cars that make you lazy and the televisions that make you stupid. Then you need to train up your body and educate your mind. You must lose your bourgeoios sensibility and your sense of entitlement. Next you should realize that there are several enormous industries whose sole purpose is to make you feel disatisfied, desperate and deprived. Last you need to stop amassing material possessions in the vain hope that one day you will have “enough” to make you feel happy and secure. Once you have done these things, then come talk to me of revolution and I will hear. Do thes things and those evil corporation will strangle to death on their own filth.

  14. Chris Hedges once again hits the nail right on the head. It does not matter much what we do individually for the environment(corporations would like to place most of the responsibility on us), but as long as capitalism exists and corporations continue to rape the environment for the bottom line, we are doomed. It is only a matter of time.

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