Monday, October 19, 2009

A Reality Check From the Brink of Extinction

While Chris Hedges is generally on the mark, this article: A Reality Check From the Brink of Extinction suffers from an over abundance of Derrick Jensen.

Jensen is at his feverish best, calling for everyone to take on vague, unachievable tasks, such as "We need to target and take down the industrial infrastructure that is systematically dismembering the planet." and "We need to do whatever is necessary to stop this."

Everyone has to be good at something and Jensen is a master of the non-specific demand. How does one, for instance, "take down the industrial infrastructure?" With an ax? A computer? A pithy quote?

Jensen is right, of course, that industrial capitalism is the source of climate change, species extinction and widespread pollution. He makes one statement that rings true and at least echoes a movement that is growing across the world. "We need to separate ourselves from the corporate government that is killing the planet,...”

More accurately, the only effective response to a central corporate oligarchy is to withdraw our support and permission for it to operate in our name. We do this not by marching shoulder to shoulder to Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, not by taking apart the corporate infrastructure brick by brick.

We build the alternative by turning our backs on central authority (and its seductive benefits and protections) and building the local economy and social system among the ruins of the old system.

This is a facile socialist phrase. The reality is much more difficult. It means giving up all the "gimmes" of the paternalistic welfare state and taking care of ourselves and each other. It means rebuilding local democracy and solving our own problems with local resources. It means participating in growing our own food, building our own shelter, making our own clothes and providing for those who cannot provide for themselves.

Mutual Aid. Local economies.

It worked for 10,000 years before industrial capitalism. It will work for all life once again.