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Deep Green Resistance, Death Threats and the Police

An interview with Derrick Jensen

by Vancouver Media Co-op

» Download file 'derrick j.mp3' (14.3MB)

Derrick Jensen in the redwoods, May 2009. Photo by Dawn Paley.
Derrick Jensen in the redwoods, May 2009. Photo by Dawn Paley.

In this exclusive interview with the Vancouver Media Co-op, author Derrick Jensen talks about a recent spate of death threats directed towards him. He explains his decision to take his case to the FBI. He also expresses his distaste for those who question his decision to go to the feds. 

The interview was conducted by phone yesterday by Dawn Paley for the Vancouver Media Co-op, and has been minimally edited for sound quality and length.

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Comments

LOL. So Derrick Jensen is

LOL. So Derrick Jensen is fine urging people to bomb dams and other infrastructure which could kill who knows how many people, anything to "take down civilization"... But somebody threatens Derrick Jensen? Runs straight to the FBI. I remember him previously saying he was going to the local police in California over some kids breaking into his house as well. Definitely a hint of hypocrisy.

With that said, the fact that this clown is even newsworthy among the far-left/anarchist milieu in North America demonstrates how hopelessly irrelevant our movement has become. The economy is disintegrating, the ecological situation is desperate, countless imperial wars going on... This should be fertile ground for revolutionary movements. And yet what are we doing? Babbling on about impractical plans to destroy "civilization" (the thing that literally keeps billions of us fed and clothed every day)? No wonder we are losing.

Who's hypocritical?

Who's hypocritical? "civilization -- the thing that literally keeps billions of us fed and clothed every day" -- This is why "we" are losing, that "we" depend on, and defend, this monster called civilization, not because Derrick called the cops when his life was threatened. Anarchists are too busy needlessly busting shit up and assaulting people they don't like to really effect change. That is why "our" movement has become hopelessly irrelevant. If I had to depend on anarchists to defend me if I were assaulted, I'd be scared shitless.

"civilization -- the thing

"civilization -- the thing that literally keeps billions of us fed and clothed every day" -- This is why "we" are losing, that "we" depend on, and defend, this monster called civilization,

Can you explain to me how you intend to feed, clothe, house, and sustain 6-7 billion human beings without civilization? As in without agriculture, without industry?

Provide an answer to that question and I will take you seriously. Until then...

Durruti Redux, Human beings

Durruti Redux,

Human beings have survived, do currently survive, and can in the future survive without civilization. Civilization is not necessary for human life. What's at issue here is that civilization, particularly fossil fuel-driven industrial civilization, is rapidly and increasingly compromising the life support systems of the entire planet.

This is a bad situation for everyone involved. People alive now, most of whom would not be alive without industrial civilization, are not at fault. That doesn't mean that the planet can support the level of consumption and destruction of resources that humanity as a whole currently practices.

Many people who believe that civilization must be stopped are in fact learning how to live without civilization and to provide the means for others to learn as well. This is important and necessary work. But so is work directly confronting the physical systems that keep civilization going.

Nobody owes anybody anything.

Human beings have survived,

Human beings have survived, do currently survive, and can in the future survive without civilization.

Which brings us back to the question I asked before, which you conveniently did not answer. How many? Seriously, remove agriculture and industry from the equation. Remove modern science and the improvements in crop yield, insect-resistance, and sustainability that it is likely to develop over the coming years. What are we left with? A planet that can sustain a few million hunter-gatherers, at best. Here are a few more minor problems with your/Jensen's plan:

- What about the billions of people who will quickly die under such a scenario, and what about the armies, aircraft carriers, battleships, submarines, unmanned drones, fighter/bombers, death squads, guerrillas, militias, and police they will bring to bear upon you to (rightfully) stop such a plan from reaching fruition?

- Given the widespread ecological devastation over the past 10,000 years of civilization, how many areas are still ideal for supporting hunter-gathering lifestyles, and how many people possess the skills to create flourishing societies under such circumstances?

- What about when the Sun dies, expands, and all life on Earth is extinguished? If our goal is to protect life, shouldn't preventing such a scenario - or averting it through colonization outward - be a priority?

People alive now, most of whom would not be alive without industrial civilization, are not at fault. That doesn't mean that the planet can support the level of consumption and destruction of resources that humanity as a whole currently practices.

Nobody said anything to the contrary. What we are discussing is whether solutions to our problems will involve conservation, recycling, scientific advancement, energy diversification, and a wholesale restructuring of the production/distribution/waste cycle (as I would suggest), or destroying civilization (as Jensen and his acolytes would suggest).

Many people who believe that civilization must be stopped are in fact learning how to live without civilization and to provide the means for others to learn as well.

Unless your strategies revolve around nomadic hunter-gathering, then you're still talking civilization. Permanent dwellings? Civilization. Agriculture? Civilization. Energy of any kind? Civilization. Domesticated animals? Civilization. If you are indeed planning to become a hunter-gatherer, however, I will simply say: what are you waiting for? Get out there and live out your Jensenesque sustainable life. I'm sure it'll be... Interesting.

Nobody owes anybody anything.

Interesting nod to American individualism, almost a Thoureau-cum-Walden vibe in fact. In any case, sounds like you won't mind when stronger, more intelligent people break your bow-and-arrow and take your resources, since it's not like they owe you anything anyways.

The sun

Haha, yes - with only a decade or two left to stop catastrophic climate change, our biggest concern should be the sun dying in 4.5 billion years. What a genius.

 

Haha, yes - with only a

Haha, yes - with only a decade or two left to stop catastrophic climate change, our biggest concern should be the sun dying in 4.5 billion years. What a genius.

Sorry, you're right - the solution is clearly to destroy civilization. Speaking of "geniuses"...

*** Human beings have

*** Human beings have survived, do currently survive, and can in the future survive without civilization. ***

Which brings us back to the question I asked before, which you conveniently did not answer. How many? Seriously, remove agriculture and industry from the equation. Remove modern science and the improvements in crop yield, insect-resistance, and sustainability that it is likely to develop over the coming years. What are we left with? A planet that can sustain a few million hunter-gatherers, at best.

If that's a level of human population that is compatible with a healthy planet, then in the big picture I don't see what the problem is. I don't know how many. I would be suspicious of anyone trying to give a fixed number. And I also don't like to emphasize population per se, since it's really about the level of consumption. Also population control is very popular in arguments for eugenics and other racist projects.

Here are a few more minor problems with your/Jensen's plan:

- What about the billions of people who will quickly die under such a scenario, and what about the armies, aircraft carriers, battleships, submarines, unmanned drones, fighter/bombers, death squads, guerrillas, militias, and police they will bring to bear upon you to (rightfully) stop such a plan from reaching fruition?

First, the billions. I don't think anyone will be quickly dying. I think that the various systems that support globalized industrial civilization will fail piece by piece over time. I haven't heard of anyone talking about directly attacking people en masse, and it's important to make a distinction between that and attacking systems, though currently those people do rely on those systems for survival. I would hope that as civilized systems become less reliable people will look for other ways to meet their needs. I don't imagine this will happen in any neat, clean, organized way, but it will happen.

Second, the opposing forces. I understand Deep Green Resistance to be advocating an underground made up of smaller units that have the ability to potentially remain undetected (or at least not to openly advertise their existence), trying to counter the overwhelming force disadvantage by taking advantage of difficulty of detection. But it's still clearly a big problem. The way I see it though, all those things you describe are used by those in power to maintain control over people, while they continue to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else.

I don't see Deep Green Resistance as a large overarching plan that will swoop in and wipe out most of humanity. Not in the slightest. I see it as a strategy of engagement. As systems become more unreliable, either due to attack or simply to collapsing under their own weight, people will be looking for alternatives, and there are other people who are spreading those alternatives. So the different parts complement each other.

- Given the widespread ecological devastation over the past 10,000 years of civilization, how many areas are still ideal for supporting hunter-gathering lifestyles, and how many people possess the skills to create flourishing societies under such circumstances?

Good question. I would say very few areas, and very few people. I would hope that the areas that currently both support those lifestyles and are populated by people with those skills would be high priorities for defense. Indigenous peoples are dying out at a very rapid rate, through loss of land, cultural attrition of the young, language loss, disease.

I really have no idea what the future might look like, or even what an ideal future might look like. I do think that as ecosystems are allowed to recover, more areas will recover their capacity to support a robust living community, one that also can support human beings living within the ecological limits of that area. So I imagine it would be very place by place.

- What about when the Sun dies, expands, and all life on Earth is extinguished? If our goal is to protect life, shouldn't preventing such a scenario - or averting it through colonization outward - be a priority?

Umm...yes, in however many billions of years when this happens, it's highly possible that the Earth and life on it will all disappear. I really have no good response to this. But how can we even talk about preparing for that future situation, when the current situation is so dire? Life in some form or another has survived I think five major extinctions in the past four and a half billion years. It's facing the sixth right now, largely caused by human action. So I see DGR as addressing the present situation and trying to figure out what to do in the next few generations of humans, which could be crucial.

 *** People alive now, most of whom would not be alive without industrial civilization, are not at fault. That doesn't mean that the planet can support the level of consumption and destruction of resources that humanity as a whole currently practices. ***

Nobody said anything to the contrary. What we are discussing is whether solutions to our problems will involve conservation, recycling, scientific advancement, energy diversification, and a wholesale restructuring of the production/distribution/waste cycle (as I would suggest), or destroying civilization (as Jensen and his acolytes would suggest)

I don't think those solutions are incompatible with "destroying civilization". I think all of them will be and are happening simultaneously. Where DGR differs with analyses that promote the strategies you listed as sufficient to solve the people-need-a-planet-to-live-on dilemma is that it says the problem is much deeper, that there are certain historically established ways that humans can live that are able to live compatibly with the rest of nature, but that most of humanity has not lived that way for many thousands of years.

Through pursuing the strategies you list, people will indeed be doing good and necessary work, and also be learning more about how the earth works as a living system, which will inform how people live in the future. Jensen does describe a very different set of strategies. Ultimately, over many generations the effectiveness of all these various strategies for maintaining a livable planet with viable human societies on it will become evident. DGR stresses urgency because its creators have seen the strategies that you list in practice and do not think they meet the scale of the problem.

*** Many people who believe that civilization must be stopped are in fact learning how to live without civilization and to provide the means for others to learn as well. ***

Unless your strategies revolve around nomadic hunter-gathering, then you're still talking civilization. Permanent dwellings? Civilization. Agriculture? Civilization. Energy of any kind? Civilization. Domesticated animals? Civilization. If you are indeed planning to become a hunter-gatherer, however, I will simply say: what are you waiting for? Get out there and live out your Jensenesque sustainable life. I'm sure it'll be... Interesting.

I'm not planning to become a hunter-gatherer. I on my own can't live any kind of sustainable life. I also couldn't learn enough in my lifetime, outside of the context of a culture, to try to do that. Furthermore, indigenous communities across the globe are under threat of destruction, and they're already on their land, with thousands of years of culture and knowledge about how to live there. How could I, or even a large group of like-minded people, expect to fare better?

I don't think indigenous communities will survive and new ones will emerge because people consciously choose to live that way instead of some other way. It will happen because these are viable ways of living.

*** Nobody owes anybody anything. ***

Interesting nod to American individualism, almost a Thoureau-cum-Walden vibe in fact. In any case, sounds like you won't mind when stronger, more intelligent people break your bow-and-arrow and take your resources, since it's not like they owe you anything anyways.

I was referring to you asking the previous poster to provide an answer to how to feed, clothe, house, and sustain 6-7 billion human beings without civilization. Now that I read that sentence I see that it's really vague. I don't believe in might makes right at all.

As for getting my bow and arrow broken, a society's ability to apply physical force says nothing about their intelligence. It only says that that society has grown to focus their energies on the application of physical force. Other societies have different priorities. For example, the Amazonian cultures who discovered ayahuasca, a psychoactive brew created by mixing two totally unrelated plants, didn't invent B-2 stealth bombers, or even guns, because they were too weak and stupid to do so. They were busy practicing and refining their shamanic technologies, through which they say they have received an amazing amount of knowledge about how to live in the Amazon, often from what they describe as gigantic serpents.

If that's a level of human

If that's a level of human population that is compatible with a healthy planet, then in the big picture I don't see what the problem is

The problem is that there are billions of human beings alive who, in anti-civilization sustainability terms, should not be alive and ought to be removed from the equation to reach the "goal" of sustainability. So unless you are you volunteering to off yourself first to help us reach Jensen's goal of a sustainable human population (or perhaps just waiting for Jensen to pass around the Kool Aid in a group setting - say, in the jungles of Guyana), then I think you see full well what the problem is.

I would hope that as civilized systems become less reliable people will look for other ways to meet their needs.

If the supermarket stops carrying food, what do you think people are going to do: start food gardens, or become hunter-gatherers and dismantle civilization? Let me answer for you: start food gardens... Which imho is something people ought to do anyways (higher food security, fresh organic produce introduced into one's diet, etc.), but let's be real: agriculture is civilization, and any food shortages - even for a matter of years - will eventually be surmounted, either with new technology or a reduction in demand (hopefully the former, if we invest heavily in research, rather than the latter, which is what it'll be if millions of eco-boneheads start attacking infrastructure).

And for what it's worth, your planned collapse of civilization is not going to happen. Economic crises (probably quite soon)? Absolutely. Increased resource scarcity? Yes. But civilization will keep churning along, technology will keep developing, and your ideology will remain in the dustbin of idea like so many other hare-brained schemes before it.

yes, in however many billions of years when this happens, it's highly possible that the Earth and life on it will all disappear. I really have no good response to this. But how can we even talk about preparing for that future situation, when the current situation is so dire?

If our goal is short-to-medium term survival (or our own survival as civilized human beings), then supporting civilization is the natural response to that goal. If our goal is to support life on Earth in the long-term, then supporting civilization is also a natural response, as doing so will allow us to eventually colonize other planets, thus saving life from its inevitable extinction when the sun burns out.

Life in some form or another has survived I think five major extinctions in the past four and a half billion years. It's facing the sixth right now, largely caused by human action.

I'm aware of the history, and I'm aware of the Holocene extinction event. It's messed up, and we need to act - broadly - to begin to remedy this situation. But in the prior extinctions, the species that survived subsequently thrived, and it'll be the same this time. Nature is cruel, whatever the naturalist philosophers may like to say about it; just watch the terror in the eyes of a fleeing herbivore when it draws its last breath in the jaws of a predator to confirm that fact. The question is: will we be survivors, adapting to the changing conditions (admittedly of our own making), or not? Personally, I am a survivor and will struggle thusly.

I'm not planning to become a hunter-gatherer.

We have something in common. =)

I don't think indigenous communities will survive and new ones will emerge because people consciously choose to live that way instead of some other way. It will happen because these are viable ways of living.

Please re-think this position. Really do. Ever since the first Sumerian city-states began suppressing tribes in the countryside, civilizations have been colonizing, absorbing, and incorporating hunter-gatherer societies. The reasons for this are amply discussed in anthropological and historical texts - mostly related to technology and agricultural societies' ability to field professional armies - and the pattern has been pretty consistent throughout history. Hunter-gatherer groups have not been confined to be few rural patches of jungle in the Amazon, New Guinea, and the Sentinelese islands by pure chance. They have been confined to those areas because everywhere similar societies have rubbed up against civilization, they have been decisively defeated. A 10,000-year-long losing streak does not demonstrate "viable ways of living," at least in the historical context. Ecologically sustainable? Sure. Also politically egalitarian, which I've always admired in hunter-gatherers. But the are certainly not "viable" in any serious manner.

As for getting my bow and arrow broken, a society's ability to apply physical force says nothing about their intelligence. It only says that that society has grown to focus their energies on the application of physical force.

...And what societies end up calling the shots? Does the United States of America have a military presence in over 150 countries because they asked nicely? Did they convince OPEC into trading oil in USD purely based on the charm and personality of their diplomats? Did they just overthrow the Libyan government with bombs and spec ops, or winks and polite letters?

Might may not make right, morally speaking, but it certainly does dictate the flow of history. And that is not unique to civilization, or humans; the eagle kills and eats the rabbit because it benefits from doing so, and because it can. The rabbit's moral pleas are irrelevant. This is how the world works. Welcome to reality.

For example, the Amazonian cultures who discovered ayahuasca, a psychoactive brew created by mixing two totally unrelated plants, didn't invent B-2 stealth bombers, or even guns, because they were too weak and stupid to do so. They were busy practicing and refining their shamanic technologies, through which they say they have received an amazing amount of knowledge about how to live in the Amazon, often from what they describe as gigantic serpents.

Indeed, in college my friends and I developed many such "technologies" by picking mushrooms out of the local fields. Truly an arduous intellectual task, worthy of the ages. The subsequent experiences were certainly fascinating, but I wouldn't regard them as quite so important as, say, the ability to fight back when another society is attemping to kill you and steal your resources... Which is what usually happens and will continue to happen.

Politics is messy. So is life. The anti-civ critique somehow entirely misses that, in its doe-eyed noble savage charicature, while subsequently embracing this same nihilism in the end stages to subtly request the please-stop-being-alive of 99% of the human population. It's a huge contradiction, and one that I haven't seen any anti-civ author address in full (and I've read just about all of them).

People are already dying, and

People are already dying, and will necessarily die if civilization is allowed to run its bloody course. As far as I can tell, the difference between who lives/dies if the industrial organization either continues or is stopped is a class/race/etc. question. If we allow industrial civilization to continue, those who profit from it (the capitalist and political elite) will be strategicly in the best posible position to survive inevitable crisis. On the other hand, if we stop that shit, the rest of us may have a fighting chance.

 

Also, re:

"If our goal is to support life on Earth in the long-term, then supporting civilization is also a natural response, as doing so will allow us to eventually colonize other planets, thus saving life from its inevitable extinction when the sun burns out."

This is so patently ridiculous that I am almost entirely sure you are a troll, a teenage trekie, or both.

Fucking White Primitivist

Other societies have different priorities. For example, the Amazonian cultures who discovered ayahuasca, a psychoactive brew created by mixing two totally unrelated plants, didn't invent B-2 stealth bombers, or even guns, because they were too weak and stupid to do so. They were busy practicing and refining their shamanic technologies, through which they say they have received an amazing amount of knowledge about how to live in the Amazon, often from what they describe as gigantic serpents.

 

Okay, lol, the Ayahuasca didn't invent stealth bombers because Amazonian civilization was almost entirely wiped out because of the introduction of malaria and yellow fever in the american ecosystem, thanks to the transatlantic slave trade and colonization bringing in endemic eurasian and african diseases. You also sound like you have no fucking clue about what civilization and technology is or agriculture. Go choke on your hollywood view of native american peoples. If your view of anarchism is killing 6 billion people: start with yourself.

sustainable systems do not

sustainable systems do not need to be 'civilized'. they never did

What is "this monster called civilization"?

Lots of comments here talk about "civilization", but without much clue as to what is meant by the term in Jensen's world.

Jenson provides a clear definition of civilization - any society with cities. So it is actually cities that Jensen is attacking, and not just huge industrial cities - even a decent size town is too big for Jensen.  He also says he wants to end the use of metals - so bicycles must go (but he is OK with stone age agriculture).

Lets be clear that some of Jensen's declared objectives are extreme to the point of wackiness, and he declares openly that they will never get popular support. Imposing an outcome that the majority of people oppose usually requires the use of force by a minority, so logically that is what Jensen advocates. I don't think even he really supports his own stated objective and tactics, he just seems to have discovered that making extreme statements draws attention to the ecological crisis (and sells books). His more reasonable writing, against (un)economic growth for example, gets much less attention than the provocative stuff about going back to the stone age, blowing up dams etc.

Everyone has to pay their bills, Jenson does so by being deliberately provocative. He also points out how serious the ecological crisis is, which facilitates serious discussion about what should be done - a valuable service if people don't get distracted by the provocations.

Earlier I posted a few questions that anyone who wants to understand Jensen's positions should consider:

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/endciv-could-spark-crucial-conversat...

PS - I have no problem at all with how the interviewer handled this. She just gave Jensen lots of time to rant about stuff someone apparently said about him elsewhere. My only critique is that it would have been good to know who he was responding to, and what exaclty they said.

Civlization is not keeping

Civlization is not keeping billions of us fed and clothed. It is keeping the gloablly rich clothed and fed and awash in e-toys, while everyone else is emiserated and the land destroyed. The only reason you don't know that is because of your privilege. And it's a privilege only possible because you live behind a military barricade, in a globally gated community. Two million Mexican farmers lost their land, livelihoods, and culture after NAFTA, just as one example. That is genocide. Wanting to stop the gloablly rich from destroying the poor and the planet is not genocide--it's resistance.

Civlization is not keeping

Civlization is not keeping billions of us fed and clothed. It is keeping the gloablly rich clothed and fed and awash in e-toys, while everyone else is emiserated and the land destroyed. The only reason you don't know that is because of your privilege.

How do you intend to feed, clothe, and house 6-7 billion people without civilization, ie without agriculture and industry? Just wondering.

And for the record, I have never met someone in a Latin American or Middle Eastern slum who told me they wanted to "destroy civilization". Must be because of my "privilege" that I could not hear them, o wise one.

Two million Mexican farmers lost their land, livelihoods, and culture after NAFTA, just as one example.

First, get your definitions straight. Mexico is civilized and has been for thousands of years (Aztec? HE-LLO?). As agriculture is the building-block of civilization, all farmers are by definition civilized. The word you're looking for is "capitalism," in which case I agree with your critique entirely.

 

 

hey

Hey folks I don't have enough time to go through all the comments. 

In my opinion, when someone is calling for underground (and overground) resistance movements, the decision to involve the FBI is significant. Note that I am not saying it is categorically "right" or "wrong."

That's how I approached this piece, and I think that will come through for anyone who takes the time to listen to it.

Here's some recent stories from DN! on the FBI. 

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/25/terrorists_for_the_fbi_how_the

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/6/14/fbi_to_expand_domestic_surveillanc...

*oh yes, and to the folks complaining about the background noise: sorry! I live in a collective house and didn't realize there was someone else home until the interview was in full swing.*

Appalling.

What a horrifying interview. What is wrong with you people? Your bizarre sense of ideological purity outweighs this man's right to be free from disgusting and terrible threats? Totally repugnant. Where is your basic human compassion? Anarchists are some of the nastiest people I have ever met, and this lack of empathy could not be clearer in this interview. The interviewer should be ashamed of herself.

Derrick, know that some of us support you and want you safe and sound.

  Durruti Redux, Globalised

 

Durruti Redux,

Globalised civilisation is what is keeping over 2 billino people living on less that $1 per day. I'm sure they'd be better off immediately without Monsanto/Nestle/etc throwing them off their lands where they farm for subsistence or hunt and gather, so that the various transnational corporations can grow tulips, or maize, or other mono-crops.

As for calling the FBI... if you received a tonne of death threats, what would you do?

Do you by extension say that someone who was raped should not contact the police? Do you say that if your mom was murdered you wouldn't call the police?

Really?

There is a difference between acknowleging there is an abusive system of power that needs to be dismantled, and protecting ones-self.

First of all, do you even

First of all, do you even know what "civilization" is? If someone is a farmer, that's civilization. Primitive societies practice hunter-gathering; by contrast, agriculture is the foundational building block of civilization and its inauguration is the moment that primitive societies undergo the political, economic, and social transformations inevitably tied to civilized lifestyles, as they go from nomadic to sedentary lifestyles. OK? Mexico is a civilization. Mexican farmers are civilized. Whether or not they should be growing organic food in as sustainable a method as possible, or firing away Monsanto pesticides at corporate terminator seeds, is a very important issue. But both of those options entail civilization, which the primitivist crowd (not sure to what extent Jensen is involved, as I've only read his "End Game" books, but his rhetoric is definitely in line with it) is dead-set against.

Secondly, if I were professing to found a revolutionary movement ("Deep Green Resistance") and urging others to engage in bombing campaigns against civilian infrastructure, as Jensen has done, I would kind of assume that death threats - and possibly attempts on my life - would be part of the deal... I can't imagine what could be going through someone's mind that they WOULDN'T expect it. Earth-shattering naivete, perhaps? A profound sense of self-exceptionalism? I can only guess.

To put it bluntly, I would never trust Deep Green Resistance knowing that its founder is sitting down with the FBI. If Jensen is concerned about his safety, he should get a gun, practice counter-surveillance, and coordinate with comrades and neighbours to look out for each other... In other words, the sort of things revolutionaries have always done. I get it, though: Jensen's not a revolutionary. He's a writer who wants other people to take all the risks, and when he finds himself getting nervous, has no problem mingling with the FBI.

Oh yes, revolutionaries never

Oh yes, revolutionaries never work with the police........ Read some biographies for god sakes.

Revolutionaries use whatever means are to the advantage of their project. Police are no different.

Outrageous

Thank you Derrick for speaking so strongly and beautifully on behalf of victims!

This interviewer so outrageous! Victims have the right to get whatever support they need and no one has the right to question that; rather, they deserve everyone's support. This woman pushes and pushes Derrick about why he went to the police and FBI about the recent death threats against him. It is disgusting. If she is going to question his decision, which she should never do, she should at least answer him about what else he should do instead, or what protection he could get, but she doesn’t because of course there is no answer. She's only interested in anarchist ideology. She's not going to do anything to protect Derrick. She doesn't care about him. She doesn't even express sympathy or anything.

The interview segment leads with Derrick sounding rightly outraged, just like you would expect if this was a tabloid. So it's ok for her to follow the standard "journalistic" read - corporate - practice of sensationalizing and dehumanizing human beings for "journalism" or "ratings??!!" But it’s not ok for Derrick to seek the only protection available to him when his life is in danger?? I am so angry and sad that Derrick had to hear this crap from this woman.

Victim bashing

This is all this interview has turn into. Derrick does not need to explain his actions to anyone.  He kindly agreed to do so. This generosity was treated with all the respect of a moringstar wielding tabloid at best poor excuse for journalism.  The hypocrisy is that very few in the community that should be supporting him actually do so. The hypocrisy is that cowards hide behind false facades such as anarchism and journalism without even understanding meaning of those words. Derrick is one of the few people brave enough to stand-up and say it like it is. Not pretending we are in an okay situation or that civilization is sustainable.  When he is violently threaten in words rather than supporting him; his experience, his reaction and the taunting of his emotions is paraded about like a trophy bull.

One thing that the right has understood (or at least pretended to) much better than the left is the rights of the victim, which maybe one reason that they are far more effect than the left is.

Derrick has even right to defend himself in anyway that he can. If a women is raped they should not go to the cops? Your mother is murdered you should do nothing?

I agree there are “fertile ground[s] for revolutionary movements.” But without compassion and real courage it is never going to happen.

p.s.

"civilization" (the thing that literally keeps billions of us fed and clothed every day) – this is only true if you are one of the privileged few the remaining billions are starving or unable to adequately feed themselves or families.

One of the reason we are losing is that the privileged will not give up privilege.

-ivor

he is getting death threats from right wing

Derrick Jensen is receiving death threats and he is taking the steps to protect himself. If that includes calling the police, that's what he needed to do at the time. He has written about police brutality and how the police's number one function is to protect rich sociopaths/ capitalists. But if your life is in danger, you do whatever you can to protect yourself immediately. In response to the "LOL so Derrick Jensen is" comment, I bet that Derrick Jensen has done more to protect the land and fight capitalists than you. And yes, civilization (the culture of cities, and the extractive industries used to keep them running), is part of the imperial wars you mention. Do you know how much suffering results from the mining industry that is necessary for the imperial wars? Do you care about all the other-than-human communities that were killed/ displaced/ poisoned by the creation of the mine that is used to keep this whole wretched system continuing? I hope that one day you will shift your perspective and not mock someone who is being victimized for his attempts to at protecting himself. I also think that you don't know Derrick's work well enough, or environmental issues well enough, because if you did know and feel the extent of damage that this civilized culture commits against so much life on the planet, you wouldn't be mocking one of the people who is trying so hard to protect the planet from capitalists.

Lame interview

Dawn Paley,

This is what you do with your "exclusive interview"?  Way to go.  You really struck a blow for liberty and justice.

Where are your priorities?

Where is your basic human compassion?

And why not turn off the mic while you are typing and doing dishes or whatever.  It's hard enough to take you seriously because of your barely-political questions.

Murray Carew

Nina, if you want to explore

Nina, if you want to explore the difference between using existing law enforcement and oragnizing your own, fine. That's a great topic, and it's very important, especially as law enforcement will likely become even more repressive and spend less time defending people who are not part of the capitalist system of control.

But you're talking to someone who's been receiving death threats. Someone who explained that they wanted to have a paper trail in case something actually does happen and they're forced to defend themselves. Can you acknowledge that? You might be able to have an interesting discussion about community self-defense, but when you don't approach the person you're interviewing as someone who has had actual things happen to them, which is the whole reason you're interviewing them in the first place, it sounds not only callous but manipulative, like you want him to go off on you for your callousness.

What is preventing you from acknowledging what is actually happening, and trying to establish some common ground with the person you're interviewing, before you try to have the conversation you want to have about police vs community self-defense? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say it doesn't sound like you're trying to bait him, but that's what ended up happening anyhow.

Dangerous Ideology

Until anarchists have a reliable and accessible means of protecting people, they have no right -- no right at all -- to tell or imply what measures a victim should take to feel safe. In fact, when does anyone ever have that right?

It's not your decision, it's the victim's decision. Aren't anarchists supposed to be left of left-wing? Aren't they supposed to be against abuse? This interviewer really displays an entitlement that is unfortunately shared by many anarchists nowadays, due to their privileged position in society and who-knows what else. What kind of person honestly believes that they deserve to tell another person how to deal with threats of abuse? I can't understand this at all. 

Contrary to how she would claim she identifies herself as an anarchist, she shares a lot of similarities with the right-wing. Not only is she protecting the right-wing by wanting to bar anyone from taking such effective action against them as necessary and realistic, she is literally implying that anarchist dogma has the right to control victim's lives. 

This is just disgusting. 

 

Read dawn's explantion about

Read dawn's explantion about the noise plz.

What's with the noise? How

What's with the noise?

How totally disrespectful!

If you wanted to make tea do it before the interview.  You lost all crediblity with me.

Derrick was right to call for using the tools.

"Anarchist don't do shit"

Except run off at the mouth.

sit on internet forums all

sit on internet forums all day longing, pissing and moaning, right miss? ;)

Disgusting interviewer

What a disgusting approach by the interviewer. I'm disappointed that the Media Co-op would publish this tripe. Brilliant and hard-working activists like Derrick Jensen are under attack by the right wing, and Dawn Paley just wants to join in the fun? What happened to solidarity?

What's Paley's next headline going to be? Is she aware that there are hundreds of missing or murdered indigenous women in Canada, and that there are ongoing campaigns to force the police to investigate those cases?

Is Dawn Paley going to go to the mothers of those missing daughters and accuse them of hipocrisy? After all, how could someone understand that the police are part of an occupational force while simultaneously wanting them to do their actual jobs once in a while? I'm sure that Paley could post a detailed exposé of that hipocrisy here on the Media Co-op.

Or she could quit the fractious ideological bullshit and stop attacking people over matters of life and death--matters on which she clearly lacks empathy and understanding.
 

If the interviewer was the

If the interviewer was the one getting these horrible, graphic death threats, I expect that her ideological purity would keep her from calling the police for about 1 millisecond.
 

Terrible interviewer

This was an incredibly cold, unsympathetic and unresponsive interviewer. Not the slightest bit of concern that the right wing is openly threatening many writers who are working for liberation from this system. No concern expressed for Derrick's safety. Just a snide, cynical grilling about how he chose to handle it. She should be ashamed.

Creating a paper trail for future self-protection, by reporting these threats, makes sense as a tactical decision. Others under threat have done this too. What else are they supposed to do, just wait at home until some night a killer shows up?

Of course he knows the institutional role of police are enforcers of the system -- as anyone would know who read his books "Culture of Make-Believe" and "Welcome to the Machine." This is a power relationship that can only be solved on a socia scale, not by personally deciding to withdraw from it.

If people don't like his decision, then please by all means organize a security force that can protect our writers and artists. Offer some alternative. Take responsibility for the problem insted of blaming people for not having better options.

 

I'm on your side Stephanie

 

Thank you so much for writing in defense of Derrick Jensen's safety,  and putting things into a much needed perspective! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paper Trail Yes!

 

Great that Derrick Jensen is doing all that it takes to protect himself from vile mutilation/death threats!

I too am supportive of Derrick and would also like to see him safe and sound.

Thank you!

 

Come on...

Seriously folks!

The interviewer here dif nothing wrong. She only wanted to explore this subject a little further and Derrick took it for granted that she was challenging his choices.

Seems to me that Derrick was being super defensive, which is very understandable, but don't give shit to Dawn for it.

How about a little bit of nuance?

As for the question of calling the cops, it is essentialy a philospohical (ethical) question and there is no absolut answer to it.

I would call the cops on a rapist (for instance) without skipping a beat, yet I do believe the cops are my objective enemies. But the rapist has the potential to rape again if I don't use all the means available to prevent him from doing so.

Again, people who view the world through a dogmatic lense tend to lose focus on greater moral imperatives. And that includes dogmatic anarchists.

 

 

 

 

I have to agree with Eric.

I have to agree with Eric. Dawn specifically states that she wants to explore the idea of community police forces and calling the police, and that she thinks that he's making an interesting point. She never says that Jensen should not be calling the police.

He gets defensive and angry over not receiving support from anarchists and others, which I think is fair. But I think it's unfair to direct that anger at Dawn...

If she wanted to attack or be disrespectful, she would have cut him off much earlier and not even allowed Jensen to explain his actions.

if he was a liberal activist,

this would be understandable. But he claims not to be. He claims to be a radical and a revolutionary. Would Huey Newton call the cops after his life was threatened? Did Che?

Derrick is a defensive, hypocritical, whining, victim-status-riding moron, at least according to this interview.

Malcolm X went to the NYPD

Malcolm X went to the NYPD when he was threatened. What other options have people got?

And Derrick has done the other things mentioned--he has a gun, a dog, a security system, and good relations with concerned neighbors. As anyone who has been threatened or stalked can tell you: none of that is enough. The perps have to be apprehended, period. The threat has to be removed. No one should have to live in fear. Do you really have to live though this to understand what it's like?

We actually have a right to demand more from our society than just being left to wait in a bunker for the next attack to occur.

then demand it

dont pander after it, begging uniformed thugs to help you. calling the FBI for an ambiguous internet threat  and a few rotten emails makes him look naive or stupid.

demand what?

Derrick's not demanding anything from the FBI. In the interview, which presumably you listened to if you're commenting here, he specifically says he didn't expect them to do anything at all. He talked about how the government's vastly different reactions to death threats directed at different people clearly shows where their priorities are. Entertainers must be protected while people who critique society are fair game.

Criticizing someone based on your own version of what happened makes you look worse than naive and stupid, it makes you look...hmm...like a troll.

Respecting diversity of tactics

First of all, I don't see anything wrong with going to the cops in this situation, or with the interviewer pushing (fairly gently) on the issue.

But if you have heard Jensen in the past, you will know that he used to take a very strong stand that his tactics (and objectives like creating a new stone age society) are the only ones worthy of any respect. He seems to be maturing, and starting to open to the fact that different tactics make sense in different situations.

I hope Jensen will reflect a bit on his past idological purity instead of just trashing others' impractical ideology.

hostile interview? not really

The interviewer never expressed that she was judging the interviewee, in language or even in tone. Nor did she say anything that would lead one to believe she was being snide, or insensitive as according to several of the commentors here, who must have listened to a different interview. The interviewer didn't even utter 100 words the entire 25 minutes, and mostly just guided the monologue along a framework that interested the listeners of the Vancouver Media Co-op. I thought it really got Derrick talking and expressing himself, which is good, and lets people make their decisions accordingly. Good job VMC.

 

Clattering Dishes

The clattering dishes and running water in the background really set a nice, respectful tone...I could barely hear what Derrick was saying at certain points. The snippet played at the beginning also set a certain tone. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that this is a pretty successful attempt at a "gotcha" type interview.

Strong work Dawn!

I'm not too impressed with Jensen's choice but I acknowledge that not everyone feels able to actively defend themselves. That said, all you hysterics who spring to Jensen's defence and call Dawn out for a hostile interview, it reeks of cult of personality.

I work with first responders and knowing how dispatch works with cops and emergency services, I only trust the cops to clean up the mess after some psycho has hacked a whole family to death with an axe. If you're going to indulge in the worst-case-scenario type of thinking, it's WAY more practical to own weapons and really learn to use them.

But listening to the whole interview, he explains the logic in terms of defending himself in court after he had to shoot one of these assholes, which makes perfect sense. ie. creating the paper trail for his defence in a contemporary courtroom.

That said ... he's getting very defensive and equating a bunch of empty threats (so far) with victims of actual rape ... which is pretty gross ...

I mean ... who here hasn't had their life threatened on some message forum?

(If you haven't, you're not trying hard enough)

The heritage of abuse

Well,

if you're familiar with Derrick's work, you surely know that he is himself a survivor of rape and brutal abuse.

In fact, I think this crucial information goes a long way to explain both his course of action in this stressful situation AND his choice of examples and defensive attitude in this interview.

Besides, who is in a position to presume that a threat (any threat) is "empty"?

I think that Jensen did the right thing, and if I were in his shoes I would probably do the same, even if I hate cops (even the idea of cops).

I agree, however, with your comment on the kneejerk defensiveness on this thread. Some people should take a breath or two before going off like that on forums...

 

(Also, yeah, what's with the annoying clatter, tinkle and texting noises during the interview? That sucked for real, yo.)

What about teh people the

What about teh people the F.B.I threaten, abduct, kill, or even rape? And the victims of their violence? I'ts not outrageous to ask questions about someones thought process on something thats considered an important part of security culture, or something directly affecting peoples lives that are being fought for and therefore should maybe maintain solidarity with....also considering what the "victim" advocates in so many of his talks, I wouldnt be surprised if some of those threats came from police or security soldiers.

Part of de-colonization is not turning and running to our oppressors and molestors everytime we have a problem. Community responsibility to respond to threats within our community can be provided by each other. Jensens repeated bashing and mocking of anarchists throughout the interview I find surprising and, frankly, sick coming from someone who pretends to believe in a cause that can be won through community action. I am a woman, and if I were raped, as jensen suggests, NEVER in my life would I call to the aid of those who perpetuate such cruel violence everyday and seek to destroy what we build to protect and sustain ourselves as peoples and communities. I WOULD turn to my community for support and healing. What happens after that is to be organized and discussed by that commmunity,not demanded as an immediate answer, Jensen. We must build that with which oneday we hope to live, and one day I hope to live without the threat of police violence and intimidation everyday of my life. Who do I call for that threat....the FBI?

My last point i'll make is that as a radical, anarchist, environmental activist etc- we take responsibility and pride in our actions and words and will face the consequences of what we believe in, without hypocrisy and with strength and the support of our communtiies-ideally. Running to oppressors who do and attempt to destroy our communities being built because were suddenly scared of threats from annonymous, is perpetuating a system of violence, exported violence, victimization and outsourcing of problems to state gangsters.

Go Dawn. Jensen.....WTF?

Not okay

To the anonymous commenter just previous, you say that by calling the cops to set up a defence against potential future prosecution, Jensen "is perpetuating a system of violence, exported violence, victimization and outsourcing of problems to state gangsters"

I don't even know how to express how wrong it is for you to say that.  It is really stupid and petty, and it is not okay... seriously: "victimisation"?  You're really saying that to this person in this situation?  Unbelievable.

Murray

cough, cough *FEDERAL AGENT*,

cough, cough *FEDERAL AGENT*, cough.

Drop the sanctimony?

"Who do you think you are? Questioning the victim like that?!"

Can the sanctimony, seriously. It's unflattering.

Why the hell would you come to a comment thread and ask people where they get off questioning and commenting?

That's what the thread is FOR you dorks ...think about it.

Eric's right that Jensens' personal history probably explains his reaction, but the fact remains that empty death threats online are so common, the pigs ignore them mostly because it would be completely impossible to put resources in to investigating even a fraction of them. Sad but true. 

Now if Jensen had seen people lurking outside his house or had an actual face-to-face confrontation, that would be completely different. But it hasn't happened to my knowledge.

 

Empty death threats

but the fact remains that empty death threats online are so common, the pigs ignore them mostly because it would be completely impossible to put resources in to investigating even a fraction of them.

 

and yet the FBI is investigating a threat (one so far) on David Letterman posted on some radical islamist website.

 

Now if Jensen had seen people lurking outside his house or had an actual face-to-face confrontation, that would be completely different. But it hasn't happened to my knowledge.

 

He has had breakins into his house and property (which he mentions in the interview), but I guess through your logic he needs to have a gun pointed to his face, or see men in a parked car outside his house making "throat cutting" gestures for it to be a serious threat and giving him the right to call the cops, that is if you approve of himn calling the cops at all, since that seems to be a whole other serious issue that victims aren't allowed to do if they have ever spoken a single word about the police.

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