Lying Media Bastards

July 11, 2009

Monster Mash

Nice article here by radical environmental fella Derrick Jensen- “Forget Shorter Showers: Why personal change does not equal political change”. I think his core point is extremely important: while politicians and advertising encourage the public to change their shopping behaviors to save the planet, the environmental damage caused by corporations and industry absolutely dwarf the damage caused by you and me. Reusing your plastic grocery bags and using “green” toilet paper is utterly meaningless if you live down the block from a coal-fired power plant, or virtually any kind of factory.

Jensen then veers a bit, after implying that you and your lifestyle are insignificant, he then says that people like you and me are very important, because we have to destroy industrial capitalism to save the planet. How? He’s a tad vague. But of course, there is no “right way” to confront and defeat an economic, political, and cultural system. No one “knows” what to do in this situation. You’ve just got to try what you can. But, almost as an aside, he points out that this has consequences as well:

acting decisively to stop the industrial economy, is very scary for a number of reasons, including but not restricted to the fact that we’d lose some of the luxuries (like electricity) to which we’ve grown accustomed, and the fact that those in power might try to kill us if we seriously impede their ability to exploit the world.

Honestly, I think that’s why activist culture in the US is still stuck on non-violence and rallies; if you take action that actually threatens the establishment, it will fight back. It’s much less scary to try to organize the biggest darn legally-permitted protest rally around, than to take terrifying direct action, and face the possibility of arrest, injury, and death.

Posted by Jake on July 11, 2009 6:03 pm

1 Comment »

  1. People also don’t want to lose the so-called luxury of electricity.

    More important, people don’t want to do anything that won’t succeed. That’s why the second defense of things-as-they-are, after “It’s better this way” is “You can’t change anything anyway.”

    I hate the status quo protecting reaction of individual solutions to collective problems (Obesity epidemic? Go exercise! as well as Destroying life on earth as we know it? Buy a hybrid SUV!), but personal actions do have meaning– they just aren’t sufficient (and won’t be widespread enough) without systemic change.

    Let’s tie this back to electricity and the fact that it is easier in this media era for the overprivileged, when threatened with a modicum of justice, to take away our means of sustenance and livelihood than to shoot us in great numbers. A necessary part of fighting economic, political, and cultural systems is to build replacements. That means personal change done collectively.

    I’m in Natick, Massachussets. Where’s everyone else out there?

    We need to make visible both problems and solutions to involve enough people to make society-wide change.

    That said, one of the easiest ways today to connect a problem and solution is fighting foreclosures by keeping families in their houses, check out City Life / Vida Urbana.

    Comment by Benjamin Melançon — July 15, 2009 @ 10:14 am

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