Do We Need a Militant Movement to Save the Planet (and Ourselves)?
Continued from previous page
DJ: I wrote an essay a couple of years ago about how when I go to some event like Bioneers or Greenfest that I'm supposed to end up feeling all rejuvenated and inspired, but the truth is that when I've been to those, I've always ended up feeling discouraged, defeated and lied to. And the reason is because there were all these people talking about all these so-called solutions, but I was the only person there who gave a presentation that included power or psychopathology, and how can you possibly talk about social change without talking about the understanding that those in power have and what power means?
When we talk about militants, everyone talks about violence, but one of the baselines we have to talk about that people don't acknowledge is that empire is based on violence in the first place, and there is tremendous violence going on right now. We can't talk about any sort of militant resistance without acknowledging that brown people the world over are being bombed to serve empire.
There is violence not just of direct bombs but the violence of dispossession in order to take land to be used for cash crops exports. Remember what the rebel group in Peru wanted — they wanted the people of Peru to grow their own food. They already knew how to do it. They only need to be allowed to do so. What that means is that they were not being allowed to have food self-sufficiency, which happens the world over. Right now farmers are being driven off their land in India, because the water is being stolen for Coca-Cola. I have a friend that used to be married to someone from Bangladesh. Even 20 years ago, his mother would say to him to get some lunch, and he would go get some fish from the river. Now people in the entire village cannot fish because the river is so polluted that they have to buy their fish from Iceland. That is the process of being forced into the wage economy.
If we want to talk about violence, let's talk the 20 million to 1 ratio of human attacks on sharks to shark attacks on humans. Let's talk about the Mekong River catfish that is going to be extricated by dams. Part of the problem is that violence that is higher on the hierarchy we don't see at all, or if we do see it, it is fully rationalized. That is something that needs to be brought to any conversation. There is tremendous violence being forced down the hierarchy, but the fact that we don't notice a lot of it is because we're in a position of privilege.
LK: I would just add to that, if you live in one of the rich nations, you live behind a military barricade, and the only reason that you don't know that every single thing you buy is based on violence is because of that military barricade. So we can turn away in complete denial to the real cost of every single piece of food we eat and everything we buy — the cell phones, the ipods, the cars, whatever. There are a whole bunch of dead people and dead bioregions behind everything that we buy. And it is that military barricade that keeps us safe and keeps us in a complete land of dreams. But it is all based on violence. All we are saying is that we want to stop the violence. We don't want to make violence.
My friend Gail Dines has a lot of students that work at places like Old Navy and the Gap, and they regularly find, when they're unpacking the jeans and the T-shirts, little notes stuffed into the pockets that say "Please help us." This is from the factory workers in China or Taiwan or wherever.