Tag Archives: Video

Why I Like Derrick Jensen

When people find out that I’ve interviewed Derrick Jensen, I get a lot of different responses. From the anarchist scene, most of these are negative. “Oh, he’s not really an anarchist.” Well, I’ve talked to him at length about how he politically identifies in relation to anarchism, and published the results in Mythmakers. My new favorite now is “I heard he drives a hummer.” Which is about as ludicrous as it gets. Or that’s he’s like, super wealthy. Let me let you in on a little secret: being a respected author in a niche does not make you wealthy. He drives a pickup truck and lives outside a non-wealthy city. He’s also amazingly down-to-earth and friendly and—this is what he gets in trouble for, by and large—honest. He’ll actually tell you what he thinks of various things.

Do I agree with all of his politics? No. I agree with 90% of his analysis of problems and only maybe 20-30% of his suggested solutions. For one thing, I think that we could have a sustainable society with a degree of technology.

One thing about fame: lots and lots of people talk about Derrick Jensen as though they know him. When they say “I hate Derrick Jensen” or “I love Derrick Jensen,” they’re not really talking about a person, they’re talking about a collection of books and a perceived idea that is “Derrick Jensen.” They’re not talking about the reasonably humble man who knows that he will die if what he wants (industrial collapse) ever comes to pass.

But videos like this one above are why Derrick is so important. He’s incredibly funny and poignant and gets really radical ideas across outside of the anarchist niche.

Elizabeth Gilbert on the creative daemon

This 19 minute video is a really amazing talk that gets into the power of myth in modern culture–specifically, citing the lack of it as part of the problem. Really, this video is an excellent use of 19 minutes if you’re up to any sort of creative endeavor. The idea she gets across–that one person’s creation isn’t really their creation, reminds me of a quote from the interview with crimethinc in Mythmakers & Lawbreakers:

First of all, I want to emphasize that language and all the stories inside of it are collectively produced. That is not to say that they are horizontally produced, but they are collectively produced. Capitalism is collectively produced: it’s a collective relation that we all participate in, in some ways, but a hierarchical one. We collectively produce language, we collectively produce our ideas. They come out of the conversations we’re all having. One person takes some ideas that have been gestating for hundreds of years, writes a book about them, puts his name on it, and makes a whole lot of money or a whole lot of intellectual capital, wins a whole lot of respect, for being the person who’s basically privatized this previously wild rainforest of ideas. I think that’s bullshit.

I will say that this video elevates the concept of the “artist” onto the pedestal that I really don’t agree with it being on. At best, I would hold that being a creative professional is along the same lines as any other professional (at worst, I would point out that you can’t eat a poem and that photographs don’t put out fires).

Video of Picket at Pettus

Here’s a 10 minute video that covers the picket at Pettus, West Virginia yesterday. It also briefly goes over the actions that took place up on Kayford Mountain and the Brushy Fork impoundment. If you pay close attention, I give a speech at the end, cause I’m trying to raise funds to get my friends out of jail. Little did we know that the 7 line crossers from that day also got sent to jail for $2000 cash bail as well.

So this video, and this action, mention god quite a bit. In fact, it starts out with Sage, a Mennonite preacher, giving a prayer. And one of the most important speakers is Ken Hechler, a former senator. Even I’m talking about non-violence in it. But here’s the thing about environmentalism… it takes all kinds. It takes everyone. It takes every level of tactic. We need people to cross lines to draw media attention. We need people to lock themselves to things. We need people to sue, we need people to lobby (though I shudder at what a monstrous waste of resources that last bit can seem!). And we need people to directly confront the machinery of oppression. In some cases, we need sabotage. There are a lot of different types of folks working to stop people from destroying the earth. We need solidarity between these different groups. So yes, anarchists can listen to prayers and senators from time to time. And actually, both the prayers (“God will destroy those who destroy the earth”) and the senator (“What you are seeing, up on brushy fork, is the arrogance of power”), in this case, were pretty sweet.

And yes, my friends are still in jail. We’re still trying to get them bail money. If you donate money, and we get that money back (as is often the case with bail), it’ll probably get saved to get more of us out of jail in the future. Because a lot of people are going to go to jail over this. In case you missed it, motherfuckers are blowing up mountains.