Derrick Jensen was speaking to the Occupy Oakland and San Francisco folks today, and I had hoped to catch the livestream, but ended up missing it. I did find, however, a video from about a month ago, when Jensen spoke to Occupy DC via Skype.
True to form, Jensen told the crowd that when people ask him whether he’s calling for the overthrow of the U.S. Government, ie, real revolution, he answers that “this question comes far too late.
“For the government was long since overthrown. And those who overthrew it are known as Exxon Mobil, British Petroleum, Halliburton, Monsanto, ADM, WalMart, Massey, Goldman Sachs, Citibank.
“They are the real governors, and the United States Government is a wholly owned subsidiary brought to you by McDonalds, Pfizer and Lockheed Martin.
“So then you can ask, am I advocating the overthrow of the corporations? Am I advocating the overthrow of the corporate state?
“To which I will say hell yes!”
For someone like me who came of age in the 1970s and 80s, it’s very hard to imagine a world without corporations. How would we get our stuff? What would I type on if there was no Apple? How would we communicate without Google, Facebook or WordPress, not to mention Twitter?
And of course, how would any of these products see the light of day without the industrial supply lines that go from oil extraction to factory production to tanker ships to retail store?
Well, somehow for the vast majority of human history, your ancestors and mine managed to live and procreate and die just fine without any corporate help or interference.
I’m no Luddite: I love my computer, car, cell phone and dishwasher just as much as the next American.
But somewhere along the way to the bank, we ceded far too much power to these corporations. Derrick Jensen has it right when he says that “a government worth a good goddamn” should answer to human beings, not corporations.
Will we join the polar bears and the wolves and the rhinos in fading away quietly into the night when our time comes, as it surely will if we do nothing to stop the steamroll of oil-driven climate change?
Or will we stand up now and demand that our government obey its mandate to be of the people, by the people, and for the people, recognizing that what is good for the people is what is good for the earth as an ecological system?
Jensen closed his talk in DC on a positive and galvanizing note:
“When the government becomes destructive of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it. It is long past time we made full use of our rights.”
Just like our colonial-era forebears, we have the right to throw off the yoke of oppressive government to found a better system.
The Occupy movements are the advance guard of what needs to be a massive campaign of civil disobedience and relentless pressure on the government to listen to us, the people–not them, the corporations.