Derrick Jensen: Deep Green Resistance


[With many fans in this area, Derrick Jensen takes the next step. However, I think it’s a mistake to advocate violence, and I don’t endorse the tactics, doomed to failure, discussed on Jensen’s website. -DS]

What is Deep Green Resistance?

Deep Green Resistance is an analysis, a strategy, and a movement being born — the only movement of its kind.

As an analysis, it reveals the last 10,000 years of human history–the rise and dominance of civilization–as the culture of death that is now threatening every living being on Earth.

As a strategy, it critiques ineffective lifestyle actions and explains their inevitable failure to stop the destruction of people, species, and the planet. In contrast, DGR offers a concrete plan for how to stop that destruction.

As an aboveground movement, just now taking its first steps, Deep Green Resistance is based on this analysis and implementing this strategy. And we’re recruiting.

No more ineffective actions – piecemeal, reactive, and sad. No more feel-good, magical-thinking, navel-gazing, consumer-based, capitalist-approved denial and dead ends.

The goal of DGR is to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet. This will require defending and rebuilding just and sustainable human communities nestled inside repaired and restored landbases. This is a vast undertaking but it needs to be said: it can be done. Industrial civilization can be stopped.

DGR’s strategy involves two separate parts of the movement – an aboveground and an underground. The aboveground works for sustainable, just, and participatory institutions, and assists the frontline activists with loyalty and material support. And In any resistance scenario, the underground dismantles the strategic infrastructure of power. This is a basic tactic of both militaries and insurgents the world over for the simple reason that it works. But such actions alone are never a sufficient strategy for achieving a just outcome. This means that any strategy aiming for a just future must include a call to build direct democracies based on human rights and sustainable material cultures. Which means that the different branches of resistance movements must work in tandem: the aboveground and belowground, the militants and the nonviolent, the frontline activists and the cultural workers. We need it all.

And we need courage. The word “courage” comes from the same root as coeur, the French word for heart. We need all the courage of which the human heart is capable, forged into both weapon and shield to defend what is left of this planet. And the lifeblood of courage is, of course, love.

So while DGR is about fighting back, in the end this movement is about love. The songbirds and the salmon need your heart, no matter how weary, because even a broken heart is still made of love. They need your heart because they are disappearing, slipping into that longest night of extinction, and the resistance is nowhere in sight. We will have to build that resistance from whatever comes to hand: whispers and prayers, history and dreams, from our bravest words and braver actions. It will be hard, there will be a cost, and in too many implacable dawns it will seem impossible. But we will have to do it anyway. So gather your heart and join with every living being. With love as our First Cause, how can we fail?

Want more? Here’s the strategy: Decisive Ecological Warfare


This guy is advocating violence and therefore dangerous.

    Powerful people in big corporations are advocating, and profiting greatly from, violence all over the world. Indigenous nations and their way of life are being decimated constantly for oil and other “natural resources”. There is mass rape perpetrated by rulers to subordinate the masses into letting them steal their land. Corporations are stealing the way of life of farmers all over the world. And those of us in the part of the world who “don’t need anything” are benefiting from it. In the “civilized” world, child, elderly and female abuse is rampant. Why is this okay? Why are we accepting all of this? How is resisting all of this violent? Is self defense violent? Is the defense of someone you love who cannot defend themselves violent? DGR is not one person. Please rethink this.

Derrick is not advocating violence so much as he advocating that we adopt any means necessary to effectively stop global ecocide. He is advocating that we diversify our strategies, because what we’re doing now is not working.

    I beg to differ. He’s danced around the idea in most of his writings, but now, on his website, he is explicitly advocating and recruiting for violence. What does “any means necessary” mean to you? What does it mean in his videos where he makes fun of those who advocate non-violence, Gandhi, and MLK?

I must strongly agree with Char, and challenge Ron’s simplicity. The Dalai Lama, whom Jensen frequently derides, stated that the killing of Osama Bin Laden was justified: one life taken to save thousands of others. Governments should not have a monopoly on justice. Jensen, I believe, does advocate an even more important justified killing: those entities actively terrorizing and murdering the entire planet and all of her inhabitants. The industrial monolithic profiteers must be stopped. Am I wrong? Is there a timely alternative?

And, this issue, even violence, must be discussed openly and frequently. Those who lust over the earth’s resources must know and feel how evil they are and how angry we have become. Every day brings multiple news stories about people, animals, oceans, rivers, and soils being heartlessly and irreversably destroyed by industrial civilization for profit. There are millions of people willing to defend their planet and we know we are running out of time. Let’s start talking about it and doing something also.

Derrick Jensen preaches that when you and I use less resources and do what we can to support local businesses, mass transit, recycling, organic farming, etc. it’s a waste of time; the multinational corporations will ruin the earth no matter what we, individual people, do. So, he says, let’s form an underground army and, what? Blow up dams and burn down lumber mills and attack corporate headquarters? Underground? With a web site? I find it tragic that so many people buy into his self-serving nonsense. Our individual lifestyle choices add up to a total demand for stuff that is supplied by those terrible corporations. Yes, the oil companies and mining companies and lumber companies and pharmaceutical agribusiness companies are, for the most part, terrible. But they are only empowered to do what they do because people, lots of people, pay them do their dirty business. If people did not buy their stuff, they would not make it or mine it or chop it down. And these corporations continue to do their dirty work because there are too many billions of hungry over-consuming humans. Individual behavior makes ALL the difference.

If Derrick would use his energy and charisma to contribute to a movement that swiftly and humanely reduces over-population, he would accomplish a million times more than he will ever accomplish by revving the tired old engines of battling the symptoms instead of the causes. This is not to say we should not resist environmental destruction and support such resistance. We should. But let’s be brilliant and creative and inventive as we take action, not primitively reactive. Please.

    Amen to that Todd… and I’m reminded of the Buckminster Fuller quote: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

How would we “swiftly and humanely” reduce overpopulation? Is dismantling or otherwise neutralizing toxic and destructive technology violence?

I don’t advocate starting another war of some kind (our default response to everything we don’t like), but none of the softer solutions really seem to offer much hope in the time-frame we apparently have left to work in.

If there is an answer to our predicament, it hasn’t been clearly articulated yet.

Einstein admonished that, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Thus, we cannot simply stop using (buying) the technology that created the destruction. And, of course we cannot use that same technology to try and fix the problem. We must “dismantle” the technology and infrastructure and start over. It need not be violent, but it must be an entirely novel and radical process.

If some of the trillions of dollars wasted on destructive and/or useless endeavors every year were used to reward people for not having children or for having only one child, and these rewards in the form of cash, tax breaks, land, etc. were significant and ongoing, global human population could be curbed relatively swiftly. If decreasing population became a priority for activists, instead of being a side issue if an issue at all for most environmental and social justice activists and organizations, I’m certain many effective and humane plans could be put in place with the support and cooperation of governments compelled by such activism to make population control a priority. As for dismantling destructive technology, I’m all for it. Dismantling, however, suggests care, not violence.

Both Gandhi and the Dalai Lama have said there are times when violence is justified. But, it seems increasingly likely that it won’t be necessary. The capitalist economic or greed-and-fear system system is eating itself alive. House prices and the dollar are continuing to plunge. Unemployment is down not because there are more working but because so many are leaving the job marker while wages are reportedly falling. The Greek opposition is saying “We don’t agree with a policy that kills the economy and destroys society,” which will almost surely result in Greece’s default – with Ireland soon to follow and with many banks failing. The great storms fueled by global warming are disrupting agriculture all over the world. I could go on and on. A high official in the economic world recently reportedly said that “we have to lie” because if they told the truth it would make the catastrophe happen sooner. The U.S. is violently ill, with the emphasis on “violently”, and it seems determinedly headed for its death bed. Should we cry? Yes, of course, many many will be hurt, but there are far far too many of us for the health of the planet. So be it, I say.

How long do we wait for the “capitalist system to eat itself alive”? Really? This is a cop-out way to look at things.. How will we “swiftly and humanely” bring down population? How many other species must go extinct while we wait?

Why do their lives mean less than humans?