The following is a “cut & paste” of a discussion post I recently wrote for my “Hate Speech, Manifestos and Radical Writings” class. This class permits more informal discourse which I greatly appreciate. I guess for now I’ll let this stand without any additional aggrandizement.
The readings for the last discussion post of the semester are apropos of the current “main event” taking place in the news- Ferguson, MO. And because of these readings (especially Jensen, but probably the entire semester readings), I am looking at the reaction to the non-indictment of Darren Wilson by the grand jury in a much more cynical, but clearer, light.
In Endgame, Derrick Jensen asks an important and undeniable question regarding violence that should shake the very ideological foundation of every thinking, “civilized” person…
“If violence accomplishes nothing, how do these people believe the ‘civilized’ conquered North and South America and Africa, and before that Europe, and before that the Middle East, and since then the rest of the world?” (747)
This statement washes away many internal conflicts regarding resistance and revolution. That is, we can see them now without the propaganda, rhetoric and bullshit that the powerful use to maintain the power, wealth and control- and in doing so destroy the planet without batting an eye.
It’s clear: if the oppressed, or anyone who simply gets in the way, attempts to resist or revolt, the powerful will use everything in their arsenal to obliterate them. Not for the good of “everyone”, but for their own good. And how do the powerful accomplish that? One major way is through violence of course.
“One reason violence is used so often by those in power is because it works” (747).
We can see it right this minute on TV. The powerful have used their own system to circumvent justice. Darren Wilson needed to go on public trial like any other murderer whose behavior in a particular situation must be questioned and discerned for the greater good of justice. The manipulation of an obviously weak and complicit grand jury toward such a blatant miscarriage of justice is breathtaking.
I served on a US Federal Grand Jury here in Phoenix for a full year. Not once did we return a decision of no-indictment. It’s extremely rare, because doing so does not allow for proper prosecution and defense cross-examination, and overall dissemination and weighing of the facts and the fiction. Isn’t that all we ask for?
Instead this case was thrown out in a clandestine, one-sided hearing where there were at least ten documented witnesses, whose veracity now cannot be cross-examined in a public court of law. Is Darren Wilson lying? Many of us who look at the evidence and statements which we do have available to us believe that. And if he isn’t lying we’ll never know because there will be no trial.
So now as a result we have violence in Ferguson. Should it be deplored? I say HELL NO! This isn’t crazy, mindless, looting. This is the violent response to a goddamn system that oppresses and destroys the weak but protects the rich and the powerful. This is resistance and revolution! Dedicated protesters, radicals and revolutionaries will have to risk everything because “…people always get hurt whenever someone contests the long-entrenched order…” (Expect Resistance 227).
Soon the protests will be smothered of course. Because that’s what always happens. The resistance/revolution movement is simply not strong enough – yet. But someday this order will all come crashing down. “Capitalism as we know it is not going to be here in five generations…” (305).
Tonight, another bought-and-paid-for President came on TV and said: “The bottom line is, nothing of significance, nothing of benefit, results from destructive acts.” (Obama 11/25/14)
Well, I call bullshit on that.
How do you think the USA came into its very existence!? Through violent revolution; destructive acts. How do you think the wealth of this country was accumulated!? Through a violent, back-breaking, life-killing slave industry; destructive acts. People were ripped from their lives; families, communities and societies were destroyed.
“The land was (and is) seized…” (747), by the powerful who wanted it for themselves. Tens of millions of indigenous North Americans and Africans were violently killed through destructive acts for this “civilization” to advance, for this “infallible” nation to come into existence. Millions more have been eliminated or oppressed through institutionalized oppression and violence; destructive acts.
But now things are somehow different? Now we’re supposed to be passive and peaceful? Of course, because now they want to protect that wealth and power which they originally seized through their violent and destructive acts.
I could think of hundreds of other examples – Jensen breaks through the wall which divides the “crazy looters” in Ferguson from the “patriotic soldiers” around the world. Its all violent destruction- except one type is sanctioned by the powerful. Violence works! Violence works for those in power, and they use it regularly to keep “order”. The government needs to perpetuate the lie that violence does nothing of significance, in order to maintain power, “…the powers that be maintain [the] veneer of peace…” (240).
It is so obvious, so factual, so undeniable. “Every government that holds power today is descended in a direct line from…brutality” (240). If you’re happy the way things are, if you support this order, at least be honest enough to admit that it oppressed and destroyed to get here and it will continue to oppress and destroy to remain in power.
Our so-called leaders will keep telling us that, “…nothing of significance, nothing of benefit, results from destructive acts.” And I will keep calling that bullshit.