PSDB On the advice of many Derrick Jensen’s “Endgame” has been on the ‘should read’ list for years, but somehow I have never gotten around to it. More recently a youtube clip of him reading an excerpt was brought to my attention, so I watched that, and then checked out sections of the books that are available online.
The clip in question is a reading of the apparently infamous “The enviromentalist version of Star Wars” analogy (text from book here). Many apparently feel that this is a wonderful encapsulation of all that is wrong with “mainstream environmentalism.” Actually it’s a pretty good encapsulation of all that is wrong with Derrick Jensen’s arguments.
The short version (if you want to save 9 min of your life) is that Jensen uses a Star Wars analogy to mock nonviolent activists. eg:
“In a surprise move that will rivet viewers to the edges of their seats, other groups of rebels file lawsuits against the Empire, attempting to show that the Environmental Impact Statement Darth Vader was required to file failed to adequately support its …”
Straw Man Fail
Not surprisingly the case for nonviolence is NOT best articulated by a random collection of “standard lines thrown out by pacifists“, which is what Jensen uses to (mis)represent the nonviolent argument. A fair critique of nonviolent action would discuss and attempt to refute people like Gene Sharp, Bill Moyer or George Lakey, none of whom are even mentioned on the site.
Excuse me? you are pretending to critique a political strategy and you don’t mention any of the important current writers and thinkers? much less discuss their work and ideas? What am I supposed to believe? That:
- Jensen’s grasp of the subject is so lame that he doesn’t even know about the core writing and thinking on it, and couldn’t be bothered to find out?;
- Jensen knew about them, but has such a limited grasp of political struggle that he didn’t understand them, and hence left them out?;
- Jensen knew about them, but since he had no intelligent response he instead chose to ignore them and substitute cartoons instead?
Strangely, none of the above explanations give me any confidence that Jensen is worth taking seriously as any sort of authority on political struggle; I’m funny that way. Regardless, the fact remains that Jensen has not even talked about the case for nonviolent resistance, much less refuted it.
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We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.