The audio on this video is a tiny little bit unclear in parts, but this is a message worth hearing, both meaningful and entertaining.
Derrick Jensen, talking about violence, non-violence, pacifism, love as techniques for activists.
When white, conservative, middle-class activists use “a Gandhi shield” which is “say the words Gandhi-Martin Luther King-Dali Lama again and again as fast as they can”, Jensen suggests that these people have never experienced violence.
Right now there is a wars raging against animals, earth and people – a holocaust against animals and the ecocide against the planet, and the slaughter of people all over the world, how will non-violence stop these wars?
For people to promote Non-Violence as their only response to the war against all life on the planet, then perhaps it is because violence – the use or opposition – is a theoretical abstract concept and not part of their every day reality.
Jensen talks about how people might confront Direct Action activists with trite non-violence sayings, and he presents responses that challenge these “non-violence” beliefs.
Jensen makes some thought-provoking points in response to people who say “violence has never achieved anything”, and maybe, if they truly believe that, they should take a look around at the state of the world and see how much of that has been caused by, and is the result of, violence.
It all comes down to what you are an activist for – if you are a peace activist, then the use of violence would repudiate your message.
However, there are activists fighting to save the lives of animals, save the earth from complete destruction or save people from being exploited in the name of the dollar. And when these people begin to say, “sorry, I can’t fight for you, I’m fighting for Non-violence. I am placing my belief in Non-violence above your right to life”, maybe it is time to re-examine these tactics used to achieve liberation.
There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and non-violence — against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people. And I think the time has come for us to consider, in the light of our experiences at this day at home, whether the methods which we have applied so far are adequate. Interview in 1961.
— Nelson Mandela
Sidebar: Makes a reference to the powerful impact of a Mama Grizzly, long before Sarah Palin took on that symbolism.