Earth at Risk: Stephanie McMillan on Capitalism

12 Jan

Our planet is under serious threat from industrial civilization; whether it’s the 200 species pushed to extinction everyday, catastrophic runaway climate change, the murder of the world’s topsoil, or the toxification of the air, water and our very bodies, this culture is incompatible with a living planet.

Yet most activists refuse to consider strategies that might actually prevent the looming biotic collapse the Earth is facing. We need to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet. We need a serious resistance movement that includes all levels of direct action–action that can match the scale of the problem.

Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan at the Earth at Risk Conference

In November of last year, thousands of people gathered in Berkley, California or tuned in online for the Earth at Risk conference. Acclaimed writer, philosopher and activist Derrick Jensen had conversations with seven groundbreaking thinkers about the state of our planet and what it will take to save it. Each of these 7 different thinkers, writers and activists brought forth a unique perspective and critique of the death-culture of civilization and offered ideas to bring and end to the madness. You can see video of the conference at the Deep Green Resistance Youtube channel.

Stephanie McMillan is known for her political cartoons (Code Green and Minimum Security), in addition to her collaborative work with Derrick Jensen (Mischief in the Forest and As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial)As one of the speakers, Stephanie McMillan discussed how capitalism functions, and why it must destroy the living world in order to survive. Her analysis (assisted by some of her wonderful cartoons) gets to the root of what industrial capitalism is, and explains the inevitable result of the capitalist process; by getting beyond the rhetoric and showing the bare-bones function of capitalism for what it is, McMillan provides a very welcome and much-needed grounding in reality.

Through her looking-glass, we are also challenged to question mainstream activist culture: begging and pleading and regulating won’t ever be enough to stop the destructive force of such a morally corrupt system. It cannot be reformed; it must be stopped outright and completely. But as we confront this reality, another truth becomes apparent; those who run and benefit from this state of affairs will tolerate no blasphemy, deviance nor dissidence. Where does this leave us as a resistance movement?

Watch her conversation with Derrick Jensen:

Throughout history all resistance movements have faced ruthless enemies that had unlimited resources. That’s why all resistance movements count on loyalty and material support. And, unlike the past, now, everything’s at stake. We are battling those who are destroying the planet for their profit. Not all of us can participate on the frontlines. But we all can contribute at some level. Here’s your opportunity to fund the resistance.

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