We are those who are on the side of the living. And we are going to win
23rd July 2015
‘We are people who no longer hope salmon survive, but will do whatever it takes to stop their extinction.’
Who are we? We are the people who are ready to fight back, writes Derrick Jensen. The people who no longer live in hope that the Earth will be saved, but in the certainty that we will save her. We are activists, survivors, lovers and fighters. And we say: the destruction will stop.
We are people who do not resign ourselves to the fate we are so often told is inevitable.
We are people who refuse to continue as slaves. We are people who are remembering how to be human beings. We are people who are ready to take back our own lives, and to defend our lives and the lives of those we love, including the land.
We are people who are at long last ready and willing to fight back. We are people who know in our bones the truth of Robert E. Lee’s statement, “We must decide between the risk of action versus the positive loss of inaction.” We are people who are ready to take the offensive, or support those people who do.
We are survivors. We have survived domestic violence. We have survived racism, and we have survived sexism. We have survived industrial schooling, and we have survived the industrial economy. We have survived television. We have survived the toxification of our total environment.
And we are ready to fight back
We are lovers, lovers of the land, lovers of each other, lovers of our own bodies, including our emotions. We love. We hate. We feel joy, despair, sorrow, outrage, happiness, anger. And we are ready to fight back.
We are the oppressed. We are prisoners, family farmers, animal liberators, women, children, American Indians, blacks, Mexicans, poor whites, Asians, people of the Third World, the indigenous. We are parents, and we are childless. We are those who hate our jobs, we are the unemployed, and we are those who want no jobs. And we are ready to fight back.
We are those who have listened long with love and sorrow, and who now with their permission speak for salmon, redwoods, rivers, voles, spotted owls. We speak for the bison, the sturgeon, the manatee, the shark.
We speak for the soil, for the wind, for the snow, for the ice caps. We speak for the phytoplankton, and we speak for the insects. We speak with voices that are no more and no less than the wind moving in and out of our bodies, over our vocal cords. We speak for our homes, and for our neighbors, and we will be heard. They will be heard. And we are ready to fight back.
We are activists. We are teachers. We are students. We are workers in strawberry fields. We are visual artists. We are small business owners. We are construction workers. We are genetic engineers. We are librarians. We are bioweapons specialists. We are ex-navy SEALS.
We are demolitions experts. We are hackers. We are clerks at Wal-Mart. We are prisoners. We are single mothers. We are punks. We are fishermen. We are hunters. We are those who oppose hunting. We are writers. We are killers. We are former loggers. We are saboteurs. We are nurses. We are farmers. We are great-grandmothers. We are attorneys. We are ex-cons. And we are ready to fight back.
We are in Los Angeles, Detroit, Boston, New York. We are in St. Louis and we are in Asheville, North Carolina. We are in St. Petersburg and we are in Seattle. We are in tiny towns in Montana and we are in southern Mexico. We are in Canada and we are in Korea. We are in China, India, Australia. We are in the Congo and in Tanzania. We are in Macedonia, Austria, Denmark, Finland. And we are ready to fight back.
And we are going to win
We are people who have realized that unless it is stopped, civilization will kill everything on the planet. We are people who have realized that civilization is guided by an urge to destroy, and we are people who have realized that civilization is not reformable.
We are people who have learned the lessons of those who have tried to make treaties with those who are killing the planet, and we are people who, with all the world at stake, are finally ready to fight back.
We are people who no longer hope that civilization will stop killing the planet, but will do whatever it takes to stop it. We are people who no longer hope salmon survive, but will do whatever it takes to stop their extinction. We are people who say the same for bison, prairie dogs, desert tortoises, whales, dolphins, lions, great apes, rhinos. We do not hope. We act. And we are ready to fight back.
We are people who understand deep within our bodies that fear is the belief that we have something left to lose, and with all the world at stake we are ready to fight back.
We are people who are putting those who would kill the world we love on notice. You must stop. Now. You will stop. Hear this as you have never heard anything before. You will stop. We are ready to fight back.
And we are going to win.
We are those who will never forget that the Jews who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising had a higher rate of survival than those who went along.
We are those who are on the side of the living, and we are going to win.
This article is an extract from Endgame, Volume II: Resistance by Derrick Jensen, pp.828-830, chapter entitled ‘A Matter of Time’.