Reading the current (July / August) issue of Orion Magazine, I found an opinion piece by Derrick Jensen headlined Forget Shorter Showers. It is really about the need to do more than change your lifestyle in order to combat corporatism, capitalism, global warming, etc. His closing call is to become an activist.
We can follow the examples of brave activists who lived through the difficult times I mentioned—Nazi Germany, Tsarist Russia, antebellum United States—who did far more than manifest a form of moral purity; they actively opposed the injustices that surrounded them. We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems.I was more than a little disappointed in Orion for publishing it, though Jensen has far more supporters than critics if you go by the comments on this article. My concern is that Jensen is calling for actions in opposition to all of those things I listed but gives not even a glimpse of what he want to see take the place of all that he would tear down. While citing the power of activism against Tsarist Russia, he fails to note that such activism gave us the Stalinist Soviet Union.
Pollster Frank Luntz warns us that Americans react best when politicians are "aspirational" rather than merely critical... no matter how valid the criticism's might be. The message for Greens is that we had better start explaining how our path will take us to a far better place. Until we do that, we will remain a footnote to history. Until Jensen does that, he will remain on the sidelines of the debate.