T.R. McKenzie: Are You Willing To Do The Same?
Originally published at DGRnewsservice.org -cross-published on LRI with permission.
By T.R. McKenzie / Deep Green Resistance Great Plains
The following speech was given as part of the Warrior Up Resistance Tour in January 2013.
Good evening friends, allies, relatives, I hope and pray that I say something tonight that makes you feel uncomfortable. You cannot live in these times—in the thrashing endgame of industrial Civilization, in the thrashing endgame of industrial capitalism, in the thrashing endgame of the so-called American empire—without feeling at least somewhat uncomfortable. My name is T.R. McKenzie. I am the son of Tim McKenzie and Dolores Fuentes. My ancestors came to this illegal occupied land by way of various lands in Europe and Mexico.
I am part of the radical environmental movement Deep Green Resistance. Our goal is gigantic in scope: “The goal of DGR is to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet.” We believe lifestyle and consumer choices like recycling, taking shorter showers, or changing light bulbs, will not save us. We believe industrial civilization is destroying the planet and needs to be taken down and turned into rubble. The dams need to be taken out, the cell phone towers need to be knocked to the ground. We believe that, if a culture of resistance forms immediately, we all can help to soften the inevitable crash of this death culture. As a movement, we believe that when it comes to tactics and strategy, we need it all. We need aboveground actions, and we need underground actions. We need people willing to be on the frontlines and countless others supporting them with loyalty and material support. If you come from the occupying invader culture, it is your duty to put your body on the line in defense of Mother Earth and indigenous peoples. That is what makes a good ally.
The state of the planet where we live is this: Over 90% of the large fish in the oceans are gone. There is 10 times as much plastic in the oceans as there is phytoplankton, the small creatures that supply half the oxygen we breathe. 97% percent of native forests have been destroyed. 98% of native grasslands have been destroyed. The water in 89% of U.S. cities is contaminated with carcinogens. If you are under 30 years of age, half of you will get cancer at some point in your lifetime. In the last 24 hours, 200,000 acres of rainforest has been destroyed and 13 million tons of toxic chemicals have been released onto the Earth and into the water. Over 45,000 fellow human beings have died from starvation or lack of water, 38,000 of them children. Between 120-200 species went extinct today never to breathe life on this planet–that’s 73,000 a year. Indigenous cultures and languages are going extinct at an even faster relative rate.
As you know now this death culture is waging war on all life. This is a war and we need to say that. I say it again: this is a war. And I ask you: what the hell are you going to do about it? Those of us on the frontlines are willing to do what is necessary to save and defend the living by any means necessary. Are you willing to do the same?
One of my Lakota allies Chase Iron Eyes wrote: “We owe allegiance to the trees, the four leggeds, the winged ones, the water, the salmon, the buffalo, the deer, the elk, the moose, the caribou, the bears, the corn, the wild rice and all living things which find a way to live together. All of us are making a choice everyday about whether or not we will choose a better path or continue complacently down this path that leads to the death of the planet.”
Again I ask you: are you willing to do the same?
For far too many years, this invader culture has done its best to divide us. What we need desperately is solidarity—solidarity with life and standing in solidarity against this death culture. I stand here a proud traitor to this dominant culture of death and destruction.
Are you willing to say the same?
Where there is death and destruction, there is always life fighting to live; where there is oppression there is always resistance. Let’s be very straight forward and honest about fighting back. Our mother is being tortured right in front of our eyes. Our relatives are being killed and poisoned by this invader death culture. None of us can win this fight alone. We need each other, and it has always been done this way. We need each other and we need it all. Andrea Dworkin said, “I found it was better to fight, always no matter what.” Again I ask: are you willing to do the same? A lesson from her-story shows that it is in the best interest of life to fight back: the Jews that fought back against the Nazi during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising had a higher rate of survivability then those who just went along with the system of death that was in place. We must always fight back. Again I ask: are you willing to do the same?
Real resistance looks like MEND, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. The Niger Delta has been destroyed and poisoned by Royal Dutch Shell. The people of that land tried peacefully to petition their government for redress, and to ask that the land be cleaned up and that the bodies of their families not be poisoned. Instead of listening to the people, the military government hung 8 of the leaders of the peaceful nonviolent movement, including Ken Saro Wiwa. After that happened, more than 200 brave human beings took up arms to protect the people and the land. They masked their faces, and wore camouflage clothing, the colors of Earth’s Army. They have sabotaged oil equipment and kidnapped oil workers. They have said to Royal Dutch Shell, “Leave our land while you can or die in it.” Again I ask: are you willing to do the same?
Trans-Canada thinks they will be building a pipeline through my Lakota allies’ territory. I stand before you today unafraid when I say this will happen over my dead body. Only over my dead body will they poison the water, and poison countless children and countless generations. Again I ask you: are you willing to do the same?
I leave you with a quote by author and activist Derrick Jensen: “We need all the courage of which the human heart is capable, forged into both weapon and shield to defend what is left of this planet. And the lifeblood of courage is, of course, love…The songbirds and salmon need your heart, no matter how weary, because even a broken heart is still made of love. They need your heart because they are disappearing, slipping into that longest night of extinction . . . . We will have to build the resistance from whatever comes to hand: whispers and prayers, history and dreams, from our bravest words and braver actions. It will be hard there will be a cost, and in too many dawns it will seem impossible. But we will have to do it anyway.”
This is War!