Chris Hedges on the State of Extraction: exploitation, capitalism, and patriarchy

Chris Hedges spoke last weekend at the State of Extraction conference at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC. While most speakers focused exclusively on natural “resources” ripped from the planet, Hedges brilliantly linked this environmental devastation with the social impacts of colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism on our most vulnerable populations. He challenged the narcissism, individualism, and identity politics that have come to dominate modern culture, including most of the left. He identified as especially insidious the widespread acceptance of prostitution and pornography: no other subjugation is so widely rationalized and dismissed as these abuses of women. Even in so-called progressive and radical circles, sexualized violence and racism are fiercely defended where no one would try to justify such violations in any other circumstances.

In fact, Hedges was temporarily deplatformed from the State of Extraction conference precisely for calling on the left to recognize the war against women as part of the larger colonialist project, in his recent article amplifying the voices of women on the front lines. Even in venues actively opposing the status quo of capitalism and extraction from the earth, any challenge to the accepted wisdom of patriarchy is met with knee-jerk attacks and an unwillingness to listen. We’ve seen this again and again in recent years as radical feminist speakers have been silenced: deplatformed from venue after venue, threatened with rape and murder, and attacked in vicious smear campaigns. The only thing unique about this latest incident is Hedges’ position as a privileged white man.

Deep Green Resistance strongly advocates for a radical view of our interlocking crises, environmental and social. We need to get to the root of our problems to fashion effective solutions. In our FAQ Is DGR a Feminist Organization? we explain:

Right now, patriarchy is the ruling religion of the planet. Women are just another resource for men to use in their endless quest to prove their toxic masculinity and breed soldiers for civilization’s constant state of war. The masculinity and the war—against people, against the planet—together have created a perpetual motion machine of domination and destruction of the land and human rights. This is why militarism is a feminist issue, why rape is an environmental issue, why environmental destruction is a peace issue. We will never dismantle misogyny as long as domination is eroticized. We will also never stop racism. Nor will we mount an effective resistance to fascism, since, as Sheila Jeffreys points out, fascism’s root is ultimately the eroticization of domination and subordination–fascism is in essence a cult of masculinity. Those are all huge spin-outs from the same beginning. The result is torture, rape, genocide, and biocide.

Please ponder this as you watch Chris Hedges give this amazing and truly radical speech:

Trigger warning: Besides the generally disturbing nature of this subject, Hedges reads a graphic account of a brutal rape from minute 46 to 48.

Also read DGR member Jonah Mix’s analysis of the speech and male backlash against it: When “Paternalism” is Worse Than Commercial Rape: #StateofExtraction and the New Manarchist.

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