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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chris Hedges says: Come, comrades...come rally...

I've always liked Chris Hedges. But I've never heard him go on like this before...
Class struggle defines most of human history. Marx got this right. The sooner we realize that we are locked in deadly warfare with our ruling, corporate elite, the sooner we will realize that these elites must be overthrown. The corporate oligarchs have now seized all institutional systems of power in the United States. Electoral politics, internal security, the judiciary, our universities, the arts and finance, along with nearly all forms of communication, are in corporate hands. Our democracy, with faux debates between two corporate parties, is meaningless political theater. There is no way within the system to defy the demands of Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry or war profiteers. The only route left to us, as Aristotle knew, is revolt.
The problem is this: "Revolt" usually means shooting guns, and I imagine that Chris Hedges enjoys that prospect as little as I do.

As I always point out -- and as guys like Hedges always try to forget -- the only revolution likely to succeed in this country is one that old school liberals (such as yours truly) don't want to see. The rebels will surely go in another direction. This generation has been hit with incessant propaganda designed to make libertarianism seem attractive, novel, effective, vibrant...revolutionary.

Savor the paradox: Libertarianism has caused most of our problems, yet millions of young idiots out there believe that libertarianism is the great untried solution.

Skydancing directs our attention to this important piece on the recent anti-NSA rally in DC:
Yet I cannot support this coalition or the rally. It is fatally compromised by the prominent leadership and participation of the Libertarian Party and other libertarian student groups; their hardcore ideology stands in direct opposition to almost everything I believe in as a social democrat.

The Libertarian Party itself — inaccurately described by Stop Watching Us as a “public advocacy organization” — is a right-wing political party that opposes all gun control laws and public healthcare, supported the government shutdown, dismisses public education, opposes organized labor, favors the end of Social Security as we know it, and argues in its formal political manifesto that “we should eliminate the entire social welfare system” while supporting “unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types.”
Yet my progressive friends would take the stage with the representatives of this political movement? Why? The loss is much greater than the gain. Organizers trade their own good names and reputations to stand alongside — and convey legitimacy to — a party that opposes communitarian participation in liberal society, and rejects the very role of government itself. And their own argument for privacy is weakened by the pollution of an ideology that uses its few positive civil liberties positions as a predator uses candy with a child.
Precisely. Excellent image, that.

Time and again, the libertarians have taken attractive positions on any number of non-economic issues: "No war! Pot good! NSA bad!" That's their big gimmick. The ultimate goal is to talk you into dumping Social Security and ceding all power to the great corporations. They try to confuse you into thinking that you can't have legalized weed and Social Security, that you can't have curbs on the spooks and health inspections for your food.

Of course, each reader must decide when it is advisable to hop into a political bed with a strange bedfellow. I think the recent rally against the NSA was necessary -- and in so good a cause, I can tolerate a certain amount of Randroid companionship.

That said, Chris Hedge's call for revolution would, if widely heeded, frighten the hell out of me.

Let's think this through. Suppose we enter truly rebellious times. What will occur?

Obviously, the libertarians will commandeer that movement, just as they tried to commandeer the Occupy movement and all other recent movements. And I'm pretty sure they'll succeed in taking over the insurrection. Liberal-ish bookworms like me have no love for firearms or violence -- or, really, any kind of actual activity. Deep down, we prefer talk talk talk. That's our thing. It's what we do.

Libertarians are a different breed of cat. They all have delusions of Supermanhood. They want to take over -- they've made that point perfectly clear -- and they will use any means to achieve that goal.

Sorry, Chris. But given the present state of our political culture, I stand with those who say that revolution is not the answer. Rebellion is a youngster's game, and I don't trust today's easily-hornswoggled young people. Most of  'em wouldn't know how to find a rock in a pile of rocks.
Watson's hatchet job may be traced to ulterior motives.

I don't know how to make links on Blogger's bare-bones, user-hostile format, so this is the best I can do.

What Watson fails to disclose is that he is the founder and CEO of a firm, CauseWired, which has a heavy-duty corporate client, the JK Group, which in turn makes money off selling Patriot Act compliance software.

The end of the Panopticon State would be the end of a colossally generous gravy train for many people, Mr. Watson among them.

Follow the money...
Interesting, but I'm not persuaded, Monster...
Revolution is the only answer - you have no other answer yourself because there is none. Hedges is right.

It is so much harder to fight than to make excuses why it's best not to fight. You think we can't fight and beat the Libertarians when the time comes? Please. But we won't have a chance to fight the Libertarians if we don't act soon.

This is so reminiscent of the lesser-of-two-evils crippling ideology - which is partly responsible for the mess Obama has created on ALL fronts.

Things are only going to get worse. Take a stand. Sometimes it seems like you are going to and then ... you don't.

I am 69 years old.
Liberal-ish bookworms like me have no love for firearms or violence -- or, really, any kind of actual activity. Deep down, we prefer talk talk talk. That's our thing. It's what we do.

That's the fundamental problem, isn't it? Isn't that really the origin of the TINA gospel that seems to infect what passes for the Left? Does the Left deserve to lose because it's unwilling to make the effort to win? Jeebus, Joe, if real liberals of the past had bought into that crap we'd still have 7 year-olds getting their limbs crushed in coal mines, FDR would've surrendered to the Japanese on December 7, 1941, and they'd still be debating the Civil Rights Act in the Senate.

Oh, and we wouldn't be worrying about Chicago Slim gutting Social Security and Medicare because they wouldn't exist in the first place.

Here's the deal: both legacy parties are bought and paid for. So are the courts. You can either try to take one of the parties back (it doesn't even matter much which one), start a real alternative party (which will be decades of frustrating work), or you can start throwing rocks and burning stuff down (since you don't believe anyone but TPTB should have access to post-Neolithic instruments of violence).

Of course, you could just roll over in nihilistic slumber and get trampled by the corporate thugoisie (a term which I thought I created in this post, but which turns out to have been used in 1995 in the National Review).

All but the last require growing a pair - your choice.

Revolutions tend to end badly, betrayed and corrupted and turning to killing. And, probably wouldn't be good for those of us who rely on democratic government.

The democratic process is better, but does rather rely on the system not being overly corrupted, which is to say no gerrymandering.

Still, it is the only doable way.
"Every man,woman must do, what he/she
is BEST in."
Is that Aristoteles?
So, I gather, stand Your ground.
Let the children play.
Any Revolution that is a brainchild,
is NOT.
Revolution comes out of contradicious objective forces.
The subject as a factor is ex-post.
This is a qualitatively different
situation now.
This is the time of electronics.
Steam-age was yesterday.
Polarisation applies.
The field is saturated.
Higgs rules.
(wondering, what you will make of that)

Does "revolution" have to mean killing? Groups like Anonymous are most definitely revolutionary.
Unfortunately, Hedges is right. I prefer to call the current poison neoliberalism rather than "libertarianism," which tends to sugarcoat the evil that has overtaken this country. Neoliberalism, which is nothing but a "philosophical" excuse to justify the pathology of the financial elites, has overtaken both political parties. Obama is the most obvious example of what has happened. He was put in the White House to destroy the Democratic Party and its traditional policies to benefit the billionaire/Wall Street/neoliberal policymaker axis. This country is truly too far gone for our traditional institutions to be effective anymore.

It's only a matter of time before there is bloodshed, I am afraid.
Morgan's the only one here with whom I feel comfortable. He knows his history.

Come off it, guys. You're all pretending. You aren't out in the forest wearing cammo gear and training with weapons. Until I see you spending your time pursuing those sorts of activities, I considedr your "romance of revolution" rhetoric to be laughable.

There ARE people engaged in such training activities, and any revolution they would fight in is one that would be disastrous.

So stop kidding yourselves.
The Philippines overthrew Marcos without guns. If millions of people simply clogged the subways and freeways during morning rush hour doing perfectly legal things--driving back and forth on the freeway and riding back and forth on the subway--it would cause chaos in the economic centers of this country, with not even a law broken.

If they wanted to up the ante to more aggressive commute disruption, it would still be nonviolent. If you need guns that just shows that you haven't achieved critical mass.

As to the Libertarians, most of them are so arrogant, so demonstrative of their neotenous intellects, and so unable even to get along with each other (let alone the rest of us) that your fear of them in the real world is unjustified IMHO.

Well, I don't belong to the 'grab your guns and head for the street' thing. Yet I suspect the militaristic turn of our police forces around the country is not completely accidental. The 1% needs to protect their greedy smash & grab of toys and turf.

There's something in the wind. Hedges has been on it from the start. I've read a number of his essays and at least one of his books. His opinion of the Government [Ds or Rs] is withering. He gives no quarter.

I wonder if the recent theatrics over the deficit/debt ceiling has anything to do with the restless anxiety out there. And the fear that the public being told the 'austerity is good for you' nonsense isn't getting the desired reaction the powers-that-be demand, basically Oh yes, Uncle. Another swig of that poison will do me just fine.

What if the scales start falling from people's eyes about what's really going on with the economy, the one that's winding down from a permanent war footing? What if citizens realized we're not going bankrupt, that we will never be a Greece or Spain or Italy, that with a sovereign fiat currency in addition to the world's reserve currency, we have an endless supply of money that could be invested in and for the common good?

The debt mania is a distraction. All these screeches about cutting services to our most vulnerable is bogus and cruel, serving only the greed and lust of the rich and privileged. What if Americans realized that those suffering historic levels of unemployment or under-employment, taunted by accusations of laziness and/or lack of skills, families having a hard time feeding their kids [nearly 50 million Americans including 20% of our children now live below the poverty line] were thwarted not by inexplicable, unforeseeable economic factors or bad juju but by deliberate choice, fraud and policy decisions [or lack thereof] delivered by shills posing as our representatives?

Crumbling infrastructure, dysfunctional schools, savaged R&D programs, ambivalence to renewable energy sources, continuing extraction of natural resources, degradation of the environment/commons and the ever-shrinking social safety net [which weakens the spirit, reduces the get-up-and-go nature of the successful]. And we can't have that! In fact, the mindset reminds me of the English aristocrats during the infamous Irish Famine.

The very people who caused the 2007-08 financial meltdown are still running the corporate showboat, still swaggering, still talking about the 'jobless recovery' and how things are getting better, as in: 'don't trust your lying eyes.' Or, 'gee, sucks to be you.'

If those wild thoughts ever entered the American consciousness it would indeed be revolutionary. With nary a shot necessary, methinks. Maybe a sharpened guillotine or two.



I don't often engage other commentators, but I have got to say you have outdone yourself with this comment. Bravo, bravo!

My 2 cents is - violence is a tool of the ignorant.

Fighting fire with fire, more often than not, results in a lot of shit one likes and loves getting burned to ashes, dust to dust.

Don't become the evil you deplore, for good ceases to exist when it embraces ignorance in order to overcome ignorance.

If we're talking history, I was recently reading "World on Fire", about the Red scare of 1919. Attempts at negotiation, let alone revolt, invariably resulted in negotiating with the wrong end of a gun, at least in America, and your persecutors going on to high office and praise. Like the "patriots" who put down the Wobblies at the Centralia Massacre, including lynching a war hero who was even wearing his uniform at the time.

And if a revolution succeeds, look at the English Civil War. The parliamentarians, supported by the Levellers and other proto-lefties, won. Then they had the army purged when they rank and file started forming something like Soviets. Then they instituted a murderous dictatorship that banned football and Christmas. We prefer to change things via election now.
My opinion, for what it's worth: when enough people begin to really feel the pinch of austerity and other measures no doubt in the pipeline - it's not at that stage yet - even if a peaceful but massive set of protests, boycotts, strikes were to arise, on a much bigger scale and better organised than Occupy, how long would they be allowed to remain peaceful? Not long.

That is how and when a true bloody revolution might begin. The number of firearms abroad in this country means that there's no other eventuality. Things might be different in the UK, however.

Then it'd depend how most police and military reacted - would they defend us or them?
Peggy Sue,

Such a righteous rant. I'm posting it in my FaceBook page.

Revolutions, historically, don't go too well for the masses. Living in our modern America makes me wonder if our own revolution so long ago was actually successful. We seem to be right back where we started, only worse off (with corporate power replacing the power of the King of England........a far more dangerous and tyrannical force). Violence is never the answer,in my view. I have little doubt that the powers that be (the 1%, mostly) would love a violent revolution. Then they can unleash their paramilitary forces, thinning the population and forcing the rest of us into even greater servitude that we already face. Then their control will be complete. It wouldn't surprise me if the tea partier's and preppers are being used and manipulated as a means to this end.

Bottom line, bloodless revolution is what is needed, required, and the only hope really. There are more of us than them, and all it takes is a critical mass of non-participation in their system to bring it down. I'm not hopeful, but it is possible. PeggySue has a good handle on things, great post.
Peggy Sue has definitely pinpointed WHY our police are being militarized. Back in 2000 I tried to tell people what are these "nonlethal" tactics of mob control and WHY would they be necessary in the "war on terror?" It was obvious then they were developing these to use on us, the citizens.

They have since continued on this path and are normalizing it and other tactics. In the aftermath of Katrina I watched as they put bracelets on evacuees and could not believe people went for this. How about a simple passenger list, like those used by teachers on field trips?? They are making people get used to being banded.

Americans are far too submissive and unthinking.
The lapdog media is our #1 enemy and in the event of a revolution I repeat my dearest wish: the talking heads first in line at the guillotine.

'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you–
Ye are many – they are few.'

That was written, of course, after the Peterloo massacre.

Whether the American revolution worked depends on what you think it was trying to achieve: democracy, freedom and justice for all, or a group of slavers, smugglers and criminals, worried by developments like the Somersett case (which effectively abolished slavery in England, and certain overseas English territories) and cuts in excise duties, which reduced the profits of smuggling and led to the Boston Tea Party.

I think it was the latter and worked quite well.
In case anyone's wondering, I'm not advocating violence, either.

As Gus has pointed out already, that's what the Malefactors of Great Wealth WANT us to do, so they'll have an excuse to kill what remnants of liberty are left.

Also, to quote the bitterly learned wisdom of the Vietnam War era radicals:

"The first guy who suggests violence is always the undercover cop."

So what is the answer? I don't know. There may be no answer.

Such thoughts as that last one make me glad I am childless, and will remain so for the rest of my days.
Y'all have said it all, I think. I'll just add that there are people on both the right and the left whose hate is so intense that they would love to egg on some violence, if not completely burn down the country. Be careful when trying to engage anyone who advocates violence.
You are all living in a dream world. To say violence ends badly doesn't mean it won't happen. I am just being realistic. It isn't what I prefer.

The Revolutionary War and the Civil War happened, and people died, but can you seriously argue that it ended "badly" for the United States?

There is only just so much that people will put up with. Unfortunately, both political parties are completely and totally corrupted, the Democratic Party even worse than the corrupt GOP because there is a complete and total fraud in the White House.

I am not optimistic for 2016, for another damned puppet of Wall Street will be installed.

I don't think people here truly understand what has happened especially in the past ten years.
Yikes! Hedges' post on Alternet is even more radical. I predict he's not long for MSNBC. Read it:
No one who craves knowledge and insight enough to search for, to seek out, a site such as this one - with an ornery stubborn cuss of a host, whom I admire, a host who is as honest as the day is long, and as opinionated and amazingly better read than I - should ever aver that anyone who regularly follows this blog is unaware of how the world works - that we Cannonites are naive in any way, shape, or form.

I agree with people who say Wall street and Corporations own our Government, up to and including our current President, to one degree or another.
But President Obama is no more evil incarnate anymore than we, the people who allow this corrupt Corporatist system to exist, are.

We do have the power to stop this if we so chose.
All we have to do is stop. Stop working for "Them".

Capital is nothing without Labor.

Which came first: Money or Labor?
Hands down - Labor came first.

You got no money? If you work hard you can make a house out of dirt. Grow food. Make clothes.
You got a Pile of Money? Without Labor, yours, or someone else's, all your super duper Capital is useless.

This is the guilty little secret Capital is scared to death you will figure out:
"Without Labor, they are helpless. The reality is they feed off of us, and deep in their bones they know it."

They fear us. They are afraid that we will rise up and say, "Enough!".

Fear breeds hate: ergo they hate us to a degree, so they relentlessly project their useless, lazy, predatory nature onto us.
They Claim we are the Parasites. That we are hooked on entitlements. That we are violent.
All while they hide 20 to 30-something trillion dollars offshore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes even after they have gotten untold billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies that we paid for.

And they spread this "poor people are the real takers" BS via their propaganda machines because they have the power to do so through their solely owned Corporate Mouthpieces.
And the sad part is some of them actually think they are really job creators; that they are doing us a favor by merely breathing. All because they have loads of useless, unhelpful, uncaring Capital..
(It's not the 1% I'm talking about here, it's the .01%. Not your 250 thousand dollar a people, but the 250 million and up a-moral pukes.)
One cannot uild a house out of dirt, grow food or make clothing without first buying dirt and acquiring seeds, equipment and knowledge which must be paid for.

You should become an Idler in stead, and stop fetishising work. See Bertrand Russell's In Praise of Idleness.
To all, I apologize for confusing Hayes with Hedges. I plead senility.
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