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Chris Hedges on Oligarchy and the Global Collapse

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Posted on Apr 30, 2012

“It’s all the same crisis,” says the Truthdig columnist, “which is the collapse of globalization. It doesn’t work anymore.”

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americanme's avatar

By americanme, May 10, 2012 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Hey, swat that chip off your shoulder:  Participatory democracy—not your old bogus representative democracy—is alive in South America and becoming more so as more countries embrace it.

In this hemisphere, the top two countries in terms of the people feeling satisfied with their democracy are Uruguay and Venezuela.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, May 9, 2012 at 2:09 am Link to this comment

ame: Democracy is alive and more or less well in SOME countries on the planet.

I am soooo reasured: ;^)

The problem is “what kind of Democracy?” One imposed upon us or one in which we actively participate?

I repeat - look at international comparative voter-turnout numbers here. Then consider this footnote regarding the US:

Turnout rates during the period ranged from 55% for general election years, to 40% to off-year elections (those for which the presidency was not on the ballot).

The turnout at the French presidential elections this last Sunday was 80%. 80%!!!

Democracy - use it or lose it.

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americanme's avatar

By americanme, May 4, 2012 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Lafayette:

Democracy is alive and more or less well in SOME countries on the planet.

But not in the US.

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By Jason Robison, May 3, 2012 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps the most evident and pernicious problem here is that all we know how to
do any more is argue. Sadly, because most of us lack formal training in the science
and art of elucidating a concise, coherent argument, we sound like asses.

At a time that demands a recognition of shared interests, values and solutions, a
time that requires us to recognize the fact that if we haven’t found answers that
work for everyone, we haven’t involved enough people in the solutions, is this the
best we can do?

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, May 3, 2012 at 11:05 pm Link to this comment

d: The world as it is, is one where national governments are now completely controlled by the multinationals and global capital.

Puerile nonsense from the Looney Left.

Americans abrogated their right to institute a government that would look after their best interests when they voted the Replicants into office in 2000 and then the T-Party during the last midterms.

Let’s not blame BigBusiness when they were only looking after the interests of shareholders, which is their responsibility. It is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure that OUR INTERESTS as citizens are assured by proper government oversight.

The Replicants wont do that for you, they could care less about the 99-PERCENTERS of this nation. Only we can look after our interests by reforming Congress with more progressive-candidates with a mission to undo all the wrong that started with the Reagan Administration.

No less will work in our favor. But pointing the finger of blame at everybody else is childish antics.

Blame never solved a problem. Political action does. Get off your duff and Vote Progressive to Reform America. Howzzat?

Glad you asked yourself that question, which is the starting point. My suggestion of where we to begin is here.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, May 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment

USE IT OR LOSE IT

Norecovery: I think we all know that democracy is now dead

Nope, not true. It’s alive and well. But Americans have an ambivalent attitude towards it.

Let’s not blame democracy for our present economic miseries. As I am fond of stating, only 48% of Americans voted in the last mid-terms that put the T-Party (T for Troglodyte) into control of the HofR - which has stonewalled all Stimulus Spending to get Americans back to work.

So, which is dysfunctional - the “democratic system” or 52% of the American electorate who decide to be couch-potatoes and not participate in an election but only spectate from the sidelines?

Or, they -
* bitch-in-a-blog as is the case of this forum, which functions more as a cathartic than
rational exchange of opinion. Or,
* Haven’t the foggiest notion of how a tripartite system of governance works in this country. So,
* The believe the mind-boggling bullshit thrown at them by the BoobTube during election campaigns.

Or all of the above ...

Voting is civic duty and like all components of democracy, either you use it or you lose it.

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By diamond, May 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

“We must deal with the world as it is.  Not as we would wish it or witness from films and novels.”

Couldn’t agree more. The world as it is, is one where national governments are now completely controlled by the multinationals and global capital. Those governments cannot control global capital because there is no global government to do it. These unelected tyrants make decisions every day that attack and dismantle democracy and are completely unaccountable electorally for what they do.

The true situation is this:

‘Nation states are increasingly democratic and responsible to the people: the giant interests that manage (money) flows are not and are more powerful. A world in which people, far from gaining control over their own destinies through the spread of liberal democracy, are in fact losing it, through the globalization of non-responsible economic forces is surely one moving in a dangerous direction. In fact, it is in the very same direction that the communists moved for more than seventy years’.

(‘Return of the Strong’, Robert Harvey)

The enemy is not the politicians, stripped of power by global capital but global capital itself.

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By Norecovery, May 2, 2012 at 9:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I question Mr. Hedges’ conclusion that Globalism is collapsing, derived in part from experts’ prediction of a likely recurrence of the financial collapse of 2008. It is democracy that has collapsed, not Globalism per se. I think we all know that democracy is now dead, but what evidence is there to infer a collapse of Globalism?

I suggest the “vampire squid” GS (and others) will only suck more out of us, and they will continue to put on the political theater, until enough people end up drained of their resources and stifled by lack of opportunity, to cause them engage in a true revolution—the kind that Mr. Hedges appears hypocritically to celebrate yet deplore.

I think there is little connection or valid comparison between the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring. Occupy is still just a minuscule rumbling breaking the surface of business as usual. I am convinced that nothing short of massive upheaval will turn the tables, and I don’t think the vast majority of Americans have the brains or guts for it.

For the Mayday General Strike, I invited numerous friends and colleagues to join me in the streets, but not one of them did it. I observed the Hispanics out in force, compared to the Whites’ rather pitiful showing. This only proves that the enslavement and mass hypnosis is complete. As long as people are deluded by the promise of “the good life” being within their reach, they will obey the authorities.

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americanme's avatar

By americanme, May 2, 2012 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

You the people ARE to blame for everything.

Gramsci had you folks pegged almost 100 years ago:  The Indifferent are the scum of the earth, and deserve not a single tear.

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By Jeff N., May 2, 2012 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

You’re all wrong! About everything!

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vector56's avatar

By vector56, May 2, 2012 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

“Attack the argument made, not the person making it. Get it?

No? Then get off ... “


“As a matter of fact, you sound a lot like the Corporate media, assuring us that everything is going alone just fine; and if something goes wrong, it must be “us” who fucked up. “

You are not as good as IMax at “misdirection: my above state was attacking your “argument” that we the people are to blame for the mess the mess the elites have created.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, May 1, 2012 at 11:34 pm Link to this comment

V56: As a matter of fact, you sound a lot like the Corporate media

As I suggested, engage mind before typing on keyboard.

These ad-hominem inanities do not serve any real purpose whatsoever in forum debate. They are more like kindergarten children throwing epithets at one another.

Let’s grow up, shall we?

Another hint: Contrary to common thought, Smart-ass Cynicism does not pass at all well in a text-media. Where all is taken literally at face-value.

Attack the argument made, not the person making it. Get it?

No? Then get off ...

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By Jason Robison, May 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

americanme: You’re right. We are addicted to everything. Saying “No” on the ballot is an attempt to
tear ourselves from that dependence. On the other hand, with such low voter turnout in general
elections, it’s hard to make the argument that the people are addicted to voting.

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vector56's avatar

By vector56, May 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

oK, Lafayette; “you no talk pretty anymore”!

As a matter of fact, you sound a lot like the Corporate media, assuring us that everything is going alone just fine; and if something goes wrong, it must be “us” who fucked up.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, May 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

“Every generation has its Conspiracy Theory.’  ‘Every time an economic fit hits the shan, the same, tired old crap makes its way to the forefront.”

Too much Hollywood.

-

Since antiquity never truer words written. 

The globe is a static chaos intermingled with treaties, contracts, agreements and alignments.  All reflective of base humanity with its competing civilizations. The all-powerful Oligarchy is a fantastic and unfounded myth.  - We must deal with the world as it is.  Not as we would wish it or witness from films and novels.

Occupy your local School Board!  Occupy the Congress!

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By diamond, May 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

“Global Conspiracies are a figment of your imagination suggested by watching far too many Hollywood movies.”

Of course. And Mary Poppins was a stripper. Get a clue and if you can’t, stop accusing others of being clueless. That there is a global conspiracy is no longer worth debating since it is staring us all in the face. The only question worth asking is what to do to defeat this anti-democratic madness that is unpicking Western civilization with the usual tools - unfettered capitalism, followed by shock and awe, followed by war and a police state.

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americanme's avatar

By americanme, May 1, 2012 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Jason:

The problem is:  You folks in the US are ADDICTED to voting.

Every time you vote, in any manner, you are pledging allegiance to a system which does not have your interests in mind.

Most folks in the US are MULTIPLY-ADDICTED:

voting
shopping
tv
drugs (both legal and illegal)
alcohol
racism
blaming others
self-pity
porography

Those are enough for a start. 

If you kick the habit of voting, there will be one less.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, May 1, 2012 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

V56: Lafayette; “you talk pretty” , but it still smells like Libertarian short sighted nonsense!

Sure they knew; that was the part of the “new world order”

NWO, me arse. Enough of the bullshit.

Every generation has its Conspiracy Theory. Mine was, a long time ago, the “400 Club” of influential millionaires who gathered together in London to decide the world’s fate (for their profit).

Every time an economic fit hits the shan, the same, tired old crap makes its way to the forefront - for numskulls to gobble hook, line and sinker.

Global Conspiracies are a figment of your imagination suggested by watching far too many Hollywood movies.

Engage mind before typing on keyboard.

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By jimmmmmy, May 1, 2012 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

The Bush/Obama doctrine is working quite well at the moment in the Middle East. “Arm them and let them fight it out over there.”  The cancer of Capitalism ,and the over population it creates in it’s boom-Bust cycles are the root cause of most of the worlds problems. The remedies for these problems are horrific and the current crop of leaders world wide prefers slave states rather than democracies.

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By balkas, May 1, 2012 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

i evaluate as true the saying: “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.
in other words, no structural changes occurred to date.
or one cld put it also so: master-serf relationship has not changed since first instituted, i think, in ME or indus valley ca
10-15k y ago.
or one cld even say that division of people into labor and nonlabor, muslims and nonmuslims, christians and
nonchristians, mosheists and nonmosheists, educated and uneducated, smart and stupid, able and unabale, qualified
nonqualified, educators and noneducators, noble and ignoble, whites and all others shades, etc., is still with us.
these divisions are more evident or even deeper in lands like india, u.s, s. arabia, et al than in some others like
venezuela, finland, cuba, et al.
the process of much or complete division, enserfment, or enslavement of people by people may have occurred over
span of centuries or even millennia.
since the process had been, i think, so slow, wld-be slaves, serfs, labor had not notice it at all.
===
what astounds some of us observers is the fact that at least 30% of world pop is willing to defend own enserfment and
disenpowerment with their life. and there is another 40 or 50% who do not care enough about being second or third
class people on this planet.
i think that pavlov explains how that happens!

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, May 1, 2012 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

“That American or European politicians did not have
the prescience to see the possible outcomes of the
world’s supply of labor having doubled overnight is
no fault but their own - and ours.”

I’ve grown weary of this constant excuse that the
very best of the political class that rises to the
top of our system is somehow very stupid.

I contend that they knew exactly what the outcomes
would be.  That those outcomes included higher
profits for the companies who’s profit’s increased
due to the lowering of the cost of labor.  I also
contend that it was those very same firms that can be
seen as giving political contributions and other
campaign support to these same politicians.

I thus contend that these politicians knew exactly
what the outcomes would be, and since those outcomes
included higher profits for the people who were
paying the way for them to take office, that these
are the outcomes these politicians expected and
wanted.

They just lie to us about it. 
We need to learn to stop voting for them.

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vector56's avatar

By vector56, May 1, 2012 at 4:47 am Link to this comment

“That American or European politicians did not have the prescience to see the possible outcomes of the world’s supply of labor having doubled overnight is no fault but their own - and ours.”


At the risk of being redundant, I take a second look at Lafayette’s above statement.

“world’s supply of labor”

These are living, breathing, think “people” callously reduced to the “world’s supply of labor”?

This illuminates a fundamental difference between us (Liberals) and them (Libertarians); they reduce humanity to a global commodity.

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By Jim Wiggin, May 1, 2012 at 3:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lafayette is correct.  We Americans grew up post-WWII
believing that if only communism could be defeated
then “our” companies would spread the
manufacturer/consumer symbiosis that had generated so
much prosperity in the U.S. to other countries and
soon there would be a chicken in every pot and a
Ford in every garage across the globe.  Implicit in
this was that if the American taxpayer invested in
the Cold War spending that would bring that about
that somehow “we” would all enjoy the triumph of
capitalism and end up at the top of the global heap
because, after all, “we” were here first. 
GLobalization is succeeding, but all that means is
that “our” capital is finding new markets in which
greater profits can be found.  The American consumer
is tapped out now that cheap credit is gone and
educated workers can be found elsewhere at lower
wages.  Some of “us” will end up at the top of the
global heap, but a lot more of us are confronting the
real possibility of a diminished standard of living. 
This can only be changed through intelligent tax and
trade policy.

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vector56's avatar

By vector56, May 1, 2012 at 3:31 am Link to this comment

“That American or European politicians did not have the prescience to see the possible outcomes of the world’s supply of labor having doubled overnight is no fault but their own - and ours.”

Lafayette; “you talk pretty” , but it still smells like Libertarian short sighted nonsense!

Sure they knew; that was the part of the “new world order” G.H. Bush (Bush I) spoke of.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, May 1, 2012 at 1:26 am Link to this comment

BRAVE NEW WORLD

CH: It’s all the same crisis which is the collapse of globalization. It doesn’t work anymore.

Has CH taken leave of his senses?

The above describes the present from a European or American point-of-view. Not from the viewpoint of a Chinese or Vietnam peasant who’s only hope for the future was sufficient rain for his rice-crop. Or the Indian who sent his/her child to university, unlike their parents could do for them.

These third-world nations did not have the right to better their lot in life as we did?

Globalisation (in a market sense) began in the early 1990s when the Iron Curtain came tumbling down and, particularly, when the Chinese were admitted to the World Trade Organization.

That American or European politicians did not have the prescience to see the possible outcomes of the world’s supply of labor having doubled overnight is no fault but their own - and ours.

As when textile mills in New England created unemployment amongst textile workers in Old England during the 19th century in the same manner.

The wheel turns. What goes around, comes around in this Brave New World of Globalization.

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By Jason Robison, April 30, 2012 at 11:34 pm Link to this comment

Dear Hedges, Scheer and Truthdig et. al,

Isn’t it time for Occupy the Ballot?

This is not without precedent. When Pinochet’s corrupt regime in Chile could no
longer be so blatantly supported by the U.S. government, Pinochet had to have
an election. The choices were: 1) Pinochet - Yes; or 2)  Pinochet - No. All the
artists and intellectuals who had fled Chile to Spain and elsewhere on the
“Pinochet Scholarship,” united and created a mass underground media
campaign. The results of the election were Pinochet - No.

It is now clear that no political party represents the interests of the American
people. We need an Occupy the Ballot campaign to bring more Americans to the
polls than ever before, say 70% voter turnout.

And we need everyone to write, “NO” across the ballot.

This is the time: Occupy the Ballot.

Who’s in?

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robjira's avatar

By robjira, April 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment

Thank gawd for the likes of Hedges and Robert Fisk.
They represent the dwindling source of rational
analysis of world events.

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By litlpeep, April 30, 2012 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment

Of course, globalization doesn’t work “anymore.”  Neither does it work any less for the captains of political-economy rigging.  Note
how much money Obama & Bernanke are steamrolling into BofA without any apparent end.  There are plenty of examples, but who cares?

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redteddy's avatar

By redteddy, April 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

The occupy movement didn’t feel the full weight of the State, it felt a slap down. 
While living in Cambodia I learned that when the state used its full power it
bulldozed over people, imprisoned and even killed dissenters.  Pepper spray and a
few nights in jail and barring people from spaces is hardly the full weight of the
state.

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