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Chris Hedges on Poverty and the Permanent Lower Class

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Posted on Apr 21, 2010
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In an April 10 speech for the Poverty Initiative, at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Chris Hedges cuts right to the chase: “I think we have to face the fact that the Poverty Initiative and the civil rights movement failed,” he says, adding that we’ve witnessed an “assault against the working class” in recent years that has betrayed the vision of leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and strengthened the ruling groups and institutions in this country.  —KA

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By Louis Netter, April 26, 2010 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some are equating Hedges confidence in protest with some kind of confused appreciation of the tea party. I think he is saying that protest is valid and potent but only effective for change if it is founded in righteous anger. The right is often tangled in desperation and intellectual insecurity. To me, Hedges clarifies the problem that progressives have no valid leaders and that more and more, change is in a third party. Something people on the right also seek.

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By OzarkMichael, April 24, 2010 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

omop posted this on April 24 at 5:23 pm and I hope he didnt mean any of it:

One of the serious negative factors facing America today — a problem the Germans never had — is the existence of vast numbers of Christian Zionists in their midst.

Germany of course had to cope with organized Jewry, a group working from within to undermine the foundations of German society. But one scourge
Germany did not have, and which America has, is this scourge of a non-Jewish enemy within: the 60 million Christian Zionists…

I can see why omop would post this under a Chris Hedges article, since Chris wrote about Christians as the American fascists.

But omop, you seem to take Hitler’s side against the Jews, and you seem to suggest that today American Christians are preventing a new Hitler from succeeeding.

Furthermore, you seem to be hoping for a new Hitler who will straighten the USA out. That is a funny idea. Nearly all of us Christians have guns and know how to use them, so your new Hitler would have a hard time getting rid of us. I am laughing just thinking of it.

On the other hand, your anti-semitism is frightening and disgusting. If you meant it then you should be banned from this website.

omop, tell us that you didnt mean a word of it and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

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By OzarkMichael, April 24, 2010 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

Hedges is strange. One minute he is afraid of the Tea partiers, terrified of them, equating them with terror.

The next minute he sings praises: if French university authorities announced that college would cost $50,000 a year, the French student body would shut the country down. That’s the kind of power that we have to reclaim –

Which is a type of force far beyond anything the Tea Party has done or threatened to do.

I find the Leftists who support Hedges to be terrifyingly ignorant of the danger among their own ranks, inherent in the racheting up of force. Its playing with fire.

Everything that Hedges is afraid of, he turns around 10 seconds later and asks for… as long as the saintly Left does it instead of the evil Right.

Listen Chris, there are good and bad people everywhere. There is good and bad in everyone. You cant condemn behaviour on the Right while you encourage even worse behaviour on your own Left.

It is a strange display…racheting up the use of force while decrying it… all in one lecture.

Hedges is either ignorant of human nature or he is unbalanced. In spite of this people feel he is a genius who offers solutions.

C’mon people, think!

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By Rodger Lemonde, April 24, 2010 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Does any one know how much a “poverty scholar” earns?
Sounds like a secure job. Poverty will be around for
quite a while. In fact there is little incentive for
them to do anything to stop poverty.
Just saying…

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By omop, April 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

America described by an academician under the title of, “Goodbye America” by
comparing the USA to pre Hitler Days. Talk about depressing!!!!

Excerpys.

    One of the serious negative factors facing America today — a problem the
Germans never had — is the existence of vast numbers of Christian Zionists in
their midst.

  Germany of course had to cope with organized Jewry, a group working
from within to undermine the foundations of German society. But one scourge
Germany did not have, and which America has, is this scourge of a non-Jewish
enemy within: the 60 million Christian Zionists acting in cahoots with
organized Jewry to oppose the interests of their own nation..

  America’s Christian Zionists, it would seem, are their own worst enemy —
blithely planning their own demise without knowing it.

  So here is Problem Number One for those of you who dream that America
could once again become the self-conscious ethnic possession of people of
European ancestry:

  What are you going to do with these 60 million White American renegades
who have joined forces with the Enemy? Who are as Jewish as Ariel Sharon or
Abe Foxman. Who are hand in glove with AIPAC

  How are you going to fit these thoroughly Judaized allies of organized
Jewry into your White Homeland?

  It cannot be done. So you have a big problem. Israel and its Jewish-
American Double Agents. Another big problem America needs to solve that
Germany did not have to cope with is the state of Israel and its powerful lobby
in America. Germany did not have Israel hanging round its neck like an
albatross.

  The Germans were not induced to fight wars on behalf of a foreign country.
They didn’t invade other countries in order to make the world safe for Israel.

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By Donna Fritz, April 24, 2010 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

I discovered this video a couple of weeks ago, not long after the speaking event. Thank you, truthdig, for re-posting it. I think it’s one of the most important talks Chris has ever given.

Earlier, a poster named “Barb” remarked that Chris was “depressing” and that he “pose[d] no solutions to anything.”

Depressing? Sure. Reality often is depressing. But I would much rather listen to someone who is depressing but honest and truthful than to someone who offers up the usual happy talk that’s based in wishful or magical thinking.

Strategies don’t become solutions until 1) they’re tried, and 2) they’re successful. Chris offers us a virtual motherlode of strategies. It’s up to the rest of us to turn them into solutions.

From the speaking event (edited due to space contraints):

I think that the failure on the part of progressives and liberals is that we’ve forgot that the question is not ‘How do we get good people into power?’ That’s the wrong question as Karl Popper pointed out. The question is ‘How do we limit the damage the powerful can do to us?’

Most people attracted to power are at best mediocre, and like George Bush often venal. The true correctives of American democracy never achieved formal political power - the Liberty Party that fought slavery, the suffragists who fought for women’s rights, the labor movement, the civil rights movement. By 1968, Martin Luther King was the most important president this country ever had because when he said he was going to Selma, 50,000 people went with him. 

It is not our role to take power. It is our role to make the powerful frightened of us. And that’s what we’ve forgotten. Give up that dream.

I lived in France for a while, and I can tell you that if French university authorities announced that college would cost $50,000 a year, the French student body would shut the country down. That’s the kind of power that we have to reclaim – power that is centered around moral issues that we will not compromise on. Franklin Delano Roosevelt who passed the New Deal, people forget, was a moderating force within the American political system. Eugene Debs, socialists, had pulled a million votes; independent press, powerful labor movement – these were the forces that gave us and saved us from slipping into a state of fascism in the 1930s. [...]

And that act of mobilizing these people will become crucial in the months and years ahead because there is a countervailing force which has latched onto this legitimate rage and a bankrupt liberal force that refuses to recognize this rage’s legitimacy. One of the things that frightens me of course about these movements, these right-wing movements, is that they have tapped into that very dark undercurrent of violence that is endemic - terror within American society, something African Americans know very well. And that the draconian systems of control, whether that’s through law enforcement, or prisons, which we see visited on urban centers like Camden, will of course I think foreshadow what will be used increasingly by an oligarchic corporate class to maintain control against all who are perceived as dissidents. [...]

I’m not sure how a viable movement will be built, but it has to be built swiftly because we are already seeing leaping up around the fringes of American society a response to the rage and suffering that everyone in this room has seen first-hand. I think that it will require us to speak in a new political language, one that rejects the neo-conservatism and the neo-liberalism of both the Democrats and the Republicans. I’m a socialist as was Martin Luther King. I believe that only by embracing a political ideology which has at its core the protection of the weakest and most vulnerable within our society, which is what socialism is, we will not be able to go forward. I think we have to begin to articulate in political terms a new paradigm. We have to offer a new vision.

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By OzarkMichael, April 24, 2010 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

I watched the video. Chris Hedges said in this video: “You will remember when The Tea party protestors made racial slurs against Congressman Lewis,”

Thats an unsubstantiated charge which was subsequently withdrawn by one of the Democrats who made it. But that doesnt matter to Chris. ‘You will remember it!’ says Chris.


Chris also mentions the ‘anger against the college educated liberals’ without realizing that CBS found that Tea Party supporters are better educated than the average American.

But never mind reality, Hedges knows how to forge ‘facts’ from myth. Years from now these ‘facts’ will be found in college books and thrown up into the faces of conservatives.

At the 8 minute mark Chris repeated his lie with such dramatic tones: “So when I heard this group shout these racial epithets… and the rise of this, these, these… frightening right wing movements.”

And Truthdiggers will ‘remember’ it all.  You will all believe that you saw a video last month and heard the ‘N’ word shouted at Congressman Lewis, with a frightening right wing threatening our nation.

But you never saw such a thing.

Thanks Chris for your usual ‘insight’.

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By prgill, April 24, 2010 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges speaks of the 6-8 media conglomerates that control what we see and hear. Thank God for the Internet where you can hear an alternative point-of-view.

And yet…, a Federal Court of Appeals recently ruled against the public interest, denying that the FCC had the authority to regulate Comcast’s internal management of what content it would provide to its subscribers, saying that media owners had a right to “block” (read “censor”) content.

The court ruled that the Internet was not not a public medium (in the regulated sense) but an “information service provider” and therefore outside the purview of the FCC’s jurisdiction. 

While technically this may be true, because in the first term of Dubya’s administration, the Internet was reclassified for the benefit of ‘corporate’ interests. The net result to us, less than 10 years later, is that the “public” no longer has oversight authority over “net neutrality” : score one for private capital, score zero for the public’s interest.

This may be little more than a footnote in the history of media ownership and public service, but it is an important reminder of a much larger issue that will directly effect the quality of our lives.

How should we organize to ensure that government is “for the people and by the people”? Such an agenda is not for the faint of heart.

Chris Hedges implicitly supports the “labor movement” although for most of us would not recognize ourselves in what is traditionally intended as “labor”.

For more information on the Federal Court of Appeals ruling in FCC v. Comcast, have a look at:

  A setback for Internet freedom in Socialist Worker

Alternatively, and for a brief review of the policy issues involved, have a look at Bill Moyers’ interview with FCC Commissoner Michael Copps:

  Bill Moyers Journal: conversation with Michael Copps

The question for us TDers is how do we organize to reclaim the moral high ground, and then, across the spectrum of issues that face us today? How to deal with an overly industrialized military establishment, fraudulent bankers too big to fail, too much money in politics, a cumbersome parliamentary system inordinately responsive to the interests of industrial elites… and the list is long.

How will we set our priorities? Who can we trust?

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By RenZo, April 23, 2010 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

@ TWylite

Delusional? What are you taking?

Habeas corpus has been suspended (you know the Bill of Rights?). Wars are declared not by Congress but by Executive fiat (like Roman emperors). Our prison statistics are legion, and well known by the whole world. Poverty is rampant but America pretends the poor are parasites with morals shortcomings and increasing “welfare” means doom to any politician’s career. The first imperative of EVERY politician in the country (now that Kucinich has fallen) is simply to get re-elected. The public is so poorly educated that they have no idea what socialism or communism really are. They can’t explain their government and they care more about what’s on the cover of the tabloids than the bad things in their own communities. Behind all of it lurks the powerful, moneyed, bankers and industrialists and trust funders, or their investors. What part of that is delusional?

I thought perhaps you were making some sense, but reading this posting alienated me.

Personal morality is a luxury for comfortable people, for the rich, for those who eat decent food every night. Real poverty makes personal values much less important. When poverty is cured the absent personal morality you refer to will reappear, as it always has when the middle class expands. You should know more than you apparently do. Your willingness to show us your gaps in knowledge and compassion is a little embarrassing, frankly.

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By gerard, April 23, 2010 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

My mistake:  It was Sell Wise I should have congratulated for his work in the inner city.
Very careless reading on my part!

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By c.hanna, April 23, 2010 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Hi Chris Hedges,

Very good speech. I’m so glad I checked my mail today and saw this new submission of yours.

Its terrible to think that much of this is so intentional. That is why I call it evil. When things are done intentionally with full knowledge of the terrible impact on other humans, that is what evil is.

For anyone who likes Jim Willie, his latest article is dire also. The corruption is just daunting. Can we survive this? And how?

here is jim willie’s latest:
http://www.americanpendulum.com/2010/04/the-devaluation-of-the-us-dollar-by-jim-willie/

Also, we need to seriously find ways to come together, organize. I am personally looking to move out of U.S. I had to make this decision now, as it will take me awhile to figure all details out. I can no longer support a country that has the criminal background as the U.S. Its too shameful and I find there is little one can do to help others become aware. Those that you can help are already aware anyways. There is just too much ignorance here. It will take generations to undo all this damage.

I don’t have the patience anymore. I’m tired of being humiliated and treated badly for vocalizing my dissent on wars.

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By William W. Wexler, April 23, 2010 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

Nicely done, Mr. Hedges.

Thank you for reminding us that nonviolence is the only way to win in the long term.

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By gerard, April 23, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Renzo:Thanks for your response.  Sorry I was not clear. My concern was to throw some emphasis on the relationship of fear to violence and the absolute necessity for people using non-violent resistance to be aware of the importance of that. The relationship would not need to be clearly spelled out if the police could be persuaded that dogs, horses, water cannon and sound blasters are all overkill in most demonstrations ... but then, they are paid to do what they do. Also, the general public does not seem to realize how fear is being manipulated to support violence and war. 
  Thank you. prgil, for your explanation also.
  Amd thank TWylite for his very welcome spelling out of inner city life and the people who suffer from such deprivation and prejudice. Thank you for your work there.

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By Self Wise, April 23, 2010 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

at TWylite

The neglect narrative of “moral compass” in low income poverty stricken populations is racist in nature.  It implies a godless people and denies them their human dignity.  It implies that by nature there is a moral defect, and therefor their suffering is logically justifiable.  Racism pure and simple.  I suggest you correct that.

Please don’t get the “gangsta culture” media products of the entertainment industry confused with the economies left behind by capitalism.  Very different objects, because one is a fantasy, while the other is a situation that is a direct result of a lack of opportunity for people to earn a livable wage and keep their dignity.

I have lived and worked in these areas all my adolescent and early adult life, and I rarely see individuals who like what they are doing when participating in the underground economies of drugs, etc.  All of these businesses rob the participant of their dignity and self worth (much like war I would imagine). And surprisingly enough most participants still have at their core a soul that holds out hope of vindication of the moral compass that they have miraculously managed to hold onto, despite the experience of living in these horrid conditions.

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By prgill, April 22, 2010 at 11:54 pm Link to this comment

Gerard, I think Hedges point is not so much that we should “inspire fear”, although he did say that, but that we should understand the nature of power.,/p.

Hedges makes the point that we are not asking the right question:

The failure on the part of progressives and liberals is that we forgot that the question is not “How do we get good people into power?” [but] “How do we limit the damage the powerful can do to us?”. (15:05)

Hedges’ answer is that “The true correctives of American democracy never achieve formal political power”. He he continues,

It is not our role to take power. It is our role to make the powerful frightened of us, and that’s what we’ve forgotten. Give up that dream! (16:20)

Hedges’ does not exort us to individual acts of terror (or even to direct violence), but to organize our resistence, do “violence to the system”. By organizing locally and nationally to defend and promote high moral principles we acquire the legal means (power) to act collectively, to stop unwelcome real-estate developments, get legislation passed that protects consumers against predatory bank practices, or promote electoral finance reform.

The key lies in “community organizing”. This is where we have power. This is where we can get it and where we can use it to “limit the damages the powerful can do to us”.

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By RenZo, April 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

@ gerard

In one message I thought you were uncommonly brilliant, logical and (most uniquely on these blogs) constructive. Then I read the first one about CH being negativistic and slowing the development of a peaceful resistance: wrong.

I like to read someone, somewhere, somehow telling the nasty, skeletal truth. He does. I don’t always agree, but always see the point of his view, and the object of his gaze. He is lonesome at the top of the truth pile. He is educating us, about the cold politics. You are educating us about methods to resist. I appreciate your voice.

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By ronjeremy, April 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the solution hedges offers week after week (or twice this week) is the same.  do not vote democrat or republican.  ever.  vote for a third party always.  if everyone who believed that they (the two-one major parties) were the problem did just that, the system would be change.  i think it is a great idea and a realistic one, too.  i am just one guy, but so is everyone else (or one lady)

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By rjg1971, April 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

I object to the notion that the civil rights and
anti-poverty movements “failed”. They have been
repressed with government violence, and the recently
deceased LAPD Chief Daryl Gates was one of the
generals who helped to crush it. By way of aggressive
policing in poor minority communities, using the garb
of the “War On Drugs” as a guise, the campaign by
white America to keep most minorities in their place
has worked very well. The net result of this is that
we now have millions of people, disproportionately
not white, who have lost all their rights for having
been busted for simple possession. Many of them can’t
vote and are discriminated in employment and housing.
Jim Crow segregation has basically been restored in
this country and try to find some commentary anywhere
about this.

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By ofersince72, April 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

America’s problems aren’t going to be addressed.

Cris they are calling YOU delusional…
pretty pathetic mind set, ain’t it

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By swain, April 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

AMERICAS MAJOR PROBLEMS CAN BE SOLVED BY ADOPTING THE BRITHISH
SYSTEM OF OUTLAWING ALL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS

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By ofersince72, April 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

the defenders of the corporate state were all over
Hedges on this…not at all suprising

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By dihey, April 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

As far back as history takes me there apparently has always been a large group of poor people almost everywhere in the world. I do not understand why that has been the case and I challenge all comers to provide a coherent and believable explanation because without such an explanation/understanding poverty will never ever go away.

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By gerard, April 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

Upon reviewing the Hedges video in my mind I remember he said something to the students about “the need to make them fear you” and that “they do things that make you fear them” or words to that effect.
  Perhaps this is quite wrong.  Non-violence, when it works at all, works as much as possible without threatening your “opponents” because fear prevents people from thinking straight, and instead evokes an immediate reaction that includes the high possibility of inducing violence.
  People trained in non-violent action do everything they can to avoid evoking fear.  This is entirely contrary to the usual police action—they will try to create a fear scenario in order to cause violence which then “justifies” their violent reaction. 
  I think it is possible that the government itself (or people in charge of things) are already scared half out of their wits and don’t themselves know what to do about our vast and complicated social and economic problems.  Of course they are not going to say this, but it might be that their fear will itself cause a violent reaction to perceived threats.
  It is important not to forget for one moment that we are all human beings with the same frailties—and the same strengths, and to treat each other accordingly. “We have met the enemy, and it is us.”  (to quote the immortal Pogo)

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By ofersince72, April 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

PRGILL…...YOU ARE MOST WELCOME..

and thankyou for your important conribution
about something.

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By gerard, April 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

In spite of the best intentions, and in spite of the fact that Chris Hedges says nonviolent action is what is needed, he somehow always manages to undercut that message by discouraging those who are trying to organize for effective action. The video is a good example of his pessimism. 
  Yes, people need to know the power of the forces they are dealing with.  But no, they don’t need to be overwhelmed with fear of failure or repression, particularly when they are organizing around staunch non-violent principles of behavior.
  The kids who spoke are inspiring, enthusiastic, intelligent, and believe in the possibilities of their future. They are bringing people together, not pulling them apart.  Again, my plea to us old folks is:  If you can’t help them, at least maintain a reasonable degree of hope for their success. It’s bad enough that we are leaving them this mess!
(Thanks to TD for putting this video up here.)

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By tharkney, April 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

A small point of clarification - I’m afraid the pull quote might be a little misleading.  I was at the event, and Chris Hedges misspoke when he said “I think we have to face the fact that the Poverty Initiative and the civil rights movement failed”.

What he meant to say was that “the Poor People’s Campaign and the civil rights movement failed”.  He was referring to the Poor People’s Campaign of the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in 67-68.  Reigniting that Poor People’s Campaign was a theme of the evening.  This was clarified later on.

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By TWylite, April 22, 2010 at 11:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pretty delusional stuff. Big Brother is always just around the corner for die-hard lefties like Hedges and his ilk. His speech is basically a puffed-up version of the “Tim Robbins” screed from “Team America: World Police” (YouTube clip posted in web site).
He’s just as guilty of scapegoating as he claims the Tea Partiers are: there was some Golden Age of Enlightenment (maybe the 1960’s or 1970’s) that was ruined by the Forces of Evil: take your pick of Ronald Reagan, Republicans in general, corporations, etc. Not a mention of the collapse of personal morality in places like Camden and Detroit. Things like drug/alcohol abuse, absentee fatherhood, the “Gangsta” culture if you could even call it that, etc. This is the horse that must go before the cart of “poverty”. Throwing more no-strings-attached billions of dollars at poor people with defective moral compasses will accomplish nothing. The real fix is to improve the culture, which is based on ethics. Doing that through government force is problematic to say the least. It’s best to start outside of that: private organizations, charity that imposes conditions on aid, etc. It will not work overnight, but it will work a lot better than the dreadful Welfare State we have.

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By ivy, April 22, 2010 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

perhaps the 2/3 of black people who may be worse off since the civil rights
movement are not unlike the vast majority of liberals after obama’s historic
election—both the movement and obama are historical but are sadly
considered to be an end in themselves and “proof” that everything is okay now.

I don’t know what the fraction of disenfranchised blacks in america is, but their
problems—drugs, paternity, violence, poverty, crappy schools—has been
made invisible by the “success” of the civil rights movement and the
subsequent laws made to protect equality among races.  neo-liberals dare not
question this “success” for fear of disproving their recent forefather’s basic
tenets and playing into the hands of the so-called opposition, republicans,
who demand that self-reliance and just good ol’ american get-up-and-go was
and is the answer.

obama, as conservative as he has been, is nevertheless the face of progressive
liberalism not just to republicans, but to perversely content liberals—and
because he is failing militarily and economically (on the street level) and has
made it essentially unlawful for the uninsured to not purchase for-profit health
insurance, for instance, understandably causing the stock prices of these
institutions to soar, there is nothing to cheer in any progressive quarter except
a purely political one if you’re a staunch democrat.

false hope can be worse and CAN make people worse off—because in our
greatest time of need, rather than real change occurring or the continued
escalation of the transparent venality and brutality of something like the bush
administration that might cause popular rebellion on the left and maybe even
finally on the right against their own kind, the hot air building up and about to
explode has been released and unfortunately captured by the very numbskulls
who created it—conservatives—for a “grassroots” populism against the very
policies they supported before obama:  corporate control and government
over-reach.

I get hedges.  his tangents are worth a million of my best-thought-out ideas.

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By Adam, April 22, 2010 at 8:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Watch a short clip here - http://povertyinitiative.org/ - for an amazing response
to Hedges remarks by Dan Jones of the Philadelphia Student Union.

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By prgill, April 22, 2010 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

And, ofersince72, thank-you Union Theological Seminary for being a light unto the world and an enduring vision of service and stewardship.

Faith, as in a shared faith in a Divine Creator, a Son and a Holy Spirit, is a difficult proposition upon which to build social consensus. I am reminded of my own Presbyterian heritage, and strong belief that one’s religion should be tolerant, inclusive and ultimately, personal.

The power to obstruct is only possible when there is consensus on the “moral imperative”. Much work remains before consensus is possible.

Thank-you TD for posting this important contribution to the social dialogue.

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By Barb, April 22, 2010 at 6:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once again, chris, your analysis is close to spot on. but you are depressing and pose no solutions to anything. i have worked in the anti-poverty movement since 1978. guess i’d better go kill myself.
we have to fight to the last breath. chris, you need to relax, do some yoga, keep your eyes on the prize, and stop creating these crises scenarios. give it a rest.

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By ofersince72, April 22, 2010 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

He said what he said and I don’t think it was to
hard to understand

The Civil rights movement failed.
and
the manufacturing base has been removed

thats not hard to understand

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By FiftyGigs, April 22, 2010 at 4:58 am Link to this comment

The Tea party movement *is* a fascist movement,
simply the radical wing of the Republican party,
anti-American at its core and in its purpose.

Hedges is not on his brilliant game here. His jumble
of keywords and imagery illustrates the fundamental
problem with liberalism, in my opinion as a liberal.

Here’s the full “chase” to which Hedges “cut”:

“I think we have to face the fact that the poverty
initiative and the civil rights movement failed. That
what it did was propel the upper-third of African
Americans into the middle class, but one could argue
that the bottom two-thirds are worse off now than
they were when Dr. King was assassinated. That what
we have undergone is an assault against the working
class, which has essentially decimated and destroyed
the working class itself.”

A) Spoken like a true white guy, and;
B) What the hell is he talking about???

The muddled logic is embarrassing, as is the myopia.
In the span of just a few years, without the violent
up-risings common elsewhere (yes, there were riots,
but nothing even close to warfare), the United States
of America managed to vault the entire African-
American race from the status of “property” to the
status of “human beings”, established and enforced
nationwide, and provide a means (by Hedges own
admission) to vault 1/3rd of the population fully
into the middle class.

The rest are worse off than when they were openly
treated like animals with no recourse to any
Constitutional rights? That’s just pure stupidity.

Briefly, about the anti-poverty efforts: when Lyndon
Johnson was President, poverty was rampant,
particularly among the elderly. Today, poverty hasn’t
been wiped out totally, but one only has to attend
one tea Party rally to observe the relative affluence
of the retired today.

Conservatives made their in-roads into this society
because of the muddled thinking of people like
Hedges. The Affirmative Action program was the
specific target. Cast as a “quota system”, the real
problem was that liberals had no realistic, definable
goal for it.

By definition, the program should have been self-
terminating. But, as conservatives frankly rightly
charged, it was instead designed to run until… oh,
I don’t know… just let it run… maybe we’ll flip
it to another race… maybe we’ll wait until
something hits 100%... just… abide by it.

That negligence gave conservatives the opening for
everything we see today. Adding punctuation to the
point is Hedges, affirming that the civil rights
movement made things worse for African-Americans.

Liberalism doesn’t fit well with government programs,
because liberalism is basically just the concept of
freedom and equality, of institutional rule by
people, not rule of people by institutions. The
latter is conservatism. But defining goals beyond the
ideal of liberty and equality doesn’t come naturally
for liberals, and in the case of concrete government
programs, is actually a difficult task.

But conservatism is no better. Tell me, Tea Party
people, when do we stop taking off our shoes in
airports? The answer is… oh, maybe when something
hits… oh, maybe 100% or so… someday.

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By ofersince72, April 22, 2010 at 3:41 am Link to this comment

ThankYou TD for sharing this with me.

Cris,  thankyou for being you.

Truth Diggers, please listen to what he is saying
don’t give the Dems the support they do not
deserve, don’t be afraid of the tea baggers and vote
Dem out of fear, they are not the ones to fear,
All the law makers on Capitol Hill both Dems and Pubs
are the ones to fear.

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By Making Progress, April 21, 2010 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Audio is bad. It’s Inaudible. Please Fix.

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