Dec 13, 2013
Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges on Class Struggle
Posted on Nov 1, 2011
Chris Hedges: That’s why you have to delineate who your enemies are. And it’s really interesting being in Zuccotti Park, because when the white shirts, which are the supervisors, aren’t around, there’s a lot of fraternization between the blue uniform cops and the protesters. Even sort of jocular bantering, and it all changes as soon as the white shirts show up. And I think that’s right. And I think that it’s extremely important to remember that you know these blue uniform cops who are all working class, they probably feel most about these bankers in $8,000 suits the way we do. Not only that, they have to work down in the financial district, where these multimillionaires sort of glide by them as if they’re invisible. And there’s also a huge rent-a-cop business. I mean, you are a cop, and these big companies like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan hire you out for $37 an hour so that you can serve as a kind of private security service for their industries and for their executives. So I think that the protesters have been very astute about realizing that this is a kind of natural ally—potentially a natural ally, and I think they’re right.
Robert Scheer: You know, I think one thing that this protest movement has going for it—in the case of the anti-Vietnam War movement there was obviously the war was wrong, never made sense, but to make all the other connections was difficult. The same thing with the civil rights movement. There was no question that a significant group in this society were being persecuted and denied their rights, but others could sort of get off it. This time, anyone who’s seen a movie like “Inside Job” or “The Smartest Guys in the Room,” the Enron movie, let alone read any of the books out there, you know—I mean, they know how rancid this is. They know how evil it is. They know how these people talk among themselves; we have tapes in those documentaries, we know how corrupt the business schools are.
And so I was just wondering, you’re in that city where you have one of the richest guys as the mayor. And he owns the business press, you know, and so forth, and does that embarrass these people at all? I mean, they still think we have a free press of the kind Jefferson had in mind, with a town crier and a penny press and anyone could own one? We see the concentration of power in this media. And I saw an article in The New York Times, I forget who wrote it, one of their media guys raises the cry, why not occupy the newsrooms? And he talked about what Sam Zell did through the Tribune Company to papers like the Los Angeles Times. So do you get any sense of movement in those circles?
Chris Hedges: Well, I don’t hang out with those people too much. Although I did go to prep school with them all. I think they’re sort of beyond shame. I really think that they are like courtiers in these closed cities, where they’re just clueless. That’s my feeling. You know, they live within their own little bubbles—one writer called it Richistan—where they never see anything; they never experience anything, other than people who are just like them. I just think—and you know what, a lot of them also are just stupid. They have been able, through privilege—I mean, George W. Bush is a kind of poster child for this—to become immensely wealthy. I mean, Rahm Emanuel leaves his job for two years, what did he make, $12 million?—working for a hedge fund. I mean, this is just sick. And I think that they run in those circles, they don’t step outside of those circles, and I think that they, because of that, are divorced from the common experience of the ordinary citizen. They have no way to make judgments about it, because it’s not part of their reality.
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