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Toward an Open Tomb

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Real Hope Is About Doing Something

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Posted on Nov 29, 2010
AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Lt. Dan Choi, center, and other demonstrators stand at the White House fence after handcuffing themselves to it Nov. 15 during a protest for gay rights. The group demanded that President Barack Obama keep his promise to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

By Chris Hedges

On Dec. 16 I will join Daniel Ellsberg, Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern and several military veteran activists outside the White House to protest the futile and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of us will, after our rally in Lafayette Park, attempt to chain ourselves to the fence outside the White House. It is a pretty good bet we will all spend a night in jail. Hope, from now on, will look like this.

Hope is not trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama, who, like Herod of old, sold out his people. It is not having a positive attitude or pretending that happy thoughts and false optimism will make the world better. Hope is not about chanting packaged campaign slogans or trusting in the better nature of the Democratic Party. Hope does not mean that our protests will suddenly awaken the dead consciences, the atrophied souls, of the plutocrats running Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil or the government.

Hope does not mean we will halt the firing in Afghanistan of the next Hellfire missile, whose explosive blast sucks the oxygen out of the air and leaves the dead, including children, scattered like limp rag dolls on the ground. Hope does not mean we will reform Wall Street swindlers and speculators, or halt the pillaging of our economy as we print $600 billion in new money with the desperation of all collapsing states. Hope does not mean that the nation’s ministers and rabbis, who know the words of the great Hebrew prophets, will leave their houses of worship to practice the religious beliefs they preach. Most clerics like fine, abstract words about justice and full collection plates, but know little of real hope.

Hope knows that unless we physically defy government control we are complicit in the violence of the state. All who resist keep hope alive. All who succumb to fear, despair and apathy become enemies of hope. They become, in their passivity, agents of injustice. If the enemies of hope are finally victorious, the poison of violence will become not only the language of power but the language of opposition. And those who resist with nonviolence are in times like these the thin line of defense between a civil society and its disintegration.

Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risk. Hope does not come with the right attitude. Hope is not about peace of mind. Hope is an action. Hope is doing something. The more futile, the more useless, the more irrelevant and incomprehensible an act of rebellion is, the vaster and the more potent hope becomes. Hope never makes sense. Hope is weak, unorganized and absurd. Hope, which is always nonviolent, exposes in its powerlessness the lies, fraud and coercion employed by the state. Hope does not believe in force. Hope knows that an injustice visited on our neighbor is an injustice visited on us all. Hope posits that people are drawn to the good by the good. This is the secret of hope’s power and it is why it can never finally be defeated. Hope demands for others what we demand for ourselves. Hope does not separate us from them. Hope sees in our enemy our own face. 

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Hope is not for the practical and the sophisticated, the cynics and the complacent, the defeated and the fearful. Hope is what the corporate state, which saturates our airwaves with lies, seeks to obliterate. Hope is what our corporate overlords are determined to crush. Be afraid, they tell us. Surrender your liberties to us so we can make the world safe from terror. Don’t resist. Embrace the alienation of our cheerful conformity. Buy our products. Without them you are worthless. Become our brands. Do not look up from your electronic hallucinations to think. No. Above all do not think. Obey.

W.H. Auden wrote:

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The powerful do not understand hope. Hope is not part of their vocabulary. They speak in the cold, dead words of national security, global markets, electoral strategy, staying on message, image and money. The powerful protect their own. They divide the world into the damned and the blessed, the patriots and the enemy, the rich and the poor. They insist that extinguishing lives in foreign wars or in our prison complexes is a form of human progress. They cannot see that the suffering of a child in Gaza or a child in the blighted pockets of Washington, D.C., diminishes and impoverishes us all. They are deaf, dumb and blind to hope. Those addicted to power, blinded by self-exaltation, cannot decipher the words of hope any more than most of us can decipher hieroglyphics. Hope to Wall Street bankers and politicians, to the masters of war and commerce, is not practical. It is gibberish. It means nothing.

I cannot promise you fine weather or an easy time. I cannot assure you that thousands will converge on Lafayette Park in solidarity. I cannot pretend that being handcuffed is pleasant. I cannot say that anyone in Congress or the White House, anyone in the boardrooms of the corporations that cannibalize our nation, will be moved by pity to act for the common good. I cannot tell you these wars will end or the hungry will be fed. I cannot say that justice will roll down like a mighty wave and restore our nation to sanity. But I can say this: If we resist and carry out acts, no matter how small, of open defiance, hope will not be extinguished. If all we accomplish is to assure a grieving mother in Baghdad or Afghanistan, a young man or woman crippled physically and emotionally by the hammer blows of war, that he or she is not alone, our resistance will be successful. Hope cannot be sustained if it cannot be seen.

Any act of rebellion, any physical defiance of those who make war, of those who perpetuate corporate greed and are responsible for state crimes, anything that seeks to draw the good to the good, nourishes our souls and holds out the possibility that we can touch and transform the souls of others. Hope affirms that which we must affirm. And every act that imparts hope is a victory in itself.

Also from Auden:

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

 

Chris Hedges is a Truthdig columnist and a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.” More information on the Dec. 16 protest can be found at www.stopthesewars.org.


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By Oscar Lobetti Bodoni, December 8, 2010 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hope is a christian word this usa is not a christian nation this word has no meaning.Obama like the predecesors they all lied and hide the fact the usa is a fascist military nation.

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By Foucauldian, December 7, 2010 at 11:19 pm Link to this comment

Cool post, David.  Hillary has shown her true colors
once she’s part of the establishment.  Gone is her
commitment to Saul Alinsky’s strategy and tactics which
marked her law school career.  Indeed, she has shown
herself to be just another political hack.

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By TAO Walker, December 6, 2010 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

Maybe “gerard” is under the impression, as others’ve been here, that this Old Man’s description of “civilization” as a disease is merely some metaphorical device.  It is not.  It is simply a description of what is plain as Day to those of us not infected.

Again, she seems to be wanting to keep those symptoms of the thing’s process she finds to her liking, while hoping to eliminate somehow those she acknowledges are progressing rapidly toward killing us all.  This self-CONtradictory “hope” is itself a symptom of the CONdition.  Would she suggest that the intensive medical attention “enjoyed” by AIDS patients (at-least those who can afford it) is a “benefit” worth keeping, and so worth cultivating the disease in order to keep it….if only we could get rid of much of its debilitating and degenerative “downside”? 

That intended-to-be-merely-rhetorical question surely answers itself.

HokaHey!

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By David J. Cyr, December 6, 2010 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

I’ve heard countless “progressives” argue that it all would have been different [all good], **IF ONLY** Hillary was POTUS, instead of Obama… whom an angry old female Democratic Nominating Convention delegate referred to as “an inadequate black man” when she immediately expressed her great displeasure in Hillary not having been corporate party machinery installed.

Whenever finance reverts to the mean, corporate state politics revert to the meanest.

In a National Propaganda Radio (NPR) report this morning, Field Marshal Hillary Clinton said this:

“What we [America] object to is a pursuit of nuclear weapons that can be used to threaten and intimidate their [Iranian] neighbors and beyond. That is unacceptable, and it is destabilizing, and it unfortunately will spark arms races.”

She, of course (being a “progressive” liberal), would be unable to appreciate the irony of her — or any American — saying what she incredibly said.

If Democrats didn’t provide a perpetual supply of false hope the “progressives” would have no hope to sell.

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By David J. Cyr, December 6, 2010 at 1:19 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an un-imaged avatar):

RE: I don’t think Assange is a democrat, I think he’s an anarchist…..

“Assange is not a US citizen. He is an Australian.”

_______________

A “democrat” is something to be found in other countries — even perhaps in Australia. A “democrat” anywhere is something quite different from what a (D) Democrat is in America. It’s something quite the opposite of what a (D) Democrat is.

If Assange isn’t a government agent providing disinformation in preparation for the next invasion (Iran), then the holy rat avatar is correct: Assange is likely anarchist intent, and not likely much interested in the not so sensational rather sweaty, difficult and thankless occupation of attempting to construct a serious
democratic alternative within a fascist state.

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By gerard, December 6, 2010 at 12:32 am Link to this comment

Taowalker:  Just a point of difference in conclusions from evidence:  You speak of: ... “the epidemic estrangement of so many of that system’s inmates from the Natural Living Arrangement which remains, despite their illusions of having institutionally and technologically transcended it.”
  It seems evident to me that the majority of the “system’s inmates” have had their “natural Living Arrangements stolen from them because only a relative few have dominated them, exploited them and ruined their communal, natural environments beyond repair.
  Since the growth of citise, the “Natural Living Arrangement” of human beings has been irreversibly changed, and distorted by technologies.  But to me it appears that this turn of events (I would not call it “development” for obious reasons) has caused a more or less unconscious disjunction within the human psyche which has only recently forced its way into human consciousness. And further, that not all of “civilizatioin” has been bad, or “unnatural.”
  My question (a deep one) is this:  Is there any “going back”?  You seem to regard the historic developments of human activity (civilization) as totally “destructive” and there is evidence for a lot of destruction, still continuing. You also seem to advocate turning back.  But for me there is also evidence to the contrary—that this development has been uniquely “natural” to humans (though random and poorly controlled. It troubles me to think of the hazardous results of trying to “turn back the clock.” And I would add further:  “even if that is possible..”  So really two questions. 
  Do you catch what I mean?  A key issue is, how much of this change has been consciousnly deterined and how much of it has been unforeseen, unconscious, accidental?  Or does that make any difference to your reading of the history and the prognosis?

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By Anarcissie, December 5, 2010 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment

TAO Walker—those who don’t know where it is have to go looking for it.  Or, they can sit around and wait for it to fall on them, but in my experience that has not been a good strategy, in that something else might fall on them.

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By radson, December 5, 2010 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie       What the hell are you trying to promote anyway and what the hell is entropy talking about other than small items of reform .

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By Inherit The Wind, December 5, 2010 at 10:39 pm Link to this comment

“You know you’re REALLY paranoid when….”

You think Al Jazeera is a Zionist front organization!

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By entropy2, December 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

@Anarcissie - I think you’re right about the existing power system being in a state of panic and facing imminent collapse. The question is: Do we wait for it to tumble down around us and hope for the best or do we take an active role in mitigating the damage from the crash to the planet and to the human race?

Our helplessness against oppression and exploitation results from our utter dependence on the corporate-state oligarchy. We need to network, globally and regionally, of course—but mostly locally, to break ourselves and our fellow 95% out of our serfdom. I’ve started a mutual aid social network that I hope will help a little in this regard. I’m also helping educate people locally to become more self-sufficient in food through bio-intensive gardening and, eventually, in other necessities of life, through open-source micro-manufacturing.

We have the technology right now to totally coordinate our mutual efforts, we have the techniques and the resources to achieve decentralized, non-hierarchical interdependence. Waiting for someone else to take the initiative will just make it harder when the behemoths start falling.

http://papazoid.com

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By TAO Walker, December 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

The exchanges below, around the “question” of what might replace what at-least some of the participants seem to agree is a “world system” on the brink of catastrophic failure, illustrate well the epidemic estrangement of so many of that system’s inmates from the Natural Living Arrangement which remains (despite their illusions of having institutionally and technologically transcended it) the actual Ground of their existence.  This fundamental misconception, apparently, is also the principal rationale for the common CONceit which holds that it’s entirely up to our tame Sisters and Brothers to “think” something up in this regard….and then to establish the institutional and ideological apparatus needed to (literally) flesh-out the “new” CONstruct.
 
It’s lucky for them there’s no need, after all, for yet another DEAD END exercise-in -homo(domesticus)-centric F-Utility.  Us Human Beings have already a given ‘place’ in the Natural Living Arrangement.  We are vital components in our Mother Earth’s immune system.  It is, in-fact, Her effective resistance to the might’ve-been-fatal process of the “civilization” disease which is manifesting, to many presently still enmeshed in the fever dream virtual world-o’-hurt disintegrating all around them, as a frightening loss of CONtext threatening their own precious “individual” IDentities, their esteemed “self,” with extinction.

Trying to “imagineer” a socio-eCONomic set-up compatible with their “individual”-istic proclivities, yet one that will somehow avoid the more-and-more inescapable CONsequences of what are believed (mostly mistakenly) to be the fatal flaws in the discredited “dominance” paradigm, is itself to essay the impossible.  That’s because, to be blunt about it, the organic function of Humanity requires that the healthy focus of our precious attention NOT be on Humanity. 

Such subspecies “self”-obsession, among domesticated peoples, is just one more symptomatic effect of the sickness.  The syndrome known as AIDS is exactly what happens when a component in a natural immune system is co-opted by a disease agent and then runs amok, making its own “self-interests” the entire purpose of its being, attempting to operate parasitically instead of symbiotically, with all the debilitating and degenerative effects this organic failure has on its “host”....and finally, of course, on the rogue “entity” itself and on the “infectious” agent that took it over to begin with.

Just as Humanity has a natural organic function, we also have a natural organic form in-keeping with it.  Some of us surviving free wild organically functional Human Beings call our organic form Tiyoshpaye.  English speakers regularly attempt to use “community” this way, but the term is much more often than not applied to this or that random collection of “individuals,” and by-itself has been rendered organically meaningless.  Genuine Living Organic Human Community is descriptively more accurate, even if not “shorthand” enough for most “modern” people.         

Maybe this information will spare some here the waste of precious vitality and attention involved in trying to “re-invent” the Natural Living Arrangement….The Hoop of Life. 

HokaHey!

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By racetoinfinity, December 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

By gerard, December 5 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

Totally on-point comment.  I agree with all of your points.  They simply want to accrue as much wealth and power now, and they (though they may claim to) don’t really care about the people or the planet.

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By gerard, December 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment

Quoting from the introductory paragraph of Assang’s statement:  “Firstly we must understand what aspect of government or neocorporatist behavior we wish to change or remove. Secondly we must develop a way of thinking about this behavior that is strong enough to carry us through the mire of politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity. Finally we must use these insights to inspire within us and others a course of ennobling, and effective action.”

I have yet to see the entire essay on line, though I have not made an exhaustive search.  I keep thinking it will turn up—in all fairness!

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By gerard, December 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Quoting from the introductory paragraph of Assang’s statement:  “Firstly we must understand what aspect of government or neocorporatist behavior we wish to change or remove. Secondly we must develop a way of thinking about this behavior that is strong enough to carry us through the mire of politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity. Finally we must use these insights to inspire within us and others a course of ennobling, and effective action.”

I have yet to see the entire essay on line, though I have not made an exhaustive search.  I keep thinking it will turn up—in all fairness!

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By gerard, December 5, 2010 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

Anarchissie:  I don’t take Assange as being anarchistic in the sense of advocating no government, or destroying all government etc.  I take him to mean that one key problem we have in every modern nation is the exclusioin of citizen participation by systems that have taken on a form of secret and exclusive inter-communication which works against change, openness, justice and democracy.
  He wants to see communication technology used to break up the links between “conspiracies” that conspire against openness and citizen participation and figure out ways to prevent links from linking because they “degrade the quality of information.”
  Again the “jiu jitsu” parallel—“to make the system so paranoid of itself that it can no longer conspire.”  (from the ZunguZungu site commentary in explanation of Assange’s essay.)
  Of course unless and until we can see Assange’s full explanation we can’t really know what he said or what he meant, so this is only an effort at translating from partial statements, and should be regarded as such.

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By Foucauldian, December 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

“The purpose of these ‘leaks’ is not to embarrass
Hillary or this or that, but the purpose of these
“leaks” is to affect international politics and pave
the way for future moves ...”

Anything wrong with that if degrading the institution
of statehood, US edition, is part of the agenda?

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By truedigger3, December 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Anarcissie, December 5 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment


gerard—I don’t think Assange is a democrat, I think he’s an anarchist…..
——————————————————
Assange is not a US citizen. He is an Australian.

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By truedigger3, December 5, 2010 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

Re: By mdgr, December 5 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment


By truedigger3, December 5 at 3:33 pm:

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2010/12/2010123144522634458.html
—————————————————————————-

mdgr, Anarcissie

I look with deep suspicion and skepticism upon anything coming from “aljazeera”. That station is influenced by Zionist elements at its upper echelons.
No, when I said “staged”, I meant contrived and with collusion by the powers-that-be. That “man hunt” and shutting the websites is bullshitting and “chicken feed”. Wikileaks are still on the web, and anyway the “damage is done”, and many material have been copied already, and Assange is still free, and even if he got arrested, in the end, nothing will happen to him and he will enjoy his Switz bank account deposits.
The purpose of these “leaks” is not to embarrass Hillary or this or that, but the purpose of these “leaks” is to affect international politics and pave the way for future moves, for example, Iran anybody!!.

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By Anarcissie, December 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

gerard—I don’t think Assange is a democrat, I think he’s an anarchist.  He may not be a total, full-blown, smash-the-state anarchist, but I think that’s the direction in which his sympathies, his thinking, and his actions go.  If governments are malign authoritarian conspiracies, in effect mafias, then you don’t try to improve them, you try to degrade them.  This is what leaking their internal communications is supposed to do.

mdgr—I’ve liked the idea of ‘building the new world in the shell of the old’ as the IWW put it.  That is, I believe that authoritarian institutions could and should be replaced nonviolently by non-coercive institutions starting from the ground and working up.  Over the years I’ve put forward a lot of ideas about this and done a bit of agitprop and organizing.  Unfortunately, as far as I know I have had very little success in promoting these ideas.  Certainly, when I look around, I see very little evidence that I’ve accomplished anything.

‘Smash the state’ was an old-time anarchist slogan.  Then in the 20th century many states were smashed, but they were not replaced by utopias or even low-quality anarchist life.  They were replaced by fascist dictatorships.  According to my thought, that was because the people did not have relations and institutions with which to replace state functions.  Therefore, in their passivity and dependency they were willing to accept totalitarian dictators.

The American ruling class may be cracking up, but I don’t see the cooperatives, communes, credit unions and so forth which are going to replace the existing state.  They are out there, but they are few and most people haven’t even heard of them, apparently.  In any case I think most people not already involved would have some difficulty making a sudden transition from faux-individualist corporate life to something new and strange.

Remember also that it appears that our industrial plant has been gutted.  Unlike the Argentinians, we can’t occupy the factories because they’ve long since been shut down and the machinery sold for scrap.  Or that’s what I hear, anyway.

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By Anarcissie, December 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

gerard—I don’t think Assange is a democrat, I think he’s an anarchist.  He may not be a total, full-blown, smash-the-state anarchist, but I think that’s the direction in which his sympathies, his thinking, and his actions go.  If governments are malign authoritarian conspiracies, in effect mafias, then you don’t try to improve them, you try to degrade them.  This is what leaking their internal communications is supposed to do.

Unlike you and me, he does not seem to have put any time into thinking about constructing some more desirable social order.  He seems to think that governments are going to persist and what we need to worry about for the present is sabotaging them.

mdgr—I’ve liked the idea of ‘building the new world in the shell of the old’ as the IWW put it.  That is, I believe that authoritarian institutions could and should be replaced nonviolently by non-coercive institutions starting from the ground and working up.  Over the years I’ve put forward a lot of ideas about this and done a bit of agitprop and organizing.  Unfortunately, as far as I know I have had very little success in promoting these ideas.  Certainly, when I look around, I see very little evidence that I’ve accomplished anything.

‘Smash the state’ was an old-time anarchist slogan.  Then in the 20th century many states were smashed, but they were not replaced by utopias or even low-quality anarchist life.  They were replaced by fascist dictatorships.  According to my thought, that was because the people did not have relations and institutions with which to replace state functions.  Therefore, in their passivity and dependency they were willing to accept totalitarian dictators.

The American ruling class may be cracking up, but I don’t see the cooperatives, communes, credit unions and so forth which are going to replace the existing state.  They are out there, but they are few and most people haven’t even heard of them, apparently.  In any case I think most people not already involved would have some difficulty making a sudden transition from faux-individualist corporate life to something new and strange.

Remember also that it appears that our industrial plant has been gutted.  Unlike the Argentinians, we can’t occupy the factories because they’ve long since been shut down and the machinery sold for scrap.  Or that’s what I hear, anyway.

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By Foucauldian, December 5, 2010 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

“In the end, I think governments will fall. And like
you, I’m worried about what will happen next. I think
that is an honest and thoughtful acknowledgment, and
it doesn’t need anymore analysis.”  mdgr

What are you worrying about, a period of transition
punctuated by episodes of violence or the final
outcome?  You don’t say.  We can do nothing about the
vagaries of unfolding history.  As to the final
outcome, whatever situation will ensue once the dust
settles, it’s reasonable to assume that many of the
present contradictions will be resolved.

So what doesn’t need analysis, again, you’re not
being clear:  prognostication or the analysis of the
State and the adjunct capitalist system supporting it
as essentially authoritarian if not terrorist
institutions?

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By gerard, December 5, 2010 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

By gerard, December 5 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment


A couple obvious considerations that are getting lost here:

1.It shouldn’lt even be necessry to “whistle-blow” on our own government if it were open and democratic,  if it made itself available to its people, respected their opinions and worked for the general welfare.
2. The very reaction of the government to make a fugitive of the “leaker” and try to close down all sites airing the information, all companies connected with its release, and deny him adequate chance to explain what he did and why—that in itself indicates the very lack of democracy we need to recognize and repair.
3. To use the excuse that our government is “forced to” use duplicitous methods simply because other countries do that, is exactly what shows our universal failure to recognize moral values and stand up for them.  It shows just why we have lost whatever democracy we pretended to have.
4. This “leaking” would not have been necessary, nor would it have happened if the U.S. governmen officials and business managers had not allowed themselves to be over-run by greed for money and power to the extent of insanity (thinking they can, should and must dominate the world). How many millions of letters, phone calls, petitions have they received begging them to, for instance, stop the wars in the Middle East, or save people from rapacious banking practices? How many pleas have they ignored, and still ignore even up to the point of ordering mmassive “surveillance"to try to scare off and shut down criticism and suggestion?
5. Assange wants to show us how to use “surveillance” to “surveil the surveillers” to gain the access to our government which we have been systematically denied, and to reform its deceits.
He wants to help us use modern (rapidly advancing) technology to maintain democracy—which depends upon openness in communication first, last and always.

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By mdgr, December 5, 2010 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, December 5 at 5:30 pm:

>‘I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid,’ is the punch-line of more than one joke.

A sense of humor is good, and with your permission, I’d like to gently tug on this thread. If I get things wrong or overstep, please let me know.

So indulge me. I’m setting all your premises aside for the moment and jumping right to what I think is the conclusion, which is that government sucks.

Granted, I’m using a very non-nuanced four letter word here, but you catch my general drift. You have said they’re authoritarian, conspiratorial and [fill in the blanks], which suggests that they otherwise suck.

Moving on, you have also registered anxiety lest the ruling class (government, presumably) disappears from the scene prematurely.

I get all that. You’re smart, empathic and you’re not unaware of Rousseau’s “social contract.” Mad Max and Mel Gibson aren’t exactly my cup of tea either.

But—please forgive me if I project some false familiarity here—you have to see the question here. I mean, how do we get from “1984” to a world in which government, as such, disappears?

No, I don’t want to go to the library and read-up on the works of all the major anarchists. Please don’t make me do that. I did read Karl Marx back in the days, and although his analysis wasn’t bad, it was just too materialistic for it to work in the real world or on anywhere on the planet.

Not even in Cuba (much less China, Cambodia or North Korea) did the state fade away. On the contrary. All too often, the Gulag became institutionalized. So one might well-imagine that Marx, in theory at least, got something wrong.

I’m reluctant to go pouring through all the anarchist literature not just because I’m lazy, but also because I think it won’t get me very far.

The question is whether 7 billion people on the planet can ever get it right.

Now, I agree that government is an irritant that rarely leads to pearls. But like you said in a recent post, it’s also sort of scary to imagine the possibility of governments suddenly crumbling.

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, it seems that we’re back to humor and paradox once again, which is probably as good a place as any to begin or end a conversation.

My point is that there really are no canned answers, not even for anarchists. Once we try and put things in a can, they necessarily get stale. That applies to ideas and “isms” no less than it applies to the realm of government.

What appears to be happening now is that the Principle of Rigid-Structures is itself cracking open, and on many different levels. It’s very archetypal, but I don’t mean that in any kind of New Age foofoo sense.

In response, there is a very predictable effort to maintain the status quo. There is a lot of resistance to change, but the impulse to change is inexorably ascendant. Even the damned plutocrats are finally being outed.

In the end, I think governments will fall. And like you, I’m worried about what will happen next. I think that is an honest and thoughtful acknowledgment, and it doesn’t need anymore analysis.

It doesn’t lead to humor, no, but it does end in paradox. That’s good enough for me.

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By Anarcissie, December 5, 2010 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

mdgr, December 4 at 7:53 pm:

‘... I also find it interesting that with your particular moniker, you should register any anxiety at all about this (for now) ill-fated process. I’m gently teasing you here, not implying that the anxiety is ill-placed. ...’

‘I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid,’ is the punch-line of more than one joke.

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By Anarcissie, December 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3—I doubt if the Assange / Wikileaks business is staged because of the very real effort to shut down the web site using both legal means and illegal denial-of-service attacks.

In Assange’s theory, most if not all governments and major corporations are malign authoritarian conspiracies, like mafias.  The point of exposing their internal communications is not the content of the communications but to illustrate and make real the fact that the internal communications can be exposed.  In doing so, one impedes the ability of the conspiracy to function, because members of the conspiracy have to take time to edit and censor their communications with other members just as they do with those outside the conspiracy.  Since the conspiracy is malign, simply inhibiting it—throwing sand in the gears—is a good thing.

I would have disagreed with Assange’s theory to some extent: while I agree that governments do tend to be malign authoritarian conspiracies, I think that they are used to managing their affairs with internal channels of communication that are less than transparent and reliable.  However, the hysteria of the U.S. and other governments, and the use of illegal cyberwar methods, suggests that Assange’s view may in fact be more correct than mine.

See
http://tinyurl.com/2fhmu5o
  and
http://tinyurl.com/39bnlgx
for two perceptive interpetations of Wikileaks and Assange. A link to Assange’s own words can be found on both pages (assuming they haven’t all been eliminated by the secret police).

NOTE, however, that if any of you are or hope to be employed by the U.S. government or its assorted subsidiaries, allies, dog-robbers or henchmen, you’d better avert your eyes!  You probably shouldn’t even be reading this!!

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By mdgr, December 5, 2010 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

By truedigger3, December 5 at 3:33 pm:

The questions you raise are thoughtful. The memo-leaks ARE emerging in stages (I think that was what you meant, rather than “staged” as if they were contrived) and you are right on their peculiar silence regarding Israel. The latter was downright stunning.

You said that the backlash of hysteria was deliberate in nature, a point with which I could not agree more.

Finally, yes, a “divide and conquer” intent on WikiLeaks’ part would explain why Israel wasn’t selected for this first round of memo-releases. This was just the first set of State Dept. leaks, and as-such, it must have really pissed-off Hillary.

Hillary likes to think of herself as a real-politik kind of girl, while in fact, she’s a bumbling fool. She does know triangulation when she sees it, however, and I believe this first “release” was designed to do precisely that. It put Hillary out at the end of the triangle, and she is desperately trying to claw her way back to its base.

I found the following article on one of the less juvenile news venues available to English-speaking folk. It’s not just well-written, but it contains some fairly well-reasoned conclusions. They speak precisely to the issue of “Iran, Iran,” and they also address some serious triangulations that Assange implicitly achieved.

I don’t think he made a tactical error here. I still feel very proud that a chap of Rico’s sensibilities actually likened him to Che Guevara.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2010/12/2010123144522634458.html

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By elisalouisa, December 5, 2010 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

@John December 3 10:24 pm
This act of rebellion is infinitely more than Mr. Hedges “chaining himself to a fence,” a fence which that separates the President from his people. Mr. Hedges is being true to himself in this protest, something Mr. Obama could not even begin to understand. Some may say that such actions produce no outcome. Actions do have reactions, even if it is merely a look out the window by a man who just doesn’t get it. Even more, citizens are demonstrating against corporate powers that have the run of the land, our endless wars and a government that pays no heed to the plight of its people. If this event is even a remote threat to the powers-that-be more than one spin will be woven into the reporting. Then
again, msm may totally disregard this protest unless of course the actions are so provocative that they cannot.

Julian Assange made the cover of Time this week with an article by Massimo Calabresi where Assange is quoted as saying: “The media scrutiny and the reaction from government are so tremendous that it actually eclipses our ability to understand it. Assange miscalculated the deadly nature of those in power, which is not uncommon; something protesters and whistleblowers should always bear in mind, especially if one is intent on living a long life.

Added Note: You make some good points TD3. Such intrigue is mind-boggling.

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By truedigger3, December 5, 2010 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

Re:By Anarcissie, December 4 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment


mdgr, December 4 at 12:12 am:

‘... Let’s talk about heroism, and specifically, the kind of heroism that Assange and WikiLeaks showed. We don’t much see it these days. ...’


I think the hysteria suggests that the r.c. is at the end of its rope, and we may soon see some kind of dissolution of existing political structures.
——————————————————————————

I thinks that “hysteria” is manufactured “hysteria” to give authenticity and to draw attention to these staged wikileaks “leaks”.
Almost nothing important or not already known in these “leaks”, which obviously are cherry picked and possibly, some of them, are fabricated.
The main thrust of these “leaks” is Iran ....Iran….and more Iran and how “dangerous” Iran is and how it is “hated” and feared by its Arab neighbours who are urging, secretly, the US to attack Iran. Not a single cable about Israel who are the most vocal voice calling for attacking Iran.
Are these “leaks” a propoganda campaign to set ther stage for attacking Iran???
Not a single cable about Israel and its atrocities and crimes in the Middle East.
Another thrust of these “leaks” is to embarrass the Arab leaders in front of their peoples and create suspicion and mistrust between the Arab leaders.
The classic “divide and rule”.

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By mdgr, December 5, 2010 at 12:47 am Link to this comment

>mdgr:  I commended Stewart on the effort and intention of his Rally for Sanity as a defuser and a way to let people express opposition to the overloaded program of Glenn Beck et al.
  >I do not commend Stewart on the snippet video shown here.  It was assinine.

Thank you for that. I’d go further, of course <grin>. What Stewart did here appeared to be no faux pas. It appeared that he was working for the same Invisible Man that Amazon, Paypal and Huckabeee work for. The point of my own posts in that particular thread was that by this single “snippet,” Stewart proved himself a contemptible swine, no disrespect to the porcine species intended.

While I agree with you that a response to the overloaded Glenn Beck rhetoric was necessary, even here, Stewart proved himself unworthy. He’s a shill, nothing more.

The so-called sanity rally was bubble gum.

>Getting Scheer and HuffnPuff to advocate any political action is expecting too much, I fear. Everybody fears a violent outbreak of some kind

That was my point. True to my aesthetic roots, I used the somewhat Zen epithet “chickenshit.”

I wouldn’t put Scheer or Arianna in the same despicable class as Stewart, but they too are shills. They serve to deflect the rage of the left. While they sincerely feel heroic, I wouldn’t be surprised if their funding sources actually chuckled about them in the back room.
 
I am not as sanguine as you about the effect of computer outings. On the other hand, Assange continues to dazzle me, and he is no fictional character—as, say, Lisbeth Salander is. He’s become my personal hero, however.

The trouble is that no one who is not already a member of the choir really cares. Oh, they care about embarrassment, but it isn’t bringing down governments. Not only do American citizens not care, but barely veiled “orders” have just gone out telling Columbian University students not to link to WikiLeaks or even post on it, lest there be retaliation.

Still, not a word from Scheer or Arianna. It’s just another day in Paradise.

There IS a time for magical thinking, you know.

(1) If I had a magic wand, I’d ask for an orchestrated protest of Amazon, eBay (which owns Paypal) and the State Dept (responsible for the Columbia University warnings).

(2) I’d ask Move-On to stop with its idiotic petitions and use its resources to reach millions of progressives—being exhorted to chain ourselves to the fence of the White House or Amazon would serve nicely, but involving hundreds of thousands of people, not just a few.

(3) I’d have Robert Scheer and Arianna call for a major general boycott of eBay, Paypal and Amazon.

(4) I’d ask them to also call for a general rolling strike (sick and vacation leave can be used by those still employed) targeting the shameful action of America in Afghanistan and a lot of other places.

(5) I’d buy a one page ad in the NY Times and ask the progressive caucus in Congress to tell Reid and Pelosi to buzz-off, while declaring themselves up as Independents.

(7) And yeah, I’d probably make a public and very loud comparison in that NY Times ad between the Dems and the collaborative Vichy government. It certainly would get noticed, and in the wake of that, I think the dominoes would begin to fall for the DNC.

The list goes on, but you see the general drift.

This general, however, would take no prisoners and would use an entire division of magical tanks that would roll right over them.

How’s THAT for a little “civil disobedience???

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By gerard, December 5, 2010 at 12:33 am Link to this comment

mdgr:  I humbly suggest you try to diagram Orbis Unum’s sentence beginning “We humbly ... etc.”

Guaranteed to keep you from posting for at least a week.

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By gerard, December 4, 2010 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  I commended Stewart on the effort and intention of his Rally for Sanity as a defuser and a way to let people express opposition to the overloaded program of Glenn Beck et al.
  I do not commend Stewart on the snippet video shown here.  It was assinine. 
  Getting Scheer and HuffnPuff to advocate any political action is expecting too much, I fear. Everybody fears a violent outbreak of some kind because of accumulating tensions and nobody wants to take any responsibility for that, for obvious reasons. 
  If people can read, understand, think about and grasp the larger significance of what ASsange wrote and has tried to express orally about the significance and power of electronic “intrusions” upon power, we have a chance to learn something new—maybe something beyond traditional political action.  I am intrigued, though I’m nothing but a ham so far as computer-ology goes.  And it goes pretty far, and fast.  But maybe ... younger people ... how many I have no idea ...
  I must say I am profoundly intrigued by the possibilities of a kind of electronic jiu-jitsu that the “leaks” evidence.  One problem is that deeper learning than mere engineering is immediately needed.  Not only what is to be released, but how it is to be directed, what new goals are possible has all to be thought out.  Experience and errors will teach us a lot. But for starters, it’s important for people to grasp, I think, that a kind of ironic “turn of the opponents’ force against him/her” is involved—a principle poorly understood in the “Western world,” especially the over-literal, under-imaginative United States.
  The extreme simplistic reactions and attempted “lock-downs” are, I think, evidence of the possible effectiveness of the method. But it needs to be better understood. Have you read Assange’s fuller message at ZunguZungu.com?  It was still there the last time I looked. I wish it had been picked up and reprinted here, but no such luck.  Assange should at least have the right to speak for himself as widely as possible. After all, the guy’s life is in danger.
  Others at WikiLeaks also have a responsibility to “translate.”  I hope they will and are doing so.
I fear as much or more for Manning in the hands of threatened military prestige.

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By kulu, December 4, 2010 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

The calls for the assassination of Assange bring to mind the calls to do the same to Salman Rushdie. Where is the outcry by the media, the politicians, the world leaders??, Obama.

I am worried, really worried.

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By mdgr, December 4, 2010 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment

By Orbis Unum, December 5 at 2:38 am:

>In support of the previous poster’s comment to support the premises raised therein

I suppose your statement was validating, but I have no idea what you just said.

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By Orbis Unum, December 4, 2010 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment

In support of the previous poster’s comment to support the premises raised therein, one only has to avail themselves of these facts by reading the “4” declarations posted by the SEA at the web link: http://www.scribd.com/rahyah.

We honorably await any actual and provable evidence to prove the premises presented in-particular to the established facts raised with the declaration dealing with the Four Freedoms on pages 13-15 to prove otherwise.

My best to all who post herein, for the purpose of proposing hopeful enlightenment or garnering enlightenment, while proffering Good Will in the interest of seeking Universal Peace with All Walks of Life!

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By mdgr, December 4, 2010 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

Gerard,

Agree with you on your last point.

I was not however, suggesting that you wave any magic wand. On the contrary. Nor was I getting personal except to emit a friendly growl when you characterized my question as “absurd.”

I still think that you are begging the question. There was nothing preposterous about it. Setting magical thinking aside ENTIRELY (and it SHOULD be set aside), the question remains:

From which quarter of the universe could the numbers be said to appear, assuming “civil disobedience” could finally win the day? I’m feeling strangely Newtonian right now, so please try and help me. No quantum rabbits are expected.

Fact is that Americans are dumb and getting dumber. Stupidity has attained an iconic level in American that sets it apart from most other countries.

The far right are carrying AK-47s to Tea Party while the left is pissing in its pants. Liberal AND progressive leaders generally haven’t got the courage to do anything but whine, while they style themselves as victims in a game of triangulation that they themselves endorse.

It’s reasonable to ask, therefore, from where are the much-wished for changes coming? Where, again, are the numbers?

You and I both admire Assange, but you should note that Stewart is now alluding to Assange as someone vaguely pornographic. Yet you yourself like what Stewart does. Doesn’t this cause you any personal angst?

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/daily_show_the_informant_20101201/

Stewart is ridiculing WikiLeaks because he believes that the numbers aren’t there. He knows that his audience will go along with what he says—such is his level of respect for the basic sanity of Americans.

Given all evidence to the contrary—including Mr.Scheer’s and Ms. Huffington’s resounding silence regarding the Amazon fiasco—how can you hold forth that there will be a critical mass (numbers) for EFFECTIVE and SUSTAINED civil disobedience?

I don’t see that. Instead, I see a country in which everyone, including progressive leaders, are afraid.

In the face of that, telling us that civil disobedience is going to save the day sounds very much like magical thinking.

Let’s move off of the question about numbers since it is clear that you don’t have an answer and, anyway, seem inclined to dismiss the question.

Let me ask another question. It’s rhetorical, not absurd. It also has merit.

What will it take to get Scheer and Arianna to call for a general strike? Never mind whether it will work or not, just what would it take to get them to call for it? What would it take to get the leaders of the progressive websites to show a little courage and suggest specific action steps, like chaining ourselves to Amazon corporate gates and calling for a boycott?

You can’t answer that question not just because it’s rhetorical, but because the leadership of progressives is itself chickenlivered. They’re afraid to say anything, and they definitely do not hold a candle to WikiLeaks.

But then, that’s my point. Godot isn’t coming anytime soon to America. It’s fated to fall off the cliff, and good riddance. I’d still chain myself to Amazon’s gates, but it won’t make any difference because the numbers are not there.

Which, whether we like it or not, leaves us with the likes of Derrick Jensen. Or the French Resistance, however you wish to frame it.

I don’t see that as any ultimate solution, BTW. Like you say, violence begets violence, and it often gets out of hand. But based on the total ineffectiveness of the “civil disobedience” meme at this time (notice my contextualization and my reasoning above), it will probably play out historically.

I’d love to be proven wrong, but please don’t tell me to go to the library. The question, as ever, is the same.

If you propose going that route, where then are the numbers???

And equally important, where is the courage???

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By gerard, December 4, 2010 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  Please, minus the personal accusations.
“Absurd” in the sense of preposterous, or in other words, how could I (or anyone far more qualified that I) be able to “come up with” the numbers of people (needed) to “turn into a real movement.”
Come up with” and “turn into” imply in themselves some reference to magic.  “Ex:  And so this fellow comes up with a black hat and the hat turns into a white rabbit.”
  I’m sorry to drag you through this, and yet it seems important that the point be stressed:  Any viable movement is not going to occur by magic.  It will be (is being ) gradually awakened by present circumstances, in the same way that Assange’s wikileaks were caused by the situation that made them possible, even probable. That is, the power of investigative electronic “surveillance” but—ironically, this time—used to reveal real threats (to international political sanity) instead of box-cutters or bombs in shoes, or secretly ruining the peace of mind or the reputations—even to torture and imprison—people trying to “speak truth to power.”
  If this were not true, I doubt that so much effort would be made to shut wikileaks up.
  Has the ultimate absurdity struck you yet:  Electronic surveillance may ultimately be able to shut down electronic surveillance?  Or else?
  If we can’t recognize this whole new opportunity for openness in governments, and guard it well and insure its safety and its rights, and learn how to use it wisely, it will be a very sad day for the entire human race.
  So let’s not quibble, but instead give each other the benefit of the doubt here, get smarter, and move into tomorrow.

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By mdgr, December 4, 2010 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

By gerard, December 4 at 11:51 pm:

>mdgr asks me, insisting on an answer even though the question is absurd:  “Where are you going to come up with the numbers of people, the critical mass to turn what will be characterized as a trivial focus group into a real movement??”

Once again, I find it very interesting the way those who espouse non-violence sometimes use rhetoric that is violently dismissive.

Not “absurd,” Gerard. On point.

What I said earlier is that either we do have the numbers with which to advance your “civil disobedience” option, or we will devolve into the kind of resistance that you don’t seem to like to much, viz., that suggested by Derrick Jenkins, which doesn’t much rely on numbers.

I’m not the ideologue here. You are, though I say that without judgment. You say you want this, not that, and that this can make the difference.

Great. But the question I asked is neither rhetorical nor silly.

I think that we both take equal amount of heart in Assange, but that isn’t going to call down a general strike.

My earlier point was that the very leadership of the progressive movement has been co-opted. Do you see Robert Scheer suggesting a boycott of Amazon? Do you see Arianna Huffington calling for a general strike? Without any leadership, nothing will happen. (Remember, India had Gandhi, and the 60’s had MLK, Abbie Hoffman and a whole gaggle of ballsy leaders ranging from Huey Newton to Jerry Rubin).

Now, Derrick Jensen doesn’t rely on the need to ask for a general strike-that-isn’t-gonna-happen-because-Americans-are-really-too-chicken-shit. He isn’t relying on numbers.

I agree with you that if we weren’t so damned afraid, the possibilities to which you allud could possibly be realized. But the numbers simply aren’t there. Worse still, neither are the leaders.

And wishing for them will not make them happen. People are still very chicken-shit.

BTW, I do feel empathy for your POV. I understand the frustration, and I’m not really against your ideals. But one of the problems with the left is that it either gets lost in ideals and forgets the rules of real politik.

If it keeps doing the same things, it will get the same results.

Fact is, however, that it’s really out of our hands. We should each do what we think is right, and what we are called to do, but Kismet is at work, and Assange is just one of its latest manifestations.

Omens still rule, however, and WikiLeaks is, right now at least, a very good omen. As such, it doesn’t suggest any grass roots revolution. It does suggest earthquakes and some violent forms of destruction.

The universe does that all the time, BTW. She isn’t sentimental.

And as we say out in Sapiensville <spit, spit>, “If you wanna make an omelette, you gotta breaks some eggs.” Humpty-Dumpty may be half way off the damned wall, already.

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By gerard, December 4, 2010 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

mdgr asks me, insisting on an answer even though the question is absurd:  “Where are you going to come up with the numbers of people, the critical mass to turn what will be characterized as a trivial focus group into a real movement??” 

If I knew the answer, I wouldn’t be writing comments on Truthdig, inviting people to “keep hope alive” and do what they can where they are, and study non-violent theory and practice, and ...and…and…

My feeling (intimation, instinctive gut rumbling) tells me the “critical mass” (though I hate that term for obvious reasons) is developing everywhere simultaneously and will materialize gradually to the point where people themselves, in all sorts of different ways, (and in spite of fears, threats and suffering) will succeed in bringing about human reconciliation and the ascendance of common sense.

Why? Because the present situation is so lunatic and precarious that it is unsustainable and collapsing from within.  I anticipate improvement simply because to anticipate further retrogression is destructive in itself.

I take courage from the fact that there are many bright people in the world who understand what Assange is trying to do to clear up the debris on the road to the future—trash left by a handful of ignorant but self-important megalomaniacs as “power” and “international diplomacy”, to clean their mess up in favor of openness and honesty in communication, and to withdraw in disgust from the international gangsterism of threats, insults, bribery and stealth, and, inevitably, war.

At my advanced age I may not live to see it, but Assange is a ray of light on the horizon. Work with him!

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By TAO Walker, December 4, 2010 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

“mdgr” suggests the need for something to replace too-smart-for-their-own-good homo sap….better known here in Indian Country as homo domesticus.  How about Homo Naturalensis?

The D-/L-/Nakotah say Ikche Wichapi….free wild natural Human Beings.

HokaHey!

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By mdgr, December 4, 2010 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

So Gerard:

Again, I ask (I closed my earlier post with the same question but you did not address it):

Where are you going to come up with the numbers of people, the critical mass to turn what will be characterized as a trivial focus group into a real movement??

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By mdgr, December 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, December 4 at 3:32 pm:

Agree to a point, but as you say, this was also different.

Assange pissed off nearly every government on earth (let’s not split hairs)—he’s more “wanted” than the Jackal was in his day—and he’s still holding his head high and speaking with dignity and daring.

That is the stuff heroes are made of, and we have no heroes anymore these days. I’m not suggesting Assange wanted things to turn out this way but it happened. Who of us could have invented Julian Assange? It takes him out of the merely human dimension and invites us to look at the underlying archetype the fuels his ascendancy at this particular time.

I agree with you too in reading the rest of the tea leaves. That the pushback is so hysterical does indeed suggest a commensurate amount of brittleness in the oligarchical structures holding governments together at all levels.

They’re strong for now, with their cluster bombs, their crowd control devises and their control of the media. But, like you, I sense that something’s coming. Something’s changing.

I don’t think it will “dissolve,” however. Rather, it is cracking. Different elements at work.

I also find it interesting that with your particular moniker, you should register any anxiety at all about this (for now) ill-fated process. I’m gently teasing you here, not implying that the anxiety is ill-placed. I think that kind of anarchy will indeed prevail, as the poem below by Yeats portends—mere anarchy loosed upon the world, but only for a time.

In fact, our center of gravity is changing. The rigid structures of our culture and their underlying belief system also need to change.

One might also suggest that with a population of 7 to 8 billion people, the Earth is absolutely unsustainable. Sapiens was predictably very stupid and it has unleashed not just one, but many perfect storms. They are unavoidable. No superhero will fly down just in time to save us.

But maybe the glass is half-full, not half-empty. Reduce the population by an order of magnitude, give it a kick-start in awareness, and we might just have a species worth saving.

Homo Luminous or Liminal, your choice, but certainly not Sapiens, with its cliches, its overweening hubris and overweening cortex.

Anyway, at that point, maybe the kind of anarchy you envision will absolutely work. But it probably will not be in our lifetime.

  Turning and turning in the widening gyre
  The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
  Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
  Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
  The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
  The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
  The best lack all conviction, while the worst
  Are full of passionate intensity.

  Surely some revelation is at hand;
  Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
  The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
  When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
  Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
  A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
  A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
  Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
  Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
  The darkness drops again but now I know
  That twenty centuries of stony sleep
  Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
  And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
  Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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By David J. Cyr, December 4, 2010 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (Michael Cavlan RN):

“I have asked this place and others this question, over and over. Now what do we do?”
_______________

We each do what we are by our abilities, temperaments and conditions compelled to do… what we each believe to be our means necessary.

If you want to engage in hope-sustained patiently plodding long-haul organizing, the empirical evidence indicates that your potential for numerical success (masses participating in resistence) lies within the millions who do **NOT** vote… since it’s been abundantly proven that 99% of those who do vote are either uneducable, or deeply desirous of the shit we all get when they get what they’ve voted for.

CAVEAT: Liberals succeeded in ensuring that there’s now insufficient time left for hope-sustained patiently plodding long-haul organizing to possibly be successful.

For those eager to engage in immediate hairy action:

Real and serious civil disobedient resistance, with serious intent to be actually effective, is not something casually done merely as an attempt to temporarily assuage one’s own guilt for having, say, life-long supported the corporate party, but is instead an action sincerely intended to place one’s body directly in the path of the massive steel treads of Power. It’s not something one determines they’ll do when it’s convenient, or when others decide to do it too.

Serious CD is something one does when they believe that it is the only thing acceptable for them to do, when doing anything else is no longer important to them… when life is no longer worth living. When participating in a CD action is more important to you than your family’s or your own welfare — when you decide that today is a good day to die and CD is the way you wish to leave — then you are ready for CD having some actual potential to (possibly) be effective… by whatever means you choose.

Do please consider how your actions might affect those who actually are innocent. Try not to collaterally damage them, because they are so few.

WARNING: If you survive (aren’t killed on that day you’ve chosen to die a death by cop), then there will likely be grave consequences that may adversely affect you for the rest of your natural life.

NOTE: Any event not televised widely and repeatedly never really happen.

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By gerard, December 4, 2010 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

People, people!  Doing nothing but castigating people who are doing nothing—or only something—or not enough something ... or the wrong thing. 
  Assange is awesome.  He is a person.  People are awesome!
  I am inclined to agree with Anarchissie that, judging from the over-reaction and trying to prevent distribution, the machine recognizes the monkey-wrench. In which case, slow developments might well be well advised.
  Have you read Assange’s statement of reasons, etc.?
If not, you should.  I have been surprised the TD has not yet allowed him to speak for himself. As I remember it’s on ZunguZungu.com, “Julian Asssange and the Computer Conspiracy” or something close to that. Here’s his crucial introduction.

“To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us, and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not. Firstly we must understand what aspect of government or neocorporatist behavior we wish to change or remove. Secondly we must develop a way of thinking about this behavior that is strong enough to carry us through the mire of politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity. Finally we must use these insights to inspire within us and others a course of ennobling, and effective action.”

Julian Assange, “State and Terrorist Conspiracies”

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By Foucauldian, December 4, 2010 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

Made a new posting on the Bye-bye thread.  Talk to you
later.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, December 4, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Mdgr

I read your post about the level of cowardice of Americans and specifically
American “progressives” and could not agree more. I have given up on any and
all progressives and progressive groups tied to or making excuses and carrying
water for the Democrats. They are all useless. Because when they ask us to “call
Congress and ask for a, b, or c I have asked one simple question. That never
gets answered. If “your” elected officials do not do a, b or c THEN WHAT? All I
get is blank stares.

This is the country of Joe Hill for Christ sakes.

I have asked this place and others this question, over and over. Now what do we
do?

I have heard an idea of joining the IWW and agitating for a General Strike.
Sounds feasible. IF people, (Big IF) enough people actually agree to join and
agitate.

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By Anarcissie, December 4, 2010 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

mdgr, December 4 at 12:12 am:

‘... Let’s talk about heroism, and specifically, the kind of heroism that Assange and WikiLeaks showed. We don’t much see it these days. ...’

Actually, there have been a number of whistle-blower sites and publications.  Remember the Drudge Report?  Remember the publication of the photographs from My Lai?  The curious thing about Assange is the hysteria of the ruling class, which seems far out of proportion to the rather mundane revelations which have brought it about.  I think the hysteria suggests that the r.c. is at the end of its rope, and we may soon see some kind of dissolution of existing political structures.  This might not be a good thing, as there do not appear to be desirable alternatives in the wings.

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By kulu, December 4, 2010 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

David J. Cyr, December 3 at 5:55 am

I couldn’t agree with you more. The voters of America are guilty.

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By racetoinfinity, December 4, 2010 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

Just came across this from some novel:  “Projections are indeed ubiquitous especially when one has a lacuna in the heart area.”  Or as Jesus said, take the lacuna out of your eye before you project one onto someone you don’t know.

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By mdgr, December 3, 2010 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

By gerard, December 3 at 10:26 pm

http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/wanted_20101201/

Mr. Fish’s comment, as I’m sure you’d agree, is right on. Synchronicity has got the be a black art, however. I mean, who amongst us would have dreamed up Julian Assange?

When, I wonder, will Oliver Stone make a movie of him? When will Mr. Fish’s point finally be given an airing?

Let’s not quarrel about tactics right now, as we both got off to a bad start, and you and I probably agree on much more than we disagree.

Let’s talk about heroism, and specifically, the kind of heroism that Assange and WikiLeaks showed. We don’t much see it these days.

Oh, people are willing to spend a night in jail, sure, but how many of us are willing to alienate nearly every government on the planet in order to do what is right (expose the plutocracy and bring what is buried to the surface)?

Thus far, I don’t see Robert Scheer or Arianna Huffington even blasting Amazon, or calling for its boycott.

I don’t see Move-On calling having ever called for a general strike.

I don’t see ANYBODY else on the left coming close to what Assange did, which—quite simply—was to place his existential ass on the line and tell the truth even if it meant almost certain calls for his assassination.

We can now delete the word “almost.” <deep sigh>

Until there is real courage in America, there will be no change. By courage, I don’t mean a willingness to spend a night in jail. I mean the willingness to stand in front of the tank on Tienanmen Square while telling it to piss-off.

Whether violence (against property, my brother) is or is not a reasonable tactic puts the cart before the horse. The fact is that Americans are chickenshit.

We prefer to giggle while Jon Stewart makes demeaning jokes about Assange and WikiLeaks, as if he himself was not co-opted. We prefer our single nights in jail and a minor slap on the hand.

Thus it is that our collective imagination has atrophied. We make no demands of Arianna or Robert Scheer. Nor Move On. Nor the DNC. We do not even attempt to organize no general strikes, because that would be too dangerous.

Instead, we have idiotic petition drives designed to make us feel-good about ourselves while we’re asked for a donation.

Call it “civil disobedience” if you want, but I think that the time has come to regard that term as too stilted. Whatever you wish to call it, however, if it really was effective, it would bring down as much wrath as was recently brought down on Assange’s head.

I live an hour from Seattle and would happily chain myself to Amazon tomorrow, but I abhor tactics that fail. For anything to work, it needs numbers.

Or else it needs the kind of methods proposed by Derrick Jenkins. His methods don’t require huge numbers, but then, there’s a huge price to pay in that. Personally, I too am pretty chicken-livered. I’m way too old to start doing those things.

I’ll close with a salient question: So where does one get these numbers when we can’t even get the leaders themselves to take significant risks???

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By gerard, December 3, 2010 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  Way bacn on Dec. 2 you said (among other thoughtful things) “I still think that Hedges won’t get much turn-out. I’d vastly prefer that he and his people chained themselves to the corporate gates of Amazon right now.”

Maybe because Hedges and others chain themselves to the White House fence, some other brave people will chain themselves to the corporate gates of Amazon.
And after that ...?  International GateKeepers ...
cropping up everywhere ... The New “Gated Community” of Resistance, of new ideas, the new “Resisters Without Borders” ... “Gate Openers” ... “Children at the Gates of Tomorrow” ... “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord, Standing at the Gates of Dawn.”

Take it away!

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By John, December 3, 2010 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You can serve us better, Mr. Hedges, by continuing to write your brilliant essays than by chaining yourself to a fence.

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By racetoinfinity, December 3, 2010 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

Re:  surgical strikes against the current proto-fascist corporatist regime

With the “war-on-terror” meme firmly planted in the populations’ mind now, any surgical strikes at dams, bridges, railways, industrial complexes, etc. would certainly be met with cries of “terrorism” and the corporate ruling class would feel justified in unleashing its considerable police and prosecutory powers, tightening the proto-fascist vise.  I am angry and frustrated with our situation, where the middle class and the health of the planet is being more-or-less destroyed, and consider it dire.

I have plenty of emotions about it, and am not lulled into thinking that it’s not an attempted take-over by the plutocracy in slow motion.  I don’t wish to directly reply to a certain commenter, but after re-reading a comment he or she made, I retract my interpretation that I was called a Nazi.  I interpreted it as meaning, in effect, “why don’t you go talk to your friends in Berlin in 1941, whom you sound like” whereas I now see the commenter meant to say that my idealistic words would fall on deaf ears in Nazi Germany.  True, but I don’t think that here we’ve devolved quite to the point of the Third Reich in 1941.  We’re moving in that direction alarmingly, so I can sympathize with calls to violent resistance, but agree with Hedges that they would be futile, met with the kind of state repression we saw in China or The Soviet Union. 

I said I have a PROBLEM, a criticism of deep ecology (not that I admired it), in that it vilifies Homo Sapiens, where the truth is that we are the flowering of the highest expression of life on the planet, and it’s our duty to correct our disastrous actions through repair and stewardship, electing leaders with true planetary ecological awareness and stewardship, and with the guts to transform up from narrow-visioned short-term (greedy) bottom-line old economics and the pernicious “free” market”, free” trade laissez-faire, “trickle-down” b.s. ideology/agenda of Milton Friedman, now proved bankrupt and only useful to the ruling class to amass the greatest (stolen) concentration of wealth since the 1920s. 

And yes, I’m not so New Age, as to not understand that we need to fight for re-industrialization and re-invigoration of unions here.  A Constitutional amendment requiring national elections be fully public an publicly funded and facilitating third and fourth party representation is also a must.  See Paul Street for more on this.  And I support a whole list of progressive reforms, which certainly haven’t been accomplished; there are a few good provisions among the window dressing that Congress passed in its health care and financial reform bills that mainly benefited its corporate benefactors.

As I said, I’m plenty angry and frustrated (and at times depressed about our situation), but I think any blowing up of infrastructure would play into the hands of the establishment; they would immediately categorize it as “terrorism”, thus simultaneously demonizing and marginalizing it, and that would be counterproductive to the struggle.  And when I spoke of the struggle for democracy, I meant HERE IN THE USA (not the neocon pretext of trying to establish it in Iraq or Afghanistan).  I’m not ruling it out though.

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By racetoinfinity, December 3, 2010 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

@ mdgr - final word - my posts are all about levels - to state “assuming you know about levels” is exactly the kind of evidence that you either don’t read my comments clearly with a non-defensive mind, or that you don’t understand them.  Finis.

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By racetoinfinity, December 3, 2010 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

@ mdgr - (Apologies to the others-I had a feeling I’d get swiped for replying to mdgr again). You seem to really swing from one pole to the other.  You have no idea who I am, or what my mind-body situation is, so please don’t presume to psychoanalyze someone whom you (think you) know only through words on a screen. I wouldn’t presume to characterize someone’s whole makeup only per his or her comments.  You’re very quick on the ad hominem;  you also contradict yourself in your posts.  That much I can glean from the comments.  I’d suggest you try to maintain some coherence and consistence in your claims and views.  I feel our exchanges are done and over, also.  Frankly, I’ve tired of your emotional overreactions.  Nice knowing you, when you were interesting to talk to.

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By mdgr, December 3, 2010 at 4:32 am Link to this comment

By racetoinfinity, December 2 at 9:24 pm

One last thing. I never suggested you sounded like a Nazi in 1941. If you reread what I wrote, I never even came close to that.

The lacuna here is obvious. If your mind-body connection is that tenuous, it may require attention.

I doubt Wilber has been much help to you in that. While your head may be in the clouds, you obviously need some serious grounding.

Nice knowing you.

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By mdgr, December 3, 2010 at 4:24 am Link to this comment

By racetoinfinity, December 2 at 9:24 pm

Being an arrogant but non-violent twit, you assume I am one too. Projection is ubiquitous.

Sanctimoniousness too.

I have read Wilber, yes, and I think that he is as I described. Nor am I an idiot. I’m probably as well-read and well versed in consciousness issues as you.

I don’t need to drop names, however. But I will drop this exchange with you. I find it demeaning on more than one level—assuming you understand the concept of levels.

Sheesh.

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By David J. Cyr, December 3, 2010 at 12:55 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (Marshall):

“But I also understand that there are groups like Al Qaeda that cannot be ignored.”
____________

America’s growth industry is the manufacture of terrorists, to have terrorists to first employ… and then destroy.

The Long War **OF** Terror has its roots in the Carter Administration. Yes, that really nice man, Jimmy Carter, who, with a big toothy smile, gifted the people of the Middle East his Carter [Resource War] Doctrine: You live over Corporate America’s oil.

Fascist states fabricate external enemies to “justify” their invasions and occupations. When it was becoming clear that the old Soviet external enemy was on its last legs, Zbigniew Brzezinski (Jimmy Carter’s brain) provided his most superlatively liberal “best & brightest” idea: the recruitment of islamic fundamentalist religion weaponizing berserkers into a proxy military to lure the USSR into its “Vietnam” in Afghanistan… a Brzezinski planned protracted war Brzezinski correctly predicted would hasten the collapse of the USSR. Since Jimmy lacked command presence he was uninstalled, and the Bush/Reagan team was corporate pre-selected to execute Brzezinski’s (Carter approved) plan.

Brzezinski’s true genius was that in forming that proxy army of (resource war useful) religiopsychopaths his plan simultaneously disposed of the poorly performing external enemy that the Soviets had become, while replacing them with a new and much improved external enemy — stateless “terrorists”.

Non-state “terrorists” can be promptly manufactured in whatever quantities desired, to be just-in-time delivered, whenever needed anywhere they can be useful. The non-state “terrorist” is a pluperfect external enemy to instill irrational misdirected fear domestically; a constant state of fear making the “justification” for unjust wars easily salable to a by fears managed society. The fear tamed sheeple then flock to demonstrate — by their votes cast — their dependence upon, and prove their loyalty to their shepherds who manage the corporate (R) & (D) party’s “democratic” gangster government.

The “terrorist” enemy can conveniently be anyone anywhere. With that threat to the “innocents” being perceived to possibly be anyone anywhere the “innocents” accept the police state’s excessive “protection” and eventually it becomes fully acceptable for anyone anywhere who is “suspect” to be targeted for elimination… acceptable for anything to be done to them (It was the amiable boy-POTUS, Bill Clinton, who began the extraordinary renditions program to disappear and torture people “suspected” of effectively resisting the Corporate States of America’s ever expansionist desires).

Elections have consequences. Voters are responsible for what they “win” when they vote for corporate (R) & (D) party candidates.

The voters who vote for the corporate (R) & (D) party’s candidates are legitimate military targets, because it is their votes that have provided the popular mandates for America’s constant engagement in aggressor wars (the highest of international crimes, with its perpetrators being responsible for all the crimes committed by anyone within the wars those voters have chosen to wage with every (R) or (D) vote they cast). The Republican and Democrat voters are **NOT** “innocent” civilians. They are, in effect, the corporate state’s acting board of directors. People who vote for Republicans or Democrats are the perpetrators of America’s war crimes; the perpetrators of America’s human rights crimes; the perpetrators of America’s crimes against Nature. They have chosen, by their corporate party voting, to be personally guilty for America’s corporate state crimes.

People who live too comfortably in a perpetual state of war are easily persuaded that their relatively peaceful and prosperous lives are dependent upon always having war.

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By racetoinfinity, December 2, 2010 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

@ mdgr - you wrote -

“I’ve read the former but frankly find him too heady—which tangentially speaks to the issue in question—that issue being the disconnect between the intellect and one’s emotional core. Won’t drop any names but I suggest you read some gestalt theory or archetypal psychology on the need for reconnection.”

That’s very funny, considering the references I cited, whom you find too “heady” are very much into reconciling mind and body into a new whole “Mindbody” that is an further evolution-anyone who does yoga and pays attention will know what I mean by body-mind.  I’ve spent years since the sixties working and studying about that need for reconnection of body and mind (at a higher level).  You haven’t read Habermas or Wilber because they’re too intellectual?  You’ve missed out.

You really shouldn’t be afraid of advanced intellectual scholarship and analysis…It’s not going to hurt any real grounded efforts; it will enhance them.

If it doesn’t,  if it becomes “mental masturbation” as one commenter termed some discussion here, it’s the fault of the people who’ve digested and are attempting to put into action the information and innovative thinking, not the producers of it.

And one last thing - I may have sounded dismissive in my tone at times saying you didn’t understand some of my comments, but your telling me I sounded like a Nazi in Berlin in 1941 was beyond dismissive-it was a knee-jerk and idiotic characterization.

—————

I remain proud of Chris for his courage.  It might not accomplish a lot concretely right now, but the contrast in the media to the lack of any active protest against the wars will be a bright spot and I hope (there’s that word again) a catalyst to more protest.

Finally, just on a psychological note again, “hope” is important, if it alleviates “hopelessness”, but it must not be seen as anything but a visualization of the directions and actions to travel & to do in the true reality (not a subjective recollection or projection) - the here and now. 

I want the best most advanced minds working for a progressive agenda.  Intellectualism in progressives is a minor problem.  Thank God we have smart people.  The real problem is corporate neoliberal DINOS (like Obama, who has the POWER-ELITE air of intellectual superior detachment [when he’s not putting on his populist speechifying at rallies FAKE [[we have come to learn]) mask) vs. the small (10-15%) of Dems who are real progressives.

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By REDHORSE, December 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

ELISALOUISA: JD’s post was worth repeating. TY!!

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By elisalouisa, December 2, 2010 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

By JDmysticDJ, December 1 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
“Chris Hedges’ message is simple and easily understood. Further simplifying his message; do something to keep hope alive. Unfortunately this simple message is complicated by reams of psycho-babble from aspiring pseudos, which is nothing, does nothing, and accomplishes nothing, except to obfuscate his simple message. Forgive me for being judgmental, but it appears to me that all this mental masturbation is nothing but a convoluted attempt by the responsible, to absolve themselves of responsibility.”

Worth posting again. Not only is Chris Hedges’ message simple, there is no outrage, rather compassion for those in need of hope.

As in Auden’s words:

          May I, composed like them
          Of Eros and of dust
          Beleaguered by the same
          Negation and despair,
          Show an affirming flame.

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By sig arnesen, December 1, 2010 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good for you, and us, Mr. Hedges!
St. Augustine observed that “Hope has two daughters. Their names are “Anger” and “Courage”. Anger at the way things are and Courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”
From this standpoint,Hedges and co-activists are, indeed, living in HOPE.
More power to them….and us.

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By mdgr, December 1, 2010 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment

By gerard, December 2 at 2:26 am

>Anger is not “bad”; it’s justified. . . In view of all the present dangers, if a person is not angry, there must be something seriously missing in thought and feeling.

We fully agree in this.

>My contention is that, in the absence of understanding, training and experience with non-violent actions, anger turns quickly into blind rage and goes on into a desire to strike out physically, to hurt and to kill the opposition, who then, in turn, is given justification to “kill back”, and so violence escalates almost before anyone realizes what has happened.

Agree as to this danger which you describe most accurately.

On the other hand, I am less sanguine than you on the use of what you refer to as non-violence. That is not at all to suggest that I’m anymore upbeat on the use of violence.

BTW, I am not an apologist for Jenkins. But then, Jenkins was mostly talking about inserting hard wrenches into the machinery of our culture. That doesn’t necessary mean killing people.

>Knowledge, organization, planning, commitment —and the paradox of resisting without resisting helps to minimize escalation and decrease desires for revenge.

Resistance without resistance is a rather interesting concept. That doesn’t mean that the notion of resistance is outmoded. It’s actually built into the very nature of things, and it is no less valid or viable than the notion of going with the flow. The two exist together, not as self-contradictory premises.

On a somewhat tangential point, I would also remind you that it is the liberal element’s failure to resist that defines it. We both admire Hedges, and we both know that’s not such a good thing.

I’m not for gratuitous violence, however, nor am I for suicide. To everything, there is a season. On the other hand, I agree with you that clarity and sanity are of paramount importance. Lashing out will only make things worse. On the other hand, there are times when the use of what you call violence is not just acceptable, but possibly even required.

>If we don’t, we have a very blunt tool, edges jagged by centuries of murderous and largely futile slicing in all directions.

Agree.  I’m all for laser-like focus. Once we distinguish violence against property from the violence of a terrorist bomber, however, many unimaginable things become possible.  On that note, one should note that Gandhi perpetrated one of the most violent acts on record against the British Empire. 

>We’re not talking religious concepts here, but possible, practical new ways to heal wounds and create changes.

Right now, I think that we need to feel the full-weight of the cancer. What I will agree on is the need to come together.  Not sure there’s healing in that, but at least there’s solace.

I still think that Hedges won’t get much turn-out. I’d vastly prefer that he and his people chained themselves to the corporate gates of Amazon right now.

Fewer numbers would make a much bigger splash, and at least, they wouldn’t be dismissed as a “focus group.”

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By al loomis, December 1, 2010 at 11:07 pm Link to this comment

protest may be fun, but when the protest is over, the same people are running the nation. even when there is a change of faces, one politician turns out to be much like his predecessor.

there must be revolution, a change in the mastery of the nation, to democracy. getting citizen initiative is the first and vital step in creating a nation ruled ‘by the people.’ without initiative, there is no effective citizenship, just adolescents dancing around the protest maypole.

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By Psychobabbler, December 1, 2010 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

I’d say that you would have to be a little bit mad to not be angry to some extent at this point. Anger is a natural human instinct that does potentially have a useful purpose.

Like when anger is directed towards injustice and aggression for example.

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By gerard, December 1, 2010 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  (e.g., love is good, anger is bad)  IMO, is two dimensional, which raises a point again that I failed to address with you earlier.  Anger is not “bad”; it’s justified. And it’s a mover and shaker. In view of all the present dangers, if a person is not angry, there must be something seriously missing in thought and feeling.
  My contention is that, in the absence of understanding, training and experience with non-violent actions, anger turns quickly into blind rage and goes on into a desire to strike out physically, to hurt and to kill the opposition, who then, in turn, is given justification to “kill back”, and so violence escalates almost before anyone realizes what has happened. 
  Knowledge, organization, planning, commitment —and the paradox of resisting without resisting helps to minimize escalation and decrease desires for revenge. It’s a subtle business, widely misunderstood and discouraged, but we need to at least consider it fully. If we don’t, we have a very blunt tool, edges jagged by centuries of murderous and largely futile slicing in all directions.
  We’re not talking religious concepts here, but possible, practical new ways to heal wounds and create changes. 
  People standing with Hedges in Washington are beginning to understand and taking the first steps.
They will be representing millions of others. They deserve support and encouragement.

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By mdgr, December 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

By racetoinfinity, December 1 at 9:57 am

>You obviously did not understand my comment.  I’d suggest reading Wilber or Habermas for an understanding of stages of/unfolding of individual and collective human evolution.

I’ve read the former but frankly find him too heady—which tangentially speaks to the issue in question—that issue being the disconnect between the intellect and one’s emotional core. Won’t drop any names but I suggest you read some gestalt theory or archetypal psychology on the need for reconnection.

>I support non-violent resistance in the footsteps of Ghandi and King.  I approve of violence in self-defense and in fighting a violently oppressive force/regime.

Here we agree. Violence breeds violence, and anger feeds off anger. But Hedges “protest” bespeaks the end of a cycle, not its beginning. It will lead to nothing except an increasing sense of futility.

What you apparently have yet to understand is that our current regime is in fact violently oppressive. I am not suggesting fighting darkness with darkness, however. I am saying that the edge of the knife, while surgically sharp, is not evil in itself. Surgical steel, while cold to the touch, is not itself an enemy.

The point of our discourse isn’t trivial. The black and white distinctions you implicitly make (e.g., love is good, anger is bad) are, IMO, two dimensional. My larger point is that the left is going down in flames precisely because of this kind of bifurcated thinking.

>I’m sorry you took my comments so personally.  I have a problem with deep ecology, and I was expressing it.  Your anger says a lot about you, not me. 

Indeed, but your own labeling and projections, not to mention your denial, say a lot about you as well.

I agree that deep ecology is fundamentally necessary, but it is not to be achieved by moral homilies. It is only to be achieved by an even deeper change in consciousness and probably too by reducing the planet’s population by an order of magnitude or more. If you wish to offer me the likes of Ken Wilber, permit me to offer you Kali, who is even now dancing in the streets.

>You can reply, but I’m done.  I’m sure the other readers would be bored by more squabbling between us, especially since you consider my contributions nonsense. 

Squabbling? I don’t think of it in those terms.

Again, I invite you to look at the dismissive tone of your own characterizations. I think our disagreement is both important and substantive.

Actually, I think it goes to the very heart of the so-called “liberal” paradigm, as earlier espoused so clearly by Hedges. The Huff just published some remarks that alluded to it in a statement by Gov. Ted Strickland. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/01/exclusive-ted-strickland-_n_790489.html

I’m not suggesting that all of your ideas are nonsense. If we met over lunch, we would probably agree on much more than we disagree. On the other hand, what we have been talking about relates to matters of strategy.

In this, our disagreement is deep. You may wish to take the moral high road in closing, but in light of that earlier tone, yes, I have no problem characterizing your strategic logic as naive.  Sorry to disappoint. No great anger here, just some honest surgical steel.

>Why even bother to reply to me, if you think I make no sense?  Pace.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve replied in response to your statements. I think a lot of people share your beliefs and I think they deserved due consideration. That doesn’t mean I agreed with them, however, and I haven’t been shy in telling you why.

And, yes, we can agree to disagree peacefully. The problem is that the left is going down in flames, as Strickland said, precisely because of this issue.

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By mdgr, December 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

By racetoinfinity, December 1 at 9:57 am

>You obviously did not understand my comment.  I’d suggest reading Wilber or Habermas for an understanding of stages of/unfolding of individual and collective human evolution.

I’ve read the former but frankly find himtoo heady—which tangentially speaks to the issue in question—that issue being the apparent disconnect between the intellect and one’s emotional core. Won’t drop any names but I suggest you read some gestalt theory or archetypal psychology on the need for reconnection.

>I support non-violent resistance in the footsteps of Ghandi and King.  I approve of violence in self-defense and in fighting a violently oppressive force/regime.

Here we agree. Violence breeds violence, and anger feeds off anger. But Hedges “protest” bespeaks the end of a cycle, not its beginning. It will lead to nothing except an increasing sense of futility.

What you apparently have yet to understand is that our current regime is in fact violently oppressive. I am not suggesting fighting darkness with darkness, however. I am saying that the edge of the knife, while surgically sharp, is not evil in itself. Surgical steel, while cold to the touch, is not itself an enemy.

The point of our discourse isn’t trivial. The black and white distinctions you implicitly make (e.g., love is good, anger is bad) are, IMO, two dimensional. My larger point is that the left is going down in flames precisely because of this kind of bifurcated thinking.

>I’m sorry you took my comments so personally.  I have a problem with deep ecology, and I was expressing it.  Your anger says a lot about you, not me. 

Indeed, but your own labeling and projections, not to mention your denial, say a lot about you as well.

I agree that deep ecology is fundamentally necessary, but it is not to be achieved by moral homilies. It is only to be achieved by an even deeper change in consciousness and probably too by reducing the planet’s population by an order of magnitude or more. If you wish to offer me the likes of Ken Wilber, permit me to offer you Kali, who is even now dancing in the streets.

>You can reply, but I’m done.  I’m sure the other readers would be bored by more squabbling between us, especially since you consider my contributions nonsense. 

Squabbling? I don’t think of it in those terms.

Again, I invite you to look at the dismissive tone of your own characterizations. I think our disagreement is both important and substantive.

Actually, I think it goes to the very heart of the so-called “liberal” paradigm, as earlier espoused so clearly by Hedges. The Huff just published some remarks that alluded to it in a statement by Gov. Ted Strickland. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/01/exclusive-ted-strickland-_n_790489.html

I’m not suggesting that all of your ideas are nonsense. If we met over lunch, we would probably agree on much more than we disagree. On the other hand, what we have been talking about relates to matters of strategy.

In this, our disagreement is deep. You may wish to take the moral high road in closing, but in light of that earlier tone, yes, I have no problem characterizing your strategic logic as naive.  Sorry to disappoint. No great anger here, just some honest surgical steel.

>Why even bother to reply to me, if you think I make no sense?  Pace.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve replied in response to your statements. I think a lot of people share your beliefs and I think they deserved due consideration. That doesn’t mean I agreed with them, however, and I haven’t been shy in telling you why.

And, yes, we can agree to disagree peacefully. The problem is that the left is going down in flames, as Strickland said, precisely because of this issue.

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By JoyBe, December 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shame on you shadrach.  Chris and others with real courage should be supported on our bodies. 

This trend we are on does not end well.  We need serious and selfless leaders like Chris.  Leaders need support.

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By shadrach, December 1, 2010 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

I wish you luck, Chris. But this type of street theatre you are embracing always signals the last, desperate gasp of a dying movement—not a rising tide of protestation.

For a true mass protest, there must be the hard, hard work “on the ground”, neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city, over years, talking to people, one on one, to change minds. There must also be a sense among the populace that they, as individuals, are DIRECTLY threatened. ONLY THEN—as with the civil rights and anti-war movements of the ‘60s, will the mass protests come forth and change the political landscape.

Absent all that, what you end up with is a small bunch of individuals, easily (if incorrectly) dismissed by the media as a small bunch of kooks if they’re not ignored all together, standing somewhere and yelling themselves hoarse. 

It may give you “hope”, but it will change nothing.

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By Robert Landbeck, December 1, 2010 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The greatest act of rebellion ever imagined, a hope with the means to ends, is waiting for those individuals who can shake off their existing prejudices and preconceived notions, imagine outside the cultural box of history, stand against the stream of fashionable thought and spin, and have the moral courage to learn something new; an intellectual and moral revolution is already under way able to reach those parts political process can’t touch, which changes the entire debate of what it means to be human, where the ‘impossible’ becomes inevitable, by the most potent, political, Non Violent Direct Action any human being can take to advance peace, justice, change and progress. Choice is yours: http://www.energon.org.uk

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By elisalouisa, December 1, 2010 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

Thank you Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Medea Benjamin and Ray McGovern, and others who join you in this protest that calls attention to a government which has forgotten its people.

If anchors and commentators in mainstream media receive e-mails concerning this act of rebellion there may be more coverage of the event. I am embarrassed to say that I cannot be there, even as one who lends moral support, not attempting to be chained to that fence.  The results of this protest will not be immediately evident and shall still be felt in years to come.

Such action does bring hope to the heart. Thank you again.

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By JDmysticDJ, December 1, 2010 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges’ message is simple and easily understood. Further simplifying his message; do something to keep hope alive. Unfortunately this simple message is complicated by reams of psycho-babble from aspiring pseudos, which is nothing, does nothing, and accomplishes nothing, except to obfuscate his simple message. Forgive me for being judgmental, but it appears to me that all this mental masturbation is nothing but a convoluted attempt by the responsible, to absolve themselves of responsibility.

“Nothing from nothing, leaves nothing.”

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By racetoinfinity, December 1, 2010 at 4:57 am Link to this comment

@ mgdr - You obviously did not understand my comment.  I’d suggest reading Wilber or Habermas for an understanding of stages of/unfolding of individual and collective human evolution.

I haven’t seen Tarantino’s latest oeuvre.

I support non-violent resistance in the footsteps of Ghandi and King.  I approve of violence in self-defense and in fighting a violently oppressive force/regime.

I’m sorry you took my comments so personally.  I have a problem with deep ecology, and I was expressing it.  Your anger says a lot about you, not me.  You can reply, but I’m done.  I’m sure the other readers would be bored by more squabbling between us, especially since you consider my contributions nonsense.  Why even bother to reply to me, if you think I make no sense?  Pace.

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By Psychobabbler, December 1, 2010 at 3:17 am Link to this comment

Military recruitment should be required to not ask that question because it is insignificant.

We should not be sending troubled people over seas with rifles, let alone intolerant people.

This country is approaching a deceitful desperation for college trick that is almost as disgusting as our exploitation of diseases that may or may not even exist (to be determined)  or not. (most likely)

How many children have to be indoctrinated to die or worse (live) in this game of pre-determined winners and losers?

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By mdgr, December 1, 2010 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

By racetoinfinity, December 1 at 6:25 am

It never fails to astonish me that people speak of “violence and destruction” typically fail quite miserably to account for their own lack of perceptual and communicative nuance.

They become very two dimensional. On an existential level, for example, they treat one another as objects all the time, not as subjects. They kill one another in a thousand other ways as well—not to mention through the kind of invidious and half-baked characterizations that you yourself used. Yet they never take ownership of any of that.

I agree with Hedges that liberals are some of the worst offenders. It’s probably because they tend to think of themselves as moral heroes. They tend to get lost in their own rhetoric, not to mention a rather hypocritical value system.

So let’s play a little game, shall we?

Just for fun, let’s assume that you were that poor Jewish girl in Tarantino’s “Basterds.”

Would you lock the doors of the theater or let everyone walk out?

Now, you might not have seen that film, true. But how about telling us exactly what you would do if you were French and the gestapo just declared himself emperor?

Would you become a collaborator? Would you join the Resistance and carry a gun? Or would you chain yourself to a tank, cover yourself with gasoline and set yourself on fire?

When we’re talking of existential realities, this becomes an all-important question. You might describe it as frivolous or theoretical, but if you did that, it would be pure projection. Fact is that the adjectives you used to characterize my post—a veritable cesspool of adjectives, actually—were themselves rather theoretical and frivolous.

I understood your post perfectly, BTW. I thought you were speaking nonsense, and my question still stands. I am really wanting to know what you would do.

A match could be arranged if you were inclined to take that route, but as Solomon said, all is vanity.

I wouldn’t feel too heroic. Nor should Hedges.

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By racetoinfinity, December 1, 2010 at 1:25 am Link to this comment

@ mgdr - Sorry you didn’t understand my post. 

There was nothing “brutish” in my descriptions, but there’s something brutish in violence and destruction.

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By mdgr, December 1, 2010 at 12:14 am Link to this comment

By racetoinfinity, November 30 at 11:21 am

“nihilism, retro-romantic, fallacies, reactionary and foolish.”

And that’s just in your first few lines. No problem with brutish characterizations on your side, right?

I too usually happen to admire Hedges. This wasn’t a piece I admired, however. It’s one thing to write of Camus’ stone. It’s another to glamorize the act of pushing rope uphill.

It’s still a stupid knitting circle. It’s self-conscious in its effeteness, narcissistic and hopelessly ineffectiveness in its approach to heroism.
All it risks is a slap on the hand.

Big f**king deal.

“Only struggle toward democracy and elevation to caring for the planet on a higher interdependent sustainable level will work;”

I personally prefer intergalactic non-separateness, but we have to take our heads out of our ass from time to time. Try making your speech in Berlin, ca. 1941.

Have you considered the time and place in which you actually live. Democracy? My goodness, you sound like a cross between Paul Wolfowitz and the Dalai Lama.

“regression to pre-civilization is a deeply illusory romantic notion at best, and a somewhat monstrous program fueled by a hidden or not-so-hidden poisonous misanthropy.”

Well, I have to say that I am not misanthrope, exactly. I just believe that Sapiens has terminally blown it, and it would be best for it to get out of the way.

But that’s not Jenkins’ point, it’s mine. Jenkins was merely talking about throwing a wrench into the cog of the damned machine.

Hedges was too, until he mistook a Kotex for a wrench. That was the point of the post I made, the one you bashed so non-chalantly.

If you want to make a point, you either need huge numbers of people (100,000 +) or you need to find some damned effective wrenches. When the asshole and the brain become too interdependent, all we’ll have to show for it is a list of failed strategies.

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By Morpheus, December 1, 2010 at 12:00 am Link to this comment

No, this is silly. This is what you do when you are lost and you don’t know what to do. When you know what to do, you do this:

Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )

We have to stop chasing our tails.
“THE REVOLUTION HAS STARTED”

FIGHT THE CAUSE - NOT THE SYMPTOM

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By TAO Walker, November 30, 2010 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

Those who “hope” to save their own make-believe “self,” and that of “others,” (including those who would bravely “sacrifice” some physical comfort and CONvenience, or even safety, symbolically “storming the barricades”), and who yet “hope” to preserve some part the virtual world-o’-hurt in which those same symptomatic CONstructs have still an ever-diminishingly CONvincing semblance of illusory actuality, are essaying the impossible.  That’s because the very proposition is framed in terms that are completely oxymoronic….like “having your cake and eating it too”.  Angst-ridden domesticated “individuals,” however, are actually facing nothing less than the massive organic disintegration incident to the terminal stages of a “global” disease process, and not merely the unwanted (thus “hope”-fully manageable) side-effects of malfunctioning institutional systems. 

“Politics” simply does not signify here.  Healthy, fully-functioning organisms are not the “products” of popular votes, nor are they subject to the dictates of any CONtrived “authority.”

Chris Hedges and members of his cohort are “barking up the wrong tree.”  They might as well chain their corpi to the stage of a “Punch ‘n’ Judy” show, hoping to shame the puppets into acting better.  The actual “author” of their increasing misery does not hold office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  In-fact, those unfortunates in the West Wing are every bit as afflicted with it as the desperate prospective “demonstrators” are.  Solipsistic exercises-in-futility, however nobly motivated, are irrelevant to the CONdition our condition is in.

Would sensible Persons really “hope” to cure a head-ache, symptomatic of a massive brain tumor, by dropping a rock on their foot?

HokaHey!

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By Remy, November 30, 2010 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

Can anyone explain to me why United States citizens
continue to support the corrupt United States
Government with their tax dollars?

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By jonathonk99, November 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

Yes Chris!  Finally you’re getting to the point man and hats off to you sir! 
Although I agree with a lot of other comments that many don’t see themselves as
having the time or luxury to afford to become politically engaged.  Chris, I think
you need to plan your own rally in Washington that addresses actual issues
instead of cowering away from them like John Stewart.  I was disappointed with
the Stewart/Colbert Rally but what could you expect.  Good luck to you and keep
it real.

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By Siloam48, November 30, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

This is great!! Thanks for the article cause Hope is our only weapon against corporate America. 

With this article I can only recommend you read this new thriller cause it’s also about Hope & where Americans take a stand against federal tyranny.  It’s a must read for all of us cause history may be calling on our true destiny in life.  It’s that good!

http://www.booksbyoliver.com

Finally, as in the book, these Americans stepped away from the TV & stepped into the streets.  I commend them!!

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By REDHORSE, November 30, 2010 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Great post ODYSSEUS. Thanks for the breakfast.

    I’ll spare you the blarney of why, but I believe your description of a “flattened” American reality is accurate. In my own view I see this as an actual form of manufactured mass psychosis. Everyone plainly sees the looters/murderers looting and murdering but cannot act to save themselves. (We TRUTHDIGGERS endlessly bark about method and symptom.)

    Your reference to the book that includes the words “American Soul” is heartening. Recognition of “Soul” was the transpersonal reality that allowed men trapped in a brutal age of tyranny, slavery and war to vision a World potential without those evils, and act to begin their removal. This is totally dismissed by the “politically correct” who can only point the the flaws in the men themselves.

    Americans are not so far gone that organization and action isn’t possible. TAOWALKER suggested that each of us can get well by becoming the “medicine” “our ownselves”. Perhaps being chained to a fence or having ones head busted by the thugs is the wake-up we all need.

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By Tom Warren, November 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

?“When you give up on hope, you turn away from fear.
  And when you quit relying on hope, and instead begin to protect the people, things, and places you love, you become very dangerous indeed to those in power.
  In case you’re wondering, that’s a very good thing.” ~ Derrick Jensen
http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/170/

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By Odysseus, November 30, 2010 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

@kulu

I agree that we have to face up to it all. This type of problem requires a type of American adult that has not been ‘valorized’ – as the cadres like to say – in quite some time. I think of a certain sturdy type of wisdom that Europeans used to call ‘peasant’ wisdom and said it with much respect.

The Eastern traditions refer to the prime challenge as that of Being Your Self in the Present – and that strikes me as a good set of ‘base coordinates’ to start building the type of skills that are needed now: staying faithful to best and highest strengths (kids by definition, and youth too, haven’t developed them yet – and need help in doing so) while at the same time facing up to the challenges that confront you.

And that means without illusions as to your Self and its abilities and strengths and weaknesses and without illusions as to the Present and its challenges.

But I also add that no human being or collectivity of human beings can muster the necessary strength on a simple Flat board (like a checkerboard or a chessboard). There has to be, like Vulcan chess, the higher boards that are also interactive with the base board. On those higher boards, in my image, reside whatever Help and Guidance are provided by the ‘Beyond’ (however you might fill up that suitcase-word).

If I can paraphrase Mark Twain’s comments about his first time in old Dodge City: ‘ it was no place for a child … and I did not remain one very long’. (Twain’s actual word in the phrase is ‘Presbyterian’).

Emerson, in one of his sillier moments, said that Americans should be as heedless as young boys playing in the afternoon, sure of their dinner. Those days are gone, baby, gone, if indeed they ever existed. While America at one time was bursting with potential as a nation and an economy, so maybe Americans could sorta go with Emerson’s advice, there is never a human generation that can avoid the hard work of ‘maturing’.

It was not for rhetorical purposes that one 15th or 17th century English writer referred to “strenuous liberty”: to exercise liberty well you have to first mature as an individual, and hope that a lot of the other individuals in your society are doing the same thing.

If that doesn’t happen, then the country becomes a nation of unripe and immature failed-adults, and the civic competence of The People dissolves like dust in the wind.

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By entropy2, November 30, 2010 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

Whatever one might think about the potential effectiveness of Mr. Hedges’s particular method of protest in terms of challenging the corporate-state, his overall point is valid.

What we can all do is to find, practice and share small ways to throw sand in the gears of the big machine (this might be as tiny as insisting on talking to a human being in an organization rather than using an automated response system). Large organizations are, by nature, bureaucratic, lumbering and slow to respond. They are, thus, vulnerable to numerous nimble, adaptable adversaries. And when they do respond (usually with another layer of complexity), the behemoths become even less responsive and, thus, more vulnerable.

Remember, the big wheels require our belief in our own impotence and our (willing or unwilling) cooperation to continue grinding.

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By gerard, November 30, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Lots of heavy speculating here:  will…  won’t….
can…. can’t…yes….no….maybe ...

And beyond the speculating is hope, or Hope, or whatever it is that drives the human spirit, has always driven it, hopefully always will drive it.

Uncertainty is the mother of creation, and I venture to say (metaphorically, which is the only way we can say anything) that God Himself-Herself wasn’t entirely sure of what He-She was doing when He-She hung that Apple on that Tree.

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By gerard, November 30, 2010 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

zagostino:  In these lines you wrote—“Unfortunately most people I come in contact with are jaded and see all the perfidy in politics as common place, as something that is to be expected, as something that the individual must out wit, to not become one of the unemployed/exploited” your work is set out before your very eyes.
  Keep “coming in contact with”—and Go for it!

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By levinpsy, November 30, 2010 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Beautiful Chris, for defining hope as it is, and taking the word back from the Obama campaign, which used it primarily as a marketing tool. Thank you.

I agree with the very smart poster who said that what you are doing is akin to grieving, which is necessary even though the dead are not coming back.  It is simply the right, the human, and the very best thing to do when faced with impossible circumstances, to express grief.

To the poster who recommended leaving the US instead of protesting (like those who left Nazi Germany), I myself am finding that very hard to do.  I have family and friends here who I care about, and I would be worried about them if I left.  Now if all of them left as well (like the many thousands of Jews in Germany), it might make the decision easier.  But even then, it could be reasonably argued that the fight right now is here, in America, and we should fight it here rather than run or concede.  After all, we created the monster (corporate rule) that is destroying the world, and shouldn’t we be responsible for at least trying to bring it down?  Besides, life in Canada or France or Sweeden will soon be subject to the same corporate global forces as we are here, if they aren’t already One can only escape the inevitable for awhile, and then one has to live with the guilt of having abandoned one’s country when it is most in need.

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By kulu, November 30, 2010 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

@Odysseus,

There is no Hope as you say but even so - even if you know without a shadow of doubt that that is so, even if there are no straws left to clutch, we should clutch nonetheless. Our own sanity is at stake though civilized existence on any meaningful scale is doomed.

In any case there is a certain kind of fun and some madness in locking yourself (along with comrades) to a fence - like tilting at windmills really.

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By Odysseus, November 30, 2010 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

I appreciate what Chris is trying to do here. The impracticality – to use one of well-chosen terms – of the American Experiment was and has always been that you could build and sustain a polity on the assumption and the hope that ‘people’ could reliably function as The People.

But the great American challenge at this point is so awful and awefull that you’d have to go far beyond the bounds of what the current American political condition will allow.

And that’s made clear in his own approach: he urges hope but cannot urge Hope. He urges a ‘hope’ that has no Larger Grounding. He has to: the current fractured and Flattened world-view does not allow capital-letter realities (or Realities) and so humans are left on their own to try to grapple with world-class historical problems. The Framers never imagined this and I doubt they would have thought that such an approach could ever be sustained. Because humans ripped out of any context of a Beyond and the active assistance and even guidance of (to use Franklin’s term) “the Father of lights”.

The uncomfortable twinge many readers must feel at the use of that term of Franklin’s indicates precisely our most lethal weakness at this point: ripped from any contextual placement in a Larger Vision of human reality, Americans are now both fractalized and squashed into a flattened vision of human existence . This is lethal to Americans as individuals and as a society and as The People.
The Have-vs-Have-Not ‘war politics’ of Identity Politics has worked only to pit one against another in eternal suspicion, locking us into never-ending ‘war’ (in an eerie shadow simulacrum of the war-happy nuke generals of ‘50s and early ‘60s public nightmare).

So that at this point we can only be urged to hope but not to Hope. Which pretty much reduces us to a Micawberish stance of waiting for something to turn up. Because we face now such a stunningly-interlocked series of problems that no single ‘solution’ and no single human being – even as President – can resolve them. We are – in emergency room parlance – a ‘train wreck’: multiple major injuries, each life-threatening, yet efforts to address injury A will exacerbate injuries B and E – that sort of thing.

The past 40 biblical years of New Left ‘wars’ - civil wars of culture but at the deepest and most profound level - have worked their dark consequences. Fighting over the pie and ‘liberating’ in order to get a bigger slice of the pie (however defined) won’t have much traction once the pie is gone and we find ourselves soberly staring at an empty plate.

The present situation is not a bad hiccup or even simply a ‘depression’: it is the beginning of a new and shrunken age in American history. Such deep and troubled waters are hell-and-gone from the frothy shallow Sunday-boating agitations of culture wars and the Deconstruction of the Capital-Letter dimension of Realiy. The shrewd tactical craft that zipped around in those waters are unequal to the stormy present out on the deep.

Using the Old Left as a rallying point - its energies and imageries - can’t provide sufficient strength because the Old Left generation was grounded, willy or nilly, in a Larger Vision of Reality.

I could recommend reading Jacob Needleman’s 2002 “The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders”. But the night is far advanced, and any dawn will be cold and gray. But it is where we will have to begin.

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By zagostino, November 30, 2010 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

In Sheldon Wolin’s Preface to “Democracy
Incorporated” he stated that it used to be that
change displaced tradition and today change displaces
change.

What chance can an “activist hope” have when there is
no tradition of resistance, where there is no context
of class struggle. Upton Sinclair and the tradition
of standing up to power has been replaced by a bureaucratic control of the media and message, the
base has been so integrated into the superstructure
that they are indistinguishable.

The social gospel movement that drew on the
tradition, the radical teachings of Christ have been
rendered mute, better yet subverted.

Understanding of Human behavior and its use for mass
control since LeBon, and Bernaise, and more recently
perfected using sophisticated computer modeling and
game theories, will be used to subvert any germ of
traditions taking hold that can potentially challenge
the oligarchs and existing power structure.

Chris Hedges writes about these subjects more
eloquently than anyone I have heard/read. With the
death of Zinn and C.Johnson recently, voices like
that of Hedges are key to dissolving the scales that
cover the eyes of those all around us.

I can not be there to protest in person, but I will
do my utmost to try and get Hedges message out.

Unfortunately most people I come in contact with are
jaded and see all the perfidy in politics as common
place, as something that is to be expected, as
something that the individual must out wit, to not
become one of the unemployed/exploited…

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By Fat Freddy, November 30, 2010 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

FRTothus

I understand what you are saying about the cashiers. But that’s “progress”. This argument dates back, at least, to the 50s and automation. Automation eliminated many production line jobs. However, it allowed more people to have lower cost goods. It cuts both ways. If there wasn’t automation, how much would a new car cost, today, for example? How about a bicycle?

I think an argument can be made that automation, and the resulting reduction of prices, helps to hide the ill effects of monetary inflation. That’s an argument I haven’t heard anyone make.

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By racetoinfinity, November 30, 2010 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

@ mdgr

To adopt the nihilism and retro-romantic deep ecology fallacies of “Endgame Part 2”-Derrick Jensen, advocating destroying civilization to save the planet is deeply reactionary and foolish.  Only struggle toward democracy and elevation to caring for the planet on a higher interdependent sustainable level will work; regression to pre-civilization is a deeply illusory romantic notion at best, and a somewhat monstrous program fueled by a hidden or not-so-hidden poisonous misanthropy. The call is to reintegrate with nature at a higher stewardship level, not regress to a brutish pre-civilized level.  I DO understand the anger and frustration, though, I have to say.

—————————

@ Chris Hedges:  Thank you for your grace and courage.

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By Marshall, November 30, 2010 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

Chris i understand your general stance against war, though i’m not clear on
whether you call yourself a pacifist or not.  But I also understand that there are
groups like Al Qaeda that cannot be ignored.  Our drone attacks have been hugely
effective in targeting those threats.  While they are obviously not casualty free, I
know of no way to prevent all casualties when fighting an enemy that’s as
integrated with the civilian population as these groups can be.

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By racetoinfinity, November 30, 2010 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

@ mdgr

To adopt the nihilism and retro-romantic deep ecology fallacies of “Engame Part 2”-Derrick Jensen, advocating destroying civilization to save the planet is deeply reactionary and foolish.  Only struggle toward democracy and elevation to a level of consciousness and action caring for the planet and its civilization (discarding the economic and ecological systems that are outdated or toxic) in a sustainable, green, and interdependent stewardship will work; regression to pre-civilization is a deeply illusory romantic notion, at best, and a somewhat monstrous agenda fueled by a hidden or not-so-hidden misanthropy.  Man is part of nature (or Nature), as is civilization, as pathologically dissociated instead of healthily differentiated, it (we) has (have) been.  I DO understand the anger and frustration, though, I have to say.

—————————

@ Chris Hedges:  Thank you for your grace and courage.

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By Virginia777, November 30, 2010 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

This is not accurate Chris Hedges:

“Hope is not trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama, who, like Herod of old, sold out his people.”

See, its negativity like this that is setting people’s asses firmly on their couches, where they can throw marshmallows and feel like they are accomplishing something.

THEY ARE NOT!!!!!!!!!!

Real fighting back is not attacking Obama from the couch real fighting back is going out there and confronting these extremists head-on.

do not confuse the message, Chris Hedges, its a great one.

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By Virginia777, November 30, 2010 at 3:44 am Link to this comment

REAL HOPE IS ABOUT DOING SOMETHING!!!!

Get off the couch, dissolve your negative attitudes, stop it with the griping, pull out the sword,

and fight, and I mean FIGHT the good fight! This is NOT time to sit around and gripe, it is time to conduct real action to make the changes that are so desperately needed.

It is way past time to fight back.

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By mdgr, November 30, 2010 at 1:55 am Link to this comment

The problem with this scenario is that, tautologically speaking, this expression of hope is weak, futile and hopeless.

Oh, I’ll grant you it’s heroic. But even here, it doesn’t hold a candle to the heroism shown by Mr. Assange at Wikileaks. Y’all can bring your copies of Camus and feel heroic together when you land in the D.C. jail. Civil disobedience has its limits, you see. It wouldn’t have worked in the days of the gestapo. It will not work today.

While I’m not a big fan of Derrick Jensen’s video presentations, per se, we’ve long since passed into his realm of “Endgame 2.”

It’s time we ceased and desisted with our existential knitting circles and begin to think for real about the realities of Resistance:


http://www.amazon.com/Endgame-Vol-Resistance-Derrick-Jensen/dp/1583227245/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1291096378&sr=8-3

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By Ann, November 30, 2010 at 1:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

thank you Chris Hedges. You give me strength to carry on. I am posting two or three sentences a day on my Facebook.  It has been 10 long years of protests, civil disobedience, petitions, rallies, and police riots cops.  You have given words to my feelings.

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