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March to Nowhere

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Posted on Oct 5, 2010
AP / J. Scott Applewhite

Activists gather at the Lincoln Memorial to participate in the “One Nation Working Together” rally to promote job creation, diversity and tolerance.

By Chris Hedges

We can hold One Nation marches every week. It will not make any difference until we revolt against the formal structures of power.

The liberal preoccupation with positive forms of propaganda ignores the root of our problem. The tea party and hate mongers on Fox such as Glenn Beck, however repugnant, are the manifestation of the crisis, not its cause. The forces assaulting the remnants of American democracy will not be cowed or discredited with rallies, such as the one in Washington on Saturday. We will blunt these rising anti-democratic forces only when we organize outside conventional systems of power. It means dismantling the permanent war economy and the corporate state. It means an end to foreclosures and bank repossessions. It means a functional health care system for all Americans. It means taking care of our poor and unemployed. And it means a system of government that is freed from corporate interests.

Mass support for anti-democratic movements and public acceptance of open violations of human rights are not caused, in the end, by the skillful dissemination of misinformation or brainwashing. They are caused by the breakdown of a society and the death of a liberal class that once made reform and representative government possible. The timidity of our liberal class was on public display during the march in Washington. Speakers may have called for jobs, but none would call on citizens to abandon the rotting hull of the Democratic Party and our moribund political system or put Wall Street speculators in prison. The speakers at the rally proposed working within the current electoral system, although most Americans are aware that it has been gamed by corporate interests. This is hardly a call, especially given the failures of the Obama administration, that will fire up the unemployed and underemployed. 

“We need jobs,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said at the march. “We’ve bailed out the banks. We bailed out the insurance companies. Now it’s time to bail out the American people.”

But Sharpton and the other speakers, too close to the power elite in the Democratic Party, did not call for rebellion. There was no war cry against Wall Street and the purveyors of death in the defense and health industry. There was no acknowledgement that unfettered capitalism and globalization are killing our ecosystem and creating a worldwide system of neo-feudalism. There was no acceptance that the corporate state must be dismantled if we are to save ourselves. Any effective resistance must begin with a condemnation of our political elite and liberal institutions, including the press, the universities, labor, the arts, religious institutions and the Democratic Party, for selling us out. But the speakers on the mall in Washington would not go there. And I suspect, for this reason, the Americans who are hurting most found nothing they said of interest.

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All totalitarian movements, even those that are openly criminal, succeed because they have widespread mass support. They are the expression of a yearning that sweeps through a nation that has been convulsed by economic dislocation, a loss of hope and flagrant political corruption. And in these times of lament and deprivation the absurdities, crimes and excesses of reactionary forces do not matter. It wasn’t hard to find out what Slobodan Milosevic was doing in Bosnia. It wasn’t hard in Nazi Germany to hear about the widespread massacres of Jews in Poland. It is not a secret to most Americans that Muslim detainees, held for years without charges, are tortured in black sites around the world. The murder of tens of thousands of civilians by our forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan is tacitly acknowledged by the public as the price of war. The massive human suffering in the open-air prison that is Gaza is not a mystery. We know what happens to the millions of undocumented workers who live as stateless citizens among us and have become a kind of modern day slave labor force.

The rising proto-fascist movement in America is caused by a hatred and alienation so profound that the crimes of the state, along with the buffoonish antics of those who defend and champion these crimes, do not matter. We will not discredit the right-wing with facts, a demand for a respect of law or rational discussion. Propaganda or counter messages of tolerance are not the issue. The issue is societal collapse. This issue is a corporate state that has carried out a coup d’etat. The issue is the rupture of all mechanisms within the political process to protect citizens from accelerating impoverishment, internal control and corporate abuse. Those who refuse to acknowledge this bleak reality cannot offer solutions.

The right-wing propagandists have not created the problem. They have tapped into the moral void that has left tens of millions of Americans yearning for a profound and radical change. And if torture, war, racist attacks on immigrants, gays and Muslims, along with increased repression against internal dissidents, is the price for moral and economic renewal, many Americans are ready to sign on. If those who lead this rising proto-fascist movement insist on a Christian nation, teach creationism and believe in the physical existence of Satan, many Americans will sign on for this too. Hatred, when mobilized, is a very effective political force. And hatred, including the hatred for a liberal class that abandoned the working class, is what we face.


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By frank1569, October 5, 2010 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Either we’re all in this together, or it’s American-dog-eat-American-dog survival of the fittest.

It cannot be both. And the latter choice spells imminent doom.

So: choose. Now. Then start living accordingly immediately.

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, October 5, 2010 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

How many times, do we have to have our nose rubbed in the truth? Before we as a
nation stop participating in our own demise? Going quietly is not the American way.
Stop buying from corporate crooks instead buy local. Those corporate logos represent
the skull and cross bones as far as this country is concerned.

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By dcrump, October 5, 2010 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

Once again, Mr. Hedges is spot on.  My wife and I gave up on the “official” speakers after listening to a half dozen or so repeat the banal platitudes of the Democratic establishment.  If you wanted specifics or education, then you needed to hear the speeches by local, activist leaders of the initial “feeder marches.”  We were at the Peace Table where many people said the things that needed to be said, all of which is delineated here by Mr. Hedges.  Unfortunately—but all to predictably—the One Nation march was the flip side of a Tea Party rally.  That is, genuine grass-roots anger, fear and possible solutions co-opted by the political and corporate powers that controlled the stage and the media coverage for their own purposes.  I’m glad I went so that I could make more connections with real activists working outside the system, but the offical rally itself was a disappointment, just another Charlie Brown moment where the football is (predictably) pulled away…again.  I should have known better.

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By Thomas Mallon, October 5, 2010 at 7:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges makes a major mistake by demonizing the Right rather than trying to find common cause. The Left and the Right have many discontents in common and more and more are seeking to work together for a return to decency and justice. Only the elites benefit from (and indeed promote) divisions and conflicts among the people.

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By BR549, October 5, 2010 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

Finally, someone comes out and tells it like it is.

These brain trust “decision makers” that have become so subverted toward
Satan while touring our hallowed halls in Washington, I guess had never read
the Federalist Papers or the initial drafts of the Articles of the Confederacy. Had
they done so, they would have been stunned by the remarkable level of
awareness that our founding fathers had of the hazards of forming a
government ..... and of not.

Had they understood these principles, we would not be in the situation we are
today. We might be resemble a large Switzerland and help hold the standard
for other countries across the globe to follow. But no, instead, we have 535
self-serving seat-warmers (minus a handful) who have totally forgotten their
oath.

They get up in the morning, convinced in their righteousness that they are
tackling education and crime. The problems we have with education and crime
are that they are not the problems; they are the symptoms of social sickness
that these idiots were in charge of steering us away from. Instead of helping
each and every American to become better contributing citizens, these fear-
mongers have reinstated the English Crown’s myopia and paranoia and have
doomed us to revisit 1776 all over again.

ArchivesDave, was right about the Bilderbergs, Bohemian Grove, and the
Rothschilds, but maybe that’s coming in the next article of this series. One can
hope.

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By Fat Freddy, October 5, 2010 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

Move to another country.

Costa Rica, Bithchez.

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By mrfreeze, October 5, 2010 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

There is a far more powerful act of protest in today’s America if one wants to “stick it to the man”:

Move to another country.

After having recently spent some time in Europe and after observing my Italian relatives and my German friends, it’s clear to me that Americans can protest/talk all they want, but ultimately there is no “American Dream,” there is no “culture” here. There is only the worship of “enterprise” and wealth. Between poverty and wealth is the emptiness of the American “lifestyle” which is nothing more than buying cheap junk, complaining that less expensive labour makes this cheap junk and pretending that we’re all millionaires.

Those of you who are serious writers on this thread know in your heart of hearts that the game is over here in the states. For America and Americans the Future promises more of the same: crumbling cities, failing schools, class warfare and political/cultural division.

It’s time to put your hiking boots on and walk….......

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By D.R. Zing, October 5, 2010 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

Damn you Chris Hedges! How dare you will an article like this to my computer screen so early in the morning.  Now I’m late for work.  Again.

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By Frank, October 5, 2010 at 7:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr Hedges: Look to the infestation of all our major institutions-finance,media,government,religion by zionism.

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By Fat Freddy, October 5, 2010 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

You will notice as well that the anti-war libertarian elements are being squeezed out of the Tea Parties,

Squeezed out, or hijacked? We don’t have that problem in the Libertarian Party, America’s third largest political party. The LP currently holds 157 elected positions across the country. They are mostly local and county level positions, but our numbers are growing from the ground up. There’s a liberty movement sweeping across college campuses. I will be attending the Students For Liberty Regional Conference, at Drexel University this Saturday, to get a first hand look. I think many college students and younger Americans have been disillusioned by the liberal’s intellectual constipation and sloth. Like that of Mr Hedges.

You want a solution? Tear down the source of money of these corporations and banks. We know know where the money comes from, or where it originates. We need to tear down the Federal Reserve, brick by brick with our bare hands, if necessary. But that might not even work, because the people with money are flocking to gold. I just heard JP Morgan is opening their vaults for private storage, so it may be too late. It doesn’t matter to the wealthiest people if the fiat system crashes. I’m not trying to be gold bug, but commodities are the best bet right now, long term. Just prior to when the real crash comes, look for a sharp spike in all commodities. I’m not trying to ball “gloom and doom”, but it isn’t looking very good.

http://politicalconferences.org/2009/10/philadelphia-conference/

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By archivesDave, October 5, 2010 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Photoshock:
“Sheeple we are now, can we become people again? I
hope so, for we must to regain control of this
country. This will mean that some may have to give
their lives for the cause of freedom from the
repressive regimes of the corporatocracy. Again, we
must choose to change the outlook of this country, we
can only do this if we are willing to die for the
cause of freedom and not die for the corporatocracy.”

Do you REALLY know who this enemy (corporatocracy) is?
I seriously doubt it and neither does Chris Hedges.

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By Walt In the Middle, October 5, 2010 at 7:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article is what goes nowhere.

Funny how many of these comments begin with “What we should do” or “What we need is” and they all try to make their suggestions sound like untried solutions.

1. Revolution? Puh-leeeze. Like we haven’t seen that tried and failed in our short lifetimes. Are we talking about storming the gates of power with our hunting rifles? Look I got news for all you would be Che Gueveras, we’re in the midst of a potential armed insurrection right now and Surprise! Surprise! the revolutionaries are not on your side. There are militias and unconcealed gun nuts in quantity roaming our land. The Air Force Academy is under the control of Religious Fundamentalists They are all armed and angry and they are NOT Progressives.

2. A Third party? Sure. I have another bit of news for you. There have always been “3rd Parties” in this country and neither the concept, nor the impassioned urges to form them are anything new. We have had the Socialist Workers Party the Green Party and many others including The-What’s-It’s-Name-Party that Ralph Nader ran with last time out. Frankly, they have all had their 15 minutes of fame, many far longer, and none has yet to make the kind of impact on the American electorate that makes them in any way viable as an alternative or more importantly powerful enough to create meaningful change for the 98% of Americans who are the victim class.

Side note: Ralph Nader did more to change government and affect the system as a consumer gadfly than he EVER could have as a President.

Now you can blame the msm, or Rupert Murdoch or the Koch brothers, or the Scaithe Family for this indifference to revolution or 3rd parties if you want. But Americans gravitate towards hope and leadership and the current Parties have provided neither. Besides both capital and the media are infernal cowards in the face of massive mobilization - even the mobilization of ideas. To wit:

We already have a viable 3rd party in America: The Tea Party. Not a real party you say? If it can get thousands to a rally, force the opposition parties to react or even adapt, field candidates and even possibly get them elected ... it’s a party whether we accept it or not. (See if it walks like a duck etc.)

I always wonder why anyone would want to invest all the energy and time it takes promoting an armed takeover or building a new political party when taking over the Democratic party would be far easier and yield quicker results. Its DNA is historically progressive, even though it is hardly that today. It has the loyalty of lots more Americans than you think (if it would act more true to itself).

Field progressive candidates that don’t talk socialism and scare people, but simply move the country to the left. The times are right. People want it. Polls show it.

Too many Blue Dogs? Hell if the Republicans can drive out their progressives and liberals in a few years, we can drive conservatives and reactionaries out of the Democratic Party.

Why won’t anyone even consider it? I know. Because it’s much easier to sit on your ass and pontificate like Hedges and all the rest and spread your nihilism disguised as solutions than it is to develop strategic progressive platforms, select and promote candidates, be candidates God damn it if you can’t find any and do all the hard work of making democracy work.

Much easier to declare yourself a leading intellect of the new Vanguard Party and tell people what is best for them than it is to get into the dirty sausage making of democracy.

Useless snobs all of them.

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By N'awlins, October 5, 2010 at 7:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How were the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age stopped last time? The Titanic. They won’t make the same mistake again of gathering together in a vulnerable spot.

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By Go Right Young Man, October 5, 2010 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, - “So, anyway, may we have some ideas?  It might make this discussion half-way interesting.”

Vote!  Yes, Vote!

On average less than 48% of Americans take the time to vote.  More people vote in Venezuela and Brazil than do in the United States.

According to national polls 62% of Republicans take the time to vote.  Democrats?  41%.

An outsider might conclude that democrats like to talk (A LOT), while republicans act.

-

Conservatives, moderates, and independents make up the current Tea Party movement.  There is a reason why the Tea Party is driving national politics from one coast to the other.

Go vote!

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By photoshock, October 5, 2010 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

The very notion of ‘revolt’ against the system is
anathema for the American Sheeple. We have been
conditioned by Wall Street and Madison Avenue to
accept the idea that ‘we the people,’ no longer have
the reins of power and that we can do nothing to
change the situation as it now stands.
WRONG! WRONG!
We the people, according to the Constitution and the
Bill of Rights, are the true government of the U.S.
of A. and we need to start exerting the authority
that is inherent in those ‘revolting and forward
thinking’ documents.  The founding fathers were
willing and did give of their fortunes and lives for
the cause of freedom.  The men who fought the
Revolutionary War were able to do this because they
believed so strongly in the cause of freedom from
oppressive and repressive authority that they chose
to give their very lives for the sake of a free
country. Are we the inheritors of this thinking able
to do likewise? If not, then we are doomed to become
a fascist state where, the corporatocracy rules the
day and night and no one will have any rights but the
responsibility to keep their mouths shut and not
protest anything the corporations do or say against
the people.
Sheeple we are now, can we become people again? I
hope so, for we must to regain control of this
country. This will mean that some may have to give
their lives for the cause of freedom from the
repressive regimes of the corporatocracy. Again, we
must choose to change the outlook of this country, we
can only do this if we are willing to die for the
cause of freedom and not die for the corporatocracy.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 5, 2010 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

Since Hedges is apparently not ever going to offer a solution to the problems he describes, it’s up to you all.

By the way, a few months ago I had heard this march was going to be an anti-war demonstration.  That seems to have been completely deflected or sabotaged.  I hate to be too conspiratorial (well, no, I don’t, it’s fun, but….) but the Democratic Party still seems to have the Left under control.  Tame and lame.  You will notice as well that the anti-war libertarian elements are being squeezed out of the Tea Parties, probably by the billionaires who are now funding it.  Interesting, isn’t it? 

So, anyway, may we have some ideas?  It might make this discussion half-way interesting.  Or would that be too exciting?

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By archivesDave, October 5, 2010 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

metamars:
“You shouldn’t hate tea party people anymore than
you should hate socialists, disagree sure, but one
hate is no better than another.”

I couldn’t agree with you more!!!!

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, October 5, 2010 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

Socialism And Communism Is An Alternative!” - Placards and signs observed at the One Nation march on 10/02/10.

Hedges recently wrote how reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the 8/28/10 rally was proof of an anti-democratic movement sweeping the nation.

-

After the 8/28 rally the entire National Mall was left spotless - Less the hundreds of trash bags stacked neatly next to over-flowing trash cans.

After the 10/02 rally the National Mall was completely trashed from one end to the other.  Strewn with placards, signs, bottles, lunch boxes, and human feces.  It took the Park Service 11 hours to rid the area of 1.3 tons of filth and litter.

On 10/02 the WWII Memorial had been vandalized. - Someone failed to recognize the sacrifices of the greatest generation in American history.

-

According to D.C. police 3 arrests were made on 8/28. - Reportedly two of the individuals were anti-rally protesters.

According to D.C. police 41 arrests were made on 10/02 - Disturbing the peace and destruction of property.

-

Some individuals here will tell us that the 8/28 crowed is dangerous and should be feared.  The 10/02 crowed is simply passionate and righteous. 

We can all judge for ourselves.

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By metamars, October 5, 2010 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

To earthwirehead, who said
“I’m afraid, though, that I lack kerryrose’s
confidence in a 3rd political party as a solution to
the problem. “

I have riffed off of a diary by Bruce Dixon, of Black
Agenda Report, which was posted here:
http://openleft.com/diary/20331/moving-the-
conversation-forward-our-plan-in-georgia

in which I basically suggested modifying his strategy
slightly, and applying it widely, with the expressed
intent of a) pressuring Democrats at the Federal
level b) developing a Green/progressive Dem voting
bloc and c) eventually, if successful enough in
constructing a reliable voting bloc, replacing the
Democrats with Greens as the Federal level.

My diary is here:
http://openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=20379

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By Rigor, October 5, 2010 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

As long as the issues are about who hates who we
get nowhere. Fear is ginned up through mass media
dispensing what their told to, and like lemmings to
the sea people rush to line up for their turn at
setting things right while doing nothing more than
whats expected - nothing.
Once while I was “detained” in the Douglas County
Jail in Georgia (80% black, 10% White, 10% Other,
and a notorious thunderdome of humanity) I, a white
wasp, had a conversation with a black muslim over a
chess game and in regard to the open racial
hostility in this place I said that if we, the
prisoners, stopped the political dumbshit and
actually started to look out for eachother with
respect the jail would have to double their guards
since we would no longer be doing their job for them
- as long as we are at odds we can’t focus on them.
I was removed to solitary for the remainder of my
72 hour stay within an hour of this comment… it
really does go this deep, it’s part of our culture,
taught as children to be competitive - in all
things.
You shouldn’t hate tea party people anymore than
you should hate socialists, disagree sure, but one
hate is no better than another.

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By Scott, October 5, 2010 at 6:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I completely agree with Chris in his analysis of what is happening, unfortunately if you take it to heart it leaves you feeling helpless and alone. Which many people already feel so it is reinforced. Unfortunately he offers no solution.

The authoritarian right is dangerous because they have built in followers (about 25% of the population) who will believe them no matter how outlandish their claims may be because of their personality. They are built that way. They are very dangerous. They are useful.

http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

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By Peter Everts, October 5, 2010 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unless and until a banker or two is hanging from a lampost, the elite will not get the message.  Money and control of it are power.  No revolution has ever succeeded without the destruction of the ruling elite.  Unfortunately, we seem to have run out of real patriots (Bernie Sanders is only one guy) who are willing to take up a true crusade against oligarchy.  When the masses take up pitchforks and torches and go forth from the huge assembly such as happened on the Mall last Saturday and burn down a couple of brokerage houses and tar and feather a Lloyd Blankfein or two, then a bit of change might occur.

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By Joe Walker, October 5, 2010 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What I find missing from Mr. Hedges’ essay is what is usually missing from most essays arguing against the status quo, specific proposals for significant action.

I am tired of hearing from all the people who know what the problems are. We all know the problems. I am waiting to hear some solutions

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By Spirasol, October 5, 2010 at 6:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey America,

Look east, toward Europe to get a clue.  In Greece, Spain, and other hot spots the people are not taking what their governments are doling out. They are on the street, fighting back, letting the powers that be know what is not acceptable.  Compare that to the response of most Americans. Our rallies are tame.  We make no demands. We want to be polite and orderly like Obama….......it don’t work.

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By archivesDave, October 5, 2010 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

Chris, you have exposed yourself once again along with most other columnists here on TD. 
Sure, you mention the Corporatists as the cause but who in the hell ARE THEY???
Do you DARE go there? Me thinks NOT!... The Rothschilds, the BIS, IMF, TAVISTOCK, g20, WTO, Bilderbergs, Bohemian Grove, Hegel’s Principle, etc etc., THESE are the true puppetmasters and until they are forensically exposed for their MO and Global objectives, we can not even begin to fight since we don’t fundamentally know who these treasonous enemies really are.
YOU, are definitely part of the real problem and not
the solution.

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By Gail H., October 5, 2010 at 5:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I went to the march with hopes of hearing about plans for a new Labor Party getting organized or something new coming forth. I have been unemployed (“laid-off” from a good union job) for 17 months and have one more check from the unemployment benefits extensions and, then, I do not know how my mortgage payments can be paid! I was very DISAPPOINTED!!! It was not much more than a GIANT PEP RALLY FOR DEMOCRATS!!!!! I enjoyed Mr. Belefonte"s appearance, due to his connections with the Civil Rights Movement, but , other than that, I could have saved my $110 bus seat money….....there’s enough “Rah, Rah, Democrats!” action going on here in Louisville, Kentucky!!!!!!!! Count me in for the new revolution—I’m ready for a political party that is truly OF, BY, and FOR the PEOPLE and NOT the CORPORATIONS, BIG BUSINESS, and GLOBAL BANKING INTERESTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep writing the truth, Mr. Hedges! I am learning more about it every day.

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By exploitedtimes, October 5, 2010 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

Thanks Chris,

You are the only person I know of with any kind of a platform who is willing to say what is really going on You are able to distill the BS into reality, which is likely viewed as radical and extreme. Unfortunately the truth is very unpopular. I have to thank Robert Scheer for featuring your work as well.

This is the most courageous and real work, so true and also so lonely. Why won’t people face the truth? Are we really at the point now where we sell out our neighbors for personal salvation, and watch as our old buddies are marched away to be tortured for dissent? How can we be so blind, how can our memories be so short? Keep writing man, sometimes it seems like you’re all we got.

Thanks

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By COinMS, October 5, 2010 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

Chris Floyd has an excellent article that dovetails nicely with this one over at

http://www.chris-floyd.com/articles/1-latest-news/2029-the-altars-of-fear-wrong-turns-on-a-long-dark-road-.html

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By omop, October 5, 2010 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

Why is it hard for most all Americans to accept what Baron M.A. Rothschild [
one of creators of the US Federal Reserve System] stated as a fact, “Give me
control over a nation’s curency and I care not who makes its laws”.?

  Or what President James Garfield is quoted as saying, “Whoever controls the
volume of money in any country is MASTER of all its kegislation and
commerce”.

  Or what US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter suggested that ” the real
rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes”.

  Which in essence confirms Mr. Hedges commentary. While it may be messy
the only realpolitik solution is to enact legislation that mandates the creation of
at least 6 different parties each comprised of at least 20 million members.

  Crazy hein?

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By bbuc, October 5, 2010 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor nails it.

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By COinMS, October 5, 2010 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

I think Chris has correctly identified the cause of the problem, as well as a possible solution. The obstacle to any kind of real ‘revolt’ is that people are kept divided by race and religion, geography, lack of finances; in short, there are many impediments against organized resistance. Our society has very effectively managed to grow a population that pays lip service to rights and democracy, yet does very little to support it. The media is totally controlled by corporations, who have little interest in changing anything, and so will, by hook or crook, slant, ignore and otherwise obfuscate what little news the people receive.
Then there is the issue of leaders. There is no recognizable leadership to coordinate and inspire any type of meaningful resistance. It’s a safe bet any leaders of such a movement would be neutralized in some way.
Until such a time as a leadership is established for either a third party and/or a viable resistance movement, the best people can do is try and withdraw as much as possible from the corporate matrix. Easier said than done, I know, but one has to start somewhere.

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By par4, October 5, 2010 at 5:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ thebeerdoctor re old cliches that jdelassus mentions.Mine to you is that there is one in every bar.

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By bbuc, October 5, 2010 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

Hedges is the first modern commentator I’ve read who seems to say that American
society has broken down and must be rebuilt. But he also seems to say it can only
be fixed by some sort of violent upheaval.  If that’s an accurate representation, I
don’t agree.

It isn’t clear to me that violent revolution is necessary, nor that it could even work. 
After all, the other side almost literally has all the guns.

What they don’t have is all the brains.

We didn’t have a violent revolution when the railroad robber barons and other
capitalist extremists ran things in this country at the turn of the century.  They and
similar financiers and tycoons controlled most newspapers… and newspapers were
the only regular news media of the day save word of mouth. They also controlled
our governments, whereever they wished. They just couldn’t control everything…
such as book publishing, and writers such as Upton Sinclair who gave us “The Jungle,”
about the meat packing industry and touched off the NON violent revolution which
eventually toppled the biggest fatties and bullies of that day and ushered in many of the reforms of we enjoy today.

It isn’t so different now… the b/millionaire proto fascists emanating from what
used to be the Republican Party now control much of our media -likely far more
than we know.  And I’m sure they control our voting systems- also likely far more
than most of us know, and we can be damned sure they control most of our
government. But like the turn of the century, they don’t control all of it.

What they especially still don’t control and can’t figure out how to control is most
of the ways we still talk to each other… email, internet, books publishing, and the
good ol’ word of mouth magnified a million times by our incredible modern
networked connectivity. 

And I certainly don’t think we are wise to blow off Obama and the Democrats, even
with all their warts and wrinkles, in favor of some sort of non-productive
disconnect.  We need to move forward every time we can… not backward.  We need
to elect as many Democrats as we can next month.  We have the most votes, and in
numbers that make it far too difficult for the other side to steal elections… which
we know they’ve done in the past.

Yes a revolution is needed, but it’s going to have to come from inside.  And the
only one’s who are inside are the Democrats. 

We need to vote in the coming elections and move forward not backward.

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By tedmurphy41, October 5, 2010 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

Until you get to radically altering or changing the way you select the people who govern you, you will be condemned to march forever in an everlasting circle.

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By Paul_GA, October 5, 2010 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

@ madisolation

What you wrote made me think immediately of this—

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” ~ George Orwell

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By joe r, October 5, 2010 at 5:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris is right. The democrates have been corrupted. I wouldn’t follow
Sharpton or Schultz or any of the self appointed leaders of the
progressives to a picnic, not to mention a revolution.
Look who has the real power and look who has the big money. Once the
American people come to the realization that no matter where they put
their hard earned money,it can be stolen. That is when the real panic
begins. This country is ripe for collapse.  Ask yourself who will benifit the
most from this. That is the real enemy.
Sheep get slaughtered. That is what comes next.

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By madisolation, October 5, 2010 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

This is an excellent piece. It might not be what people want to hear, but it’s what people need to hear. At some point, the people have to quit hiding behind these parties and fight them. We have to stand together, even as the corporate media, the inept politicians, and all the propaganda think tanks work furiously to divide us.

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By jdelassus, October 5, 2010 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

United we stand, divided we fall.  One of the oldest cliches around yet true today as ever.  Hedges delineates the differences within the liberal/progressive/Democratic camp.  While I agree with Mr. Hedges about the Democratic party selling out the so-called middle class and particularly the progressives there is substance to the argument that we have ‘no where to go’.  Third party movements have been a dismal failure throughout American history.  It’s a Hobson choice - hold your nose or cut off your nose to spite your face.

Until a viable third party emerges we are stuck with our choices.  It may be important to remember that there are those that are exploiting these differences to the max for obvious political advantage.  So it is not surprising to see articles, prop pieces, etc. exaggerating these differences to bring about another ancient cliche - divide and conquer.

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By FiftyGigs, October 5, 2010 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

Ah, good to know it isn’t personal. Chris has opted NOT to blame President Obama this time. Instead, he targets… wait for it… marchers!

Don’t blame Beck. Poor Fox is just tryin’ to make a buck. It’s your fault, wasting time with that marching stuff.

So, let’s see. The new progressive Era of Eden will be ushered in without organizing and without voting.

Don’t hold your breath.

There’s an insightful article today about an incident involving firefighters in Tennessee that vividly and perfectly captures the social vision of conservatives, Chris’ kind’a town.

It’s a veritable wonderland where you can rail against “the man” all day.

Folks, your house is on fire. Chris Hedges is the fireman standing there saying, “You need to fight the power, dude.” Meanwhile, your neighbors are filling buckets of water to try and save your home.

Is your plan really to sit on the curb to teach City Council a lesson?

Hedges is wrong.

Beck and Fox and Palin and Limbaugh and Boehner are very much the problem. Hold them responsible. Make them accountable for the interests they serve. Undercut conservatives by DOING, by voting. Your ACTION will appropriately punish Republicans, who have failed this country more than any other group.

Vote.

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By earthwirehead, October 5, 2010 at 4:37 am Link to this comment

I’m w/thebeerdoctor on this one, and it’s the same feeling I get every time I bother to ready one of Hedge’s diatribes.  Hedges is absolutely right that corporatist fascism is already the undoing of America—and absolutely lacking any apparent notion of what to do about it.  His airy calls for ‘revolution’ completely fail to address the size, complexity, and pervasiveness of the system.  No one has ever launched a revolution against a modern corporate state.  As far as I’m aware, no one—including Mr. Hedges—has the slightest idea how to go about such a thing.

I’m afraid, though, that I lack kerryrose’s confidence in a 3rd political party as a solution to the problem.  The current two majority parties are deeply embedded in the U.S. political system—and even were that not the case, any 3rd party that rose to prominence would simply be corrupted by the same monied interests that already own the GOP outright and rent Democrats at their convenience.

The best idea I’ve come up with so far on my own is to find a big enough rock to hide under—but it’s a crappy idea, and I’d love to hear a better one.

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By ardee, October 5, 2010 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

I expected the usual criticisms from the usual sources and wasn’t disappointed.

Once again Hedges is both correct and stepping on the toes of those whose blindness and lack of critical thinking keeps them reenacting the status quo in election after election. Despite the continual betrayal of their democratic heroes they still vote only for democrats.

That they betray the working families, the environment, that they support the continuation of war, torture and the spread of vile profit at all cost multinational corporations that rape the environment and slaughter the people whose soil, air and water are polluted beyond recall bothers them not. After all, they are voting their consciences, but certainly not their intellects.

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By MichaelOhio, October 5, 2010 at 4:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, you are very good at identifying the problem many recognize, and in strong, punchy language.  So, now, two things:  First, where are your proposals for what to do to stop the madness?  Two, what are you doing in particular to organize to stop it other than sending out strong, punchy language?

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By parnell44, October 5, 2010 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

Another good article, Chris.  Don’t let the critics
get to you.  The situation is as dire as you report
and your analysis is right on the money.  The critics
are flailing about for answers, don’t have them and
turn on you for shedding light on the reality of the
situation.

I tend to agree with Robespierre115.  We need a major
upheaval in society and politics; a “Great
Awakening”.

Keep up the good work.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 5, 2010 at 3:41 am Link to this comment

No matter how dark it is, we can always count on Chris Hedges to pull down the shades.

Is the glass half empty or half full?  Chris will take and dump it out.

If there is hope for Democracy, Chris will try to kill it and tell us we need…Communism, as if that ever worked better anywhere.

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By kerryrose, October 5, 2010 at 3:30 am Link to this comment

I agree with beerdoctor.  If we call out the stink and rot at the root of the system, how does that effect change?  My bills are still due, and I still wish the Red Sox beat the Yankees 5 out of 5.

The only solution is a 3rd party candidate, and a 3- party system.  The only way to transform the empty 2-party system is a massive organization behind a 3rd party candidate.  Nader tried this in 08 and was vilified by the left and ignored by the right.

Vilified by those ‘practical’ liberals.  Michael Moore is a phony.  Even he turned against Nader.  Even TD reported on the super rich donating to worthy causes a few months ago without a word of attribution to Nader’s book ‘Only the Super Rich Can Save Us.’

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By Robespierre115, October 5, 2010 at 3:14 am Link to this comment

Hedges just telling the honest truth again.

We need a revolt on the scale of the French Revolution, something along those lines. They are starting to do it in Latin America, there are hints of it in Greece, we too must take the battle to the oligarchs!

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By thebeerdoctor, October 5, 2010 at 3:09 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges writes: “It will not make any difference until we revolt against the formal structures of power.” and “It means dismantling the permanent war economy and the corporate state.”

Well Mr. Know-It-All, how in the hell are you going to do that? Armed revolt? No that is out of the pacifist question. Jail? Well then you simply become yet another ward of that corporate state.
That is the problem with Hedges diatribe. It is all hat and no cattle.It is one thing to bemoan the evils of this bloody world, secure in your own political-literary niche. But it is quite another matter to actually live in the daily mess that ordinary people experience all the time, without the luxury of reflection or pontification.
It makes me wonder how much time Hedges spends watching television. It seems that is his biggest bone of contention. He wails about the people going to some rally in Washington, thinking that it is of more importance than fans attending a Penn State football game in Happy Valley.
LIFE is what is happening while he prophecies its demise.
Saul Bellow was indeed correct about one thing, you can most certainly “make a racket out of pessimism”. Hedges, at least in this mode, accomplishes that.
What is exactly the point of cataloging all the unpunished crimes of the world, if you in no position to do anything about them? William Gaddis once pointed out that there maybe justice in the afterlife, but here in this world, there is only the law. And that, much too often is being totally ignored. So, as they say in The Mob: whatcha gonna do?

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By Anthony Bono, October 5, 2010 at 2:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t think Americans have the backbone for real, sustained and productive nonviolent insurrection.  I’m more than ready to live without dead time, but I feel as though I’m alone.  I hope I’m wrong. 
    I’ve spent half of my life honing a craft, only to find myself getting buried in debt, hamstrung by my wife’s medical bills and watching my union gutted.  It isn’t coming back.
    I think I’m going to take a cue from my grandfather.  I’ve learned a new language and now   I’m trying to figure out where my family can best avoid the liquid war…  It’s pointless to post this, but I think I needed to say it “out loud” to force myself to jump.  I want to live where the fighters live.

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