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No Act of Rebellion Is Wasted

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Posted on Dec 13, 2010
AP / Peter Dejong

Thousands of Czechs gather in Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Nov. 21, 1989, during the so-called Velvet Revolution that bought an end to decades of repressive Communist rule.

By Chris Hedges

I stood with hundreds of thousands of rebellious Czechoslovakians in 1989 on a cold winter night in Prague’s Wenceslas Square as the singer Marta Kubišová approached the balcony of the Melantrich building. Kubišová had been banished from the airwaves in 1968 after the Soviet invasion for her anthem of defiance, “Prayer for Marta.” Her entire catalog, including more than 200 singles, had been confiscated and destroyed by the state. She had disappeared from public view. Her voice that night suddenly flooded the square. Pressing around me were throngs of students, most of whom had not been born when she vanished. They began to sing the words of the anthem. There were tears running down their faces. It was then that I understood the power of rebellion. It was then that I knew that no act of rebellion, however futile it appears in the moment, is wasted. It was then that I knew that the Communist regime was finished.

“The people will once again decide their own fate,” the crowd sang in unison with Kubišová.

I had reported on the fall of East Germany before I arrived in Prague. I would leave Czechoslovakia to cover the bloody overthrow of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The collapse of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe was a lesson about the long, hard road of peaceful defiance that makes profound social change possible. The rebellion in Prague, as in East Germany, was not led by the mandarins in the political class but by marginalized artists, writers, clerics, activists and intellectuals such as Vaclav Havel, whom we met with most nights during the upheavals in Prague in the Magic Lantern Theater. These activists, no matter how bleak things appeared, had kept alive the possibility of justice and freedom. Their stances and protests, which took place over 40 years of Communist rule, turned them into figures of ridicule, or saw the state seek to erase them from national consciousness. They were dismissed by the pundits who controlled the airwaves as cranks, agents of foreign powers, fascists or misguided and irrelevant dreamers. 

I spent a day during the Velvet Revolution with several elderly professors who had been expelled from the Romance language department at Charles University for denouncing the Soviet invasion. Their careers, like the careers of thousands of professors, teachers, artists, social workers, government employees and journalists in our own universities during the Communist witch hunts, were destroyed.  After the Soviet invasion, the professors had been shipped to a remote part of Bohemia where they were forced to work on a road construction crew. They shoveled tar and graded roadbeds. And as they worked they dedicated each day to one of the languages in which they all were fluent—Latin, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish or German. They argued and fought over their interpretations of Homer, Virgil, Dante, Goethe, Proust and Cervantes. They remained intellectually and morally alive. Kubišova, who had been the most popular recording star in the country, was by then reduced to working for a factory that assembled toys. The playwright Havel was in and out of jail. 

The long, long road of sacrifice, tears and suffering that led to the collapse of these regimes stretched back decades. Those who made change possible were those who had discarded all notions of the practical. They did not try to reform the Communist Party. They did not attempt to work within the system. They did not even know what, if anything, their protests would accomplish. But through it all they held fast to moral imperatives. They did so because these values were right and just. They expected no reward for their virtue; indeed they got none. They were marginalized and persecuted. And yet these poets, playwrights, actors, singers and writers finally triumphed over state and military power. They drew the good to the good. They triumphed because, however cowed and broken the masses around them appeared, their message of defiance did not go unheard. It did not go unseen. The steady drumbeat of rebellion constantly exposed the dead hand of authority and the rot and corruption of the state.

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The walls of Prague were covered that chilly winter with posters depicting Jan Palach. Palach, a university student, set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square on Jan. 16, 1969, in the middle of the day to protest the crushing of the country’s democracy movement. He died of his burns three days later. The state swiftly attempted to erase his act from national memory. There was no mention of it on state media. A funeral march by university students was broken up by police. Palach’s gravesite, which became a shrine, saw the Communist authorities exhume his body, cremate his remains and ship them to his mother with the provision that his ashes could not be placed in a cemetery. But it did not work. His defiance remained a rallying cry. His sacrifice spurred the students in the winter of 1989 to act. Prague’s Red Army Square, shortly after I left for Bucharest, was renamed Palach Square. Ten thousand people went to the dedication.


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By ardee, January 27, 2011 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

moonraven, December 19, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Just how dumb do you have to be to advocate violent revolution in a public forum in a nation having a Homeland Security Dept?

You are either really truly disturbed, unforgivably immature, or simply out of your freaking mind…..or as another conjectured, something far, far worse.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, January 27, 2011 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

garth, December 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm,

Socialized Capitalism based upon the North Dakota Model can provide a Model for Capitalism, Socialized Capitalism, that can replace Privatized Capitalism, capitalism for the greater greed, with Socialized Capitalism, capitalism for the greater good.

When we look at the Economic Cycle of Death and Renewal of Privatized Capitalism at public expense, and we look at the North Dakota Model of Socialized Capitalism that puts the revenue stream of social capital to work for the greater good, rather than for the greater greed, we should, based upon the merit of the Socialized Capital System used in North Dakota, expand the North Dakota Model of Socialized Capitalism throughout the 50 states of the United States and let Privatized Capitalism die with the next Economic Collapse, rather than to continue to resuscitate the dead zombie model of Privatized Capitalism, as has been cyclically done since the time of its origin with public funds.

*
*

elisalouisa, December 25, 2010 at 9:47 pm,

elisalouisa posted: “Any act of rebellion, no matter how few people show up or how heavily it is censored by a media that caters to the needs and profits of corporations, chips away at corporate power. Any act of rebellion keeps alive the embers for larger movements that follow us.” —Chris Hedges Dec 13, 2010 Truthdig Forum ‘No Act of Rebellion Is Wasted’  

With regard to rebellion, I am more in favor of the method used by the Founding Fathers of the United States being applied to the American Populace as a 70% Majority Common Population, and that the American Populace as a class and culture should withdraw from the law and order of the American Aristocracy and American Middle Class Singularity in the same manner as the American Colonists withdrew from British law and order by way of the Declaration of Independence, if the United States Government will not allow the American Populace to be represented in making and enforcing of legislated law and order as a class and cultural entity in the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and in the U.S. Government.

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By elisalouisa, December 25, 2010 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

“Any act of rebellion, no matter how few people show up or how heavily it is censored by a media that caters to the needs and profits of corporations, chips away at corporate power. Any act of rebellion keeps alive the embers for larger movements that follow us.”

Something to ponder on during this holiday season when more than one are willingly seduced by corporate power.

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By Nixon is Lord, December 25, 2010 at 1:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

He writes the same semi-secularized sermon every week, since he is essentially a Mainline Protestant pastor manque and this is his “prophetic ministry”.
  He sees himself as the “voice crying in the wilderness” and knows that the universe must be paying attention to him because of bronze age texts and his class notes from seminary.
  Basically we have to believe him because he says so.

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By garth, December 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, ThomasG.

If I am not mistaken, North Dakota founded its own state bank and as a result avoided a lot of the pain from the Wall Street Melt down.

Also, a few months ago I was walking down a main street in Cambridge, MA with mainly ethnic businesses still surviving and I looked off the Main Street to the back streets.

There, people were renting and working or looking for work.  Their lives had, in a certain sense, had closed up. Children no longer played in the streets, replaced with adults with sullen faces . One can only guess what the rental agreements were with their landlords.

You talked about the Back Streets.  I concede.  You might have something there.

Note to self:  Knowledge, no matter how late one comes to achieve it is a great thing.

I had something else but the UPS man interrupted.

Oh yeah, these Norht Dakotans were the heroes and heroines of the Great Depression.  Bill Moyers tells how they gathered in corn fields at night and by the light of the headlamps on their trucks figured out what the Wall Street Crooksters did.

From now on, don’t mind me.  I’m a psychotic left alone to tell my woes and grievances to a keyboard and a CRT screen.

It’s funny how so many come with replies.

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By ThomasG, December 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

garth, December 20 at 5:09 pm,

Socialized Capitalism of a type used in North Dakota is a type of capitalism that will serve the greater good, rather than the greater greed.

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By garth, December 20, 2010 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

Liberal Capitalism should not be confused with neo-liberal capitalism.  The salient point of the neo-Liberal flavor is empire building, sucking the wealth out of the Earth wherever that wealth is found.  And leaving nothing but scars.

Liberal Capitalism relies on the ideas of Democracy and employs the General Welfare clause of the Constitution.

Conservative Capitalism banks on (literally) the idea that the Constitution only specifies the power to form an Army.

Any of these ideas taken to their extreme are detrimental.  Human nature is, by and large, a fuck up. 

Liberal Capitalism, I think, provides a sort of balance with a progressive move forward, provided the people are informed.

In the end, the welfare states of Fascism turned inside out with the aggressive war interests of the elites.  It was doomed to failure, like the Confederacy, from its own internal contradictions and misbeliefs.

Today, it seems like feuds among private interests generate the lack we experience, most of the hatred and the ensuing wars.  Unlike the Hatfields and the McCoys, or the lion and the hyena, these feuds are not blood feuds.  These elites have money and power and understand three things—Money, Powere, and the Deal. 

Through our media here in America, these forces have coalesced, and fooled everyone into thinking that President Bumptious was the saviour and without him all would be lost.

Well, now we see, all is lost with him or without him.

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By Anarcissie, December 20, 2010 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

Advocating violent revolution in a public forum could be idle trolling, but it could be something worse.

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By LocalHero, December 20, 2010 at 3:17 am Link to this comment

First of all, a hearty “Well Done” to the protesters!

And, of course, Mr.Hedges is absolutely correct in stating that any act of rebellion is never wasted. You folks who criticize this protest as a “a fart in whirlwind” or the childish notion that they somehow need the attention of the media - mainstream or alternative - to affect change in the status quo don’t have a clue how the Universe works. That’s ok though. The Universe only needs a scant few for the complete upheaval of this evil system to occur. And, the cool thing is, the Powers That Be know this too and they are scared as hell. They know their days are numbered. Celebrate!

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By moonraven, December 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

ardee:

Acting like a slave in chains and saying “Hope is action”, when it is most definitely NOT, is just cowardice.

As is your infantile post.

Wake up, dummy:  It’s Revolution or Nothing.

You have chosen Nothing.  I have not.

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By ardee, December 18, 2010 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

moonraven, December 16 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

This act of rebellion will have all
the impact of a fart in whirlwind.

Better a fart in a whirlwind than your post in an enclosed space I think.

I echo the wise words of Anarcissie in direct opposition to those that speak only negativity.

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By Anarcissie, December 18, 2010 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

There is no telling what action will set something off.  There were many sit-ins before the one in Greensboro on February 1, 1960, and none of them seemed to have any effect, but that one set off a huge movement which in a few years profoundly changed the politics and culture of the United States.  Each such action opens tiny fissures, sends out tendrils, which subsequent actions may exploit.  Onward!

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By elisalouisa, December 17, 2010 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

By TAO Walker, December 16 at 9:53 pm
“Even this “truthdig” site seems more interested in the titillation of French hetero
“civil unions” and tooting Robert Scheer’s horn, than in offering any real-time
coverage of one of its own star’s big day.”

Mr. Hedges will describe the events that took place at this protest and what
that implies, in his own time and in his unique writing style that cannot be
emulated. His admirers look forward to this column, for obvious reasons;
detractors also await his account, if only to make snide remarks.

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By migisan, December 17, 2010 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment

http://www.opednews.com/articles/135-Arrested-For-Civil-Dis-by-Rob-Kall-101216-724.html

news coverage and video of protest.

if a tree falls in the forest…..

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By elisalouisa, December 17, 2010 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Better news coverage of this event:

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?
option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=6017

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By elisalouisa, December 17, 2010 at 2:41 am Link to this comment

News report re protest.


http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/up-against-the-fence-
hedges-ellsberg-gagnon-and-135-others-arrested-veterans-for-peace-take-
demand-to-white-house-fence

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moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, December 16, 2010 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

This act of rebellion will have all

the impact of

a fart

in whirlwind.

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By TAO Walker, December 16, 2010 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Even this “truthdig” site seems more interested in the titillation of French hetero “civil unions” and tooting Robert Scheer’s horn, than in offering any real-time coverage of one of its own star’s big day.

What’s up with that?

HokaHey!

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By racetoinfinity, December 16, 2010 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

@ AladdinSane, re your comment - December 16 at 8:58 pm

I’ve been looking for any news on it online or on tv, and zilch so far - it’s now 3:46 P.M. Thu.

Where is the coverage?

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By garth, December 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

I agree with AladdinSane,

“this protest will be as pointless as any others because the organizers do not have the attention of the media, and it appears they haven’t even tried.  Where is the live-blogging, live video coverage, other news articles?  Google searches reveal nothing about the day’s events.  There wasn’t even any mention of it on DemocracyNow or TheRealNews.  I don’t mean to overly criticize people who are really trying to “DO SOMETHING.”  But if this movement is to grow, the organizers must update their media strategy. “

———————-

A little ‘heads up’ might not hurt.

It’s the reverse or the inversion of let’s declare war and no one shows up.

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By AladdinSane, December 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

this protest will be as pointless as any others because
the organizers do not have the attention of the media,
and it appears they haven’t even tried.  Where is the
live-blogging, live video coverage, other news
articles?  Google searches reveal nothing about the
day’s events.  There wasn’t even any mention of it on
DemocracyNow or TheRealNews.  I don’t mean to overly
criticize people who are really trying to “DO
SOMETHING.”  But if this movement is to grow, the
organizers must update their media strategy.

Report this

By garth, December 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

Hedges says,

“We, like those who opposed the long night of communism, no longer have any mechanisms within the formal structures of power that will protect or advance our rights. “
———————————————

The ‘long night of communism?’  I’ll tell you here and now that any goddamn economical structure would work whether it be it Capitalism, Socialism, Communism if it were done right.  Skip the Sociopaths, the Greed-heads, and the ones who go along to get along.

It’s all very simple!

The reason why Capitalism is failing in the US is the same reason Commuinism failed in the Soviet Union.  Mis-guided Totalitarianism. 

Social-Democratic Europe and Canada are doing fine.  Why haven’t the squawkers complained lately about their unemployment?

It ain’t easy for some of these schmucks, but if they were to put what some laughingly call their minds to the task at hand, namely, to do the people’s business, the solutions would become readily available.

And, it ain’t hard.  That’s why they call it Government work.

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By COinMS, December 16, 2010 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

I have not been able to find any coverage of this on mainstream media, no
surprise there. Why doesn’t DemocracyNow have cameras there to cover it? (my
apologies if they do). Knowing that none of the major media are going to cover it, I wish there were alternative sites that would broadcast the goings-on.
If a protest takes place and is not covered by the media, did it really happen?

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By David J. Cyr, December 16, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an non person avatar… being an idiom expressing incredulity):

“So, liberal class is dead. corporate state. ok. and right too. and then what will take its place ? the conservative class ? the VERY class that wants the corporations to run and roam free in public life as they wish ? no state, no government, and the corporation will directly govern you instead !!!”
_______________

That’s already in place.

The conservatives and liberals are all currently corporate party compliant members of the corporate state.

Corporations decide **WHAT** will be done, and the corporate party’s crime complicit Republican and Democrat voters fight over **HOW** their crimes together will be managed… recklessly and hot-bloodedly by (R)etrogrades… or carefully and cold-bloodedly by (D)egenerates.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, December 16, 2010 at 2:49 am Link to this comment

Ohyeah

With the death of the liberal class, what will replace it is people and groups who
shall institute resistance.

That seems the obvious conclusion of the writings and thoughts of Chris Hedges.

God bless the man.

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By Andrew Colesville, December 16, 2010 at 2:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris: thank you for your excellent article.

However, I’d like to mention a couple of points. First, the “communist” regimes, against which you and your friends fought in Eastern Europe, were not communist regimes at all. They are faux communists and the best way to describe their characteristics is to recognize that they are modern revisionists, or a bunch of social Fascists whose aim is to practice bureaucratic capitalism in the name of socialism. In the 1980s, they were totally discredited and finally defeated and they have nothing to do with communism except only in names. The second point that I’d like to make is that the Eastern European masses, while defeated their social Fascist enemies forty years ago, did not liberate themselves from capitalism. After the velvet revolution, they met again haplessly a new capitalism imported to their countries from the Western Europe, namely, Germany, France and others and they are again live under the sway of capitalism, contrary to their wishes for a total liberation from waged-slavery, whether Fascist or corporate-state capitalist.

The correct strategy for the East Europeans is to launch a second velvet revolution against the current regimes of capitalist exploitation and oppression.

In the U.S. and Western European countries and elsewhere, an independent political party in each country is necessary for rebellions and revolutions. Without a Marxist party playing the leading role, it is difficult to overthrow any capitalism with strong dictatorship in place for hundreds of years. This kind of revolution is very much different from the velvet revolution launched against a debilitated and failing regime.

May the great cause of liberation and justice step forward.

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By ohyeah, December 15, 2010 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, liberal class is dead. corporate state. ok. and right too. and then what will take its place ? the conservative class ? the VERY class that wants the corporations to run and roam free in public life as they wish ? no state, no government, and the corporation will directly govern you instead !!!

Report this

By gerard, December 15, 2010 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

As those who are too old or too encumbered to stand with Hedgess and the others, stand on the sidelines and hope for their success—and for a general uprising to support Assange and Manning in the face of hysterically unfounded charges—remember that when Hedges first suggested their D.C. protest nobody expected Assange, Manning and WikiLeaks, plus their by-now thousands of supporters to crreate such a significant parallel protest of worldwide significance.  Here’s hoping that to stand up for freedom, truth and peace becomes contagious worldwide. 

That would really make for a much Merrier Christmas and a much Happier New Year, wouldn’t it?

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By garth, December 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

Let me make a modest proposal: 

Twenty spikes for twenty heads, starting with the CEOs of Honeywell and Motorola, Cote and Brown.  I am wtching these two characters on PBS Nooz Hour

They ‘met’ with Mr. Bumptious today and had a great meeting. 

They agreed that entitlements, social security and Medicare, had to be curtailed.  They said taxes need to raised, but then praised Bumptious for his bold move on continuing the Bush tax cuts and his ‘Leave my money to my ne’er-do-wells’ tax bonus for the lazy inheritors.

These two CEOs talked about their companies as if they were their children.  Motorola and Honeywll have been around a lot longer than these two suits have been sucking our air, and yet they act as if they were blood-connected.  Is this madness?

This tax bill taxes the poor as David Cay Johnston pointed out and lets the teat-sucking amorphs like Cote and Brown go free? 

Should we go along?

I don’t think so.

But, we have an ass-kissing Congress and cocaine-sucking President, Mr. Bumptious, as our leader.

Man, are we in trouble.

Any act of rebellion.  It’s like not eating meat for a day.  Watch the Rabbis on Kosher Slaughter video.  They’re advice is a good start.

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By Exit, Persued By A Bear, December 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges, I applaud and commend you and your colleague who will sacrifice tomorrow in the name of HOPE.  Though this is my first time commenting on your column I have always enjoyed reading it and listening to you on NPR.

Unfortunately, I cannot join you in D.C. as I am currently in the other Washington.  I do however plan (if all goes correctly) to protest outside of our state capitol in Olympia in support of our mutual cause and only hope to have my fate reflect your own.

I regard you as a patriot sir, and already hold your name among the likes of George Washington, Henry David Thoreau and others who have defied empires.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, December 15, 2010 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

Arrrgghhh

My plans to have a fellow Nurse cover my shifts on this, my weekend to work,
failed at the last minute.

Damn it.

I had a ride arranged with the 30 odd people from Minnesota who are going.

Oh well. I am there is spirit.


Thank you Chris Hedges. Not one bone of apologist for the corporate
corrupted, pro-war duopoly resides in you Sir.

God Bless you. You speak for those of us who have been banned from so many
“progressive” blogs (like Common Dreams and Op Ed News) and/or so many
“peace and justice” stage managed Democrat love fests..

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By Mary Bell, December 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I brought Hedges’ article up on Thom Hartmann’s radio program, and he said, as Gulam and Vladimir Dupkanic have asserted here already, that economic collapse forced the end of Communism in eastern Europe. He recommended Dmitri Orlov’s book, Reinventing Collapse, wherein he argues that the crash that the U.S. is pummeling headfirst towards will be much worse than the crash in the Soviet Union because at the time of the crash in the Soviet Union there were strong social safety nets in place, nets that are shredded in the U.S. Thanks to Vladimir especially for giving us some perspective from within.

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By garth, December 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

From Father Special,

“One should not be optimistic or pessimistic in one’s assesment of truth, the facts, or the situation we are in, but rather let their behavior determine whether or not they are indeed optimistic or cynically pessimistic, opting to work within a system which will either betray, or force one to betray their better nature, in the service of perpetuating the current narrative, and the power structure that lies behind it, or to work outside the system to call attention to and take a principled stand against the grave injustices, deprivation, human rights abuses, starvation, violence, and heavy-handed oppression, etc. our society is responsible for.

I saw a diagram that depicted the relationship of the Catholic worhippers with their God.  The Catholics were on one side; God wa on the other.  In the middle was and alrge arrow pointed Godward.  Inside the arrow was the word in bold face type, PRIESTS.

What a set up.  I am a priest and I am between yu and your God.

Here’s on egregia:

I went to a funeral of a Catholica whose family chose for the deceased to be creamted for financial reasons.

Not one Catholic Priest from any of Churches would give him his last rites.  At the last moment a Priest from a Church next to the funeral home rushed over.  He explained diplomatically that he was not from their parishes but he would do the best he could.  A Father Marino.  God bless him.

Here’s to you and your fuckin’ Catholic Church!  Can you see the index finger and my left hand returning my wallet to its pocket?

It is at first great to confuse, but confusion leads to uneasiness and that leads to anger because the facts of Life are right before our eyes.

If you want to remain stupid-acting, may God have mercy on your soul.


Word of Advice: Return to the King James Version of the 23rd Psalm.  They’re ain’t a poet among you.

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By REDHORSE, December 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

After so many posts asking WHY? Hedges doesn’t offer solutions to the fascism destroying America he leads the way by demonstrating organized protest. It’ll be interesting to see how much coverage the event receives. The option of organization and political action is availabale to all Americans. Conjecture as to why they won’t act on their own behalf is legion but that’s the reality.

    Key is Hedges open acknowledgement that Washington holds no regard for the People and the American future. In short, there is no difference between Obama and Putin. They are both front men for the financial oligarchy that has seized control of American Democracy and is now looking toward World dominion.

    Most are content to allow this current fascism to run its course though they know full well it will mean the end of a free America, The problem is exponential World population growth, GCC and the coming failure of natural resources won’t allow it. Visionless Washington has demonstrated its willingness to look the other way while Corporate raiders destroy Natural Eco-Systems on a grand scale. This will continue to total collapse. By the end of this Century mass migrations North, civil conflict Worldwide and scarcity of food and water will define reality. The oligarchs and their families will retreat to protected enclaves and the “citizens” of America will inhabit a no-mans-land.

    All this could be avoided but there is no profit incentive to motivate Washington and the American People are damaged beyond response. The “People” already psychologically inhabit a Third World totalitarian police state and their last wealth and savings are being looted as we speak. If you think the Assange leaks took the mask off American Fascism wait until their is nothing left for them to steal, the riots start and the gloves come off. Meanwhile, pretend it isn’t happening.

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By gerard, December 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

sininschism:  Long time getting back to you, but ...
I’m not optimistic at all—unless you and I and all the rest of us who are so quick with our comments here are brave enough to send those comments where they will do some direct good—and defend the Internet.

As you probably realize, the Internet is the entire point of this “leak” experiment, and if we let Assange and Manning get thrown to the wolves, we are definitely next in line.

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moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, December 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

It may be the case that

in the ABSTRACT

no act of rebellion is wasted.

BUT:

piddling acts, acts that accentuate powerlessness,

such as chaining oneself to a fence as a slave,

are worse than wasted.

The impede effective actions by siphoning off energy.

(Just safety valves, like posting on this site.)

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By garth, December 15, 2010 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

Obama’s Anti-Insurgency

Today, President Bumptious, hail-fellow-well-met, convenes with 20 top CEOs.

From my Greedjie board, I have divined that the major issue will be allowing the corporations to bring back their money from overseas without paying any significant tax on it.

The CEOs will tell Bumptious that if they had their bundles close to them, they will become less uncertain and will free up some jobs.  At first, on a temporary basis, you understand.

Like the GE of the City of Lynn, MA.  They told the city officials that unless the GE gets a $50 million dollar tax break, the GE will have to move more local jobs overseas.

What rhymes with extortion?


We are the water, they are the tropical fish.  We could niggle them to death.

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By Father Special, December 15, 2010 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You are right Mr. Hedges, it is the most practical and useful thing any informed citizen can do.

One should not be optimistic or pessimistic in one’s assesment of truth, the facts, or the situation we are in, but rather let their behavior determine whether or not they are indeed optimistic or cynically pessimistic, opting to work within a system which will either betray, or force one to betray their better nature, in the service of perpetuating the current narrative, and the power structure that lies behind it, or to work outside the system to call attention to and take a principled stand against the grave injustices, deprivation, human rights abuses, starvation, violence, and heavy-handed oppression, etc. our society is responsible for.

To work for change, tranperancy, accountability, and radical reform.

When one does not take a principled stand, one will ultimately find oneself drifting farther and farther away from their moral or spiritual sensibilities.

Well, I won’t go on.

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By ardee, December 15, 2010 at 8:43 am Link to this comment

WillowWiind, December 15 at 1:21 pm

Thank you for the wise words.

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By WillowWiind, December 15, 2010 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

Come on people. How hard is this? All Chris is saying is any act of rebellion and resistance, however SMALL, isn’t wasted. It’s energy…and it keeps hope and justice alive in each person who does it. Like attracts like and pretty soon your friends and neighbors are doing small acts of rebellion and defiance…and it catches on.

You don’t have to show up in the cold and protest. But you can stop flying and submitting to TSA brutality. In fact, you can stop buying a lot of stuff…newspapers that pander to the establishment,Monsanto anything,pull your money from the banks and go to credit unions or local banks. Just use your imagination…remember what he’s saying…any act, however small, isn’t wasted. When combined with many, many small acts by others in unison, it becomes a powerful force.

If you don’t believe me..read Blink and Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell. And every time you stick a finger in the eye of the regime, you’ll feel good because you are doing your small part to dismantle the corporate machine. You are supporting the principles of freedom and justice.

So, just do something small..and keep it up.

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By The Old Hippy, December 15, 2010 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

Tom said it best, back in ‘76:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

—Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

It’s as true today as it was back then.  Are we ready to put it on the line now or will it take some major theft of the few rights we have left?

Remember my mantra
If they are wearing a uniform, any uniform, they are the enemy.

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By L2k4fc, December 15, 2010 at 3:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was just having a conversation with an old friend tonight about how disappointed I am in America.  All the values I was raised to practice and believe appear now as nothing much more than lip service to the masses spoken from the bent, poisoned tongue of our “leaders”.  My heart is broken at the loss of My American Dream.  But, soon sadness must turn as inevitable as the Sun must rise and set for are we not merely human?.  And with great and just satisfaction we will quietly watch the mighty fall.  Many thanks and GodSpeed to Chris Hedges and those others who will brave that cold December day.  I envy you and appreciate your sacrifice.

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By Al Mollitor, December 14, 2010 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I read that a recording star was “reduced to working for a factory that assembled toys,” maybe it’s a good thing we don’t have any factory workers in America any more because they must be below all this hifalutin talk of liberty. Just sayin’

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By Pete, December 14, 2010 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

chris’s mood lately has been pretty dark. i heard his recent speech from troy, ny and he sounded very pessimistic. i’m glad to see that he’s gotten a little better about motivating people to influence change. i think thats more productive than actually just pointing out the fatal flaws in our society.

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By Morpheus, December 14, 2010 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

Good article - enough said!

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By Morpheus, December 14, 2010 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

Yes, this is coming to america, but we have a choice.

Nothing changes until you Stand Up - “The Revolution has started.”

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

We don’t have to live like this anymore. “Spread the News”

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By hamster, December 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

“We cannot rely on any systems of power, including ...the press, liberal religious institutions, universities, labor, culture…We can rely now on only ourselves, on each other.”

I applaud and support Chris Hedges analysis and action.

I must take issue with the statement above, however.

If he’s talking about the mainstream press, I can agree, but does the press not include Truthdig, Counterpunch, and Z Magazine? There are social justice committees within religious institutions that are doing effective education and action. There are universities that not only allow but encourage thinking outside the status quo. There are unions that haven’t been bought out by the oligarchy. Culture? Did Mr. Hedges not demonstrate that Czech artists, singers, and writers spur on their revolution?

It seems Mr. Hedges dismisses any form of protest but his own to inflate the importance of his own. But that demeans the very title and spirit of this piece.

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By migisan, December 14, 2010 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

“The long, long road of sacrifice, tears and suffering that led to the collapse of these regimes stretched back decades. Those who made change possible were those who had discarded all notions of the practical. They did not try to reform the Communist Party. They did not attempt to work within the system. They did not even know what, if anything, their protests would accomplish. But through it all they held fast to moral imperatives. They did so because these values were right and just. They expected no reward for their virtue; indeed they got none. They were marginalized and persecuted. And yet these poets, playwrights, actors, singers and writers finally triumphed over state and military power. They drew the good to the good. They triumphed because, however cowed and broken the masses around them appeared, their message of defiance did not go unheard. It did not go unseen. The steady drumbeat of rebellion constantly exposed the dead hand of authority and the rot and corruption of the state.”

I feel this is the crux of what Hedges is trying to say and do. And that he is inviting us to join or do in kind. I this this inspiring at time of utter apathy and insanity. I would join if i could get there. I will find some kind of civil disobedience/rebellion to become involved in. All else is nonsense.

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By hamster, December 14, 2010 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

“We cannot rely on any systems of power, including… the press, liberal religious institutions, universities, labor, culture… We can rely now on only ourselves, on each other.”

I applaud and support Chris Hedges analysis and action. That said, I take issue with the above statement.

While the mainstream press may be a “system of power”,the press includes Truthout, Counterpunch, and Z Magazine.  There are social justice movements within religious institutions which are effective at education and action. There are still universities which encourage open inquiry and challenging the status quo. Not all union have sold out to the oligopoly. Culture? That makes no sense. Hedges himself tells the story of how the Czech artists, writers, and musicians helped their revolution along.

Mr. Hedges seems to want to dismiss any form of protest but his own, in order to inflate his own action. His list of everything that is useless takes credibility away from the title of his piece.

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By omygodnotagain, December 14, 2010 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

I think it will be more tricky and difficult for the US to break free of corporate repression. To start with if one lived in the Soviet Bloc, it was still possible to pick up the BBC, hear the latest music and news because it seeped through. I remember sitting on a train in the mid 70s crossing from Italy to Yugoslavia, some Slavs had hid a bag behind my backpack. The Border Police, virtually ignored me, looked at their papers made them open their bags, questioned them. The police left and the train moved on. About five minutes later they began removing their pants. Underneath each was wearing 5 pairs of jeans.
They knew how much Levis were prized and valued in the Eastern bloc.
Unfortunately, we have no such salvation, we have China to look towards, unlikely, South America, possibly, Africa very unlikely, the Middle East give me a break. That leaves Europe…Mankind’s last best hope… the Old World…

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By surfnow, December 14, 2010 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

You don’t have to read too far or too deeply into history to realize that things have and most certainly will get worse. This is just the beginning of our nightmare. You think things are bad now- just wait until 2012 and an even deeper Depression, when an even more desperate public elects Sarah Palin. Millions showing up on Dec.16 would change nothing- because it would not be reported- no change will ever occur without a free press.

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By liberata, December 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ll be there.

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By Anarcissie, December 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

gerard, December 13 at 11:20 pm:

‘Am I the only one who thinks it is useless to argue about whether or not some gesture or action of rebellion is “wasted” or not! ...’

Not the only one.  It depends on how hooked into the desire for power people are.  Some people will go so far as to argue that one should vote for the soft cop over the hard cop, because otherwise one is ‘throwing away’ one’s almighty vote and thus losing the chance to be vicariously part of the winners’ team.

rico, suave, December 13 at 3:01 pm:

‘“We opened up our society to ordinary people not because we deified the wisdom of the Founding Fathers or the sanctity of the Constitution. We opened it up because of communist, socialist and anarchist leaders like Big Bill Haywood and his militant unionists in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).”

I’m sorry. That was very painful to read. There is an alternate universe described in that statement that I will never understand.’

Come on, it’s not that hard to understand.  The Constitution, as written, contemplated continued slavery and exclusion of large numbers of supposedly free people from the vote and political activity in general.  Obviously something happened between then and now to bring about a greater degree of political and legal equality.  The most likely place to look for the sources of this change would be the activists who overtly promoted it.  You can argue otherwise, but you can’t say the proposition makes no sense.

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By elisalouisa, December 14, 2010 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

Michael Cavlan RN Baring some hitch in my well laid plans to have
another Nurse cover for me at work, myself and my son will be going to DC.

May all go well for you Michael. Sounds like you live fairly close to Washington. Look forward to your post re this significant protest. My hope is that law enforcement shall not goad the demonstrators.

Keep cool.

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By ardee, December 14, 2010 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Memory_Hole, December 13 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

Also, if you have nothing but withering cynicism to add, kindly remain silent.

Ahhh, the irony! That you ,yourself, post a “withering” and cynical comment about syntax and grammatical correctness, followed up by a call to silence someone as if you had been elected den mother in some secret vote, should not pass sans noting.

I have agreed or disagreed with Lafayette in the past, and expect to do so again in the future. What I do not attempt is to censor anyone or prevent them from expressing their views in public forum. Free Speech is certainly messy, but your message is the messiest of all as you fail miserably to comprehend what we fight for.

I guess, if you leave a hole lying about, someone will assume it is a latrine.

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By john francis lee, December 14, 2010 at 5:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is the 2nd time I’ve linked to a Chris Hedges’ article through Common Dreams.

You do Chris Hedges and other authors a great disservice by selfishly splitting their words over multiple pages.

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By RonTruth, December 14, 2010 at 2:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Assange, in my opinion, is no different than Daniel Ellsburg was when he, deciding that he and the American people had had enough of the War in Vietnam that Nixon, himself as Vice President, had ordered the CIA to use agents-provateur to set up, and the Pentagon’s special forces to do the provoking. Ellsburg had to go underground while Nixon’s goon squads looked for him. They were his Watergate Burglars, Inc.

He had been a special forces “advisor” and had seen it all. Then Kennedy is killed. The war is quickly ratcheted up by Johnson. He stole the Pentagon Papers and made sure their information got out to the people.

Marches by hundreds of thousands in major cities caused a firestorm of arrests, followed by greater marches, joined in by the likes of Bobby Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., musicians such as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, unified million of people such that by the late 1960s Nixon, who had started that war, was promising to end it if elected President.

Teach-ins taught people how to organize boycotts of products manufactured by corporations that profited from the Vietnamk war. Then Nixon acted and ended the flow of troops in and by the time he was about to be impeached, had already sent several hundred thousand US soldiers home. Not including the thousands sent home in caskets.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, December 14, 2010 at 1:19 am Link to this comment

OK Folks,

So I and countless others may have been banned from posting stories or
comments of “progressive” new-sites like Common Dreams, Op Ed News etc etc
etc.

We may not see our political perspective on the Democrats naked open
complicity in, well wars, corporate healthcare, loss of rights etc etc in places
like The Nation or in some carefully stage managed “peace” rallies.

So we may not debate endlessly about, what are you folks discussing anyway?

Baring some hitch in my well laid plans to have another Nurse cover for me at
work, myself and my son will be going to DC.

It will be an honor to be chained to the White House and be arrested with Chris
Hedges.

Please remember to blog responsibly.

Grin

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By gerard, December 14, 2010 at 12:44 am Link to this comment

ghostofwatergate:  Thanks a bunch.

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By WeAreWideAwake/eileenfleming, December 13, 2010 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

‘F— hope! It’s not about hope . . . . You don’t do what you do because you hope things will get better. It’s about… getting up every morning and asking yourself what’s the right thing to do and doing it.”

As Izzy Stone said:

“All governments are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.”


“The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. In order for somebody to win an important, major fight 100 years hence, a lot of other people have got to be willing - for the sheer fun and joy of it - to go right ahead and fight, knowing you’re going to lose. You mustn’t feel like a martyr. You’ve got to enjoy it.”

“If God, as some now say, is dead, He no doubt died of trying to find an equitable solution to the Arab-Jewish problem.”

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By aacme88, December 13, 2010 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

Gulam writes:
“In 1970 I helped plan the big march on Washington after Kent State, and we too
were trying hard to keep the protests peaceful. Ever since then I have felt guilty
about what I did then. There may well have been a million deaths in Southeast
Asia after that point. Hundreds of thousands of people there died painful
deaths all because we did what made us feel good instead of taking real actions
that might realistically have turned the tide in America. As long as things are
guaranteed to remain polite and safe on American streets the whole exercise of
protest is, to borrow a metaphor from Lyndon Johnson, not worth a bucket of
warm spit. It is merely an institutionalized way to keep young people busy.”

I don’t remember what happened at that particular action but Kent State and its aftermath is considered by many to be the turning point in the war against the war.
I guess I should say “Trying hard to keep things peaceful” may not be enough. We learned a lot from the mistakes of the resistance to Vietnam. I and the people I worked with were carefully trained in non-violence, both philosophy and tactics. We also weren’t dealing with the quantities of people you had in that march. Maybe twenty trained security people were able to diffuse anything 10,000 protesters came up with, and guard against “agents provocateurs”.
At the same time you seem to think that non-violent action “isn’t worth a bucket of spit.” Do you think you can win militarily? Do you want to turn into a terrorist? Either way you, and more importantly your movement, lose your soul. Even if you win (doubtful) you replace their thugs with your thugs.
But you seem to think it should have turned the tide overnight. These things turn slowly. The present situation has been going on for 30 years. Like global warming, it won’t change over night. It was the action in the streets, and the words of writers, that eventually ended Vietnam. Our actions in the 80s eventually decided Congress to cut off funding for the war, forcing the administration to enter into the “Iran -Contra” affair, almost, in a more civilized country actually, bringing it down.
All that said, it’s true that you can have a huge demonstration, for instance having 500 people arrested for tying up traffic all day for a hundred miles coming into the city as we did once, and see no coverage of it. The other side has learned a few tricks also.
Lastly, tell the Buddhist monks in Vietnam who set fire to themselves in protest that their act was meaningless. Tell Ghandi. Tell Martin Luther King. Doing what you have to do, whatever the outcome, is never meaningless.

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By ghostofwatergate, December 13, 2010 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

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. -

Julian Assange, Wikileaks Manifesto
http://www.thecommentfactory.com/exclusive-the-wikileaks-manifesto-by-julian-assange-3342/

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By ghostofwatergate, December 13, 2010 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

@gerard:
“Why is it that Assange’s statement of purpose is entirely missing from this discussion?  In fact, it is nowhere to be found?  Why?  Because it contains something helpful which we should know?”

Hey, gerard, paranoid much?

Youhoo, ger-rard: lrngoogle. You can’t be a revolutionary if you can’t google, but I’ll help you out just this once: http://www.thecommentfactory.com/exclusive-the-wikileaks-manifesto-by-julian-assange-3342/

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By garth, December 13, 2010 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

That’s what Abccbsnbc, CNNFOXMSNBC and C-SPAN are all about—manufactured consensus.

A forum for ‘Reasonable arguements’ about how the government is going to way the very core of life itself.

And they are doing it for the about 500,000 living beings, the untold wealthy: royalty, chinese, Saudis and they will mostly remain hidden.

Yet they are afraid of a crowd.  As Mao might have put it, the success of the revolution is a sure thing when you are the water and they are the tropical fish. 

Look at what has been going on on Cape Cod, MA.  Summer homes of the ostentatiously wealthy are being burned to the ground.

In Sudbury and Fall River, MA, they bury their war dead.  On the Cape they settle their insurance claims.

I guess that’s the way they want it until the shit hits the fan.  And I agree with Hedges and Chomsky, they are still afraid of us.  We are not cattle, nor are we sheep, nor are we oerwhelmed by fear. 

The fuse has been lit.

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By sininschism, December 13, 2010 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Properly understood and used, the Internet can make the human future better.But it will require broad dissemination of knowledge and consistent
citizen participation in government.” 

Gerard,
You’re a little too optimistic—it’s just a matter of time, before all Internet connections are as closely monitored and controlled as they are in China. And as it will turn out, the printing presses of the world, will get the last laugh.

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By TAO Walker, December 13, 2010 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

In the Natural Living Arrangement nothing is ever “wasted.”  In the virtual world-o’-hurt, however, the faux metabolism of the retro-viral “civilization” disease, with its nucleus co-opting eCONomic “operating system,” runs on nothing but waste….thus its mass-production of shit and schlock of every kind and description.

Want to get well, tame Sisters and Brothers.  Forget your death-trap “selfs,” as a commenter advises wisely below, remember that you’re all together Human Beings, Natural Persons whose Organic function in our Living Arrangement is as a vital component in our Mother Earth’s natural immune system.  Clean-up the mess together, including its many manifestations in your Personal Lives.  The Great Spirit helps those who help each other.

Let their auto-mated “god” help those who help their “self.”

HokaHey!

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By balkas, December 13, 2010 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

it is nice to hear from people who now live in a new ‘paradise’.
alas, more of a paradise [nebeski raj] for some and less-to-zero for
others. 
the new paradise even discovered a new ‘enemy’, iran—and not to
mention iraq, pak’n, afgh’n, russia, palestina, somalia, china, vietnam,
cuba, venezuela, bolivia, nicaragua, et al.

czech govt was even going to install defensive missiles; fearing
dozens of attacks from new ‘enemies’ and old american ones.

now, that’s the ultimate reality show: looking for and finding enemies
as long as they cannot retaliate.
shame on slavic fascists. i am also part slavic! probably part illyrian,
roman, and croatian.

do u guyz think i respect our old warlords and masters of people?
all of them were bunch of criminals! tnx

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By A.Attlee, December 13, 2010 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From “Citizens United” to a federal courthouse in Virginia
2010 will go down with 1933 as a year in which an ostensible democracy
was brazenly destroyed by a series of ostensibly legal manoeuvres
unless…

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By gerard, December 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Am I the only one who thinks it is useless to argue about whether or not some
gesture or action of rebellion is “wasted” or not! 

How can anyone possibly know?  The door of the future is opened by the sheer
force of fifty billion hopes, beliefs, re-assurences, expectations.  Causes and
effects are so complicated, so many-faceted, so universally interactive, that no
one knows from one day to the next whether this or that drop will cause a river
tp overflow its banks. 

You get up in the morning, not because you think you will succeed, but
because it is the natural thing for you to do, because you have to do it, because
there is nothing better to do than to live another day as best you can, and above
all because you believe you are alive.

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By gerard, December 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Am I the only one who thinks it is useless to argue about whether or not some
gesture or action of rebellion is “wasted” or not! 

How can anyone possibly know?  The door of the future is opened by the sheer
force of fifty billion hopes, beliefs, re-assurences, expectations.  Causes and
effects are so complicated, so many-faceted, so universally interactive, that no
one knows from one day to the next whether this or that drop will cause a river
tp overflow its banks. 

You get up in the morning, not because you think you will succeed, but
because it is the natural thing for you to do, because you have to do it, because
there is nothing better to do than to live another day as best you can, and above
all because you believe you are alive.

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By vladimir dupkanic, December 13, 2010 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

@ Not One More

then the propaganda was childishly naïve compared to nowadays.
Then the big brother was a secret police officer, nowadays, HE is the economisation of everything, art, media, school (subdueing the totality of one´s life and creativity to the service in and to the cappitalist regime)
...the (much more sophisticated and invisible) auto-censure is again at play. Today people here (CZ) are as blind as in the US, or at least almost - the most the very young ones or those who have lost their memory…

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By Not One More!, December 13, 2010 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

The difference between the Czechs and Americans is that we have not realized to the full degree how much our government lies to us and carries out unjust actions. The Czechs understood that their ‘elected’ officials were lying bags of crapolla, in spite of all the propaganda their government spread.

Why is it that Americans, as a whole, have not had that realization that our worst enemy is our elected officials and our corporatations. We are drinking the kool aid.

Hopefully Wikileaks will show some how corrupt our government is.

http://www.NotOneMore.US

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By gerard, December 13, 2010 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

Why is it that Assange’s statement of purpose is entirely missing from this
discussion?  In fact, it is nowhere to be found?  Why?  Because it contains
something helpful which we should know? 

I read parts of it when it was still online.  Now it has mysteriously disappeared. 
Once again:  His purpose was to awaken ordinary citizens who wanted
democratic governments to this fact:  The Internet makes it possible, as never
before in human history, to find out what is going on behind closed doors of
governments and financial institutions.  This knowledge ought to be available to
all citizens, who are then enabled to get together (as never before) and make
changes necessary to form and keep governments and corporations working for
their constituents, not against them.

Properly understood and used, the Internet can make the human future
better.But it will require broad dissemination of knowledge and consistent
citizen participation in government. 

So why does the U.S. government want Assange’s neck?  Why is his statement of
purpose not appearing everywhere online?  Why are he and Manning in jail
before they have had a chance to argue for the value of their purposes?  Why
are they being pilloried.  Something about this message is considered
“subversive.” Subversive of what?  Of honesty?  Of openness in government?  Of
wars and the exploitation of other people’s resources?  Of mass poverty and
miserable living conditions?  Subversive of truth?  We had better understand
what is going on before the net is mysteriously shut down an we are
mysteriously more ignorant than ever, and more enslaved.

It is not common for opportunity to knock twice.  They are risking their lives for
the very real possibility of a better future.  But they can’t do it alone.

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By Rgyle, December 13, 2010 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

That is a beautiful piece Chris. I agree wholeheartedly except for one thing. I
must first find the transcendent peace alone and within. I cannot depend on
others for this – not friends, not government, not corps, not fellow protesters.

Only one rebellion works, and that’s the one inside. The one that gets the heavy
boot of ego delusion off one’s neck. When I believe I’m a separate individual
person, I get tense, and all is essentially lost. I feel fear, greed, loneliness,
anger, doubt and all the other bad stuff. Bad because it negates and
undermines life itself.

I know, I’m in the minority here. Most folks believe they are each a singular
‘me.’ But I’m not, and you’re not. We’re much greater than a mere item lasting
several decades before death. Once I know what I am not, then it’s possible to
know what I am. Even physics today can demonstrate the pervasive illusion of
boundaries and objects. What we perceive and believe to be things, are actually
movements, actions, vibrations, that seamlessly blend and co-function with all
others. Once we set ourselves free from this tyranny of belief in objective
illusions, including our thoughts (especially the thoughts), the rebellion is a
success. 

If this does not happen, then what WILL happen after the oppressive powers-
that-be ‘out there’ are brought down? History shows that, after a temporary
respite, the seeds of greed, ambition, control, etc. will again sprout and a new
tyrant will be born. These seeds are latent in each of us, when we operate as a
fragment among fragments. And we have all the ‘apparent’ evidence to prove it.
It’s the story in our heads. The everchanging dossier of a ‘me.’ We believe it and
emotionally buy in to this false identity. Just like believing in a ‘sunrise’ and
‘sunset’ at the opposite edges of a ‘flat’ earth.

Investigate for yourself, find out, and overthrow the belief in illusions, starting
with the mind-made ‘me.’ Then we’ll each really enjoy the softest, most
powerful of all revolutions.

Onward to victory!

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By vladimir dupkanic, December 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

At least we can discuss and fight together. We have to.
Thanx to the internet, thanx to truthdig, thanx to Chris, thank you..

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By vladimir dupkanic, December 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

Hi folks in the U.S. or wherever in the world
Chris´ writing is nice, but a little too romantic, I think.

Gulam wrote:
“It is complete hogwash to imply that peaceful protests in Czechoslovakia had
any impact upon the fall of the Communist block. The Soviet Union released its
death grip on Easter Europe only after they had crashed economically and been
drained militarily. The United States is as much a totalitarian monster as its
fellow materialism worshippers the Soviet Union and Communist China, and all
three have committed mass murder on a scale equal to that of the much-
demonized Nazis. “

I am from and living in the former Czechoslovakia, now czech republic (yes, even here, we read truthdig and watch democracynow :-p).

Most of the people here agree that the main cause of the communist bloc falling apart was the economic failure of the heart of the empire, the Soviet Union. The second, not the first, reason was political and moral emptying of the official party lines. If there were enough gatgets in the stores, no queues for TV´s and waiting for cars and a possibility to go to the sea to Italy every second year, the hardcore dissent would remain only with a handful of ordinary people physically supporting them. But with relative scarcity of all the sexy stuff people could sometimes see in the foreign catalogues, people lost tollerance to the overwhelming stupidity of the political leaders. And even the smarter of the communist pragmatics (oportunists) were clear about that the current state limits their greed too much. So there was an almost common concesus.

The smarter guys within the dissent or semi-dissent went to the politics and many of them remained there for years to become good neo-cons and neo-libs…the more romantic ones after only a couple of years began to find, that the change was more towards capitalism, than to democracy and that the new regime is again corrupt, this time backed by another empire, that of greed, which is called capital.

A washington-concesus based shock terapy on the economy was applied and suddenly, we were like real westerners, with the unemployment, homeless people, billion-worth economic frauds and wild privatisation and/or liquidation of a majority of the state-owned industry.
Vaclav Havel and the stuff around became the lovers of everything American, even the Bushes, we were proud allies in all the coalitions of the willing…

Now as the neolibs won the elections, we are about to have privatized the so-far completely state-run (since the com. era) pension systems (pensions guaranteed 4 all), we are about to introduce school-fees (so far education has been free), the national health system is being strangled to be proved unfuctional (“state is the worst manager”)and be privatised, at least partially.

People here do not know what we are about to lose…People are apathic, they are being neolib media brainwashed, all that is socialist-like or state owned is like from the “totalitarian times”.

We almost as weak and as apathic as most people in the U.S. People no more know how to protest radically, they are ashamed to protest against this regime, cause they are told the only alternative is the journey back to the so-called-communism. People fear to question cappitalism. They are blind and it is a taboo. As of an atheist nation, free market is still our god.

In the 1989 Vaclav Havel promissed that this revolution is towards the best socially conscious regime with human face, no capitallism. About 90% people in the 1989 did not want the introduction of capitalism and it was promissed that the transformation will be harmless and everything will be only better. A year later, Vaclav Klaus introduced the shock treatment…

But to our question - peaceful protests can work to finish the already-hollow structures backed by once-powerful, now-failed empire. At least from my perspective and the comparison with the Velvet rev. Our common current empire is the global capital.

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By Frances, December 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is there any way you can prevent placement of conceal
to carry gun ads right next to this blog?  I am old
enough to remember the killings in the 60s.  There’s a
lot of repressed rage out there.

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By Leo, December 13, 2010 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

Of course each individual can do something about this corporate invasion : Spread
the word, and buy less wasteful products that keep the insane consumerism wheel
going.

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By sophrosyne, December 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges is right.  But beware Obama going to war in Korea or Iran to distract and terrify the population back into submission.  His Israeli overlords will not permit any of us to do what is in American interests.

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By Don Low, December 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“It all went on right under our noses and with our consent. Why?”

Because we’re stupid and contemptible. Let me illustrate with a drawing I’ll describe.

Imagine a painting divided in two. On the left side, the face of a native man, his eyes lit up with a rapturous glow as an arm extends from the foreground, holding beads. On the right side, the face of a modern man (or modern woman for that matter) his eyes lit up with a rapturous glow as an arm extends from the foreground, holding an iPod.

What should be asked is, what’s going on behind all that proprietary compiled code, and it doesn’t take a great imagination to know.

We’re being watched. We’re being monitored. What we buy. What we don’t buy. What books we buy. What we say on truthdig and other so-called non-corporate sponsored websites. And in the background, all that information is being sent to a database where it’s being processed and interpreted so that…

We can be better controlled.

Like sheep who veer to the left, then someone waves his hands and they all veer to the right. Left, right and bingo, they’re in a trailer off to the stockyards.

That’s what we are? And like sheep we don’t learn. And you’d think recorded history would make a difference, but it doesn’t. The native people didn’t have recorded history, and look what happened to them. We do, and it’s going to happen to us anyway.

And as for the rich and powerful, they’re the biggest sheep of all. Slaves to an impoverished imagination. They can’t imagine life without loads of money and reckon they must have the best life because everybody wants what they have. In a monoculture like ours, they’re right. They’re kings among sheep, but they’re still sheep.

The fate of sheep is to go to slaughter. The fate of humans is to go to slaughter and take everything with them.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, December 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges comparison of Czechoslovakia to what is happening in the USA is a poor one.  In Czechoslovakia it was tantamount to a foreign invasion and nothing breeds solidarity like a foreign army.  In the USA it’s all internal economics/politics essentially and is becoming class warfare.  The last truly successful class warfare was the Russian Revolution of 1917 which had reach critical mass mainly do to the bumbling of Czar Nicholas II.  The USA has not yet reached critical mass to foment an uprising——things just aren’t bad enough.  Depending what happens over the next several years will determine what that mass is reached.  The two critical things needed are high unemployment(15-20%), and some serious inflation.

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By peedeecee, December 13, 2010 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

All I can say is, keep it peaceful folks. Don’t let the
demonstration be taken over by the anarchists, thugs
and punks that show up to throw rocks, set cars on
fire, and destroy things.

If your numbers are big enough, that alone will be a
major sign to the corpocracy. But if it turns violent,
and attracts police action, that will give the pro-
corporate media a chance to make you look bad.

Keep it peaceful.

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By peedeecee, December 13, 2010 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

All I can say is, keep it peaceful, folks. Don’t let
the anarchists and the thugs and the punks take it
over, because you will lose all credibility. If you
have enough people, just showing up will be a major
sign to the corpocracy - but if there is violence, it’s
game over.

Why give the pro-corporate media a chance to make you
look bad?

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Gulam's avatar

By Gulam, December 13, 2010 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

“The decision to stand up for what I believed was right, shoulder to shoulder
with people who eventually, soon, became dear friends, gave me back my self
respect, which was what had been missing my entire adult life. I became one of
the leaders in the security end of those huge demonstrations…”

In 1970 I helped plan the big march on Washington after Kent State, and we too
were trying hard to keep the protests peaceful. Ever since then I have felt guilty
about what I did then. There may well have been a million deaths in Southeast
Asia after that point. Hundreds of thousands of people there died painful
deaths all because we did what made us feel good instead of taking real actions
that might realistically have turned the tide in America. As long as things are
guaranteed to remain polite and safe on American streets the whole exercise of
protest is, to borrow a metaphor from Lyndon Johnson, not worth a bucket of
warm spit. It is merely an institutionalized way to keep young people busy.

It is complete hogwash to imply that peaceful protests in Czechoslovakia had
any impact upon the fall of the Communist block. The Soviet Union released its
death grip on Easter Europe only after they had crashed economically and been
drained militarily. The United States is as much a totalitarian monster as its
fellow materialism worshippers the Soviet Union and Communist China, and all
three have committed mass murder on a scale equal to that of the much-
demonized Nazis.

Feeling good after joining peaceful but totally futile, and little-reported protest
marches may be good therapy, and it may be great for restoring one’s self-
respect if one is particularly shallow, but as serious political action it is a joke.
Nothing is going to reverse the American slide into darkness but a major crash
of the economy or dramatic military failure or both. One thing has been proven
beyond doubt: Americans are too cowed to do anything meaningful about the
greatest financial swindle in history, the American-backed driving of the
Palestinians off their share of The Holy Land, and the invasion and occupation
of Iraq and Afghanistan in order to secure the resources needed to drive
America’s exaggerated energy needs.

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By David McElroy, December 13, 2010 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Freedom is often celebrated by those enjoying its fruits, but who were too timid to join those valiant souls who purchased self-determination with their blood, sweat, and tears. May God give us the courage to remember the cost of fighting evil today is always less than the cost of fighting evil tomorrow. We must remember freedom fighters and vigilantes with laurels in seeking renewed revolution against global tyranny by murderous, thieving oligarchs and tin horn despots!
Live free or die trying… for the children!

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By balkas, December 13, 2010 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

socialist in china and former SU have punished only a minority of people, say,
000001% of their pop.
the minority in china, S.U.  wanted to punish the rest of the pop by re-
rendering people serfs and meat for wars.

in u.s a minority of people are hurting majority. so, it is all about whose bull is
gored.

true, people had to kill lots of fascists in order to get going on building a new
structure of society.
let’s face one fact: addiction to owning people in russia, israel, jordan, 
u.s will never go away by pleading for change.

only an antipodal econo-military-governmental power can confront and defeat
present ruling power in u.s or anywhere else.

no movement, wikileaks, organization, think tank wld suffice.  in fact, such
phenomena merely bolster owners of people. tnx

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By MrWebster, December 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For decades the people in a small Lithuanian village would secretly plant crosses on a nearby hill to show their rebellion to Soviet occupation.  This hill was later known as the Hill of Crosses.

I believe this happened also in some parts of Poland.  The authorities gave up posting guards and removing the crosses at a certain point—I guess at that point they lost. 

One time when a people’s catholicism was a guiding moral force for freedom.  Too bad the priests and pope took it over with the last Pope lecturing down bishops who fought for social justice in Latin America.

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By PrematureFactulation, December 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is right, of course. I hope this demonstration is the first of many.

I have just one suggestion to improve the demonstration. In the spring of 2002 a
group of Mexicans stripped naked and danced in the cold rain to protest
government seizure of their lands. It worked. This is reminiscent of the Canadian
Doukhobors who also had success protesting in the nude. What do you think,
Chris?

Now, we obviously have to keep the right-wing from finding out about this.
Imagine how powerful it would be if Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes and Bill Bennett
started doing nude protests! We’d given them whatever they wanted to stop!

But seriously, I would love to attend a demonstration in Seattle (clothed).

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By balkas, December 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

we have only two choices regarding the kinds of societies we wish to develop: at the end of their
development, an ideal fascist [or ideally master-serf structure of society]  or an
ideally idyllic structure of society.

as such, it wld have no jails, prostitution, the oldest profession [deceiving],
waste of resources, wars of aggression, spies, unemployment, private ownership
of resources, etc. 

the rule wld be timocratic and pantisocratic [latter not in an utopian sense];  in
which people wld vote not only for what they are for, but also what they are
against.

and in recent u.s ‘election’, as in many others, americans don’t even vote for a
yes or no—they just vote for a person; his-her political ‘promises’. tnx

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By David McElroy, December 13, 2010 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The price of freedom is often paid in blood and tears by those valiant souls who fall defying tyrants. The laurels they won belatedly are bestowed by many too timid to have joined them in their hour of need. We should remember the cost of acting now is much less than the cost of acting later against evil tyrants.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, December 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette:

I thought he was talking about political openeness not economic equality. Did I misunderstand him?

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By Anarcissie, December 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Balkas—here in America, those who have eyes to see and ears to hear (not too many) are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

It is sadly true that the demise of one brand of piggery usually just gives opportunity for another to arise.  However, we can work on that problem as well as on getting rid of the current team of pigs.  So also elsewhere.

In any case it is nice that Hedges sees some break in the total gloom that normally surrounds him.  We must encourage this.

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By balkas, December 13, 2010 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

true, there arose social changes in communist lands.  all were welcomed by
supremacists.

in yugoslavia, abolition of its structure of society in ‘80 brought us serb terror
and four serb aggressions.
and a super class of people taking over the power. all the e.european lands now
send boys to afgh’n to serve the interest of the supremacists world-over.

the change [and i may add for much worse conditions] brought change to
america.
it became more unequal in the structure of governance and society.
the change resulted in more ill-treatment of pal’ns; invasions of several more
countries.
it brought death to at least a mn innocent civilians world-over.
with no end to carnage in sight!

all this does not occlude possibility that americans can come up with own
change.
i am merely pointing out to hedge’s praise in change from socialism to fascism.
tnx

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Gulam's avatar

By Gulam, December 13, 2010 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

I have received Bernie’s mailings for decades. Yes, he is a hot dog on economic
justice, but I cannot recall ever hearing him say anything about justice for the
Palestinians or voice any sustained criticism of Israel. He has remarkably little to
say about America’s war against Islam, egged on by Zionism.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, December 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

“We may feel, in the face of the ruthless corporate destruction of our nation, our culture, and our ecosystem, powerless and weak. But we are not. We have a power that terrifies the corporate state.”—Chris Hedges - Truthdig Blog ‘No Act of Rebellion Is Wasted’ Posted on Dec 13, 2010

Rebellion as a class and culture will not be effective unless those rebelling separate as a class and culture from that class and culture that is being rebelled against and start the process of being class and culturally self sufficient within their own class and culture, rather than dependent upon other classes and cultures and subject to the legislated law and order of competing classes and cultures that are not their own.

Contention without a “political agenda” will do no more than get you killed as a criminal, but if you are killed in representation of a “political movement” you are a martyr to the movement.

Here in the United States the American Populace have subjective life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all and consent to being represented as children by the classes and cultures of the American Aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order; this must end if class and cultural rebellion is to flower into class and cultural revolution that will represent the American Populace as a 70% Majority Common Population in the United States in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order that will represent the American Populace as a class and culture, rather than as individuals pursuing individual subjective life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all without objective class and cultural representation in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order in the legislature and government of the United States.

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sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, December 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

each time news brings things of unfairness from big shots…
and more lives and resources lay wasting away somewhere…
may your conscience be the wikileaks inside your own mind…
to either expose to you a hypocrite or show a human who cares!...

the best of wishes’n'ways’n'todays for fair’n'square and caring!... smile

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By let down american, December 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

plug your representatives phone lines on the 16th let them know we are watching,tell you friends to call if they can’t make the rally. it’s a start keep there line plugged call daily once an hour, it’s something.

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By migisan, December 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

regime change begins at home

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By gerard, December 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

We understand what we want to understand. When the crunch comes, as it
appears to have done, we do what we do on the basis of our understanding.  If we
don’t understand, we don’t do anything—particularly if there’s any risk involved.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, December 13, 2010 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

narf

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