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This Country Needs a Few Good Communists

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Posted on May 31, 2010
AP / Elizabeth Dalziel

By Chris Hedges

The witch hunts against communists in the United States were used to silence socialists, anarchists, pacifists and all those who defied the abuses of capitalism. Those “anti-Red” actions were devastating blows to the political health of the country. The communists spoke the language of class war. They understood that Wall Street, along with corporations such as British Petroleum, is the enemy. They offered a broad social vision which allowed even the non-communist left to employ a vocabulary that made sense of the destructive impulses of capitalism. But once the Communist Party, along with other radical movements, was eradicated as a social and political force, once the liberal class took government-imposed loyalty oaths and collaborated in the witch hunts for phantom communist agents, we were robbed of the ability to make sense of our struggle. We became fearful, timid and ineffectual. We lost our voice and became part of the corporate structure we should have been dismantling.

Hope in this age of bankrupt capitalism will come with the return of the language of class conflict. It does not mean we have to agree with Karl Marx, who advocated violence and whose worship of the state as a utopian mechanism led to another form of enslavement of the working class, but we have to speak in the vocabulary Marx employed. We have to grasp, as Marx did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill and lie to make money. They throw poor families out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars to make profits, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, loot the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship only money and power. And, as Marx knew, unfettered capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself. The nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico is the perfect metaphor for the corporate state. It is the same nightmare seen in postindustrial pockets from the old mill towns in New England to the abandoned steel mills in Ohio. It is a nightmare that Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans, mourning their dead, live each day. 

Capitalism was once viewed in America as a system that had to be fought. But capitalism is no longer challenged. And so, even as Wall Street steals billions of taxpayer dollars and the Gulf of Mexico is turned into a toxic swamp, we do not know what to do or say. We decry the excesses of capitalism without demanding a dismantling of the corporate state. The liberal class has a misguided loyalty, illustrated by environmental groups that have refused to excoriate the Obama White House over the ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Liberals bow before a Democratic Party that ignores them and does the bidding of corporations. The reflexive deference to the Democrats by the liberal class is the result of cowardice and fear. It is also the result of an infantile understanding of the mechanisms of power. The divide is not between Republican and Democrat. It is a divide between the corporate state and the citizen. It is a divide between capitalists and workers. And, for all the failings of the communists, they got it. 

Unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class warfare and filled with those who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated partners of the capitalist class. They have been reduced to simple bartering tools. The social demands of unions early in the 20th century that gave the working class weekends off, the right to strike, the eight-hour day and Social Security have been abandoned. Universities, especially in political science and economics departments, parrot the discredited ideology of unregulated capitalism and have no new ideas. Artistic expression, along with most religious worship, is largely self-absorbed narcissism. The Democratic Party and the press have become corporate servants. The loss of radicals within the labor movement, the Democratic Party, the arts, the church and the universities has obliterated one of the most important counterweights to the corporate state. And the purging of those radicals has left us unable to make sense of what is happening to us.

The fear of communism, like the fear of Islamic terrorism, has resulted in the steady suspension of civil liberties, including freedom of speech, habeas corpus and the right to organize, values the liberal class claims to support. It was the orchestration of fear that permitted the capitalist class to ram through the Taft-Hartley Act in 1948 in the name of anti-communism, the most destructive legislative blow to the working class until the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It was fear that created the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, offshore penal colonies where we torture and the endless wars in the Middle East. And it was fear that was used to see us fleeced by Wall Street. If we do not stop being afraid and name our enemy we will continue toward a state of neofeudalism.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 31, 2010 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment

Hammond Eggs, May 31 at 10:29 pm,

Fantasy is correct——the American Dream is exactly what it says, a dream that the populace can chase, liked greyhounds running track, thinking that they are going to pretty soon catch their rabbit, so they run until they run themselves to death pursuing their dream not knowing that it is only a rabbit hide on a block of wood, like the American jingoism propaganda dream that controls the populace through debt up to their ears, all their lives, where the populace are never able to outright own their own new homes or new cars,  only get to keep up interest payments to the bankers and be thankful they got that, which makes them no problem for the oppressive status quo.

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By Hammond Eggs, May 31, 2010 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

The most common and widespread fantasy in the United States is to become rich and celebrated.  The millions upon millions who vigorously dream this diseased dream will take that fantasy to their graves which they have dug for themselves, their children and their nation.

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By Wally, May 31, 2010 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amen RAE. I dumped my tv cable service six years ago. It was the best thing I ever did for myself and my wallet.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 31, 2010 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

midwet hippy, May 31 at 8:42 pm,

Sounds like a plan.  Organize, agitate, strike,  and make change in
the system now, but 1st one must know just what that change will be, we must do better than Pancho Villa.  Pancho Villa knew how to take over the country, but he had no idea how to run the country, hence the people who did, just maneuvered their way around him; like the DLC did Howard Dean and took over everything Governor Dean had accomplished.  Governor Dean is a different kind of warrior, but the result was the same.

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By Sunshine Jim, May 31, 2010 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

”What this country really needs is more good producers/makers and less consumers/takers.
Come on, show of hands: How many of you think you would personally be better off if Goldman Sachs ceased to exist?
Would your welfare checks be bigger?
Would your medical care be better and cheaper?
Would your food stamps buy more?
Would the clothing coop have a better selection?
Would the handful of you who actually have a job be paid more?

i have a better, more relevant question.

Would we have less accumulated debt that our children will be paying off?

( i love these “one size fits all” rants. personally i put my faith in the exceptions to the rule and “murphy factor” details)

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By Shift, May 31, 2010 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

Nah Chris!  No communists are needed, no revolution required, no violence at all is called for.  Today’s America is a self defeating enterprise.  One only need step back and watch it self-destruct. The bailout pails are inadequate to keep the ship afloat. The ship is besotted with greed, corruption, and moral degradation. People have chosen death over life.  There are no life boats, only death boats.  It’s a long night before a new dawn.

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By Sunshine Jim, May 31, 2010 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i have thought that we needed a “working class” party for several decades now.

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By nemesis2010, May 31, 2010 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

By rfidler, May 31 at 6:50 pm

”What this country really needs is more good producers/makers and less consumers/takers.
Come on, show of hands: How many of you think you would personally be better off if Goldman Sachs ceased to exist?
Would your welfare checks be bigger?
Would your medical care be better and cheaper?
Would your food stamps buy more?
Would the clothing coop have a better selection?
Would the handful of you who actually have a job be paid more?”

Is that you Rush?

The demise of Goldman Sachs would have no immediate effect on most of us rfidler.

You’re supposedly a conservative and proponent of free-market values. Doesn’t that ideology say that those companies that aren’t competitive are going to fail? Why should Goldman Sachs be rewarded for failing? Why shouldn’t it be allowed to fail? Doesn’t free-market economic theory say that winners will come in to meet the need of the market that the failure of Goldman Sachs would create? Isn’t Goldman Sachs being bailed out by the government akin to the government punishing those who haven’t mismanaged their companies? Goldman Sachs not being allowed to fail punished other well-managed institutions and prevented them from filling the need in the market place that its bankruptcy would have created. Since there was no other institution big enough to meet the need single-handedly it would have been filled with many institutions creating a more competitive market. As a conservative aren’t you supposed to be pro-competition and for that invisible hand? The U.S. Treasury, the Fed, and the taxpayers aren’t the invisible hand; they’re corporate socialism.

How do you propose to maintain a consumerist debt economy with fewer consumers? And what products would you have us produce? Are you aware that almost the entirety of our manufacturing base has been shipped to other countries? Where do you propose we obtain the capital to rebuild our no longer existent manufacturing base? Where will we get the energy to power the plants? How low a pay scale would Americans have to accept in order to compete against countries like China and India on the world market?

You’re a typical conservative; you think as deep as the kiddie pool. 

”The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
—John Kenneth Galbraith

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Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, May 31, 2010 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

mrfreeze

Sounds like you didn’t do too well running your own company. Maybe it’s because the deck was and is stacked against you. I can give you a great example of how an entire town was formed, and thrived from the 1860s until the 1970s. Not that there weren’t problems along the way, but its ultimate demise was too much government interference and needless regulations.

The Founder’s Story


http://www.vineland.org/history/block/history/history.htm

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LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, May 31, 2010 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

Hey Fat Freddy,

See if you can bum a joint from Freewheelin’ Franklin and mellow out.

You’ve got about as much on common with the ruling class as your famous cat….

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By midwest hippy, May 31, 2010 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

Hell yes….and judging from many of the comments Chris
is spot on.Instead of taking time to realize the true
point of the fact that it is the radical and organizer
that can make some change . Most have chosen to totally
prove the argument as true,by parroting the same old
mantra.  My answer organize agitated strike and change
the system now.

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Clash's avatar

By Clash, May 31, 2010 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

The Nobel Lie, used for century’s to organize and direct the social economic affairs of society by the ruling class is not unlike all lies, difficult to maintain without the use of ever more complicated lies. Mistrust is at the core of this rotting culture, and has broken the mirror of trust, now even when the mirror is is glued together again we still see the cracks.

The myth, a social contract that has never existed, enforced by the violence of the the state, all for the “common good”. A redefinition of the same sate will not automatically bring social justice as fairness to be. There must be first a concerted effort to distance ourselves from the multitude of lies on which the foundations of this society are built, then those who propagate them. Until that time we are bound to the repetition of of control used by the ruling elite.

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By hen/egg, May 31, 2010 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“It beckons to them…within its sphere” Howe

[servant] “To be call’d into a huge sphere and not
to be seen to move in’t are the holes where eyes
should be, which pitifully disaster the cheeks.”

The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra   W.S.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, May 31, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

rfidler, May 31 at 6:50 pm:
‘What this country really needs is more good producers/makers and less consumers/takers. ...’

Can’t have one without the other.  High and constantly-expanding consumption (“growth”) is critical to capitalism.  Without consumption (including waste and war as well as consumer activity) production has nowhere to go and the role of the capitalist as manager of production-consumption diminishes and disappears.  The initial stages of this development is called “depression” and is cause for great anxiety on the part of capitalism’s politicians.

As for Goldman Sachs, people would be better off without the thing that makes Goldman Sachs appear necessary to them.  Goldman Sachs is simply serving desires; it’s the desires that are the problem.  If we eliminated them today, someone like them would be doing the same things tomorrow.

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, May 31, 2010 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

Vic Smyth wrote, in part: “...if you’re a little fish, stay clear of the big fish.”

My philosophy EXACTLY.

While “Tiananmen Square”/David & Goliath confrontations occasionally work that’s not the way to bet. It’s far less stressful to avoid the battles where your chances of winning are slim and none.

There is so much conniving and collusion going on in the back rooms of Big Corpa, the “little fish” has almost no chance to succeed in any contest with them.

The trouble is that by the time you overcome your societal conditioning (you know… “never give up”... “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”... and so on…) and learn just how high the cards are stacked against you, you’re too burned out and jaded to give a damn.

If you want my advice… and I know you didn’t ask for it… SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE. Reduce your wants until they almost match your needs, get out of and stay out of ALL debt, eliminate all credit card purchases that you can’t clear at the end of the month with cash, and move to hell away from any community over 1,000 population, preferably much smaller.

Oh ya… get rid of TV. Our big screen blew up in February so rather than lay out another $1,000 to replace it, and continue on with the $75/month sallelite TV service for 200 channels of garbage, we cancelled the satellite and do not plan to replace the TV. WE DON’T MISS IT ONE BIT.

You don’t need 75% of the garbage (and the 75% of your income it takes to support it) in your life. The earlier you learn that lesson the better off you will be.

Those who understand and agree don’t need to hear this from me… and those who don’t understand or agree, well… enjoy your harness! BIG CORPA THANKS YOU. Their existence depends on your addiction to their toys and nonsense!

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By Nobody, May 31, 2010 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Response to rfidler:

The problem with Goldman Sachs, and with the current structure of our
economy, is that it is fundamentally unproductive.

So yes, life would be improved considerably by the absence of Goldman Sachs,
and other blood-sucking vampires coiled….etc etc I can’t remember the rest.

Goldman Sachs makes no contribution to welfare checks, medical care, food
stamps, clothing coop, salary. It doesn’t pay tax, and the benefits of its
activities accrue only to its shareholders and owners.

Until something goes wrong, of course. Then, indeed, our welfare checks,
medical care, food stamps etc will most certainly suffer.

The value of productivity is not always expressed in economic form.

I’m paid to think - you should try it some time - and one thing I think is that
our economic model is fatally flawed. It attempts to establish laws and rules
based on bogus concepts like “utility” while avoiding the massive implications
of things like externalities.

Check out the emerging economies, who are now demanding social
businesses, where profit is not the (only) motive.

Let me ask you this: If the objective of your life is to amass lots and lots of profit, what will you ultimately do with it? Hand it on to your children? That’s a fine plan - but what is the point of that inheritance if its price is a collapsed world order, a
destroyed environment, and social anarchy?

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, May 31, 2010 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

What this country really needs is more good producers/makers and less consumers/takers.

Come on, show of hands: How many of you think you would personally be better off if Goldman Sachs ceased to exist?

Would your welfare checks be bigger?
Would your medical care be better and cheaper?
Would your food stamps buy more?
Would the clothing coop have a better selection?
Would the handful of you who actually have a job be paid more?

Report this

By openeyes, May 31, 2010 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Capitalism does work—in local economies. But nationally and globally it is a nightmare. Why? Because corporations lobby the government and it is no longer for the people by the people, but buy the people.
Successful SMALL LOCAL businesses or Communism are the only solutions. If you don’t want to see a communist revolution then stop supporting the corporate states of america and stop voting in career politicians who have fingers in big corporate pies.
Giants have a lot further to fall, and blind “laissez faire” corpatalists are horses with blinders on.

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By TKC, May 31, 2010 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Industrialism, not capitalism or communism, led us to our current mess. 
Industrialism may have its roots in primitive capitalism, but it has taken many
forms, all bad.  Whether you use the ideological lipstick of capitalism or
communism, you get the same destructive industrialism. 

The industrial form dehumanizes us.  It forces us into unnatural patterns and
associations.  It turns us gray and dulls our emotions.  It turns us into cogs in
one great machine, instead of gregarious, verbal, emotional beings.

It has given us polluted rivers, lakes, streams, sky, and of course the gulf
disaster.  It feeds us packaged gruel loadedl with pesticides and herbicides.  It
turned farming into an industry involving the enslavement and mass murder of
billions of sentient beings.  It has destroyed the health of millions of people
and created the epidemic of cancer and other previously rare diseases.

Whatever we want—wealth, happiness, family, or any other value that appeals
to you—I believe few of us want the polluted destructive mess we have today.

We shit in our water and call it sanitation.  We then “purify” it in giant industrial
plants and dump the remaining toxic sludge back into the industrial farming
industry.

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By Anne, May 31, 2010 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Marx said the communism will first appear in the most developed societies. So maybe we are not ‘there’ yet. Or maybe we are, but we do not know yet.

SSSR, China and EE were not the communist societies in the strictly Marx’s term. The countries, as you know, were stricken by poverty and hunger. But they were very efficient in those issues (feeding population and resolving the poverty).

However, they failed to provide Mercedeses and Versace shirts and people were unhappy and didn’t feel like working and the corruption came and whether you-were-working-or-not-you-would-always-got-‘C’ attitude emotionally killed us all.

But, going back to Marx—- he did make one mistake. He believed the economic power would change the workers social consciousness which/who will ultimately change and revolutionized the system itself and give more power to the people.

Hah. Nope, dear Karl and dear Chris. Ain’t no happen. 

The economic power makes people unconscious; the consumer consumption (Marx’s Sector II) is fed by unconscious transfixed population which always need more and more (consumer goods). The system (capitalism) is a perfection which is perpetually feeding itself.

A new car (Mercedes) makes us dumber not smarter (or more socially conscious) because we had to sell our free time, our soul, free will, right to Amendment 1 and 5 etc.; don’t have to tell you that. 

So 18 to 19 century Marx thought we would free ourselves; he couldn’t know we would not have a choice but to be further enslaved.

He said we were monkeys who climbed down from the tree and became the humans because the pure joy of being productive. Hah. It maybe that we climbed down from the tree attracted by some shiny object.

We would never know.

Going back to the Chris’s article—do we really need Marxists (a communist in the Marx term) in today’s society.

Chris, according to Marx definition, we are in communism. We give what we are capable of and we get back randomly some letter (not ‘C’ for everyone as it was in those communist regimes), but we get back (according to the psychologists) what we (unconsciously) think we deserve; and because we do not know how to think consciously; we have got exactly we need.

So US is a communist country (in the Marx terms). It is just that no a single Economics department in US is studying Marx so no one knows yet…

Thank you for touching this subject.

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By Nobody, May 31, 2010 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“We cannot fight what we cannot describe.”

It’s worse than that. It’s linguistic truth that we cannot think what we cannot
express. And we cannot express what we cannot think. Expression is the basis
of thought, and vice versa.

So our poor schools and ever-larger televisions spewing forth a never-ending
stream of drivel and propaganda are reducing us to slaves incapable of
conceiving of self-determination.

The point is not that we want to dismantle the corporate state because we have
received an unfair share of the spoils - the point is that the spoils are
worthless. One must be practical, of course, but it still is true that the best
things in life are free. The problem is that value has become detached from
price.

We live in a society that knows the price of everything and the value of
nothing, and soon we’ll be too stupid to understand the difference.

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By radson, May 31, 2010 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

The word Communism or Community if you wish ,has become a sort of taboo in the lingo of opposing ideologies .Lenin and his cronies adapted the term and then warped it beyond all recognition and then Piss Eyes
morphed it into a indescribable horror story.The concept in itself ‘community’ is a valid societal structure that can be more balanced with regard to the entire spectrum of citizenry as compared to what is being
promoted at the moment -which in essence - has been going on for hundreds of years ,the imperial capitalistic warmongering mentality.The donkey and the elephant have adopted Whitehall’s doctrine with
gusto about a hundred years ago ,but there’re not the only one’s ,the dominate countries of Europe have been striving on the exploitation of other lands and their indigenous peoples for centuries.Thereby ensuring
the dominance of the West and the hell with the rest-typical mind set- which still prevails today ,yet the looming problem is the demographics of the Planet which is rising continuously and the quest for money and
material that these same capitalist are promoting is actually becoming a serious detriment to the corporatist ,in the form of a slow death as the Earth’s resources are being depleted with mathematical certainty.The
entire concept of unfettered capitalism is a dead end street ,or a biblical cliff ,somewhat like Jared Diamonds theory of Easter Island ,but on a global scale.Whatever hope that might exist may lie in Consolidation
a sort of Renaissance ,where the World actually slows down ,because continual growth is only going to accelerate the demise -homo domesticus -has probably already redlined her Mother .

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By nemesis2010, May 31, 2010 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

By Fat Freddy, May 31 at 1:28 pm

”I am an employer, do you think you can run my business any better than I do? If so, maybe you should start your own business and prove it to me. Put me out of business.”

It’s not the small businesses that are at the heart of the problem. It’s Big Corp, Big Oil, Big Pharma, And MutliNat Corp.

All the while the nation is being forced-fed the “free-market” mantra the aforementioned Big Corps do everything in their power to assure that there is anything but a free-market. There is no free market nor do the Big Corps believe in a free-market. They believe in oligopoly, monopoly and corporate socialism.

Perhaps LostHills cannot run your company as well as you but I guarantee you that he could do at least as well as all those stuffed shirts that have bankrupted their banks on Wall Street and are rewarded with multimillion dollar bonuses, corporate jets, $120,000 carpets, toilets, etc. Hell any drunk off the street can bankrupt a company and for a helluva lot less; a few bottles of cheap wine.

There is a serious problem when the super-wealthy can have 5 or 6 mansions, private aircraft, tens of classic cars, multimillion dollar bonuses for failure and working stiffs are forced to have their spouses work while holding down two jobs just to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table and purchase a half decent education for their children. That’s bullshit!

If you’re playing any sport with double the players allowed for the opposition that doesn’t make you better, it’s only means that you’ve an unfair advantage. Those stooges that run Big Corp see to it that they never have to face true competition because they know they’ll lose to much brighter and more highly competitive people.

Everyone needs to relax. It’s over.

This is rather long (1:17:37) but well worth the watch:

The End of Suburbia
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1565781220895046117&hl=en#

”Things that can’t go on forever, don’t.” –Herbert Stein

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By vic smyth, May 31, 2010 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Big fish eat little fish. Throughout all of history in every culture this is what happens. It probably happens in your own workplace, in your own home. It’s human nature.

How to change this so that big fish cooperate with little fish and all coexist in harmony? Change human nature.

Until someone figures out how to do this, if you’re a little fish, stay clear of the big fish.

Little Fish

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By Inherit The Wind, May 31, 2010 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

kerryrose, May 31 at 2:10 pm #

Inherit The Wind:

AMAZON is selling the book USED for $80.  Churchill is lucky if he gets any of the proceeds.  Do you think Churchill sets the price at Amazon?

Maybe you are naive?
*******************************

No, I just don’t give a shit.  Obviously, you are a superior human being to me. I’ll bet you’re more egalitarian than me, too.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, May 31, 2010 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy - Ah, the conceit of the “business class” of Americans who believe in the “free market” capitalism and “working hard.”

I have run my own business as well and, unlike you, I can see both the good and bad side of capitalism. Your rhetoric is nothing profound. It smacks of fetishism and religion. There is nothing sacrosanct about capitalism. It’s an economic system, not a faith.

As for your idea that free markets are the answer: please give us a real-life example of your fantasy. We’ll be thrilled to hear it.

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By derp, May 31, 2010 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

http://www.sp-usa.org/

http://eng.anarchopedia.org/List_of_Left-
Wing_Parties_in_the_United_States

Enjoy!

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By gerard, May 31, 2010 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

Hedges certainly has perfected the art of writing to invite comment!  Week after week he comes up with provoking critiques that call out both the best and the worst in a variety of people.  Congratulations, Chris!

If he knew just a little bit more about the essentials of non-violent social/political action—history, strengths, requirements, mistakes, successes—he could be more helpful (if he so wished) in opening a ray of light at the end of our many tunnels.  That would make him an inspired writer more than a critic. 

Maybe if TD could find and pick up an essay on what went into the current Gaza shipment in the way of commitment, cooperation, determination to resist peaceably—day by day through months of preparation—the faith in humanity required, the insistence on universal human rights, the willingness to risk one’s own life, the patience, the understanding of opponents’ points of view —all of it.  No picnic, that.  No stroll in the politico/economic park. And no turning back.

Actions like this contain the holiest ingredients of the human soul.  There lies the hope for the future.

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By Theo, May 31, 2010 at 10:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ironically, while urging the formulation of an anti-capitalist
consciousness, Chris continues to employ the capitalist world’s
opportunistic understanding of Marx’s theory.  I think he would profit by
reading the still-in-process hypothetical debate between Machiavelli and
Marx found at: <http://truthandpolitics.wordpress.com>

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kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, May 31, 2010 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind:

AMAZON is selling the book USED for $80.  Churchill is lucky if he gets any of the proceeds.  Do you think Churchill sets the price at Amazon? 

Maybe you are naive?

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By Time Ghost, May 31, 2010 at 10:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This country needs a few good Anarchists.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, May 31, 2010 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy, May 31 at 1:19 pm:
’... Communism proved that a society can not be truly economically Egalitarian, because there will always need to be a group of “select” individuals to make all of the necessary decisions for the overall good of the society. There will always need to be a ruling class. ...’

I don’t see why.

Incidentally, Communism, if you’re talking about such as the Soviet Union, didn’t prove anything except that fascism doesn’t work very well, which we already know from innumerable experiments with it before and since.  The Communist Parties organized on the Leninist model were not communistic, they were not even socialist; they were precisely examples of a select few making all the decisions for the greater good of their societies.  Their conception of the greater good, that is.

Liberals may consign the state to a fascistic ruling class, but up until now they have mostly favored a little space for the private individual.  Let’s credit them with that.

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By Fat Freddy, May 31, 2010 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

LostHills,

What on Earth makes you believe that the “working class” can run things any better than the “employing class”? I am an employer, do you think you can run my business any better than I do? If so, maybe you should start your own business and prove it to me. Put me out of business. But you will need to sacrifice, and save your money, like I did. Reinvest profits, instead of blowing them at the bar. That means no iPads. You will need to work harder than you ever have in your entire life. Do you think you can handle that, or should someone just give it to you for nothing, or maybe you can come and take it from me. Talk about being greedy. Such a greedy person could never run a company, unless he had help from the government.

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By Fat Freddy, May 31, 2010 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

I used to be a liberal. That is, until I found out that liberals simply don’t have a clue. They have almost no understanding of economics or finance, and certainly no understanding of business, whatsoever, but yet, they define themselves as intellectuals.

They define Corporatism as unbridled, free market Capitalism. Nothing could further from the truth. Corporatism is collusion between the rich and the powerful at the expense of consumers and entrepreneurs. They do not seem to realize that people have, not only a right, but a need to pursue, the free trade of goods and services. It was the Mercantilism and Colonialism policies of the European Monarchies that shed light on that fact.

Communism proved that a society can not be truly economically Egalitarian, because there will always need to be a group of “select” individuals to make all of the necessary decisions for the overall good of the society. There will always need to be a ruling class.

Social Democracy, is not the answer either. Social Democracy only presents more of an opportunity for collusion than the current system we have now. It also bankrupts entire countries, such as Greece and Argentina and soon to be, Spain and Portugal, and all of the other smaller EU nations. It overloads the public sector, which is inherently non-productive, with high paying, high benefit jobs. It also rewards able bodied people for doing nothing, if they so choose. Even the Social Capitalist policies of Sweden seem to be ineffectual, because it still encourages people to be unproductive thus, creates a drain on society. Which is why Ikea has moved many of its manufacturing plants to the lower wage country of Poland.

It is not the free exchange of goods and services that is responsible for all of the inequities of society, it is government intervention and coercion that is responsible. Every new regulation that is passed, is another nail in the coffin of the entrepreneur, and the monopolistic corporations understand this. Every time the FDIC steps in and hands over an insolvent, small or medium sized bank to a big bank, it hurts all of the other smaller banks. Of course, there needs to be certain rules and regulations, and the government should be responsible for enforcing those rules (although Murray Rothbard made a good argument that the government should not have a monopoly on enforcement), but the problem is, government always ends up granting some sort of favoritism to certain firms. The government, any government, always does.  Free market entrepreneurs understand this. You need look no further than some of the institutions that they created, such as the FDIC and the Federal Reserve system, at the behest of greedy Capitalists, to understand this. These institutions do not protect, repeat, do not protect consumers, they protect large, monopolistic, fraudulent banks.

No, I believe to fight the inequities of society, one needs to speak the language of free markets, truly free markets, such as: Audit the Fed, fractional reserve banking, entrepreneurship, regulatory capture, and creative destruction, to name a few. It scares the shit out of big bankers with the mere mention of audit the fed, or even worse, End the Fed. Our entire banking system is built on fraud, thus our entire economy is fraudulent. We need not change the governemnt, we need to change the system, and make it easier for the start up entrepreneur to flourish and provide the necessary free market competition to the big monopolistic corporations that the government helped to create. Instead of 2 or 3 large corporate farms, how about 100 or 200 smaller farms? Instead of 5 banks controlling 40% of all assets, why not allow the 8,100 other banks the freedom to actively compete, ans allow the big ones to fail?

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By LostHills, May 31, 2010 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can
be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working
people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of
life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world
organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage
system, and live in harmony with the Earth.”

IWW Constitution

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By dcrimso, May 31, 2010 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

E.Cioran once said something to the effect that to change a system, you had to help that system run its course before it would morph into something else.  His suggestion?  Become the best consumer you could be.  But the larger and more profound truth in his words is that the systems man has created have taken on a life of their own.  We can no more change “Capitalism”, than we can change the direction of spin of the Earth.  Hedges’ romanticism is very pleasant to listen to, just as Bach is.  But conscious human direction in this World is no longer effective nor potent.

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By phreedom, May 31, 2010 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

Thank You Chris,

Ah Ha!

Yes, the lost, and made dangerous, language of
reality,,,,the forbidden dictionary of words needed
to accurately describe the problems that confront the
devastation of society from capitalism running amok,
and shotgun.

I often tell my wife, that I read such varying books,
and seemingly heady books, to find a vocabulary which
helps describe the current prison of popular reality,
its’ currently articulatively restrictive form, well,
that I do so in order to make my escape. How did the
march to freedom and understanding become a dead
science, relegated to some kind of linguistical
archeology, as if enlightenment can be found only in
the fossil records of a long dead culture or society,
or mind set, to be considered primitive and obsolete.

To diminish ammunitive language, that loads the
arsenal standing guard against widespread human
enlightenment, is to stockpile hope in the form of
[removed]language) that can endure, rise above and
surpass even the most leveraged forces demanding
collusion to suppress freedom, well, such an effort
to diminish this choke hold is worthwhile and
necessary despite the threat to current resource
allocation.

Or, to put it in the language of faith in human
beings, “to pursue the impossible but necessary”,
versus in the current and predominant language of
faith in profit, “to not pursue the necessarily
possible”.

You really cannot tell people what they don’t know
with the language of what they know, or have been
confined to.

Thanks again Chris, enemies of freedom are enemies of
words, enemies of words that loosen the strangle hold
they enjoy administering so often, and out of hand.

The words might be out of bag now.

Rhuen Phreed
11 Marlborough Street, #22
Boston, MA 02116

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By PoeticJustice, May 31, 2010 at 8:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges,

A theory of (intellectual) relativity:

“The man with a monkey wrench is anonymous until he throws it into the machinery.”

“The eighteenth-century invisible hand has produced a twentieth-century shadow.”

“...and one reason why capitalism is now faltering is the refusal of many of its beneficiaries to accept its full implications.”

George P. Adams, Jr.
Competitive Economic Systems
1955
p. 44, 57, 60.

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By Anarcissie, May 31, 2010 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

C.Curtis.Dillon, May 31 at 6:46 am:
‘You touch on several important points.  One, the idea of a “conservative university” is an oxymoron.  Universities only perform their function when radical ideas are allowed and encouraged to flourish.  In my university days, we had protests against Vietnam and the corporate state.  Shortly after I left, everything changed and the students only cared about graduating and not getting in trouble. ...’

It hardly make sense for the ruling class to maintain large, expensive institutions which will oppose and impede their purposes.  The ‘60s were a peculiar time in which the r.c. seemed to have a collective nervous breakdown, possibly due to the Civil Rights movement, but things were pretty much back on track ten years or so later.  Before then and since then, as one might expect, the academic system has acted as a class and ideology filter and a place to sequester important information, and its great opponent now is the Internet.

If Hedges is hanging around universities, it’s no wonder he doesn’t see anything happening.  He should get out more; the U.S. is full of radical groups.  Some are communists, some are anarchists, some are right-wing.  There is no lack of ideas and no lack of communication.  It is true that as of the moment no idea’s time has come, but when it does, the last place it’s going to happen is at large, important bourgeois institutions.

Meanwhile the dear ruling class seems to be headed towards another catastrophe, which paradoxically may keep them around longer than we might hope.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 31, 2010 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

rfidler, May 31 at 11:43 am #

kerryrose:
Ward Churchill is selling a book for 80 BUCKS! Are you serious? He’s a capitalist thief!!

That’s simply self-censorship!

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By stradivarius, May 31, 2010 at 8:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

An excellent analysis of the crucial role played by advertising on the psyche of our
society is offered by Professor Sut Jhally at the University of Massachusetts in his
article, “Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse.”

http://www.sutjhally.com/articles/advertisingattheed/

This is an important piece. Highly recommended.

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By rico, suave, May 31, 2010 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

kerryrose:
Ward Churchill is selling a book for 80 BUCKS! Are you serious? He’s a capitalist thief!!

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By Ives, May 31, 2010 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

If anyone is curious about what Marx had to say about capitalism, there is a great online course on Marx’s Capital Volume 1 taught by David Harvey and available at davidharvey.org.

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By FreeWill, May 31, 2010 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

The “Neo-Revolution” has officially begun.  The first step in solving any problem is to define the problem. Hedges does that in this piece precisely.  Now… if only enough people would wake up to this reality before BP and the other Multinationals totally destroy the planet, in collusion with our puppet government.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 31, 2010 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges for one of the rare times has out-done himself, providing the most cogent article and thinking he written in a long time.  He makes solid supportable points again and again.

Corporations care about NOTHING but their own profits no matter how destructive it is. But he misses that the NEW emphasis for CEOs of quarter by quarter evaluation has set those corporations on the very road to destruction he predicts.

Still, I, too, see the movement to corporate baronial feudalism.  However, I see it far more as the goal of neo-conservatism than simply corporations.

Hedges suggestion of the use of Marx’s vocabulary rather than Marxism itself is intriguing.  Marx, after all, is the father of the sub-field of Economic History.  Yet one must be careful of this language or one simply sounds ridiculous and strident—and incapable of intelligent discussion, and more importantly, persuasion.  Merely read the litany of posts by Tennessee-Socialist to see that vocabulary of Marx rendered impotent.

But, as usual, CH deliberately ignores absolutely contradictory facts that are inconvenient.  He begins by discussing how the anti-Communist crusade shut down all dissent.  Yet it was during the backwash of that very un-American fascism that the Civil Rights Movement was catching fire and steam-rolling through American thought.  Remember: Brown v. Board is 1954—only a year after the Rosenbergs were executed on the flimsiest of evidence as nuclear traitors for the Soviet Union.

He also ignores the follow-on to the Civil Rights movement, the anti-Viet Nam War movement, which began as early as 1964 and changed the 60’s.

Hedges also states that the Labor movement of unions was abandoned.  This is absolutely false: It was MURDERED by the Republicans beginning with Ronald Reagan.  Reagan attacked PATCO and had the growing Right-wing chorus pound and pound on the American psyche that unions were “bad”. He then signed into law a HUGE tax incentive for corporations to move manufacturing off-shore, effectively KILLING the main industrial unions.  3.5 million union jobs in manufacturing were lost, and lost forever.  With them, unions were rendered ineffective.

Yet, for once, Hedges basic argument that unfettered, uncontrolled, unregulated Capitalism is as destructive as totalitarian State Socialism is a valid and supportable point.

As a usual vehement critic of Hedges here at TD, I was surprised, given the title, how fine, despite the flaws, a piece of analysis this is.  Kudos to Hedges from a surprised critic!

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By Mike789, May 31, 2010 at 6:22 am Link to this comment

Concur with Chris Hedges in his description of America’s vacuity of values. However, radicalism as conducted during the Sixties, that brand of untrammeled and chaotic liberalism, simply will not hold water in this highly integrated modern era. It’s too flippin’ late.
  I maintain that intellectual’s have a critical role to counterbalance the excesses of corporatism.  An approach that emphasizes the values of a meritocracy (what our Founding Fathers intended) and the Protestant work ethic that placed Mankind’s advancement over and above profit for the shear sake of profit rather than a radical push against an immovable wall of concerted power is the way to go.

  Hedges is a deeply scarred human being. He heart is in the right place but his mind seems no longer able to get footing. I do not blame him for his advocations, but as Jefferson Airplane once said, “Running fast, you’ll go down slow in the end.” He’s been burned and the effects are pronounced. The more he rails, the tougher the going will be. His approach will only serve to entrench vested interests.

  To change and enlighten people’s minds you have to give them the tools to reason. “This is your mind on drugs” may have held some social redeeming value, but, “This is your mindlessness” is even worse. Material wealth should be portrayed as secondary to intellectual prowess. If we can see through the fog of all the cloned, repetitious, commercialism to what it means in terms of human endeavor,
possession may not be an absolute necessity. E.g., twitter all day long. I’d like to know where it’s taking us. Are we witnessing a transition of language? Never twittered. Never will. Yet I’m not bereft in understanding the concept.

Finding the right amalgam of capitalism and well designed social programs to raise the level of awareness nationwide is more an adjustment of the way information is promulgated. Information that is better designed for clearly defined goals rather than simply the acquisition of material wealth may offer at least an approach to equilibrium. Right now the corporate model pushes sensationalism, but it’s soul-less because there is no underlying sense of direction of where it is taking us. One redeeming quality of our deficit of inherent value, what Hedges defines as the enemy, is nothing more than the raw material of mechanical thinking. It can be modified and turned about on it’s tail. The true sign of a master is the ability to take an experiential mistake and make a success of it.

Right now, natural and social disasters feed the profit motive “only” (Naiomi Klein). The predatory manner of approach to human tragedy, lauded as virtue, brings us to an appalling moral precipice. Actually, the real estate bubble collapse has left us clinging to a scrawny cliff-side tree that once represented our nation’s robust Charter Oak. Better hold on tight.

A modest vision of the future, where diversity and exchange of ideas, especially in a world of now recognized limited resources, is essential.

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By balkas, May 31, 2010 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

Hedges does not realize [or pretends not to know]that his statement: “marx advocated violence which led to enslavement of labor” is a conclusion and not a descriptive utterance nor a fact.

Now, i grant him that it is true that marx advocated violence, but that it led to enslavement of labor is a conclusion.

Communists in SU and e. europe enslaving labor? How- why is omitted. If it was true that the labor was enslaved, why was labor enslaved?
Wld it be in order to halt with building socialism and eventually restore the rule of the fascisto-plutocrats?

Or did these komunistas, whom world fascist and plutocrats hated deeply, selves wanted to become or became fascists?

But before all the above is elucidated, we still need to prove that the labor was enslaved and what actually enslavement meant.

Mind u, i do not think that he equates slavery-lynching-hatred for blacks in US with whatever it is komunistas in e. europe dished out to their workers.

In fact, there were many socialists and communists in e. europe who were ready to die for socialism building and supportive of tito, khrushchev, brezhnev,lenin, stalin, marx, et al.

I do not know the actual % of support for socialism for any e.european land. My estimate is that ab 30% of the respective pops were strongly socialistic.

I read croat’n media. I find that ab 40-50% of its pop still deeply love tito. Today’s croat’n prez, josipovich, had called tito great son of croatia and a historical figure.

Labor in e. europe enslaved??? tnx

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By Michael Kavanaugh, May 31, 2010 at 5:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris breaks the great taboo against saying anything positive about communism. Gutsy move. And necessary to break the spell cast to bury the truth and bind people in mindless conformity to sickening narratives supporting our dysfunctional status quo. Really free speech takes courage, and has power to liberate captive minds.

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By JenniferBedingfield, May 31, 2010 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

In Europe, I noticed a mixture of socialism and regulated capitalism. In this country, neither socialism nor regulated capitalism is given a chance. Right now, it seems that all of a sudden, the economy is turning around but for whom? We have corporate communism for the wealthy/corporate/military/religious elites but disaster “capitalism” against the working class on Main Street. I do not believe that a few good heroes will put this country on the road towards socialism for the people. Society has to get rid of the taboo on socialism, something that would have happened were the Great Depression were to last at least two decades.

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By Tobysgirl, May 31, 2010 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

I believe that the post-WWII anticommunist hysteria was fueled by the people who supported Nazi ideas in the thirties and were disconcerted to find us fighting the very regime they found appealing. When I heard FDR’s list of human rights in Michael Moore’s film (yes, FDR was no god) about capitalism, it dawned on me that anticommunism became the perfect vehicle to fight any such notions. And the witchhunt could not have been successful without such fascist organizations as the American Legion. There were plenty of ordinary Americans ready to fight the red menace. I like Howard Fast’s description of the 1948 May Day parade with 11,000 culture workers being attacked by 100 cretinous parochial school students screaming, “Kill a commie for Christ!”

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By Vileglow, May 31, 2010 at 4:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Indeed. XIX century revolutionaries may have not found the cure, but they sure recognized the essential - a conflict of interests between the haves and the have-nots of the industrial society.

There have been changes after that. Edward Bernays and followers camouflaged a society centred in production of the second industrial revolution (based on oil and electricity) into a society of mass consumption.
War may have changed. After industrial production generated enough weapons to equip armies of millions of conscripts, the invention of airplanes made it eventually without borders, and new classes of weapons were devised, so atrocious that the political cost of its usage is prohibitive. However peace hasn’t changed that much. In fact, sporting events, besides being now an industry, is a vehicle of justify deception as virtue, make look win-win situations unusual, and paint life as a everyday fight where there must always be a loser.
Throughout XXth century so many gifted individuals looked through events, and extrapolated into the future. Namely George Orwell pointed to the impoverishment of common language and Guy Debord noted the substitution of actual life experiences with vicarious ones, or making acquisition necessary to fulfill such experiences. Nevertheless, we live in an industrial society with economy of scale for production (and sales).

What to do with language? There are possibly many successful strategies. Some may suggest take language back.I suggest instead taking possession of corporate language.
Modern armies take inspiration from psycho-geography for his counter-guerrila operations in urban warfare. By moving inside walls and houses with the aid of explosives, instead of out in the streets, they aim to switch what is inside and what is outside, who is the defender and who is the attacker.
Let us, on our everyday use of language, take over of corporate lingo and use it outside of its context. For example: referring to the the breaking of a romantic liaison as “A having to let go B”; saying of a minor disease as “showing a remarkable entrepreneur spirit”; showing the absurd of viewing every act we do as economically motivated by setting a meeting with your friends as “making a short term joint-venture for metabolisation of beer” or a similar inhumanity.

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By Michael Kavanaugh, May 31, 2010 at 4:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Chris for reminding me of the nightmare we are living in. It is so easy to just roll over and go back to sleep. This medicine may be bitter, but it is essential if we are ever going to recover from our national malaise. When I was growing up I never dreamed America would lead the world down the road to a soulless totalitarian hell complete with omnipresent surveillance and torture chambers. I thought Orwell’s 1984 was just science fiction.

Evil tyrants employing mad scientists to create super weapons to achieve world domination was the stuff of comic books. No more. We must find ways to break the trance of middle class mentality that perpetuates our enslavement. Keep trying…

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By kerryrose, May 31, 2010 at 3:53 am Link to this comment

Hedges is correct about universities as institutes of conservatism.  If a professor was ever a radical thinker, he is quickly hushed by the system, by administration and is taught to ‘fear.’  Students with ‘radical’(noncomforming) ideas are suppressed with hostility and disapproval.  I know because I am one of them.

I just read ‘On the Justice of Roosting Chickens’ by Ward Churchill, and it is an example of a meticulously researched radical doctrine.  Every American should read it, yet he lost his job because of it, was shamed and humiliated in the press, and the book is all but blacklisted ($80 on Amazon, try AbeBooks).

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By RAE, May 31, 2010 at 3:50 am Link to this comment

Communism is the antacid for the heartburn of Capitalism.

ANY sensible society knows, or eventually learns, that you take a little from this and a little from that to fashion a governance that is MODERATE and FAIR and JUST.

NO “pure” system can ever reach those goals. It’s all about BALANCE or, guess what… YOU FALL OVER, CRASH & BURN.

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By melting pot, May 31, 2010 at 3:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When attacking Obama you should make your position clear so as not to be
confounded with the racist and proto-fascist Tea Party. One thing is to state
that Obama is not progressive or that he is a liberal. Good enough. I defend
Obama’s right to be president as an African-American man. I don’t like his
alignment with big banks, Big Oil, and the corporate world de facto ruling us.

Agree too that liberal intellectuals served as peons on the defeat of the
working class. They were recruited by the owning class to polish the job that
McCarthy started. Now, we are paying for the mistake of throwing the baby with
the dirty water. Look at Eastern Europe now, they also regret their market
society.

Communism is a label that requires careful unpacking because it means many
things to many people. Even Stalinism is more complicated than the simplistic,
albeit true to some extent, tale of repression, purges, and dictatorship. The
other side of the coin is the defeat of Nazi Germany and for many years the
actual improvement of living standards. Disclosure, I don’t like Stalin either.
Please, read The Road to Power and Stalin’s Wars to appreciate the complexity
of those times and the the tragic mistakes of the Communists in that context.
These works were produced by scholars like J. Arch Getty and Geoffrey Roberts
who can hardly be called Communist sympathizers.

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By Wounded and Dangerous, May 31, 2010 at 2:47 am Link to this comment

Yes, I agree.  This another worthwhile article. It is an essay which speaks the truth about the present condition in America - that the great intellectual classes has been absorbed into the system. Another victory for the system, if you will. That is how truly powerful the capitalist system has become; it has become even better over time at what it does best - and that is to control the masses and all of the groups contained therein.

A great example of the power of the system is the way in which it stifles dissent and keeps its enemies at bay and in the dark about most things which it does not want exposed. This is truly the dark side of capitalism and of its controllers. Yes, capitalism in its present form has even become a tryanny. It simply will not allow dissent and it has now found a means to achieve its goals. The War on Terrorism is that mechanism. Get to the heart of the beginnings of this new tool and I think you will find the reasons for how and why a nation can be so utterly controlled and kept subservient - and ignorant. I am not saying that the intellectuals are ignorant, but the are certainly being controlled like all others in society.

Yes, I truly being that the so-called ’ Progressive ’ is tha last remaining heartbeat of the voice of the people and of their needs. There are a few of them still remaining and doing their best to enhance the welfare of all of the bottom classes. But, the system is truly devious and adept at what it does. It twists the meaning of words and puts people into categories where they don’t belong. Just how do you react for example to the idea that Mr. Barack Obama is a progressive and a true spokesman of the toiling masses? Well, the system as it is currently operated would like to have you believe that.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, May 31, 2010 at 2:46 am Link to this comment

You touch on several important points.  One, the idea of a “conservative university” is an oxymoron.  Universities only perform their function when radical ideas are allowed and encouraged to flourish.  In my university days, we had protests against Vietnam and the corporate state.  Shortly after I left, everything changed and the students only cared about graduating and not getting in trouble.  It became extremely conservative.  And the ability to question authority and to formulate ideas that go against the grain disappeared.  How sad to see university reduced to an arm of the corporate state.

Second, I agree that we have lost the flare for the rhetoric of revolution and resistance.  Most kids today know nothing but what they find on Facebook or other social networking sites.  They are involved but don’t seem to understand what that really means.  Those of us who are from the ancient past know that involvement means much more than just voting every few years.  It means taking risks (like the boat people trying to get to Gaza) and maybe alienating many of your less involved friends.  The culture that allowed us to stand up and fight had disappeared.  Few tolerate the inconvenience that radicalization causes.

Last, and again in agreement, the loss of radicalism and intellectual curiosity spells the doom of our culture.  The West flourished because people were curious about the natural world and about humanity.  They asked questions and developed the methods for finding answers.  Today, there is no longer such curiosity.  We haven’t seen any major technological advances (beyond medicine which is heavily subsidized by government research grants ... something that is mostly missing in other technical disciplines).  It is a sad thing to watch ... a great society destroying itself from within and so few are raising their voices in opposition.  Perhaps it is time to roll over and admit defeat.

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By ardee, May 31, 2010 at 2:45 am Link to this comment

I trust that this article will stimulate the minds of those who refuse to think.

“The truly powerless people are those intellectuals—the new realists—who attach themselves to the seats of power, where they surrender their freedom of expression without gaining any significance as political figures,”

Supporting the status quo is the same as supporting the continued decline of the American democratic process.

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By will shetterly, May 31, 2010 at 2:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You didn’t have to knock Marx quite so much. After all, he said, “Democracy is the
road to socialism.”

And before he died, he had already begun to be appalled by some people who
used his name, saying, “if that is Marxism, then I am not a Marxist.” He would’ve
said that about both the USSR and the PRC.

But all in all, yes. The great struggle is the struggle between the classes.

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By reverento., May 31, 2010 at 1:54 am Link to this comment

A perfect example of the bankrupt liberal class can be
seen in the racism of Eugene Robinson, Especially his
most recent article where he names Obama the most
progressive president in decades. What a careerist
fool, is what I say.

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By Commune115, May 31, 2010 at 1:44 am Link to this comment

What a great article. We must go back to truly radical ideals to fight the fatcats robbing us blind!

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