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Calling All Rebels

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Posted on Mar 8, 2010
AP / Ben Margot

Student Natalia Garcia protests last week on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley during a day of nationwide demonstrations against cuts in education funding.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

The French moral philosopher Albert Camus argued that we are separated from each other. Our lives are meaningless. We cannot influence fate. We will all die and our individual being will be obliterated. And yet Camus wrote that “one of the only coherent philosophical positions is revolt. It is a constant confrontation between man and his obscurity. It is not aspiration, for it is devoid of hope. That revolt is the certainty of a crushing fate, without the resignation that ought to accompany it.”

“A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object,” Camus warned. “But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.”

The rebel, for Camus, stands with the oppressed—the unemployed workers being thrust into impoverishment and misery by the corporate state, the Palestinians in Gaza, the civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the disappeared who are held in our global black sites, the poor in our inner cities and depressed rural communities, immigrants and those locked away in our prison system. And to stand with them does not mean to collaborate with parties, such as the Democrats, who can mouth the words of justice while carrying out acts of oppression. It means open and direct defiance.

The power structure and its liberal apologists dismiss the rebel as impractical and see the rebel’s outsider stance as counterproductive. They condemn the rebel for expressing anger at injustice. The elites and their apologists call for calm and patience. They use the hypocritical language of spirituality, compromise, generosity and compassion to argue that the only alternative is to accept and work with the systems of power. The rebel, however, is beholden to a moral commitment that makes it impossible to stand with the power elite. The rebel refuses to be bought off with foundation grants, invitations to the White House, television appearances, book contracts, academic appointments or empty rhetoric. The rebel is not concerned with self-promotion or public opinion. The rebel knows that, as Augustine wrote, hope has two beautiful daughters, anger and courage—anger at the way things are and the courage to see that they do not remain the way they are. The rebel is aware that virtue is not rewarded. The act of rebellion defines itself.

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“You do not become a ‘dissident’ just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career,” Vaclav Havel said when he battled the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. “You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society. ... The dissident does not operate in the realm of genuine power at all. He is not seeking power. He has no desire for office and does not gather votes. He does not attempt to charm the public. He offers nothing and promises nothing. He can offer, if anything, only his own skin—and he offers it solely because he has no other way of affirming the truth he stands for. His actions simply articulate his dignity as a citizen, regardless of the cost.”

Those in power have disarmed the liberal class. They do not argue that the current system is just or good, because they cannot, but they have convinced liberals that there is no alternative. But we are not slaves. We have a choice. We can refuse to be either a victim or an executioner. We have the moral capacity to say no, to refuse to cooperate. Any boycott or demonstration, any occupation or sit-in, any strike, any act of obstruction or sabotage, any refusal to pay taxes, any fast, any popular movement and any act of civil disobedience ignites the soul of the rebel and exposes the dead hand of authority. “There is beauty and there are the humiliated,” Camus wrote. “Whatever difficulties the enterprise may present, I should like never to be unfaithful either to the second or the first.” 

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop,” Mario Savio said in 1964. “And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”

The capacity to exercise moral autonomy, the capacity to refuse to cooperate, offers us the only route left to personal freedom and a life with meaning. Rebellion is its own justification. Those of us who come out of the religious left have no quarrel with Camus. Camus is right about the absurdity of existence, right about finding worth in the act of rebellion rather than some bizarre dream of an afterlife or Sunday School fantasy that God rewards the just and the good. “Oh my soul,” the ancient Greek poet Pindar wrote, “do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible.” We differ with Camus only in that we have faith that rebellion is not ultimately meaningless. Rebellion allows us to be free and independent human beings, but rebellion also chips away, however imperceptibly, at the edifice of the oppressor and sustains the dim flames of hope and love. And in moments of profound human despair these flames are never insignificant. They keep alive the capacity to be human. We must become, as Camus said, so absolutely free that “existence is an act of rebellion.” Those who do not rebel in our age of totalitarian capitalism and who convince themselves that there is no alternative to collaboration are complicit in their own enslavement. They commit spiritual and moral suicide.


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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, March 8, 2010 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

You are dead-on here Chris Hedges, time to Fight Back!!

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By Laudyms, March 8, 2010 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

This is a wonderful article that tells a terrible truth many of us will recognize at once. Yes it is grim but readers would do well to take heed. We have grown fat and lazy and are unprepared mentally, morally or socially for the predations and suffering that are sure to come.

Let others make the lists of preparations needed, Hedges is our Cassandra and his truth calls us to forget complacency. Bravo, Mr. Hedges! We need those with clear vision and the ability to tell the truth most of all.

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By Gmonst, March 8, 2010 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

By ofersince72, March 8 at 9:59 pm #
Gmonst,,,,, would love to believe that..very
optomistic..
What events are you deriving this optomism from????
hopeful thinking, wishful thinking. How long of
process is this….will it come before ecological
disaster… will our economic system that is all
dependent on the military be changed soon enough…
I like the optomism, but it sure leaves a lot
of unanswered questions….

I see a lot of things to be optimistic about actually.  I am not a fool, its not just wishful thinking. I am not trying to gloss over the very real problems humanity faces.  However, I think a close look at the general trends of humanity is promising.  There are not dates, no ending, just evolution slow and painful. 

How good were people to each other 100, 1000, 5000 years ago?  Were there rights?  Has it been improving?  We are moving forward, not backward.  The idea women not voting, being legally able to beat your wife or segregating restrooms by race are downright loony because of the progress we have made. 

The same goes for environmental concerns.  Look at how we behaved and thought just a few generations ago.  We used nature like it was endless, now we are changing.  Society, slow as it is, is starting to wake up to the need for environmental consciousness in our actions.  I don’t know if it will be fast enough to avoid more problems or not, but I do know that humanity has the capacity for radically creative problem solving. If we don’t make it quickly enough then its likely many people will die, and the rest will move forward and do it better.  In evolutionary science it is environmental pressure that causes adaptation.  Pressure doesn’t feel good it threatens our survival, our worry about the environment is the beginning of the pressure for an evolutionary leap in our consciousness.

On all fronts I see only slow progress if I look at the picture big enough.  In the growth of humanity we are at a difficult stage, the cultural relativity that kept us in our worlds of stable action and meaning have broken down.  We are adjusting, its slow, and its hard, but we will get there because we have no other choice.

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By one of the wolves, March 8, 2010 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

Hedges is a smart guy, but grim. I think he has PTSD. I don’t see any suggestions as to what to do. Did I miss something? The comments are more helpful than the article. Boycott corporations. Start with Coke and Bayer. Protest on a local street corner and you will meet your neighbors. Grow your own food. Don’t buy anything you don’t need. Move your money to a credit union or a local bank. Move your mortgage likewise.

Come up with more ways to subvert the corporate system.

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By gerard, March 8, 2010 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

ofersince72:  “I like the optomism, but it sure leaves a lot of unanswered questions….”

  ‘d guess that most of the unanswered questions have always been there.  It’s just that the spread of communications has made many of us much more aware of the questions, plus the fact that, due to development of technologies, changes are occurring more rapidly than in previous eras.  At least that’s my guess. 
  People have sometimes done great things.  They have also done evil things.  This is always a choice. 
  What adds to the urgency of our situation is that, knowing the questions, the breadth of the questions and the rapidity of change makes us feel we need answers more quickly.  Nobody knows some of the big answers like how climate change can best be controlled, and how to stop wars when they are an economic “necessity.” Even people in power don’t know answers. Therefore creativity is in high demand so creativity should be welcomed.
  Desperation does not usually lead to creativity, though sometimes it helps to get things started.  Sometimes.  Other times it shuts it down. There are no pat guidelines and no guarantees, and there never have been.  It’s called life.
  The reason why optimism is important (not silly Pollyannaism) is that it motivates people to try.

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By Sodium, March 8, 2010 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: WriterOnthe Storm,March 8 at 5:12 pm.

Quote
======

Chris(Hedges)is either ahead of the curve,or he’s just another of his alarmist cants.

Unquote
========

WireOntheStorm,

Based on more than 20 years of following what Chris Hedges has written sofar,I can unhesitatingly say that he is way,way “ahead of the curve”,as you precisely expressed it. No one needs to take my word. One needs only to review some of his writings published in time past and compare them with circumstances existing on the ground now. He rarely missed. In fact,he has been correct in most of what he wrote. Review them all,if you have the time or just review the following samples of his writings that may help in appreciating what I am attempting to say here. Please read the following of Hedges’ writings already published in time past:

* American Fascists(a book)

* Starving Gaza(coln published on TD,Aug 20,2007)

* Beyond Disaster(coln published on TD,Aug 6,2007)

I can list a lot more,but I think the above listed samples should suffice for the purpose.

WireOntheStorm,

Please be aware of the following facts:

~ Inspite of my unflinched defense of the writings of Chris Hedges,I am NO fan of his or any other man or a woman in existence.Period. Please notice the operative words in my comments:“his writings”. That is to say: I am fond of his writings which embody complex structures netted together in a such talented way to include eloquence,honesty,the high moral ground,broad knowledge and a beautifully critical mind. That is my relationship with Chris Hedges and it stops there.Nothing more and nothing less.

~ I have said it in the past so many times and I say it again and again to those who still have openned minds: Chris Hedges is a professional journalist and writer and hence he excells in his job as a POINTER. Comming-up with solutions for crises and problems is not fundamentally his job. That is the job of the citizenry(a people)and its representative in Congress or Parliament. 

~ Although my formal education is very very high and my world wide travels and my knowledge due to exposure to so many different cultures are enormous,if not massive,I do feel that I can learn from what Hedges writes. And I am unembarrassed of saying so.

~ After expressing how I feel about Hedges’ WRITINGS,I can now resume reading “The Sorrows of EMPIRE” BY Chalmers Johnson.

~ It seems to me that what Chalmers Johnson writes in his monumental trilogy is quite close to what Chris Hedges has been writing,if it is not identical or at least similar. Check it out for the benefit of one’s knowledge.

Please be skiptic of what I write here. Please check it. Thank you.

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By ofersince72, March 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

Gmonst,,,,, would love to believe that..very
optomistic..

What events are you deriving this optomism from????
hopeful thinking, wishful thinking. How long of
process is this….will it come before ecological
disaster… will our economic system that is all
dependent on the military be changed soon enough…

I like the optomism, but it sure leaves a lot
of unanswered questions….

Report this
mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, March 8, 2010 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

I find myself wondering why Chris Hedges bothers to write diatribes of this sort; not because I disagree with him. Rather, I find his words ring hollow to the vast majority of Americans who have been brainwashed into believing that it is our material wealth, our productivity or our GDP that make the U.S. the “greatest country in the world.”

Indeed, it was fairly obvious (to anyone paying attention) in the 1980’s that those of us in the middle/working class were being sold down the river by corporatist agendas and policies. The moment it became clear that Ronald Reagan was to be President, I knew we were lost as a people. Imagine, if you will, how few grand events have united us over the last 30 years and you’ll come up with a very short list: 9/11…..........That’s it. The uber-irony is that it brought us together in the most cynical and destructive way. Other than that, since the 1980’s, the U.S. has become nothing more than a shopping mall for the brainless and a cash cow for the financiers who provide the usurious loans and tax breaks to a race of people whose avarice and materialism know no bounds.

As the ship sinks and the finger-pointing begins against each other, those at the top of this wonderfully orchestrated “American experiment” will look down upon the masses as in a Twilight Zone episode and say: “They are so easily controlled. Just cut off their credit lines, yell the word ‘socialism’ loudly and let them believe there will be a terrorist attack at any moment, and we’ve got them right where we want them.”

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By Gmonst, March 8, 2010 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

WriterOntheStorm:  I want to first off give you props for a very nice thoughtful response that I enjoyed reading more than the article it was commenting on. 

Chris Hedges seems to have no shortage of scary scenarios, “Brace yourself. The American empire is over. And the descent is going to be horrifying.”  Sounds like a Zombie attack!

I am I alone in thinking that things are actually in the process of getting better, not a descent into hell, but a slow rise out.  What used to be radical ideas have become common.  How far would a gay marriage debate have gone in 1955?  How much more racist was society?  Its not as if we used to live in a society that had a lot more respect for human rights than it does now.  Its not as if the US government didn’t spy on its own citizens in the past, it just didn’t get caught as often.  Its getting harder and harder to be a despot, more and more information is out there.  In the past nobody would have even known about the secret prisons, wiretapping and the like.  Its not that those are good things, but I find it encouraging they are such well known things.  For all the doom and gloom information is much more available, people are given many more tools to inform themselves than there were just a decade ago.  Its only increasing not decreasing.   

Most people don’t care about politics, but most haven’t cared at any time in the past.  Its not as though in the past the majority of people were abolitionists, working against women’s sufferage, ending segregation in civil rights protests,  protesting imperial wars in Vietnam.  Most poeple were just living their lives like they do now. 

I personally see an ongoing pattern of improvement and growth toward a slowly emerging world culture.  I think humanity has reached its adolescence.  We are starting to become a lot more self aware and we are in the process of figuring out what works and what doesn’t as we become a one world humanity.  I think now is a growing pain period as we transition from identities heavily based on the nation state to global identity.  I think the culture which emerges from this adolescent turmoil will be characterized by increased ecological sensitivity, high levels of interpersonal understanding, tolerance, and kindness.  A disdain for wastefulness.  A greater ability to effectively balance human freedom with collective need.

We are growing up, we are in the tough part now, but I strongly think that human culture is still evolving and growing and will in time become more adult-like in our collective behavior.

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Tennessee-Socialist's avatar

By Tennessee-Socialist, March 8, 2010 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

By John Ellis, March 8 at 8:05 pm #

But i dont get it. u actually mean that 51% in USA are pretty well while 49% are the economically-oppressed low-wage, low-income class of USA?  I thought that money was a lot more concentrated in USA, in the upper 20% to 30% while the rest of the 70% are actually stressed out and subjected to a living death-penalty.  Because life is literally a death-penalty of depression, existential-vacuum and stress for the hard working, good, noble american folks who work really hard, who with the help of millions of legal and illegal immigrants produce millions of dollars to be enjoyed by Obama, by Michelle Obama, by Celebrities and by that upper 20% to 30%.

.

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politicky's avatar

By politicky, March 8, 2010 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

“Those singled out as internal enemies will include people of color, immigrants, gays, intellectuals, feminists, Jews, Muslims, union leaders and those defined as “liberals.””

Do the feeble old white men know that there are more of those they want to demonize than there are of themselves?

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By gerard, March 8, 2010 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

I take no satisfaction in the idea that a few tens of thousands of people might escape from the predicted holocausts, if ....

In my opinion, a vital crux of the problems we face is the pernicious, ever-present notion that a cataclysm is coming and we are doomed.  In its demobilizing effect, I see no difference between that prediction and the religious predictions of Armageddon or the so-called Samson Option.  Both destroy hope, undermine creative answers and efforts, and weaken opposition.

Understand, I’m not advocating a retreat from the facts.  They are there and must have immediate attention—and tens of thousands of people are aware and trying.  As more people see evidences, more will join efforts—unless they are convinced there is no use.

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By TAO Walker, March 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

Those here, including probably this article’s author, not comfortable with the idea that ‘what-in-hell’s-going-on-here’ (in Hell) is all according to plan/script/program, or at-least inevitable from the moment the “civilization” CONtraption got up-and-running (us all ragged), likely won’t find any encouragement, either, in the ‘good-news’ that the damned thing’s got to where it is today way ahead of ‘schedule.’  The possibly encouraging implications of its also ‘moving’ way faster than it’s supposed to be, at this point, will regrettably be lost as-well on most of those who would’ve most benefited from the information….if only by its potentially calming effects.

Nevertheless, there it is.  This is going to be over a lot sooner than those trapped inside the thing have any way of knowing….apart from messages-in-a-bottle like these, tossed into their virtual world-‘o-hurt from here in Indian Country and its Native equivalents here-and-there around The Living World.

If you can’t hang-onto anything else, tame Sisters and Brothers, try to remember it is all only make-believe….existing solely in your fevered captive “individual”-ized collective imagination (if you can see past the only apparent CONtradiction in that).  Your best chances of living through the cataclysm that is already upon you, though, come ALL together in genuine living Human communities.

Yep.  It’s that darned ol’ Tiyoshpaye Way again.

Hokahey!

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By yup, we're toast, March 8, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just when I’ve decided that only a bloody revolution will bring us change, Hedges says the right will use the revolution as an excuse for absolute control.  Great, we’re toast if we rise up and we’re toast if we don’t.

So I’m going back to my original plan of 20 years ago: isolated country property with year-round fresh water, and a lot of stuff that I can either use, eat, or barter.  Plus guns and ammo. 

You know the country is in serious trouble when it’s the liberal lefties who have become survivalists.

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prole's avatar

By prole, March 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

“Brace yourself. The American empire is over. And the descent is going to be horrifying”...only if you believe that the end of The American Empire is horrifying. How can the putative “descent” be any more horrifying than the empire itself, or what it’s been doing for the last half century??? Surely, preserving the execrable empire would be more horrifying. “The mounting anger and hatred, coursing through the bloodstream of the body politic, make violence and counter-violence inevitable”…only if the Amerikan public sheds its long-standing and deep-seated customary deference to any form of authority. It’s probably true enough that “there are no constraints left to halt America’s slide into a totalitarian capitalism” – including any kind of “violence and counter-violence”. It’s far more likely, that with the exception of a few isolated sporadic outbursts or futile symbolic gestures like a Joe Stark, the body politic will take it submissively and go down with a whimper rather than a bang. The wimpish Amerikan public is already too atomized and browbeaten to mount any kind of robust resistance.  And as alluded, “any form of protest, no matter how tepid, [that] is blocked by an internal security apparatus that is starting to rival that of the East German secret police”, will almost certainly cringe and crumple. If “the economic collapse, which remains mysterious and enigmatic to most Americans, will be pinned by demagogues and hatemongers on these hapless scapegoats …i.e. “people of color, immigrants, gays, intellectuals, feminists, Jews, Muslims, union leaders and those defined as ‘liberals’ – then they may not be entirely mistaken.  “The economic collapse” also “remains mysterious and enigmatic to most” alleged experts too, who have no more idea themselves what to do, other than throw public money at it.  Far from being “hapless scapegoats”, many of these stereotypical victimhood groups are part of the problem and don’t qualify for any kind of automatic categorical free pass. Jews especially, are a disproportionate share of the power elites in government and corporate circles. Anyone who reads these pages knows about the role of operatives like Summers, Rubin, Blankfein, Bernanke, etc.,etc.,etc. And Obama, Rice, Powell, etc are no great friends of the poor and dispossessed. It’s this kind of abandonment of class-based politics in favor or dead-end identity politics that always muddies the waters and causes understandable resentment. “They reject, as Aristotle said, the idea that democracy is to rule and to be ruled in turns.” Instead, it’s always the cut-and-dried victimhood groups, no matter how good they have it, they just can’t let go. Yes, “we have entered an age in which, as William Butler Yeats wrote, ‘the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity.’”…and that includes plenty of “people of color, immigrants, gays, intellectuals, feminists, Jews, Muslims, union leaders and those defined as ‘liberals.’” “Those who do not rebel in our age of totalitarian capitalism and who convince themselves that there is no alternative to collaboration are complicit in their own enslavement”…which sadly, probably includes most of the “hapless” Amerikan public, by now. Which, once again, leaves it up to the fearless resistance movements in the periphery of Amerika’s empire - where it truly is “horrifying” - to free us all.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, March 8, 2010 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If he really believes what he is saying, Chris Hedges
is having a nervous breakdown.  The right wing
extremists- including the tea baggers- represent 15%
of the voting public but they continue to scare hell
out of leftists.  Most polls show that a majority of
the people are to the left of center on social and
economic issues.  Large majorities reject the
extremist views of the racist right wing.  That
isn’t likely to change very quickly.  We are not
Germany of the early 1930’s.  Society as a whole will
not descend into chaos.
I met an elderly gentleman recently who remembers the
depression of his childhood and he said these times
are worse than the depression because back then
people supported each other in many ways but today it
is every man for himself.  That is all that needs to
change.  It is just as easy to imagine people coming
together to change things for the better as it is to
imagine Hedges nightmare taking place in reality.

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By ofersince72, March 8, 2010 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

During the great diversion debate of 2007 about
immigration,,,  not one word was spoken by pundits
leading the debates on either side about the
NAFTA trade agreement..

The havoc and devistaion that it cost workers not
just in this country,,,,
but ran million and million of Mexicans out of the
country side,  no place to go, Mexico City already
tooooo over crowded…..Where were they going to go
to put food in their families mouth?  Every bit
of the land is controlled there now…..growing
flowers for our funerals and weddings..

NOT ONE PUNDIT !!!!!!!!!! OR LAWMAKER OR JOURNALIST!!

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, March 8, 2010 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

True Mike3…

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By ofersince72, March 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Our neglect with our votes has a long history, it
isn’t just recent.  It is just now that most
are waking up and seeing that Corporate board rooms
and the military control our government, they have
for years, only now they have it so sewed up there
is little to no recourse to turn this around.

Our economic system is so dependent on the military
and their resource wars who dares to vote against it
and shoot themselves in the foot.

I have seen not seen one pundit address this or offer
ways to make our employment system beneficial to
mankind rather than destructive.  How do you phase
this octopus out?
In a few years ALL will accept what we did to IRAQ.
The killing will have subsided, the permanent bases
installed completly and the citizens beat completly
down… We will forget Iraq, the petro companies
who used our tax dollars and our blood to secure
their resouces will have the graces of Americans
as has happened so many time before. And until the
coming ecological collapse, we will be happy running
to Taco Bell in our little gas eaters…..

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By truedigger3, March 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

so left i am right wrote:

“SInce I belong to the church of Limits to Growth I have faith that despite the economic power accumulated by the few eventually the growth model will be exposed for what it is. Not because people will rise up against it (the corporate state) but the finite nature of resources will put each and every one of us on an equal playing field - eventually.
_____________________________________________________

I think those with accumulated power, can continue to tilt the playing field to their advantage, for a very long time to come, almost to the very end.
I am sure they have a lot of tricks and schemes on a stand by, just in case.!

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By DA, March 8, 2010 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hahahahahaha The end is near!  Repent!  The final battle is about to commence. 
Sauron is sending his armies.  Hurry Frodo, tell Simba that “it is time!”  The Jedi
will save us from the Empire!  Onward christian soldiers.  Alah Akbar! 
Hahahahahaha

Thanks for a laugh, I needed it today.

BTW - grow up.

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By Jean, March 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can we please take off the “this is a slaughterhouse” video link on the right side of the page? It’s disgusting! So much so that I stopped reading the story when the ad came up, and scrolled past it.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, March 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Chris is either ahead of the curve, or he’s just on another of his alarmist cants.
It is striking how good he is at this kind of thing. It’s as if he sees his destiny in
revolt. One wonders if he believes that his god has guided him to his exalted
role as rabble rouser.

It remains to be seen if the current state of affairs is the culmination of
neoliberalism, or the beginning of the end of it. If the past is any reference, we
can see that economic liberalism—Keynesian economics—held sway for 30
years before it began to falter and was swept away by Thatcher, Reagan, and
the hosts of the radical self-interest crowd that followed.

Neoliberalism has been the economic theory of choice since the so-called
Chilean Miracle in the 1970’s, about 30 years now. Its fatal flaw—enriching
the wealthy elite at the expense of the middle class, destroying all social justice
on the way—is now well documented and clear to all but its deluded/self-
absorbed champions. Unfortunately, it’s champions remain in power.

What’s missing from most economic theories, is the recognition that social
justice is an essential part of all cultures. The case could be made that social
justice may the be the very epicenter of successful cultures. But make no
mistake, the ideas that our current leaders govern by relegate social justice to
an irrelevance.

One of the pillars of neoliberalism is that when the gov’t is confronted with the
choice of helping an economic sector, or helping a social problem, one must
choose the economic sector. This was not regarded as heartlessness, but stems
from two (mistaken) neoliberal principals: 1) that all prosperity begins with
economic prosperity, and 2) that the corporation should be given selfhood and
accorded the same rights and privileges as “anyone” else.

Most of us are so inculcated with neoliberal ideas, that we see them as intrinsic
to society, and indeed to our own identities. This is evident in the fact that
many of us cling to our role as consumers while casually rejecting our role as
citizens. In light of this, the only revolt worth having is the one in which society
dis-enthralls itself from the very principals and ideas that it has hitherto
defended with pride and arrogance. Exceptionalism, both in the macro-
nationalistic sense, and on a micro-personal level, must be defeated if any
significant change is to occur. Are we ready for that? I wonder…

It’s not clear if the attack on capitalism being waged by good people like Chris
Hedges and Michael Moore will come to any useful purpose. It creates a false
dichotomy of capitalism/socialism, and most Americans get their knees
a’jerking when they hear the s-word. We can use modifiers like “totalitarian
capitalism” or my favorite, “predatory capitalism”, but I doubt if this resonates
in a way that can inspire the middle class to a flat out rejection of the powers-
that-be. Besides, there’s really no need to throw the capitalist baby out with
the neoliberal water. Indeed, capitalism worked wonders under Keynesian
economies.

Where I’m with Hedges one-hundred percent, is that we seem to be at a
crossroads. We have a moment when history can be seized. Will Hedges be the
first to grab it by the horns?

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By ofersince72, March 8, 2010 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

I will point out to you die hard Dem supporters
why the elections don’t make much of a difference

First…our primary system isn’t uniform state to
      state and really, really sucks….
      We have events like Super Tuesday..that
      are utterly rediculous..
      The primaries are a media frenzy…with way
      to much money involved strung out for almost
      a year….
      The most money spent and media attention to
      states like Iowa…now I love Iowa, it is
      a beautiful state with a lot of good people
      but it should’nt determine the primaries.
Then lets say there are six candidtates,  two of
them viable candidtes, like the last time… The ones
that drop out throw their candidates to who ever they
want Obama and Biden were teamed up way, way
before the primaries even started,  I imagine Dodd
was Hilary’s VP.
If anyone is even thinking about making America a
democracy and doesn’t believe it is too late,
primary election reform is a must…OURS STINKS
IT IS RIGGED…..
So they all go to the convention, delegates in hand
,usually only two candidates left…
Lets say in the last one….If Hilary had been ahead
in delegate count of committed delegates by
60 to 40 per cent…..and the DNC wanted Obama,
all they had to do was throw the Super Delegates to
Obama….
This wasn’t the scenario , but it has been in the
past….

The popular vote doesn’t count in the primaries nor
in the general elections.
The primaries are more rigged and a hoax than the
general elections ....they also are more important

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By budjob, March 8, 2010 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I appreciate the fact that our militay personnel are keeping this country secure.However,maybe the government should tell what they are really fighting for.Unemployment,lack of healthcare,defending the parasitic insurance companies,povery,homeless,seven dollar an hour jobs,and finally when and if these brave men and women come home (if they ever do)they don’t have a job.What a sham.

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By mdgr, March 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Definitely a Chris Hedges piece.  Equally definitive and succinct.

I differ from him only in that I believe that America’s collapse into fascism is time-limited and that in the century or so after our own deaths, there may indeed be a renaissance that will recapitulate by orders of magnitude the one in Elizabethan times—though in a world with probably far fewer people (again by orders of magnitude). 

But he is right in suggesting that it is improper for any of us to wait for Godot (and that includes Quetzalcoatl/2012/Aquarius/Dennis Kucinich). The existential stance one is called to take now is in fact all-important.

Thank you from the heart, Chris. The lucidity of your voice is much-needed at this time.

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By Bud, March 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We DO INDEED need a strong socialist party in the United States of America!!The corporate shills are destroying us along with the evil republicans and the do nothing democrats.Sarah the Bitch Palin already admitted in an interview that she used to sneak over the border to receive Canadian socialized medical treatment.What a goddamn farce that is being perpetrated on the American public.A country that we are supposed to hate called CUBA has the ninth best healthcare system in the world.This sorry ass country has a lot to learn!!!

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By ofersince72, March 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

To those that believe that
a KUCINACH 2012 is an answer…..

1.  He many not run….his constituents up in
  Clevland don’t like all the time it takes
 
2.  The Super-Delegate system that the DNC has
  will send their favorite , no matter who
  wins the popular vote…
  Super delegates are at least one third of the
  delegates at the convention, and are not
  committed to any candidate,  and they usually
  vote for the candidate the the DNC leadership
  wants

3.  After he loses,  he will cast a vote for the
  Democrat Candidate because he is committed to
  the Party….Usually it is a candidate that
  has exactly the oppistite values of Dennis..

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By Tennessee-Socialist, March 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

nemesis: YOU ARE RIGHT !! USA IS TOO BIG, 300 MILLION PEOPLE !! DAMN !!! IT IS REAL HARD, almost impossible to come up with a United Socialist Front composed of 250 million pro-socialism americans, against 50 millions of pro-capitalism and pro-corporatism of americans.

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By ofersince72, March 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

I   FOUND   THE   BIRTH   CERTIFICATE


  THE REAL NAME   IS…

  BILLY-BOB HANK-TOM   NEWMAN

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By Leefeller, March 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

My level of ignorance being what it is, dost vision enlightenment, in thee post nemesis2010!

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By Yawn, March 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People are utterly dazed and confused.  Why? Starting with the invention of the
telegraph, the progress of communication between humans at the
speed of light has destroyed the little common sense we had developed over
millions of years.  Similarly, the ability to execute billions of operations
per second has changed us so that we cannot even recognize ourselves.

When flip cards start to change at, say, 24 per second, the utterly
bizarre illusion of the motion picture arises.

When sounds change from 20 cycles to 20,000 cycles per seconds, the
utterly bizarre illusion of an orchestra may arise.

reported23

In the case of light, moving at one foot per nanosecond, we are talking about a
bizarre change utterly beyond the comprehsion of the best of us, e.g.,
Plato, Archimedes, and Newton.

All talk about liberal, conservative, truth, justice, rich, and poor is silly.
Such words keep one entrapped in utterly obsolete, ill-defined categories
of thought.  The best advice I can give is to stay calm and think hard.

A wag once cleverly remarked that we do not know what it would be like
to know what it would be like to have a theory of consciousness.  So
please relax and laugh a bit at our predicament.  Are we mortal or immortal?
Are we at all?  Are we one or three or more?

In the 40s, people wallowed in a boogy man with the name ‘the Shadow’.
Today, they thrill to hear those describing the collision of civilizations and
the decline and fall of everything else, while being unable to define
the simplest concepts in mathematics.  Please shut up until you have reached,
say, the level of Newton and can explain how to derive the motion of the
planets from the inverse square law of gravity.  Until then, you probably
have nothing to say, and you are scaring the pigeons, yelling ‘fire’ where
you perhaps should not.

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By Tennessee-Socialist, March 8, 2010 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

PLEASE YOU ALL IN THIS SITE: I URGE YOU TO STUDY THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE SUPERMAN AND THE GREAT WORKS OF THE PHILOSOPHER NIETZSCHE.

I TRUELY BELIEVE THAT THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE GREAT INDIVIDUAL AND SUPERMAN AS WRITTEN BY NIETZSCHE IS VERY TRUE AND REAL.

(At least books are still cheap in America and easily available for all americans)


The only solution i see for USA is The Supermans Thesis explained in the great work: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” A superman doesn’t have any thing to do with political, military and abusive power, like the Nazis. Nazism and Fascism are elements of capitalism, of corporate exploitation, abuse, racism, chauvinism and evil, they twisted Nietzsches writtings (Specially Nietzsche’s sister who was a Nazi).

But really, a Superman (Ubermensch) is this type of revolutionary, rebel, anarchist, totally free individual who has no laws, and authorities over him, he also doesn’t accept the morality and conservative laws of the current regimen, in fact he tries to influence others by breaking the old values in order to teach to other members of his society his new values. A superman would be a revolutionary reformer of new laws, new values.

My friends, you can find out more about Nietzsche’s superman in the book “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” which even could be used in today’s United States, a country oppressed by 2 corporate capitalist parties (Democrats and Republicans) and where US citizens feel that there is literally no hope, no liberation out of this hell of our kleptocratic Democrat-Republican 1 party monster…. Ver más

The main thesis of Thus Spoke Zarathustra is the fact that humans have literally 2 options in this existance, either to accept the current reality and values and succumb to a state of passive-nihilist resignation, binge-eating of pizzas, burgers and flour or to wake up from your slumber and fake-happiness to a state or constant-anger and to be a Messiah, a Saviour of USA and an architect of your own destiny and of the destiny of millions of americans who are in need of a Nietzschean-Messiah

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By nemesis2010, March 8, 2010 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

“…you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop,”

What intellectuals like Chris Hedges, David Cay Johnston, et al, have in common is not only discontentment with the establishment but also a desire to see YOU risk it all for their benefit. They, like the vast majority of the populace, are fed up with a system that is rigged for the benefit of the ruling elite. They, as the vast majority of us, desire a more equitable system. The problem is that they’re all sitting on their derrières waiting for those of the lower rank and file to lead the way while they sit way back of the front; safe from gunfire and head cracking. They are all waiting—as one non-violent revolutionary told me recently—to see ”IF the right time or the right opportunity will arise.” Of course the ”IF” says it all. The right time or the right opportunity never arises. There is always something not quite right that disqualifies the current time or opportunity as being “the” right time or opportunity. It’s like the Second Coming of Jeebus; it ain’t never gonna happen!

A leaderless mass does not ever automatically stand up in solidarity and resist the Machine -especially not a population of 300 million. The great mass is a herd comprised mostly of the ill-educated, beaten-down, and hopeless. And a mass of 300 million is not going to be of a single mind-set. The former Yugoslavia serves us well as an example of what too much diversity does to a society.

The fact is that if the American people really wanted to, they could bring the evil AmeriCorp empire to its knees within a few months. They could do this without firing a shot, without a single street demonstration, and without breaking any of the current fascist laws. But it won’t happen because you can’t get enough of them to willingly subject themselves and their families to the consequences of the actions needed in order to bring evil AmeriCorp down. Many citizens are fine with things the way they are. Fear of the unknown keeps people in line and the moneyed interests know this very well.

What conservatives, republicans, fundamentalist evangelicals, Reich-wingers, etc. do not understand—because they are simply too stupid to understand—is that AmeriCorp is going to continue to increase their tax burdens—indirectly—and continue to redistribute it to the very social groups that they are incited to hate. The moneyed interests know that in order to maintain relative calm in the society they must provide enough food and benefits to the lower classes to keep them docile.

Social corporatism has been in place for decades in AmeriCorp. The so-called right—while decrying socialism—has been duped into becoming socialist corporatism’s biggest and most vociferous support group! Their money is constantly being redistributed to Big Corp and to the lower classes. The moneyed interests do not pay to keep the lower classes docile; they use the taxes collected off the working class to do it. And they will continue to do it no matter how much the right-whiners whine! They have no choice!

There is no left vs. right political system in the U.S. I thought that one as experienced and knowledgeable as Chris Hedges would know this. The federal government is a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Corp and has been for more than a century. That’s not to say that there haven’t been any set backs to their plans, there have been; but Big Corp has pretty much had its way since the late 1800s. The ruling elite of AmeriCorp have but one ideology: “more for them and less for us!”

Empires collapse under their own weight of corruption and excess. The death of an empire is an anguished and prolonged affair.

Dar ain’t gonna be no revolution.

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By Tennessee-Socialist, March 8, 2010 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHY AMERICANS LOVE THE CAPITALIST FREE MARKET SYSTEM SO MUCH, WHEN IN THIS SYSTEM COLLEGE EDUCATION, HEALTH SERVICES, AND UTILITY SERVICES ARE SO EXPENSIVE. CAPITALISM IS A TRAP !!

YOU CANNOT FULFILL YOUR PERSONAL GOALS IN A FUCKING SYSTEM, WHERE EVERY THING IS SO FUCKING EXPENSIVE, FROM FOOD, TO ELECTRICITY, TO SPORTS GOODS, TO TRANSPORTATION.

THERE IS NO PERSONAL-LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF SELF-REALIZATION AND PERSONAL-PROGRESS WITHIN THE MONOPOLY OLIGARCHIC CAPITALIST SYSTEM OF TODAY, WHERE A FEW LIVE WELL AND HAVE ALL THEIR BASIC AND NON-BASIC NEEDS MET, WHILE THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ARE FORCED TO STAY IN THEIR HOUSES ALL DAY, LIVING A LIFE OF BOREDOM AND IDDLENESS BECUASE THE SYSTEM BANS THEM FROM PARTICIPATING AND JOINING COLLEGES, FITNESS HEALTH CLUBS, ETC.

WHAT A FUCKING EVIL SYSTEM THIS IS A SYSTEM THAT WON’T LET YOU DO ANY THING, NOT EVEN PLAY GUITAR, JOIN A GYM, NOT EVEN FALL IN LOVE, AND NOT EVEN GO TO VACATION IN A CRUISE SHIP

CAPITALISM IS LITERALLY A DEATH-PENALTY IMPOSSED ON AMERICAN PEOPLE.

WE NEED A SOCIALIST UNITED PARTY IN USA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW !!


.

.

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By phreedom, March 8, 2010 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

Thank You Chris,

There once was this fellow who, after surviving a deprived childhood, a few attempts on his life, and taken to the cleaners in financial matters, sought out some counseling. An attempt to get a neutral opinion on what might make reality tick, since he seem to have good reason to believe he had got it wrong. Well, he was told that his only chance of ever meeting a person who thought and acted like him, is if he found a person who had no family.

Quite desperate, this guy took what he just heard literally, and sought out a person who had no family, had no connection to his or her family, to the extend that family influence was almost completely absent. It took awhile, but he finally stumbled on a young lady who seemed to be like this, the closest approximation a person could be to independence from a biological family, and most importantly, willfully independent from her parents influence and designs for her life.

A year past,, returning to see his counselor, a person with a PhD from a ivory school by the way, well, the fellow happily reported that not only did he meet a person without a family, but he had become romantically involved with her and things had gone very well. he reported in great detail, that it had been very difficult for him, to give a person, not unlike himself, a chance, and to expend the energy to get to know them.

This young guy was shocked to hear from this medical marvel of the ivory school system, that he had misunderstood the counselor’s advice, and that the counselor meant that the young fellow was never going to meet a person without a family because such a person did not exists, could not be found. Furthermore, the counselor scolded the young man in anger, saying if he had found such a person that there is probably something terribly wrong with this person, this young lady. The counselor continue his verbal rampage, and told the fellow that he should dispense with the relationship pronto, or that the fellow would suffer grave consequences and injure his friend as severely.

Wow, the young guy thought, “there is something profoundly unsettling about this, since the counselor was absolutely wrong”.  And the young fellow felt deeply sad for counselor, since he may have spent his whole life having it completely wrong. The young fellow married this person, this young lady, and they have had an enduring partnership, in all aspects of life that are important, for the last 20 years.

In conclusion, human beings can only approximate the state of individual freedom or independence, but in a society which promotes, from all aspects of it’s institutions, a “father knows best and a mother knows even better, forever”, brainwashing, how can any person in such a society become an independent or free adult and/or citizen.

The first casualties of a rebellion are the parents, since it is they who are the most effective at quelling the rebel. Corporate America controls by giving few options to parents at parenting, leaving only options based on fear that their child will not conform successfully and thus end up unsuccessful(insecure).

Our culture is infantile, “parent forever-ism” is the motto, this is truly the “fatherland” or even “motherland” for that matter. A citizenry made up of foolish kids, with infantile thoughts, needs and aspirations,  perpetuated by the “corporate home”. How do we get out of the corporate playground to become adults, independently minded rebels, bent on satisfying the greatest approximation to a free state?

Well, to begin with, in a manner, dump our biological parents, and then we might be able to dump or corporate fathers and mothers.  Best to break a parent’s heart then keep the backbone of freedom broken.

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

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By Leefeller, March 8, 2010 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Would it not be prudent for community’s to dig in and prepare themselves in some way like TimeBanks or local cash, use barter systems, burn credit cards instead of books like Palin?

Hedges poking his Monday morning pole in the chicken coop just to hear the cackling, seems successful again.

Not sure how much of Hedges predictive opinion or belief will happen for I am not a predictor of destiny, when 2012 happens it will not matter anyway!

Glaringly, stereotyping rebels as done in this article, seems to me as all stereotypical pontifications, just another way of generalizing to bolster a point.  All rebels are not the same, just as all people are not the same,  though the cause for the rebel fanatic eliminates the individual. 

Belief in a cause is necessary for the rebel or as I prefer to call them the fanatic. A feeling of personal disenfranchisement of the individual seems in order to become a fanatic and a very open armed acceptance of like minded fanatics creates and supports a cause, dropping the hapless individual like a sack of rocks.  A cause becomes all consuming and nothing will change the mind of the fanatic, not even chocolate.

One only need remember the move. “fanatic without a cause!”

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By slingshot, March 8, 2010 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

There’s a bit of bitter irony that on the same page as this statement from Hedges: “Popular institutions, from labor unions to political parties, have been destroyed or emasculated by corporate power”, is an anti-card check (Employee Free Choice Act) advertisement. Sure I understand Truthdig needs income, but isn’t this the very core-value rot being described by the author?

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By ofersince72, March 8, 2010 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

Hey Ouraborus,

Truth Diggers will be glad to hear,,,, I can
quit my posting now,.....

Hedges pointed out everything that I have been
trying to for three months.!!!!!!!!

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By Mike3, March 8, 2010 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

G.Anderson
The Left are responsible you say for the collapse also. But my dear chap, America has never had a Left party, it has had individuals like Ralph Nadar and look what’s happened to him; it has never even had socialism and hates communism and Marx. Even the word “Liberal” has become a dirty word. And the last true Democrat died in the 70’s. Your suggestion of using “Broken Britain” or something similar and applying it to the US will never work in a month of Sundays. It does make sense in the UK because the UK does have links (now very tenuous admittedly, with a true Left political thinking and socialism). But not America.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 8, 2010 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

“If we end up with violence in the streets on a large scale, not random riots, but insurrection and things break down, there will be a coup d’état from the right,” Johnston said. “We have already had an economic coup d’état. It will not take much to go further.””

We have had multiple coups in various parts of our country both in gov’t and private sector for a reason. The counter revolution that failed in 1934 is happening now. With our enemies mostly faceless and have had much experience in overthrowing democracies to impose dictatorships in various ways. They have been open since 1980 & have done much in the meantime to infiltrate both official parties, cut them off from the normal election processes so no third parties have a chance of being elected to more that town council. Take over of the radio, TV, newspapers etc too. They already have a health care monopoly (exempt from) as their version of Christianity (supports Crusades, Inquisitions, racism, slavery, bigotry of all these and the rich as being blessed by their Aryan God) infiltrates & works to take over main stream churches. The point is to tear down the Republic in order to be able to build upon its ruins their corporate-theocratic dictatorship. All that remains is the final trigger, which there are abundant ones; from a war with Iran to a plague outbreak to the economic meltdown that has been arrested for a time but is building to happen again. This time without the funds to bail it out again.

The whole point of making us and the gov’t dependent on corporations is to put us into a swelter in the dark neo-primitivism or live a decently comfortable life—till you get sick that is. I for one do not want to do that. Now if you have gotten off the grid then you are in a much better position to have more independence. For awhile anyway. They will use the census against us. It was used by General Sherman in his march to the sea during the first Civil War. (Yes I expect a sporadic second one here till the “Angels of the Apocalypse”* soldiers come a calling.)

*From the “Handmaid’s Tale”(1986),Margaret Atwood.

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By Major Domo, March 8, 2010 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Seems I got redirected to a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece instead of a TruthDig report piece. What a bunch of cheap talking trash. I left the US 6 years ago and have no intention of returning. It’s easier the deal with work visas instead of republicans.

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By greenuprising, March 8, 2010 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

“Exhaust the limits of the possible” before you endorse Camus’ despair.  There is a revolution brewing, but it can be of the left, that is, of those who choose solidarity with the poor, the abandoned, the discriminated against, not of the corporate right.  Which way we go depends upon a willingness to go beyond left and right and tap into the anger that drives ordinary people into the arms of the right.

We need to make the next American revolution (http://nextamericanrevolution.wordpress.com), not just flail.

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By hark, March 8, 2010 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only revolt, rebellion, or uprising in this country will come from the right, and they will destroy the liberals and the only institution which is capable of serving them - their own government, which they hate with a seething rage.  You have only to read the comments in an ordinary online newspaper to understand this.  They are saturated with right wing vitriol and paranoia.

Our only hope is that corporate America will learn that it must hire enough of them in menial jobs to keep them distracted, busy and happy with their soporific forms of entertainment - sports, NASCAR racing and American Idol.

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By David, March 8, 2010 at 9:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Where can I get a 50 cal mounted on my Scion xb?

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By Patriot in Waiting, March 8, 2010 at 9:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As I read your article and the comments,I was taken aback by the hopelessness that seems to be evident. Everyone appears to be throwing their hands in the air and saying “what can we do?”. I believe their is one thing we can do.

We seem to forget that our founding fathers were very aware of what we are going through right now. They fought and won a very bitter battle against the same type of situations we face today. Then, they gave us the method to deal with it even now. It is written in our Constitution.

The solution is a very simple one, however it is one that requires a lot of organization and marketing to be successful. It requires organizations like this one, to start taking a stand. We have time to completely change our system of government this year.

You may ask how. In our system of government, every two years, “WE the PEOPLE” get the opportunity we need to completely take control of our government. All 435 seats of the House of Representatives and 34 Senators seats come up for election every two years. To gain control of our government, all we have to do is know who our incumbents are, and vote for the someone else who is running.

Okay, I can hear the roar already. It goes something like this, “If we do that then, the Republicans will rule the World”. People, we have to start forgetting about parties and politics. We need to understand that IF we can do this just once, no matter who we put into office, they will understand that they are their because the American People put them there. Not because some special interest group spent $$$$ to get them there. They will also understand that, if they fail to represent us, then in two years they also can be gone. Granted this doesn’t work in the Senate, but by changing 34 members every two years, they will also understand they finally have to listen to their true owners.

It is a simple solution to a complex problem. All we, as the true CEO’s of our government, have to do is realize that WE are in charge and start acting like we are.

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By G.Anderson, March 8, 2010 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

Yes I do believe, that American corporations are dying, and their move into facism is a last desperate attempt to hold on to power.

You see at this point there is no difference betwween the government and corporate America. The same faces skip back and forth between the two at ease.

But this rant, is little more than saying that everyone else is responsible but me, for what happens.

The left played a part in the demise of America just as did the right. While searching for ways to find and fund victims, to appeal to their voters, the left benefitted just as the right did from aiding, the corporate take over of government. They were right there taking corporate money, and passing bills that benefitted the wealthy, and their still doing it.

They left was paid just as the conservatives were for turning their people into slaves, debt slaves.

So now that theres no money they’ve signed up for government welfare, after they spent so many years bitchin about welfare cheats.

The left was right there, putting men in prison without trial, without recourse and confiscating everything they owned. All they needed was to create enought hate, and that they did.

The IRS needs to go, because people can no longer pay their taxes, their too poor.

And since the country is bankrupt anyway what difference does it make?

Brittain has created a committe to study their demise, it’s called “Broken Britain”. I suggest we do the same here. Create a committe called “Broken America”.  The Brittish committe as come up with some interesting answers, many of them apply here. Take a good look and see if you still feel the same about the left afterward.

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By balkas, March 8, 2010 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

I am not so sure that america had not always been evil. And not just america. So was russia, germany, ottoman empire, italy, china, et al.

The same people that wrote ‘laws’ in those lands for the last 10k yrs are the same people who wrote much the same ‘laws’ in US for the last 3 cent’s.

Thus any person who had cast the widest look posible and had been studying history for its protreptic [for what it teaches] value had predicted or expected, rather, that the structure of governance wld never change by itself.

Economy, tho, does change and as the planet get’s poorer, one expects further changes in economy and with it rises the grip on power by the ‘nobility’. 

Modern chinese have espied this fact and have used necessary force to end it for all times hopefully.
One needs an equal or greater force than the ‘nobles’ have to change america.

If 80% of americans unite in one political party, change for the better may come. Or is it to late? Well,one has to try it. tnx

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By TAO, March 8, 2010 at 7:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m not convinced there will be mass revolt any time soon however I am certain we here North Americans must lower our expectations and prepared to make do with less.

The era of cheap oil and excess debt is coming to a rapid end.

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By omygodnotagain, March 8, 2010 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

Chris identifies, immigrants, muslims, gays, Jews. In fact no-one will do anything to Jews or gays. Though 2% of the population they 20% of the Democratic Senators, they control media, congress, are very influential on Wall Street. They are part of the corporate totalitarian structure. The rebels will be from the right and left (as they are meaningless terms). You can see it already Ron Paul’s get out of Iraq, End the Fed is in tune with many leftish Antiwar groups. Its these Patriot militias, alongside the out of work carworker that represents the backlash. Chris get over the Right/Left divide, there is none that’s early 20th Century rhetoric. Its Big Brother against whoever will stand up
That simple

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By Ouroborus, March 8, 2010 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

By ardee, March 8 at 9:44 am

And here I thought PSmith had buried me with his
relentless cut and paste links ad infinitum.

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By G. Lykins, March 8, 2010 at 6:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is pain in getting to realization and in realization, itself..
Does this not feel like a ‘manifesto’, folks?
Again, thank you, Chris Hedges…
Meet you at the (metaphorical) barricades..
hopefully strong enough always to mainntain non-violence..

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By knobcreekfarmer, March 8, 2010 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

I’m a “Limits to Growth” evangelical. I preach that the levels of consumption in the modern world, i.e. our economy, is nothing short of the largest ponzie scheme ever played out.

Of course things are falling apart and Chris nails the likely right sided radical response and scapegoats. I’ve been saying the same things for years. I base the wheels falling off timeline with the limits to growth a finite planet is reminding us of.

You can continue to be a loud voice against the “right” and be the first to fall. Like the Jews in the Holocaust, stand up and complain - bang- or walk quietly to go “take a shower.” Either way our freedoms once beloved are gone. Reduced to only PR spin phrases meant to make the brainless believe.

SInce I belong to the church of Limits to Growth I have faith that despite the economic power accumulated by the few eventually the growth model will be exposed for what it is. Not because people will rise up against it (the corporate state) but the finite nature of resources will put each and every one of us on an equal playing field - eventually.

In nature life is “birth, growth, maturation, and death.” How foolish are those who believe economies and the powerful elites can be born, grow, grow grow, grow…

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By Vic Anderson, March 8, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Indeed, Stand And DEMAND DESISTANCE to the U.S.’ Manifest Insanity!

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By elwoodpdowd, March 8, 2010 at 6:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The MSM will not cover it but is has to be done. Individuals can start by boycotting Korporate goods. Turn off your TVs; don’t shop at Walmart; don’t use your cellphones for a day, than a week, than a month. Boycott everything- understand that the majority of the crap we use is useless and just live with less. That’ll be a start.

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By dihey, March 8, 2010 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

One more article which ignores the fundamental fact that American imperialism has been fed by the apparently insatiable demand for cheap goods and services by all Americans, including those belonging to the working class. From this it follows that the working class will not rise up and destroy its only paymaster.

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By Anarcissie, March 8, 2010 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

But most of the Left is unfortunately rather obedient to authority.  Including Hedges hismelf, as I pointed out not too long ago.

In fact the current rebellion of students is rather obedient, since the function of the institutions they’re protesting against is, for them, providing entrance to bourgeois careers.  They are right to rebel, but they might ask for something more.

Hedges is wrong about one other thing: there is still space for more than private refusal a la Camus, although it is on a local level.

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By ardee, March 8, 2010 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

I found Hedges article to be full of hope, frankly. I ascribe to his prophesy of a coming and catastrophic rising of the working class and am saddened that my age may force me to miss it. Further I appreciate the addition of the words of my great good friend and high school valedictorian, Mario ‘Bob’ Savio…damn, I miss him still.

As to :

Ouroborus, March 8 at 8:37 am #

If dear readers, you understood what Hedges said/wrote;
why waste your limited time posting here?

I think, humor aside, we know not which acorn shall take root or what medium it will find in order to prosper.

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By bogi666, March 8, 2010 at 5:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

USG policy, we have to BANKRUPT THE COUNTRY TO PREVENT ITS BANKRUPTCY.The USA has had two JUDICIAL COUP D’ETAT’S, by the Supreme court,  1 vote coup’s in 2000 and 2010, aided by the military in 2000 with absentee ballots,a Judicial/Military coup. Dahr Jamal reveals that the MISSION STATEMENTS of the NSA and NSC is to secure[by any/all means]and control the world’s energy to PROP UP THE $ which is the financial exchange medium used for energy transactions. This creates a demand for $ and without this demand the $ becomes even more worthless, bankrupt. This policy, the invading and occupation of countries for their resources is illegal according to U.S. and international law.The military and the spy agencies enforce this policy, and the expenses for doing so will/are bankrupting the USA. The gist of the matter being THAT THE USG IS GOING BANKRUPT TO PREVENT THE COUNTRY FROM GOING BANKRUPT, just like the soldier in Vietnam, filmed burning down a village and asked why he was doing so. His reply “we have to destroy this village to save it”, this is the mindset of our corporate masters, ‘we have to bankrupt the country to save it from going bankrupt’.

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By chris91, March 8, 2010 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

Chris I wanted to tell you that I truly enjoy reading your column every week.  I am
only 18 and have grown up in a very conservative christian family.  At 15 I became
severely ill and have been in and out of the hospital for most of my teenage years. 
Because I wasn’t in school all day I read constantly, only non fiction books and
tried to teach myself as much as I possibly could about the world. I realized I had
been lied to (as most kids in this country are) about religion and even basic things
like our history and the economic structure of the US.  I am committed to fighting
for my ideals, and living a life that will in someway help to improve the lives of
others.  I see you as a role model of sorts because throughout your career you
have done what you believed in not what will make you more money or is
politically expedient.  Again thank you.

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By Ouroborus, March 8, 2010 at 4:37 am Link to this comment

If dear readers, you understood what Hedges said/wrote;
why waste your limited time posting here?

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By JohnMcD, March 8, 2010 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

Well put by Chris Hedges and the comments.  There’s just no short term solution.  There’s no rebellion or revolution that could happen overnight and undo a system that’s been growing and digging in for a century. 

The name of the game I see here is passive resistance.  Stop consuming.  Put ethics above income.  Start your own media outlet or participate in the ones that aren’t corrupted.  Reject rigged political language.  Survive - physically and philosophically - despite the challenges.

Specifically I agree with plainsman’s comment: this right-left paradigm has kept us divided for too long.  While I don’t want to downplay the difference what people believe from left to right, there’s a growing collective sense that these “mainstream” politicians all serve something other than ANY of those beliefs.  Like Chris points out, plenty of self-proclaimed “liberal” politicians are guilty of all the things one would expect of a typically pro-biz Republican.  In fact, its not the left or right that I’m personally afraid of but the neocon-lite philosophy that seems to dominate the “middle” or “center” of American federal politics.

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By Mike of Old, March 8, 2010 at 3:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Um, Chris.

The Teabaggers claim to be rebels, too.

And you’re take on the events that are unfolding is incorrect: it’s not political, it’s ecological.

1. 6.8 billion people increasing at between 1-2% a year means 250,000 more people are added to the planet every DAY.

2. The primary energy source to feed, water, shelter and clothe this mass of humanity—oil—has maxed out in production and will soon decline.

3. Emissions from this oil and other fossil fuels are killing the planet: soon, because we’ve warmed the planet, arctic methane will be released into the atmosphere with cataclysmic results.

4. The financial apparatus is toast—a direct result of items 1, 2, 3 above. Therefore, there can be no investments in “alternatives” to pretend to ameliorate the ecological devastation we’ve wrought.

We bought the mantra of GROW AT ALL COSTS. And now we’re paying for it.

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By kerryrose, March 8, 2010 at 3:40 am Link to this comment

I am a doctoral student at a prestigious University.  I could cry when I realized that the brilliance and penetrating visions that I sought, are no where to be found in this place.  It is deeply, deeply conservative.

I am also at an age where I can ‘read between the lines’ pretty easily.  For instance, simple things, like a woman directing a ‘nonpolitical’ Iraq film and making the big time.  It is so cynical. 

Like Governor Paterson being taken down right after he stated that he would run for Governor even with all the Democrats pleading to him not to run.  Such a coincidence that they suddenly ‘dug up dirt.’

I lose the power of my ideals when faced with overwhelming, daily hypocrisy.

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By plainsman, March 8, 2010 at 2:45 am Link to this comment

Rebellions tend to fail. If you truly want to change things then it is necessary first to identify the enemy.

Under the current system the adage, “You can’t win.” takes on new poignancy. A small group has devised a system that enables them to win no matter what happens. The advantage is always to the house, just like any casino. As disparaging as Chris Hedges is, some are wising up to the fact that as long as people support the system of the “power elites”, as long as they play by their rules, they will always lose. If you want to change things you have to make that clear to everyone regardless of their political stripe. The struggle is no longer about Right or Left, about socialism versus capitalism. We—the common folk—have a common enemy.

Here’s one suggestion on how to start changing things:
http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2010/01/if-government-wont-break-up-giant-banks.html

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By Miko, March 8, 2010 at 2:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If we see the end of this country it will come from
politicians of both the right and the so-called
“left” and their continuance of policies designed to
ensure that people cannot provide themselves with the
basic necessities of life.  As Hedges notes, it is
true that the government exists only as a means for
the rich to further benefit themselves at the expense
of everyone else and especially at the expense of the
poorest.  As Hedges notes, it is also true that no
government could exist without an effective taxing
mechanism.  Accepting both of these facts, the only
strange thing is that Hedges apparently is in favor
of keeping such taxing mechanisms.

Our society is one of high rents due primarily to
government-granted title to unimproved land, high
materials costs due to government-granted monopolies
in resource extraction (both domestic and foreign),
and high costs for everything else due to government-
granted patents, copyrights, and tariff protections. 
It is understandable why the rightist supports such a
system, as right-wing ideology is based on the
continuance of existing hierarchy and on the
exploitation of the many by the few.  Unfortunately,
the left has been taken over by corporate statists
(as opposed to libertarians—in the historical
leftist sense, rather than the right-wing corruption
of it) that intend to replace or reformulate the
existing hierarchy rather than utterly destroying it. 
And we’ve seen how well that’s worked out.

While “providing people with the basic necessities of
life” is (if pursued correctly) a noble goal whenever
people without such necessities exist, it becomes
toxic when it is pursued for the purpose of silencing
questions about why people cannot provide themselves
with such necessities.

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