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Colonized by Corporations

Posted on May 14, 2012
Illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

This is what made Malcolm X so threatening to the white power structure. He refused to countenance Martin Luther King’s fiction that white power and white liberals would ever lift black people out of economic squalor. King belatedly came to share Malcolm’s view. Malcolm X named the enemy. He exposed the lies. And until we see the corporate state, and the games it is playing with us, with the same kind of clarity, we will be nothing more than useful idiots.

“This is an era of hypocrisy,” Malcolm X said. “When white folks pretend that they want Negroes to be free, and Negroes pretend to white folks that they really believe that white folks want ’em to be free, it’s an era of hypocrisy, brother. You fool me and I fool you. You pretend that you’re my brother and I pretend that I really believe you believe you’re my brother.”

Those within a demoralized ruling elite, like characters in a Chekhov play, increasingly understand that the system that enriches and empowers them is corrupt and decayed. They become cynical. They do not govern effectively. They retreat into hedonism. They no longer believe their own rhetoric. They devote their energies to stealing and exploiting as much, as fast, as possible. They pillage their own institutions, as we have seen with the newly disclosed loss of $2 billion within JPMorgan Chase, the meltdown of Chesapeake Energy Corp. or the collapse of Enron and Lehman Brothers. The elites become cannibals. They consume each other. This is what happens in the latter stages of all dying regimes. Louis XIV pillaged his own nobility by revoking patents of nobility and reselling them. It is what most corporations do to their shareholders. A dying ruling class, in short, no longer acts to preserve its own longevity. It becomes fashionable, even in the rarefied circles of the elite, to ridicule and laugh at the political puppets that are the public face of the corporate state.

“Ideas that have outlived their day may hobble about the world for years,” Alexander Herzen wrote, “but it is hard for them ever to lead and dominate life. Such ideas never gain complete possession of a man, or they gain possession only of incomplete people.”


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This loss of faith means that when it comes time to use force, the elites employ it haphazardly and inefficiently, in large part because they are unsure of the loyalty of the foot soldiers on the streets charged with carrying out repression.

Revolutions take time. The American Revolution began with protests against the Stamp Act of 1765 but did not erupt until a decade later. The 1917 revolution in Russia started with a dress rehearsal in 1905. The most effective revolutions, including the Russian Revolution, have been largely nonviolent. There are always violent radicals who carry out bombings and assassinations, but they hinder, especially in the early stages, more than help revolutions. The anarchist Peter Kropotkin during the Russian Revolution condemned the radical terrorists, asserting that they only demoralized and frightened away the movement’s followers and discredited authentic anarchism.

Radical violent groups cling like parasites to popular protests. The Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, the Weather Underground, the Red Brigades and the Symbionese Liberation Army arose in the ferment of the 1960s. Violent radicals are used by the state to justify harsh repression. They scare the mainstream from the movement. They thwart the goal of all revolutions, which is to turn the majority against an isolated and discredited ruling class. These violent fringe groups are seductive to those who yearn for personal empowerment through hyper-masculinity and violence, but they do little to advance the cause. The primary role of radical extremists, such as Maximilien Robespierre and Vladimir Lenin, is to hijack successful revolutions. They unleash a reign of terror, primarily against fellow revolutionaries, which often outdoes the repression of the old regime. They often do not play much of a role in building a revolution.

The power of the Occupy movement is that it expresses the widespread disgust with the elites, and the deep desire for justice and fairness that is essential to all successful revolutionary movements. The Occupy movement will change and mutate, but it will not go away. It may appear to make little headway, but this is less because of the movement’s ineffectiveness and more because decayed systems of power have an amazing ability to perpetuate themselves through habit, routine and inertia. The press and organs of communication, along with the anointed experts and academics, tied by money and ideology to the elites, are useless in dissecting what is happening within these movements. They view reality through the lens of their corporate sponsors. They have no idea what is happening.

Dying regimes are chipped away slowly and imperceptibly. The assumptions and daily formalities of the old system are difficult for citizens to abandon, even when the old system is increasingly hostile to their dignity, well-being and survival. Supplanting an old faith with a new one is the silent, unseen battle of all revolutionary movements. And during the slow transition it is almost impossible to measure progress.

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong,” Fanon wrote in “Black Skin, White Masks.” “When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”

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By R. Noel Chrisman, May 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I thank Chris Hedges for keeping the lights on and the heat up, like nobody else!  I just want to remind all of us of the distinction between the American and the French revolutions made by Hannah Arendt in “On Revolution.”  One sought structural change in the means of governing (America) and the other sought redress for physical deprivations (France).  One was successful and enduring, because power was re-distributed; the other failed, because it extracted compensation for misery from the flesh of their opponents (and then each other).  The lesson here may be that Occupy should press hard for one thing and one thing only: disenfranchisement of corporations from having the rights of individuals.  Wouldn’t that balance up the imbalances between elite financial powers and “we the people” in a more effective and lasting way?  Revolution can either change how power is meted out, or it can just substitute new ruling elites for the ousted ones.  Please get Occupy to focus on the structural changes with a Constitional amendment that would wipe out decisions like Citizens United, etc.  We have the moral power, it is clear and simple to understand.  Let’s use it.

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By americanme, May 15, 2012 at 11:37 am Link to this comment


Thanks.  But I think it’s the karma of the US to end up being colonized and stripped of all their ill-gotten gains that they acquired from indigenous folks as well as slaves.

When the 1% of the late 18th century decided to stop paying taxes on those ill-gotten gains and sucker the lumpen (at the time mostly indentured servants, former indentured servants, convicts and exconvicts) into waging war against the brits, they suckered those folks into being cannon fodder (literally) by holding out the promise of their too being able to acquire ill-gotten gains.

More than 200 years later the lumpen who were disguised as middle class for quite a few years are now facing having the disguise ripped off, and because there is shame in lumpenhood in the US, they will piss and moan and break a couple of windows and camp out in a few parks—but they won’t make a revolution because deep down in their collective unconscious they KNOW that everything they have or had was a result of thievery, slavery and genocide. 

Even though US folks have walls of denial thicker than the Great Wall of China to shield their consciousness from the obligation to atone for their collective crimes, the unconscious is always there—and it is astoundingly ethical in its perspective.

US folks are done.

Anger won’t save them because anger is not what is needed.

What is needed is atonement for their crimes—including thievery, slavery, genocide and ecocide—all of which are still going on right as I type this post.

So anger is out.

First:  Stop the criminal activity.

Second:  Atone for the criminal activity.

Third:  See where you are.

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By Ali Reza, May 15, 2012 at 11:34 am Link to this comment




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By gerard, May 15, 2012 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

It seems to me that the paragraphs at the bottom of page 2 deserve special attention:  “Supplanting an old faith with a new one is the silent, unseen battle of all revolutionary movements. And during the slow transition it is almost impossible to measure progress.
  “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong,” Fanon wrote in “Black Skin, White Masks.” “When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”
  An important way in which the U.S. struggle differs from many others is what we might call “double cognitive dissonance” because two profound beliefs are being questioned, altered, discarded at the same time:  The literal belief in Christian dogma and doctrine is being broadly questioned by people who search for a moral/ spiritual faith grounded less in myth and more in knowledge.  And at the same historical moment, our deep belief in the possibility of structuring a real and enduring Democracy is also being deeply questioned and reshaped.
  In terms of this Hedges article, our situation amounts to a doubly difficult problem which creates the need for very complex analysis and decision-making fraught with uncertainties.
  If this is true, we need to give ourselves and the
Occupy movement time—and at the same time the apparent difficulties of acting may be revealing to us that wisdom may be on the side of taking care.
  This “delay” does not necessarily indicate weakness. Perhaps our situation requires a new intricacy of process, and a new patience may be necessary. Our situation may also prove to be less amenable to the exertion of brute force. Creative methods of many kinds may be called for over a longer period of time.

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By Steve Naidamast, May 15, 2012 at 11:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges has been writing the most prescient of essays as they regard the current socio-economic situation of the United States.  This essay is no different.

However, in this piece he has some facts incorrect and understanding history correctly is as vital to any new movement as its enthusiasm for change.  How else can a movement avoid the mistakes of the past but by being well informed of history.

The American Revolution was not fought against a dying empire.  England remained strong until the end of World War I.  The American Revolutionaries actually had no legitimate reasons for causing the eventual rebellion.  The major agitators were all American elites who wanted to better control their land-based wealth more than anything else.

The “Stamp Tax” that is so often taught as the tinder-box that began it all was nothing of the sort.  The “Stamp Tax” came about as a result of colonies demanding that they be converted and\or treated like “Royal Colonies” of which the only one in North America was the colony of Pennsylvania.  All “Royal Colonies” were taxed at increased levels of which the “Stamp Tax” was one such tax, which totaled in today’s dollars to about $1.20 a year.

George Washington and other such revolutionaries were never members of the British Royal Army.  They were officers in the Colonial Militias, which were viewed by British officers as inferior in training and conduct.  Only on rare occasions would a militia officer be granted a Royal Commission in the Royal Army.  It was Washington’s fondest dream to be a British officer but he was never granted any such commission when he applied.

The American Revolution was not a revolution in any sense of the word.  As many historians have noted, it was more a civil war than a revolt.  Revolutions cause major social changes in society of which the American Revolution caused none.  For the average person practically nothing changed in their daily lives as most were unaffected by the ongoing activities of the Revolutionary elites.

For the most part, those who made up the foot soldiers of the revolution were nothing more than brigands and thugs who would later show their true colors in the way they treated their still loyal British neighbors.  As such, Washington at no time had more than approximately 24,000 troops under his command since it was so difficult to keep men in arms with desertion and the need to leave for harvesting as a major impediment towards the building of a stable fighting force.  Neither the states or the Congress at the time were able to foot the bills (or wanted to) of the expenses of war.  The eventual “Blue Coats” that made up the Continental Army were a small number.

The American Revolution occurred for one single reason.  The distance of 3000+ miles made it almost impossible for England to govern effectively as colonial society changed over the centuries.  However, in terms of actual grievances there really weren’t all that many serious ones that could be construed as kindling for such a rebellion with the exception of course, greed…

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By kerryrose, May 15, 2012 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

I’m glad to see many comments on this thread take issue with Hedge’s fairly unconscious dismissal of the poor.  ‘Too busy trying to survive’ is his offhand bigoted statement.

Well, listen Mr Hedges. The history of Intellectuals in this country is one of placate, appease, and hope for elite handouts for good behavior.

How dare you dismiss the working class and working poor?  In my experience they are much more savvy about the world than the self inflicted ignorance of intellectuals.  And I happen to be an intellectual.

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By Korky Day, May 15, 2012 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

I voted in the poll mentioned by “Garrett Connr;;y”.
“None of the above” is winning, so far.
Several other polls there are interesting, too:

All of you can vote in them.

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By mrfreeze, May 15, 2012 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

@ americanme - (and to all you other commentators)

I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment:

“Hardly a revolution. The chances of a revolution in the US are still very remote, as there are few intellectuals—much less disillusioned ones—and fewer folks claiming to be middle class every day.”

I read a lot of nonsense on many blog threads about the “need for revolution” and “let’s organize a revolution.” OWS is a nice model for a revolution but it has failed.

Unfortunately, Americans are deathly AFRAID of revolutions and all the “nastiness” that comes with them. Take for example the recent May Day activities in Seattle. The “event” was touted generally as “successful” because the OWS folk behaved themselves…....BUT…...the anarchists (who managed to break a couple of store-front windows got all the press…..negative press…...because here, in America, protests must be sanitized, anti-bacterialized, neutered….defanged. One of my journalist friends (retired but who should know better) posted picture after picture of the broken windows on FB. He was shocked and outraged by the “unnecessary destruction of private property.” Apparently, revolution is OK in America if there are no casualities (especially inanimate ones…poor, poor windows…).

Face it, Americans are too neck-deep in debt, too fat and lazy and “prosperous” to give a shit about waging war against the 1% (or whatever we want to call them). Our materialism and all the “gifts” the corporations have “bestowed upon us” through their capitalism have blinded us to the truth: we are nothing more than functionary-profit-centers. We are being harvested for our “economic value.” WE don’t matter, not to them and, frankly, not to each other these days. 

What do you all think will make Americans angry enough to finally turn on their corporate masters?

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By frank1569, May 15, 2012 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s possible more haven’t embraced the Occupy
movement because, although they agree over-
consumption-based Capitalism has run it’s course, a
viable replacement has yet to be articulated.

For example, the masses would understand a ‘new’
system based on the way the NFL is set-up: equitable
wealth distribution, salary and profit caps,
universal health care, and clear rules all must
follow or suffer the penalties.

It’s like the old saying: don’t quit your job until
ya have a new one lined up. Once there’s a new system
the majority can comprehend, embrace and support,
they’ll stop clinging to the one that’s failed them.

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By Garrett Connr;;y, May 15, 2012 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Rank presidential vote between Repubs, demos and None of the Above here.

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By balkas, May 15, 2012 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

we, however, do not know what the “Occupy Empire” means nor what it entails.
does it entail urging all people—and more so the young—to vote for jill stein?
or fielding own candidate[s]?
and if not today then maybe next election?
is it going to be against solving internat’l conflicts by waging warfare?
is it for prosecuting, indicting, bringing to courts all those who organize and wage wars?
and that might include just about all members of european govts; starting from war against
korea. [note please that n.koreans waged that war for reunification an dthsu it wa si civil war
in which no one had legal right to intrevene according to int’l laws.
blair, sarkozy, merkel, putin, karzai, obama, clinton, truman, among others come to mind.

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By American Lion, May 15, 2012 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges, thank you for bringing me into and through my present phase of awareness. Beginning with Reagan, and solidifying with 9/11, you are now my North Star.

This reversion back to sanity, which many of us can imagine but few can actually see to choreograph, can come by correcting the present system or completely overthrowing it. I don’t think the ‘civil society’ will suffer the continued failure of the first option.
I hope for a continued dialog from your platform to steer us through the second option.

All My Best To You Sir

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By Alan MacDonald, May 15, 2012 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

David Cyr @ 6:15 today—a visionary comment indeed!

And to, Schlee, as I replied to your comments concerning the Chomsky video column, I would reply the same here re Hedges’ great column:

[Quote, Schlee]:

  “If the smattering of half-hearted dissent that is the “Occupy” movement is so goddamned effective, why is the situation continuing to get worse on all fronts and why is the rate at which it’s getting worse continuing to accelerate?


Schlee, my friend, “things will start to get better” and America will start to be “FREE” through “REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY” when the Occupy movement evolves this summer to a new strategy and overtly focuses its message and threat to the existing system by declaring that it is now “Occupying Empire”.

When the Occupy movement recognizes, exposes, and confronts the corporate/financial/militarist and media EMPIRE that has ‘captured’ and fully “Occupies” our former country by extending the ‘action’ of the movement to “Occupy the Empire”, then things will really start to change.

When the disguised global Empire, which has been happily hiding behind the facade of this faux-democratic sham, this totally illegitimate dual-party Vichy phony government, is exposed and demonstrated forcefully against as being “Against Empire” and not merely against the ‘symptom problems’ of Wall Street corruption, economic inequality, police oppression, but Against EMPIRE itself, then the previously disguised Empire, that is the cancerous cause of all these ‘symptom problems’ will go absolutely bonkers and all hell will break loose.

Also, when the Occupy movement declares itself the “Occupy Empire” movement/confrontation and shows that it’s not just upset at personal economic unfairness, but is really a patriotic effort to address all the deceits, crimes, oppressions, violence, and wars that this Empire, which stole our country, is doing to all Americans, then the number of average middle/working-class Americans who will feel both patriotically motivated and feel free to join the “Occupy Empire” movement will quickly move the movement toward its real goal of 99%.

All those relatively passive Americans who have not been moved to join the original Occupy movement will become both freed, energized by patriotism, and motivated to action by a call to confront our common cause “Against Empire”, and actively join in the much broader action of “Occupy Empire” to consolidate the real 99%, and to recover our country from the Empire that has controlled it during these dark times.

Have faith, Schlee, the surge to confront this illegal Empire and regain our freedom, democracy, economic health, liberty, equality, and justice will expand quickly and forcefully when this new American Revolution (as the First American Revolution) is clearly defined as a valid and patriotic effort to “Occupy Empire” and push the Empire out of our country.

As Chris Hedges said in this article about being “Colonized by Corporations” and “empire”, the American people would not suffer to live under the colonial oppression of the British Empire, and neither will we live under the corporate/financial/militarism of this modern disguised global Empire once the “Occupy Empire” movement educates people to this crime, exposes this new Empire, and sets them free to revolt “Against Empire” and save their own country.

Best luck and love to the “Occupy
Empire” educational and revolutionary movement.

Liberty, democracy, & justice

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By David J. Cyr, May 15, 2012 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Chris Hedges:

“Go ahead and vote this November. But don’t waste any more time or energy on the presidential election than it takes to get to your polling station and pull a lever for a third-party candidate—just enough to register your obstruction and defiance—and then get back out onto the street. That is where the question of real power is being decided.”

The 2012 election is a public referendum on corporatism.

Those who want a better world should get themselves radically occupied within that election, to ensure that corporatism doesn’t get yet another 99% popular vote (R) & (D) mandate to continue the continuum… again.

When people refer to insurgent electoral alternatives as being “third parties” they use the corporate party’s denigrating terminology that perpetuates a BIG lie upon which so many other lies depend. Republicans and Democrats are joined together, as one — being mutually dependent factions within one corporate party — both factions working in solidarity together, in theatrical “loyal opposition” to achieve their neoliberal team’s shared strategic goal of preserving, protecting and projecting corporatism.

The Green Party is a 2nd party — a non-corporate alternative — not a 3rd party.

There isn’t any real conflict between advocacy for anarchy and also for a people’s democracy use of elections. America has never achieved democracy because there have been too many “progressive” Democrats. Elections in these Corporate States of America can and will begin to serve a good purpose, if a large new young Left rises up now that is both able and willing to disembowel Democrats (the corporate party faction dedicated to performing partial-birth abortions on anything and everything that rises up from the Left).

In the aggregate, America’s old voters are irredeemable… irredeemably corporate (R) & (D) party compliant. Conceptually, the proactive and holistic (21st Century socialist) Green Party is the most sane and sensible existing electoral alternative that’s timely available — organizationally ready for use now in 2012 by the young, for the young… and for anyone of any age who believes that people living now have a responsibility to leave behind a human habitable planet upon which future generations may also live.

Voting can become useful — for a good purpose — if the young maturely organize themselves into a strong dissident surge that fiercely occupies the vote in 2012; to forcefully vote with a vengeance against the sociopathy of the corporate party’s (R) & (D) dedicated dinosaur generations.

Fear filled people who compliantly want corporate ownership of government to continue — the sheeple comfortable with a continuum of the corporate-state’s sociopathic policies — will vote for one of the corporate (R) & (D) party’s money manufactured candidates… dependent upon whether they prefer (R)s or (D)s to keep getting the same evil shit done.

People who demand a better world will vote Green.

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

Jill Stein for President:

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By balkas, May 15, 2012 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

we were once idyllically civilized. no, we did not build pyramids, palaces, missiles, WMD, etc.,
nor did we have churches, priestly class, laws, govts, universities during eons prior to losing our civilization.
we never had a civilized way of living in europe since, say, 4 k y ago.
and we never had it in u.s either.
however, i’d dare say that for a long time 99.9999% of american pop [i’m excluding its indigenes] had not noticed that.
that percentage is now changing. that’s good news for all of us who rue loss of our civilization and civility towards one another.
we can get them back, i suggest, w.o. any violence.
it took centuries and in some areas [egypt, mesopotamia] perhaps millennia to lose the glory we had and it may take centuries
[hopefully only decades or just one day] to get it back.
i suggest that the ruling class, say 30% of u.s pop, fears return of a civilization and that is why it is waging wars, sanctions,
blockades, threats, etc., against some disobedient nations more frequently than ever before.
that is why the ONEPERCENT with help from another 20-30% of americans is manufacturing ever ‘better’ weaponry; doing more
more spying, terrorizing, using more violent language, or conjuring up catastrophies/perils than ever before.
from what i wrote this far, occupying the minds of some of those 20% to 30%, seems the right task to take up. i expect that w.o.
abettors, the multimillionaires and billionaires wld be rendered totally impotent to do us and biota any more harm.
is it as simple as that? well, we will never know unless we prove it on empirical grounds.

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By robespierre, May 15, 2012 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

This idea of a spontaneous collapse is exactly what Hedges would have us all believe, though he does not say it outright. All we need to do is follow state sanctioned norms—get a permit, hold a sign, “speak truth to power.” It’s the old, tired, liberal line. Simply being moral, and above all, non-violent, will bring about transformation. If the old guard won’t come quietly along they will collapse of their own venality.

Really? I would imagine that the corporations would be very happy with an indefinite period of wage stagnation, general indebtedness, declining tax rates and public expenditures, and, above all, a populace committed to the idea of non-violence. Post-industrial,mostly finance capital can probably be sustained for a long time under these conditions.

It is true that other alternatives have not been adequately worked out. And this is sad because all revolutions are influenced by a new, emerging set of ideas. But it’s right there before our faces. Anarchists taught the occupy movement all about it, but we can’t call it anarchism. Corporate media, public schools and liberals would have us believe that it means violent chaos and, anyway, it’s not possible. Of course that’s what reactionaries said about democracy and rights too. So, anyway, let’s call it direct democracy: voluntary association, consensus decision-making and mutual aid. If you don’t want to have a new boss then reject all bosses. Organize all social activities around consensus. Use delegates subject to recall for more centralized decisions. Focus on maximizing provision of basic needs and abundant leisure. Minimize needless things—from fast food to hugvies—and needless work—almost all bureaucracy.

There is no need for a platform just the uiversalization of the only universal ideas to have been inadvertently generated through capitalism: real equality and real individual freedom.

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By M Henri Day, May 15, 2012 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

If I read you aright, kulu we seem to be agreed. To my mind, the most likely outcome in the event the present political and economic system in the US collapses «spontaneously», i e, without a new system, organised in the interim, which can either suppress the old security apparatus or offer its members employment, is that the more clever members of this apparatus will attempt to set up shop for themselves, on smaller or larger scales. A mafia regime, in other words - hardly a pleasant prospect, but not unlikely, given (what I understand to be) the present state of impotence and disorganisation of the alternatives….


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By FANUEL NSINGO, May 15, 2012 at 6:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Aye Chris. I strongly agree with the following
statement,“In every revolutionary movement I covered
in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, the
leadership emerged from déclassé intellectuals. The
leaders were usually young or middle-aged, educated
and always unable to meet their professional and
personal aspirations. They were never part of the
power elite, although often their parents had been.
They were conversant in the language of power as well
as the language of oppression. It is the presence of
large numbers of déclassé intellectuals that makes
the uprisings in Spain, Egypt, Greece and finally the
United States threatening to the overlords at Goldman
Sachs, ExxonMobil and JPMorgan Chase. They must face
down opponents who understand, in a way the
uneducated often do not, the lies disseminated on
behalf of corporations by the public relations
industry. These déclassé intellectuals, because they
are conversant in economics and political theory,
grasp that those who hold power, real power, are not
the elected mandarins in Washington but the criminal
class on Wall Street.” However, I disagree with the
following, “In it Gamer notes that although the
oppressed often do revolt, the object of their
hostility is misplaced. They vent their fury on a
political puppet, someone who masks colonial power, a
despised racial or ethnic group or an apostate within
their own political class. The useless battles serve
as an effective mask for what Gamer calls the
“patron-client” networks that are responsible for the
continuity of colonial oppression.” I find the use of
the term ‘misplaced’ very stubborn. when has
hostility ever been misplaced, and how has it ever
been measured? the oppressed ones have always made it
loud and clear. if they dont want Mugabe they say it
straight, if they need suitable housing they have
always said it. the Middle East revolt was clear and
justified too. nobody ever stated their concerns the
other way round. Zimbabweans have always maintained
that Mugabe must go. Unfortunately for you Chris you
should stay away from citing the so-called Gamers in
your interesting, informative and investigative
analysis as you will damage your reputation of
producing world-class reads. Gamer is trying to
disarm we the the poor and oppressed. we will never
give in to his unfounded myths and beliefs buttered
with supposed intellectual psychology, that he
indirectly imposes on we the oppressed in the form of
his self-crafted colonialism. his teachings on the
misplaced hostility is colonial itself. the challenge
for you now is to correct him rather than quoting his
misguided assertions. its his only thinking not ours.
the revolution has been ignited by the free world
with suppoting acts like Facebook and Google to
finally allow us our fair say and share. we may be
uneducated but we shame the likes of directionless
Gamers of this world who choose to trample on the
poor. We re not even afraid to confront him why he is
trying to colonise us by telling us that our protests
are ‘useless.’ he is the useless one since he seems
he never grew up in the rural areas as i did and has
never slept on an empty stomach. Gmer has never
walked bare-footed in rural Zimbabwe(as i did)or
gotten pricked underneath his foot. our soldierly and
vigorous behaviour wasn’t a training of some sort. we
experienced poor life and humble beginnings. Game
sounds like one of the opressors that you choose to
mention as colonisers. his empty talk is similar to a
foot soldier who only awaits instructions from his
commander to shoot. in fact, he is a sell-out. he is
selling out the poor because now some people are
already quoting his errors as right. sell-outs like
him dont belong in the modern civilised world. what
happened to Gadaffi shall happen to Mugabe too. “Why
men do not revolt” is a bad choice for a topic.Gamer,
let sleeping dogs lie!!!

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By elisalouisa, May 15, 2012 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

“As some here have suggested, it is transformation, not “revolution,” that is required. . . . First, get over your “self.

So true Old Man Turtle. Your writings do have a TaoWalker quality not common on these threads.

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By PatrickHenry, May 15, 2012 at 3:27 am Link to this comment

Old Man Turtle,

Your post reminds me of TAO Walker, a regular poster here whose logic I miss.

If you see him in your travels give him my regards.

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By Vision 3000, May 15, 2012 at 2:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

M Henry Day points out that the military-police security apparatus does not “defect” to any order that would put it out of a job.  Thus, truly transformative “revolutions” are different from the obvious “changing of the guard” capitalist-communist kinds of battles. 

Positive human change occurs mostly invisibly under the surface.  Sometimes it emerges rather rapidly and certain individuals may rush out in front of the parade to lead it, but the parade of a new world-view that is more just and more wise is set in motion by many people thinking and communicating about emerging realities.  I would suggest four emerging elements of transformative change:

IDEAS (in the form of visions for new reality: Define clearly what the desired outcome should look like.)

LEADERS (with enough wisdom to develop vision: This requires a continuous learning process.)

INSTITUTIONS (new forms for human organization: such as networks and internetworks)

RESOURCES (money, people, plans, processes, communications, and organizations.)

As these kinds of components emerge and cross-fertilize though communication networks and forums, transformation grows. This is described in VISION 3000, which presents a model of transformation.

In my opinion, this is occuring and is more nourished under Democratic governments than under Republicans, the Consumer Protection Agency being one small case in point.  Historically, the middle class does better when Congress, the White House, and the Court are in Democratic majorities.  Thus I will vote D, despite the imperfections of the political process.

R = Rule by the Rich

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By colin2626262, May 15, 2012 at 2:20 am Link to this comment

Dear Chris,
I’m almost positive you read the comments under your columns, so I’ll address you directly.  Seeing what you wrote in your latest column, that you pray and that our ability to reform society is not in our own hands, made me think I might have influenced you with some of my comments about religion.  When you say you pray, you don’t say whom you’re praying to, and you also don’t say whose hands we’re in, but it’s not that enigmatic.  You’re writing about God.  Keep the faith, friend.  There’s a lot more work to do.


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By kulu, May 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

M Henri,

There will come a time when the powers are no longer able to provide privilege or pay for their security apparatus. That is when they, the facilitators may turn against their masters. But what then? These people still have the guns and they didn’t sign up because they loved the idea of peace and goodwill to all.

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By kulu, May 14, 2012 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

@david May 14 3:31 am,

I agree with you. The middle class are just as much cannon fodder as the poor. I’m one of the former and have only relatively recently come out of my cocoon. Mind you things are getting steadily worse as time goes by and it is becoming more difficult to ignore the problems this world faces and the role of the elite in producing the crises we face.

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By robespierre, May 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

Revolutions are not violent, well, except for the English, French, American, Russian, Chinese, Cuban and all other revolutions. Robespierre and Lenin did not do much actual organizing of the French and Russian revolutions. No? Even a cursory glance at Wikipedia would disabuse Hedges of that silliness.

The question is why an otherwise intelligent person would so willfully blind himself to certain basic historical facts. No sane person likes violence. But the corporate state elites hedges rails against are certainly not sane. hey certainly will use any degree of military, police, and military-police violence to sustain themselves.

Hedges hints that it is so corrupt that it will fall apart by itself. How ignorant the black bloc is for slowing down the process and giving the state a reason for its existence in the eyes of the masses! It is a nice fairy tale. Corrupt regimes topple because people take up arms and topple them. There is not a instance of a regime falling down on its own without any violent push.

Sorry everybody. But that’s a historical fact. If Occupy has anything going for it, it’s that it will not allow itself to be taken over by a Robespierre or Lenin. But it will have NOTHING going for it if people like Hedges convince you that revolutionary change happens without a violent struggle. “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.”

Would slave masters have yielded without a fight? No. Then what makes you think that these modern tyrants will?

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By SolomonsSmarterBrother, May 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You want to overthrow the Corporatists?

Stop buying , books, Oreos, clothes, stocks-bonds-and-securities, Starbucks coffee, greeting cards… etc.  Stop supporting Walmart, Kmart, Costco, Nabisco, etc.  Stop subscribing to Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, et al.  Hang up on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobil and whoever else has wormed their way into yur front pocket.

Y’all need to start collective farms and buy each other’s goods and produce… not with worthless U.S. paper currency, but barter this for that amongst each other and rob Big Brother of his porky profits.  Do like the Mennonites and Amish… UNPLUG everything.

The problem is, you’d all rather take a few weeks off from work and go occupy Wall Street instead of going out and occupying 40 acres of arable land with a hoe and shovel. The other problem is, the “1%” as well as the 98.999 percent of people who aren’t paying any attention to the 0.001% OWS zealots, have gotten used to their corporate-created creature comforts and aren’t EVER going to follow you true blue street campers. Did it ever dawn on you that the bulk of people aren’t revolting because they’re simply not upset!  You think they SHOULD BE upset because you see a boogeyman sitting at every boardroom table… but “normal” people understand that they are small cogs on a big wheel and aren’t going to make (and don’t WANT to make) decisions that affect major course changes of our giant ship-of-state. Most people ARE happy with the amount of influence they have at PTA’s, city board meetings, as precinct delegates, etc.

So keep ranting against the corporations with your mouth as you every day support them with your pocketbook! Yeah, good luckwith that project. Big Mac, anyone?

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By maynard, May 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges,

Between 1921 - 1923, Peng Pai engaged in labor organizing activities in Haifeng, China. You’ll find an autobiographical account detailing the rise of his labor union in Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook, edited by Patricia Buckley Ebrey. It’s titled, “The Haifeng Peasant Association”.

Peng Pai was, as you note, the child of a ruling landlord. He was well educated and not of the peasant class. As such, by eschewing the norms of his own class he became ostracized. Further, he had never been a member of the peasant class. So, in so organizing, he separated himself from all society in the early period of his organizing. He describes this time as the most difficult.

He initially had little success, which he attributed to his upper class dress and speaking manner. It was only until he began dressing down and speaking informally that he gained notice among the local peasants. But once it began, once he had built a small organization of a few trusted compatriots, the whole thing built quickly.

Interestingly, he found that once he had built a large scale organizational structure, he was once again readmitted to the upper class that he had worked to delegitimize. He attributed that to their attempt to assimilate his organization back into the traditional power structure.

Ultimately, his peasant organization was destroyed by the local military. But not until after it had achieved significant reforms.

I think you’d find this reading of particular interest.

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By Schlee, May 14, 2012 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment





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By Dr. Whom, May 14, 2012 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

This is, by far, one of the best articles
I’ve read about the elements involved in
past revolutions and their modern

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By Communist, May 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with Jimmmmmy @ 5-14 0953. HEdges is attempting to rewrite history here from the point of view of the intellectual class. HE essentially dismisses the working class (the actual proletariat and not the petty bourgeoisie he is celebrating in his piece) as not “intellectual enough” to carry out a revolution, when it is the collective force of the working class which will push revolutionary conditions.

Don’t forget people - Hedges is a capitalist! That alone should give you pause and question pretty much everything he writes.  Hedges writes from the point of view of a liberal capitalist.  He is attempting to rewrite history here (most successful revolutions are nonviolent?!) and doing a poor job of it at that.

I would also remind you that Hedges supported the counterrevoluntionary activity against communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR and also supported Clinton’s bombing of Yugoslavia.

Who is zooming who here?

Let’s also keep in mind that this is the same guy that lambasted anarchist activity at Occupy protests without backing up his conclusions with actual facts. And he got shredded by numerous anarchists on the web in response.

I love his flippant dismissal of the Chinese revolution under Mao. Mao only liberated 25% of the WORLD’s population from feudal serfdom. Yeah, I guess that violent revolution “could sometimes succeed.”  He tosses out the revolution under Mao as an afterthought.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother reading this character. He’s a liberal capitalist - you do the math.

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By Ralph Kramden, May 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges is completly wrong in his analysis of violence and revolution. Without Lenin there would not have been a Russian Revolution. Without Robespierre no French Revolution. Mahatma Ghandi killed more people than Robespierre: first by stopping food trains (thousands starved) and then by prolonging the empire’s rule. The Reign of Terror killed around 3,000. More were killed in the Restoration than in the Reign of Terror. The aristocracy and Wellington wrote the books on the Reign of Terror, but it is shameful for some one such as Hedges to perpetuate the myths and propaganda. Of course revolution is the kicking in of a rotten door. Karl Marx knew as much. Is Hedges implying that the Russian Revolution should have defended itself against the invasion of 16 countries and the attacks of the White Army by throwing donuts at them? Non-violence has it’s limits. I can just imagine what the likes of Batista, the Shah, Franco would have done against non-violence. Wake up Hedges, you have been reading your religious books for too long.

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By Textynn, May 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It seems to me that there is a major question that goes around and that is, Who do we focus our blame for the oppression, theft, and poverty that has been thrust upon us.  Does the blame lie with the International Financial elite or does is lie with the politicians, or both. Blame being defined as the part of the problem that must be rectified to reach a solution that fixes the problem.

I believe that both the Elite and Washington are to blame, but not equally.  There will always be criminals. Even in the kindergarten classroom, the criminal exists. It may just be some extra cookies or someone’s much superior art project. (In this world, it can be meaningful level of opportunism.)  But it is the politicians that are chosen, hired, and generously paid to represent the good of the people and protect them from the criminals that is the real problem. 

Simply put, buying decisions is an immoral concept.  It is illegal but we have renamed it.  Lobbying and campaign finance has a nice name but these are crimes when it controls the decisions of our lawmakers.  If we do not have people who will chose the people over a campaign donor, we have no one doing the jobs for which they were elected period. They should be fired. They are not doing their job period. 

Essentially, I think it all boils down to this as being the linchpin of the entire problem.  It may not be a new idea but I think Washington’s not prosecuting crime should be our focus focus focus.

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By CanDoJack, May 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Hear, heed!

If value in the online is correct information, then
this Hedges article is of the highest value.

This is the way it is.

I differ with Hedges not as to the lie (lay if you
like bad grammar) of the land, but what hope exists
and what can be done that is constructive.

The lie is that the lie is ever present.

If your mama says she loves you check it out.

But, it is foolish to think you can consume crap for
a century and then have a healthy constitution.

So it is a matter of how sick we are.

Puppet masters, when they tell the truth, do so
accidentally and in irony. Example that comes to mind
is naming a book, Audacity of Hope.

Hope is inappropriate because hope is pase’.

The choice is buckle down and combat the monster
anyway realizing the battle is futile.


One, Enjoy the things that are really enjoyable.
(Hint: it is the corporate dished caca ovaca de la
vaca paca you have been eating with relish since the
dawn of television)

Two, prepare your exit

Three, exit silently. It is more enjoyable that way.
Enjoy leaving. When they come for you, take the pill,
crawl into a comfortable infrequently dumped dumpster
and proceed with your recycling.

Four, with any luck when you are reconstituted you
will enter a fresh environment, cleaned by Mother
Nature, not Mr. Clean, and you will have no
comprehension that in past eons things could have
gone so wrong.

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By Korky Day, May 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

“the worm” wrote, “I do not consider this election to be a good one to ‘go third party’”

The Democrats and Republicans are absolutely united in brain-washing the voters into thinking that every single election is one in which you must vote for the lesser of 2 evils.  We would have beat them if they had ever failed to do that.

Vote in several related polls at the non-profit poll site
or write your own poll there.

In the public elections, vote Green Party and/or Ron Paul.

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By El_Pinguino, May 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Damn… one has to get here early to be a first post!

After reading this article a second time, I came to a better understanding of what I was uncomfortable with in my participation of Occupy Los Angeles. I had to step away from Occupy Los Angeles, but never felt I should step away from the Occupy Movement in general.

Early on we lost the *declasse* portion of our population and became saturated with many people who did not have the ability (for whatever reason) to be effective revolutionaries. When the city stepped in to cut the head off the proverbial snake…. there were few people left to organize a response.

Thankfully other Occupy Movement incarnations continue to flourish.

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By capt rick, May 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

thank you Chris for your erudition

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By Alan MacDonald, May 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

Chris is accurate in saying, “we must first recognize ourselves as colonial subjects” but he is remiss in not overtly identifying that we are in the belly of a DGE (Disguised Global Empire) that has captured and now fully “Occupies” our former country and that the Occupy movement must evolve this year to “Occupy Empire”,

Chris should read Timothy Parsons’ fabulously revealing, “The Rule of Empires”, and understand that Occupy will only broaden and succeed non-violently when it overtly “Occupies Empire”.

Yes! The Occupy strategy is progressing and it’s indeed encouraging to see many more videos, articles, and posters at Common Dreams, truthdig, Op Ed News, Alternet, TRN, and many other progressive truth sites openly talking about confronting the Empire—- which can best be accomplished through participating in the “Occupy Empire” movement this ‘Summer 2012 of Real Revolution”, instead of being fooled by another Fall of Obama’s deceitful promises of useless ‘hope for never coming change’ and phony scams of deceit, depression, detention, and wars of destruction.

Yes, the Green Party offers a real chance to save and improve this former country of ours——and Jill Stein is openly and overtly running on a platform “Against Empire”.

The unfortunate reality, that neither the Obama-robot nor the Romney-robot of EMPIRE will ever mention or even whisper is that the corporate/financial/militarist and media EMPIRE, the DGE (Disguised Global Empire), which now has ‘captured’ and fully “Occupies” our former country by hiding behind the facade of its modernized two-party ‘Vichy’ sham of faux-democratic and totally illegitimate government—- is just like the earlier and crude single party ‘Vichy’ party in France tried to hide the Nazi EMPIRE.

But with the Occupy movement now progressing to “Occupy Empire” demonstrations and organizing massive “Occupy the Empire” protests through its revised ‘new strategy’ for election impact in summer 2012, by focusing on educating and energizing the real mass of the 99% to “Occupy Empire”, the Green Party’s Anti-Empire solidarity will drive a massive push by all the anti-war, anti-Wall Street, anti-corporate, pro-environmental and pro-people voters to be able to really ‘change’ the system—- which is something that was never possible with either the stealth and smoothly lying Secret Agent 008, Obama, working for the Disguised Global Empire behind our back, or for the obvious and proto-fascist Romney robot working for the very same Disguised Global Empire (but without wearing as good a mask of deceit as the Obama ‘whore of the Empire’ puppet).

Here’s video of Michael Parenti, professor and author of the leading educational and revolutionary 1995 book “Against Empire”—- as he educates college students about the fast growing masses of informed middle/working-class Americans who are swelling the ranks of 2012’s “Occupy Empire”—- Summer of Real Change.

Best luck and love to the “Occupy
Empire” educational and revolutionary movement.

Liberty, democracy, & justice

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By ControlledDemolition, May 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment


very excellent and panoramic post.  I’d report marxist economist Richard Wolff’s commentary as similar.  I also find this uplifting: “The end of these regimes comes when old beliefs die and the organs of security, especially the police and military, abandon the elites and join the revolutionaries.”

This will surely come when 911 is realized to have been a false-flag operation, as evidence—Bldg 7, thermite, military standdown, etc etc (if doubt, please view the 9-minute—amply demonstrates.  However, it seems, yourself included, that “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. ... When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”  Fire does not melt steel and crashed planes do not just disappear.

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By Fullblad, May 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

As C.H. says here, what we must focus on are the real powers and not their front men in government. The real power lays with the bankers and not the corporations that have grown up around the banks. The bankers with support from the major industrialists (beholden to the bankers) gathered together and created the Federal Reserve while confiscating the right to create money and control credit, and thus be able to completely control their hosts body. Through central banks, the bankers were able to move to an international scale with their creations such as the IMF,BIS,World Bank and other entities like GATT. At the international level they have moved again to control money and credit by creating a new currency called Speacial Drawing Rights (SDR’s) which is now being used by the nations of the world on various accounts such as trade balance payments etc. All this is set up strictly for the profit of bankers as the real government to which we all pay our taxes to via the intermediaries known as our government. This is why the bailout was paid for by the hostages/debtors of the banks, us. The Kucinch bill, H2990, addresses this problem but of course has no chance of being enacted. “...if you wish to be the slaves of bankers, and pay the cost of your own slavery, then continue to let bankers control the issue of money and credit.” Sir Joshia Stamp - director of The Bank of England, 1920’s Now we know where to start in making a more just world, while the bankers play casino with an estimated 700 trillion in bets placed world wide!

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By gerard, May 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

“A revolution has been unleashed across the globe. This revolution, a popular repudiation of the old order, is where we should direct all our energy and commitment.  If we do not topple the corporate elites the ecosystem will be destroyed and massive numbers of human beings along with it. The struggle will be long. There will be times when it will seem we are going nowhere. Victory is not inevitable. But this is our best and only hope. The response of the corporate state will ultimately determine the parameters and composition of rebellion. I pray we replicate the 1989 nonviolent revolutions that overthrew the communist regimes in Eastern Europe. But this is not in my hands or yours.” (Hedges) 
  Some further points that require deep consideration:
  1. A revolutionary spirit spans the globe, and while the revolutions are similar, there are significant differences. Maybe the most significant SIMILARITY is economic injustice, in other words great wealth and power at the top and poverty, suffering and denial for the vast majority. A difference: The Middle East revolts are coming in countries that have never experienced democratic forms of self-government, while the European and US revolts are coming out of states that have experienced varying degrees of democracy that have been usurped mainly by corporate dominaton. Central and South America experienced revolts not only against local puppet dictators upheld by out-of country economic powers, and were rooted in a kind of double exploitation—from local dictators who “sold” the country to out-of-state corporations in exchange for a degree of modernization. Common to all, however, is the high degree of unemployment among young people, many well educated, plus a general ill-ease over failing capitalistic economies which seem unable to self-correct except in a few exceptions, partially, and here and there.
  The most hopeful aspect of this worldwide shake-up is wide instant communication and the relatively recent ability to use one or two languages widely understood. This means that what changes are brought about, may occur more broadly, more quickly and be more similar than expected because of the advantages of universal communication. There may already be a much broader determination to replace authoritarian regimes with democratic ones than anybody realizes.
  There may also be a broader determination than expected to make serious efforts to avoid violence,  due to the deep and growing awareness of failed wars of empire defeated at terrific expense on all sides. The realization of connections between war and economic exploitation, war and suffering, war and authoritarian rule is now universal.
  All these enormous changes point in an encouraging direction. Incidentally, yet very a propos, I was amazed at the degree of deep commitment and universal desire (and willingness to work and sacrifice to build) a democratic future for all people that was evidenced in Assnge’s RT interview No.4. It left me with a profound sense that the world is on the crest of a great wave and we will all arrive on a better shore as a result of international sharing of the human search for truth and justice.

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By Charles Knause, May 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

“The primary role of radical extremists, such as
Maximilien Robespierre and Vladimir Lenin, is to
hijack successful revolutions. They unleash a reign
of terror, primarily against fellow revolutionaries,
which often outdoes the repression of the old regime.
They often do not play much of a role in building a

This is an entirely inaccurate statement in regard to
the role that Lenin and the other principle Bolshevik
leaders played in the Russian Revolution.

Both Lenin and Trotsky were instrumental in carefully
exploiting the objective social conditions that
existed in Czarist Russia at the time prior to the
revolution to educate the people as to the best way
to achieve their ultimate objective which was the
overthrow of the autocracy. This could never have
been achieved otherwise.

Certainly this fact has not been lost on the US power
structure that knows full well that the perpetuation
of the status quo can only be maintained as a result
of targeting the leadership of any kind of mass
movement that could present a problem to the
continued rule of the plutocracy.

What America and its working class today faces more
than anything else is a crisis of leadership.

Chris Hedges is quite correct for the most part in
regard to the first part of his analysis. He goes
seriously off course when he attempts to conflate
Stalinism with Communism. It was Stalin and the
political gangsters surrounding him who were in fact
the ones who hyjacked the Russian Revolution and
either killed outright, put on trial and then
executed through the infamous show trials that ensued
after Lenin’s death, or deported and then murdered as
was the case with Leon Trotsky all the original
Bolsheviks who made the Russian Revolution a reality.

It was Leon Trotsky who came to America and help to
found the Socialist Workers Party in an effort to
alert the world as to the Stalinist treatchery that
he clearly indicated would be a defeat for the
revolution and lead inevitably back to the re-
establishment of capitalism in the then Soviet Union.
History has proven Trotsky correct on all accounts.

Stalin and his clique reached an understanding with
the West that was based upon the promise that the
Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union would henceforth cease trying to export the
kind of internationalism that Trotsky had always
advocated and would begin to build “socialism” i.e.
Stalinism in one country at a time meaning in the
Soviet Union alone.

The fact that Stalin and his clique may indeed had
help from the West in pursuit of this goal prior to
their take over of the party was the subject of the
excellent BBC series-“Reilly Ace of Spies.”

This BBC series was based upon the life of one Sidney
Reilly who acted as a “go-between” between the
British secret service and an entity set up that was
merely referred to in the series as “The Foundation.”

Ostensibly this deep cover outfit was designed to
maintain contact with the “Whites” i.e. anti-red
fascist elements who were defeated in the civil war;
however, the suggestion is made that it was also a
“go-between” in regard to certain red elements and
that it played a role in the assasination of Lenin.

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By c.d.embrey, May 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Most revolutions have been Bourgeoisie against Aristocrats. Not many Proles against Aristocrats.

The October Revolution worked, because the Czar’s Army quickly became the Red Army (lead by Leon Trotsky).

For a revolution to succeed, the Police/Army have to be on your side. Some revolutions were successful in toppling the hated leader, but didn’t really work because the Army was still the Army.

History is a fascinating subject, and teaches many good lessons, if you will just pay attention.

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By Charles Knause, May 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

“The primary role of radical extremists, such as
Maximilien Robespierre and Vladimir Lenin, is to
hijack successful revolutions. They unleash a reign
of terror, primarily against fellow revolutionaries,
which often outdoes the repression of the old regime.
They often do not play much of a role in building a

This is an entirely inaccurate statement in regard to
the role that Lenin and the other principle Bolshevik
leaders played in the Russian Revolution.

Both Lenin and Trotsky were instrumental in carefully
exploiting the objective social conditions that
existed in Czarist Russia at the time prior to the
revolution to educate the people as to the best way
to achieve their ultimate objective which was the
overthrow of the autocracy. This could never have
been achieved otherwise.

Certainly this fact has not been lost on the US power
structure that knows full well that the perpetuation
of the status quo can only be maintained as a result
of targeting the leadership of any kind of mass
movement that could present a problem to the
continued rule of the plutocracy.

What America and its working class today faces more
than anything else is a crisis of leadership.

Chris Hedges is quite correct for the most part in
regard to the first part of his analysis. He goes
seriously off course when he attempts to conflate
Stalinism with Communism. It was Stalin and the
political gangsters surrounding him who were in fact
the ones who hyjacked the Russian Revolution and
either killed outright, put on trial and then
executed through the infamous show trials that ensued
after Lenin’s death, or deported and then murdered as
was the case with Leon Trotsky all the original
Bolsheviks who made the Russian Revolution a reality.

It was Leon Trotsky who came to America and helped to
found the Socialist Workers Party in an effort to
alert the world as to the Stalinist treatchery that
he clearly indicated would be a defeat for the
revolution and lead inevitably back to the re-
establishment of capitalism in the then Soviet Union.
History has proven Trotsky correct on all accounts.

Stalin and his clique reached an understanding with
the West that was based upon the promise that the
Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union would henceforth cease trying to export the
kind of internationalism that Trotsky had always
advocated and would begin to build “socialism” i.e.
Stalinism in one country at a time meaning in the
Soviet Union alone.

The fact that Stalin and his clique may indeed had
help from the West in pursuit of this goal prior to
their take over of the party was the subject of the
excellent BBC series-“Reilly Ace of Spies.”

This BBC series was based upon the real life of one Sidney
Reilly who acted as a “go-between” between the
British secret service and an entity set up that was
merely referred to in the series as “The Foundation.”

Ostensibly this deep cover outfit was designed to
maintain contact with the “Whites” i.e. anti-red
fascist elements who were defeated in the civil war;
however, the suggestion is made that it was also a
“go-between” in regard to certain red elements and
that it played a role in the assasination of Lenin.

It was Stalin and his henchmen who “unleashed a reign of terror” in the Soviet Union after Lenin’s death. The civil war prior to this in which Trotsky played a leading role in defeating the White fascist forces headed up by Admiral Deniken was funded by Britten and America.

The US even landed troops on Soviet Territory in an effort to retake Russia in an effort at the same kind of regime change that the West is still engaged in all over the world almost one hundred years later.

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By DonJon, May 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment


Thank you for your ongoing efforts. I, for one, am
inspired. This is a road map for those of us trying
to find ways to counter this repressive force. But,
it was your call to ignore the election other than
pulling the lever that I long needed to confirm. I
know it’s folly, but, it’s easy to get trapped in the
stream of drivel that is our political discourse.

Advice taken, thank you.

One MoLove,


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By delia ruhe, May 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As Hedges implies, corporate imperialism is not a new phenomenon.  For example, it’s what South America has so successfully thrown off while the imperialist gaze was distracted by its wars in Asia. 

But Americans must never know that—which is why the corporate press has turned Chavez into the devil incarnate and Venezuela into a hell-hole for it’s oppressed population.

And the Internet press is only peripherally interested in correcting that view.

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By the worm, May 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

Read Caro’s descriptions of LBJ and you will find a politician who is ‘scum’, ‘liar’,
‘bully’, ‘idealist’, ‘champion of the poor’, ‘war monger’, etc.

I hated LBJ for the War in Vietnam and admired him for his stand on civil rights.

As a Congressman he took satchels of money from Root and built the first
electrification systems in rural Texas.

Yes, Obama is a huge disappointment and his attempting to pass off a private,
for-profit insurance industry subsidy as “health care reform’ is surely one of his
lowest (“scummiest”) moments.

In the continuing stream of ironies that make up politics, a Right-Wing Supreme
court is probably the only thing that stands between us and being stabbed in the
back by Obama and his nominally Democratic White House.

Nevertheless, Obama and the Democrats represent the better of the two choices.

I do not consider this election to be a good one to ‘go third party’ ... Oregon had a
strong ‘third party’ movement and we lost the state and got George W.

No thanks. Not this time.

Like Caro’s story illustrates, the guy can give us good stuff and bad. But I can’t see
one thing good Romney would bring.

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By Gforce, May 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think some people may be confusing what I’d call ‘subjectivity with objectivity’ here. Chris’s writing about Marx definition of the “lumpenproletariat” and it’s place within a revolution (“canon fodder”)in no way seemed to me a like a statement of his own belief that this should be so—only that it has been thus far.

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By americanme, May 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

I can never finish a Hedges piece—I get restless and want him to cut to the chase and stop recycling the obvious.

It’s true that revolutions are typically mounted by disillusioned intellectuals and some remnants of the middle class.  It was true in Mexico, where I live, during both revolutions—and true in Cuba.

The US has never had a real revolution.  There were some wealthy landholders (land ripped off from indigenous folks) and slaveholders who didn’t want to pay taxes to the British king anymore, so they dangled the promise of land west of the Ohio River to poor folks (the British had agreed in the treaty that ended the miss-named French and Indian Wars not to go for land west of the Ohio River) if they would fight the British for them.

Hardly a revolution.

The chances of a revolutin in the US are still very remote, as there are few intellectuals—much less disillusioned ones—and fewer folks claiming to be middle class every day.

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By Old Man Turtle, May 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In case anybody here is wondering, and it isn’t already obvious to them in its actual effects on our Mother Earth’s Living Arrangement (including its domesticated Human component), “civilization” is a wasting disease.  Right now it’s raging in (among many other places) “the Bakken” oil-patch on the upper Great Plains of Turtle Island.

Chris Hedges again describes here, in somewhat florid language, some of the symptoms of its terminal stage.  His “prescription” for it, though, is unfortunately and woefully inadequate to the need. 

As some here have suggested, it is transformation, not “revolution,” that is required.  It is the recovery, by a sufficiency of the sub-species homo domesticus, of their Organic Functional Integrity, that is The Medicine they and ALL of us need.

First, get over your “self.”

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By jbmjr, May 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

The conceptual fallacies go far deeper than just economic models. Logically a
spiritual absolute would be the essence from which we rise, not an ideal from
which we fell, but it behooves leadership to claim divine rights. Remember it
was polytheists who invented democracy. When the gods argue, a system of
government based on debate is logical, but when it’s just the Big Guy in
charge, this assumption tends to be reflected in various forms of autocratic rule.

Civilization is bottom up and when it gets a little too top heavy, the reset
button gets pushed and we start building it back up again.

Just as monarchs lost sight of their function of providing civil stability, so to
has the financial system lost sight of its function of providing an efficient
means of economic exchange. This is because to society, money is a contract,
but to banks, it is a commodity. One which can be manufactured by the
creation of demand, ie, debt. This excess allows the banking system to tax the
rest of the economy, but the floods of capital have become a cancer that is
killing the host.

” Money is a contract. It is drawing rights on the rest of the community. Its
value stems from the willingness of the participants in that contract to honor it.
Contracts are not owned by any one party. They are an agreement among
different parties. To the extent the financial system is the circulatory system of
society, money is the blood flowing through it. Its effectiveness is dependent
on its fungibility. We no more own the money in our pocket, than we own the
road we are driving on. Yes, we are in sole possession of any one spot on that
road at any one time, but its value is due to the connectivity with all other
roads. We own our cars, houses, businesses, etc, but not the roads connecting
them and no one cries socialism over that. We have to think of money in the
same way.

If people understand that money is a form of public utility and not actually
private property, then they will naturally be far more careful what value they
take out of social relations and environmental resources to put in a bank
account. This would serve to make people’s own self interest a mechanism to
put value back into the community and the environment and allow more
organic systems of economic connectivity and reciprocity to grow, as well as
reduce the power of large financial and governmental systems over our lives.”

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By Mairead, May 14, 2012 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

The Worm wrote: I cannot agree that voting third party is more useful than voting for Obama & the Democrats.

Romney is elite scum and never really pretends to be anything else.

Obama pretended to be on our side, yet has consistently betrayed us while continuing to lie about it

Do you know of any general principle that would support rewarding someone like that?  I don’t.

There’s a word for those who routinely abuse other people without hesitation or remorse, and even deny that they’re doing it while they’re doing it:  psychopath. (Don’t take my word for it, look it up.)

Sure, there are a number of things one could do that are worse than rewarding a psychopath for his behavior, but nobody in their right mind would knowingly do them.

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By gregorylkruse, May 14, 2012 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

I am reading Adam Hochschild’s book, “To End All Wars”. It is made clear just what kind of character is required to oppose and obstruct the politically and economically powerful elite from doing what they think they must, however insane it might be.  It makes clear how dedicated and committed one of that kind of character must be to persist in that opposition and obstruction in the face of overwhelming terror and threat of imprisonment, torture and death.  Anybody who reads Hedges will most likely find the book enlightening.

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By ron hansing, May 14, 2012 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

Corporations cannot exist if there is not a buyer of the service or product.

So, to be “colonized” is to enslave yourself by buying their product or services. Seems oxymoroinic????

So, let’s vote for a marxist government and we can have a ten year prospective study if marxism benefits us the most?

The people can decide what widget to make us all equally happy…. or misable… Let’s go fer it, and than we will really find out which system is the best.

I’m game… but the hook is will everybody accept the outcome of the experiemnt.

ron hansing 5.14.12

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By jimmmmmy, May 14, 2012 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

Informative historical writng as usual but he’s getting to sound like Tom Friedman by using his mountain of facts to reach unsupported conclusions. A minor Christo- Capitalist device constantly employed to support the status quo. All revolutons are violent. Out of Chaos comes change. Intellectuals rationalize them after the fact and write themselves in as prime movers.

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By redteddy, May 14, 2012 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

I don’t know why Chris keeps insisting that the corporate elite are frightened by
Occupy.  They would be frightened if Occupy had become a mass movement, it
didn’t.  They would be worried about Occupy if Occupy threatens them in a
specific way but that hasn’t happened either. They are no more worried about
street protests than the Bush administration was worried when protestors took to
the street to oppose the Iraq war.

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By Donna Fritz, May 14, 2012 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

From the READS tallies, it’s clear that Chris Hedges
has tapped into the hearts and minds of truthdig
readers better than all of the other writers

Colonized by Corporations, Chris Hedges
Posted on May 14 | 13526 READS

I’m Not Quitting the Church, E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Posted on May 14 | 1172 READS

Rep. Owens Will Reimburse Cost of Taiwan Trip, Justin
Posted on May 12 |  303 READS

Social Security Checks Garnisheed for Student Debt,
Ellen Brown
Posted on May 11 |  4933 READS

Lobbyists Arranged N.Y. Congressman’s $20,000 Trip To
Taiwan, Justin Elliott
Posted on May 11 |  585 READS

A Whiff of ‘Hope and Change’, Eugene Robinson
Posted on May 10 |  783 READS

Our Guns-and-Butter Economy, David Sirota
Posted on May 10 |  1316 READS

High School All Over Again, Bill Boyarsky
Posted on May 10 |  1714 READS

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By the worm, May 14, 2012 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

While I listen closely to what Chris says and find myself sympathizing, I cannot
agree that voting third party is more useful than voting for Obama & the

Yes, revolutions take a long time. And Im in my sixties.

So, I would prefer a few more years of Democratic (even nominally Democratic)
rather than Republican destruction.

Voting third party may or may not speed the revolution, but voting Republican will
surely speed destruction.

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By Korky Day, May 14, 2012 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

The unknown future:  violent revolution or less-violent radical change?  We almost all want the latter, but when it fails, chaos takes over, killing mostly the innocents.

Chris Hedges was a reporter sent to violent revolutions.  He was not sent to cover the progressive movement of a century ago in the USA or the electoral reform movements of post-WW2 Europe.  Those had varying degrees of success, though the work is yet unfinished:  the work of building a democracy carefully and fast, but not too fast.

In the USA, the progressive movement brought in unions.  It brought in tools of direct democracy: the initiative, referendum, and recall (IRR).  Unfortunately, IRR took hold mostly just in the western states and included flaws.  Similarly, an early form of proportional representation (pro-rep) was used in many cities, also mostly in the West.  Nothing federal. 

And a lot of reform zeal was drained away on ill-conceived fixes like primary elections, just as people today foolishly think that term limits or non-partisan elections would help.

In post-war Europe, pro-rep really took hold even more.  It remains the main mechanism which keeps Europe far ahead of the USA in democratic process, in relatively less disparity among the classes, etc.  If Western Europe, which suffers from corporate control less than the USA, survives, it will be because it has much more democracy. 

Greece the other day voted against austerity in a way that the USA is unlikely to be able to do.  They voted for the more radical parties (which innumerates in the USA call “third” parties).
Iceland, which, like Greece, has pro-rep, democratically let its corrupt banks fail.  Iceland is doing pretty well.

Join us in the Green parties of Canada and the United States.  You’ll find, I think, that the membership is very similar to Chris Hedges and the commenters here.

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By Age of Anxiety, May 14, 2012 at 9:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges is correct to end his essay with an urge to vote—Third Party. It’s not about “winning” anymore, because “winning” is impossible in a system that presents two false choices guaranteed to preserve the status quo. We need to signal, in great numbers, a massive abandonment of the current two-party system. We must undermine the system’s confidence in itself. Political leaders must be forced to acknowledge that they do not represent the interests of the electorate.

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By Ed Lytwak, May 14, 2012 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

Ed Romano, its not about “believing” its about imagining that a new world is possible.  We must not fall into the trap of history - that the past determines the future.  Revolution has never been about reforming or tearing down the old—it’s about creation, giving birth to the new. Which is why men have such a hard time with political revolution (besides the fact that they are on top of the hierarchy at all levels).  Here is piece that says it much better than I can:  “May Day - On Newness and History” ; By Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzellini;  Source: Zuccotti Park Press
Tuesday, May 01, 2012;

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By Ed Romano, May 14, 2012 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

Ed Lytwak, I’m afraid I’ve lived too long and witnessed too much to believe that the rapacity ingrained in human nature can be contained without coercion. I once belonged to an organization that made decisions based on ...I forget the term consensus, but this was possible because the organization was small.At the same time I have great hopes and enthusiasm for the Occupy movement. Although I am nearing the end of my journey I intend to do whatever I can to support it.Thanks.

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By Ed Lytwak, May 14, 2012 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Yes, Ed Romano there is a realistic alternative to hierarchically violent politics - its one of the four principles of nonviolence self-rule, i.e. direct democracy.  As long as we are governed by others, aka representative democracy, we will be on the wrong side of hierarchical oppression.  That is why Occupy’s general assemblies are such a powerful force for empowerment, change and indeed revolution.  Self rule combined with self-reliance together (economic independence), truth force, and solidarity (uplifting all) is the way to transformative revolutionary change.

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By Ed Romano, May 14, 2012 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

I hope I am always open to having my thought altered by new information, but it is my understanding that change brought about by violence can only be maintained by further violence. Behind every law is the threat of coercion for disobedience. And I have never read or experienced anything to seriously challenge Roberto Michel’s Iron Law Of Oligarchy, which says that the political ruling class always comes from the economic ruling class and that the majority is forever destined to form the pedestal of an oligarchy…. The wielding of power,particularly political power, makes its own demands on the wielder which he or she cannot disregard without the danger of losing his position.  (which is also why it makes no difference whether the rulers are male or female). The ruling of some men by others cannot be justified. That is why no idea seeking justification has ever held up in the long run. It’s like trying to square the circle. And this is why political regimes can’t survive without the threat of violence…. Is this scenario set in cement? Can we hope to escape this in the future ? Not unless there is a basic change in human nature and that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon. Ants and honey bees have their own methods of setting up a society. So do we…..Big B, I appreciate your thought.

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By DornDiego, May 14, 2012 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

That first reference Hedges made, to Gamer, who spoke of the tendency we have
to blame each other instead of our corporate controllers, is the best explanation
I’ve heard of how we Americans always seem to vote against our own interests. 
Let’s be more likely to mess up this ugly situation.  Don’t vote for your cookie
cutter Congressperson, who approves of military detention for dissenters.  Kill
your television, or turn off CBS News.  Wear a placard on your car (Too Big Has
Failed, or Unions Are People Too).  Show up at protests.  Donate to the Wisconsin
BELIEVE IN PEOPLE.  When you get out in the street (not the freeway) look around
you.  Are people threatening you?  When you go home to the television are
corporations threatening you?

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By Garrett Connr;;y, May 14, 2012 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Greek citizens have secured a victory over heartless capitalism and Greek communists have thereby acquired a duty to join with other victorious progressives and all humanity; evolve to a modern labor theory of value, now.

The highest ideal of communism is that it is based on modern mathematical and scientific principles applied through focused human intellect to solution of social injustice and a vital civilization. The ideals of scientific socialism are presented by communists concerned with civilization, noble humans who stand in stark contrast to the base immorality of piracy wearing fine clothes and jewelry. Mathematics and science have grown and so too must communists.

We now know that there will always be friendly young people who will grow to discover new talents within themselves, talents which even they will find surprising. Some of these people will also become very wealthy. This is a wonderful aspect of creative humans expressing individual blooms in the vast cosmic meadow, it is not a problem for modern communists.

We also now know that free citizens can be forced to become part of a mob when they walk through the door of a large corporation at the start of their work day, this is a proper concern of modern communists. Citizens yanked from their community and harnessed to the nefarious purposes of immortal corporate monsters unconstrained by democratic principles are a clear concern of communists.

These proper concerns relate to modern scientific socialism via the ancient ideas of Greek democracy, ideas that have lived in every human heart as an organic expression of our specie since we sat around the fire in front of our caves deciding together what we would do tomorrow. Though social and economic organization has grown to new frontiers, we remain the same beautiful cosmic flower. Our brilliant scientists and mathematicians tell us our molecules are waves formed in the hearts of stars and that we are surfing Big Bang, at life speed. We are made up of atomic waves that add together to become individuals and add again to be information age civilization. This is the new foundation of scientific socialism.

Dull witted corporatists and their capitalist economists are telling us that we must follow rigid rules of imposed austerity in a quest for equilibrium between the price of creation and the supplies they see fit to dole out, for our own good, so they can grow our economy and we can have jobs working for them. Our scientists and mathematicians tell us life speed is faster than the speed of light, and accelerating. The equilibrium sought by those who are beset by insatiable greed is as illusory as the deranged ego attempting to own infinity. The foible of capitalism unrestrained by the wisdom of democratic civilization is slavery to faster and faster material growth forever, to infinity, on one small and beautiful planet.

Democracy has triumphed against the dark forces of austerity in Greece and the communists will be scientific socialists if they listen to the will of the people and step into the unknowns of tomorrow with excitement and willingness to evolve now, immediately, for the good of all humanity on earth.

¡ Viva la Evolución !

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By Bernardo, May 14, 2012 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Isn’t seeing something for what it actually is an action?  If we see that we are given the illusion of choice (Obama or Romney) by a corporate system which is self preserving and we can see that illusion, then what follows is coherent, rational.  Ambition, competition are not acts of caring, compassion and love they are acts of violence.  Ambition and competition are actions of violence, me over you.  To truly see this in yourself changes you and ultimately change the system because each one of us is that system.  Mr. Hedges is illustrating both the illusion, and the wizard pulling the strings that maintain the illusion.  Clear vision dissolves illusion and gives birth to right action, which is love.  b
Celebrate unity, become a world citizen.

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By balkas, May 14, 2012 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

adam michnik was wrong in saying that those who destroy bastilles are destined to
build new ones.
it is THE THINKING that does that. french revolutionaries had not changed their basic
ideology. and that is a fact. they had not established a timocracy and pantisocracy, but
a plutocracy.
all they changed was the govt but not the governance. people in france were owned-
controlled-commanded by the 1% just as much after revolution as before.
this is what we have in his poland today and in most ‘democratic’ lands.
in short, let’s pay attention to that old veracity: the more things change, the more they
stay the same.
or, because of warmings, pop growth, and planet getting poorer: the more they
change, the worse it gets for some people! 100% sure!!

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By M Henri Day, May 14, 2012 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

I don’t know what you saw in Eastern Europe in 1989, Chris, but from my vantage point it looked much more like «the defection of the security apparatus» after Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev had made it clear to the regimes there that the Soviet military support upon which they had rested was to be withdrawn than «nonviolent revolutions that overthrew the communist regimes». Had the Soviet government felt itself able to sustain the burden of keeping its troops abroad (the Soviets were much less successful than the United States in making the countries in which its troops were placed pay for the privilege - consider the various SOFAs with that with Japan a case in point), those regimes would no doubt still be in place. Now those Eastern European states, where they have not turned entirely fascist, as in Hungary, are all under the dominion of the same corporations against which you (rightly, in my humble opinion) call for a revolution. For such a revolution to be non-violent in, say, the United States, however, would require that the enormous security apparatus which has been built up in that country, and of which the professional military now consitute the most important part after the official creation of USNorthcom in 2002, suddenly defected, as did its counterparts in Eastern Europe, but to whom or what, do you suppose, would it defect ? Do you really believe that members of this vast apparatus are simply going to dissolve the organisations on which their livelihoods depend and lay down with the lambs ? Somehow, I doubt it….


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By Ed Romano, May 14, 2012 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

Sorry about the preceeding….wrong forum.

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By balkas, May 14, 2012 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

about the core belief CH speaks of? i am guessing that with that label CH
refers to what i call basic ideology or even a single hunch.
and we have at our disposal only two such BASIC THOUGHTS to bring to
fruition: right of a person to own-control-command [in myriad ways]
and the THOUGHT that that former THOUGHT or Hunch-desire is wrong.
the degree of ownership does, of course, vary from country to a country,
but it had not been utterly realized yet.
in principle it can be realized to 100%, but perhaps not in practice.

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By Ed Romano, May 14, 2012 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Max, Wow! you certainly are a prickly broad. Since you started this game of - Let’s play psychoanalyst,and Mind Reader- let me try my hand at it it….You’re a taller than average female, am I right ?....and thinner than most.Quiet now. It’s coming through….Ahhh! as a child you were either a bully or very much picked on…you were not neutral in this. Tell the truth now( oops! sorry about that word) and remember now, this is my first attempt… be kind ( oops! sorry about that too )

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By prisnersdilema, May 14, 2012 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

As Max Weber, pointed out, the middle class acts as a buffer between the elite and
the proletariat. It offers a safety valve, by seeming to give hope of class mobility.

In this country that has always been the function of the education system, to offer
a ticket out, and up.  But as the elite have chosen to gut eduction, to turn students
into life long debt slaves and indentured servants, instead of buffering, the elite,
the educated become an organizing hierarchy for street rage.

As the economic crisis, of banking derivatives continues to unfold, cosmetic
change offered by both parties, no longer serves as a palliative measure.

The corporations and corporate leaders should be afraid, their crimes, and mass
murders are well known, in the event that the rule of law is restored in this
country, they will stand before the people, who will demand justice from them.

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By Ed Lytwak, May 14, 2012 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

Men revolt all the time, the real question is why there are no revolutions – in politics at least.    While there have been true revolutions in many areas of human endeavor – i.e. agriculture, economic (industrial), and information (printing, computers) there has never been a true revolution in politics.  Revolution defined as fundamental, transformative change in the way a society is governed.    What passes as a “political” revolution, i.e. American, French, Russian, Cuban, etc is merely substituting one set of hierarchical men for another.    The fundamental hierarchical organization of society remains the same.  A true revolution has nothing to do with tearing down or reforming the old its all about creating a fundamentally different new world.  That is the real reason Occupy is such a threat to the patriarchal capitalist system.    Occupy is creating a radically different new horizontal society and economics that is non-hierarchical.

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By no mans land, May 14, 2012 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

There is one crucial piece the Hedges (and most others) often fails to
provide. It’s the one thing the Tea Party has that the Occupy movement
lacks. Any successful movement, revolution or wave of change require and
end game, a vision. While he is correct that the first step is to recognize our
true lot in life, which I believe a majority of people are beginning to do,
without a vision for the future, or the mechanics needed to get there, the
disenfranchised have few places to turn.

It is simply not enough to say that change will not come through
established power mechanisms and regimes. It is not good enough to say
that our corrupt political and corporate structures must be dismantled. It is
not enough to rebuke violence. If not through electoral politics, then how? 
What are the new mechanisms he speaks of? To what destination should
those new mechanisms sail? Without an answer to those questions, which I
myself also lack, there is nothing to galvanize the populace. This is the real
danger we face for without that alternative vision, we are at a growing risk
of one being provided by the forces of violence and fascism.

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By balkas, May 14, 2012 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

CH for first time ever mentions the word “system”.  and it being corrupt
and decayed.  that’s good news.
but doe she espy the fact that the system allows only one political party
and never two or more.  that political party [or ‘parties’] MUST be of,
with, and for the system. that’s the buty of american system: it is
selfsealed; resting on selfsealed and eternally-valid dogma that a person
has an inalienable right to control-command another.

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By balkas, May 14, 2012 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

labor unions also appear as a mere symptom of the same disease that
commands annihilation of indigenes, a-bombing of japan, or the rule by
at one time i thought unions were necessary. but about 20 y ago or so, i
saw them as a mere symptom and as such acting as cause in worsenings
for not only union workers, but also for good 30% of the people.
in short, and in basic ideology, 99% of union members were ME-
FIRSTERS just like all the plutocrats.

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By balkas, May 14, 2012 at 5:32 am Link to this comment

MLK avoided politics. politics in u.s and everywhere else is good
politics[very efffective].
marching, gathering, protesting, bewaling, araging, breaking windows,
pleading, advising, speaking is bad politics [and in u.s utterly ineffective]

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By balkas, May 14, 2012 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

of course, any govt that was elected by even 51% of people must,
perforce, had to act in a diktatorial manner; ie, fulfilled or tried to fulfill
the wishes of the majority and ignored to any degree those of the
we’ve had such diktatorships until, say 10k y ago.
usually, in those glorious days, it was the wishes of the 100% or 99.999,
or 99&% that were fulfilled.
and 98% of americans who vote fro the SYSTEM are not only diktatorial,
but very murderous or nazilike against iraqis, pashtuns, palestinians,
koreans, vietnamese, syrians, lebanese, et al.

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By Rosemary Molloy, May 14, 2012 at 5:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m not sure where “Don” is coming from. He seems to have misread the whole point of this essay.
This is another of Mr. Hedges’ masterful writings. The only area where I’d disagree is voting for president.  I’m resolved never to vote in a national election again for the simple reason that THERE IS NO CHOICE.  To buy into the fiction that there is, is to bow to the corporate masters.
Keep speaking the truth, Chris, and I’ll keep trying to follow it.

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By Being There, May 14, 2012 at 5:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You are not alone in seeing that the Globalism paradigm leads to the end of the autonomous nation state.
Arthur Toffler could have told you in Mega trends and the Third Wave that the nation states would give way to the global transnationals that would be far more powerful, wealthier and have their own armies. Our highway systems according to Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia are already being parceled out in Sovereign Wealth funds by none other than JPMorgan—-ah the biggest entities in the global hegemonic finance scheme.
I wrote during the BP oil spill nightmare on another blog:
Of arrogance and blowback

One thing you can always count on ..if the “experts” say it can’t happen you know something big is going to blow.

Who wouldn’t think of the Titanic close to a century ago?

And from of all companies, BP, you know the green energy company who is looking to be the alternative multinational to the other big oil companies.. you know, that one.

Well they are using chemical dispersals ,Corexit made by NALCO who’s big shareholder is Goldman Sachs. Gee they’re everywhere you don’t want them to be.—And to make matters worse, the chemicals are more toxic than alternatives. The US government has asked them to not use those chemicals, but since we are a colony of the trans-nationals, I guess we don’t have much say in this.

Yes, at this point after trying various ad hoc plans, they have gone from throwing spaghetti at the wall to the whole damn pot!
I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with “Top Kill”. I hope they let us watch for our viewing pleasure. In the meantime things are going from bad to worse and we have to worry that the insidious oil blob will go us the east coast and damage more of the coasts and fishing industry.

There’s nothing like that old world mindset that could turn a magnificent continent into ecological disaster zone. Keep in mind that with the Titanic the only dead zone was the ship.

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By Big B, May 14, 2012 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

There was a fellow on Thom Hartmanns show a couple maonths back that made the grave but appropriate statement that america is currently being harvested. The Oligarchs have decided that the american investment has matured. It will only lose value from now on, so the time has come to sell off, divest, take the money and run. The evisceration of the Glass-Stegall act was the sell order placed with the broker.

The next incarnation of america will be one that more closely resembles the nations that are currently taking our wealth. A small group of wealthy ruling dukes, a small management middle class, and a massive poverty ridden lower class.

But here are over 150 million people in China living like middle class americans. Remember, that also means that there are 1.2 billion of them that do not.

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By balkas, May 14, 2012 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

gamer, then, just like hedges, dwells solely on symptoms; all or most of which are well known.
injustice never questioned, says gamer. what is so novel about this utterance?
of course, they are not questioned or condemned often enough and by a majority of people in u.s or
almost all ‘democracies’ [fascist, nazi, plutocratic, religious governances]
and such governances do not permit govts to promote or welcome a political party that wld stand
antipodally to the established plutocratic political parties.
interesting enough, gamer talks about necessity of having “effective political groups” and not about an
effective political party.
gamer does not see that govts are not governances.  ‘democratic’ govts come and go, but the system
stays unchanged. and he, CH, nader, moore, et al cannot see this fact????
and all ‘democratic’ govts must work inside the system. if a govt [really a management team; just like
safeway or corporate one]] strays from it, the 1% which actually rule the country wld consider that the
erring govt had performed coup d’etat and that wld the end of it.
look what happened to saddam, gadhafi, mosadegh, mubarak, nixon… 
tiny corporate elites do what the system commands the elites to do.
so, let’s not blame individual behavior or any symptom; let’s put the blame on THE SYSTEM.
after all, all that happens or does not happen [including Onepercent’s sheer maddness-uncaring] is of the
so, it’s not a book i’d read let alone buy.

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By The Power of Truth, May 14, 2012 at 5:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sooner or later there will be a chain reaction, for the truth has to appear only once, in one single mind for it to be impossible for anything ever to prevent it from spreading universally and setting everything ablaze.
- Teilhard de Chardin ((1881-1955).

Thank you Chris Hedges for being the light of truth! The global people’s revolution and a great spiritual awakening has begun. It is only a matter of time before the fire spreads and sets everything ablaze in goodness, truth and righteousness.

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By DonSchneider, May 14, 2012 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

It is noble of you Mr Hedges, to determine a course of events that you claim will
lead nowhere. Pulling the third party lever only puts at risk the lumpenproletariate
that you wish to “use” to achieve a goal. You think the “working poor” will forget
who it was who sold their ass down the river for your upper-middle class myopic
view of how people are led. Do the “Working Poor”  mean so little that you would
have them jump into the frying pan for your wish to lead ?  You want us to trade
one set of tyrants for you !  Piss off ! You pull the lever for your precious 3rd party
because you aren’t dependent upon the meager safety net that will be left for our
children. But we are expendable for you, as well as your Corporate counterparts. If
you can convince us “Working Poor” (your lumpenproletariat), that you have the
evolution of a new order that does not include a new set of “ruling class” we would
perhaps be able to think about sacrificing our children ! But until you are able to
do so, stuff it ! You are no Malcom X ! We have children to feed !

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By Joe flack, May 14, 2012 at 4:54 am Link to this comment
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‘But this is not in my hands or yours. Go ahead and vote this November. But don’t waste any more time or energy on the presidential election than it takes to get to your polling station and pull a lever for a third-party candidate—just enough to register your obstruction and defiance—and then get back out onto the street. That is where the question of real power is being decided.’

Agreed on the 3rd Party.  As far as the ‘sreet’, what is the cohesive ideology, aside from being against something?  It’s been a bit of a joke thus far.

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By david, May 14, 2012 at 4:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let me qualify my last post about the “Lumpenproletariat” with this bit of information:

The influential 19th century anarchist activist and theorist Mikhail Bakunin had a view almost opposite of Marx’s on the revolutionary potential of the lumpenproletariat vs. the proletariat Bakunin, according to Nicholas Thoburn, “considers workers’ integration in capital as destructive of more primary revolutionary forces. For Bakunin, the revolutionary archetype is found in a peasant milieu (which is presented as having longstanding insurrectionary traditions, as well as a communist archetype in its current social form – the peasant commune) and amongst educated unemployed youth, assorted marginals from all classes, brigands, robbers, the impoverished masses, and those on the margins of society who have escaped, been excluded from, or not yet subsumed in the discipline of emerging industrial work ... in short, all those whom Marx sought to include in the category of the lumpenproletariat.”

This is also my opinion on the issue. Just something that you, Mr. Hedges, may reconsider.

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By david, May 14, 2012 at 4:31 am Link to this comment
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As always - I love your article Mr. Hedges. However I disagree with your classification of the “lumpenproletariat” as useless, or as you say, “cannon fodder.” I say this because I happen to be a member of this supposed despised and ignorant “underclass.” I work in retail and live at a Motel. I’ve had issues with drugs and the law. Despite all of this I am far from ignorant about class-issues. And many of the core-members and ideologues who make up resistance movements tend to also be “lumpenproletariat.” Sure, many of the poor squander their energy and resources on nonsense and even self-destructive habits - but we aren’t as foolish as many might think. Our self-consciousness enables us to see more clearly the state of the nation.
Please don’t be so quick to disregard the under-class. And this championing of the “educated” middle-class is rubbish, in my opinion. Many of them are merely complacent consumers - just as content as the poor to waste their time and efforts - it’s just a matter of how. I would even go so far as to say that the middle-class tends to be an obstacle to real change. Many of them are too occupied with dreams of class-mobility - chasing after the coat-tails of the bourgeois, hoping that one day they too will be a part of the true ownership class. These complacent middle-dwellers do not share the rage and desperation of the poor - they are not familiar enough with the sense of dereliction to really want revolution.

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