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March to Nowhere
Posted on Oct 5, 2010
By Chris Hedges
The decimation of our working class through outsourcing and globalization dynamited two of the most important props of the democratic system—class consciousness and class conflict. This has left traditional political parties, which once represented differing class interests, with nothing to offer the public beyond fringe issues such as abortion or gay marriage. Those in the liberal class who cling to the corpse of the Democratic Party do so not because they believe in the policies of the party—it does not differ in any significant way from the Republican Party—but because they hope against hope that the party will somehow restore itself to its former position as a defender of liberal values and the working class interests. It is the politics of nostalgia.
Our political theater has orphaned citizens who once looked to political parties to express and defend their interests. It has engendered apathy toward traditional social and political structures and an inchoate rage. This mixture of apathy and rage is a volatile cocktail. It finds its expression outside normal systems of dissent and in leaders who, in times of prosperity and stability, would be dismissed as lunatics.
No rally, no positive message, no effort to expose the idiocies of those arrayed against us will work until we restore to the political process mechanisms by which ordinary citizens can be heard. Hannah Arendt in “The Origins of Totalitarianism” cites the collapse of traditional political mechanisms, which now plagues us, as the opening needed for all totalitarian movements:
“The fall of protecting class walls transformed the slumbering majorities behind all parties into one great unorganized, structureless mass of furious individuals who had nothing in common except their vague apprehension that the hopes of party members were doomed, that, consequently, the most respected, articulate and representative members of the community were fools and that all the powers that be were not so much evil as they were equally stupid and fraudulent.”
The One Nation March in Washington, which lacked moral and political courage, did nothing to educate or rally our most important constituency—those out of work, those being foreclosed, those without hope. It refused to confront the real, corporate structures of power. It refused to disown Barack Obama and the Democrats. And in the end it only confirmed what those who hate us think of liberals.
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