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Occupiers Have to Convince the Other 99 Percent

Posted on Oct 24, 2011
AP / Eric Gay

Brighton Wallace takes part in an “Occupy Austin” protest at the Austin City Hall in Texas.

(Page 2)

The divisions between the poor and the working class on the one hand and the white, liberal middle class on the other reach back to the Vietnam anti-war movement. The New Left in the 1960s was infused with the same deadly doses of hedonism that corrupted earlier 20th century counterculture movements such as the bohemians and the beats. The antagonism between the New Left during the Vietnam War and the working class and the poor, whose sons were shipped to Vietnam while the sons of the white middle class were usually handed college deferments, was never bridged. Working-class high schools, including many high schools with large numbers of African-Americans, sent 20 to 30 percent of their graduates to Vietnam every year while college graduates made up only 2 percent of all troops sent to Vietnam in 1965 and 1966. Anti-war activists were seen by those locked out of the white middle class as spoiled children of the rich who advocated free love, drug use, communism and social anarchy. 

The unions and the white working class remained virulently anti-communist. They spoke in the language of militarism and the Cold War and were unsympathetic to the anti-war movement as well as the civil rights movement. When student activists protested at the AFL-CIO’s 1965 convention, chanting “Get out of Vietnam!” the delegates taunted them by shouting “Get a haircut.” AFL-CIO leader George Meany ordered the security to “clear the Kookies out of the gallery.” United Automobile Workers President Walter Reuther, once the protesters were escorted out, announced that “protesters should be demonstrating against Hanoi and Peking … [who] are responsible for the war.” The convention passed a resolution that read: “The labor movement proclaim[s] to the world that the nation’s working men and women do support the Johnson administration in Vietnam.”

Those that constituted the hard-core New Left, groups like Students for a Democratic Society, found their inspiration in the liberation struggles in Vietnam and the Third World and figures such as Mao and Leon Trotsky rather than the labor movement, which they considered bought off by capitalism. They saw the working class as part of the problem. Many came to embrace the cult of violence. The Black Panthers, the Nation of Islam and the Weather Underground Organization became as poisoned by this lust for blood, quest for ideological purity, crippling paranoia and internal repression as the state system they defied. 

The bulk of the white protesters in the 1960s found their ideological roots not in the moral imperatives of King or Malcolm X but the disengagement championed earlier by beats such by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg and William Burroughs. It was a movement that, while it incorporated a healthy dose of disrespect for authority, focused on self-indulgent schemes for inner peace and fulfillment. The use of hallucinogenic drugs, advocated by Timothy Leary in books such as “The Politics of Ecstasy,” and the rise of occultism that popularized transcendental meditation, Theosophy, Hare Krishna, Zen and the I-Ching were trends that would have dismayed older radical movements such as the Wobblies and the Communist Party. The counterculture of the 1960s, like the commodity culture, lured adherents inward. It set up the self as the primary center of concern. It offered affirmative, therapeutic remedies to social problems and embraced vague, undefined and utopian campaigns to remake society. There was no real political vision. Hermann Hesse’s novel “Siddhartha” became emblematic of the moral hollowness of the New Left. These movements and the celebrities who led them, such as the Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman, catered to the stage set for them by television cameras. Protests and court trials became street theater. Dissent became another media spectacle. Anti-war protesters in Berkeley switched from singing “Solidarity Forever” to “We All Live in a Yellow Submarine.” 


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The power of the Occupy Wall Street movement is that it has not replicated the beliefs of the New Left. Rather, it is rooted in the moral imperatives of justice and self-sacrifice, what Dwight Macdonald called nonhistorical values, values closer to King than Abbie Hoffman. It seeks to rebuild the bridges to labor, the poor and the working class. The movement eschews the hedonism of the New Left; indeed it does not permit drugs or alcohol in Zuccotti Park. It denounces the consumer culture and every evening shares its food with the homeless, who also often sleep in the park. But, most important, it eschews, through a nonhierarchical system of self-governance, the deadly leadership cults that plagued and ultimately destroyed the movements of the 1960s. The political and moral void within the New Left meant that, like the counterculture of the beats or the bohemians, it was seamlessly integrated into the commercial culture. At its core the New Left shared the same hedonism, entrancement with mass entertainment, love of spectacle and preoccupation with the self. And the degeneration of the New Left is personified by politicians such as Clinton, who mouthed the usual platitudes about the poor and working men and women while he and both major political parties, awash in corporate dollars, betrayed and impoverished them.

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sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, October 25, 2011 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

we gave you a taste…
and you don’t wanna waste…
us filthy rich…
we gave you a taste…
and you don’t wanna waste…
us filthy rich…
we’ll dig your grave…
as you engrave…
your life to the bitter stone…
and there’s nothin’ you can do…
‘cause you can’t stand alone…
when we take your buck…
and you’re outta luck…
remember you can’t stand alone…
we’ll be diggin’ your grave…
as you engrave…
your life to the bitter stone…

“oh no you won’t you rich elite!...
we’re the 99%!...
here to occupy your wall street!...
for all your greed that steals and cheats!...
you leave millions of us needing…
brand new fair and square receipts!”...

it’s up to you…
still your money’s due…
to us filthy rich…
it’s up to you…
still your money’s due…
to us filthy rich…
we’ll keep you poor…
as you endure…
your life to the bitter stone…
and there’s nothin’ you can do…
‘cause you can’t stand alone…
when we pass your buck…
and you’re outta luck…
remember you can’t stand alone…
we’ll be keepin’ you poor…
as you endure…
your life to the bitter stone…

“oh no you won’t you rich elite!...
we’re the 99%!...
here to occupy your wall street!...
for all your greed that steals and cheats!...
you leave millions of us needing…
brand new fair and square receipts!”...

your day has come…
your duty’s been done…
to us filthy rich…
your day has come…
your duty’s been done…
to us filthy rich…
we’ve used your time…
to help define…
your life to the bitter stone…
‘twas nothin’ you could do…
‘cause you couldn’t stand alone…
a debt’s been paid…
as you are laid…
to rest with those so all alone…
a name’s engraved you…
as a slave…
to life with the bitter stone!...

“oh no it didn’t you rich elite!...
we’re the 99%!...
here to occupy your wall street!...
for all your greed that steals and cheats!...
you leave millions of us needing…
brand new fair and square receipts!”...

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By chacaboy, October 25, 2011 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Maybe this is a good time for a history lesson. I found a good one in the book
Ketchup was carrying a few weeks ago - Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the
U.S. The framers of the constitution had more to deal with than the British -
there were all kinds of rebellions going on, mainly from slaves, Indians, and the
poor. Lifelong slave owners (like Jefferson) and land barons (like Washington)
were looking for ways to qualm all these disturbances because they were bad
for business.

Virtually everyone who signed the constitution were wealthy men who were
cooking up ways to increase profits, move westward and obliterate the Indians,
control their slaves, and get the poor to fight the revolution for them. When the
poor farmers who fought the revolution weren’t even paid the soldier’s wages
they were promised and came home to debts, loss of their farms, threats of
debtors prison and demands to pay back taxes, they rebelled. Shay’s rebellion
was the most dramatic and tragic: Massachusetts farmers who were not even
allowed to vote because they didn’t own land, took up arms and fought the
militia, many of whom crossed over and joined them. Sam Adams, the one of
the beer, was the main oppressor and enforcer of colonial laws. Even though he
had fought the British, when it came to threats to his wealth, he sang a
different song. The farmers were in a life or death situation and didn’t have to
worry about subtle distinctions between a “new left” and “working class” and
didn’t have time for it. The manipulation and oppression of the poor was there
from day one.

The OWS movement is still forming so it is unclear what is going on but it is
clear they are not yet sure who the enemy is or what to do about it. My own
take is that it is a subculture in the making and we’ll see what kind of force is
behind it. OWS is apparently an unarticulated refusal to live with a value system
that is causing a decline in the quality of life, education, health care, and
overall integrity that this country has managed, at times, to stand for.

There are clear cut ways to fix it - the reinstatement of Glass Steagall,
cancellation of Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy, raise the capital gains tax,
nonprofit health care, enforcement of the right to education, and a coherent
foreign policy driven by integrity and the need for peace rather than oil greed.
But OWS so far has declined to go there, maybe because the only model we
have is democracy and democracy does not appear to be a viable alternative.
We elected Obama and look where that got us. Someone pointed out on this list
that a huge percentage of the 99 percent work for corporations and would like
to keep their jobs thank you very much. Exactly. We have met the enemy and it
is us and it’s not so clear as it was for Shay and his rebellion, what to do about

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By Devon J. Noll, MPA, October 25, 2011 at 8:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with much of what this article has to say, but I find myself wondering if those at Zucotti Park really can connect with the rest of the 99%.  These young people have identified many problems, but offered no solutions.  Yesterday one of them stated that now they understood better what the homeless go through everyday, and I got furious at such arrogance.  These people have access to indoor bathrooms, laundry facilities, money, live in tents or under tarps, have nice sleeping bags that are clean and bug-free, they have police around them 24/7 so they do not get mugged or raped, they eat regularly and when they are done, they will go home to Mommy and Daddy’s, college dorms, or private apartments.  That is not what being homeless is and to think that they understand it is ludicrous. Until they have to sleep in some alley or under some bridge in a box, with only a blanket to cover you everyday with no hope of change, have to pee behind a bush in Central Park or in some alley, have only one meal a day if you are lucky and get to a soup kitchen in time, and have to watch your child go hungry because you have lost everything except the car you are sleeping in, you have no concept of what being homeless is about, and to say you do is beyond the pall. And it is worse if you are young because then everyone preys on you and you either learn to sell yourself or move drugs in order to survive, not go back to college classes or Mom’s basement.

The same can be said about connecting with the poor in neighborhoods of color.  Until you are actually living it as part of your life, you cannot begin to understand it.  Mr. Hedges is one of those who seems to think that continued protesting will not be enough and that many of the early protesters of the 60s were more into themselves than into change.  And he is right - Bill Clinton is living proof of it.

But, he is also wrong. The times are different, the economic balance is different, and while we need to create change, radical change, we must do it without violence and it must achieve social and economic justice for all, and that cannot be done in the manner he is suggesting.  First, the corporate powers will turn it into a blood bath of monumental proportions.  Second, the movement is not capable of actually achieving anything at this point because they have no leaders or demands.  Third, most movements of this nature take at least a decade to see fulfillment, even partially as the civil rights movement showed us. 

If we want to create immediate change for everyone, then every segment of the 99% must work to put people in Congress in 2012 who are Independent, Non-
Affiliated (INA) candidates.  They must work their campaign the old fashioned way, taking advantage of these protests to meet people and talk to them about what they want and then agreeing to work on it once elected.  They need to present plans that will create both social justice and social equity, and they must not attack the corporate parties straight on, but do so under the radar.  If the passion and imperatives of the OWS movement are going to reach not only communities of color, but also Middle America, then it must be through means that will offer cohesive, coherent paths to power that these groups can understand and use to their advantage.  This means running for office and getting elected to overthrow the political party system, not corporate America.  Once you overthrow the political system through electing radicals, you can take on corporate America successfully, and not until then.
Devon J. Noll

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oddsox's avatar

By oddsox, October 25, 2011 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

In re-reading your posts, those of Sean2009 and others, my conclusion is that we’re different acts in the same circus.

There are many tents beneath the OWS big-top.
Mine is solution-oriented, working within the system using laws and methods already in place.
I see this not only as right and proper, but also the path of least resistance.

For many others, the idea of using the system is, itself, an acquiescence. 
What I’m learning is, looking for solutions under the wrong tent can be as futile as asking Hedges to keep it down to a single page. 
Ain’t happenin’, say g’day and look beneath the next tent.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, October 25, 2011 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

@ Flickford

You may have a point about Hedges take on the hippies(as opposed to the civil rights movement, yes there is overlap), but on the other hand, haven’t they been awfully romanticized about and commercialized and worshipped ad nauseum. I myself was born in 73, so I have no first hand experience.

I see Hedges take as somewhat similar to Zappa’s.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 25, 2011 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

Refreshing post Flikford;

“And their all-inclusive nonjudgmental
modus operandi ensures that even vilified boomer bohemians like myself can
join in. This time we’ll all work together and make it stick.”

I hope so!

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 25, 2011 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

Inequality in the world today has little or nothing to do with cellphones and I pads, after all the Arab Spring was successful because of cellphones, though, ...maybe not I pads? 

Almost everyone knows this;...  OWS has to do with the ever widening void of disenfranchisement of the people, the growing marginalizing of the populous by the self promoted few.  OWS appears to be addressing their and my own alleged democratic republic controlled and manipulated by the few; the symbol of 1 percent, the inequalities of money and the bold purchasing of inordinate power. 

The one percent is the Norquests, Koch Brothers, Groves and a others of their irk.  Inequality substituted by super packs and now the 403Cs coupled with lobbyists, hell a large percent of ex-congress persons make up the 200 plus lobbyists for every member of Congress, this is the 1 percent. 

The 1 percent who comfortably believe it is their alienable monied right to trample on the 99 percent,  the right to purchase political, candidates like ladies of the night. We see the few using opportunism; I see it as definable and accepted corruption; to set agendas promoting monied desires at will, these are the special interests of the few opposed to the huddled masses of the 99 percent, this is the ever widening gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent!

Obviously some people prefer to ignore or have little understanding of this, possibly they are just duped or cronies of the 1 percent and of course there is always the preferred apathy.

This absurdity of inequality has become common knowledge and becomes more obvious with every existing day of OWS.  The 1 percent attempt to obfuscate, manipulate and promote their gaging smoke and mirrors, utilizing their bought and sold politics, controlled mass media and the hired goons the cronies and the just plain duped.

99 percent is an allegory of disenfranchisement, inequality and abuses and corruption. OWS is calling attention to the purchased control of power by the 1 percent. The one percent who will buy, lie and call on the duped to maintain the status quo.

A simple look at despots like Gadfly in Libya show us just how the corrupt as the 1 percent operate to keep the 99 percent in their place.  I see OWS addressing, the hidden 1 percent like Libyans addressed their despot with out the violence.  OWS is calling attention to a broken system of the few the entitled those good life job creators. Who create nothing except money for their growing pot of cash.  The one percent who showed little or no concern for the 99 percent, over the last 30 years of trick-down politics.

No, it is not the cellphones or I pads, it is really something else, it is called the widening gap of inequality!

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Flickford's avatar

By Flickford, October 25, 2011 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

I’m usually a tremendous fan of Chris Hedges but this piece is way off base.
Here in NY, I couldn’t have seen the youth movement and radicalization of
white kids in the ‘60s happening in any other way. I would like to read the
alternative script for that time period, not that it would change anything. It is
safe to say that only a few folks have Chris Hedge’s rare pedigree – coming
from a background of ecclesiastic activism with an awesome father figure to
look up to.

The bashing of the ‘60s radicalizing of middle class white kids and its failure to
capture the working class is a time-warped exercise in ornithology to birds. It
simply doesn’t relate in time and space, it’s a reductive snapshot, an overreach
and a mass dehumanizing labeling of very different individuals. Romanticizing
the working class and the poor dehumanizes them as well. The ‘60s and early
‘70s were simply an awakening from a nationalistic postwar narcosis by a
segment, not the majority, of largely middle class white kids.

The reaction across the board - from the majority of parents, teachers and
officials to the notion of young people questioning authority was a swift and
violent blowback. I was there; I experienced it myself and saw it happen to my
friends all the time. Don’t confuse the mass media’s attempts to demonize the
period with reality. Then as is the case now, there was no way the
establishment propping up the status quo would listen to us. Then as now the
majority of the population was sleepwalking in the American Dreamscape, and
to provoke a debate over social injustice, the war in Vietnam, Women’s rights,
pollution, deforestation, and yes – saving the whales – was heresy and was met
by violence and hatred in every community in America, rich or poor.

I am saddened when I hear people ridicule and denounce young people of the
period’s search for meaning and spirituality, while the country marched off to
war singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” in church. Our intoxicants of choice
often led to tragic results while the majority of the country rode the Anheuser-
Busch Clydesdales and the Seagram’s Night Train off into the sunset, often with
tragic results. And while most of the experiments in alternative community
living failed in some cases very excellent arts driven communities thrived and
are still around today. To dismiss all of the above as a seeking of self-
gratification is inhuman, human beings are not hive insects.

The failure of my generation that is wholly justifiable is that we let go of the
useful rage as we grew older, took our eye off the ball as we raised families and
pursued careers. Many sold out and helped engineer the economic crisis and
were absorbed and helped amplify previous generations creed of greed is good.

If we are to succeed in stopping the global corporate coup now is the time to
come together. Proclaiming proprietary rights to protest or to be crowned with
the appellation of being a true “progressive” is just more useless labeling,
promoting parlor games conducted in anonymity on the blogs for ego-
gratification, and that won’t get the job of work done.

I am thrilled and filled with admiration with the way this generation is adapting
and maneuvering to stay in the game and ahead of the labelers, the analyzers
and the fools nipping at their heels. And their all-inclusive nonjudgmental
modus operandi ensures that even vilified boomer bohemians like myself can
join in. This time we’ll all work together and make it stick.

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By omop, October 25, 2011 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

To the status quo ante storm-troopers.

“One of Ghandi’s opine on sin.”

Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Knowledge without character
Commerce without morality
Science without humility
Politics without principle.

One individual on Wall Street takes in $19 million a year and 43 million
citizens require food stamps to live in the USA.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 25, 2011 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

Paul J. Theis, October 25 at 3:24 am:

‘The attempt to discredit the Occupy movement has begun as the label “ant-capitalist” is now being applied to the movement by the BBC and Reuters. ...’

I don’t see how that would discredit the movement.  Capitalism is not above criticism, nor is it any more eternal than any of humanity’s other political and economic arrangements.  However, it is probably inaccurate; polls have shown that about two-thirds of the movement’s adherents and supporters are reformist liberal social democrat types, not socialists, communists, or anarchists.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, October 25, 2011 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

@ oddsox (and @ Ozark Michael)

Yup… that’s the elephant in the room.

It is really up to us to right that situation or at least stop perpetuating the wrong.

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By ardee, October 25, 2011 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

Amon Drool, October 24 at 7:11 pm

I am sorry that you believe my criticism too harsh. I found that post a paeon to inaction and playing to the fears of potential protestors.

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By HeevenSteven, October 25, 2011 at 5:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can someone help me? How was Hesse’s “Siddhartha”
emblematic of the moral hollowness of the New Left?

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 25, 2011 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

If class warfare goes global, all citizens of this country become “the wealthy.”


True. Its time for ‘the wealthy’at OWS to turn over their ipads and cell phones to the truly disadvantaged.

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By balkas, October 25, 2011 at 4:58 am Link to this comment

if OWS avoids now and wld avoid politics [in toto or just to some degree] i expect
that in that case it cannot much if at all improve daily life for most americans [and
particularly the ‘weakest’ ones or other undesirables/untouchables]

politics is inseparate part of reality. so is militarism, imperialism, jurisprudence,
right to life [yes, even a soldier’s], right to know, technology, knowledge, ‘laws’, ‘law
and order’ [read please lawlessness], private and public ownership of forests, waters,
fish, game, plants, banks, army, etcetc.

u separate any of these integrated aspects of on reality from one another and reality,
and u are living in a fictive one. and nobody can adjust to a fictive reality—only to a
real one.
[indigenes of america did that quite well until priests showed up an decided to
destroy forever their adaptation to survival]

we’ve had enough fiction and lawlessness which had been around for at least 8-10 k
this fact that we live in lawlessness and under diktats cannot change by us only
asking diktators [talk ab. gaddafi being one, huh?] they change it.
on shld also get political. one must also ask and get political to obtain the RIGHT TO

what harm may accrue by trying to elect s’mone to congress who is not paid to do so
by plutocrats?
and does one think that, say, 10% of most rabid americans and for americanism wld
not engage in politics in order to eliminate OWS? by politics i mean the usual
corporate-plutocratic lying, deceiving, misteachings, spreading unnecessary
fears/insecurities, some violence, ad hominems, firing people, etc!!!
not getting political is very bad politics; actually the worst kind—however, still
unfortunately, only ab. 2% of all posters advise politics be applied as well.  tnx

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oddsox's avatar

By oddsox, October 25, 2011 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

...speaking of items overlooked:

In absolute terms, participants in OWS/USA are the 1% when compared to all peoples of the world.

If class warfare goes global, all citizens of this country become “the wealthy.”

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By Older_Wiser, October 25, 2011 at 4:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

50% of all workers in this country earn $26k/yr or
less.  Many of us are supporting others on far less
than that.  Think 30% of your income going to housing
is tough?  Try 60% or more—that’s the reality for
many and why the homeless population is rising.

That 50% should be encouraged to attend Occupy events
and understand why we are in the position we’re in. 
Education about where the money is going is
imperative (and it’s not in our pockets).

The race question is imperative, though.  As a white
working class woman (in the south, no less), I’ve
always identified more with anyone in my class, no
matter their color, rather than college-educated
whites who simply have no idea of what it means to
run out of groceries before payday, or to sweat
getting up the rent by the 1st.  OTOH, though, my
education was enhanced by joining the movement during
the late 60s—those young people gave me an education
about how this society is organized more than I could
have done on my own.  I’m not going to vilify
uneducated, ignorant whites for their lack of clarity
when there is no one out there educating them.

We need ALL of that 50%.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, October 25, 2011 at 4:03 am Link to this comment

@ Paul J. Theis

Thanks for mention the right to a living wage. This is all to often overlooked.

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oddsox's avatar

By oddsox, October 25, 2011 at 3:59 am Link to this comment

I’m with you.

No political contributions except from natural breathing individual US citizens.

IMO, they should be without limit, but fully transparent.

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By archivesDave, October 25, 2011 at 3:25 am Link to this comment


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By Paul J. Theis, October 25, 2011 at 3:24 am Link to this comment

The attempt to discredit the Occupy movement has begun as the label “ant-capitalist” is now being applied to the movement by the BBC and Reuters.

I believe the best way forward for the movement is to appeal to universal human rights. I suggest five:

1. Everyone has a right to humane working conditions.

2. Everyone has a right to have a say in their working conditions.

3. Healthcare is a universal human right.

4. Everyone has a right to a living wage—a wage that guarantees their ability to participate in the economic, social and cultural life of their nation.

5. People have the right (and must have the ability) to hold corporations accountable for the harms they cause to society—especially harm to workers, consumers, and the environment.

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By archivesDave, October 25, 2011 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

Gotta get the constitutional amendment proposal on the fast track:
Corporations/unions are NOT people and comprehensive financial reform!
And we have to find better ways to reach out to more
conservatives and libertarians so the Movement doesn’t get co-opted!

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By chip, October 25, 2011 at 2:51 am Link to this comment

After well over 600 people attended our first march
here in KC our group was quickly hijacked by some
group of folks that first wanted to limit free speech
and quickly shifted to the press view of having no goals and refusing to attempt to establish any.

Our next march is to be the second with the “embracing diversity” theme. huh?
They have shifted the decision making from the GA to the internet, or google or facebook or some other form that the diversity we are embracing has little access to.

I thought this thing could work with folks getting together face to face and circumventing the media

The 1 percent are scared shitless of this type of movement but the 99% are still mostly sheeple and
question nothing.
I ain’t the leader type but I plan to watch this thing here in KC play out, which it is quickly doing.
These hyjackers are good at what they do.

I gotta get back to the front line.

I could use some suggestions on dealing with these infiltrators, thanks

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PeopleOVERgreed's avatar

By PeopleOVERgreed, October 24, 2011 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment

I would argue that the entire premise of liberalism in this article is a red herring. Because there is very little day between the Republican and Democratic parties today. The very notion of political identity is now considered part of the scam. Both political parties have been captured by the corporate special interest who fund elections. Given it is how our political system has evolved. The fact of the matter is that President Obama and the GOP nominee will both continue throwing $35,800.00/plate political fund-raising dinners for the 1% to speak their minds right up to election night. Hence the nature of the protests of Occuppy Wall Street.

As for the “other” 99%..? Have you ever asked a thirty or twenty-something year old what their stance is on the gay marriage political issue? After scratching their head most will say what issue, why can’t anyone marry who ever they are in love with at the time? For the younger generations, inequality at any level is so 20th century. So again, I believe the question of 99% inclusion is also a red herring knowing my nieces and nephews the way I do.

Which brings me back to my first observation. I believe the old tried and true partisan wedge issues will simply not work against this movement. Too much damage has already been done to the American dream.

We you get right down to it. Dignity trumps all.

Even 42 year dictatorships.

What I am most eager to see what unfolds is whether and how corporate media is held acountable for its failure to serve as the public watchdog. By today’s standards of current media, one has to assume Richard M. Nixon would have gotten away with Water-Gate. I believe corporate media has a lot to answer for in terms of rebuilding the public’s trust. As evident bby its coverage of the Occupy Wall Street world wide movement.

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By Ron O, October 24, 2011 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges has zeroed in on the single misgiving I have had about the OWS movement- that it is rightfully seen by long-suffering minorities as fundamentally an exercise in self-interest. Nobody moved until their own economic conditions became personally intolerable. It is an unfortunate truth, and it needed to be mentioned early-on so we can face it and try our best to move forward in spite of it, because the corporate coup must be reversed.

I cannot find anything in this article to dispute, except that there are individual exceptions to any rule, and I see his capsule history of the 60s, and why it failed, as fundamentally accurate. It is also instructive to review the 60s in light of this new movement, which has the potential to be so much better. There may be no official spokesman for the OWS movement, but Chris Hedges fits the job description to a T.

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By cpb, October 24, 2011 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

@ Robespierre,

I referenced my lovely friends as “anarchic capitalist-resistor types”, not anarchist-capitalists.  To the extent that they, as well as I, still need to get over some of our consumerist tendencies; such is a matter of self interrogation and decolonization of the mind. An ongoing process…

I intend to add some Bakunin, Kropotkin, Emma Goldman etc.. to my bookshelf of good intentions.  I am annoyed, but not surprised, by the fact that until somewhat recently I’d never heard of these peeps.  I’m a product of dominant culture, and a late bloomer to boot, what can I say….

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By Robespierre115, October 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment

@cpb, well if you want to fight for justice first dump any idiot calling themselves an “anarchist capitalist,” real anarchists frown at or mock such stupidity. Want some REAL anarchism? Go to the roots, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Emma Goldman etc. “Anarcho-capitalists” want to preach social change while keeping all of capitalism’s consumerist goodies.

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By cpb, October 24, 2011 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

“My favorite point raised in the article, is that the middle class need to start giving a shit about the poor, not just their own economic security.”

- EmileZ

Damn straight.  1% vs 99%??  The numbers are clear enough, and the statistics confirm all the required facts.  The middle class better realise what side it’s on.

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By cpb, October 24, 2011 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

While not an activist myself, I am an ally, and I am close to a handful of young anarchic capitalist-resistor types.  Most of those with whom I am familiar, who are the most strident resistors of the status quo, are born of the middle/upper-middle class.  Almost all of them are white.  Hedges is correct in pointing to the inherent racism and classism that many social justice movements suffer.

The question is, “why?”.  The answer is not limited to racism and classism.  Certainly the racism and classism of the MSM goes a long way to explaining the status quo.  And when a bunch of middle/upper-middle class white kids rebel against the current cultural dogmas, this gets some attention - big surprise.

Defiance is rooted in the overlap of awareness and a sense of fairness, justice and equity.  Fairness we all understand from our childhood, but the world doesn’t operate on those rules, so we learn to disregard it.  Our sense of justice and equity is more tightly linked to our conditioning.  Justice and equity are measures.  We can usually measure them well, but often forgetting that we do so with a measuring stick that has been given to us, one which, as a culture, we are not generally encouraged to question (to say the least).

One and one is two, and it is not so hard to see why the 1%, globalization, the G20 etc.. where these battles get attention, are battles being fought by a bunch of young and idealistic middle/upper-middle class white kids.  They are not the problem, they are a sympton, a characteristic.  When viewed without bias and with an appreciation for existing class realities, they are an expected response.  All things considered, imperfect though the situation may be, they are a welcome response.

We can judge, or we can react.  And remember, we are the 99%.

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By Not One More!, October 24, 2011 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

Regarding Abbie Hoffman

He said late in his life (and I’m paraphrasing here), ‘I may act like a clown to get the attention of the media, but I am serious about my message.’

Likewise, you can have long hair, like to have sex and get high, but it doesn’t discount your seriousness about the great inequalities or the unjust wars.

As far as why there aren’t more black people participating, well, maybe they are. Here is a great website

and they are more on target with their articles than most sites, including this one. They are not democratic party apologists, even when there is a black president.

What I would like the Occupy Wall Street movement to achieve is to help people identify the need for a civil society to have a government that works for the social benefit of the nation, as opposed to the corporate interests of the few, the 1%.

The US government has a very poor history of the government helping out social assets like healthcare for all, environmental protections, and generally supporting peace, justice and liberty for all.

Something has to change, otherwise it will remain the same.

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By tom nenni, October 24, 2011 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

Thankyou Chris: I believe you are spot on with this article. I remember Berkeley during the antiwar-free speech era of the late 60s early 70s(Cal’74)and it did become a designer clothes laced with designer drugs scene and we sold out. The division of people in the US is so fractured its hard for anyone to identify with anyone else. Union people divided from white collar,blacks divided by whites, middle class divided from working class,psuedo intellectuals divided from other psuedo intellectuals,etc. We are further divided by what brand car we drive, or street we live on, or even the cut of our clothes, and most of us can’t even claim friendship with the neighbors on our street. In this environment it is very easy for all of us to be controlled by a very few. Joining together without petty differences,wealth,political affiliations, color,education,without this make believe class system, we can unite together and change this plutocratic system that most of us agree needs to be radically changed to save ourselves and this planet. Thankyou again Chris,and THANKYOU Occupy Wall Street!

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By fritzherald, October 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment

I think the comments about the undesirability of focusing upon racial divisions are
very valid, but I think some of them are missing the point of the article. To me it
says, the disempowered have had some so-so relationships with a few other
movements over the years, and if the movement doesn’t want to just be lumped
with those other fools then it needs to show that it’s got something deeper. We are
all disempowered in a variety of ways simultaneously, any movement that seeks to
truly empower must remove the boundaries that exist between the disempowered.
From the point of view of class, remove the boundaries between the classes; from
the point of view of race, remove the boundaries between the races; from the
point of view of the individual mind, remove the boundaries between the ideas.

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By EmileZ, October 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

I think I agree with what Mr Hedges is saying although I sometimes get lost in the liberal use of the word “liberal”.

As to the title of the article… I think there are enough people convinced already. They just need to keep the movement going and mobilize as many people as possible who are already sympathetic.

Michael Moore cited a poll this morning which said OWS already has support from 59 percent of the population.

Also, many have been predicting what they call a “double dip” reccession. I believe there will probably be another shock to the economy in the near future. This might also strengthen the movement.

People are scared and pissed off.

My favorite point raised in the article, is that the middle class need to start giving a shit about the poor, not just their own economic security.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 24, 2011 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

Never mind.  Just slow software. Sorry.

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By examinator, October 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

I have to admit up front that I’m not a fan of this author.
It seems to me that his entire argument is based on redefining the protagonists in the standard us against them conflict and media propensity to report the exception rather than the average.In other words he’s defining the sixties by a few high profile extremes.

Frankly it’s a bit like asking the baby boomers (who made up the sixties today who went to Woodstock? I think you’d find that if the result is to be believed Woodstock had an attendance of 80% of the youth of the day….it didn’t. I’ll bet if you asked them to name who they saw I’ll bet they couldn’t or name bands than never attended or were formed later.

The point there is that the vast majority of that generation were not *as* affected by the 60’s as supposed.
i.e. I had long hair and some of the fashion but never took drugs and couldn’t stand much of the noisy music. But I did march against Vietnam, civil rights of the black and poor… oh yes I came from a working class family…what ever that was/is.

Likewise I find his description of liberals as being mostly the rich unsustainable, the boundaries are far binary. Also I would assert that there are several additional factors that define/determine the poor and their lack of power.

I do agree that complacency & indifference as products of self indulgence self interest is partly to blame. However he doesn’t consider a myriad of other contributive factors as inherent emotional reluctance, lack of ability (including opportunities and competence), cultural, social, religious are defining factors.
Do we mention perhaps, the whole *feral* capitalist ethos and supportive structures.

Finally as a humanist I find any notion that any solution can be arrived at by conflict of pitting one (spurious) artificially defined sides as nonsensical…All that this technique has achieved in the past is ingrained resentments…(i.e. the South [civil war])

We need a consensus not a Malthusian solution.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

Have my criticisms of CH gotten to the point where I am blocked from posting about his writing?

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By Inherit The Wind, October 24, 2011 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

Yet again Hedges manages to back middle-class Whites into an impossible corner:

Those who didn’t have an iron in the fire, but just wanted to make the world better are arrogant do-gooders who didn’t deserve to wipe the butts of the poor and minorities who were out struggling.

And those middle class Whites who DID have an iron in the fire, like the ones who thought they or or their children would be drafted and sent to Viet Nam are totally self-serving.

IOW, being Middle Class and White, especially Liberal is, to Hedges, Original Sin. And, given his religious roots, the ONLY way to expiate that “original sin”, is baptism into the religion of Marxist Socialism.

Sorry, Chris, but PERSONAL SELF INTEREST is actually NOT a sin, but the best motivation for joining a movement.  Do you REALLY think those people facing fire hoses and police dogs in the South in the early 60’s did it solely as some sort of higher calling? Or because THEY thought they could make a difference for themselves and their children, rather than some abstract “Other, Oppressed” people?

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By Leefeller, October 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

Sean2009, not sure if your class comment fits the mold, I do not agree the working class, blue collar workers may not be predominantly liberal I suspect this is more likely for white collar workers and especially not the middle class as a whole?
Something you stated resonates with me about the political focus on race. Racism is alive and well from what I can tell, but your comment seems to suggest it may be used to deviate from the real issues affecting everyone? I see most politics to be this way from the constant calling attention of hot button issues, like gay rights, abortion, illegal citizens, these are all issues but not 99 percent issues like abusive inequalities over the 99 percent by the 1 percent.  The simple fact all people are not represented as long as money is represented inordinately over smothered voices of the poor and middle classes. 

Yes, I even see bipartisanship in the same light used to divide and conquer.

OWS, is a spark lighting the tinder and speaks for me.  I support them if I can. As for bought and sold politicians they speak for the highest bidder! OWS, has called attention to these blatant inequality’s, wake up America!

Get the Money Out!

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By Outraged, October 24, 2011 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment

Re: Sean2009, October 24

Your comment:“The fact is, working class white
Americans have been experiencing brutality,
exploitation and manipulation for the last 200 years. How far divorced from reality (or full of shit) do you have to be to not realize this? Indeed, the fact that so many blacks and middle class whites believe this nonsense shows just how far the ruling elite has been able to camouflage the realities of class in America.”

Well put.  This was the first thing I thought when I read the article.  It’s that thing that Mr. Hedges does…. he thinks he knows (and he kinda does) and I think he CARES (I really do) but he just doesn’t get it…..  what it’s really like… and so he ends up sounding EXACTLY like the “white liberal class” he decries.  Anyway, I wanted to comment on the following portion of your comment:

” Keeping the dialogue fixated on “white vs black” is designed to obscure the potential that arises when people start seeing the game as “workers vs bosses.” If it is all about race, then whites and blacks are natural competitors in a zero-sum game. But if it is about class, then whites and blacks are natural allies in overthrowing the class-based system that
holds everybody down.”

It is all about CLASS but we’ve (us at the bottom)
have KNOWN THIS FOR YEARS, maybe HUNDREDS of years. It is a difficult venture to attempt to enlighten those who need to understand that… the middle class.  I don’t feel that as a whole they’ve been intentionally apathetic however on the whole they’ve been apathetic regarding the plight of the working class.  But now it’s happening to them, and it is in ALL OF OUR interests to back each other up and stick together.  An interesting article at Alternet begins with this Zinn quote:

“In a highly developed society, the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going: the soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers. . . . They become the guards of the system, buffers between the upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system falls.”

—Howard Zinn, from “The Coming Revolt of the Guards,”
A People’s History of the United States,”—_"guards"_of_the_status_quo_—_to_join_the_ows_rebellion/?page=entire

It’s a very good article.  It addresses the necessity of the middle class to understand why they need to act….  personally, I think they somewhat understand it (some absolutely do) but once enough do AND ACT ON IT that is when change will come in a big way.  And all of us, TOGETHER, need to back them up.

I don’t give a rats ass what stripe you are.
For the interim, everyone needs to stand together

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By LT, October 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In about 10 to 15 years the demographic change won’t just be mostly
noticed on paper. Then we’ll really see what this “melting pot” is made
of….for better or worst.

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By OzarkMichael, October 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

I posted some facts Leefeller. Occupy Wall Street is applauded by Nazis. Applauded by Communists.

The 99% seem to to be comfortable with the the fact that they are attracting the followers of A. Hitler and V. Lenin. 

Enjoy your supporters, Leefeller. You have earned them.

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By exploitedtimes, October 24, 2011 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

@ Sean2009,

Agreed, well said. Cheers

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By Amon Drool, October 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment

ardee…i really don’t get why you’re jumping on dale
copps.  all he said was that any successful movement
will have to come up with a plan to wrest political
power from what he deems to be a ‘Corporatocracy’.  i
didn’t see him as dissing occupations and
demonstrations.  from my reading, dale copps is only saying that demonstrators and occupiers have to go beyond that and develop a plan for political action that a large portion of the populace could agree to.

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By Sean2009, October 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

@ exploitedtimes

Just a few points:

I agree we need to have a discussion of race. I do not condemn ignoring the realities of the white working class just to turn around and ignore the experiences of blacks and women. My point is that “ant-racism” that demonizes “white males” is anything but, particularly since there is no such a thing as ‘white males.”

The concept of “white males” as a descriptive grouping of human beings is completely meaningless for anyone but ID politics types who see every man with white skin as part of a distinct social collective operating together the way nations, cultures and tribes do. Not even Hitler had such an all-encompassing vision of the “white race.”

The ruling elite is not exclusively white, or male, nor does it rule on behalf of some ill-defined sociological sub group such as “white males.” The fact that people who are both white and male are abused and exploited by this system makes that abundantly clear.

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By exploitedtimes, October 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

@ Sean2009

You’re right, it’s all about class, and white males are the top class, have been for 200 years like you said. Sure they’ve been exploited the whole time by the elite and race has always been used to divide, a classic tactic. But race and racism must be acknowledged even if the elite provokes and manipulates and uses race as a tool of oppression management; just because we realize it is a tool of division doesn’t mean race and racism don’t exist. In fact it is a huge part of the identity of the country and always has been, that’s why it’s such an effective tool. Hedges gets into sensitive territory here but he doesn’t want to divide; on the contrary he is encouraging unity among race and class while illuminating the historical challenges and existing perceptions. This piece must be taken within the broader context of the analysis and perspectives of this author. In isolating segments Hedges can be easily misunderstood as he often presents profound philosophies built on mass relevant historical data and compacted into a brief weekly column here.

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By Sean2009, October 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

Now the white community around the country is beginning to see it and experience it firsthand. It’s pretty shocking to them.

This is absolute nonsense, but goes a long way to explaining why working class whites feel so alienated by liberals and the left. The fact is, working class white Americans have been experiencing brutality, exploitation and manipulation for the last 200 years. How far divorced from reality (or full of shit) do you have to be to not realize this? Indeed, the fact that so many blacks and middle class whites believe this nonsense shows just how far the ruling elite has been able to camouflage the realities of class in America.

The fact is, in the US we do not talk about police brutality or economic exploitation except in terms of race. Indeed, we rarely talk about “class” at all. Everything is about race. White working class people are treated as if they are invisible, and the only time they are given any attention is to denounce them as “rednecks” or “white trash,” or blame them for the racism and authoritarianism of the American system, rather than the elites who created this system.

The ruling class has an interest in keeping everything about “race” rather than class because race as well as liberal “anti-racism” can be and is used to divide and balkanize us along racial lines. Keeping the dialogue fixated on “white vs black” is designed to obscure the potential that arises when people start seeing the game as “workers vs bosses.” If it is all about race, then whites and blacks are natural competitors in a zero-sum game. But if it is about class, then whites and blacks are natural allies in overthrowing the class-based system that holds everybody down.

Then there is the “white male” bullshit of those who have been thoroughly indoctrinated in the ruling elite’s diploma mills. This socially engineered meme is designed to transfer blame for the system away from the elite and onto ordinary white people, while at the same time alienating white males from any kind of Leftist movement. Ironically, people have been conditioned to view anyone who denounces the demonization of white males as a “racist” or white nationalist interested only in defending his “white privilege.”

That so many people fail to recognize how obviously racist and sexist the whole “white male” thing is and how alienating that is for working class white people in particular is deeply depressing. Some people apparently either can’t see the obvious even when it is squatting on their face or get such a sense of personal superiority from being able to exercise a socially acceptable form of self-righteous racial supremacism they can’t let it go.

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By Cliff Carson, October 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

Those that claim that protest and sit-ins or let’s say non-violent movements cannot succeed have failed to heed history.

Doesn’t mean this one will succeed, but if it never started it had no chance of success.

Those who have stolen our National Pride will never give back because they have no immediate incentive.

Only when defeat is imminent will they start to looking for some way to weasel out and save as much of their ill gotten gains as possible.

It takes commitment to oust the tyrants.

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By exploitedtimes, October 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

@ Oddsox,

Oh no doubt that all sounds great, couldn’t agree more, it’s just completely fantastic. I mean, you are talking about reforming a system that is wholly bought and paid for on the inside, from the outside.  Every major industry is regulating itself from both sides of the aisle to ‘independent’ regulatory bodies to K street. The interests of this system are not the interests of the people. It is not a system of the people thus the people have no part in affecting it in any way whatsoever. This concept is paramount to understanding the perspective Hedges has been drilling, a perspective I share and one that mirrors reality as opposed to tidy theories existing only on a sheet of paper. Depending on which legal scholar you consult, torture is or isn’t legal, the wars were entered legally or illegally in Iraq, Libya…the fact is this legal system has always been pay to play, the cash obtains justice and the rest fry. A lot of us simply don’t have the money for any legal representation. We don’t respect the law because, well, the law doesn’t respect us - never has and never will. So for those who can hide behind legal teams to argue interpretations for years on end, I’m sure the law is a hell of a tool. Meanwhile for the rest of us, we are SOL. The more BS you read the more the words just don’t mean shit, you know? Kissinger’s got a Nobel Peace Prize, WTF? Obama gets it for a speech wherein he praised the virtues of war? WTF? You know and I know that even if Citizens were repealed, campaign reform, what have you, there would still be loopholes built in there big enough for a team of corporate finest to jockey procedure, venue, selection, and the rest of the BS tricks that constitute the BS justice system for a decade or more. Now if you have a way to extract all the bought and paid for parts in this great system, so we can apply it to its full and best use, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise from where I’m sitting the system is worthless and no part of it has or ever will represent me. That’s what I think of the system.

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By Cliff Carson, October 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment


I agree with you.  Those who point insulting words (OM comes to mind)at the real concerned among us ( the OWS movement)  are actually abettors of the criminal element who are destroying America.

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By rumblingspire, October 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

de ja vu

“One thing must be clearly understood. This is no spontaneous and vague uprising of a large mass of discontented and miserable people—a blind and instinctive recoil from hurt. On the contrary, the propaganda is intellectual; the movement is based upon economic necessity and is in line with social evolution; while the miserable people have not yet revolted. The revolutionist is no starved and diseased slave in the shambles at the bottom of the social pit, but is, in the main, a hearty, well- fed workingman, who sees the shambles waiting for him and his children and recoils from the descent. The very miserable people are too helpless to help themselves. But they are being helped, and the day is not far distant when their numbers will go to swell the ranks of the revolutionists.”

from Revolution by Jack London 1905

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By ardee, October 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

And anyone who thinks
marches and occupations without recourse to wresting away the political process from
the Corporatocracy is going to bring us back our nation is just plain naive.

That’s alright, Dale Copps, October 24 at 3:41 pm , you sit at home, perhaps hide under your couch, while our youth educates the electorate. That is the reason to demonstrate, to risk abuse by the police, in order to bring the truth home.

I cannot help but wonder what it might take to get you to see your duty to your nation?

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By Frank, October 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is by far the best thing I’ve read on OWS, and probably the best thing written on OWS. Hedges is precisely, 100% correct—if the movement fails, fizzles, dwindles away to nothing in the coming months, it will undoubtedly be because the members of OWS (and the rest of the occupation movement) fail to grasp the truth and significance of what Hedges is saying here.

For example, the demands for a list of demands, so often repeated in the media, is precisely an attempt to define the “audacity” out of OWS, to make it manageable and co-optable, to bring it within the fold of our corrupt corporatized political system. We can’t let that happen. They want demands, goals, attainable ends? Sure, let’s give them some. And tomorrow, give them some more. And then more. And then more ...

Because in the end it’s not about the specific demands, it’s about the fundamentals: truth and justice, and a principled relentless refusal to stand by any more watching the corruption happen.

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By Anthony Skirlick, October 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Despite agreeing with somebody finally doing a good, long piece on the Occupy movement, you did spend an inordinate amount of time slamming protesters from half a century ago. The one thing you failed miserably to point out, regardless of the fact they did drugs and had unsupervised sex (corruption similar to the 1920’s and for most of the 19th century in the Wild West), they were right.  Sloppy messengers of the truth??..sure…. but they were right…right on Civil Rights and right on that god awful war. In the end by grinding it to a stop, hundreds of thousands of people lived even if those remaining and their offspring and their offspring did turn into right wing Republicans….or worse chickenhawks regardless of party or religious affiliations.

The essential truth about all of these people you have done an autopsy on is that they were right.

That one fact alone in the long run of history cancels out all revisionists attempts to somehow clothe themselves in some sort of false cloak of enlightenment/insight a half century after the fact…and all the people still offended by the fact that a rag tag army of kids and young adults plus returning soldiers from Viet Nam (John Kerry for one) were 100% right.

I read all three pages of your skillfully crafted dissection but the thought kept running through my mind..‘yeah but…yeah but… ...OK got all that background stuff….those protestors were still part of two movements that were 100% spot on’.

Hard hat union guys to Nixon to Johnson were dead wrong and as a result millions died, nations destroyed, a country bankrupted, and world opinion still distrusting the U.S. to this day because we keep repeating the same criminal and pathological foreign policy mistakes….where essentially we refuse to pay the going price of imported commodities like the rest of the world.

Chris…those kids were right.  You forgot in this long article to point that out as many times as you berated them for not having the correct, totally certifiable Hedge’s determined moral and ethnic and whatever else hoops you have to jump through to be bestowed by your version of “OK credentials” to attend
those protests so, so long ago.  And you failed to mention that the protests against that war were not just an American invention…it was worldwide.

And they were right…all of them.

As a result, they all graduate at the top of the class.  They aced the tests and the long run view of history “final”. Remember that fact when you decide to go on these kinds of three page long expeditions looking for insight and “the truth”...remember at the beginning, middle, and end of your lectures, who ended up being the ones who knew a truth and tried like heck to convince others of their vision. Doesn’t take three pages of twisting to get there.

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By Leefeller, October 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

Inequalities are real, the company you keep is not the same as visiting company OM, though you seem to be proficient in absolutism’s and stereotyping. Is that concern I see in those alligator tears OM?

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By oddsox, October 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

HA! Get your point about the challenges of appealing to Hedges himself.

But, rather, to those pragmatists among you OWS supporters (and with respect to vgans everywhere):
Who’s hungry for some red meat!?

If the system is corrupt we must un-corrupt it. 
My take: the system isn’t the problem, it’s our application of it. 
The problem w/ Crony Capitalism isn’t the Capitalism, it’s the Cronies. 

Anti-trust action has been tried before and has worked. 
Time to now dust it off and do it again.

As for campaign reform, getting corporate and union money out of the political process has the needed cleansing action.
Many worthy means to that end:
From repeal of Citizens United to a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood to calls for a “One Dollar” individual contribution limit.
There are people working for these now. 
They don’t represent my beliefs exactly, but I support their efforts.

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By OzarkMichael, October 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

The Occupiers strive to convince more and more folks that they are on the side of truth. They will convince 99% of the world, one way or another. Thats how they will get the support they need to put them over the top and get some real change.

This week we have Islamists in Iran rallying to the support the Occupation:

And here at home various Nazi types are also expressing strong support for the Occupation, here is David Duke:!

A word to Occupy Wall Street… you will be known by the company you keep!

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By Dale Copps, October 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

I am second to no one in my admiration for the recent writings of Chris Hedges, but
come on! People died in the sixties. They went to jail and to Canada. They were beaten
senseless. By police riots in Grant Park and other places. And anyone who thinks
marches and occupations without recourse to wresting away the political process from
the Corporatocracy is going to bring us back our nation is just plain naive.

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By kibitzer, October 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Excellent food for thought, Chris.  And: I saw a video of you being iv’ed at OWS
and was touched by your sincere caring for what was going on there.  As to

I see it as a major movement, and even though good people like Naomi Klein
feel it needs to grow legs (& ‘roots’) by associating with trade unions, I disagree. 
That would put it merely on a classic left-right level of confrontation, and
pigeonhole it into oblivion.  What’s going on is more profound than that.  The
OWSers are sensing a basic structural change in society; are the vanguard of a
real New.

Consider, in Hegelistic terms.  Capitalism, in righteously justified association
with ‘religion’ (& its enthronement of the individual as ‘the captain of his ship,
the Master of his fate’), saw out communism and its merely material vision of
life.  But the feeling of caring and sharing lives on, in various forms of socialism
(eg, the welfare state).  The Right, king of the hill, grew arrogant in its power,
and began quietly to bring back a form of feudalism - hence, the corporate
state.  But the PTB, thirsting for global hegemony, and knowing how these
things work - how Crisis creates Opportunity; and great Crisis creates great
Opportunity - needed a reaction to grow by (an antithesis).  So, to counter its
moves, it created a scheme of global control from the Left (Soros, Maurice
Strong, Clinton, Obama et al), so that it could be boosted thereby to command
those lofty heights from the Right.  Their scheming for a New World Order of
the plutocrats is all well documented; and they are within hailing distance of
their goal.  Now if the Left would just unite, and give them a real hard time…(lo
unto an excuse to declare Martial Law, and put the country onto an internal war
footing) -

- and the OWS crowd refuse to take the bait.  Well done, gang.  Keep your
position relatively amorphous.  Because what you are creating is an Opportunity
for a real change, which will grow out of the left-right clash of this incomplete
process, and onto a level of Synthesis: what could be called the kingdom of
heaven on (poor beleaguered) Earth.  Because the truth of the matter is that
there is something more than Man. That life has meaning, beyond just in and
for itself only.  And it is time to recognize that fact - and acknowledge it- into
our very structure of society.

And so the ‘Right’ will have to give up its age-old love affair with ‘profit’; and
the ‘Left’ will have to give up its Enlightenment chucking out of the baby with
the bath water of ‘religion’.  They are both mere concepts; mere constructs. 
There is a truth beyond them both.  And it is that land - that misty, vaguely
intuited Promised Land -that we need to aim the global ship of state towards. 
Now.  Because

it’s time.     

Nothing less will suffice now.  Unless you really want to avoid the Big
Opportunity.  And live with the consequences, of avoiding that birthing, that
pushing through to a new level of being; a new paradigm.  A Great Turning.

A dystopian future?  I don’t think so…

But we will not get there - will not inherit that land- with an attitude of rights
without responsibilities.  Of getting something for nothing.  It will require all of
us to give of our best, to tend the system.

Only thus will we be able to get rid of - supersede - the corporate state. 
Which is just waiting for its opportunity to take total control of the world.

Don’t give them the satisfaction.  Just know - be very clear - about what it will
take not to give that to them.

‘Them’.  In truth: our brothers and sisters.  Just playing their parts.  In this
drama that we have been keeping going for long enough, without recognizing
that one salient fact of life.  That We Are One Another.  And more: that We Are

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By Flickford, October 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

I remember coming of age in NY in the ‘60s and how “liberal” kids were perhaps
rightly perceived as coming mostly from privilege, and even though they did
speak some truth to power, it did in fact alienate working class folks of all ages.
I remember as well how the silent majority - the middle-class - blithely ignored
social and political issues, after all they were well insulated from strife and so in
most cases insulated from having a social conscience. I see irony in that now
that they are the poster child of the movement. And I also remember well how
racist and anti-everything many working-class folks were, here in NY Archie
Bunker was alive and well, and they could be some plenty ignorant and nasty
people. When I marched up 5th Ave. in ‘69 at the first feminist rally organized
by Steinhem both suits and hard-hats had to be restrained by cops from
attacking us.

I never studied the “left” in a political science sense but rather participated as
an activist since my teens, my perception about fighting for justice was formed
by spending time with my peers - the ones around me in the streets. To me it’s
always been pretty basic, fight or sit on the couch and watch TV. And I have no
problem with those that dropped out and started communities and art colonies
and the like, that’s their right and it beats the damn grind. So all this blather
and bother about what we used to call “guilty white liberals’ or “poseur phonies”
doesn’t mean much to me. What I’m saying is whatever you want to call this so-
called left that let down ‘the people”, well, it’s the people who’d damn well
better wake up and put their ass on the line, I’ve never entrusted anyone to take
care of it for me.

It’s all different now, I’ve never seen the majority of the country’s people thrown
under the bus - and that now includes the middle-class, if there is still one to
speak of. First of all the “official” unemployment numbers are a joke, black
unemployment is closer to 35% than the reported 16.7%, youth unemployment
is 25%, and the aging boomer unemployment numbers are grossly
underestimated, it’s just got to be higher than a paltry 8%. If we’re not all in the
same boat we’re all in the same rough water about to drown. So I don’t see any
danger of an elitist faction forming in this movement to alienate people.

With the steady march to a corporate state that does not take care of the
majority of it’s people, the establishment’s status quo is their own worst enemy.
Times will not be getting better any time soon, so the movement will continue
to grow. So far they’re not running anyone off or talking down to anyone. It’s up
to the so-called leftist establishment, the poseurs across the board, particularly
the media and politicians to get onboard and get their noses out of Wall Street’s

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By ZenBowman, October 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

@munky: Ending physical poverty does not uplift a
community if self-belief is replaced with a
consciousness of dependency and mental slavery.

I do not see anyone like Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey or
Frederick Douglass among black leaders today - self-
help consciousness has been destroyed by the welfare


Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to
ask it early of the abolitionists, “What shall we do
with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the
beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has
already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with
us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of
their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the
core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall,
let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them
on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and
if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if
the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall
also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his
own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to
school, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see
him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go!
If you see him going to the ballot- box, let him
alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going into a
work-shop, just let him alone,—your interference is
doing him a positive injury

- Frederick Douglass

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By exploitedtimes, October 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

@ munky,

Read the New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, excerpts of which have been quoted on this site. The stats are in there, and they are rough. Alexander has worked with ACLU and other civil rights projects and is a valued and impressive source.

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By PatrickHenry, October 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

For those of us who are not able to be there to witness the start of the newest American revolution, we are with you in spirit, arming.

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By exploitedtimes, October 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

@ Oddsox,

If you’re are trying to work within the corrupt and failed system don’t appeal to Hedges. If you follow his work you will see it’s not about tweaking some fine print or gaining some BS concessions. That’s what earmarks and lobbies are for. With respect there is scarce chance of reversing personhood, over 30 years in the making plus the Citizens ruling in one of the most corrupt Supreme Courts of all time. As far as the legal approach goes, there are many entities, notably the state of Vermont, who believe secession is the shortest and most realistic legal route to reversing the damage done in the courts over the previous decades, and the case is compelling. Good luck, but there’s less stench on the street than in the court.

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By larrypsy, October 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is one of my favorite commentators but
I do wish he would render his written comments more concisely.  Attention spans are short and so is time.

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By exploitedtimes, October 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

@ Ardee,

Hey I’m not attacking you! I am offended at your contention my contribution was not substantial, and surprised you felt compelled to detail the careers of your fellow protestors; perhaps you missed my point there. I agree people must live and work - this is in fact closer to my point exactly. We must work, and most ( I concur nobody knows the percentage) people work for corporations. This is by default and is my point. Corporations and monopolies, mergers, etc. have resulted in what today is near corporate domination of all sectors. You hit another of my points exactly when you say people gotta work and live. Here is the all time excuse that has the power to kill any and all anti-corporate movements. People gotta work and live, but do they have to work for corporations and live by their rule? (I will answer that for you) In fact these aren’t MY questions but rather questions of our time. The answer is today, yes, most people have to work for corporations because they are afraid of the alternatives. So that fear dominates and the corporations control it. I applaud you and your friends if you have maintained outside the corporate death magnet. Incredibly, there are many who believe corporations are good. As far as protesting goes and the Hedges take, his depth of experience in conflict from inception to destruction is considerable and I value and agree with it, and so do the outcomes of myriad conflicts throughout history. It’s not just some guy’s opinion; we have precedent in the form of the history of civilization. Protests didn’t end Vietnam any more than they started it, because war is a function of politics and capital power, not protests. As far as ‘tempering’ the 99% reference, I don’t follow you when you say it is ‘silly.’ It is a clear reference to the 1% versus the 99% representing the Occupy movement about which this is a discussion. My point here is that by default much closer to 99% of the population is employed by corporations and unwilling to protest against them than those willing, therefore also by default those campaigning against corporations are in reality much closer to the 1%. Hopefully that will change. Anyone choosing to preserve his shit corporate salary - I include those minimum wagers and below at the very bottom -  by protecting and furthering some death corporation agenda, is actively against this movement, so it’s not just about people making big bucks, it’s about telling YOUR corporate boss and paycheck to get fucked. How many are willing to do that? Don’t worry I won’t answer it, I don’t know. Cheers

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By darkcycle, October 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Wonderful, as usual Chris. I’ll differ on a couple of points though. There were other more salient reasons for the “new left’s” emasculation in the seventies. The leaders like Hoffman, while meaning well initially were far too enamored of the spotlight, and Abby for sure enjoyed grandstanding. That made them all too willing to embrace the caricature of them provided by the media. The entire movement of old beats, hippies, yippies and young radical anarchists was centered around the Viet Nam war and in particular the Draft. The draft was the central rallying point and the common interest that held these groups together. When the War ended and the Draft with it, the energy propelling this tenuous alliance dissipated. With working class whites now mollified, the radicals, feminists, social justice campaigners, anti nuke people all returned to their original causes. This arrangement ossified and became the “formula” we are all familiar with.
Getting lefties to all rally to a single cause turns out to be like herding cats. All you need to do is visit any single issue forum and you’ll see. Even within cohesive movements the weakest link for us seems to be getting everybody on the same page. It took another crisis that has shaken the walls of all the different groups to bring us together again. And look at how we’re handling it (brilliantly, for a change)...leaving politics and people out of the discussion. Focusing on central demands for systemic change and the end of corporate hegemony.
Much like V.N., this has given all of us a common clarity of purpose. Whatever the particular grievance we bring to this movement is secondary and we are working on the assumption it will all shake out fairly in the mix. But unlike V.N., we are now focused on the CAUSE of all that we oppose, instead of merely being distracted by a manifestation.
In short, where there is resentment on the part of these individual groups as a result of the “liberal diaspora” of the seventies, it is not a matter of liberal whites abandoning the poor or liberal blacks…it’s us abandoning…ourselves. It is up to us to see that this doesn’t occur again, because divided, we are easily overcome.

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By oddsox, October 24, 2011 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

“The civil rights movement, after all, achieved a legal victory, not an economic one.”

Perhaps this is the path to victory for OWS as well.

Most TruthDiggers who have read my blogs already know where I’m headed with this.

For the rest, catch up here:

Another legal path is being pursued: the outlawing all corporate and union contributions into the political process. 
The effort to reverse corporate personhood is a good first step.

OWS will dissolve into chaos soon unless clearly-defined victories can be achieved.

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By Ralph Kramden, October 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Never realized what a Puritan Hedges is. My, he really hates the hippies and Marxists I suppose. He fails to mention that about Vietnam it was the working class who was wrong. The hard-hats were the most reactionary working class in the world. I believe the peace movement was very courageous in opposing the war and confronting the hard hats.

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By Anthonyhenrysmith, October 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Money exists as a transformative force. Human beings are, by nature, quickly and easily transformed by the force of money and other transformative forces such as Love, War, Compassion, Science, Law, Philosophy, Justice, Mercy, and Kindness.

Note well that each of these transformative forces are created by human beings and enabled and implemented by human functionaries.

Human beings routinely create the very forces which are the agents of their own transformation.

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By munky, October 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

It’s incorrect to say African Americans are worse-off today than in 1965. In 1965, the poverty rate stood at 22%. LBJ’s Great Society (and continuing social programs) cut the poverty rate in half. I’m sure many who benefited from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will disagree with Hedges that blacks are worse-off. By claiming such, Hedges plays into the right wing meme. That’s too bad.

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By omop, October 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

Regardless of what the ignorant vilifiers of others who think, believe
and act differently than they the following quote by Albert Camus adds
to Mr. Hedges’s commentary.

“All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.
Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant’s
revolving door.”

Albert Camus

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By ZenBowman, October 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment


Keep ignoring the facts. Nobody denies segregation and
slavery were terrible things, but we have seen that 40
years of progressive liberal policy have destroyed the
black family in a manner that slaveowners could only
have dreamed of.

The move from black self-help consciousness to a
consciousness of being dependent on the state is
effectively a resurrection of mental slavery.

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By Not One More!, October 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

The Bottom 25%

I wouldn’t mind the bloody rich if it wasn’t for the bloodied poor that make it all possible.

The one thing that we should continue to talk about is the bottom 25%, the ones who really pay for all the advantages the top 75% have. The bottom 25% pay with their sweat, blood, and lives. They are the ones who have had their lives systematically stripped by those in power. They are ordinary individuals and families, both in the US and around the world.

The top 1% are bloodsuckers, and even though they wear a tie and polished shoes, they create more violence and thievery then the the whole criminal class of the world.

I support Occupy Wall Street, as long as they continue to focus on “WE” as opposed to the “I.”

It would be nice to see once ‘Human Rights For All.’ End the 6000+ years of the dominant society using oppression and violence to squash liberty, justice, freedom, and life. What this requires is that we consider the bottom 25% in any of our decisions and policies.

Unfortunately, if one thinks they have to vote for the lesser of 2 evils, that is not the path that will lead to a compassionate and sustainable world. Voting for the lesser of 2 evils is what prevents the bottom 25% from having a voice.

Vote Third Party, don’t give your consent to the corporate rulers.

http://www.NotOneMore.US - Take the Pledge for Peace

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By bob zimway, October 24, 2011 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

Hedge’s take on the race divide has a resonance to those of us who went
through a People’s struggle before. We grew up around King, Malcolm X, and an
extremely alienated group of young black men.

This time, though, racial attitudes among the young have dramatically shifted.
Even at some distance, the net, cell phones and social media are informing
future black leaders, who may or may not choose to coalesce as such, but
whose voices will be heard.

Resentment over how suddenly people are paying attention to these upstarts is
only a phase of the dance, although the players are about to change, and that is
the actual threat to the establishment.

When we keep our minds on the big picture it really does not matter who gets
the credit.

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By Amon Drool, October 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

waytoomanybottlesofrum…it seems like everything you
don’t like about left/liberalism of the last 50
years, you throw into the category of the ‘New Left’.

the new left in the US began in the 50’s when the
CPUSA went along with the soviet invasion of Hungary. 
academic intellectuals like c. w. mills and free-
floating intellectuals like dwight mcdonald began
calling for a new left.  these thinkers didn’t
completely discount the ‘working’ class as a force of
change, but they wanted to avoid the authoritarianism
of a working class vanguard.

your posts seem to indicate some sympathy for the
current occupywallstreet movement.  back in the late
60’s, demonstrators, who you would probably call new
left, marched on wall street and took a bloody
bashing from construction workers while NYC cops just
watched on.  one can understand how some on the left
would be wary of working class members after
something like that.

some members of the new left may have turned into
politically correct academics and yuppies in the
business world, but MANY haven’t.  methinks you paint
the new left with too broad a brush.

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By balkas, October 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

yes, i used the word “demonization” in that post, and put in any context,
including my said post, it cld and shld be evaluated as an overgeneralization
or generalization.

however, it subsumes certain doings. it wld take lots of time to describe
them all in one post. it wld probably take me hours or even days to discover
all that clero-plutocratic class teaches kids in school and how it teaches kids
[and adults]

but movies, TV, media, corporations, constitution, jails, generals, cia teaches
people and kids as well. so to list even just all salient teachings about
building a better society wld take a whole book.

98% of people voting for the unity obama-mccain is not a generalization, but
a fact. mccain, had he been elected wld have, i expected, sworn allegiance to
the system just like obama did and wld have faithfully obeyed constitutional
commands and its moral imperatives.

of course, i do not know which of the overgeneralizations appearing in my
post u have in mind. u listed none. thus, i only assumed that one of them is
the label “demonization”

btw, we cannot avoid using overgeneralizations. so it is ok by me to use
them as long as one is aware that such labels are not facts and the user is
honest to admit to that.

however, your statement that my post or a part of it “eliminates all evidence
of possibilites of growth and change” i evaluate as an generalization.

you do have the right to it. you own it. however, in many of my posts i have
stated that as long as the demonization, layered structure of society
endures, we indeed can expect changes; however, solely in tactics and not
the final solution: obtaining an ideal fascist and iniquitous structure of
society and system of rule.
i’d love to be wrong on this!

and thus rersulting in ONLY WORSENINGS for some ‘aliens’ and even
americans. i cannot comment on your overgeneralized “growth”.
u need to list its characteristics before i cld comment. growth like
demonization appears as mere label; they cld mean anything.

but be absolute certain, and very short, i aver that there will never be justice
in a layered society. tnx

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By zonth_zonth, October 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Divisive rhetoric.  “Minorities may be reluctant to engage in the movement”  We have already seen two minority ‘leaders’ embrace and participate in the movement (West, Sharpton).  All the images I have seen and read about appear quite variable in its constituents.

Perhaps Hedges is bored now with the OWS and is ready to burn them with his puritanical PC divisive sermonizing.

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By Anarcissie, October 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

I’d rather not deny that the White working class, the poor, the minorities and so forth have consciousness and agency.

If they decided they didn’t like the New Left, the old Left, hippies, punks, and other dissident types, it seems to me that that is their right and their decision.  They haven’t been excluded by OWS or its predecessors, but neither have they been especially invited in.  If OWS is not a power-gathering institution, then it doesn’t need to concern itself with expanding its reach by sucking this group or that into some political web.

They could just declare victory one day and vanish.

It’s up to the other 99% to make something of their actions.  So far I don’t see much beyond ignorant vilification by rightists and sleazy attempts at cooptation by Democrats, but who knows what may come out of it all?

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By munky, October 24, 2011 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

Isn’t it inevitable that someone will become the leader of the movement? It seesm to me that SOMEONE is leading the movement right now as proven by the OWS leaders who say there will be “no leaders.” It took a leadership role to make that decision. They are the ones allowing homeless people into the park, for example. Even if you think no leaders is a good thing, someone will become a leader of OWS. It’s a natural outcome of human behavior. I’m suspicious of people who claim in groups that there are “no leaders.”

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By ejreed, October 24, 2011 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

“Occupy” Campaigners Set Up Second London Camp  
Bloomberg’s Olivia Sterns reports from Finsbury Square
in London’s financial district, where around 100
protesters set up camp as part of a widespread
international anti-capitalist campaign.

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By alturn, October 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

Hedges blames alternative spirituality for contributing to the challenges of the ‘60s. Yet alternative spirituality taught to go within to find the self, which is in essence the soul.  The soul is love, oneness, buddhic, Christ and beauty.  That the ‘60s grounded out the message that such sources as Theosophy and Hesse taught had less to do with the worth of the information but the incredible distortion of those ideals and energies.  OWS, as Hedges pointed out, is aware of the capacity for distortion and is taking to take measures to ensure the movement is more, not less, consistent with the goals of what in America is seen today as alternative spirituality.  In doing so they are far more aligned with the message of the teacher for this age, the world Teacher Maitreya, of global sharing, justice and cooperation than those protesting in the ‘60s.

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By Amerikagualg, October 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The OWS movement is only maybe 5 percent of the actual number of people in the US who feel the SAME WAY but do not spend their days protesting. The OWS movement need to watch its back to protect against being co-opted by those insidious influences with an agenda.

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By Chris Herz, October 24, 2011 at 11:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr Hedges, with whom I had the high honor and privilege to be arrested last winter, is as usual spot on.  The problem is the hopeless complicity of those who by education and moral conciousness alike should never have united themselves with the elites.  But the intelligentsia did it anyhow.

The DC power elites have ever since the sixties careully studied on how to break non-violent political dissent.  They have largely succeeded in this effort.  The idea is to unite with death-squad mafias, have these thugs work alongside the army and the police.  This is how satellite countries such as in Latin America have been governed and in many places such as our new trade partner Colombia still are.

Expect these methods to be brought home now.

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By novenator, October 24, 2011 at 11:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

FTA - “the Faustian deal worked out between the Democratic Party and its corporate sponsors”

Chris, normally I think you’re a genius, but you have one fatal flaw in your reasoning here: The Democratic Party is not the main problem.  The problem is the unholy alliance between the rich/corporations, social/religious conservatives (Talibangellicals), and the military/security complex.  Since they made their pact in the 70’s and got power in 1981, they have had a stranglehold over all the things that have devastated this great country, INCLUDING minority neighborhoods.

This realization, should ever arrive at it will be an epiphany moment in your life.  It’s not groups like moveon, the Bold Progressives, and labor unions that are your enemy, it is the tools of the establishment on the libertarian-right.

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By gerard, October 24, 2011 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

balkas (1024—10:36) presents a stark example of over-generalization.  It’s dangerous because it’s simply not true, plus it eliminates all evidence of the possibilities for growth and change—of which there are millions. It’s a perfect example of how one group attempts to assure its own solidarity at the expense of negating “others”. Fortunately, saying so doesn’t make it so.

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By balkas, October 24, 2011 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

be it as it may regarding the slaughter of russians by russians or of
belorussians of russians or vice versa since oct 17, it is a fact that
socialists and or socialists/communists fail time and again socialism.

[because of many causative factors and not because socialism is evil or
undesirable to develop to its end. anybody willing to list these factors? i
have over time, but this post is already too long]

supremacists or asocialists merge the two phenomena into one.
the fact appears that socialism cannot be a priori rejected as evil.

in other words, the clero-noble class in fear of losing their privileges and
eclat/importance/greater value, declared socialism “evil” and began to
demonized it to children in schools; thus obtaining serfs for a lifetime.

u.s clero-plutocratic class was most successful in that endeavor. proof is
in the pudding: 98% of americans just voted for just such demonizers.

hitler or nazis in germany and fascists in italy were good, but it pales in
comparison with what nazis and fascists in u.s had achieved; tho they all
used exact same demonization of socialism; i.e., greater equality among
people. [and peoples]

but in infinity of time, even if demonistic ideology/systemof rule wld
endure another millennium or even millennia, it wld have been an
ephemeral event/happening.

hedges, i think, cannot say this in u.s. or he does not see this reality i just

but i am brave to say that because i no longer work. i am also 80y o. also
an unknown; thus likely to be left in peace.

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By ardee, October 24, 2011 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

ZenBowman, October 24 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Well, since white liberals were largely responsible for destroying the black family and community through forced integration and welfare programs which promoted single motherhood, are they not right to distrust the
so-called “99%”?

Wow, someone still buys into that stale and trite, not to mention ridiculous, position after all these years??!!

Forced integration sounds like a former slave owner trying to sell the tale that slaves were actually happy and always singing while they worked.

Leefeller, October 24 at 8:56 am

Oh, Lee…..

African Americans in the Vietnam War

John Sibley Butler

The Vietnam War saw the highest proportion of blacks ever to serve in an American war. During the height of the U.S. involvement, 1965-69, blacks, who formed 11 percent of the American population, made up 12.6 percent of the soldiers in Vietnam. The majority of these were in the infantry, and although authorities differ on the figures, the percentage of black combat fatalities in that period was a staggering 14.9 percent, a proportion that subsequently declined. Volunteers and draftees included many frustrated blacks whose impatience with the war and the delays in racial progress in America led to race riots on a number of ships and military bases, beginning in 1968, and the services’ response in creating interracial councils and racial sensitivity training. . . .

Bold print mine, egregious error yours. Those darn statistics….

exploitedtimes, October 24 at 5:13 am

Neither you nor I knows the answer to that conundrum you seem to believe to be a universal truth. People gotta live you know, people gotta work too. Your question and associated answer ( do you always answer your own questions?) is a contrivance of your own politics and thus an insubstantial contribution.

I have maintained friendships with a handful of my old comrades from those days, and they include one doctor, three lawyers doing work among the poorer members of our economy, one is a farmer growing organic crops and probably making more money that anyone of us. I myself have held a wide range of jobs, including early association with the then in its infancy computer industry in what came to be called,“Silicon Valley. Yet another is a painter, living in Taos,New Mexico and is seemingly quite successful in fact.

You really shoulda tempered that 99% stuff, it is rather silly.

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By balkas, October 24, 2011 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

is it the a case of 99% against 1%? or 1% against 99%? and 5% against 95%, 10%
against 90%, 30% against 70%, and 80% against 20%?

“we are the 99%” seemed, i thought then and think now, a bit exaggerated. at this
time i think it is more like 10% against 90%. [hopefully it grows to 99%]
of course, the 90% or even 70% wld not be unimental about not supporting OWS.
each layer of society [70-90%] the said % contains wld have diff cause[s] [cosa mias]
for rejecting any change.

a layered society such as one in u.s, cannot ever behave justly towards each other.
and no protest wld change that.

justice [not in utopian sense] cld be obtained over a long period of time—say,
decades, a century, a millennium—only via education.
alas, at present time, the education/schooling appears utterly
controlled/devised/changed by two or three top classes of about ten extant in u.s.

to make matters clearer, let us think of american society as composed of just two
tires: a cosa nostra gang [extremely united and of one mind/purpose] and the cosa
mias gang[s] extremely disunited and of dozens + minds.

the first controls army echelons, cia/fbi/police, money, work, all schooling,
interpretation of laws/constitution. and the latter controls what? u guessed it silent
rage, envy!! tnx bozhidar balkas vancouver

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By DavidByron, October 24, 2011 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

Hedges has a huge schizophrenia about Communism.  is he for it or against it?  He just can’t make up his mind.

“Theosophy, Hare Krishna, Zen and the I-Ching were trends that would have dismayed older radical movements such as the Wobblies and the Communist Party.”

IWW = Wobblies = Communists btw.  But in other places Hedges goes anti-Communist.

“The unions and the white working class remained virulently anti-communist. They spoke in the language of militarism and the Cold War and were unsympathetic to the anti-war movement as well as the civil rights movement.

[The New left] saw the working class as part of the problem.”

Well make up your mind Chris, was being anti-Communist a problem or was it not?

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By DavidByron, October 24, 2011 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Hedges contradicts himself often but this was especially funny:

“[the OWS movement] instituted measures within its decision-making process to make sure marginalized voices are heard before white males. It is the fault of a bankrupt liberal class that for decades has abandoned the core issue of economic justice for the poor and the working class and busied itself with the vain and self-referential pursuits of multiculturalism and identity politics.”

Marginalising white males regardless of their class is the most obvious example of “vain and self-referential pursuits” and “identity politics” within OWS and yet that is exactly what Hedges praises while condemning it in the abstract!!!!

There’s more white poor in the USA than black poor, there’s more white men in jail than black men.  It’s as if Hedges doesn’t understand that white males can be part of the poor the working class, the jailed. 

Huge disconnect from reality because of his identity politics.

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By gerard, October 24, 2011 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

The big danger is over-generalizing which refers, in some vague way, to “all”, “everybody in this or that class, with this or that same attitude” etc. The wide variety among human beings in fact denies that premise, yet because of that wide variety, humans are tempted to reduce the complexity of their differences in order unite—and/or to emphasize their differences in order to maintain their uniquenesses. Whichever seems to serve the “desired” purpose (ie. suits the purpose of those in power who decide what is “desired.”) No matter how convenient or effective generalization is, its end result is divisiveness, inevitably.

Lumping everybody together under a few obvious similarities makes one group feel stronger by making those left out, weaker—which then leads to various persecutorial acts to enforce (and maintain the advantages of) the artificial separation. This is not generally recognized as a social mechanism
which is easily manipulated by centers of power, governmental, ideological, religious. And, once established, easy to get used to and hard to eliminate. Both conscience and consciousnes are involved in, and affected by, the process of separation, and “heads of state, etc.” are much interested in manipulating both conscience or consciousness of their “subjects”.
  The great possibility of the Occupy movements is that they are recognizing and appealing to both conscience and consciousness of the 99% of ordinary people. To that extent, they have a broader and even more difficult job than we old timers in the Civil Rights and/or the anti-war movements. Our goals were in some ways clearer, more articulateable, more specific.
  The Occupiers, on the other hand, have an even more fundamental goal at the root—one which stands a chance of reforming a very central and universal problem of human social organization everywhere.

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By DavidByron, October 24, 2011 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

Jesus Hedges talks a lot of utter bullshit sometimes.

“The Black Panthers, the Nation of Islam and the Weather Underground Organization became as poisoned by this lust for blood, quest for ideological purity, crippling paranoia and internal repression as the state system they defied.”

How many people did these different groups Hedges names of kill?  The state he compares them to killed untold millions of people.  Tens of millions.


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By ZenBowman, October 24, 2011 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Well, since white liberals were largely responsible for
destroying the black family and community through
forced integration and welfare programs which promoted
single motherhood, are they not right to distrust the
so-called “99%”?

As Friedman pointed out, the combination of illegal
immigration and a rising minimum wage has worked to
keep poor blacks unemployed at record rates, because
they simply cannot compete with undocumented labor
earning $5/hour.

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By MeHere, October 24, 2011 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

Great article by C. Hedges -one of the very best, in my opinion.  The points he
makes must be understood by the liberal class before any progress can be made.
It is unlikely that margnalized minorities will readily support the protest movement unless they have clear evidence that their own struggles are being embraced.

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By C Da Truth, October 24, 2011 at 9:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The message of the “protesters” was a simple one ­ the “working people” were the unwitting slaves of BIG BUSINESS and COPORATE GREED ­ a mere 1% (the “ruling class) were robbing the “people” (the remaining 99%) of their wealth and property.

If you think I am describing the 2011 OWS (Occupy Wall Street) and America the Beautiful, you are wrong. I am reciting the exact history of the Bolshevik Revolution (Red October) that eventually dismantled the Russian Republic of Czar Nicholas.

At the end of October, (following all Hallow’s Eve) as the Russian weather turned bitter cold, the “protests” turned increasingly violent, and the “Revolution” began in earnest. The Russian Army and Navy refused to enforce “martial law” for the Czar, and instead defected to “The People” and took their orders (and large monetary bribes and promises) from Lenin and Trotsky.

Millions of Russian Christian people eventually died following these “Red October” protests and the resultant class-warfare. The entire family line of Czar Nicholas was summarily executed in cold blood genocide. Millions more of the CHRISTIAN “upper class” were either executed or imprisoned for life in Siberian gulags by the “Red Army” led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trosky. The “Soviet Union” was born.

Here is what I learned about the “Protest” from two hours in Pioneer Park, Utah. First, OWS is most definitely NOT a random event ­ rather it is well organized and structured. Secondly, I learned that the date was set for this protest over a year ago. Third, I learned that OWS is being organized, directed, and funded by a central, well-structured organization called simply ADBUSTERS.

Now there are some pundits and minions, like Zionist Shill Glen Beck, who want you to believe this is all orchestrated by corrupt, organized labor unions such as the AFL-CIO, or the SEIU. At least according to the “Leader” I talked with, this is not the case. The SEIU has supported their activity somewhat, he said, but it is not the orchestrator of the event. That honor belongs to “ADBUSTERS”.

So, who or what, is ADBUSTERS??? It’s a pretty abstract group tied to the Khazar-Jew owned “Media Foundation”. Adbusters produce advertising spots promoting the GREEN AGENDA ­ you know - save the trees, end global warming, limit human population on the earth, etc. ad nauseum. Anti-consumerism is their mantra. Take a few minutes and watch a collection of their ads shown on You-Tube. Notice anything strange? How about running TV Ads advocating people stop watching TV. That TV corrupts the mind. Typical Jewish double-speak and psy-ops lunacy ­ they demonize their own controlled propaganda medium, while utilizing that same medium to issue new propaganda on the very propaganda they themselves control. How sick is that world-view?? Dizzying, isn’t it??

So, after getting a feel for “Adbusters” I really began to dig. Making a half-dozen calls to contacts in banking and finance, I learned that ADBUSTERS was originally formed thanks to an initial $185,000 GRANT from a very shady and questionable non-profit organization domiciled in San Francisco CA (just down the road from Bohemian Grove and the Presidio PSY OPS HQ by the way) calling themselves the HYPERLINK ““Tides Center. I learned that all OWS financial needs are thus paid by “Tides” with a legal straw man entity called “ADBUSTERS”.

TIDES FOUNDATION! What a name. Tides are governed by the MOON Cycles you see. Moon cycles also influence DATES, astrology, scrying, and all forms of WITCHCRAFT sabbats. Tides also affect the psyche of humans ­ for the term LUNACY comes from Lunar ­ the MOON CYCLES. The “Illuminati” declared their worldwide influence can and often does “turn the tides” of the planet. Get the drift?

“", that “Tides has managed project and grantmaking activities totaling more than $2 billion.

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By GeneH, October 24, 2011 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

Your counter-example to “the vain and self-referential pursuits of multiculturalism and identity politics” is Cornel West?? Good luck with that, my brother.

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By loc, October 24, 2011 at 9:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What’s one of the biggest problems for the Occupy
Movement? Maintaining the initial “hype”.

When it first started, the MSM tried to censor it as
much as possible. It kept building. Then, Michael
Mooore and various other “names” started showing up.
In the 24/7 megahype celeb culture the MSM couldn’t
avoid it any longer. Then, we see Ed Schultz and
various other cable news names showing up. The DNCC
is using this as a marketing tool for campaign
donations. Does Debbie Wasserman Schultz really
support them? If that’s true, the how come other
Democratic leaders aren’t there?

All of these people (also including Al Sharpton and
Van Jones) know and are using this hype to partially
help their various agendas. That’s a given. Now, how
do you maintain that initial interest? You can see
Chris Hedges and others in You Tube clips. On the
other hand, other than John Pilger’s posts on the New
Statesman site, when was the last time you heard
anything about Julian Assange and Wikileaks? Before
today’s story about them focusing on fundraising,
it’s been months since anything before that.

This means that you have to constantly feed that 24/7
stream. Check any of the Occupy websites that have a
live feed. Most of them are running reruns to fill

Unfortunately, just like on the MSM, nobody likes
endless reruns.

Not having an official leader in the Occupy movement
could potentially cut down ego battles. Yet, at some
point a committee(s) will have to have some type of
manifesto that can be marketed (for lack of a better
phrase) to the MSM and Powers that Be. Are they
“demands” or “concerns’? Semantics dont’ matter. It’s
just the appearance of having concrete points to

One final potential problem? The Occupy donations are
being managed by a “progressive” hedge fund that
reportedly’s taking 7% as a commission. If there are
no leaders in this movement, then who decided to work
with this fund?

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By Leefeller, October 24, 2011 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

A couple of questions. I was shipped to Vietnam and did do not remember an indoctrinate number of minorities, nor did I feel all my fellows were down trodden poor folks. I find offense to this kind of stereotyping, maybe someone could cite a source?

Tapping into poor communities may make sense, but I was under the impression many of the protesters were unemployed who lost their homes, so it seems to me they are the poor?

Seems to me Hedges is forcing his pet peeves as the agenda for the OWS movement, which has many grievances, I see little difference from Hedges point of view then the Mass Medias, only thing is I agree with his final paragraph and the need to topple the cooperate state.

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By dbschell, October 24, 2011 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

We are all niggers now:

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By camustranger, October 24, 2011 at 7:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

7 billion and counting. Tic toc tic toc. we’re cooked. so what’s left to do? live well and well within your means/continue to struggle, if only to testify to your allegiance to humanity and nature.

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