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The Corporate State Wins Again

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Posted on Apr 24, 2011
White House / Lawrence Jackson

This is what the White House has to say about this photo: “At a townhall from Facebook HQ, the President speaks on his plan to get our fiscal house in order while keeping our commitments to seniors and ensuring the burden is shared by the wealthiest Americans, not just foisted on the middle class.”

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

The systems of information, owned or dominated by corporations, keep the public entranced with celebrity meltdowns, gossip, trivia and entertainment. There are no national news or intellectual forums for genuine political discussion and debate. The talking heads on Fox or MSNBC or CNN spin and riff on the same inane statements by Sarah Palin or Donald Trump. They give us lavish updates on the foibles of a Mel Gibson or Charlie Sheen. And they provide venues for the powerful to speak directly to the masses. It is burlesque. 

It is not that the public does not want a good health care system, programs that provide employment, quality public education or an end to Wall Street’s looting of the U.S. Treasury. Most polls suggest Americans do. But it has become impossible for most citizens to find out what is happening in the centers of power. Television news celebrities dutifully present two opposing sides to every issue, although each side is usually lying. The viewer can believe whatever he or she wants to believe. Nothing is actually elucidated or explained. The sound bites by Republicans or Democrats are accepted at face value. And once the television lights are turned off, the politicians go back to the business of serving business.

We live in a fragmented society. We are ignorant of what is being done to us. We are diverted by the absurd and political theater. We are afraid of terrorism, of losing our job and of carrying out acts of dissent. We are politically demobilized and paralyzed. We do not question the state religion of patriotic virtue, the war on terror or the military and security state. We are herded like sheep through airports by Homeland Security and, once we get through the metal detectors and body scanners, spontaneously applaud our men and women in uniform. As we become more insecure and afraid, we become more anxious. We are driven by fiercer and fiercer competition. We yearn for stability and protection. This is the genius of all systems of totalitarianism. The citizen’s highest hope finally becomes to be secure and left alone. 

Human history, rather than a chronicle of freedom and democracy, is characterized by ruthless domination. Our elites have done what all elites do. They have found sophisticated mechanisms to thwart popular aspirations, disenfranchise the working and increasingly the middle class, keep us passive and make us serve their interests. The brief democratic opening in our society in the early 20th century, made possible by radical movements, unions and a vigorous press, has again been shut tight. We were mesmerized by political charades, cheap consumerism and virtual hallucinations as we were ruthlessly stripped of power. 

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The game is over. We lost. The corporate state will continue its inexorable advance until two-thirds of the nation is locked into a desperate, permanent underclass. Most Americans will struggle to make a living while the Blankfeins and our political elites wallow in the decadence and greed of the Forbidden City and Versailles. These elites do not have a vision. They know only one word—more.  They will continue to exploit the nation, the global economy and the ecosystem. And they will use their money to hide in gated compounds when it all implodes. Do not expect them to take care of us when it starts to unravel. We will have to take care of ourselves. We will have to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and culture values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global, corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one. 


To read more of Chris Hedges’ writing on the themes from this column, check out his books “Death of the Liberal Class” and “The World As it Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress” here and here, respectively.


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By SherryJones, April 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

In 2000 the Koch brothers supported Nader and Bush won.  Naysayers on the left are their own worst enemy. No wonder Democrats don’t win decisively and are not empowered to make fundamental change!  Thanks to Chris and the gang we’re heading over the cliff at 100 mph.

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By katsteevns, April 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

By Pavlov’s Dog, April 25 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

” What the resistance most needs are people who have the courage and vision to see a future that is radically different from everything that has occurred before.”

....hhmmmm….

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By SherryJones, April 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In 2000 Koch supported third-party candidate Nader and Bush won.  Naysayers on the left are their own worst enemy, playing perfectly into the hands of continued corporate state power.  No wonder Democrats can’t win decisively and make more than incremental change!  Chris and supporters guarantee, by dividing the opponents of the corporate state against themselves, a 100 mph drive straight over the cliff.

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By redslider, April 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA - you addressed your comment to me, I presume you thought I was suggesting that the position of the ruling class is unassailable or their apparatus can’t be regulated or even dismantled. I do think Hedges’ estimation of that matter is a little premature and pessimistic and remains in doubt at this time. I also happen to think there are tools at hand (mainly of the Aikido variety) that can yet turn the tables.

However, there is also another view that I give equal credence. That is that our opinion of changing things, even its importance, is rather Ameri-centric (Euro-centric as well) and reflecst a continuation of our own hubris. It may well be that our cycle as a dominant nation (perhaps the West as a dominant civilization) has come to its natural end. If that is the case, our decline is, and should be, a welcome fact to the world. As Bateson once remarked, perhaps it is time to erase our pretty letters from the blackboard and give someone else a chance to write on it.  Sahlins and Service reckoned that our decline is not an ‘if’ or even ‘when’ question, but a ‘how’.  They suggested, and demonstrated, that our decline may well be an inevitable part of cultural evolution. The choice, they suggested, was whether we elected to decline graciously and generously vis a vis the world, in which case we could expect to be treated with generosity and kindness in return; or, mean and stingy and dominating, as we seem intent to be in which case the world will take what they need, and leave us to fail in our own selfish violent fashion.  So, the matter may not be as much one of result, but of process.

Again, this does not suggest we can or should do nothing.  Quite the contrary. But our intentions might be modified if we fully realize it is only our self-interest that we are pursuing either way.  The world will probably not much need or care about our self-interest by the time the matter is decided.

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By Virginia777, April 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

The corporate state cannot only be fought by elections.

It is fought by reminding the People that they have power, power they can use.

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By rancone, April 25, 2011 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

If you do not know we are a corporate state how do you explain that the Fukushima Nuclear Accident, many times worse than the Chernobyl accident in 1986, is not covered in the media - essentially in any media? Especially given the order of threat to health and economy that this thing is.

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By ardee, April 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

ray d, April 25 at 9:06 am Link to this comment


Ardee: You don’t get that “the vote” you are talking about has been co-opted by the very corporate forces that Hedges talks about. As he describes it: “[to believe in the vote is just another form of] magical thinking.”

I believe in the vote as it pertains to the electing of third party candidates, pledged to refuse corporate funding and the strings that accompany them. I believe in the vote because the alternative is violence or apathy, and I accept neither of those options. Further ,I believe in the vote because I believe in what our Founders wrought and am certain that it can be restored from the current perversion thereof.

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By Virginia777, April 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges:

“When did the dead hand of the corporate state become unassailable?”

Its not unassailable, there just are far too few people fighting back.

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By redslider, April 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

the ‘monastic solution’ is a minor point of little import just now. No need to hang up on it. Take it as a metaphor for need to view the world in a different frame of reference when the structure crumbles. Otherwise, if we look at the ‘means of survival’ as being owned, we will be in the position of the dead hikers found by the boy scouts who asked, “What killed them? They have plenty of water, food, shelter and pine needles to keep warm, everything they needed to survive, all around them.”  To which one of them replied, “Ignorance. Ignorance killed them.”

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By MarthaA, April 25, 2011 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

redslider, April 25 at 3:44 pm & redslider, April 25 at 3:23 pm,

The DLC conservative/moderate deregulation of corporations and usury
laws could not have happened without the collusion of the DLC,
Democratic Leadership Council’s New Democrats in Congress that
colluded with corporation lobbyists and the Republicans to
accomplish exactly what has happened and is happening in the
United States today.

The class and culture of DLC New Democrats separated from the
rest of the population and proceeded to represent their class and
culture separately from the majority population and joined with
the conservatives to talk about the majority population on
television as if the majority population are cows and whatever
they do to the cows doesn’t matter, then went about doing it. 

The DLC Republican led conservatives/moderates even discussed
on television
selling poison to the majority population as a means of thinning
out the population, because as far as the
conservatives/moderates were concerned it did not matter
whether or not a member of the liberal majority population was
demised, as it was doing them a favor. 

As for me, a member of the majority population, I do not consider
the colluding conservative/moderates of the Republican and
Democratic Parties have done me a favor and just because
Conservatives and Liberals have been around since the dawn of
time doesn’t mean corporate conservatism can’t be regulated, if we the
people can get the DLC New Democrat colluders out of Congress.

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By drbhelthi, April 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Needing to, having to, or engaging in the “interpretation” of what a writer
really meant, instantly derails the thought train. What a writer perhaps,
possibly or might have meant - is subject to the experience and ideation of
the one doing the interpretation. If two persons out of ten agree, it is
noteworthy.

How to disengage from the suppressive processes that control the lives of most
Americans entails information that most of us are seeking, especially Chris
Hedges and thousands of Americans returning with PTSD from their experiences.

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By aeneuman, April 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“...if everyone only bought stuff made in USA, think of all the money you could save…”

Not so.  Why?  Because Americans tend to have this annoying habit of expecting their employers to pay them a decent wage, one that will permit them to support their families and put a bit aside for a rainy day.  Unfortunately, the American Worker’s notion of what constitutes a decent wage may tend to produce a price you’re not willing to pay for the item you’ve got your eye on.  And for that matter, your boss’s notion of what you should be receiving for YOUR labor may mean that the item in question is out of reach anyway.  In short, both of you are screwed:  you because your boss undervalues your labor, and the other fellow because his boss has just decided that he can increase profits on the item by saying goodbye to Columbus and hello to Colombo.  Catch-22 perhaps.  And I see no way around this dilemma, until EVERYONE begins to receive a decent wage for his labor.  Now you can buy what he’s made, and he can buy what you’ve made, and something like societal and economic stability will return.  Good luck with that.

And, as “ohiolibgal” noted, speaking of our political system and its choices, George Carlin had it right.  We have the illusion of choice.  As George said, we can choose from 24 varieties of bagel at the mall, and get tennis shoes with lights in them, but beyond that our freedom of choice is purely illusory.  Our (American) society is, in another of his favorite phrases, “circling the drain.”

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By RedwoodGuy, April 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

It’s always risky interpreting other writers, but I think we are taking the term “monastic community” a bit too literally. I don’t think he meant seclusion ala Mt. Athos. I think he meant that we have to disengage from the machinery which is all owned and operated by the enemy. As one poster put it - “we have to stop asking for permission.” We have to stop participating in nonsense like plastic credit cards, and TSA screening, and looking at television sets, and buying the NYT, and signing up for false paradigms like “intellectual property rights.”

The being to disengage - to separate from the control wires. It only works for them because we can’t stop participating.

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By redslider, April 25, 2011 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

ps: small correction. I did not, of course mean to say that Chomsky, et. al. had “taken up the post-war mechanism,” but rather that they had taken up revealing and analyzing those mechanisms. sorry.

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By drbhelthi, April 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

The findings of the Reese Committee were established in the mid 1950s. The
tax-free, allegedly benevolent foundations that were investigated, e.g. the
Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, et.al. had as their goal the
conversion of the U.S.A. so that it could be merged with the U.S.S.R. 
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/898.html

Obviously, the conversion into the advanced, nazified state consequential to
the eight years of the reign of “Junior” Bush (the GHWBushSr entourage) is
the plan that was discovered by the Reese Committee, having been in the
process of implementation since prior to WWI.

Yet, someone thinks that 300,000,000 people can be converted into monastery-
type organizations that will escape the tentacles of the quasi-humans who
have illegally circumnavigated the U.S. Constitution, and who currently
label the U.S. veterans returning from the falsified wars of these quasi-
humans, as potential homeland terrorists ?

Get real, people.
Chris Hedges is talking about 2011, today, here and now.
We are where we are; not in the Middle Ages - !!!

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By without greed or hunger, April 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another rousing call from Chris Hedges, Bravo!
I made the trip last week to NYC from Mass. to participate in the rally in Union Square to find a small but ardent group of dissenting citizens exercising their right to civilly disobey. It will take many more such rallies with many more of us participating to be effective.

In the sixties draft resistors burned their draft cards, in the 70’s women burned their bras, today we can cut our credit cards. If enough of us stopped using them and decided collectively to stop making payments, we could bring down their house of cards…

As TDoff says, “we the little people” could stop feeding the beast.

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By felicity, April 25, 2011 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

It’s not so much what the elected politicians say or
do (or their corporate pimps who ultimately collect
the proceeds from the legislation they enact) it’s
more about what motivates the man on the street to
vote for the politicians.

Hedges suggests that the Red Scare and the Cold War
made the man on the street susceptible to the
rhetoric of those candidates who would save them from
those intent on destroying their way of life.

Hitler invented the threat of the communists who
would take control of Germany if the people didn’t
follow him.  The German people bought it. Hitler’s
dictatorship was sealed.  American politicians
(primarily Republican) have invented the ‘socialist’
threat, people intent on destroying the American way
of life.

It’s called the politics of fear and its legerdemain,
almost without fail, works to move people to follow
the rogues and demigods who promise to eradicate its
threat.

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By redslider, April 25, 2011 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

First, it is really not our job to define what Chris’ job is - If he offers descriptions rather than “solutions” then that is what he does, what he defines as his contribution. If we want solutions, then it is our job (those in the ‘solving’ mode) to take what the Chris’ offer and use it as we can.  The history is a little glossed, and I would have liked him to have expanded a little.  The existence of the disease that would infect this nation was known long before we became a nation - an ages old historic battle, the same battles that were played and replayed when Solon appeared on the stage of ancient Greece and tried to curb some of the abuses of the ruling classes.  It was certainly well known by the time we became a country and Jefferson tried to curb those same appetites in their corporate form by excluding them from the cover of our Constitution. He failed, of course.  The actual infection (thought it was certainly intrinsic to the practice business long before) was probably best marked by the manipulations of Santa Clara v. SPRR. (1886) which gave us ‘corporations as persons’ - the cracking of the lid of Pandora’s box, from which unbridled corporatism would hence flow. By the time of FDR’s 2nd Bill of Rights, the infection was of such virulence that even a good cure could not take root. By the fifties, the cold war was only a symptom of how bad things were and how the disease worked.  The Chicago School of Economics was actively plotting and implementing a strategy to capture the already weakened body of state. The advertising industry was gearing up implements that would make it possible to replace the product with the message, where packaging counted for more that what was inside it.  Lewis Mumford had already observed that the managers of our corporations are not really in control of the behemoths that we unleashed on ourselves. As we’ve seen, even occasionally sacrificing one of them to some theatrical prosecution would change nothing. The second warning came from Eisenhower about the military-industrial-complex. It went unheeded, was swept away in the persuasion industry’s drive to create an unassailable wall for the agenda of corporate America by packaging the notion that those who lived on the right side of the wall would get plenty of toasters, refrigerators and other ‘miracles’ yet to come (which the early Regan would use to get his training in ‘charm’ that would later come in very handy indeed).  The cold war served not only further refine the mechanism of war profiteering and the potentials of perpetual war as an economic engine, but to project an ‘out there’ for anything that Americans might be uncomfortable with about themselves.  A perfect foil to take our own writing on the wall and say “they made us write it,” or, “Look! Those are the bad guys.” Chomsky and others have taken up the post-war mechanisms and sleights-of-global-hand that have been refined to further destroy the faint but ever present idea of revolutionary America. One matter I would raise that is not so often discussed is the history of an American-based corporate hegemony to separate itself entirely from American control and responsibility. We most often regard corporate maneuvers as an agenda for ‘taking over America.” But a longer view reveals that it is even more important for corporate state that was incubated in the U.S. to ultimately free itself entirely of an American tether. They’re already pretty much done with this country. The last round of looting and the next are about all that remains of that ambition.  What they now want is not so much to control the world via an American economy or state power, but to head out on their own, stateless and without any state obligation or attachment whatsoever. I’ve extended some of these ideas in an essay at:  https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/note.php?note_id=185533614826809

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By redslider, April 25, 2011 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

Always somebody who yells, “Liberty!” Funny, you don’t even have to ask what they mean anymore. They mean that ‘liberty’ accorded by a threat-based economy where a very few get to decide who works and who doesn’t, who eats and who does not, who lives and who dies.  They mean that “liberty” some have to send the U.S. military and all those soldiers out to get a little oil for them?  That kind of “liberty”? Or maybe they mean the liberty to roll a whole lot of junk loans into bundles and sell them on the open market and crash and loot an entire economy and then bet against the losers so they can make profits at both ends. That kind of “liberty.” Or, the liberty to ask all those people they looted to give them more cash to help them out? But not the kind of liberty that those who were knowingly and aggressively oversold those mortgages and worthless paper might wonder about as they lost their homes and the education of their children.  No, I guess not. That kind of liberty isn’t included in the package. Geesh, you don’t like the job, you can’t live on the wage, you dare object to the safety of the plant or the environment destroyed; you don’t like it there - well, you’ve got the “liberty” to just go get another job. right?  Don’t we just luv these “liberty” folks. Always coming in to tell us ignorant liberals who rights were violated.  Why, of course it’s the rights of those who bought, and bribed and threatened and not figure they own all that ‘liberty’, of course. Along with everything and everyone else they own. And don’t you forget that. Ya, thanks for reminding us about all that liberal “liberty”, pal. We’ll sure keep it in mind.

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By NomNomNom, April 25, 2011 at 11:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“It grew, Wolin writes, from “a set of effects produced by actions or practices undertaken in ignorance of their lasting consequences.””
Perhaps it started that way, but I do not believe for one second that is true now.  I think the corporate political system is engineered to produce the consequences that it produces for the reason of the consequences it produces.
”“It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.””
I do not believe this because I do not believe the present system is without design let alone without intent.  The only choices one has are those that do not interfere with the plutocracy.  If any workaround our present situation is devised, rest assured, it will be targeted.  State & federal troops and the National Guard as well as private security forces have been deployed to lethal effect against US civilians in this country before at the behest of the monied elite.  The other day was the anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre.  Over 950 survivors of the Blair Mountain massacre were put on trial for treason, and the site of that massacre has been stripped of its historic designation so it can be strip mined and forgotten.
The prediction that US civilians can just turn on, tune in, & drop out opt out is absurd.  It’s going to take a war.  There, I said it.

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By MarthaA, April 25, 2011 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

“When did our democracy die?” — Chris Hedges, Truthdig.com
Apr 25, 2011

Democracy in the United States died In the 1980’s with the
Reagan administration, the neo-cons, the neo liberals, the
continual war ‘Project for the New American Century,’ PNAC,’ and
the Republican corporate conservative/moderate DLC, Democratic
Leadership Council, the Conservative New Democrats, that were
fraudulently voted in and took control of Congress, declared that
the Left and Liberals were obsolete, that all politics are ONE, and
started political representation of the New Class that did not
and does not include the majority population of the United
States
, deceitfully referring to the majority population as the
Middle Class only, which IS only the New Class, NOT the majority
population that IS ONE with the Corporate Elite Capitalists, not
the true majority population that are being made through New
Class political legislation to lose their homes and jobs.

The New Class consists of degreed academics ONLY and are all
that get political representation in the Congresses of the United
States.

Barbara Ehrenreich’s academic work in her book, ‘The Fear of
Falling, The Inner Life of the Middle Class’
documents the New
Class and Randal Rothenberg’s book, “The Neo-Liberals,
Creating the New American Politics’
reports on the technical
workings of the New Class, the New American Politic, which is
the new Middle Class, that leaves out all the majority
population, about 216,121,876 million citizens of the United States
that are NOT degreed academics, the majority population of the
United States, and why everything has gone to Hell in a hand
basket for the majority population, with the exception of the upper
crust of society whose stock market isn’t the United States, that
used “God Awful Socialism” to recapitalize the upper crusts capital
at the destruction of the majority population to help the capitalists
continue their destruction; instead of using the consequences of
that destruction to make homes cheap enough for the majority
population to have homes at the corrupt capitalists expense,
which should have happened, but the New Class Democrats that
are ONE with the capitalists agreed to protect the corruption, and
as long as the New Class New Democrats are in charge of the
entire Left, we can look forward to more of the same. 

The 70% majority population of the United States need to wake
up and retake charge of the Left within the Democratic Party, and
remake it to represent the entire Left, not just a few at the top. 
Though denying it, socialism’s collective collusion has worked and
is working well for the upper crusts of society in the United
States; therefore socialism’s collective collusion must be used for
the majority population of the United States as well, preferably
socialized capitalism.

Individual representation for individuals will only get individuals in
jail, but individual representation of the majority population as a
class and culture will be recognized by any and all countries, which
is what the following organizations, if not, should be doing:

Common Cause:
https://www.kintera.org/site/apps/ka/sd/donor.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=6696841&en=jeIFLIMsG9LALLMmF3LALROrEeJVKZPzFkJLJTOvHfLLIRNzHsF

USAction/TrueMajority:
http://act.truemajorityaction.org/p/salsa/web/tellafriend/public/?tell_a_friend_KEY=581

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By expat, April 25, 2011 at 11:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

facebook, twit and the rest are nothing but CIA constructs and have been from their inception…  (others started OK but were convinced to join the ranks or else, google, [remember google’s stock price up down girations in the late 90s when they first refused to provide info to gov’t and then changed their minds?], etc).

so called social networks are nothing but a means for morons to provide all their information for free: pics, profiles, demographics but also psychograpics, the works…  Also a means of formenting “revolutions” all over Middle East, China, etc..

Corporate ameriKa…  i.e apple when every move is GPS tracked and reported to who knows who…

actually all you i-idiots, how do you know the camera and mike are really turned off on your i-devices (android too) and that they can’t see and hear you anywhere, anytime?

Oh yeah, please feed me the line that I am the one who’s paranoid… 

The era of total information and total control is coming, hell, it’s already here.

when will you learn?

There are not too many options short of Jefferson’s Tree of Liberty needing a good refreshing…

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By Art, April 25, 2011 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges has convinced me that reform cannot provide a path from our plutocracy to democracy (particularly in the devastating hour-long speech where he starts out talking about Michael Jackson [yikes!]
[ ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRQjF1IPgKQ&feature=player_embedded] ).

But there is potentially a benevolent path through the wreckage of capitalist modernity—people of good will can come together to create post-petroleum, post-corporate, post-consumerist communities
[find or start a Transition Town initiative in your place—http://www.transitionus.org ]
based on the moral principles of true democracy
[ http://democracylight.blogspot.com ].

As humans we can think, talk, and work with others. Together these constitute the fundamental freedom and power to create our societies—we just have to overcome the delusion that that power belongs to others or gods or economics, etc. It’s up to us!

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By entropy2, April 25, 2011 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

@levinpsy—thanks for the kind words. Society isn’t something we belong to - we are society! We can join together and create any social structure we choose. And we have all the tools right at our fingertips to do it.

I’m hopeful. We live in the viral age. Once alternatives to top-heavy, greedy, lumbering non-responsive hierarchies of the corporate state become available to the average person, we could see a faster evolution than you might imagine.

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By SherryJones, April 25, 2011 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

Imagine what the Koch brothers hope for:  skepticism about the role of government?  check.  defeatist attitude about voting?  check.  all the liberals withdrawing from society in monasteries?  check.  organizing against Democrats?  check.  These comments are their dreams come true.

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By DavidByron, April 25, 2011 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Once again Hedges bumps up against the hero worship of the states thugs (soldiers and police) and sort of attacks them but in a pathetically weak deniable way:

“We are herded like sheep through airports by Homeland Security and, once we get through the metal detectors and body scanners, spontaneously applaud our men and women in uniform.”

That’s very weak.  Is Hedges for or against “our heroes”?  He seems to go back and forth about it.

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By louiss123, April 25, 2011 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

In browsing through all the letters..I see not one mention of the word Liberty.
Liberal “intellectuals” crack me up. A lot of hagh falutin werds’..with what they
think is clever opinions. Yet they fall back on a strategy that has never
worked..increasing the size of the state. yes..if we just had more government
control over our lives..more more more..it would all work out. Force people to be
fair dammit! Yeah..we’ll..coercion is the beginning of totalitarianism.
Of course there is no easy answer..however if don’t start with the concept of
liberty..and how we can all be united(even just a little bit!)we will be spinniong our
wheels.

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By Colleen Craig, April 25, 2011 at 10:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with Chis about monastic communities being a model for the future. I use the word monastic to mean insulated from popular culture and prevailing destructive ideology, rather than isolated. It’s happening now in my neck of the woods - Northern California - where so many ignore the media, choose bikes over cars, grow their own food, care for the sick and the poor independent of government regulations (we are starting a program of having teens check on the well being of seniors in their commmunities, and asking no one’s permission to do so), and are still extremely involved in local issues, political and otherwise. It’s a wonderful, life affirming place. Still, however simply we live, most of us have a little money to make it happen, and access to land. How can we create such a model in the grinding poverty of the inner city? Until our communal way of life is possible for all, I fear sounding a bit like Ms. Antoinette offering cake to the masses - whether she really said it or not doesn’t matter.  .

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By gerard, April 25, 2011 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Our “turn-coat representatives” live and have offices just across the street or downtown or on the corner of Main and First.  Get a group of friends and neighbors together, call and make a date to visit the rep’s office armed with clearly stated questions about the way they are doing, or not doing things. Be the spokesperson, or get one appointed.

Ask the rep what’s really going on, from his/her point of view. Tell him/her you know a lot of their constituents feel and think the same way you do. Don’t let the meeting get frantic.  Keep your eye on the ball.

Choose two or three priorities and ask in firm language specifically what you want them to do. Try to respect them and get them to respect you. Remind them you are speaking for others who weren’t able to come. Anger is okay, but not fury, threat or frantic tone of voice.  Rage is usually counterproductive.

Next week follow up withth another group, and next week still another.  Organize.  Tell your local newspaper about the meetings before hand and report news of the meetings afterward.  Write individual letters to editors. Organize a campaign around an issue that seems most important to most of the people who are with you. Work with and through churches and clubs. Form and state clear and simple goals.

Organize around one issue of common concern, or two linked issues (i.e.,war and jobs, civil rights and surveillance. etc.) promoted over time, keeping track of new people and repeating public statements, learn individual’s special talents and find ways to use them effectively. Make everyone feel important to the solution.  Organize.  Organize.  Organize. 
  The hardest part is getting started. The next hardest part is keeping going.  The third hardest part is not stopping after you get a little bit of success.  Organize!

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By felicity, April 25, 2011 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

When our attention spans devolved into 3 minutes long
and we became a nation of soft-boiled eggs, that’s
when.

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By SarcastiCanuck, April 25, 2011 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is needed is a political messiah to battle back against the corporate beast we have all allowed to grow into a monster.Any revelations there Chris? You would be doing the country a great service by finding this person/s.Any young FDRs on the horizon?With the right herder,all the sheep will follow….willingly.

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By Jim Pharo, April 25, 2011 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

I agree with the “small monastic” idea as a good starting point.  In many ways our
root issue has more to do with scale than anything else.  I’d be thrilled to live in
such a community, but truly do not see what steps to take.  It’s quite a bit like the
problem of organizing and executing a slave rebellion when the masters have us
working 14 hours a day in the field.

The way I’ve thought about it is something like colleges for all.  Semi-self-
sufficient, with lots of different sizes and kinds, bound together in an entirely
voluntary manner.  Maybe I could get $$ from the Cato Institute if I argued in
favor of some sort of voucher people could use to join/belong to one of these
communities…

Seriously, when do we close the laptops and start living better?

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By levinpsy, April 25, 2011 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

Addendum:

I should have included Pavlov’s Dog as another excellent poster inspiring my comments.

Thank you.

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By levinpsy, April 25, 2011 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

@Redwood Guy,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

First, I don’t see Chris as a reformer, he is simply doing the job of a good journalist, describing the facts as he sees them.

Secondly (and this is to Entropy2, who is also offering excellent posts as usual), we in the know about the terrible truth are of course already doing what we can.  But it will be a slow change, and there’s no reason we can’t have both…people like Chris doing the warning and explaining, while those relatively few of us ready to act taking action.  Chris doesn’t need to do it all himself.

I continue to liken Chris to the character in Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’ who comes back from the concentration camps to warn his small Russian townspeople of their impending doom.  They ignored him, of course.  But what if they didn’t?  What could they have done to protect themselves at that point in history?  Absolutely nothing.  History unfortunately moves at its own pace, and there are many examples of excellent and brave people who bring the terrible truth to the masses, to no real immediate effect. 

But the good news is that usually the truth eventually wins out (after too many people die and suffer of course), and then we look back in admiration to those who were brave enough to see it.

Chris is one of those.  I happen to be one of those people who would prefer to know where the train I was boarding was going, even if it was going to a concentration camp.  Better to know the truth so I can prepare myself as best I can, than to be surprised.

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By ohiolibgal, April 25, 2011 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

There is a choice but not much - though we are given the “illusion of Choice”, as George Carlin often said.

The MSM, Fox, Rush, all of them are culpable for their lies, distortion, and completely non balanced coverage but in the end guilt lies with too many semi brain dead zombie like sheep people who constantly vote directly against what would be good for them.They are astonishing in their obliviousness.

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By Leefeller, April 25, 2011 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

My way of solving the probable problem, is I always purchase products at Wal Mart with those little American Flags on them, which are usually made in China or Mexico!

Attempting to find a product made in America by Americans would mean I would have to go to Tao Walkers Turtle Island.

Really,...... if everyone only bought stuff made in USA, think of all the money you could save and our landfills would be empty!

Guess I could save my welfare checks and buy my very own Missile or something from the Military Complex, isn’t all their stuff made in the USA?

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By red slider, April 25, 2011 at 9:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

does, what he defines as his contribution. If we want solutions, then it is our job (those in the ‘solving’ mode) to take what the Chris’ offer and use it as we can.  The history is a little glossed, and I would have liked him to have expanded a little.  The existence of the disease that would infect this nation was known long before we became a nation - an ages old historic battle, the same battles that were played and replayed when Solon appeared on the stage of ancient Greece and tried to curb some of the abuses of the ruling classes.  It was certainly well known by the time we became a country and Jefferson tried to curb those same appetites in their corporate form by excluding them from the cover of our Constitution. He failed, of course.  The actual infection (thought it was certainly intrinsic to the practice business long before) was probably best marked by the manipulations of Santa Clara v. SPRR (1886) which gave us ‘corporations as persons’ - the cracking of the lid of Pandora’s box, from which unbridled corporatism would hence flow. By the time of FDR’s 2nd Bill of Rights, the infection was of such virulence that even a good cure could not take root, and that was resisted and shunted aside. But the fifties, the cold war was only a symptom of how bad things were and how the disease worked.  The Chicago School of Economics was actively plotting and implementing a strategy to capture the already weakened body of state. The advertising industry was gearing up implements that would make it possible to replace the product with the message, where packaging counted for more that what was inside it.  Lewis Mumford had already observed that the managers of our corporations are not really in control of the behemoths that we unleashed on ourselves. The second warning from Eisenhower about out military-industrial-complex went unheeded, was swept away in the persuasion industry’s drive to create an unassailable wall between the agenda of corporate America by packaging the notion that those who lived on the right side of the wall would get plenty of toasters, refrigerators and other ‘miracles’ yet to come (and on which the early Regan would use to get his training in ‘charm’ that would later come in very handy indeed).  The cold war served not only further refine the mechanism of war profiteering and the potentials of perpetual war as an economic engine, but to project ‘out there’ anything that Americans might be uncomfortable with about themselves.  A perfect foil to take our own writing on the wall and say “they made us write it,” or, “Look! Those are the bad guys.” Chomsky and others have taken up the post-war mechanisms and sleights-of-global-hand that have refined and persisted to further destroy always faint but present idea of revolutionary America. One matter I would raise that is not so often discussed is the history of an American-based corporate hegemony to separate itself entirely from American control and responsibility. We most often regard corporate maneuvers as n agenda of ‘taking over America.” But a longer view reveals that it was even more important that the corporate state that was incubated in the U.S. ultimately free itself entirely of an American tether. They’re already pretty much done with this country. The last round of looting and the next are about all that remains of that ambition.  Well, I’m about at the end of my char-limit.  I extend this idea a little in a facebook article: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/note.php?note_id=185533614826809 if anyone cares to read it.

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By dalefi36, April 25, 2011 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

(Sheldon Wolin points out in “Democracy Incorporated” that this configuration of corporate power, which he calls “inverted totalitarianism,” is not like “Mein Kampf” or “The Communist Manifesto,” the result of a premeditated plot. It grew, Wolin writes, from “a set of effects produced by actions or practices undertaken in ignorance of their lasting consequences.”)

I quit reading the article right there.

That is the most absurd supposition I have heard in a long time, perhaps ever. We have arrived where we are by accident? Good intention gone awry? Really? That is just plain willful ignorance.

A most cursory glance at our history shows that to be utter and complete nonsense.

If that is to be the premise of one’s argument, then I would suggest there is nothing here worth discussing.

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By TDoff, April 25, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Well, Chris, you are right again! We are doomed! Unless…

1. We could quit feeding the beast. Suppose ‘We the Little People’, the 99%‘ers, quit paying the taxes that, ultimately and deviously, feed the lobbyists and our turncoat ‘representatives’ that they bribe. So that they began writing laws and regulations that benefited we human people, instead of the figmental corporate ones.

2. ‘We, the Little People’ could regulate the corporations, since ‘our’ government won’t. Instead of trying to boycott all the greedy corporations, we could pick them off one, two, or three at a time. Suppose, for example, we concentrated on just those for which we have numerous alternatives. Take ExxonMobil, for example. We all have many alternative sources of fuel. Ditto for Bank of America, plenty of banks around. And how about putting NBC, that GE subsidiary, out of business? By writing it’s program sponsors, not buying their goods/services, not watching it?

3. As ‘We, the Little People’ proceed, we can keep our fellow humans informed globally, with twits and tweets and Skypes and emails and IM’s, so they too, of all national persuasions, can join US if they wish, curtailing their use of the global multinationals we choose, as we select them for extinction/regulation.

4. How to do this? Well, for example, MoveOn could start promoting this boycott approach together with their incessant appeals for cash and promotion of political candidates, none of which/whom is going to make a damned bit of difference in our current Plutocracy.

5. If you are attacked by a rabid dog, you should try to cut off it’s head, or knock out it’s teeth, or kill it ASAP. The dog attacking US is unregulated, amoral, irresponsible, run-rampant corporate capitalism, whose sole purpose is profit, and whose motto is ‘More is Not Enough’. If we can give it two alternatives, A. Reduce it’s profit by accepting regulation, and survive, or B. Stop it’s profit, and die, it may make an intelligent choice, the one that is beneficial and acceptable to ‘We, the Little People’.

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By Go Right Young Man, April 25, 2011 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

laceration,

The Monks on Mount Athos are not self sufficient, they are not able to feed themselves without outside aid and trade and, the Monks do conduct commerce on the free market for goods and services on a daily basis.  Capitalism is alive and well on Mount Athos.

You did get a couple things correct, however.  Mount Athos is quite beautiful and there are no automobiles on the Holy Mountain. - There are also no woman permitted.  Making Mount Athos unsustainable past a single generation.  Not a good, or realistic, model of contemporary society.

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By Sherry Jones, April 25, 2011 at 8:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sadly, Hedges identifies the problem—apathy and inertia on the left—and then perpepuates it.  Democrats are surrounded by naysayers on the right and left.  With pundits like Hedges no wonder we don’t win elections.  No wonder the left fails to gain momentum for greater than incremental change.  Knock it off!  Democrats are the only party in town that has any power.  Let’s support it and use it!  Because unless we put the brakes on, we are certain to crash.

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By Morpheus, April 25, 2011 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

For the most part, the people in this country have become a joke.

Memo to America: Stop waiting for Democrats and Republicans to save you.

“WAKE UP!”  -  JOIN THE REVOLUTION
Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )

We don’t have to live like this anymore. “Spread the News”

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By A. Benway, April 25, 2011 at 8:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These posited monastic communities - how is it that these would not been seen as unconquered economic and political turf and thus dangerous to any elite class?

They seem to be an unrealistic proposal.

Nevertheless, assuming that they might exist, albeit only briefly, the crushing of them would obviously establish the moral basis for struggle.

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By bpawk, April 25, 2011 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

To your questions: “When did our democracy die? When did it irrevocably transform itself into a lifeless farce and absurd political theater? When did the press, labor, universities and the Democratic Party—which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible—wither and atrophy?” ...

By the late 1970s the democrats became like the republicans the party of the elite, having filled its coffers with corporate money by the gallons. Of course you’re not going to listen to the ‘little people’ after that. At that time, Ralph Nader was a credible alternative to the democratic party (like the NDP in Canada) where a third left leaning party could force issues on the liberals (your dems) or else people would vote for them instead of the dems, thus scaring them into liberal submission. By having just two parties that only serve the elites you have painted yourselves into a corner. Why didn’t Americans vote for Ralph? I suspect they don’t want to see themselves as ‘worker bees’ having to fight for their rights - they wanted to self-identify as richer than they were and let someone else take care of the dirty work like workers rights, real health care for ordinary people, consumer protection, etc.

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By David, April 25, 2011 at 8:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, forum…

I would like to know specifically why/how Greg Mortenson has been discredited and by whom. Seems like he has a good heart and women’s education is a very worthwhile pursuit. If we weren’t engaged in war in the region would such efforts be acceptable in your eyes?

Thanks

David

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By Ed Lytwak, April 25, 2011 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

CH is far too good a writer to “just happen” to use the phrase “monastic community.”  But another thing that makes him such a good writer is his passion and emotion.  And, this really seems to be one of his darker, and I would beg to differ, more despairing pieces.  Resistance has to be more than something we do just for our own moral edification.  Truly effective resistance has to be about building a positive vision of a new future, otherwise it is no different from the resistance that some people have conducted for the last 150 years over that other “lost cause” the Confederate States of America.

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By Schwerpunkt, April 25, 2011 at 8:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While I enjoy the examination of our situation - when are the “call to arms people” going to start giving out a little more of a solution than “resist” and “cooperate” and vague plans that sound somewhere between dark age convent life and 1960s street “happenings”?  Time and again, our thinkers pan out when it comes time to say… pack XYZ into a bottle and toss it at XYZ or create a system that looks like….  Can someone just provide an alternative vision that doesn’t just prop up the old remains of failed alternatives?  Even a first draft?

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By laceration, April 25, 2011 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

“We will have to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves.”

60 Minutes had a long piece last night on an isolated peninsula in Greece that has remained unchanged for 1000+ years. There is nothing there but Eastern Orthodox Monasteries.  I cannot overemphasize how breathtakingly beautiful this place is.  3 things about the place.
1. It is untouched by capitalism.
2. There are no Automobiles
3. They are self sufficient and grow all their own food.

Along with Hedges themes of the Corporate and Military state, I think another pillar of our dystopia is the pervasive role of the Automobile in our sprawl forsaken suburbansphere.  I’ll be catching up on that at my other not miss Monday blog at http://kunstler.com.  I concur with Hedge’s latest inkling of the possible way forward, on top of his call to civil disobedience, as I am into gardening in a big way. That and getting your ass out of your driver’s seat(I bicycle more miles than I drive) are a better way of life and possibly a way to get some control as the vestiges our decaying society collapse.

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By entropy2, April 25, 2011 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

@Pavlov’s Dog - good points!

The working class needs a tangible alternative to dependence on the corporate state. People need to see ways that they can provide for themselves, as a community, what now must be provided by the behemoths that trample us daily.

But most folks will hold onto their moldy, but real, half loaf rather than roll the dice on getting a beautiful, fresh, but theoretical, full loaf. And who can blame them (except people who don’t know what it’s like to do without)?

That’s why I am less inclined toward protesting and civil disobedience. We don’t need to fight the power, just make it irrelevant!

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By RedwoodGuy, April 25, 2011 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

@Pavlov,

I don’t think a frank recognition that the “war was lost” is necessarily despair. Truth is not despair. It is exactly a means of moving on to some new future. Despair is continuing to participate in the false dichotomy of the two party system peddled on the television set day after day.

Oddly, your last sentence really confirms CH thoughts on rebuilding. He just happened to use the phrase, “monastic community.”

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By Ed Lytwak, April 25, 2011 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

CH’s call to resistance as the only ethical response provides only cold comfort to all who struggle to maintain their humanness in the face of the inverted totalitarianism of the global corporate dystopia.  But his fatalistic cynicism, that the “game is over….We lost,” and despair that all we can do is form “small, monastic communities” does a great disservice to the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who are working, in quiet and nonviolent ways to build an alternative and parallel economy, politic, society and culture.  I would offer La Via Campesina as but one example of many.  What the “Way of the Peasant” is accomplishing in Bolivia, “The Law of Mother Earth: Behind Bolivia’s Historic Bill” YES! Magazine, is an inspiration and source of true hope and empowerment for all those who resist.

For all his brilliant analysis of the problem, CH comes up woefully short when it comes to solutions.  Like so many leaders of the resistance these days, CH is a victim of the intellectual “trap of history.”  That trap is an inability to see a future that is unlike the past, a past unlike the pathological patriarchal domination that has existed for 5,000 years.  What the resistance most needs are people who have the courage and vision to see a future that is radically different from everything that has occurred before.  In these dark and troubled times, when the forces of plutocratic despotism seem so strong, perhaps the first and most courageous act of resistance is not giving into despair.  As the global, corporate dystopia collapses from its own corruption and moral depravity, it will be the many, many people who are – today – building a new present radically different from the past who are most effectively resisting.

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By entropy2, April 25, 2011 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

We will have to take care of ourselves. We will have to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and culture values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global, corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.

Why the future tense? What says that we have to wait until it all crashes down around our ears, and only then start picking up the pieces. Last time I checked, it wasn’t illegal for people to get together to pool skills and resources to create abundance for themselves (a corporation). The time is now to start creating alternatives to state-corporate serfdom. Instead of trying to prop up or tinker with the mechanisms of a fundamentally corrupt, unjust and destructive system, we need to move past it.

Think, people! We have the most advanced tools in the history of mankind for communication and information processing, creativity, planning, coordinating activites, material logistics. They’re sitting right in front of us on our desks. These are our pitchforks—the tools that the masters have given us to serve them. It’s up to us to pick them up and start building our own society.

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By RedwoodGuy, April 25, 2011 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

@levinpsy,

Actually, it is the responsibility of reformers to propose and suggest solutions. For 50 years we’ve had the impotent left intelligentsia sitting on their hands telling people to vote. If only they’d vote for the right persons, all would be well. That was a massive failure. They need to make up for that ineptitude.

Compare the current Chris Hedges to the current Paul Krugman, for instance. Krugman, owing his life to the NYT can’t do anything except peddle the same old shit - “So and So in government OUGHT to do this or that.” Wrap your fish in that crap for what it’s worth.

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By whocares, April 25, 2011 at 7:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris keeps banging the same drum, and you lemmings keep coming out to offer your so-called insight; doesn’t it get redundant? The question isn’t of how or why, it’s of commitment.

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By mk, April 25, 2011 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

Revolution!

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By levinpsy, April 25, 2011 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

Again, it is not Chris’ responsibility to offer solutions.  It is valuable enough for him to identify the problem, and call attention, forcefully and brilliantly, to what is happening.  The solutions will evolve, and we will figure them out together.  It’s going to take more than just a few of us though working on it.  Once more people become aware of the situation, we will find a way together.  There will be power in numbers.  Right now, there are still way too few of us aware of how truly impossible things are.

Thanks again Chris, for another excellent piece.

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By sharonsj, April 25, 2011 at 7:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges is right.  We lost it when both the news media and our politics became theatre instead about informing and supporting the public.  We know the politicians are corrupted by money and power.  The media, though, was destroyed by a number of things—but the bottom line is that we can no longer get factual information from the news.

If you mix in the general stupidity of the average American, it’s no wonder we have birthers and deathers.  Its why drbhelthi still thinks the prez was born in another country despite Hawaii having released that state’s birth certificate for Obama.  There were also two birth announcements in the newspapers of the day.  Don’t you think it’s fruitcake time to imagine a conspiracy that began the day Obama was born?

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By elisalouisa, April 25, 2011 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

How very clear Chris makes it each week. The corporate elite are squeezing the lifeblood out of our country. How very naive to think that our vote can change it.  Nothing can stop the corporate tsunami before us.

Ordinary people who have no face, expendable.

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By RedwoodGuy, April 25, 2011 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Hedges continues to bat 1000. This is absolute brilliance:

“We will have to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and culture values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out.”

Finally, we have moved beyond the silliness of voting, and are now suggesting alternate realities. Beautifully said Chris.

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By aacme88, April 25, 2011 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

Now we know how the American Experiment turns out. After a lot of good data and high hopes for success, it turned out to be a dud.

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By drbhelthi, April 25, 2011 at 5:18 am Link to this comment

“The plan” has been implemented consistently since prior to WWI.  Human logic evaluation questions whether the plan originated with humans, earthbound until the 1950s. The plan was discovered in the 1950s, by the investigation of the Reese Committee of the U.S. Congress.  The Reese Committee investigated the genuine motive of large, “benevolent foundations,” whose activities were recognized to have been less than benevolent.  The findings of the Reese Committee have been largely ridiculed and suppressed, no surprise.  http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/898.html

However.
The findings of the Reese Committee fit the current status of the U.S.A. – perhaps not perfectly, approximately 85%.  There is always a margin of error, when humans – or quasi humans – do anything.  The quasi-humans are depending on a margin of error with nuclear generators that is greater than 15%.  More like 85%. 

The being-occupant of the U.S. Presidency (who hasn´t produced a legitimate birth-certificate)  says not to worry, the radiation from Fukushima will not reach the countries that it has already reached.  My balcony read 26R/hr this morning at 7 A.M.  Perhaps the nuke-pollution came from a local nuke-debacle, rather than Fukushima.

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By ray d, April 25, 2011 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

Ardee: You don’t get that “the vote” you are talking about has been co-opted by the very corporate forces that Hedges talks about. As he describes it: “[to believe in the vote is just another form of] magical thinking.”

I don’t think that by “monastic communities” Hedges means running to rural areas and farming and making one’s own clothes, as you suggest. I think what he means by “monastic” is simple living and dedication to each other’s survival. These things taking place wherever your home happens to be now. And specifically, by “simple living,” I think he means doing away with as many technological appliances as possible, with consumerism, and also making do with things, increasingly out of reach, like health insurance.

In other parts of his literature, Hedges has talked about learning to care for each other by practicing non-capitalist values, like compassion and sharing, in order to survive in the world that is to come…

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By madisolation, April 25, 2011 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

I must be a little more optimistic than Chris Hedges, because I believe we have still have something more they cannot take away from us: our anger. I truly believe we should nurture our anger, hone it, take it deep inside us, and carry it with us every day.
We dull our anger when we watch any t.v. news or read corporate newspapers. We dull our anger when we read blogs that focus on what Sarah Palin or some Tea Party member said. When we read posts that are nothing but cute and glib responses to whatever the gatekeeper hosts at status quo websites decide to print, we allow ourselves to be distracted from the anger. If it is not a serious and informative topic followed by serious discussion, avoid it and do not post on it. The more serious knowledge we gain, the more our anger is nurtured and sharpened.
When we can finally feel that anger which the corporate state has suppressed in us for so long, we can focus our rage on the most vulnerable link in the corporate dominance: the politicians. We can turn our anger on them, and we can bring them down. They are not invulnerable: they are simple-minded salesmen, bad actors who pretend to be serious, intellectual stars. These people we can fight. They are just weaklings wearing a mask of power and with enough ire, we can snatch their masks off and send them into the night. Think of the satisfaction you will feel when you turn the tables on them, and you see the fear in THEIR eyes, for a change. 
We have two choices today: we can be angry or we can be afraid. Anger, in my opinion, is our only hope. Confront, villify, mock, and raise your fist when the politicians take the stage.
“... What though the field be lost?
All is not lost—the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?”
—Paradise Lost by John Milton

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By kerryrose, April 25, 2011 at 4:17 am Link to this comment

Our democracy was doomed since the adoption of capitalism.  Our political system is democratic but our economic system is inherently undemocratic. So, we have essentially accepted undemocratic systems in our workplace.  We are wage laborers which is only slightly different than serfs.

Think about it.  99% of the people park their democratic rights at the door when they enter the workplace.  The only reason we had successful capitalism until the 1970’s had to do with social factors. 

Now we are experiences the type of capitalism that other developed nations in Europe contend with.  This is why Europe has much stronger labor unions and socialist parties.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, April 25, 2011 at 4:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The game is over and we lost.”  The only question is whether we want to hit the wall at 60 or 100 mph.  So anyone who votes for Obama again or urges others to do so should have no illusions about his turning the car around or even wanting to.  The wall is coming into view up ahead. 

Anyone who remembers the battles over NAFTA, the Reagan tax cuts, the Bush tax cuts, health care reform or the hundreds of other cases where the so-called left tried to draw lines in the sand ought to know that medicare and social security are both lost.
We are hearing the same kind of noises from the left that we heard in all those other cases but at long last we are awake and can smell the coffee.  We can see democrats circling the wagons around gay marriage.

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By katsteevns, April 25, 2011 at 3:07 am Link to this comment

“We will have to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves.”

What makes Chris feel the elites will allow us to have even this much? Like he said,

“They know only one word—more.”

I say that is a modest forecast….I say, they want it ALL.

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By ardee, April 25, 2011 at 2:45 am Link to this comment

The value of a Hedges article is in its hammering at the status quo, its attempts to make folks aware that there is a serious problem in our nation.What Hedges fails to do is offer solutions or even suggestions. Unless you believe his “monastic communities” concept to be a serious ideal.

What we see in our government is , as Hedges notes, the takeover of the function of government by corporate interests, so that every decision is made, not with the interest of our citizens in mind, but with the corporations best interest and highest profit as its goal.

Rather than despair, or run to rural areas and begin farming and making ones own clothes, a solution inherently selfish and self serving, we might think along other lines. After all, we all 300 million of us, cannot simply find 40 acres and a mule and leave our nations course to those who already corrupt it.

The problem is one of corporate control, and, while they do indeed have all the money, it is we the people who have the overwhelming numbers and , in a democracy, the vote still counts. We can beat back the forces of fascism, we can restore our nation to the ideals set forth by Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison. But we must find ways to involve the masses in order to do this. That means dropping the plow ( thanks anyway Chris) and organizing.

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By Anna Nomad, April 25, 2011 at 1:34 am Link to this comment

“It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.”

No, there is no choice, Chris.  (Probably never was, but that’s another discussion. We’ve been liberated from the burden of contemplating our futures by the recent events at Fukushima.  (See, for example, this brief excerpt of Dr. Helen Caldicott’s remarks at a recent conference:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ITrXVJMKeQ

The “game” (why do males always resort to sports and contest metaphors?) was over long before the 20th century began.  Agriculture? Age of reason?  Industrialization?  All born of the human impulse to control.  Toward what end?  This end.  OK, so here we are.  Let’s relax now.

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By KarenB, April 25, 2011 at 1:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Chris:

I appreciate all of your articles. 

I have said many of the same things to my friends and family and they either think I’m all doom and gloom or that I don’t know what I’m talking about.  They just want to be left alone and as they all say “go on with my life.”  I am so frustrated and I’m also very angry at what’s going on in this country.

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