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Beyond Outrage

Beyond Outrage

By Robert Reich

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The Greeks Get It

Posted on May 24, 2010
AP / Petros Giannakouris

Numerous riots have gripped Athens during the last year or so of unrest.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

We are facing the collapse of the world’s financial system. It is the end of globalization. And in these final moments the rich are trying to get all they can while there is still time. The fusion of corporatism, militarism and internal and external intelligence agencies—much of their work done by private contractors—has given these corporations terrifying mechanisms of control. Think of it, as the Greeks do, as a species of foreign occupation. Think of the Greek riots as a struggle for liberation.

Dwight Macdonald laid out the consequences of a culture such as ours, where the waging of war was “the normal mode of existence.” The concept of perpetual war, which eluded the theorists behind the 19th and early 20th century reform and social movements, including Karl Marx, has left social reformers unable to deal with this effective mechanism of mass control. The old reformists had limited their focus to internal class struggle and, as Macdonald noted, never worked out “an adequate theory of the political significance of war.” Until that gap is filled, Macdonald warned, “modern socialism will continue to have a somewhat academic flavor.”

Macdonald detailed in his 1946 essay “The Root Is Man” the marriage between capitalism and permanent war. He despaired of an effective resistance until the permanent war economy, and the mentality that went with it, was defeated. Macdonald, who was an anarchist, saw that the Marxists and the liberal class in Western democracies had both mistakenly placed their faith for human progress in the goodness of the state. This faith, he noted, was a huge error. The state, whether in the capitalist United States or the communist Soviet Union, eventually devoured its children. And it did this by using the organs of mass propaganda to keep its populations afraid and in a state of endless war. It did this by insisting that human beings be sacrificed before the sacred idol of the market or the utopian worker’s paradise. The war state provides a constant stream of enemies, whether the German Hun, the Bolshevik, the Nazi, the Soviet agent or the Islamic terrorist. Fear and war, Macdonald understood, was the mechanism that let oligarchs pillage in the name of national security.

“Modern totalitarianism can integrate the masses so completely into the political structure, through terror and propaganda, that they become the architects of their own enslavement,” he wrote. “This does not make the slavery less, but on the contrary more— a paradox there is no space to unravel here. Bureaucratic collectivism, not capitalism, is the most dangerous future enemy of socialism.”


Square, Site wide

Macdonald argued that democratic states had to dismantle the permanent war economy and the propaganda that came with it. They had to act and govern according to the non-historical and more esoteric values of truth, justice, equality and empathy. Our liberal class, from the church and the university to the press and the Democratic Party, by paying homage to the practical dictates required by hollow statecraft and legislation, has lost its moral voice. Liberals serve false gods. The belief in progress through war, science, technology and consumption has been used to justify the trampling of these non-historical values. And the blind acceptance of the dictates of globalization, the tragic and false belief that globalization is a form of inevitable progress, is perhaps the quintessential illustration of Macdonald’s point. The choice is not between the needs of the market and human beings. There should be no choice. And until we break free from serving the fiction of human progress, whether that comes in the form of corporate capitalism or any other utopian vision, we will continue to emasculate ourselves and perpetuate needless human misery. As the crowds of strikers in Athens understand, it is not the banks that are important but the people who raise children, build communities and sustain life. And when a government forgets whom it serves and why it exists, it must be replaced.

“The Progressive makes History the center of his ideology,” Macdonald wrote in “The Root Is Man.” “The Radical puts Man there. The Progressive’s attitude is optimistic both about human nature (which he thinks is good, hence all that is needed is to change institutions so as to give this goodness a chance to work) and about the possibility of understanding history through scientific method. The Radical is, if not exactly pessimistic, at least more sensitive to the dual nature; he is skeptical about the ability of science to explain things beyond a certain point; he is aware of the tragic element in man’s fate not only today but in any collective terms (the interests of Society or the Working Class); the Radical stresses the individual conscience and sensibility. The Progressive starts off from what is actually happening; the Radical starts off from what he wants to happen. The former must have the feeling that History is ‘on his side.’ The latter goes along the road pointed out by his own individual conscience; if History is going his way, too, he is pleased; but he is quite stubborn about following ‘what ought to be’ rather than ‘what is.’ ”

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By Eugenio Costa, May 24, 2010 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

Germany will be burning soon too.

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By archivesDave, May 24, 2010 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

OK, Here we go… The latest scuttlebutt:
If you have yet to learn about the Bank of International Settlements, it’s time to go to the Wikipedia and find out about its nefarious past. 

Now, to get a handle on their current skullduggery,
u can google Dr Joseph Farrell and his research on
how Germany (and BIS), is going to bail out a LOT more than Greece.
Is this truly The Rise of the Fourth Reich?
Farrell’s book is entitled ‘Babylon Banksters’.

It certainly appears to be a barn(Reichstag) burner.

R.S. & C.H. : What say ye about this?

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By Bolton, May 24, 2010 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

Thanks Chris, the first step to freedom from tyranny is to free the mind and not fear death that will inevidibly come to all. With clarity of the mind and the acceptance of human mortality, the propoganda and attempts at fear based control by the corporate state will not work. I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees! Ironically, the greed of the power elite will feed on itself when nothing else is left, and they will destroy each other. Chris, you are a true humanitarian. Keep spreading the word!HAPPINESS and SELF-ESTEEM are not determined by money, but by character.

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By thebeerdoctor, May 24, 2010 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

Charles Munger’s so-called wisdom merely puts a velvet glove over the iron fist of economic reality. When push comes to shove, he like his good pal Warren Buffet, will always take the side of the banksters instead of the peoples need for economic justice. Their praise of Goldman Sachs speaks volumes about their concept of morality.

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By Leefeller, May 24, 2010 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Who gives a crap, I saw the other movie 2012!

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By Shift, May 24, 2010 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

According to Joanna Macy PH.D., eco-philosopher, we are on the verge of a great change, the Great Turning. “It is a name for the transition from the industrial-growth society to a life-sustaining society. It identifies the shift from a self-destroying political economic society to one in harmony with the Earth and enduring for the future.  It unites and includes all the actions being taken to honor and preserve life on Earth.  What a difference it makes to view our efforts as a part of a vast enterprise, a tidal change commensurate to the crisis we face. Because the industrial-growth society is based on an impossible imperative—limitless increase in corporate profits—that direction leads to collapse.  Already our system is on ‘overshoot’ using up resources beyond Earth’s capacity to renew and dumping waste beyond Earth’s capacity to absorb. Still as the Earth’s record attests, extinctions are are at least as plentiful as successful adaptations.  We may not make it this time.  Natural systems my unravel beyond repair before new sustainable forms and structures take hold. That is part of the anguish that is widely felt. The anguish is unavoidable, if we want to stay honest and alert.  The Great Turning comes with no guarantee.  It’s risk of failure is it’s reality.  Insisting on belief in positive outcomes puts blinders on us and burdens the heart.  We might manage to convince ourselves that everything will surely turn out all right, but would such happy occurances elicit our greatest courage and creativity?  The Great Turning, as a compass pointing to the possible, helps me live with radical uncertainty.  It also causes me to believe that whether we succeed or not, the risks we take on behalf of life will bring forth dimensions of human intelligence and solidarity beyond any we have known.”

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By Eugenio Costa, May 24, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

Exactly right, Monsieur Hedges.

The revolution has begun.

Coming soon to a theater near you.

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By balkas, May 24, 2010 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

At this stage of panhuman development, system of governance is necessary. Hedges blames peoples for having it. I think he calls system of rule “state”
A system of rule may be described as a set of laws.
The affairs of a people shld be conducted as the laws prescribe.

So that’s what US and Bolshevik administrations did.
But each of these administrations were governing differently-structured societies.
In US, it was and is now classful with a chasm of difference in people’s earning.

In SU, the differences in earning was slight. But it wasn’t just world asocialists who abhored such a system, but also possibly 70-80% of SU citizens!

Under such condition, building socialism to end millennial fascism, was not easy; not as easy as it had been for US asocialists [fascists]to build a perfect or near-perfect fascism; its pop being 99.99% fascist.

Greeks protest, because they are even by far less fascist than germans, french, UK, let alone USans.
So it’s greek, US, UK, german fascist who are electing their respective asocialistic gov’ts.

Once again, hedges writes in quite an obnubilating and inaccuarate-inadequate way.
He,self [concluding from his writings] appears a fascist who wld like to add own patch on old pants!

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By john, May 24, 2010 at 6:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

Or maybe it’s just the end of the world.  I give our species 100 years, tops.

The sad thing is, we will take down thousands of species with us.

Talk about Greek tragedy.

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By Fat Freddy, May 24, 2010 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

This is not a failure of Capitalism. It is a manipulation of Capitalism by Socialistic and Fascist forces of the elite. The MSM propaganda machine wants people to believe that Capitalism is evil. They fail to recognize that it was the entrepreneurial spirit of Capitalism that built this country. Capitalism has been severely distorted by wars, currency manipulation, fraud in the financial sector and false social justice. The greatest distortion is monetary manipulation. Real individual and societal wealth can only come from savings and investment in production. The American people have been tricked into believing that consumption and debt are good for the economy. The big banks, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve, and the government, have been manipulating interest rates, and currency supply to encourage debt and consumption and discourage savings and investments in capital goods and production for at least 10 years, probably more like 20. It has also encouraged investments in risky, worthless paper. It is the big banks that create these risky investments, for their own benefit. People are practically forced to invest in these vehicles because interest rates are so low, they can’t even keep up with CPI and PPI inflation. When these risky investments are finally exposed for the worthless trash that they are, the banks become insolvent. Then, the MSM propaganda machine kicks into high gear, and scares us into believing that if we do not bail out these huge, monopolistic institutions, the entire economy will crash. Interest rates are reduced to 0% (for the big banks), and the printing press goes into high gear, which eventually only reinforces the misguided policies that created the problems in the first place. This is happening around the world, and the weakest are feeling it the most.

The Capitalist way, is to allow those that made poor decisions to fail. Allow interest rates to return to more normal market values, and stop printing and spending money that we do not have.

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By Anne, May 24, 2010 at 6:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Globalization is not a choice; it is economic reality predicted by Adam Smith himself and moral necessity if you wish. In the environment where resources and products are so easily mobile there is no justification that any work is ‘worth’ 50 times more in one part of the globe vs. another. We can try to build legislation or walls to slow down the process but inevitable will happen the sooner or later. And yes, (agree with Hedges) it will not bring ‘the progress’ to the already developed nations.

And if we discard capitalism as intrinsically unfair and communism as unproductive and inefficient (Hedges saw its aftermaths-wars-better than anyone else) and if we discard socialism as a middle ground which really doesn’t solve any of problems what is that is left? It doesn’t appear that McDonald’s book (or any other) offers solutions, neither Hedges himself, unless violence in Greece is an example we should follow.

I have the highest regard for Mr. Hedges and his work and I would hate to see him lost in the pessimism and despair.

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By Everest Mokaeff, May 24, 2010 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

For those few over here who missed the point of Chris Hedges’ article. You try to shied behind the words of great men about shortcomings of any violent riot against tyranny. Well this is exactly what wall street culprits want you to as they rob you and deprive of any dignity in daylight. You point out to same discrepancies in Mr Hedges’ concept of “free world economy” as a silver bullet - you just can’t see the wood for the trees. Pick up the latest Forbes magazine take a look at pool of the wealthiest men. Scrutinize for yourself how their ranks changed for the last 2 years (the worst for world economy). To your surprise you’ll find out that they are doing pretty good. Now go to next-door guy and ask’im how’s he doin’. Do you really believe that regular folks can anyways affect their governments through euphemistically called electoral process. I doubt it. Greeks finally said enough. All of us can believe whatever we wish but don’t confuse the roots of the problem. While we, liberals, indulge ourselves in sweet-talking about non-violent resistance, the richest get richer, and the poorer go…um…you know where…bankruptcy court.

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By adam, May 24, 2010 at 6:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

one of these days, you will understand economics. 
until then, this country in in trouble.

business did not cause this to happen.  GOVERNMENTS

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 24, 2010 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

Smucker’s for president!!!

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By Ouroborus, May 24, 2010 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

Good heavens! Relax for crying out loud; Americans
going to the streets violently protesting? Are you
Not a chance in hell of that, IMO. I mean, we’re asleep
at the wheel. Apathy rules! Distractions are rampant
and effective!
Just go back to your favorite TV program. Hey, I hear
“Lost” is having it’s last episode; settle down and

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By truedigger3, May 24, 2010 at 5:33 am Link to this comment

By Go Right Young Man, May 24 at 8:20 am #

GRM wrote:

“ITW, May 24 at 7:55 am

Excellent post.”


Watch out!
GRM likes and agrees with your post, So deffinitely something is wrong with your post.
May be it is a good idea to re-examine your post.!

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By Socrates, May 24, 2010 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind

You sound like a CIA operative or perhaps a corporate executive.  You are attempting to muddy the water here.  Chris Hedges is right in almost everything he details.  His book, Empire of Illusion is breath-taking to behold.  This new article he has submitted smacks of truth.  If you tell me what you have published I would be interested in reading it.

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By thebeerdoctor, May 24, 2010 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

Psmith is correct: there is nothing more irresponsible than a FUD enabler.

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By Paul_GA, May 24, 2010 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

I think it was Mencken who once said that every now and again, men must feel tempted to spit on their hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats. Perhaps for the Greeks, the time has come. One hopes it won’t come across the Water, but you never know ...

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By Z1, May 24, 2010 at 4:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Inherit The Wind, When things are normal with our economy, gold is usually around $360 to $365 an ounce. So according to you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with an economy where gold hovers around the high $1100 to low $1200 an ounce range.
Pull your head out of your behind and get real!

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By DaveZx3, May 24, 2010 at 4:25 am Link to this comment

This is all about money.  Capitalist and socialists will do anything to get control of money.  They are just two sides of the same coin.  They use class warfare to get control.  Thousands, even millions around the world die in the name of capitalism and socialism. 

So for the purpose of swinging the pendulum a few degrees to the left for a couple of years, lets all take to the street and burn, murder and create mayhem of all sorts to satisfy our masters.

This has been going on for centuries, and has not been successful yet.  War, violence, destruction is never, never the answer.  The people always suffer, and not the masters, be they capitalists or communists. 

The United States has a good basis for citizen control of government, but they blow it down their leg by constantly voting in the professional, criminal politicians, who cater to the money. 

Is that suddenly a revelation?  Is this something which just started 10 years ago?  No, it is a perpetual problem which the American people are responsible for, because they sucked up to the professional pols, who acted like organized crime leaders and spread a small part of the take on to their consitutents.  We allowed the mob bosses to take control for our own selfish sake.  We sold our freedom for a couple of bucks. 

Wake up, take back the government with good, honest short careered, low to moderate income representatives.  No man needs to serve for more than four years.  The power in the country should be in the laws, not professional politicians.  Make good laws, and make the politicians follow the law.  If that cannot be done within the framework of the US constitution, it will never be able to be done anywhere, at anytime.  Plain and simple.

But it is in the hands of the people, if they are up to it.  Burning and murdering will just lead to an excuse to crackdown and further reduce liberty.  Rioting in the streets always will lead to more control by government.  And if they are not doing the will of the people, then why do you want them to have more control?

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By Leefeller, May 24, 2010 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

Yes “It is feudal rape” My apathy is being riled up
again! Capitalism is always blamed for it’s ability to
capitalize on other peoples money, what is wrong with
that? The posturing by opportunists is never ending work
as we see every day, now we find out BP has ties with a
large environmental group, this smacks of the GOP
caucusing a human rights organization. 

Corporations are people to, (the Surmising court said
so) I feel it necessary that corprations run for office
so I can vote for General Motors for president, but I
would want to see their birth certificate first, I want
to make sure they are Red White and Blue American. I
would never vote for BP those Un-American foreigners,
when I think of it, guess all corporations are
foreigners now and America is no longer, well anyway
they are people. 

Yes it does seem like feudal rape, Hedges may be onto
something, all my whining about Hedges seems to have
been resolved by his last several articles, except for
the excessive use of the word “we”.

All the people need to do is shoot the Donkey and send
the Elephant of no back to the Circis!

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By Go Right Young Man, May 24, 2010 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

ITW, May 24 at 7:55 am


Excellent post.

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By thebeerdoctor, May 24, 2010 at 4:07 am Link to this comment

If I understand this correctly, Hedges approves of violent protest?

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By Inherit The Wind, May 24, 2010 at 3:55 am Link to this comment

Yet again, Chris Hedges mixes some fact with totally unsupported or even false assertions to reach his conclusions.  Sorry, Chris, but the stock market is NOT in free-fall.  It has been volatile but only a couple of times has it had big falls.  As for gold rising like a balloon—false again.  Gold has faltered, having reached briefly into the low to mid $1200 range and has fallen back into the high $1100’s.  The “streaking” happened as it went from the high $800s to $1100—and that is SO one-year-ago.

CH says “The Greeks have it right”.  Huh? They elected lying, crooked, incompetent leaders, and, when it exploded, have violent, VIOLENT street protests.  How is that “right”?

Yet again, Hedges shows us that he’s on some other planet, where make-believe is as good a facts.

And, yet again, CH trivializes a real and serious problem with an analysis built on assumptions and assertions of sand.

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By jack, May 24, 2010 at 3:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges: It’s even worse than you report - not only are they literally
attacking national economies with naked raids on the bonds that support
them, and not only do they propagandize fear.

Global intelligence networks, serving the global finance oligarchy, manipulate
and provoke the beleaguered to the point of ferocious reaction and in
numerous instances actually orchestrate the bloody terror, that precipitates the

The goal: put everyone, everywhere on their knees, begging for “protection:”
economic and militaristic. It’s all so transparent, it’s amazing the MSM can get
away with their spin out of the cover up.

Throw the bastards out? Hell no! Throw them in a dungeon and leave them to
devour one another!

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By di Genis, May 24, 2010 at 3:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The fires, destruction and the savage death of three Innocent people, including a woman who was pregnant, in Athens were caused by hooded anarchists who had nothing at all to do with the protests or any ethical demonstrations but only with a desire to destroy and murder. These actions brought shame and economic hardship to Greece. Presumably these are not the acts that Chris Hedges and the posters are recommending to the rest of the world.

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By kerryrose, May 24, 2010 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

‘What ought to be rather than what is’ sounds like idealism to me.  My dissertation revolved around that premise, and was not received warmly by my ‘prestigious’ University advisers.  I could not understand the hostility it engendered.

So, maybe Hedges is right, and it is not idealism, but radicalism.

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By littlebird, May 24, 2010 at 2:20 am Link to this comment

I say…Let’s get Radical! It’s the way to get back humanity and the environment.  Let’s follow the Greeks (and the Thais!)

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By Commune115, May 24, 2010 at 2:13 am Link to this comment

Speaking as a Californian I can say we should learn from the Greeks!

Long live the Greek masses!

May their ignite a revolution to set the world ablaze!

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