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Occupiers Have to Convince the Other 99 Percent

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Posted on Oct 24, 2011
AP / Eric Gay

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

By Chris Hedges

(Page 3)

Murray Bookchin wrote: “Radical politics in our time has come to mean the numbing quietude of the polling booth, the deadening platitudes of petition campaigns, carbumper sloganeering, the contradictory rhetoric of manipulative politicians, the spectator sports of public rallies and finally, the knee-bent, humble plea for small reforms—in short, the mere shadows of the direct action, embattled commitment, insurgent conflicts, and social idealism that marked every revolutionary project in history. … What is most terrifying about present-day ‘radicalism’ is that the piercing cry for ‘audacity’—‘L’audace! L’auduce! Encore l’auduce!’—that Danton voiced in 1793 on the high tide of the French revolution would simply be puzzling to the self-styled radicals who demurely carry attaché cases of memoranda and grant requests into their conference rooms … and bull horns to their rallies.”

Macdonald argued that those who wanted change had to base all actions on the nonhistorical and more esoteric values of truth, justice and love. They had to retain Danton’s call for audacity. Once any class bows to the practical dictates required by effective statecraft and legislation, as well as the call to protect the nation, it loses its moral authority and its voice. The naive belief in human progress through science, technology and mass production, which this movement understands is a lie, erodes these nonhistorical values by placing faith in state power and fantasy. The choice is between serving human beings or serving history, between thinking ethically or thinking strategically. Macdonald excoriated Marxists for the same reason he excoriated the liberal class: They subordinated ethics to another goal. They believed the ends justified the means. The liberal class, like the Marxists, by serving history and power capitulated to the state in the end. This capitulation by the liberal class, as Irving Howe noted, “bleached out all political tendencies.” Liberalism, he wrote, “becomes a loose shelter, a poncho rather than a program; to call oneself a liberal one doesn’t really have to believe in anything.”

In line with the occupy movement, we must not extol the power of the state as an agent of change or define progress by increased comfort, wealth, imperial expansion or consumption. The trust in the beneficence of the state—which led most liberal reformers to back the wars in Vietnam and Iraq at their inceptions, as well as place faith in electoral politics long after electoral politics had been hijacked by corporate power—ceded uncontested power to the corporate state. Liberals and liberal groups, such as MoveOn, which urge us to appeal to formal structures of power that no longer concern themselves with the needs or rights of citizens have become forces of disempowerment. 

The only effective tool for change will come through movements such as those that stand in direct opposition to state power and seek through the sheer force of numbers and civil disobedience to discredit and weaken the corporate state. The corporate state cannot be the repository of our hopes and dreams. And the liberal establishment has, by making concession after concession, merged itself into the corporate apparatus and has nothing left to say to us. It is part of the elaborate and hollow political theater that has replaced genuine political participation. The dismantling of our radical social and political movements in the early and even middle part of the 20th century in the name of anti-communism left the liberal class, as well as the wider society, without a repository of new ideas. The utopian fantasies of globalism and naive acceptance that the dictates of the marketplace should be permitted to determine human behavior became not just the creed of the corporatists but finally the creed of liberal apologists such as Thomas Friedman and most professors in university economic departments. And the strength of the new movements is that they have exposed this lie. 

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What we are witnessing in parks and squares across the United States is not simply widespread revulsion over the greed and cruelty of corporate capitalism, but the articulation of a new and potent radicalism. This radicalism challenges the right of corporations to poison our ecosystem and turn greed and self-promotion into the highest good at the expense of human life. If this movement can cross class lines, if it can articulate its vision to those in marginalized communities, especially poor people of color, it can tap into a force and power that was never part of the New Left. It can make possible the shaking of the foundations and, let us hope, the toppling of the corporate state.


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By mick koz, November 9, 2011 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

Occupational Therapy Needed!

Because the Occupiers seem to be mired in an unfocused, diffused state of incoherence…trying to fit 5 pounds into a 1 pound bag…I started off with a one word distillation…F*ck’em…is that one word or two??...no matter, but.. to keep a G rating…and to keep the moral high ground here, ahem…ended up with 3 alliterative R words…with Revolution…open for suggestions..

Feedback welcome at:
makosmic(at)gmail.com

Here’s my latest installment of the Storm the Bastille Recruitment Series on You Tube…play in HD fullscreen..

Forward it to your friends (and conservative acquaintances…just to piss ‘em off:)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US4GWT_fUGc

THE 3Rs of the REVOLUTION…

RESIST! peaceful non-violent resistance and demonstration

REMOVE! corporations from the electoral process and the politicians who take their money

REGULATE! the financial and banking mega-complex and protect the planet

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By ardee, November 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

Jorge X Rodriguez, November 6 at 11:57 am
@ardee, as far as I can see you have not answered Anarcissie’s questions.

I guess you just cannot see very far. As I stated and now reiterate, my answers were rather pointedly clear in that previous post. Maybe you might get an adult to read them for you. Further Anarcissie is really not interested in such inane labeling, she is only playing her anarchist game, pretending to be really obtuse as well. She aint but apparently you are.

Maybe you could do that instead of passing judgment which no one is very interested in.

So, then, by what authority do you speak for everyone?

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By Jorge X Rodriguez, November 6, 2011 at 11:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ardee, as far as I can see you have not answered Anarcissie’s questions.  He or she asked you what word you wanted to use instead of welfare state if you did not like welfare state, and you have not given one, and asked for instances showing that Germany or Sweden was working toward socialism and you have not given any.  Maybe you could do that instead of passing judgment which no one is very interested in.

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By ardee, November 6, 2011 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

Every question in your newest response, Anarcissie was answered in my previous one. I see not even a small effort to actually read and digest what I post on your part.

So be it.

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By Anarcissie, November 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

Germany, Sweden, Canada and so on, are making a transition to ownership and control of the means of production by the workers?  Can you give me some instances?  Are we talking about the same Germany that’s busting the Greeks?

As for ‘Welfare state’, I need a term, approved by you, to denote states which have Welfare programs like Social Security, government medical insurance, unemployment insurance, and the like, but aren’t progressing toward socialism.  For example, Bismarck’s German Empire, which instituted Welfare programs precisely to steal the socialists’ and labor unions’ thunder.  Or the present United States, although the Welfare aspect is pretty weak.  I don’t see anything wrong with ‘Welfare state’.  Also I don’t see anything wrong with calling socialism ‘socialism’, but to each his own.

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By ardee, November 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, November 5 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned anarchy or anarchism in our discussion of ‘social democracy’.

No you didn’t. I raised the fact of your belief in anarchy as a possible explanation of your positions.

I accepted your definition of the term and asked you what you want to call states which have a Welfare system but are not progressing toward socialism, for example, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, France.  I suggested ‘Welfare state’ but for some reason you regard it as derogatory.  Fine; what term do you want to use?

Actually you never did, but leave that to lie unaddressed.  What I call those nations , especially Sweden, but including all the others as well, as those moving slowly to incorporate socialism within their governments. Evolution I state, and welcome it gladly.

Do you really need to label , or do you insist upon “Welfare State” because of the negative connotation that so many republicans and many democrats as well believe it to have?

To me a Welfare State is one that sees to the needs of its citizens, fully and completely, or at least makes the attempt to do so. It holds no negativity and is actually a compliment to those nations that would fit such a definition.

But the endless entreaties to the scared white folks that their taxes are going to support the lazy, the shiftless, the somehow inferior among us,that such a state would gain an ever increasing portion of their earnings through higher taxes has made such as you use that term to attempt, perhaps, to win an undeserved point.

A while back I pointed out the statistics , the one you immediately diminished and dismissed, that showed the nations with the highest satisfaction with their governments were precisely the nations that incorporated socialism within. It bears repeating.

That these nations have very high tax rates compared to our own seems, at first blush, to be scary as hell. Yet those who live within pay nothing for schooling,including higher degrees as well, nothing for public transportation or a panoply of services that we ,here, pay rather dearly for.

If a dispassionate mind would think on it, it might find that we here in the land of the “free” pay much, much more in out of pocket expenditures than we would actually pay in taxes to make the same true here.

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By Anarcissie, November 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned anarchy or anarchism in our discussion of ‘social democracy’.  I accepted your definition of the term and asked you what you want to call states which have a Welfare system but are not progressing toward socialism, for example, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, France.  I suggested ‘Welfare state’ but for some reason you regard it as derogatory.  Fine; what term do you want to use?

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By ardee, November 5, 2011 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, November 4 at 10:23 am

Amateur psychology aside it was pretty obvious that Anarcissie’s participation was more tongue in cheek than serious, and that itself was rude in my own opinion. Rudeness breeds rudeness. In her defense I think her generally far more honest than her broom riding compatriot, my favorite Shrew, other than Kate of course.

Those of us who favor socialism fight an uphill battle in large part because of the extended Cold War and its associated propaganda that not only tarred socialism and communism, but did so for an extended period of time thus influencing several generations of voters.

My own course , as I have stated and restated in fact, is to work for the influence of third party politics at the national level. As I peruse the workings of governments around the world it seems clear enough to me that those nations with multiparty national governance also seem more able to enact progressive agendas than do those without such.

In any case, this is a long and uphill struggle, one that will not see fruition in my own lifetime. Which of course brings into play the fact of the rather short attention span of the American people. Raised on instant gratification and thirty second attention spans long term goals are that much more difficult to obtain.

Hope to read more from you here in future.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 4, 2011 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

ardee

It’s comforting to know that we are in agreement on the need for social democracy and in agreement about anarcissie’s condition. I suppose we could call that condition the “Anarchist Box Disease.” Anarcissie strikes me as being intelligent and knowledgeable in many respects but irrational in other respects. This layman believes that the “Anarchist Box Disease” is a kind of ideological neurosis. Apparently we also agree that anarcissie is our favorite Anarchist. Avowed anarchists being a rare idiosyncratic phenomena her favoritism is not really much of an accomplishment, but she is much to be preferred than avowed anarchists who occupy private property, burn barricades, and throw Molotov cocktails, thereby discrediting a non-violent movement. Whether those avowed Anarchists are actually Anarchists or agents provocateur is interesting to contemplate but there doesn’t appear to be any evidence to substantiate the claim that those avowed Anarchists are imposters and agents provocateur at present. What is clear is that avowed Anarchists, imposters or authentic, are a detriment in many ways. Anarcissie being a favorite it’s discomfiting to realize that she is a detriment, but seeing as how she is an ineffectual anomaly we should not be too concerned, and become too obsessive about trying to free her from her Anarchistic Box,  sadly there appears to be little hope the she will ever be freed from that box. I will observe that anarcissie exhibits a chronic negativity. Whether that chronic negativity is a result of her anarchistic beliefs or her anarchistic beliefs are a result of her chronic negativity is interesting to contemplate. I’ll suggest that only analysis from a psychologist or psychiatrist could provide the answer to that question. I would pity the unfortunate psychologist or psychiatrist who might be assigned the task of giving therapy to anarcissie, but I digress.

******************************************************************

Keep on advocating for a third Social Democratic Party option. If such a Political Party option would become a viable option I would be an enthusiastic supporter. It would be a joy to vote - for something - rather than against something. If it should turn out that a third Political Party does not become a viable option, I’m hoping that people will have the presence of mind to vote for the better in order to avoid the worst.

I’m done here, I suppose that we, all of us, will be crossing swords sometime in the future, having a unity of purpose but disagreement on the best way to achieve that purpose. I desperately hope that we will present a unified front against the worst; accepting that the better is preferable to the worst.

Over disclosure is to be avoided in a public forum, but this particular thread is not so public anymore. I’ll admit to varying degrees of foreboding from time to time. The task of extricating ourselves from the difficulties we confront is a daunting task. Hopefully things will not become worse.

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By ardee, November 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, November 3 at 2:25 pm

Do you not understand by now that this is a waste of time? I posted the exact same definition of social democracy much earlier and it was ignored by this poor example of a reasonable debater as the current iteration by you will be as well.

She has her motives I assume, or thinks she does at any rate. Her comments, at least on this subject, are as silly as those of IMax,OM and Heterochromatic. She is apparently not actually participating in a debate, more like bull baiting I fear.

Why, you might ask? Not a clue I respond. I’m sticking with a mix up in Meds.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

You are not “skipping” anything. You are restating your narrowly focused arguments. I fail to see the relevance of your reference to Bismarck. For good or ill Bismarck was the statesman of his era but Bismarck’s influence was overridden by other influences that followed him. A time line analysis from Bismarck’s time to present would be interesting to study but such a study would be fraught with subjectivity and conjecture. Was Bismarck responsible for the rise of fascism? An argument asserting such would be: subjective, based on conjecture, fraught with bias, and result in more dialectical intellectualism, ultimately serving no purpose other than providing fodder for intellectual theoretical assertions having no hope of empiric conclusion. If you want me to argue that Bismarck’s social reforms did not serve capitalism; I have no interest in doing so. Bismarck’s reforms served the interest of social reform; that much is clear. What transpired after those social reforms were instituted is made manifest by history but determining cause and affect of what transpired after those reforms were instituted can not be definitively, empirically identified, cause being subject to other influences. Were the reforms Bismarck instituted capitalist reforms or reforms of capitalism? Did instituting those reforms serve capitalism or did those reforms serve those who benefitted from those reforms? Did those reforms serve capitalism AND those who benefitted from those reforms? Would capitalism have been better served if those reforms had not been instituted? You can argue that capitalism was served by those reforms, and I can argue that those reforms benefitted those who benefitted from those reforms. I can argue that that those reforms were an incremental improvement, and you would be hard put to argue that those reforms were not an incremental improvement. Were those reforms capitalism’s salvation? Prove it! Did the Bolshevik revolution vanquish capitalism? Did the Red Chinese revolution lead to capitalism’s doom? Did China’s change to a free market economy doom capitalism? Did the collapse of the Soviet Union doom capitalism? Did the Second World War doom capitalism? From my perspective, all these events of history served to legitimize social democracy. Recalling Chomsky’s words, “I want to work, today, to build a better society for tomorrow.”


If you want to avoid the perception of being a purveyor of propaganda and a practitioner of demagoguery let me suggest that you stop referring to Social Democratic States as “Welfare States,” simple enough, no? 

Your conflict is not with the English language; your conflict is with dictionary definitions.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

so•cial de•moc•ra•cy

1.  principle of gradual shift to socialism: the political belief that a change from capitalism to socialism can be achieved gradually and democratically

Synonyms: egalitarian, populist, republican, social democrat, constitutionalist, moderate

so•cial•ism [ s?sh? lìz?m ]
 
1.  political system of communal ownership: a political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles

2.  movement based on socialism: a political movement based on principles of socialism, typically advocating an end to private property and to the exploitation of workers

3.  stage between capitalism and communism: in Marxist theory, the stage after the proletarian revolution when a society is changing from capitalism to communism, marked by pay distributed according to work done rather than need

Synonyms: collectivism, social democracy, public ownership, communism, communalism, classless society


Notice that these two definitions are distinctively different. I have no objection to a proletarian revolution as long as that revolution is democratic and non-violent i.e. socially democratic. Given today’s political reality or any foreseeable political reality, “The political belief that a change from capitalism to socialism can be achieved gradually and democratically,” is the only belief that holds any promise for
a “…system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles.”

“I want to work, today, to build a better society for tomorrow.” Ideologues, firebrands, and the hot headed want today what can not be arrived at today and their impossible demands and condemnations can only serve to destroy cohesive action and a consensus to build a better society for today and for tomorrow.

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By Anarcissie, November 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

ardee—Why don’t you just answer my questions?  They are plain questions about terminology.  We can hardly discuss anything if we attach different terms to the same concepts, and vice versa.  Or, if you object to the questions, state your objections.  Remarks about my medications (mostly coffee) are irrelevant.

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By ardee, November 3, 2011 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, November 3 at 7:26 am

Why you have become so disingenuous is unknown to me. Why you continue to distort the conversations that have taken place and misstate and misquote is also a mystery.

Perhaps you might re-read the various definitions of social democracy and its purpose that have been repeated here more than enough time for any honest poster to get it.

Have you mixed up your medications?

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By Anarcissie, November 3, 2011 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

What a lot of stuff!  I seem to have opened the floodgates.  Without a better quoting mechanism than Truthdig provides, it will be very difficult to keep the disorder in order.  In any case, what I wrote was a summary of previous writings, so a further recitation may be very tedious.  I think I’ll skip it.  However, I would like to solve some problems of nomenclature.

1.  I have been informed that I may not use the term ‘social democrat’ and its derivatives to refer to a polity in which the government preserves (although it regulates) capitalist power, and provides as well Welfare, in the form of such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, occupational health and safety, minimum wage laws, medical insurance, and so forth, unless the regime is progressing towards socialism. 

But there are many states which regulate capitalists and provide Welfare which clearly are not progressing towards any sort of socialism and show no likelihood of doing so in the future, to wit, Canada, Germany, Sweden, etc.  The original of this sort of state was Bismarck’s German Empire, which provided Welfare in order to forestall socialism. 

Now I am also told I may not use the term ‘Welfare state’ for these states, either, lest I seem to be indulging in propaganda.  So, what am I to say to refer to them?  What do you call them? 

2.  I have now been told that ‘democratic socialism’ is not ‘socialism’.  This conflicts with my understanding of the English language.  I really don’t know what people mean when they engage in language play of this sort.  Is it ironic?  Anyway, I hope someone can explain it.

3.  Why isn’t direct control of the means of production by workers’ cooperatives a form of socialism?  In any case, what word should I use to denote that kind of economic organization?

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By JDmysticDJ, November 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

The link you provided was interesting but worthless in terms of offering a strategy for achieving socialism; not one word about how socialism is to be achieved. It’s easy to criticize Social Democrats for not achieving Nirvana because Nirvana has not been achieved.  Mr. Gowan’s attributing successful reforms to conservatives and not to liberals is absurd, case in point, Mr. Gowan’s claim that Rockefeller was responsible for Social Security. Roosevelt’s Committee on Economic Security was responsible for Social Security at Roosevelt’s request, a request that included specific demands for social security. The 100’s of names of committee members and advisors to the Committee on Economic Security are available on the web; nowhere is Rockefeller’s name to be found. Demagoguery, falsehoods, and faulty logic are characteristics of those who see the “Liberal Class” as being the greatest of villains. As far as I can tell Noam Chomsky was one of the first, if not the first, influential intellectual who criticized the “Liberal Class” as being inadequate, but such criticisms have become irrational in the extreme. I admire Noam Chomsky greatly because of his cogent criticisms of U.S. foreign policy and his astute analysis of Foreign Policy Hypocrisy. Noam Chomsky is described as a Libertarian Socialist and he has described himself as believing in an anarcho-syndicalist political philosophy. In spite of Noam Chomsky’s amazing credentials as an intellectual, I personally do not find myself in total agreement with his somewhat vague Political, Philosophical, beliefs but I agree completely when he writes, “I want to work, today, to build a better society for tomorrow.”

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By JDmysticDJ, November 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

You continue under a false premise:

1.  “If you mean ‘socialism’ you should say ‘socialism’.  (‘Socialism’ meaning ‘the ownership and control of the means of production by the workers’).  I would expect fans of democratic socialism to call themselves ‘democratic socialists’, but I’ll go along with this mysterious ‘social democrat’ nomenclature if you like.”

I do not mean “socialism” I mean democratic socialism; not control of the means of production by the workers, control of the means of production by the government i.e. (the people,) be they workers or administrators.

2.  “If enough people favor socialism to win elections, they could long since have realized socialism for themselves without the help of the government, by forming cooperatives, “so the route of party politics and elections to realize socialism seems roundabout” and fraught, as they say, with peril.”

Arguments based on conjecture strike me as being useless. “If enough people favor socialism in elections, they could long since have realized socialism for themselves without the help of government, by forming cooperatives…” I’ll respond by stating that if enough people had been in favor of cooperatives they would have formed those cooperatives, without the help of government. I don’t claim to be able to read your thoughts but you appear to advocating for cooperatives as a means of workers gaining control of the means of production, without the help of government. This is, as I see it, the crux of the problem, THE problem, in this instance, being your problem. You are locked inside the box of anarchism, and apparently you can not, or will not be freed from that box. Anarchists see government as THE problem and not bad government as the problem. There are commonalities between Anarchists, Libertarians, and Republicans, all seeing government as being THE problem, and seeking to diminish the power of government.  What anarchists believe will be the alternative to government is unfathomable to me.  Anarchists appear to give credence to Marxist doctrine while the doctrine of Libertarians and Republicans is free markets and unfettered capitalism. Is it your contention that forming cooperatives would make government irrelevant? Writing and enforcing laws is the purview of government, is it your contention that writing and enforcing laws should be the purview of cooperatives; a novel though ridiculous concept indeed, or is it your view that government should not be in the business of writing and enforcing laws. Is it your view that cooperatives would be able to provide for the needs of the people, free from government? Is it your view that cooperatives would be able to provide infrastructure and enforce laws. Again, it appears to be your view that government is evil and can do no good.

(More)

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By JDmysticDJ, November 2, 2011 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

“… So the route of party politics and elections to realize socialism seems roundabout,” unlike communism, as it has existed, in democracy no one is restrained from participating in Party Politics. In communism, as it has existed, the existing Communist Party chooses people it deems worthy of becoming official Party members. In small D democratic Party Politics individuals elect themselves to participate in Party Politics. Individuals who make the choice of becoming involved in Party Politics might find themselves in the minority and democratically impotent; options being: creating a consensus in favor of that individuals objectives within the existing Party establishment or of recruiting like minded participants in Party Politics in order to create a majority. Small D democratic Party politics, when practiced, is grass roots politics at its best. Note the unfortunate success of the Tea Party to infiltrate the Republican Party and to shape and influence Republican Party Politics, and most unfortunately, to shape and influence national politics.

“… so the route of party politics and elections to realize socialism seems roundabout and fraught, as they say, with peril.” The consensus seems to be that the “Peril” is already upon us. The peril is not the “Red Peril” as was perceived by the Nazis and other reactionaries it is the peril of nearly omnipotent capitalism; so the contention that efforts to restrain capitalism is “Fraught with Peril” strikes me as being an misrepresentation of what is perilous. The greatest “Peril” as I see it is the dissension between those opposed to the abuses of capitalism and those who out of dogmatic ideology seek to weaken governments ability to restrain the abuses of capitalism. Certain opponents of nearly omnipotent capitalism are condemning those who seek to restrain the abuses of capitalism within government because they are “ideologically impure,” by their assessment. Using an example from history, I’ll proffer that German Communists, and other “radicals” who were critical of the Weimar Government contributed to the political chaos that eventually led to a result detrimental to the world by all well reasoned accounts. In addition, I’ll suggest that this inordinate animosity directed at the “Liberal Class” bears some resemblance to the animosity directed at Jews and other minorities; being irrational and false attributions of guilt for difficulties.


(The use of the word “Radical” might be misleading in the above paragraph. I consider myself a radical politically as measured against the norm, and I am quite certain that the status quo would consider me a radical. Perhaps another word other than radical would provide a better description, but wishing to avoid vitriol I’ll avoid using other words I believe would be more descriptive.)

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By JDmysticDJ, November 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

More from you:

3.  “The Welfare state is actually quite popular, so setting one up social-democrat style actually allies social democrats with conservatives and preserves capitalism.  (Gowans notes this.)  The history of the European and Canadian social-democratic parties with respect to progress toward socialism give evidence to support this view.”

Again, I’ll have to ask, what is your strategy for eliminating the depredations of capitalism? Short of bloody conflagration capitalism can only be dismantled incrementally. The supporters of capitalism are manifest and a consensus for eliminating capitalism as our economic system is non-existent. Restraint of capitalism or the unfettering of capitalism are the only two political options available to us now. You insist on using the derogative term “Welfare State,” such is demagoguery as is practiced by the Right. Your claim of popularity of the “Welfare State,” as it has come to be known is belied by the facts. Again, you refuse to recognize the successes of social democracy; it was social democrats in Europe and Canada that provided Universal Health Care to the citizens of Social Democratic States and to Canada. Tommy Douglas who was a member of the NDP is revered in Canada and is credited with bringing Universal Health Care to Canada. The fact is that Conservatives in Canada acquiesced because of the popular mandate for Universal Health Care. Attributing the provision of Universal Health Care to Conservatives is a total distortion of reality, and a failure to recognize who it was that created the coercive popular mandate.

More from you:


4.  Capital never rests, and sees regulation as not the rules of the game, but a problem to be overcome by any means necessary.  Usually this is accomplished through regulatory capture.  This seems to be thus far an unsolved problem for believers in a democratic transition away from capitalism.

So, must I read between the lines? If you see a democratic transition away from capitalism as being an unsolved problem, what is your preferred solution? You appear to believe that democratic government is impotent, so, what are you suggesting? Democracy sucks, government sucks, what we need is no government, or as little government as possible? Power vacuums are always filled. You should be concerned with what will fill the vacuum left by powerless government. Will it be people unfettered by government, or will it be business unfettered by government? Remember, “Capital never rests.” Only government has the capability for putting capitalism to rest. Capitalism might put itself to rest, inadvertently, but what will fill the vacuum left by Capitalism, If not government, then what; economic anarchy and chaos?

an•ar•chy [ ánn?rkee ]
 
1.  chaotic situation: a situation in which there is a total lack of organization or control

2.    lack of government: the absence of any formal system of government in a society


Synonyms: disorder, chaos, lawlessness, anarchism, revolution, mayhem, rebellion, mobocracy, ochlocracy, riot

The above definitions of Anarchy do not accurately describe what Anarchists advocate, but the above definitions do describe what might be the affects of inadequate governance. I’m wondering if there might be “Peril” intrinsic to Anarchism.

My time is limited, and of late I find myself devoting far too much time to debating one or two people at the tail end of defunct threads in the futile effort to turn people away from dogmatic thinking merely because I believe the points to make are important. In order to make my time worthwhile I’ll ask that you, anarcissie, make some attempt to free yourself from the Anarchist box you find yourself in and I will ask you, if you are a person who votes, to vote for Democrats; Democrats are after all the closest thing we have to Social Democrats. I have no delusions, I am aware that my request will fall on deaf ears; so why bother? Hope springs eternal.

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By ardee, October 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, October 31 at 9:38 am

However, nothing in your post negates the premise that most social democrats view such as a stepping stone to socialism.

Further, there has never been a communist government that would be recognized as such by Marx. Every single such government was/is ruled by an elite who maintained control by force. This is anathema to those of us who see the potential of the real such government.

I will not bother noting the distortions that are found in ever increasing amounts in the posts of a woman seemingly gone mad. I would only note my sorrow for the departed sane version.

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By Anarcissie, October 31, 2011 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Here’s an essay by a Marxist criticizing social democracy which happened to pop up in my mail a few days ago:
http://gowans.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/social-democracy-soviet-socialism-and-the-bottom-99-percent/ (http://tinyurl.com/3hv2y27)

I don’t share all his beliefs, so if you want to argue with them I’d note that his blog seems to take comments.

I’m now understanding ‘social democracy’ to mean a political ideology and practice which aims at socialism some day off in the future, while constructing a Welfare state around capitalism in the present.  The criticisms I make of it are as follows:

1.  If you mean ‘socialism’ you should say ‘socialism’.  (‘Socialism’ meaning ‘the ownership and control of the means of production by the workers’).  I would expect fans of democratic socialism to call themselves ‘democratic socialists’, but I’ll go along with this mysterious ‘social democrat’ nomenclature if you like. 

2.  If enough people favor socialism to win elections, they could long since have realized socialism for themselves without the help of the government, by forming cooperatives, so the route of party politics and elections to realize socialism seems roundabout and fraught, as they say, with peril.

3.  The Welfare state is actually quite popular, so setting one up social-democrat style actually allies social democrats with conservatives and preserves capitalism.  (Gowans notes this.)  The history of the European and Canadian social-democratic parties with respect to progress toward socialism give evidence to support this view.

4.  Capital never rests, and sees regulation as not the rules of the game, but a problem to be overcome by any means necessary.  Usually this is accomplished through regulatory capture.  This seems to be thus far an unsolved problem for believers in a democratic transition away from capitalism.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 31, 2011 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

so•cial•ism [ s?sh? lìz?m ]
 
1.  political system of communal ownership: a political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles

2.  movement based on socialism: a political movement based on principles of socialism, typically advocating an end to private property and to the exploitation of workers

3.  stage between capitalism and communism: in Marxist theory, the stage after the proletarian revolution when a society is changing from capitalism to communism, marked by pay distributed according to work done rather than need

Hold on there; Democratic Socialism and Socialism as classically defined are not one and the same. A form of Democratic Socialism has been instituted in Europe and in the States formerly a part of the Soviet Union. The avowed future goal of Democratic Socialists is not communism; it is democratic socialism. Social Democrats do not consider Karl Marx to be an omniscient soothsayer, but merely a theoretician of limited and didactic perspective. Societies where Democratic Socialism is practiced i.e. (societies that practice a form of democratic socialism) are replete with Capitalists, Nationalists, etc. democratic socialism in these societies receives its legitimacy at the ballot box. It’s interesting to note that capitalist ideologues that arose in failed communist states quickly fell from favor, and their espoused ideology also failed to adequately provide for the “General Welfare.”

The glaring and indisputable failures of communism came into existence “...from the barrel of a gun,” not from the ballot box. Failed communist systems did not include the “stage between capitalism and communism” there was a quantum leap between agrarian quasi-feudal societies into a bastardized version of communism that was totalitarian and repressive. Those States where communism failed have reverted back to quasi- capitalism, a kind of totalitarian capitalism e.g. China, or to representative democratic socialism.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 31, 2011 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

wel•fare [ wél fèr ]
 
1.  well-being: somebody’s state or condition with respect to whether he or she is healthy, safe, happy, or prospering

2.  work to improve people’s welfare: efforts, especially on the part of government and institutions, to ensure that the physical, social, and financial conditions under which people live are satisfactory

3.  aid to people in need: financial aid and other benefits for people who are unemployed, below a specific income level, or otherwise requiring assistance, especially when provided by a government agency or program
Synonyms: well-being, interests, happiness, good, safety, health, prosperity

The term “Welfare State,” has been successfully disparaged in the common lexicon and it has come to mean a State where people are lazy and expect to be provided for. Orwell would be proud. Note that our Founding Fathers included the goal of promoting the “General Welfare” in the one and only sentence that comprises the Preamble to the Constitution.

gen•er•al [ jénn?r?l ]
 
1.  overall: relating to or including all or nearly all of the members of a category, group, or whole

2.  usual: applying or happening in most cases

3.  widespread: shared or participated in by many

Synonyms: overall, universal, all-purpose, wide-ranging, broad, common, broad-spectrum

Setting aside the duplicity and hypocrisy of our Founding Fathers, I’ll proffer that the espoused goal eloquently and idealistically stated in the Preamble to the Constitution is best provided by social democracy. Promoting the “General Welfare” and not the inordinate welfare of the few; the few having demonstrated their propensity for predatory behavior; preying on the many, of all the lower social stratums, including the relatively well off, and the abjectly poor throughout the world.

I don’t suppose that social democracy will eliminate all the depredations in the world, but I do believe that social democracy is now the best system of governance to accomplish promoting the “General Welfare.” Reactionary, authoritarian, dialectic asserts that only capitalism can serve the “General Welfare,” in spite of the magnitude of evidence to the contrary.

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By Anarcissie, October 30, 2011 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

ardee—I still don’t understand why, if you mean ‘socialism’ you don’t say ‘socialism’, but don’t get all het up about it.

GradyLeeHoward—many of the proposals you mention for this alleged Constitutional Convention, like the abandonment of imperialism and perpetual war, would represent a radical break with the recent past (by which I mean the period since World War 2). 

I did a Google search and half the hits turned out to be reprints or rehashes of a right-wing attack on the idea, giving few and probably inaccurate details.  It occurred to me that having a number of zombie sites funded by you-know-who would be a way of crowding ideas the Right didn’t like off the search engine results.

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By GradyLeeHoward, October 30, 2011 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

What we say here, or what Chris Hedges and Amy
Goodman say on the Charlie Rose Show really doesn’t
matter because we and they are not participating
in OWS General Assemblies. My politics are old
timey and pretty close to those of Noam Chomsky but
I find that OWS is issuing a Declaration and
organizing a Constitutional Convention for July 4th
2012 that is very different from what I would wish.
The planks of that Declaration are practical and
stem from consensus hopes. They resemble things
you’d see any middle-of-the-roader say on any forum
any day. They want campaign fiance reform,
abolishment of the FED, proper taxation of the rich
and Wall Street, stronger financial regulation,
prosecution of economic crime, end to foreign wars
and perpetual war, moratorium on foreclosure and
student loan debt and healthcare for all under a
single payer. It is difficult to oppose any of this
considering recent events. They have some things
about abolishing teacher tenure I don’t quite get
and a simplification of the tax structure that is
not completely thought out. I suggest that all
posters here at least search and read this simple
Declaration and fins a way to gain input.

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By ardee, October 30, 2011 at 4:12 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 29 at 8:28 pm

Your responses to this conversation are about as shallow and seemingly tongue in cheek as anything I have read from any of the bottom feeders who come and go here.

Previous to this encounter I had seldom agreed with your positions but did admire the thoughtful presentation of them.

No longer. You are acting like a silly and ill informed pre-teen posting for effect rather than content or passion, sorry to note and your refusal to acknowledge the corrections to your stupid one liners indicates some sort of personal problem perhaps.

I trust the real Anarcissie will return soon.

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By Anarcissie, October 29, 2011 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

Let me add that I have frequently seen the term social democracy used to indicate not a program to transition to or develop socialism, but to create a Welfare state, which is actually an antisocialist program.  Since there seems to be some ambiguity about the term, I shall desist from using it in the future when possible.  In your case I will assume that by ‘social democracy’ you mean ‘socialism’ (as I define it).  Will that serve to cool your evidently fevered brow?

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By Anarcissie, October 29, 2011 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

ardee—It seems to me that if your goal is socialism, that is, the ownership and control of the means of production by the workers—a sensible and practical goal which is not utopian at all—then you should say so.  What’s the problem?

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By ardee, October 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 29 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

If your aim is socialism, I suggest you say so and do so.

Surely you cannot be this dumb. How many times must I repeat myself before something sinks into that obviously atrophied brain. Sorry to be rude but I find your posing rather imbecilic.

Yes—censured for politeness—, socialism is the ultimate goal. I knew you utopian seekers were not altogether there, but never expected such blatant proof.

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By Anarcissie, October 29, 2011 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

If your aim is socialism, I suggest you say so and do so.

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By ardee, October 29, 2011 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 29 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

Last time I looked, the social democratic political order was a species of capitalism.

“FREE ANARCISSIE!”“FREE ANARCISSIE!”“FREE ANARCISSIE!”

It seems, with this latest (lack of) effort on her part she must be freed from the prison of her own self-limited view and refusal to see what others plainly post.

Anarcissie when ,I wonder, will you see the absurdity of your position, coming as it does in a discussion where two posters pointed out the incorrect definition of social democracy you offer.

In the interest of polite debate allow me to offer what you once apparently ignored. I trust you do not wish to become a caricature:

Allow me to (re)edumacate you, dear lady:

Definitions of social democracy (n)
so·cial de·moc·ra·cy

principle of gradual shift to socialism: the political belief that a change from capitalism to socialism can be achieved gradually and democratically

Synonyms: egalitarian, populist, republican, social democrat, constitutionalist, moderate

  See full definition ·
  Encarta World English Dictionary

  Social democracy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    History ·
    Ideology ·
    Political parties ·
    Criticisms

  Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism ...
  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy
  Social democracy - Definition | WordIQ.com

  Social democracy is a political ideology emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from supporters of Marxism who believed that the transition to a socialist ...
  http://www.wordiq.com/?definition/?Social_?democracy
  social democracy: Definition from Answers.com

n. A political theory advocating the use of democratic means to achieve a gradual transition from capitalism to socialism. social democrat social democrat n. social ...
  http://www.answers.com/topic/social-democrats
  Social democracy - Definition and More from the Free Merriam ...

  Definition of SOCIAL DEMOCRACY. 1: a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means
  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/?social%?20democracy

Caps added as you seem either resistant to learning or perhaps something rather worse. Hope they helped.

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By Anarcissie, October 29, 2011 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

Last time I looked, the social democratic political order was a species of capitalism.  A capitalist society is one in which the ruling class consists mainly of capitalists and their more important friends and fans.  A capitalist society is a class-based society, one in which an elite own and control the means of production and another class supplies the laborers and consumers for this production.  ‘The means of production’ include the media, the education industry, the medical industry, the cop-and-prison industry, the war industry.  For example, the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden.  Social democracy (as I use the term) is supposed to mitigate the more unpleasant effects of capitalism through regulation and limited redistribution of the social product.  In other words, the ruling class buys off the ruled class with various goodies, thereby achieving stability.  No?  If you find my description incorrect I’ll have to find different terms.  If you are talking about the workers owning and controlling their means of production, then (in my vocabulary) the word you want is ‘socialism’.

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By ardee, October 29, 2011 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 28 at 5:19 pm

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

I do not wish to feud with you, only to seek decent debate. I know you to be far more intelligent that your (on purpose?) distortion of the mechanisms of social democracy would indicate. This tactic is beneath you and not at all your usual style.

Please, dear lady, return to citing facts and insights and leave (clumsy) propaganda to those more expert at it.

No apologies necessary, lets move on shall we?

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By nestron, October 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I dont believe the main problem facing the movement
(if it can truly be called that yet) is distrust of white liberal activists by the “activist” poor and minority communities, becasue they “have ignored” the needs of minoroities. This is the opinion of someone who has spoent relavtively way more time chained to fences and holding signs than is good for getting a right perspective. methods “for making sure minority and womens voices are heard before white males” is old hat in all of the anarchist dominated protest movements going back to the late 60’s. the biggest problem is that the poor in America, including minorities, are mostly hostile to left wing activism. they are completely under the influence inebriated by the i-want-to-win-the-lottery-and-become-a-slum-lord-myself, “anyone can be rich in america if you figure out the system” narcosis. the reality is that drugs and despair and the plentitude of jails and prisons eat them up. you have to convince them that

1. they ARE NEVER GOING TO WIN THE FUCKING LOTTERY AND GET TO BE SALUMLORDS THEMSELVES.and then

2. after that sinks in, you have to get the bottle, or the crack pipe or the handgun and and stickup mask out thier hands and convince them that they can make a revolution.
Marx was dismissive of them and focused all his efforts on working class proletarian revolution. the problem in America is, SUPRISE!!! the working class proletarians are trying to win the lottery and get promoted via night school, so they can become rich suit wearing managers and buy lots of stuff. good luck. I think that information, counter-propaganda, and efforts at educating the poor and working class as to just how dire the situation is, is probably the more needed first step. the OWS movement has been good in showing that thier are still at least 3 or 4 thousand living, breathing, members of the left still at large in America, which is good, becasue wildlife biologists had actually place that estimate much lower

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By Anarcissie, October 28, 2011 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

Won’t you have to get out of your box to get me out of mine?

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By oddsox, October 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, you’re my favorite anarchist, too.

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By ardee, October 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

“FREE ANARCISSIE!”“FREE ANARCISSIE!”“FREE ANARCISSIE!”

I am making up signage and will support any effort to actually free my favorite anarchist from the chains of her own refusal to engage with fairness.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie is opposed to good government, because it would make government look good.

She has wrapped herself inside the black flag of anarchy, and placed herself inside the black box of anarchy. She is unwilling to think outside that box because doing so would make her look bad… if you get my meaning. She’s pretty much trapped inside a black box. “FREE ANARCISSIE!” should be our rallying cry.

Seriously, DOWN WITH WALLSTRRET! POWER TO THE PEOPLE! LONG LIVE SOCIAL DEMOCRACY! FREE ANARCISSIE! (In spite of herself.)

No, really seriously, SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, SI! ANARCISSIE, NO!

Really, really seriously, Ardee is absolutely correct when pointing out the virtues of Social Democracy. Let me put in my two cents. Socialism: achieved via the ballot box, that governs by popular mandate, that does not repress opposition, subject to repeal at the ballot box, that Nationalizes the public welfare, that Nationalizes the commons, that promotes the welfare of the many, that revokes the unwarranted privilege of the very few, that rewards the meritorious with recognition rather than with obscene wealth, and recognizes that all good people have merit. Achieving such would be far, far, from easy, but it would be worth the effort. Achieving such can only be achieved in increments, increments that will be hard fought, just as all increments have been hard fought. Incremental improvement is the most that we alive today can hope for, but it’s worth the effort, and a better paradigm will come into existence if we have merit.

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By ardee, October 28, 2011 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

And I don’t see why we need a special elite to own and control our means of production, run the government, start wars, hire cops and spies to watch everything, and live high on the hog at our expense.

I do understand full well that you “don’t understand” dear Anarcissie. If you did “understand” you would not continue to post such calumnies , slanders and mistaken definitions of “social democracy”. I really,truly hope you are not doing this on purpose, in order to make an invalid point from several invalid assumptions.

You aren’t by chance channeling Bill O’Reilly currently, are you? Actually your mistaken or pusposely obtuse mis-defining of the topic at hand can be noted to be a precise definition of our current form of governance.

Allow me to edumacate you, dear lady:

Definitions of social democracy (n)
so·cial de·moc·ra·cy

  principle of gradual shift to socialism: the political belief that a change from capitalism to socialism can be achieved gradually and democratically

Synonyms: egalitarian, populist, republican, social democrat, constitutionalist, moderate

  See full definition ·
  Encarta World English Dictionary

  Social democracy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      History ·
      Ideology ·
      Political parties ·
      Criticisms

  Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism ...
  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy
  Social democracy - Definition | WordIQ.com

  Social democracy is a political ideology emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from supporters of Marxism who believed that the transition to a socialist ...
  http://www.wordiq.com/?definition/?Social_?democracy
  social democracy: Definition from Answers.com

  n. A political theory advocating the use of democratic means to achieve a gradual transition from capitalism to socialism. social democrat social democrat n. social ...
  http://www.answers.com/topic/social-democrats
  Social democracy - Definition and More from the Free Merriam ...

  Definition of SOCIAL DEMOCRACY. 1: a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means
  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/?social%?20democracy

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By Anarcissie, October 28, 2011 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Ardee—I’m just reading history and applying the patterns I notice to various people’s plans for the future.

Logically, it seems to me that if capitalists, however regulated, remain in charge, they will simply capture the regulation and the regulators.  That’s what’s happened in the past, as Mimi and Eunice note. 

And I don’t see why we need a special elite to own and control our means of production, run the government, start wars, hire cops and spies to watch everything, and live high on the hog at our expense.

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By ardee, October 28, 2011 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

The only thing your link shows, Anarcissie,  is that you are able to evade a proper response to a legitimate question. You seek to denigrate the idea of a social democracy by citing current conditions that would be altered under such governance. I do expect much more from you.

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By ardee, October 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 27 at 7:52 am

I understand your need to defend your own personal political philosophy. But your purposely negative opinion about social democracy’s ability to heal ,mend and make better is exactly that, your own opinion.

The whole idea hinges around the fact that corporations will be regulated, a fact you dismiss as leaving them in charge. They will be in charge, but only of their own business,the practices associated with that business will be overseen. Unlike today, the people will be in charge.

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By oddsox, October 27, 2011 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

@screamingpalm:
“Oh by the way, I can’t relate to the lucky barnyard animals that still have their youth, but do you have any signs for us Boxers sitting here at the glue factory?”

How about:
Keep Workin’—You’ll Get Yours in the End.

You’re a funny guy.

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By ray d, October 27, 2011 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

A complete Spanish version of Chris Hedges’ last week’s column “A Movement Too Big to Fail,” can be read and disseminated through this link: http://cholericserpent.blogspot.com/2011/10/un-movimiento-muy-grande-para-caer.html

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By omop, October 27, 2011 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Pour Anarcissie. Spot on.

There’s class warfare, all right, but its my class, the rich class that’s
making war and we’re winning’ - Warren Buffet

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By Anarcissie, October 27, 2011 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

Many people have ideas about what to do about capitalism, but they don’t have the same ideas.  The most popular solution is social democracy, that is, the Welfare state, in which the more dangerous and destructive capitalist practices are regulated and some of the social product is given up by those with the widest, strongest grasp in exchange for social stability.  In other words, people want to get the good part (more and more and more stuff) without the bad part.

However, as we observe, this doesn’t work, because capitalists and their fans are still basically in charge of everything, and being the most aggressive and power-hungry people in the population, scheme constantly and successfully to weaken and defeat the system.  That is now happening here (North America) and in Europe.

But most people have not yet drawn the obvious conclusion.

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By screamingpalm, October 27, 2011 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

And I would take it a step further, simplified for the benefit of regular barnyard animals and sign carriers:
“Crush Cronyism, Keep Capitalism.”

Oh by the way, I can’t relate to the lucky barnyard animals that still have their youth, but do you have any signs for us Boxers sitting here at the glue factory?

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By screamingpalm, October 27, 2011 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

So, screamingpalm, can we agree upon the need for true checks and balances?

Absolutely!!!!

And believe me, you are correct with the semantics, but in Virginia, the “Death” is very much implied (and very much ironically). smile

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By oddsox, October 27, 2011 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

screamingpalm:

Sic Semper Tyrannis means Thus (or So) Always to Tyrants.
Not literally “death,” though that is the meaning oft intended, and what John Wilkes Booth meant on the stage of Ford’s Theater after fatally shooting Lincoln.
You note Virginia’s state motto & an additional irony is that Booth himself was killed there.

As for the Orwellian “Four legs good, two legs better,” I prefer Baron Acton’s “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Animal Farm shows that corruption occurs as a process, an important reminder when we initially endow the well-intended with such power.

So, screamingpalm, can we agree upon the need for true checks and balances?

Whether it be through trade law, fair competition,  separation of powers or 3rd party options (another form of trias politica). Yes?

And I would take it a step further, simplified for the benefit of regular barnyard animals and sign carriers:
“Crush Cronyism, Keep Capitalism.”

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By omop, October 27, 2011 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

Capitalists know exactly what to do to protect themselves.

http://www.alternet.org/story/152875/wall_street_firms_spy_on_protester
s_in_tax-funded_center?page=entire

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By cpb, October 26, 2011 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

“Many agree that capitalism is the problem, but few agree on what to do about it.”

- Anarcissie

Actually I would posit that ‘many’ rather than ‘few’ have plenty of ideas as to what to do about it.  Flip that on it’s head; a few powerful interests promote and reinforce the dominance of capitaliosm while at the same time working to defeat, divide and subvert any significant challenge to said dominance. 

OCCUPY THE PLANET!

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By screamingpalm, October 26, 2011 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

Just thought I’d leave this here since I enjoy irony so much. smile

http://www.licensepl8s.com/dcimages/dcflat.jpg

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By screamingpalm, October 26, 2011 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

By oddsox, October 26 at 7:26 pm

@screamingpalm: when futon writes “the American revolution was about the opportunity to live free from monarchy and oppression, to be your own man,”
he speaks for himself and for me, so that’s a “we.”
I don’t agree with the majority of his thoughts and ideas for reform, but I believe at least “we” could talk and work together towards finding common ground and real solutions.

The “we” refers to the rest of that post, but the “four legs good, two legs better” shoe still fits. Ironically, one only needs to look to another article here on TD to see how that “be your own man” thing is working out for us. http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/protesters_set_their_sights_on_wal-mart_20111026/

However, I do enjoy the silliness of huffing and puffing about slave owning, centuries old politicians’ visions and deires for an agriculture-based society as if we can still relate and have the same interests, needs, and desires as a nation.

Reminds me of the state motto of Virginia, where I used to reside: “Sic Semper Tyrannis” (Death Always to Tyrants). Hilarious or tragic, not sure which (perhaps both).

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By oddsox, October 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment

@screamingpalm: when futon writes “the American revolution was about the opportunity to live free from monarchy and oppression, to be your own man,”
he speaks for himself and for me, so that’s a “we.”
I don’t agree with the majority of his thoughts and ideas for reform, but I believe at least “we” could talk and work together towards finding common ground and real solutions.

@anarcissie, you write:

“Many agree that capitalism is the problem, but few agree on what to do about it.”

Yes, and once you’d agree that capitalism ISN’T the problem, solutions would present themselves upon which you might agree.

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By RayLan, October 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

The only solution to capitalism is regulation to the point of socialism.

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By David J. Cyr, October 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE, of a corporate party operative avatar hiding behind a painting in many shades of (D)evious blue:

“Criticisms of the Democratic Party are valid and the Democratic Party has proven itself to be inadequate in achieving goals shared with Occupy Wall Street, but the obstacle to achieving shared goals should be obvious to those not politically myopic. That obstacle is the Republican Party.”
____________________

REALITY CHECK:

What’s the “obstacle” responsible for the police riot repression of the Occupy Movement in Oakland?

Is it those nasty Republicans that the corporate party uses to intimidate people into voting for the corporate party’s Democrats? No!

Oakland is solidly corporate party Democrat controlled:

Mayor: Jean Quan (D)

CA Senate: Loni Hancock (D)

CA Assembly: Nancy Skinner (D), Sandre Swanson (D), Mary Hayashi (D)

US Congress: Barbara Lee (D)

If the protesters wanted more of the corporate party’s Democrats to not do any good when they can, then they wouldn’t be protesting now because Democrats didn’t do any good when they could have.

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

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By screamingpalm, October 26, 2011 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

By futon, October 25 at 11:22 am
the American revolution was about the opportunity to live free from monarchy and oppression, to be your own man.

“four legs good, two legs better”.

By the way, when you say “we”, you mean “you”, right?

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By Anarcissie, October 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

Many agree that capitalism is the problem, but few agree on what to do about it.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 26, 2011 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

“Occupiers Have to Convince the Other 99 Percent”:

Is it Hedges’ contention that Occupy Wall Street is a grass roots lobbying group; lobbying: the American people, Wall Street, our Government, the other 99 percent? If so, to what end? I personally don’t believe that Occupy Wall Street’s lobbying will moderate Wall Street’s behavior in any significant way, nor do I believe that Occupy Wall Street’s lobbying will have any significant impact on the sycophants of Wall Street.

According to the most recent CBS/New York Times Poll 66% percent of those polled believe that wealth should be more evenly distributed. The same poll shows that 25% of those polled have a favorable view of Occupy Wall Street, 17% are undecided, and 36% haven’t heard enough to offer an opinion. The CBS/New York Times poll shows that of those polled, 19% of Republicans, 54% of Democrats, and 48% of Independents have a, “Favorable view” of Occupy Wall Street. The opinions of the “Liberal Class” are not measured by the poll smile

According to the most recent Pew Research Center/Washington Post Poll 63% of Republicans “Strongly or somewhat support” the Tea Party, while 13% of Democrats “Strongly or somewhat” support the Tea Party; again no mention of the “Liberal Class.” Other Polls mirror these two polls except that there are indications that Occupy Wall Street has lost support this past week. (Examining polling data can be instructive but further posting of poll results is beyond the scope of this comment. The results of the most recent and credible polls are available at pollingreport.com.)

Traditionally lobbyists have had clear goals in mind in terms of legislation. It would appear that Occupy Wall Street’s primary goal is to highlight perceived abuses in terms of Wall Street abuses, unjust distribution of wealth, and government’s failure to adequately address perceived abuses. Occupy Wall Street eschews political allegiance and affiliation. Occupy Wall Street’s goal[s] are evident, but one wonders how Occupy Wall Street’s goals can have tangible political results without either becoming a viable political force in and of itself in terms of legislation, or by affiliating with existing political entities that legislate and share in Occupy Wall Street’s primary goals.

If one wonders if I am attempting to co-opt Occupy Wall Street into the big tent that encompasses the Democratic Party, let me assure you that, yes I am. Of the viable political parties only the Democratic Party shares the primary goal of Occupy Wall Street.

Criticisms of the Democratic Party are valid and the Democratic Party has proven itself to be inadequate in achieving goals shared with Occupy Wall Street, but the obstacle to achieving shared goals should be obvious to those not politically myopic. That obstacle is the Republican Party.

Personally, I see Wall Street not so much as the disease but as a symptom of the disease. I will now alienate myself from most, and give fodder to the Right by stating my belief that the disease is Capitalism and that Wall Street is only one of many painful symptoms of the disease. Capitalism is a tired old paradigm but it has grown to be a leviathan corrupting all the economies and nations of the world by my appraisal. The argument from capitalists is that capitalism and democracy are one and the same and that only the paradigm of capitalism can serve the best interests of humankind. I will suggest that the evidence to the contrary is manifest. It can be well argued that capitalism has corrupted democracy through its agents and that humankind is not best served by capitalism.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 26, 2011 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

Just for the sake of argument, suppose that I am correct in my analysis of Capitalism’s perfidy and given that Democrats are among the agents of capitalism, why would I advocate for support of Democrats? It’s is a simple matter of being realistic. The leviathan of capitalism can not be immediately overthrown without a bloody conflagration, and the potential for a bloody conflagration to overthrow capitalism becoming a reality is so remote that rational people do not believe it to have any possibility of occurring, nor do rational people want such a bloody conflagration to occur. I personally would much prefer the depredations of capitalism to a bloody conflagration. Rational people would prefer the bloody conflagrations be the work of capitalism and not the work of their own hands.

In all seriousness, and without being flippant about an issue of the utmost importance, I will proffer that the leviathan of capitalism can only be dismantled in increments and at present the abuses of capitalism can only be moderated, and it is the Democratic Party that is the only viable political entity, at present, that seeks to moderate the abuses of capitalism. Such is political reality, unappealing as it may be.

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By Harry Vest, October 26, 2011 at 8:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

” We live in a nation where it is legally permissible for corporations to hold sick
children hostage while their parents bankrupt themselves trying to save their sons
and daughters. That is the sickness we’ve descended to.” - Chris Hedges
Quit picking this guy apart piece by piece - this is the truth, laid out for all to see.
Quit nitpicking about “hippies” and who and who wasn’t real in the 60’s…this is
EXACTLY what the enemy would want us to do. So stick to the basics and realize
that the quote above is THE truth and we should do something about it!!!

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By bcdad, October 26, 2011 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

‘process to make sure marginalized voices are heard before white males.’
Unequal treatment based on skin color and gender is just more racism/sexism. We don’t need more of it.

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By oddsox, October 26, 2011 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

@exploitedtimes:
ON TRICKLE-DOWN:
was just talking w/a neighbor about that. 
We know for sure it works the other way—dung rolls downhill.
The other “opposite” is viewpoint is the Keynesian “trickle up.” 
That government money pumped into the system will stimulate the economy and generate jobs. 
I used to believe that as an absolute, but not anymore. 

CORPORATE LAWYER?
No, I’m not a corporate lawyer.
You write that if I were, my “patronage would be insulting.”
But if I were, my calls for anti-trust action against the big banks would be treasonous!

You write: “none of the levers of power are controlled by the people” and we’re in “an inverted totalitarian state.” 
That’s where we disagree, and why from here we can only part with mutual respect and good wishes.

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By Leefeller, October 26, 2011 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

Since we live in a representative democracy, I feel my ridiculous concept of one person one dollar and one vote becomes ludicrous when faced with the massive extent and reality of opportunism’s and potential manipulations unveiled by omop’s previous post, for the potential of it being true as fact seems highly probable as it is possible.

The building blocks of world wide economic domination by a few may have set its final block last year when set by the stranger then ficion United States Supreme Courts Decision allowing corporations to be people too.

Now the real possibility in the existence of the 1 percent world wide makes this even deeper doo doo than anticipated or potentially surmised in my limited comprehension.  This is affecting not just me and the people of our once nation,  I suppose this clears the smoke to show the 99 percent as the worlds populations in the same sinking boat.

If Occupy Wall Street has done anything, it has brought me face to face with the ugly reality of how insignificant I and my fellows in the populous of the world are how should see and count ourselves in the grand scheme of things. We do not mean anything, this explains the Republicans supported by copious amounts of ugly filthy money. 

Long live the filthy rich, for the worlds 99 percent the populous are all marginalized now.

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By omop, October 26, 2011 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

Just for Hedges critics.

ENJOY.

Student loans outstanding according to ABC news $950 BILLION.


The 147 Banks and Super-Companies that Run The Entire World
Economy

The 1% indeed: a new study of the global economy and wealth
concentration has identified a complex system of only 147 banks and
corporations around the world which share in the largest chunk of the
change. While that number might not seem too shocking to those of us
paying attention, this study, “by a trio of complex systems theorists at
the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go
beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power,” writes
New Scientist. In other words: valuable data which will not only
strengthen OWS’ political arguments but will help us identify whether,
and how, the global economy is unstable.

  The work, to be published in PLoS One, revealed a core of 1318
companies with interlocking ownerships (see image). Each of the 1318
had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were
connected to 20. What’s more, although they represented 20 per cent of
global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own
through their shares the majority of the world’s large blue chip and
manufacturing firms - the “real” economy - representing a further 60
per cent of global revenues.

  When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found
much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly
knit companies - all of their ownership was held by other members of
the super-entity - that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the
network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to
control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were
financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan
Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group. [...]

  “It’s disconcerting to see how connected things really are,” agrees
George Sugihara of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla,
California, a complex systems expert who has advised Deutsche Bank.

For OWS purposes: Merrill Lynch is at number 10, Goldman Sachs at 18,
Morgan Stanley 21, Bank of America sits at 25. Number one? Barclays,
which currently helps fund Robert Mugabe, among other things. The
scientists in the study were split on whether economic concentration
necessarily amounted to political power, but it’s certainly a porous
distinction in some places. Read the full summary and list at New
Scientist.


By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at October 24, 2011, 6:43 am

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By groobiecat, October 26, 2011 at 4:40 am Link to this comment

@ Maitri

Well said. Reviling the other is divisive and ineffective, and it smacks of the very
people who are opposed to this movement. Can we all agree that democrats are
ineffective at serious change—some of them, maybe even most of them—are not
very different from republicans. But if this is to be a movement of the many, and
not the few, then certainly CH will have to do more than talk about how the #OWS
will have to convince the “other 99%.” He himself needs to start doing that—I love
irony, but in this case, not so much…

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By exploitedtimes, October 26, 2011 at 4:40 am Link to this comment

@ Cliff Carson,

Thanks, I understand the loopholes and rates etc. My point was to illuminate the fact that theories such as this one are presented and used as tools of deception. The merits of the theory itself are continuously argued because theoretically, it can create jobs! Never mind the actual facts on the street, such as GE receiving over $2 billion in tax refunds while simultaneously killing over 10,000 US jobs - tax breaks create jobs! (In theory)

In this way we are distracted from what is actually happening while talking heads and theorists hash it out in the abstract. Propaganda successfully administered.

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By groobiecat, October 26, 2011 at 4:33 am Link to this comment

@ EmileZ,

I hope you didn’t work too hard on your comment.
>> I acknowledge that I’m a little all over he place; I didn’t edit it or restructure
it before I posted it, and I apologize for that.  I understand your need to defend
your intellectual hero, and thus to attack people who would attack him, rather
than deal with the substance of their comments.

“It was kind of shitty (and didn’t really go anywhere).”

>>. I made a number of points that your comment ignores. I do find it ironic,
however, that CH constantly meanders from academic pontification to real-
world concerns—back to academic phrasings and then to the inevitable
“liberals suck” theme. But hey, in fact, I raised a number of issues: a) CH is
condescending and pedantic and outlines an orthodoxy that doesn’t really exist
in the real world. b) liberals are not all evil, as CH loves to repeat ad nauseum.
c) Multiculturalism, which CH attacks as ineffectual and weak, is not a joke.
Trying to accept others who are different and integrate these ideals into our
culture is what a *lot* of so-called “liberals” do, and it’s great work. But CH
dismisses it out of hand. d) I prefer CH in videos, because he’s much less
vicious toward the liberal class—when he was on Charlie Rose the other day
with Amy Goodman, he was brilliant. But get him some scotch and a laptop, and
christ, he turns into a reactionary against the fey and oh-so-misguided liberals.
You know, the folks who passed the gay marriage laws in the states, like
Vermont? All liberals—fakers! The liberals who passed the civil rights act?
Buncha *losers*! Those who insist in diversity education in our schools? Liberal
lackies of the system, man. Yeah! Ugh. You don’t understand my points, I’m
guessing, but this is what infuriates me. CH implies that only those who adhere
to his orthodoxy “get it.”  Have you actually read this guy’s work, or do you just
skim through it?

Who is really demonizing here???

>> Who is _____ really demonizing here? Missing a noun? A pronoun? I guess
I’m not the only one who knocked out a hurried reply, eh? But to answer your
poorly question: Liberals and the liberal class are being demonized—again and
again and again, and for the love of pete, it gets old. Again, have you read his
work? And my poorly worded point was that not everyone in the movement is a
pure, enlightened soul who has cast off the false pretense and insidious shell of
“liberalism,” and that in fact, many people in the movement actually consider
themselves liberal.

The underlying assumption of all of CH’s views is this: only anarchists and true
revolutionaries are “of the body,” and anyone who thinks we can modify this
system is a threat—read, “liberal class”—because the system is beyond repair.
CH doesn’t offer any realistic application for his ivory tower view, only scorn for
those stupid enough to believe that the entire system has to be burned to the
ground. Or is that his solution? Hard to know, because the only thing he’s good
at in these posts (not in his videos) is the advocacy of marginalizing the “liberal
class.” Christ, I hate academic pedantics. There’s no humanity in and there’s no
recognition of what people—who aren’t “ideology delivery mechanisms”—are
all about in the real world.

“Are you positive it is not you who is attempting to fit everything into a neat
little world???”

>> Yes, I’m positive. I’m also positive that liberals are people, and if we’re
going to create a movement of 99%, then that includes liberals too. CH acts like
the only person hurt by ineffectual democrats—he’s not.

Not editing this either.

Peace.

http://www.groobiecat.blogspot.com

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By exploitedtimes, October 26, 2011 at 4:26 am Link to this comment

@ futon,

I don’t worry about Tvs and SUVs. You said you ‘sweat blood’ to afford them.

I’ll let that sit again.

In your next post you said America doesn’t steal oil but acknowledge turning Iraq into a wasteland for oil. You say war defines us and your post indicates you accept the status quo of killing for oil as the will of the American people and their votes. I applaud your honesty; most deny this.

I personally don’t share that view but fear the majority of Americans do share your view, though I also believe this majority is in denial about these issues and doesn’t have the balls to admit it. They prefer to regard America as a saviour and believe the images and storylines on TV; this is much more palatable than the cold truth you warmly embrace.

Your perspective is harsh and realistic. You own it with no apologies and that is honest. I disagree specifically in that it seems clear America does steal oil. If you mean it pays for it in the costs of war, I agree, but still classify it as stealing, if you respect sovereign states, which you may not. Some believe the world is for the taking. I also disagree in that beyond economics America didn’t/doesn’t give a shit about the Korean people or any other people including its own; this is historically evidenced in policy and action. Like you say it’s a business and profits matter, not people - they are external costs and collateral damage.

I respect your views but don’t share them, and again concur you are likely among the majority and I the minority. At least you have the balls to defend your views instead of hiding behind bullshit.

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By futon, October 26, 2011 at 2:47 am Link to this comment

exploited times worries that americans drive SUVs and watch big screen TVs. If that’s the worst thing we do, we are lucky. as for wasting innocent lives to steal oil, nobody in the military is innocent.
People who volunteer to fight and kill for a living are not innocent. and we do not steal oil.Oil is owned by the country who has it and we must pay for it.  Exxon pays for oil and we pay Exxon. the saudi princes are worth billions and are paid for every drop of oil they have. America runs on oil- this is a fact of life.  Until that changes,we must have oil and plenty of it.
there it is- a cold hard fact.  that doesn’t mean Exxon has to own the federal govt. and it doesn’t mean our elected officials have to vote in favor of invading other countries.Dems and repubs both voted for war and allowed Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld to turn Iraq
into a wasteland. Military contractors made billions and still do, because WAR is a business. Its profitable and creates jobs.War is a constant on the planet and peace is an illusion.Without War, human beings would not be complete- it defines us.
so, whether its oil or land or revenge or whatever, war is part of civilization. and nobody profits more from war than wall street. get it?

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By Michael P MacDonald, October 26, 2011 at 2:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let us not forget the HUGE number of poor and working class whites. This
population is even MORE ignored by the liberal class than people of color are
(given the liberal obsession with multi culturalism and identity politics). Yes we
have to bring poor and working class people into the fold, “Poor People of ALL
Colors,” as Cornel West says.

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By Maitri, October 25, 2011 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment

I wish Hedges would stop repeating the same, tired, negative stereotypes, most of which were created and disseminated by right-wing, pro-war voices in the media and politics, about those who participated in the sixties and seventies counterculture.  If there was any central theme to the movement it was, “Think for yourself; question authority.”  Other than that, there was no universally agreed upon dogma. 
And that is what I loved the most about that time in history and that point in my life.  I was, for perhaps the only time in my life before or since, part of a movement that respected my right to think and do as I pleased, based not on outside authority but my own inner wisdom.
A Puritan or a prude would not approve of every one of my actions during that time.  If I was in a committed relationship I had sex.  I smoked pot and dropped LSD on several occasions and, just as Steve Jobs later noted, it changed my irrevocably and forever for the better.  I studied eastern philosophy and realized the inner and outer realms are not separate.  The outer world you create is a reflection of your inner state, so efforts to attain true equanimity of mind is not a selfish act; it confers a deep humility on those who attain it and allows them to see God in their fellow human beings.  It allows them to love even those they must defy in non-violent political action.
Martin Luther King took his inspiration from Gandhi, a man who avidly practiced meditation and other spiritual practices and saw no contradiction between his quest for enlightenment and his devotion to non-violent civil disobedience.  Both aspects of his life informed and enriched the other. 
To my knowledge, Hedges shows no awareness of the importance of the inner journey toward greater awareness, peace, love and final union with God.  How odd for a person who attended divinity school and whose younger life was steeped in religion.

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By Pamela, October 25, 2011 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris surely is dead right on the core issue in his article:  this ‘revolution’ will only work when all segments of society will join hands and stop thinking that it is not their business when a different group protests.  Take a close look at the history of social protest in ‘socialist’ Poland and you’ll see the pattern laid out as in a textbook: there were workers’ protests, by-and-large ignored by students and ‘intellectuals’, there were student protests, ignored by workers for much the same -and fully understandable- reasons as Chris cites in his article.
It was only when all segments of society joined hands and raised their voices in unison, that the Solidarity movement could take root and become the first domino piece of a process that in the end toppled communist rule. Another political system that had seemed invincible and there to stay forever as it had pervaded society at all levels, but in the end turned out to have so little popular support that it could not survive fearless mass resistance. It can be done!

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By David J. Cyr, October 25, 2011 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE, of an anonymous avatar corporate party operative hiding behind a painting in many shades of (D)evious blue:

“The Right is busily engaged in discrediting Occupy Wall Street in order to consolidate its base; co-opting Occupy Wall Street to serve its interests. The Left i.e. Democratic politicians, pundits, etc. are expressing sympathy with Occupy Wall Street’s complaints regarding Wall Street but not Occupy Wall Streets complaints regarding government; co-opting Occupy Wall Street to serve their interests, and third party advocates are attempting to co-opt Occupy Wall Street into a third party base… it can not serve to implement justice as it now exists unless the highlighting of injustice facilitates one of the existing political entities to implement justice, or to implement reforms towards justice.”
__________________

The corporate party’s devious Democrats are not now, and they never were any part of the Left — neither Old, nor New.

What’s needed is a 2nd party — not a 3rd — to oppose the firm solidarity of the evil partnership of Democrat brains and Republican balls that is the corporate party.

It’s the function of the corporate party’s Democrats to moderate or exterminate movements that rise from the Left… to ensure that either none, or the least possible change occurs.

Any politically active organization that is “nonpartisan” is effectively corporate party partisan.

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

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By Cliff Carson, October 25, 2011 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment

exploitedtimes, October 25 at 6:25 pm

Good comment.

But what is important when the Corporatist put out that old canard about the Corporate Tax Rate, etc., keep in mind that what matters is not what the rate is, but what “avoidance” is built in for the Elite and Corporatist, little things like “loopholes” make a mockery of that tax rate.

Although the Corporate rate is 35% - one of the highest- what the average Corporation forks over is about 8%, much less than what a Middle Class Individual has to fork over.

And if you look around you will find many, many, Corporations pulling in Billion of Dollars profit every Quarter, on top of another many who rake in Billions of Dollars in Subsidies, who don’t even pay one cent in taxes.

The Republican Party loves to chant the Tax Rate while the Corporations they serve pay nothing or next to nothing in taxes.

This is the foundation of the OWS movement - fairness to the other 99%.

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By exploitedtimes, October 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

@ oddsox,

A mile wide and an inch deep…

well said and we can agree there.

I wasn’t trying to ‘call’ you any names, rather I was noting your position is familiar. Based on your input here I wouldn’t be surprised if you were a corporate lawyer yourself, and if you were one, your patronage would be insulting.

There are plenty of fantastic theories out there that crash and burn when actually applied. Consider the ‘trickle down’ theory of taxation.  It says if we don’t tax the big guys, all the money and jobs will trickle down. Today many still claim it works and continue to argue we just need to lower the corporate tax rate even more, despite the fact it’s at an 80-year low. The pros and cons of the theory itself can be argued forever on paper, but it’s already been tested in the real world. This fact won’t stop the theorists and the flood of propaganda.

I have expressed several clear and hard reasons why your preferred systemic legal approach is not realistic and can’t work, and you have responded in classic centrist fashion by failing to directly address any of the existing concepts put forth which have contributed to the erosion and inefficacy of the system you remain adamant in supporting.

As long as as you fail to address the fact that none of the levers of power are controlled by the people, and adhere to the belief that you are living in a democracy, the discussion cannot evolve. In an inverted totalitarian state the people are conditioned to behave as though they were participating in a functioning democracy, and that is what you are doing. Maybe it’s on purpose, maybe not. Good luck either way.

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By Anarcissie, October 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

Actually, democracy, taken seriously, is a fairly radical concept.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

As I always do, I’ve read and re-read this article by Hedges and I’ve read each and every comment here. I’m left with a mind awash in chaos. The one commonality here is that nearly all here are aware of Wall Street’s perfidy and the injustice of what has occurred and is still occurring.

First, as an aside, I’ll point out that Hedges was an adolescent during the civil rights struggle and the Vietnam War was over at or about the time he graduated from High School. At some point Hedges became radicalized; some would say - aware - of the injustices and atrocities that are a matter of the public record, a public record that he helped to document. Hedges’ credentials can not be challenged, and his value as a social commentator, in many respects, is great in my opinion. Hedges, it can be argued, is a part of small minority of radical left intellectuals who ascribe inordinate guilt to the hated “Liberal Class.” It occurs to me that Hedges’ predispositions during his youth and in his later years at seminary school might explain his retaining an animus towards the “Liberal Class” after becoming radicalized. He appears to be associating the “Liberal Class” with the “New Left.” This article illustrates his affinity with the “Old Left” not communists per se, but for the American “Old Left,” In the form of “Wobblies,” other radicals, reformers, leftists, etc. while at the same time expressing his contempt for the “New Left.”

That being said, his contention that the “New Left” was contaminated by agendas, hedonism, cultish behavior and such is a contention that I, having been there, heartily agree with. I have tautologically argued that these aspects of the “New Left” alienated ordinary Americans, and Hedges appears to be one of those who were alienated. Oddly, the hedonism that was so reviled has now become main stream and that contention can be validated by simply watching 60 seconds of any of the most popular situation comedies broadcast nightly. It could be argued that the best of the “New Left” was ostracized and lay dormant for a number of years, while the worst of the “New Left” was embraced by the populace. Such as I, see the decadence in our society as being palpable.

I wish I could agree with Hedges that the participants of Occupy Wall Street are pure and above reproach, but I fear that the similarities between Occupy Wall Street, and the budding peace movement of the sixties are evident and that Occupy Wall Street is vulnerable to contamination, not the identical contaminations, but contamination just the same.

Make no mistake; Occupy Wall Street is an organization of anarchy, an organization with valid complaints but devoid of tangible political power, and an organization marked by confusion and disorder from any political context. As it now stands, Occupy Wall Street can only be co-opted by existing political entities. The Right is busily engaged in discrediting Occupy Wall Street in order to consolidate its base; co-opting Occupy Wall Street to serve its interests. The Left i.e. Democratic politicians, pundits, etc. are expressing sympathy with Occupy Wall Street’s complaints regarding Wall Street but not Occupy Wall Streets complaints regarding government; co-opting Occupy Wall Street to serve their interests, and third party advocates are attempting to co-opt Occupy Wall Street into a third party base. Will Occupy Wall Street fragment into factions or will it remain true to its avowed goal of non-allegiance? That remains to be seen, if Occupy Wall Street does remain true to its current ideals and does not fade into oblivion, it can not escape being co-opted, such is inevitable by my analysis.

Occupy Wall Street can serve to highlight injustice but it can not serve to implement justice as it now exists unless the highlighting of injustice facilitates one of the existing political entities to implement justice, or to implement reforms towards justice.

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By PatrickHenry, October 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

The movement is gaining results by shedding light on Fed/Bank irregularities.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/gao-finds-serious-conflicts-at-the-fed/

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By EmileZ, October 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

@ groobiecat

I hope you didn’t work too hard on your comment.

It was kind of shitty (and didn’t really go anywhere).

Who is really demonizing here???

Are you positive it is not you who is attempting to fit everything into a neat little world???

Not berry groobie my dude friend.

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By oddsox, October 25, 2011 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

@Outraged re: William Black:
It’s encouraging to see the problem of oversized banks has been identified on a global scale and there is a desire for a remedy. 
Black says of these giant banks: “We should fix that. There’s no reason to have institutions that large.”

This is something that can happen—breaking up the Too-Big-To-Fails is an attainable goal.
If you care to look, my take on it here:
http://open.salon.com/blog/oddsox/2011/10/10/too_big_to_fail_too_big_to_begin_with

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By Ralph Kramden, October 25, 2011 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges is one of these religious types? Intelligent people who believe in religion—-now there is a puzzle. Does this guy have a sense of humor? I think I’d rather throw my lot with the likes of Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower, who believe in raising hell but having FUN at the same time. Hedonistic he calss them, the hippies that is. There were those, but there were also radicals, heroic civil rights warriors, some believed in communes. Martin King’s movement owes tons to the communists he Hedges shows contempt for. It wasn’t the likes of Hedges that made Civil Rights possible. As many readers have pointed out, Hedges analysis of the sixties is one of the shoddiest I’ve ever read. Perhaps he forgets the racism exhibited by the working class: Boston, Cicero, that little girl in Alabama that arrived with a dress soaked in spit from the working class hatred. You forgot Hedges? That neo-Nazi in charge of the FBI, Hoover by name, a closet queen that murdered Malcolm X, Fred Hampton? You forgot him and them? Which side were you on then Hedges, the teamsters? I, by the way, are a card-carrying working-class stiff. Are you? Were you supporting the teamsters when we were supporting Harry Bridges?

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By oddsox, October 25, 2011 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

@exploitedtimes, you write:
“Forgive me if I am wrong, but you sound like one of the liberals Hedges describes who has never been affected by any of this and views it in the abstract.”

I’ve been called worse, but consider myself a Centrist.
That leaves much room for disagreement with other Centrists, we’re a pretty diverse bunch.
(you can visit the discussion thread on Centrism and my iput here: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/yes_to_moderation_no_to_centrism_20110727/

My view is that OWS is an opportunity for positive change that’s being wasted for want of focus and pragmatism.  A mile wide and an inch deep.
On another thread, we discussed at lenghth Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. (discussion thread here if you care to read: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/how_and_why_to_co-opt_those_cops_on_wall_street_20111006/ )
I admire Alinsky as a tactician but deplore his ethics. 
OWS could take a tactical lesson from Alinsky. 

Meanwhile, there are emerging some positive steps can can be taken beyond railing against “the system,” which becomes tiresome (see Alinsky rule #7)and places supporters in likely no-win positions.
(see next post)

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By Ralph Kramden, October 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To all of you out there, would you join me in encouraging TruthDig to adapt a commentary system similar to the one “The Independent” in the UK has? Said format, shows commentary and replies to such plus number of those who agree and disagree. The initial commentary is bundled together with the replies, no need to scramble through mountains of comments to read a reaction to a particular comment. What says you? Of course, if it would be too costly, forget it.

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By groobiecat, October 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

“What we are witnessing in parks and squares across the United States is not simply widespread
revulsion over the greed and cruelty of corporate capitalism, but the articulation of a new and potent
radicalism.”

So, you honestly believe the the groups in these parks and squares across the United States
somehow don’t comprise liberals? That’s assumed in your narrative. You excoriate and revile the
liberal establishment, okay, but you offer no other political alternative. Is there to be a grand re-
education of these sad, sad multiculturalists who simple “Don’t yet get it.” What to do with them? Set
them off somewhere to do…what, exactly?

Interestingly, that view of the world seem very very familiar to me. Don’t tell me, I know this one.
There are others who condescend and demonize groups with whom they disagree. It’s on the tip of
my tongue. Oh, I know!! They’re called extremist conservatives and support—*the 1%*.

Well done, Chris, you’ve gone so far around that you’re now extolling and modeling the very traits of
the class that you started out reviling.

“If this movement can cross class lines, if it can articulate its vision to those in marginalized
communities, especially poor people of color, it can tap into a force and power that was never part of
the New Left.”

So, again, what to do with those who don’t “fit” into your neat little world of class lines? Do you think
that the vaunted working class somehow doesn’t include liberals or the co-opted unions? Who are
these enlightened people? Do you think that many people of color believe that we shouldn’t simply
take back our democracy by overturning policies that disenfranchise them?

Good lord, I have to stop reading these articles by you. Sooo academic and pedantic that your gentle
rants scream of arrogance and a clear abhorrence of humility. Honestly, it must be nice to look down
upon the poor, misguided masses and define who has merit and worth and who doesn’t.

I much prefer you on video. These posts are some of the most self-reverential, condescending, and
elitist prose I’ve ever read. You don’t even recognize the irony of your views, which, sadly, for
someone as intelligent as you clearly are, is a serious shame. You intimate that the Civil Rights
movement into some sort of wan, horrible stepchild of the liberal establishment and that it never
really “did” anything because it didn’t go far enough. Many of the things you suggest are no doubt
accurate, but you ignore any progress as not good enough, not “purely” marxist enough.

At the end of the day, your view is simply this: Unless all issues are addressed according to the Chris
Hedges manifesto, those who teach about diversity and difference, acceptance, self-improvement,
and traditional community are somehow the enemy, and must be, what, expelled? Ignored? That’s
not terribly democratic of you, now is it? The point of your essay was how the #OWS will reach out to
the disenfranchised, and it’s a good theme. But you, at some point, need to realize that very few
people fit your very narrow “ideal.”

Dude, you need to get some zen into your life, because constantly excoriating ‘the other’ will never
lead to the results you seek—and it will only continue to divide us.

Peace.

Groobiecat

http://www.groobiecat.blogspot.com

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By Outraged, October 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

Re:  T, October 25

“That’s certainly one interpretation (which just
happens to align with Hedges own predilections), but
another is simply that the protesters are motivated
by a completely non-radical hunger for Democracy.”

Absolutely.  While Mr. Hedges rails against the
movement being co-opted, he tries to co-opt it
himself by projecting his ideals onto the movement. 
I do think that many people do this, which is why I
believe (from what I’m reading) the OWS is using
consensus building as a central tenet.

OTOH, there is a message.  I thought that William
Black phrased it well:
”“If you look [at the Occupy protests], not just
nationwide, but worldwide, you will see some pretty
consistent themes developing,” Black says. “Those
themes include: we have to deal with the systemically
dangerous institutions, the 20 biggest banks that the
administration is saying are ticking time bombs, that
as soon as one of them fails, we go back into a
global crisis. We should fix that. There’s no reason
to have institutions that large. That’s a theme. That
accountability is a theme, that we should put these
felons in prison… That we should get jobs now, and
that we should deal with the foreclosure crisis. So
those are four very common themes that you can see in
virtually any of these protest sites… I think, over
time, you won’t necessarily have some grand written
agenda, but you’ll have, as I say, increasing
consensus. And it’s a very broad consensus.

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/10/19/former_financial_regulator_william_black_occupy

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By Not One More!, October 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

The Bottom 25%

The problem isn’t only the 1% that doesn’t give a damn about the lower 99%. The problem is that in that 99% group you have many people who don’t care about anybody lower then them either.

Democrats didn’t care that everybody wasn’t going to get covered under Obama’s ‘comprehensive’ health program. What’s a few million people who don’t have insurance. The bottom 25%.

The unions, when they were negotiating their salary contracts, didn’t care about the environmental damage that their jobs were causing. Who was it affecting? The bottom 25%.

Something has to change. I wouldn’t mind the bloody rich if it wasn’t for the bloodied poor, the bottom 25%. The inner city or rural Americans who don’t participate because they have no representation in the democratic party or the republican party. The third world countries that are raped for their natural resources. The wars that fall on the shoulders and hearts of those powerless to resist, like in Iraq, Afghanistan, South America, Africa.

Everybody deserves the opportunity to live their dream. Take a chance and pursue yours, while allowing others to pursue theirs.

If we aren’t considering the bottom 25% of the people in our decisions, then the Occupy Wall Street movement doesn’t deserve to be successful. And the top 1% are banking on that.

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

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By T, October 25, 2011 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ron O:

“OWS movement- that it is rightfully seen by long-suffering minorities as fundamentally an exercise in self-interest. Nobody moved until their own economic conditions became personally intolerable. “

One could easily make the argument that all protest movements begin as exercises in self-interest.  It is only after the protests are begun that others are drawn to the cause.

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By exploitedtimes, October 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

@ futon,

Man, you ‘sweat blood’ to watch big screen TVs and drive SUVs?

I’m not sure how to respond to that.

Are you serious?

Do you believe it is OK to waste innocent people in order to steal more oil as long as it’s for Americans?

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By futon, October 25, 2011 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

I read this long,wordy and flowery column about convincing everyone to think like the author thinks.
so many threads woven into one tapestry, it’s hard to follow them all.
chris,you have so much to say and you say it all at once. reading it leaves you breathless and wondering what to make of it all.
you say we should destroy the corporate state because it has betrayed us. tearing down is the easy part compared to building up.
Our founding fathers,you never mention them, were not liberals or radicals. Our british roots make us,essentially, a conservative nation. we put property rights above human rights because we fear chaos and confusion descending into anarchy and then dictatorship. The French Revolution and the American Revolution were not the same.Americans are Jeffersonians at heart, god-fearing above all, and rooted in the land.
We do not put our faith in ideas, as you do, but in ourselves. We are not multicultural although we are a nation of immigrants. We believe in speaking english and earning a living by the sweat of our brow.
we believe in the Puritannical values of our founders
and we fight and die to defend our country.Corporations are business forms invented by economists to protect individuals against financial ruin.
Corporations are neither good or bad. they just are.
they are tools to be used by men and women to satisfy the needs of americans to work,to survive and,if possible, to prosper.
there are individuals who have exceeded the reach of corporations and turned them into instruments for political control. No doubt, this has happened.
to assert we must tear down the whole society in order to change it, is not possible, utopian at its core,and undesirable. the American revolution was about the opportunity to live free from monarchy and oppression, to be your own man.

we can still do this, and we do by the millions who start and own small businesses that create millions of jobs.
we do not all work for corporations nor do we have to.
but individuals in the corporate and political world have joined forces to circumvent our Constitution. that does not mean we must be against our whole way of life, which we value and enjoy.
you want america to metamorphize into what? a liberal and working class paradise with all sharing power and wealth. what is that exactly, if not a hare-brained utopian pipedream.

we have to reform our system, just as we did with teddy and franklin Roosevelt,harry truman, LBJ,and JFK.
Granted, Clinton and Obama are not what we thought they were and neither is Hilary. and neither are you.
you offer what we fear-  instability, complicated concepts that translate into amorphous forms, promises based on falsities. we have over-reacted before, as when we invaded Vietnam, but not when we defended Korea.We saved millions of south Koreans from the lunacy of the North.

GW Bush went after oil and did so convinced we wanted him too. Didn’t we? He lied about it out of his own insecurity but we essentially want to get as much oil as we can. we want to drive SUVs,fly in jets, race cars,watch big screen TV,play with technology. We are an entertainment society. But we work our asses off to get that way. We sweat blood to afford these things and we do value them.
Very few americans could read,understand and agree with all your goals.
destroying a corportocracy is weird and bizarre. your clever use of words to confuse many issues and weave them into one tapestry, just makes it more impossible to get you,to figure you out and to favor you.
Your glib use of language is a clever way to mask and disguise whatever you truly are. I don’t know what that is, but you seem to be utopian more than anything else. a dreamer, not a pragmatist.

Pragmatism is who we are- we want more money,more security,more and better schools,roads and bridges- we want jobs and pensions and employer paid healthcare. We don’t want government telling us how to live but just to treat us better, more fairly, with decency.get it?

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By Grady Lee Howard, October 25, 2011 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

I recently lost a 64 yr. old film collaborator when
she received her first Social Security check. Now
she wants only to sit on the front porch and wait
for organic goodies. Her husband is retired too, so
they are afraid to rock the boat. Occupy is too
radical for her because it’s out there beyond Obama
loyalty.
My feelings about my friend are extremely painful
because she was my level-headed sounding board
before this happened. There are many types of
“Realism”. There is the lazy pragmatism that says
my race is run and I have mine and younger people
can take care of themselves. But the fascists are
correct in their half-truths sometimes (That’s how
they do!) and it won’t be hard to convince the
unemployed youth and the taxpayers that my old
buddy is a drag on their prospects by collecting
her little check. We are pretty near a totalitarian
Nazi regime already and if people stand pat now
they will live to regret it. I predict my 64 year
old friend will last just long enough to get a boot
on her neck. It won’t be my boot but it may be the
same boot that snuffed out my little light the
night before. Shoeleather has some funny ways.
There is also the realism that we have to act collectively for change in order to survive with human rights. It has come to that point. Pragmatic “I got mine” realism is no longer viable. We’re all in play.

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By jack_k, October 25, 2011 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Those of us concerned and involved in the class warfare that has resulted from the egregious manner in which the mortgage crisis bailouts were implemented - with no built-in mechanism to incentive or enable banks to put the money into the hands of responsible homeowners and home buyers - must, IMHO, be extremely careful to be sure that we have enough SELF-control to NOT say stupid things synonymous with “They got theirs, I want mine”.  Signs with “Where’s MY Bailout” emote entitlement.  A better moral position, in my view, is “Where’s my JOB”; i.e., where’s my Opportunity to Earn a Wage Commensurate with My Skills and Experience?”  We also have to admit that part of the solution to this question lies WITHIN US; WE must become the risk-takers, the doers, the job-creators.  The article ends with “let us hope, the toppling of the corporate state. ”  Ok, fine, say that’s happened.  THEN WHAT?  Who goes to jail?  Who THEN decides what moneys/resources go to whom?  There is the elixir of “Revolution” that is attractive to us all when we are hungry and our homes are gone, but WHAT NEXT?  I believe the free-market capitalism can work with the consumption of GOODS.  I believe it cannot work with the consumption of MOVEMENT.  Yes, the rich should take less. But how. by what means?  I believe the hidden profits they take are the real answer.  Why should the rich take a percentage, instead of a flat fee per transaction, when the effort needed to enact a transaction is the same regardless of whether it involves $1 or $1,000???  More to this point, I have submitted a proposal for Semi-Private Guilds for transportation of resources, products, people and energy.  If all of our transportation were government-subsidized, and the PROFIT from the fees for movement of things, people and energy were re-invested into making the transport process more efficient, and ZERO percent of the profit went back to the government, and 100% of the profit was re-invested into making the transport more efficient, including merit pay for those who originate, recognize and implement improvements toward efficiency, then the cost of doing business in the other sectors of the economy will drop, each year, while workers and managers can profit from their labor and creativity.  However, toasters and everything else should be sold in a completely free market.  Yes, the rich should pay more; they can afford lawyers to find loopholes, any loopholes; money=time so they can find ways to hide it; money yields money (Pareto effect).  Where is morality in pure profiteering?  They should use their wealth to create jobs for others, and take what they have earned, but no more.  I’m part of the 99%.  I earn >$100,000/year working my ass off everyday, overtime w/out OT pay, helping biomedical researchers do research correctly.  I have always made sure that I pay ALL of my taxes due; I’ve never cheated.  I donate what I can to the hungry and homeless and disempowered; in my spare time I run fundraiser concerts for these causes.  I’m living the American dream that has eluded so many because I’ve lived below my means.  I have created jobs by sacrificing a ‘glorious’ path to tenure and creating a service role for myself in my organization.  I benefited from Pell Grants and Tuition Assistance.  I worked my way through college as a weekend janitor, in the dorms, and paid off my student loans.  I taught my way through graduate school with no loans.  I studied the credit card practices and learned how to manage debt properly.  I have no savings to speak of, other than my retirement, at age 44 with a mere $100,000 in my retirement.  I provide housing free to a single mother in Detroit so she can raise her daughters.  They would otherwise be homeless.  I follow one principle:  Leave this world a better place than when you found it.  This generation must do its part, and get to work creating jobs.  The 99% has the power NOW to do just that.  HOW matters.

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By T, October 25, 2011 at 10:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges willingness to read his personal motivations and agenda into the un-related actions of others is a true triumph of self-satisfied egoism:

“What we are witnessing in parks and squares across the United States is not simply widespread revulsion over the greed and cruelty of corporate capitalism, but the articulation of a new and potent radicalism.”

That’s certainly one interpretation (which just happens to align with Hedges own predilections), but another is simply that the protesters are motivated by a completely non-radical hunger for Democracy.  The thrust of the “We are the 99%” message is a critique of the un-democratic nature of America’s current system of political economy.  The “greed and cruelty of corporate capitalism”, is not at issue, and the protesters are not demanding a radical reformation of our economic system.  Instead, the original impetus of the occupation was a protest of the subordination of our democracy to the corporate power centers on Wall St, and since then much of the driving force is focused on the absence of the generalized economic prosperity that our economic and political leaders have spent decades promising us.

Hedges sees his own radical anti-capitalist agenda in the actions of these protesters, but an objective reading of their publicly displayed complaints reveals a modest (and mainstream) agenda.  This protest is not against capitalism, but against the failures of capitalism.

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By EmileZ, October 25, 2011 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

@ exploitedtimes

I really don’t think you are opening yourself to a wider view that oddsox may have been trying to call attention to. Of course I can’t speak for him or her.

Please, please don’t call me a liberal!!!

Anything but that.

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By exploitedtimes, October 25, 2011 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

@ chacaboy,

Dude, thank you for the dose of reality! Glad to see someone can see straight and learn from history.

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By exploitedtimes, October 25, 2011 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

@ Oddsox,

Forgive me if I am wrong, but you sound like one of the liberals Hedges describes who has never been affected by any of this and views it in the abstract. It seems you want to work within the system that continues to serve the privileged (you?) well. Or maybe you just have blind faith in the mechanics of the same system that has failed so many for so many years. If it failed you or those close to you, perhaps you may not be so quick to embrace this bogus system.

With regard to your comment stating US citizens are all ‘wealthy,’ do you mean that to include those US citizens who die each day for lack of health care? Would you also include those veterans denied benefits and recognition of their illnesses and forced to walk the streets homeless and mentally impaired? There are many thousands of these wealthy citizens and others, and the numbers are rising daily. The people who have something to protest about are trying to climb out of a shithole. They’re not trying find a way to keep their legal team on retainer. Do you get it?

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By Ron O, October 25, 2011 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

On a non-theoretical note, I wonder what the OWS fall back plan is for communications. If this thing gets sufficiently threatening to the corporate state, I fully expect to see a “moratorium” on the social media i.e Twitter and Facebook unplugged! If I were GE or Lockheed Martin, I would happily help reimburse both of those companies for the revenue lost by shutting down. Is it time to look into volume discounts on hand held citizen’s band radios?

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