TheRealNews on Jul 19, 2013
On Reality Asserts Itself, Paul Jay asks Chris Hedges if the American Left bears responsibility for the weakness of the mass movement; Hedges says the gravest mistake of the left is not articulating a viable vision of socialism.
Pt 4 of 7
The Real News
And with the wealth given to us as Americans, we could have eradicated poverty. We could have created a country that was much different than what we have created. And what’s happening now is that we are being rapidly reconfigured into a kind of neo-feudal society, an oligarchic society where increasingly the bottom two-thirds of Americans are hanging on by their fingertips. You have a shrinking, diminishing middle class and an elite that is just making obscene amounts of money at our expense.
And you can’t sustain–first of all, you can’t sustain a democracy in an oligarchy. That’s not a new idea. Thucydides wrote about that about ancient Athens. But secondly, because there are no self-imposed limits–and in this sense Karl Marx was right, that unfettered, unregulated capitalism, especially on a global scale, is a revolutionary force. They will push and push and push until there is a backlash.
And I think part of what we’re seeing with the security and surveillance state is a preparation for that backlash–the destruction of civil liberties, which has been brutal, the wholesale surveillance and monitoring of, you know, virtually every American citizen, which I think many of us suspected and Edward Snowden, through his disclosures to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, made, you know, palpably real. The National Defense Authorization Act. And I sued the president in the Southern District Court of New York, and I won. We’re now–the Obama administration has appealed it. But this permits the military to seize, arrest American citizens, strip them of due process, and hold them in military detention centers, including our offshore penal colonies in places like Guantanamo or Bagram. And when Judge Katherine Forrest wrote her 112-page opinion, which I think is worth reading, she actually brings up the plight of the 110,000 Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II and stripped of due process and said that this provision in the NDAA essentially allows the state to criminalize an entire group of people and lock them away without any legal redress. And they know what’s coming. The NSA has run all sorts of scenarios on economic collapse, and especially climate change. And they’re preparing.
Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. His latest books are Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, Death of the Liberal Class, and The World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.