TheRealNews on Jul 22, 2013
On Reality Asserts Itself with Paul Jay, Chris Hedges says The Democratic Party used to watch out for the interests of labor and even for the poor. But that all changed under Bill Clinton. Although Obama, like Clinton, continues to speak in that feel-your-pain language of traditional liberalism, they’ve completely betrayed the very people that they purport to represent and defend.
Pt 5 of 7
The Real News
Now, the problem is that the radical movements that were able to push the liberal elites to respond have been destroyed. We don’t have any anymore. In the long war against our internal and external enemies in the name of anti-communism, they’ve been utterly decimated, culminating in the 1950s with these huge purges. Ellen Schrecker has written two good books about this. You know, thousands, thousands of high school teachers, social workers, artists, directors, journalists like I. F. Stone were pushed out. I. F. Stone–.
Why is that? It’s because there’s been a divorce of radical movements from the working class and radical ideologies from the working class. And the way that divorce came about is that those who had these kind of broad social visions which challenged the primacy of corporate capitalism got pushed out of the system. They’re not there anymore. And so now at a moment of crisis–and we are certainly in a moment of crisis–we lack the movements which can give expression to the suffering of our underclass, and our liberal elites which once responded to those movements have been eviscerated and essentially are corporate stooges.
JAY: And it kind of goes together. When the movement’s so weak, a lot of the elite says, well, we don’t need to safety valve, ’cause the pressures not building.
HEDGES: Well, that’s precisely the problem. There is no pressure from the other side. And the liberal elites, you know, while they can speak in a rhetoric that is reminiscent of that rhetoric–and Obama does it, certainly–serves their paymasters, which are Wall Street and defense contractors and the fossil fuel industry.
HEDGES: Right. I voted for the Green Party as a kind of protest vote, just as I voted for Nader before that. And I think the more of us who are willing to step outside the system and in essence vote that way, the more we can begin to build pressure.
But electoral politics is a very minor part of what we have to do. What we really have to do is build mass movements that muck up the system enough that we can begin to interfere with the mechanisms of power. And what I’m talking about are strikes, disruption of public transportation, which we would see in France, for instance, farmers driving their tractors into the middle of Paris. It’s that kind of stuff that we’re going to have to build. And we’re not going to build that any other way than, you know, almost starting all over again.
So I’m frightened, I’m frightened, because without these movements, you know, we are not immune to these kinds of forces should we suffer economic collapse coupled with environmental catastrophe, which of course creates economic disruptions–$70 billion of damage in the last hurricane season. We had a lot of hurricanes in category two, tornadoes and hurricanes the size of we’ve never seen in human history. These aren’t going away. So, you know, we could really see ourselves headed for a very disturbing kind of dystopia.
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.
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