Chris Hedges: The Radical Movements Have Been Destroyed, Part 5

Chris Hedges

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

with Chris Hedges
Writer, Dandelion Salad
July 22, 2013

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.

from the archives:

Chris Hedges: Make the Power Elite Frightened of Us, Part 4

Chris Hedges: We Must Grasp Reality to Build Effective Resistance, Part 3

Chris Hedges: Journalism Should Be About Truth, Not Career, Part 2

Chris Hedges: Urban Poverty in America Made Me Question Everything, Part 1

David Rovics: Welcome to the Working Class

Fascism USA: Corporatizing National Security by Ralph Nader

It’s Your Sole Decision, President Obama by Ralph Nader + Bernie Sanders: The Minimum Wage

Obey–Film Based on Chris Hedges’ Death of the Liberal Class

Chris Hedges at Occupy Princeton: The Liberal Class is Not the Left

6 thoughts on “Chris Hedges: The Radical Movements Have Been Destroyed, Part 5

  1. Pingback: Chris Hedges: Credibility of the Ruling Elite is Being Shredded, Part 2 | Dandelion Salad

  2. Pingback: Chris Hedges: I’m Calling For the Overthrow of the System, Part 7 | Dandelion Salad

  3. Pingback: Chris Hedges: As a Socialist, I Have No Voice in Corporate Media, Part 6 | Dandelion Salad

  4. Hedges makes many excellent points. One prescient one is the concept of “liberal safety valves”, and his comments on FDR, who adjusted things {and disparaged the Constitution in doing so} in such a way as to mollify the working class, preventing a possible mass uprising — but did not address the central problem, which is the Federal Reserve racket and ponzi scam.

    As we all should realize by now it was actually the military industrialization that pulled Amerika out of the economic slump of the 1930s


    • That was then, but now this ‘military industrialization’ is leading to erosion of civil and human rights. This industrialization is not leading out of an economic slump, it is driving it into one as billions are being spent on war instead of peace.

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