Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist? Part 8, interviewed by Chris Hedges

"Stop Bitching - Start a Revolution"

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Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews on Nov 7, 2014

Journalist Chris Hedges and political philosopher Sheldon Wolin conclude their interview with a discussion on the problems of revolution and power.

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WOLIN: Yeah, I think it is. And I think that our situation’s somewhat different from what Trotsky and the others faced, in the sense that there are openings in our system of governance and of public discourse that do provide an opportunity, if you’re willing to work hard enough, to get dissident voices out into the public realm, so that the need for force, violence, and so on, it seems to me, is simply unnecessary, that as long as we have constitutional guarantees that still mean something and that we have free forms of communication that still mean something, I think that we’re obligated to play by those rules, because they do allow us to disseminate the kind of message we want to disseminate, and that the need to sort of circumvent them or in some sense subvert them, it seems to me, is self-defeating.

HEDGES: And yet climate change has created a narrowing window of opportunity if we are going to survive as a species. An unfettered, unregulated corporate capitalism, which commodifies everything, from human beings to the natural world–and this comes out of Marx–without any kind of constraints–and it has no self-imposed limits–it will exploit those forces until exhaustion or collapse. And we are now seeing the ecosystem itself teetering on collapse.

[…]

Transcript

see

Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist? Part 1, interviewed by Chris Hedges

Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist? Parts 2-3, interviewed by Chris Hedges

Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist? Part 4, interviewed by Chris Hedges

Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist? Part 5, interviewed by Chris Hedges

Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist? Part 6, interviewed by Chris Hedges

Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist? Part 7, interviewed by Chris Hedges

from the archives

“Inverted Totalitarianism” by Guadamour

The Zero Point of Systemic Collapse by Chris Hedges

The Looming Collapse of the American Empire by Chris Hedges

19 thoughts on “Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist? Part 8, interviewed by Chris Hedges

  1. Pingback: Russell Brand: The Revolution Can Begin As Soon As You Decide It Does In Yourself | Dandelion Salad

  2. This has been a masterful series of conversations, of exceptional value and worth. Intellect exercised with supreme integrity, wonderful!

    Precise & careful language is so supremely important.

    It is becoming increasingly clear to me, that there are two supreme tasks facing us ~ if we are to take coherent steps toward a fairer, just and more accountable (in the moral sense, therefore meaningful…) human habitat, or “world.”

    World used here in its broadest ecumenical meaning, from the classical Greek “he oikoumene ge” or (known, civilized) inhabited world…but not necessarily understood in the later applied historical sense, of “christendom.”

    In Arabic “ummah” has similar connotations, as it can also suggest “commonwealth.”

    The first task then, which is actually entirely new in terms of humanity’s comprehensive rational knowledge, is, I would stress, to grasp the deeper significance and profound implications a burgeoning science of ecology delivers ~ namely, that the reality of lived experience is necessarily comprised entirely of relationships.

    This outstanding science is itself also derived from that same Greek root “oikos,” or habitation.

    Another way to broach this at the most essential and intimate levels of empirical understanding, both common and immediate, is to conceptualize it in terms of our planetary “food web” ~ through which we are all vitally inter-connected, and upon which we are totally dependent.

    In that respect alone, all politics must proceed from the pellucid facts and absolutely fundamental needs of sentient organisms to clean air, fresh water & proper nutrition, obtained by wholesome, humane and appropriate sustainable means.

    Tell that to an overfed, overbearing and complacent Congress; to Monsanto, Dow and the USDA!

    What’s the point if they are simply deaf to the truth?

    The corresponding task then, as I see it, is to develop this inescapable realization, in conjunction with the radical themes that Professor Wolin & Chris visit with such exquisite clarity.

    I believe it all hinges primarily on the type and quality of education that we see fit to endorse, support, prosper and participate in.

    My view is that real education is definitely life-long, and of course, context specific; but in its most generic institutional manifestation ~ principally at the university level at least ~ I am certain it should be seen as a dynamic, reflexive microcosm of the greater society it seeks to inform and inflect.

    Perhaps we could characterize this calibre of education as also a species of pro-ducation or initiation, in the sense of “leading forth;” a gender rich cultivation and authentication of the (latent) spiritual faculties of human beings, in ecological community.

    This would invite the free exercise of creative (rites of) intelligence, as a fulfilling sacred duty.

    So yes….we do need to realign & reconnect our formal, critical and symbolic processes with those essential facts of existence; because, these are the primary driving forces of planetary life; without which, we shall all be driven to extinction…and yes, we should celebrate existence not commodify and prostitute it.

    I don’t expect to hear this being a priority of the political/corporate elites any time soon, so I guess we had better prepare for deepening (ecological) crisis ~ unless some miracle of common sense suddenly prevails and the establishment chooses to honour, regenerate & preserve, rather than desecrate the living landscapes of the planet’s soul.

    • David, Eloquently said! My hat off to you!

      I certainly agree with your comments and I only “wish”society could be as enlightened and followed this course of human activity, which, though not impossible would take an Herculean effort by real pro-peace, pro-environment, pro-humanity people of the world.

      It seems the United States sets the example for new things and trends in the world, and unfortunately, too many have been fixated on our worse exports.

      Getting back to this week’s mid-term election results, we’ve been listening to and reading what the pundits and well-meaning people have been talking about all week, which is why the Democrats did so poorly. Huh? Until they can comprehend the truth about the Democratic Party as part of the problem, I think we’ll be spinning our wheels hoping for the mental/spiritual change which as you well know, comes from within ourselves.

      Until that “individual “realization” manifests itself in our fellow brothers and sisters or “fellow planetarians,” as I call humanity, the conditions for planetary destruction will increase until there is no turning back.

      I hate to sound pessimistic, but the world is getting worse, not better.
      Time will tell.

        • David, I heard parts of Gorbachev’s speech, but will listen to the whole thing soon.

          Peter Dale Scott has been a hero of mine for about eleven years or so, ever since I started reading his articles on the defunct website of another hero of mine, the late Michael C. Ruppert, and all or most of Professor Scott’s articles ever since.

          I had the honor of meeting him in person, about 4 1/2 years ago in Santa Cruz, Ca. at the “Deep Politics Conference” where Dr. Scott was one of the many panelists.(Dr’s. Michael Parenti and Ellen Brown were also on the panel).

          Yes, his new book is certainly relevant.

          “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.” If Dickens were alive today….

        • And thanks again, Lo.

          Sure, the living standards for the poor in Western countries are better now then they were in Dicken’s time, because the standard of living had gotten better between then and now, but “ONLY” because of the tireless fight the working class fought for against the rich and powerful who’ve always wanted it all for themselves. As Parenti said at an earlier talk in the early 2000’s, “the ruling-class give nothing away for free.” Words to that effect.

          It was a fantastic conference. Many good speakers and all were well-informed (in my opinion) on the end-game for control of this planet.

          Again, praise to two shinning stars: Peter Dale Scott and Michael Parenti, as they are beacons of Light (Truth) who have been trying to alert us to the injustice and transgressions perpetrated by (as Professor Sheldon Wolin called it) the perpetrators of inverted totalitarianism.

          Thanks for the Parenti link.

        • You’re right, Lo. The workers are losing most of the hard fought for gains that many died for, were brutally beaten, jailed and some even deported.

          As a trade-unionist myself, I come down hard on labor union officials who pander to one particular political party who betray us with legislative inactivity after each election cycle is over in spite of their usual “friend of labor” speeches for votes and campaign contributions.

        • Yep! The Democratic Party is the one I was referring to. Yes, I did read Nader’s latest piece.

          Thanks, Lo.

        • Thank you for posting that Lo.

          Its a splendid address, succinctly composed and delivered with immense dignity. Age and experience do still mean something.

          He exposes the current rabble of NATO provocateurs as the rank opportunistic amateurs they truly are, in my opinion ~ sleazy, immature lackies, rent boys and criminal hucksters.

          The media coverage is all about the new cold war aspect, whereas the most important component of his speech calls for non-governmental Pan-european institutions for co-operation and security.

          The US-based corporate-supremacist cabal and forces of reactionary finance, who have brought about such international havoc, are now deploying molecular biology and nano-neurological gadgetry, in their final grab for global resources; it makes any likelihood of trust and authentic accountability almost impossible ~ certainly remote.

          Personally, I think the single most powerful ordnance in the diplomatic bag remains the rule of law. It’s the only way the covert state can be brought to book and held accountable. This needs indefatigable political determination, judicial (juris-)prudence and institutional rigour ~ if the US cannot deliver, others shall have to seize the initiative to occupy the moral void.

          Only when enlightened will is allowed to assert itself ~ ie pure ethical intent and incorruptible leadership ~ shall a truer way become apparent…

  3. Pingback: Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist? Part 6, interviewed by Chris Hedges | Dandelion Salad

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  6. Pingback: Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist? Parts 2-3, interviewed by Chris Hedges | Dandelion Salad

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