“Look out upon this nation and tell me what you see,” a friend once said to me.
I told her I saw anger, hunger, poverty, senselessness, fear, sick and worried people, hatred twisting faces, greed stuffing overfull guts, ignorance regurgitating lies, well-intentioned impotence, self-centered passivity, and, beyond this roiling sea of humanity’s foibles, I saw my opponents lined up to massacre us all.
“The corporate forces that have commodified the natural world for profit have also commodified human beings. We are as expendable to global corporations as the Barrier Reef or the great sequoias. These corporations and ruling elites, which have orchestrated the largest transference of wealth upward in human history, with globe’s richest 1 percent owning half the world’s wealth, kneel, and force us to kneel, before the dictates of the global marketplace. They have seized control of our governments, extinguishing democracy, corrupting law and building alliances with neofascists and authoritarians as the ruling ideology of neoliberalism is exposed as a con. They have constructed pervasive and sophisticated systems of internal security, wholesale surveillance and militarized police, along with criminalizing poverty, to crush dissent.” — Chris Hedges, Confronting the Culture of Death
A smoothly functioning society is created and maintained by the people. Children go to school, workers show up at their jobs, shipments are made, groceries and purchases are bought, bills are paid, goods and services are delivered; and so on. In times of justice, when the workings of society are fair, respectful, and uphold the rights and dignity of humanity, then the people have every reason to collectively maintain functional workplaces, schools, roads, social events, and so on.
A wide ranging interview exploring Chris’ thinking on some very important but not always explored ideas, as well as a discussion of his book, America: The Farewell Tour. “I don’t accept the mass-culture, Disneyfied view of hope.”
Some environmental activists argue the only way to stop the impending ecocide is to carry out nonviolent acts of civil disobedience to shut down the capitals of the major industrial countries, crippling commerce and transportation until the ruling elites are forced to publicly state the truth about climate catastrophe, implement radical measure to halt carbon emissions by 2025, and empower an independent citizens committee to oversee the termination of our 150-year binge on fossil fuels.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of World BEYOND War and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. The U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation awarded him their 2018 Peace Prize, and he has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Environmental activists argue the only way to stop the impending ecocide is to carry out nonviolent acts of civil disobedience to shut down the capitals of the major industrial countries, crippling commerce and transportation, until the ruling elites are forced to publicly state the truth about climate catastrophe, implement radical measure to halt carbon emissions by 2025 and empower an independent citizens committee to oversee the termination of our 150-year binge on fossil fuels.
Enough! Enough of this senseless criticizing of one another. A Dandelion Insurrectionist who is imprisoned and beaten by the police is no more revolutionary than the mother who gets up in the morning and feeds her child. We all have tasks that are imperatives of our times and we must do them with humility. Those of us trying to make change through civil resistance are no nobler than the plumber trying to clear the shit out of the pipes.
Discussing politics in the United States is becoming a continuous boxing match with shadows of half-truths, distortions, misperceptions and wildly differing information streams. People meet in the street like aliens arriving from strange worlds that bear no resemblance to one another. Then they proceed to fight each other over whether the planets circle moons … or whether suns circle planets. It does not matter that they are discussing astronomical apples and oranges. Tensions escalate over who is right or wrong. Someone throws a punch. The fight is on.
The tools of nonviolent action and the skills of struggle are as vital to these times as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Training to use them is as essential as learning how to use a computer. The ability to boycott and strike is as important as the ability to drive a car. Every citizen who knows how to use email should also know how to protest, walk-out, shut-down, occupy, blockade, and more. This is the only way the power of the people can hold the power of oligarchs in check.
If you like being a peon, a serf, or a slave, by all means, continue on with business-as-usual. Your corporate overlords are delighted to exploit you. They’re thrilled at the prospect of profiting off your descendants for all eternity. But their hourglass is running out of sand. The planet’s ecosystems are collapsing. We will not last long as underlings. This is a paltry comfort as we slide toward mass extinction.
Gossip is the opium of the American public. We lie back, close our eyes and happily inhale the stories about Roosevelt’s and Kennedy’s affairs, Lyndon Johnson’s nude swims with unnamed partners and, now, Nixon’s pathetic “final days” in office.