There are those who would have us fold up our banners and take down our protest signs. They urge us to be reasonable and polite. They expect us to cram our dissent into narrow boxes of occasional grumbling comments and take our frustration out at the election box once every few years. These people write letters to the editor of small town newspapers claiming that the visible signs of dissatisfaction – pickets, protesters, political signs – are bad for business and distasteful.
“I have seen British Imperialism at work in Burma, and I have seen something of the effects of poverty and unemployment in Britain. In so far as I have struggled against the system, it has been mainly of writing books which I hoped would influence the reading public. I shall continue to do that, of course, but at a moment like the present writing books in not enough. The tempo of events is quickening; the dangers which once seemed a generation distant are staring us in the face. One has got to be actively a Socialist, not merely sympathetic to Socialism, or one plays into the hands of our always-active enemies.” — George Orwell, 1938
It makes no difference if Edward Snowden, who had fled to Hong Kong and revealed that the American government was spying upon American citizens, is a traitor or a hero.
Intelligence agencies from China, Russia, England, Israel, and maybe even Lichtenstein, probably already know that the National Security Administration (NSA) is collecting data of all the phone calls and emails of Americans, and linking them to conversations with foreign nationals. Continue reading
MICAmultimedia on Apr 4, 2012
Hedges writes a weekly column for Truthdig and has been very involved in the Occupy Wall Street Movement and was arrested with others in New York this past November as part of a demonstration.
Author and journalist Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for the Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, the Dallas Morning News and the New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years. He has authored 11 books, including War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. He writes a weekly column for Truthdig and has been very involved in the Occupy Wall Street Movement and was arrested with others in New York this past November as part of a demonstration. Hedges talk is sponsored by the Humanistic Studies Department.
“Totalitarianism is patriotism institutionalized.”
— Steve Allen
“Patriotic” Americans are still berating me for “demeaning” my son’s “sacrifice.” A typical message goes something like this:
Empires communicate in two languages. One language is expressed in imperatives. It is the language of command and force. This militarized language disdains human life and celebrates hypermasculinity. It demands. It makes no attempt to justify the flagrant theft of natural resources and wealth or the use of indiscriminate violence. When families are gunned down at a checkpoint in Iraq they are referred to as having been “lit up.” So it goes. The other language of empire is softer. It employs the vocabulary of ideals and lofty goals and insists that the power of empire is noble and benevolent. The language of beneficence is used to speak to those outside the centers of death and pillage, those who have not yet been totally broken, those who still must be seduced to hand over power to predators. The road traveled to total disempowerment, however, ends at the same place. It is the language used to get there that is different.
When Empire Hits Home, Part 4
As the western world is thrown into debt bondage and the harsh reality of the draconian economic ‘reforms’ to follow, a social collapse seems increasingly inevitable. We will soon witness the collapse of western ‘civilization’. The middle classes of the west will dissolve into the lower labour class. The wealthy class, already nearly at par with the middle class in terms of total consumption, will become the only consuming class.
Crossposted from Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters Feb. 8, 2010
Aleksandr Herzen, speaking a century ago to a group of anarchists about how to overthrow the czar, reminded his listeners that it was not their job to save a dying system but to replace it: “We think we are the doctors. We are the disease.” All resistance must recognize that the body politic and global capitalism are dead. We should stop wasting energy trying to reform or appeal to it. This does not mean the end of resistance, but it does mean very different forms of resistance. It means turning our energies toward building sustainable communities to weather the coming crisis, since we will be unable to survive and resist without a cooperative effort.
RT on Feb 13, 2010
American journalist and Pulitzer winner Chris Hedges told RT the United States has developed a new form of corporate totalitarianism.
“We have to break the back of the consumer economy,” Hedges said. “70 percent of our economy is driven by consumption. We have to cripple our money flow to the extent that we can build a popular movement that counters the corporate rape of the country that is furthered both by the Democrats and the Republicans – the better off we’ll be. Many people are disillusioned by Obama and quite rightly so. But whether that means that they will take the active step to step outside the system and to fight, that is unknown.”
Welcome to the Tipping Point! The End Times. The Bizarro Hall of Mirrors. The Funny Farm. The Monkey House.
Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
By Chris Hedges
Hardcover: 232 pages
Publisher: Nation Books (2009)
If you’re looking for one of those treacly Oprah books—The Secret, and its variants—avoid this one. Those books nourish like potato chips and leave most people more confused, more desperate, more thirsty for fantasies than before. No amount of wishing, earnest yearning, visualizing and New Age mysticism is going to get us out of the morass we’re in. In Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges takes a sober look down our hall of distorting mirrors. The son of a minister, with a degree in theology from Harvard, a columnist for Truthdig.com, Hedges has worked as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. His books include War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and American Fascists. He was part of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. Here are some of the pertinent facts he contemplates:
- The top 1% of Americans now control more wealth than the bottom 90% combined.
- World-wide porn revenues, including in-room movies at hotels, sex clubs, and the Internet, topped $97 billion in 2006—more than that of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflixs, and EarthLink combined.
- Continue reading
[Editor’s Note: DS added the blockquotes and footnotes to previously published text.]
Transcript of Chris Hedges’ presentation at the University of Missouri, Columbia, February 17, 2009. University Lecture sponsored by College of Arts and Science, Peace Studies Program, and Center on Religion and the Professions.
The daily bleeding of thousands of jobs will soon turn our economic crisis into a political crisis. The street protests, strikes and riots that have rattled France, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Iceland will descend on us. It is only a matter of time. And not much time. When things start to go sour, when Barack Obama is exposed as a mortal waving a sword at a tidal wave, the United States could plunge into a long period of precarious social instability.