Spotlight on Chris Hedges
IN SEARCH OF TRUE POLITICAL IDENTITIES
EDITED BY PATRICE GREANVILLE
[su_testimonial name="—The Editor" photo="https://www.greanvillepost.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Oliver-cropped.jpg"] How do you revolt? When you are convinced that only rebellion against a corrupt and sociopathic order will create (or restore) social justice and democracy, and thereby permit the advent of social peace, not to mention the general survival of humanity and the rest of sentience, how do you go about it? Which roads do you follow to maximize success and minimize suffering? This is a question that has preoccupied political thinkers for millennia, so it's not surprising that in our era, with the collapse of the capitalist order apparently almost imminent due to its legendary inability to resolve the overproduction question (now aggravated incalculably by the computer revolution), fine minds continue to come to the fore offering visions and solutions, even in the United States, one of the world's most politically confused, socially pacified and backward nations. And in this rarefied field, Chris Hedges has attracted well-deserved recognition. But who is Chris Hedges?
Chris Hedges remains a walking contradiction: A man of obvious passionate commitment to justice and who tirelessly denounces the criminal corporate order, he is singularly lucid in his dissection of the system but —like Noam Chomsky, another prophet with a similar stance—curiously confused and disappointing in his recommendations to effect serious change. The key reason in my view is that Hedges despite the brilliant rhetoric—and there are few people today in the anti-capitalist ranks who match his eloquence and magisterial scope—remains a liberal by temperament, presenting us with that self-contradictory creature, a liberal who talks radical but who, when push comes to shove, ends up being a liberal after all—ironically a class of people Hedges himself has made a small fortune deriding as dangerous and politically obsolete.
Maybe it's the fact that some of our biographical imprints can't be easily erased. The son of a Presbyterian minister, a grad of prestigious universities, including Harvard, and a former correspondent with "the cream" of the legacy media, including the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post and the New York Times—a tenure which put him up close with war—very ugly war at that—in several theaters of action, from Central America to the Middle East and Yugoslavia—Hedges has a great deal of reality to draw upon, and yet, fiercely attached to something like Gandhian non-violence, he does not seem capable or willing to take the leap into the ideological conclusions warranted by his own radical analysis. This posture—summed up in what we might call a visceral anti-communism —rears its head often, whenever Hedges is talking about the Soviet experience, really existing socialism, or the war in Yugoslavia, for example, where he routinely claims great expertise but also routinely ends up siding with the Western imperialist narrative, Serbia bad, the Bosnians good, or well, acceptable. In that sense, Hedges meets the definition of a radlib, not exactly what he probably aspires to be. Below we present not only a key talk by Hedges which is a standout piece despite flaws relating to our preceding criticism, and then evaluations of Hedges as an important political actor from two perspectives, one by Elizabeth Austin, and the other by a young and highly persuasive communist, Rainer Shea. See what you think. [/su_testimonial]
Chris Hedges "Wages of Rebellion"
Review – Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt
And those on the ship, on some level, know they are doomed – just as many of us know that a consumer culture based on corporate profit, limitless exploitation of the earth, and the continued extraction of fossil fuels is doomed. We too see the danger signs. The ecosystem is visibly disintegrating.
This transformation by the EZLN is one that is crucial to remember as we search for mechanisms to sever ourselves from the corporate state and build self-governing communities. The goal is not to destroy but to transform. And this is why violence is counterproductive. We too must work to create a radical shift in consciousness.
At the bottom, the problem is not race, although race plays a huge part in incarceration rates, nor is it ultimately poverty. It is the predatory nature of capitalism itself. And until we slay the beast of corporate capitalism, until we wrest power back from corporations, until we build social institutions and a system of governance designed not to profit the few but to foster the common good, our prison industry and the horror it perpetuates will only expand.
The world has been turned upside down. The pestilence of corporate totalitarianism is spreading over the earth. The criminals have seized power… The persecution of these rebels is the harbinger of what is to come: the rise of a bitter world where criminals in tailored suits and gangsters in beribboned military uniforms – propped up by a vast internal and external security apparatus, a compliant press, and a morally bankrupt political elite – hunt down and cage all who resist.
Sublime madness demands self-sacrifice and entails the very real possibility of death. Not that the rebel possessed of sublime madness wants to die, for the fight against radical evil is the ultimate affirmation of life. The rebel understands the terrible power of the forces arrayed against all rebels, and how far these forces, once threatened, will go to silence rebels, and yet is so possessed that he or she is unable to conform.
TAKE TWO: BY RAINER SHEA
Chris Hedges’ counter-revolutionary advice for revolution
Dec 21, 2019
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^3000US citizens have no real political representation.
We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.
I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.
What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.
And its multitude of minions and lackeys.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of The Greanville Post
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