Chris Hedges: Hear the 99% Roar

This interview with Chris Hedges on TVO, Ontario’s answer to the BBC, does not appear to have gotten the play it deserves in the US. Hedges discusses Occupy Wall Street from both a strategic and tactical perspective, discussing the conditions that affect the progress and success of revolutions, what he sees as the “no demands” canard, and his criticisms of Black Bloc tactics. Hat tip Scott A.

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  1. Middle Seaman

    It alarms me when people whose goals and aspiration I share totally fail to understand many of the events we watched and are watching. OWS may want to speak for the 99%, but the 99% do not think they do. For most people their finances are way more important than Obama’s deepening of Bush’s terror state. NYC, LA, SF, SD and DC are full of people who enjoy current life. The country’s 1/3 poverty doesn’t reach the other 2/3 even remotely.

    The Soviet Union didn’t collapse because of Leipzig or Prague; it collapsed because its economy collapsed. The second Intifada was not a popular uprising; it was carefully prepared by Arafat who planned it, collected arms, trained his police force, etc.

    Hedges, more than anything, is a romantic of social movements of the 60s and even the 30s. His interview was quite a disappointment.

    1. Chris Rogers

      Middle Seaman,

      You are right that Hedges is being over romantic about many of the social revolutionary movements he invokes in this interview, his reference to Bakunin and middle class malcontents and abhorrence for the ‘Black Block.’

      As I stated in my previous post, I certainly do not share Hodges optimism on the non-violent overthrow of the present Anglo-US ruling elite, particularly not in the US itself.

      Throughout US history, we have witnessed violent putdowns of progressive social movements and not once have the agents of violence – be they the slim blue line, military, National Guard or paid thugs – have they sided with the forces of progress/good/democracy.

      If this analysis is correct, it would seem that only via a violent insurrection will the US citizenry be able to overthrow the current corrupt corporate fascist state – such an insurrection though would be obliterated by TFTB, what else are Drones for, wavelength canons and the like – certainly not for vanquishing US enemies overseas thats for sure!

      1. Jonathan

        Military power is always contexual. The horse-drawn chariot was the high-tech force multiplier of the 12th century, designed to be highly effective against spear-throwing infantry. The Sea Peoples of the eastern Mediterranean targeted the weaknesses of chariot warfare and neutralized the threat with, as a key component of a suite of technologies, javelins to kill/injure/panic the horses, and so easily pillaged much of the eastern Mediterranean even against greater numbers of defending armies. In their stand against Ramses III in Egypt, they were routed and broken by… a large army of spear-throwing infantry, against whose numbers the javelin was not a significantly effective force multiplier.

        Weapons are force *multipliers*. The chariot’s effectiveness is dependent upon the horses, the chariot technicians, the operators, spare parts, a clear authenticated command/control link, training, the enemy’s size and configuration, and so on. The drone’s effectiveness is likewise dependent upon spares, drone techs, operators, a clear authenticated command/control channel, training, correct identification of the enemy, etc. If an adversary disrupts any of these force providers or if they are intrinsically weak, the weapon as a composite of these factors will be compromised and turn any reliance on that weapon into a liability for the attacker. LRADs? A few bottle rockets or a high-speed truck ought to cripple it. Millimeter wave weapons? Motorcycle leathers might attenuate it, and the right dyes/pigments in lotions may reflect it.

        Drones are portrayed as ultra-scary rocket science. They’re just mil-spec radio controlled airplanes with guns and cameras. Find the weak points, as Iran did, and demote them back to toy status. Knowledge is power.

    2. Susan the other

      About Leipzig: West Germany in the 50s, at the beginning of their “economic miracle”, sang a song about “1999” – a song with the refrain “neunzenhundertneunundnuenzig” – as the time when they would have every war obligation paid off to the USSR and would be reunited with East Germany. But the USSR collapsed 10 years early. So the reunification of Germany didn’t come about via the efforts of all the NGOs making polite suggestions. It happened because we churned the global economy and Russia couldn’t support the rest of the federation. But we paid the price we are asked to pay today.

      One thing I just realized, which Hedges didn’t actually say outright but all but said, was that our mega corporations are also done for. We gotta get rid of ’em. I didn’t realize this until just now; I thought they were more powerful than that. But no. They relied on the government, the military industrial government of the cold war. And he euphemistically refers to this by saying that we still “cling to the dead ideas of globalization.” And then he says, “What’s next.” Like he’s ordering dessert.

      It is crystal clear what is next. If we have 100m people in poverty we need 50 million jobs. We don’t need Romney’s incentives or Obama’s cheerleading. We need an actual government program that creates and distributes jobs. Instead Hedges treats us to his own spiritual confusion and inability to actually say the right words.

      1. steve from virginia

        Occupy …

        It never gained traction, it became a homeless encampment, there were too many deranged alcoholics and drug addicts lollygagging … these and not the ‘black blocks’ separated the mainstream from the movement.

        The poor, pitiful overcharged college students have what entitlement, again? According to their plan they would become the Next-gen overlords. They missed out on prosperity for themselves … somehow this is not tragic.

        Zuccotti’s problem was the go&&amned drums. Talk about alienating the neighbors …

        The 1970s and Vietnam War are long gone along with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, anti-war demonstrations and smoke-ins. The problems of the now will not be solved with ancient remedies that re-divide a pie that no longer exists.

        Solve the problems of 2012: get of the cars, all of them and their associated, ongoing destruction of capital. If you can’t deal with that you aren’t serious.

    3. Godwin

      Any mention of the fall of the Belin wall without any mention of the uprisings in Poland is an incomplete analysis at best.

  2. Chris Rogers

    Worth spending 20 minuets watching ‘Hedges’ interview, particularly his calling Tea Partiers for what they are: PROTO FASCISTS

    Listening between the lines and his analysis of the Occupy Movement, it would seem correct to presume that an inflection point within the US polity has yet to be reached – despite some staggering figures – 6 million foreclosures, one in three Americans living in poverty etc. etc..

    This would suggest that the OWS and all those against the present corporatist state should welcome a Romney election victory in November in order that the Power Elite is discredited to such an extent by a Romney administration that the non-elite will be forced to usher in the necessary changes outside of current political & power structures.

    Further, and given his comments on the media, would it not be a sound idea if those who are dissatisfied with the present sociopolitical arrangements, actually take up Romney on his privatisation of PBS and purchase it on behalf of all those who are disenfranchised in the US – this affording an outlet for views not carried by the mainstream corporate media – be it print, web, broadcast or radio.

    Anyway, some good talking points, regrettably, I don’t share his optimism.

    1. Mel

      It’s a twofer, actually. Yesterday, August 31, covered Occupy and wider politics, the same show on August 30 covered Camden NJ and effects on the ground. I think ZeroHedge linked to Thursday’s show; you can surf there via TVO also.

    2. will

      If the Republicans sweep it all in the 2012 elections then the American people will know without a shadow of a doubt who cut their throats.

      One party of corruption might be destroyed by their own hand.

      Dare we take that chance?

  3. Working Class Nero

    The whole 99% meme is an attempted power grab and obfuscation by the Bourgeois Left. The “Top Two-ers”(the top two quintiles in the US) are still doing quite fine and these are the economic tranches many Bourgeois Leftists find themselves in. But in order to further push their post-Nationalist /radical Globalization creed they need to efface the difference between the winners and losers of the past thirty years. More importantly, most Bourgeois Leftists sport a deep cultural antipathy towards the middle and working classes, particularly the values and aspirations held by the white working class.

    One of the biggest tells is the protective embrace he gives to “undocumented workers”. Sorry but the rich pumping in loads of dirt poor third world labourers is the oldest class warfare trick in the book. Not only does it cut working class wage scales, it puts intolerable strains on the social welfare system and creates social cleavages that the wealthy can manipulate to their advantage.

    Yes, for Top Two-er Bourgeois Leftists it means cheaper landscapers and nannies. It means more “vibrant” neighbourhoods that Bourgeois Leftist can visit to have an exotic meal in. But Bourgeois Leftists go to great lengths to make damn sure the children of these “undocumented workers” don’t go to the schools their children go to and through zoning and other means make damn sure the second generation spawn of these modern-day slaves, who like many Americans reject the work ethic of their parents, form their gangs and commit their social destruction in (formerly) working class neighbourhoods.

    The real threat to the top two quintiles wealthy elite are the policies of Marine Le Pen. Of course Chris Hedges, being a Top Two-er propagandist, immediately dismisses her as a “Neo-Nazi” (maybe he picked up this bit of wisdom at a Madonna concert?) What he really fears are her pro-bottom 60% policies. For example, she calls for economic protection along with strict border controls to ensure full employment. Globalization (offshoring well-paid jobs, in-shoring mal-paid third worlders) is the hammer with which the Top-Two-ers increasing lower the standard of living of the bottom 60%. She also calls for the repeal of the law requiring the government to “borrow” money from the wealthy, which once the borders were economically protected, would allow governments the wherewithal to actually stimulate their economies to full employment.

    The only political movement that will really scare the Top Two-ers is a combination of the “Fascist” Tea Party with the Occupy movement. Obviously there are Top Two-ers in both movements who are doing everything they can to make such a combination impossible by stoking the flames of strong emotions through the timber of meaningless cultural issues. But if people could see past these past these obvious attempts at the division of the bottom 60%; the obvious basic areas of agreement would be the economic populism of Marine Le Pen, a reduction in military spending, a rebuilding of the public infrastructure (schools hospitals, etc) that benefit all, and a total de-emphasis on divisive but mostly meaningless cultural issues such as identity politics, homosexual marriage, guns, abortion, legitimate rape, and other stupid issues that serve as distractions from the severe economic problems the bottom 60% are facing.

    1. Chris Rogers

      Hailing from a very working class background and community – steel industry & mining – I find the very thought of supporting anyone like Marie Le Pen, or Oswald Mosley and his ‘Blackshirts’ for that matter – pure anathema.

      Whilst I concur Globalisation has been an utter disaster for the working class – specifically off shoring of manufacturing jobs – as an international Socialist, I find any invocation of nationalist sentiment both crass and dangerous.

      May it not be better to extend a helping hand to our peers from poorer nations, rather than blame them for our own economic condition, a condition manufactured by the ruling elite and certainly not those you point an accusing finger at.

      Looking at things from an Internationalist perspective, its clear GATT/WTO is a most unequal playing field – indeed, no nation should trade with another unless they meet some international criteria on workers right – which in the USA is pretty much zero.

      I’m all for full employment and a more egalitarian society, but if this can only be achieved by ‘stringing-up’ economic immigrants we quickly descend into the worst excesses of Hitlerism.

      Indeed, your commentary sounds more Tea Partyish, rather than coming from a leftwing perspective, and I can assure you, not all Leftwing perspectives have been reliant on progressive elements of the Bourgeois, rather the reverse in fact – its known as communtarianism and has achieved much in places like South Wales – why else do you think the UK at least got a comprehensive national health service, a service Tea Party baggers and the corporate right wish to abolish, rather than extend.

      Further, I suggest you do a little more research on whats happening in places like China at the moment – I can assure you, not too many have purchased into the Communist Party’s much vaunted economic model – one that relies on the removal of all welfare benefits – it would seem China has actually beaten the US to perfection under Capitalism all under the guise of a supposed Proletariat society – whatever next: COMPASSIONATE FASCISM!!!!!

      1. Working Class Nero

        On Hitler you really need to reopen your history books. The Nazi importation of Slavic slave labour during the war has a very close relationship to the US importation of semi-slave labour from Latin America; while the Nazi genocide against Jews has nothing to do with the question of inshoring. German industrialists demanded the importation of this cheap labour just as Big Ag and US industrialists demand the importation of cheap Latin American labour.

        On Le Pen you need to read her economic program point by point and say where you disagree. The only false note I can see is a call for an international gold standard. Calling her a Neo Nazi because she wants to limit immigration during a time of high unemployment is curious at best. If she were a real Neo Nazi she would be calling for a huge increase in the importation of semi-Slave labour in order to further break the unions and to make industrialists even richer.

        As for helping Third World, the best thing the West can do is leave it the f*ck alone. It was “do-gooder” Europeans that justified the colonization of Africa as a response to the admittedly horrid Islamic slave trade. It does the Third World as much good for US elites to destroy their social fabric by luring their cheap peasants to the US as it did to Africa to have their people shipped over to the Americas as slaves.

        On Free Trade, there should be relatively open trade between wealthy countries where there is little chance of lower. Poor countries should be allowed access to trade if they meet labour and environmental standards of the best nations instead of our current race to where the First World countries standards are coming down to Third World levels.

        I agree on China which is why we should protect ourselves from trade with them.

      2. Working Class Nero

        On the Tea Party there was a core group that were opposing changes to Medicare. It was the Bourgeois Left that stuck the knife into the back of Medicare by forcing through the Bourgeois Right’s Romney Care by rebranding it as Obama Care. There is no doubt that the Tea Party is now infiltrated by tons of Top Two-ers but by following the formula I laid out, many Right-leaning bottom 60%-ers could be peeled away towards of movement together with bottom 60% Left leaning people.

    2. SR6719

      Excellent, thought-provoking comments.

      Is that you, Kevin de Bruxelles?

      The West reaches the height of its hypocrisy when some of its richest citizens use the suffering of the Third world poor to further their agenda, while completely ignoring the plight of the working class in the United States and Europe.

      And so we have the spectacle of Bono meeting with world leaders to discuss debt, Angelina Jolie promoting Jeffrey Sach’s Millenium Villages in Kenya, and Madonna using images of AIDS-stricken Malawian children as the backdrop during her concerts.

      Celebrities always know how to spot a trend and Africa, rife with disease, famine, poverty, and civil wars – is suddenly “hot”. But you don’t see any of these celebrities speaking on behalf of the devastated working class in places like Detroit or Memphis or Liverpool, or addressing the very real crisis brought about by extreme wealth inequality in the US and Europe. That would not be trendy, nor would it get them quoted in Hollywood gossip columns.

      Instead we have the spectacle of Madonna, Bono, Clooney, et al, focusing our attention on Africa, yet none of them supported Occupy Wall Street and you never hear a word from them about about Wall Street crimes. Rather than focus on Wall Street as the enemy, they would have the laid off workers of Detroit, Cleveland or Manchester feel guilty because at least they’re better off than the AIDS-stricken child in Malawi.

      Divide and conquer.

      Baudrillard used to address this kind of hypocrisy in his writing, with quotes such as the following:

      “There can be no finer proof that the distress of the rest of the world is at the root of Western power and that the spectacle of that distress is its crowning glory than the inauguration, on the roof of the Arche de la Defense, with a sumptuous buffet laid on by the Fondation des Droits de l’Homme, of an exhibition of the finest photos of world poverty.”

    3. spooz

      I would much rather see a combination of the tea party and Occupy movement, a real third party, than a revolution.

      From what I can gather about Le Pen, other than her controversial anti-immigration bias, her rule of law policies are sound. I have a hard time arguing support for illegal immigration. What are laws for if not to be enforced?

      Le Pen’s dislike of the ECB, NATO, World Bank, WTO, and IMF are well placed, IMO. And her denouncement of US military intervention is something I agree with too.

      The international socialists will have to do better than an immigration stance that looks nothing like genocide to paint Le Pen as fascist.

      1. Chris Rogers

        Try looking at her father and then take it from there.

        Also, for a nation supposedly against Monarchy and aristocracy, its strange that Le Pen, just like Bush, is part of a dynasty – for what its worth, I don’t like dynasties, be they like North Korea, the USA with the Kennedy’s or Bush’s, or France as with Le Pen.

        To say the woman is brainwashed is an understatement – still, if Fascists turn you on, that’s your shout – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!!!!

        1. spooz

          Straw man argument. Why should I have to look at her father to understand her beliefs? Should people be looking at my racist conservative father to understand my progressive beliefs?

          Le Pen tells the New York Times:

          “For a long time, the National Front upheld the idea that the state always does things more expensively and less well than the private sector,” she told me. “But I’m convinced that’s not true. The reason is the inevitable quest for profitability, which is inherent in the private sector. There are certain domains which are so vital to the well-being of citizens that they must at all costs be kept out of the private sector and the law of supply and demand.” The government, therefore, should be entrusted with health care, education, transportation, banking and energy.”

          Le Pen considers Obama to be further right than she is.

          Are you spreading propaganda?

        2. spooz

          Also, Chris, I took a look at your link to your employer Institute of Regulation and Risk, and it looks to be bankster run. Does that mean you are providing the bankster defense here?

          1. Chris Rogers

            Thanks for taking time to look at ones rather outdated website – as for your personal insult, I suggest you do a little growing up and get real.

            For your info, the Journal I’ve published is highly critical of the current banking and regulatory setup, so to claim one is in the pockets of financial services elites is really beyond me.

            Further, persons like myself cannot be purchased, something to do with my background and education whereby money certainly is not everything – having principles certainly is, which is why, unlike many a coward on these boards I actually utilise my real name to post my opinion and certainly will not cower behind any type of mask – something to do with liberty, plurality and a belief in democracy – a democracy that benefits the majority and not a minority.

            Still, many thanks for your personal aside, it made me laugh and certainly would make my bank manager laugh, particularly given I have about US$100 to my name – I have no debt though!!!!!

          2. spooz

            Sorry you took it so personally, Chris. Just treating you in a way similar to the way you treated Le Pen. I took a cursory look at your website, and it looked to be a mouthpiece for central banks. I mean, the speakers and contributors to your “journal” and conferences are connected to central banks and banksters and your advisors also seem to be bank friendly. What am I missing?

            I’m sorry your “international socialist” status doesn’t mean you’re a jet-setter and that you are impoverished. Too bad business development, publications & events, CXO training, sales & marketing, and exploiting niche business opportunities doesn’t pay better. I guess if I had something to sell, as you do, I would not be as interested in anonymity. As it is, I value my privacy too much.

    4. SR6719

      Working Class Nero,

      Considering that Left politics appears to be immobilized at the level of theory and therefore of practice, we have to ask if there is any way to “open up” the problem (or discussion) and say something uncommon, insolent, heterodoxical or paradoxical without automatically being branded a member of the extreme right?

      Why does everything moral, orthodox and conformist (which was traditionally associated with the right) seem to have passed over to what you refer to as the “Bourgeois Left”?

      1. Working Class Nero

        Good question. I will use the concepts of three authors I like to respond.
        First we have to look at Carroll Quigley’s distinction between the concepts of social instruments vs. institutions. The Bourgeois Left rose in the Sixties during the Civil Rights and Equal Rights battles as a good social instrument for change. There were obviously very serious social problems where certain groups were denied equality of opportunity. And unfortunately the Working Class Left contained elements that were at times hostile to these changes. And so much good came from the Bourgeois Left at this point.

        But as Quigley points out, positive outward looking social instruments soon morph into inward looking social institutions concerned mostly about maintaining their own power often at the expense of the wider society. So as the various identity groups were carved up and given special benefits, the goal of equality of opportunity was replaced by equality of outcome which presupposed all differences in outcome between races and gender to be due to oppression.

        And wealthy elite institutions through the considerable weight behind the Bourgeois Left for two primary reasons; one, to divide and conquer the bottom half of the population by race, gender or whatever other differences could be invented. Also supporting the Bourgeois Left ‘s successful social agenda helped steer away the Left in general from a political economic agenda.

        For the various members o f Left (and this is certainly true of the Right as well), they are often manipulated by what Hans Krug calls a “hostile image.” In Krug’s case he is discussing the West’s attitude towards Islam, but the same mental mechanisms are at work in political thinking. For the Left, the Right is evil. This means that “we” are not to blame for anything; it is all the “others” fault. The hostile image let’s “us” ignore our differences because the real threat is the “other”. As Krug states, the hostile image polarizes by reduction the range of possible actions to either-or. And the hostile image activates; it requires o quick decisions or actions. As a result, precise information is unnecessary, it is all just enemy propaganda anyway if it doesn’t fit our preconceived notions.

        And as Jonathan Haidt points out, we are social animals and desperately want to belong to a group. Often, groups have the membership requirements that their members engage in groupthink if they want to stay members. And so with for example political correctness, if you want to stay in good standing with the “correct” group, there are many rules to follow and refusal to conform to these rules may mean immediate exile to the “other” group. What you basically end up with is sacred “thinking” where there are very strict lines as to what is orthodox and what is heretical. The Bourgeois Left is in serious need of a intellectually cleansing Reformation.

        And one other aspect of why the Bourgeois Left is so intellectually frozen is that, as in war, success breeds conservatism. There can be no doubt that on social issues the Bourgeois Left has been dominate over the past 40 years. But just as with the wars between Germany and France, the winning side always because complacent while the losing side took a good hard look at themselves and implement changes. The opposite is true on economic issues, the Left in general has been routed over the past 40 years. And so it is high time that, economically, what passes for the Left, take a good long hard look at their failures.

      2. SR6719

        Thanks, Working Class Nero, you made some very good points.

        Back when the Right passed to the side of moral values and the established order, the Left did not hesitate (in the past) to defy these moral values in the name of political values. But today, as you noted, the Left has fallen victim to the same shift, the same loss of control: by investing in the moral order, it can only watch as the repressed political energy crystallizes elsewhere and against it.

        And the Left (for clarity, I’ll adopt your expression Bourgeois Left) can only feed this by embodying the reign of Virtue and Identity Politics, which is also the greatest hypocrisy.

        Like the hypocrisy of progressives, celebrities, and left intellectuals (such as Bernard Henri Levy) promoting and cheer-leading the “humanitarian intervention” in Libya. The Bourgeois Left hailed this as Libya’s liberation, but once the Western media moved on to promote their next war in Syria, it became clear that thousands of killings, beatings, torture, and atrocities were being committed by Nato-backed former rebel militia.

        When Nato intervened in Libya, the death toll was somewhere around 1,000-2,000 (judging by UN estimates), eight months later it was probably ten times that figure and today who knows (maybe twenty times?). But who even remembers the war in Libya anymore, it’s ancient history. As progressives moved on, and focused on burning issues such as gay marriage, estimates of the numbers of dead in the months following the Libyan intervention – as Nato leaders vetoed ceasefires and negotiations – range from 10,000 up to 50,000, although the National Transitional Council puts the losses at 30,000 dead and 50,000 wounded.

        And so, if this is what “liberation” looks like, I have to agree with you that the best thing the West can do to help the Third World is leave it the f*ck alone.

    5. Luutzen Nijdam

      @Working Class Nero

      I am from NL, IT consultant, and think you make THE point: the existing class struggle between the Top 20-30% and the rest.

      Mainstream Media=bourgeois left. They are part of current capitalist elites and wannabeees.

      They want to create a reserve army of unemployed and poor, ruled (employed)by themselves, using mass-immigration and IMF world austerity programs. At the same time they prop up the TOO BIG TOO Fail banks with keyboradmoney ad taxpayer bailouts.

      We need a true socialist take-over in the West, Leaders who will send home the Queens, Kings, Colonels, Banksters and Billinaires.

  4. Murky

    I could learn a lot from Chris Hedges. He’s got a lot of experience abroad, where recent social revolutions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe were in process. Historical details he lists about Eastern Europe and Russia had good accuracy. But I choked on his statement that the Tea Party is a “proto-fascist” organization. Lefties may love that kind of rant, but it’s not an intellectually honest or defensible claim. Vilifying those we don’t agree with has become standard discourse nowadays, and I regret that Hedges resorts to this tactic. Otherwise I found the balance of content in the Hedges interview to be informative and persuasive. Excellent defense of the Occupy Movement, got me to feeling like the movement has got some life in it yet.

    1. Mel

      It’s tough to separate the people from the astroturf. Around the last election there was a blog post from a bemused Tea Party activist. Their local discussion group got picked up by an organizer to do some protesting at a conference in another city. She was glad of the chance to deepen her involvement, and looked forward to ideas and debate and being effective. What happened was that the group members were used for human flip-chart easels. Bused them in, “Stand here, hold this sign, we’ll be back in a couple of hours.”

      Those people wanted many of the same outcomes that Occupy does. Partly it’s a matter of aligning understanding.

    2. SqueakyRat

      Proto-fascist is not the same thing as fascist. Hedges explained his accusation very well: the gun culture, the language of violence, the search for scapegoats, and the melding of Christian dogma and extreme nationalism. To which I would add the paranoia, the conspiracy theorizing, and the xenophobia. It’s all there, and it’s pro to-fascist. All it needs is its hero.

      1. spooz

        And yet, as Le Pen seems to be able to combine libertarian and socialist ideology in a decidedly non-fascist way. If the bone they need to be thrown is tougher immigration policies, why not find a way to compromise? The only chance of defeating the duopoly, imo, is to help conservatives and progressives to find common ground. Your name calling serves to keep the divide wide and feeds the status quo.

  5. LM Dorsey

    Joe Bageant. Would have been great contributor to this book. Need to freshen the rhetoric. Make it New. Joe did.

  6. Eureka Springs

    My 65.00 a month “high speed” internet service can’t handle streaming video so I am unable to view it. But who the hell made Hedges or any single individual spokesperson for Occupy? When is the last time he or any of us attended a GA… or voted with more than ten people in consensus on any occu-matter? I can understand the desperation for any movement by some of us is so strong we just have to use words like Occupy, however, Occupy is about 0.0001 percent more of a movement than MoveOn dot borg. All occupies in a couple hundred mile radius from me have completely died or turned entirely into veal pen/ d party one percent operations.

    Some organization similar to Occupy will surely have to take hold at some point… but Occupy is stockholm veal which wont leave the pen, even though the doors are wide open.

    And please, whenever one feels compelled to give Hedges free reign to batter black bloc…. at least give a link to David Graeber’s reply to Hedges on this point.

  7. ElSnarko

    This is THE most disappointing comment thread I have ever read here on NC. You are all obviously too well off. Otherwise this type of purile “revolutionary” pro and counter that was an embarassment the first time around ,say circa 1968, would be recognized for the standup comedy it is. You are not serious. You are innurred,self decieved and self congradulatory.

    1. Smellslikechapter11

      Having marched in the streets of Chicago, Washington and the like, endured the endless conversations about revolutionary purity and heard that somehow electing Nixon would bring a revolution, this type of dialog, with which I sympathize deeply, makes me now profoundly sad for I know it not bring about real change, even if there is such a thing.

  8. Antifa

    The crushing of the American middle class will come after the the November election, whomever wins the Oval Office and control of the House and Senate. However it all counts out, the bipartisan agreement is to slash away at the safety nets of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to feed more wealth to the 1%.

    The lame duck Congressional session will be quite the opportunity to push this agenda through, as will be the new Congress that meets in the spring. This slashing will be done under trumpeted choruses of fear about the nation’s rising debt, and calls for austerity and belt-tightening all around.

    And it ain’t gonna fly.

    It will not be accepted by the general public. The two hottest political items in American politics this coming six months are the slashing of our safety nets and a brewing revolt over impossible-to-repay student loans.

    Perhaps this will be the season when we see millions of Americans of every class out in the streets and staying out in the streets until they get Wall Street criminals off their backs and out of their government. Permanent refusal to go along, filling the streets around the clock is the only way change will come in this country.

    Sheer numbers is the way it will happen.

  9. Tommy Strange

    He sure does get it. I’ve been in ‘anarchist’ circles since 82, but I always really ‘trust’ ex liberals and progressive that go to libertarian left…it shows a great capacity of eyes wide open critical thinking. (see Klein, and Greenwald, and even Taibbi a bit, and maybe many readers of this fantastic site). I actually agreed with part of his column about blac blok. It is a ‘fluid’ tactic, but has been infiltrated from the beginning.
    He has traditional anarchist/synd/Bakunin spot on. Yes a social revolution can only happen, especially in the rich countries with a majority of the middle class.
    “What is the spark” and he correctly answers…You don’t know..”
    He is so right…that is why you must fight and organize constantly, no matter how much despair, because you NEVER know what tomorrow will bring. Also, in the coming depression, we need some kind of directly democratic ‘militant’ nonviolent direct action mass movement focused to offer a ‘side’ for the pissed off….to hopefully keep workers and such from horrible violence against the 80 percent. And from stupid vanguard crap like Weather Underground.
    If anyone here is interested to go deeper, read Malatesta, John Ross, go to AK press for titles..
    Anarchism is not a ‘party’, it is an economic and social philosophy. People had no idea how much Occupy was actually organized by anarchists. Most of us don’t wear badges. Heh.
    And yes the Tea Party is fascist.

    1. SixPackSam

      The Weather Underground can only be seen as pathetic because they didn’t achieve much in the end. I’m no expert so please correct me if you like but I find the WU failure surprising. They couldn’t have failed because USAans reject violence, obviously they love and approve heartily of violence in certain contexts. I favor Bob Altemeyer’s Authoritarian follower thesis but really, the USAans, especially poorer USAans passivity stuns me. Iv’e lived in a few countries (including the UK) where the elite and police behavior I observe happening in the USA would have resulted in riot-riot-riot around the clock.

  10. Greg T

    I don’t think Hedges is romanticizing it. He was a reporter and on the scene in eastern Europe, East Germany and got to see the collapse of Communist authority first hand. His description is that of an analyst rather than an ideologue. He is agnostic about which direction Occupy is headed; he says up front in the interview that he has no idea how the movement will reform. Really, none of us knows how this plays out.

    When a system loses its legitimacy and has to rely on violent suppression to hold power, how long can it last? I think we’re in the early stages of finding out.

  11. OMF

    The Occupy movement is a waste of time.

    Their motive are laudable, but their tactics are worse than useless. You cannot expect to achieve anything by sitting in the street and asking criminals to stop. You have to get political. You have to get legal. You have to go on the attack.

    I see the anger of a generation being wasted on a movement designed from the outset to maginal and unsuccessful.

  12. JTFaraday

    I think I have to agree with the interviewer that “the destruction of corporate power” is vague. Really, a more accurate articulation even at that level of generality would be “the destruction of the political power of corporations.”

    For some of these corporations, that might effectively spell “the end,” but their actual destruction as a result of their loss of political power would be incidental.

    Although I’m not sure that the Occupy movement itself– I have a hard time seeing Hedges and the other intellectual entrepreneurs who lapped at its fringes as really being of the movement– was even that clear.

  13. ottawan

    TVO…ON’s public broadcaster. highly academic, highly commendable. Highly likely to disappear soon. Sucks.

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  15. RanDomino

    What an arrogant, self-righteous, privileged bastard.

    First off, there’s his assumption that any change has to be acceptable to the middle-class, AKA the people whose privilege rests on the unsustainable EXPLOITATION of the system! IOW any change has to keep the power dynamics and economic structure basically intact! Thanks, Chris!

    Second, the fetishization of numbers. I’m sure that everything is soooo egalitarian in Eastern Europe today. And all that nonviolence in Russia was super-useful after 1917. Some people, it turns out, don’t give a fuck about your hippie candle-light vigil, and operate on a “civil disobedience is still disobedience” doctrine.

    But most blatantly Hedges’ criticism of Consensus is just plain wrong, wrong, wrong. Occupy was misusing Consensus by trying to marry it to liberal mass-democracy (“one person one vote!”). Consensus was never designed for giant crowds, so of course it broke down at that point. The solution isn’t to dump Consensus, but to reorganize Occupy into a ‘telescoping’ coalition- Affinity Groups (of just a few people each, operating on direct Consensus internally) come together for neighborhood (for larger cities, such has been the case in Chicago and Boston for example) or city-wide (for smaller cities) groups via a delegate system (‘spokescouncil’), and those groups work together through another layer of delegation on a regional level (or the entire city, for larger cities), and those spokescouncils coordinate continentally (fuck nationalism).

    But Hedges will not change what he says, other than to make his arguments slightly more sophisticated, because his goal is to play-act at revolutionary rather than create any kind of actual change. He wants to see giant faceless crowds and make headlines and get into the books of the same historians commissioned by today’s winners. He’s France in 1938, eminently prepared for the last war…

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