Hedges and Nader

Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader speak about Nader’s Breaking Through Power event being held in D.C. this week, and about what it will take to bring democracy to America. Hedges opens with these thoughts.

This moment in American history is what Antonio Gramsci called the “interregnum”—the period when a discredited regime is collapsing but a new one has yet to take its place. There is no guarantee that what comes next will be better. But this space, which will close soon, offers citizens the final chance to embrace a new vision and a new direction. This vision will only be obtained through mass acts of civic mobilization and civil disobedience across the country.

Nader is at his imaginative best these days. Many people are urging Senator Sanders to move beyond the election of 2016 toward a sustained program of activism, but Nader is the first I’ve read who articulates a practical strategy.

“What does he have to lose?” Nader asked of Sanders. “He’s 74. He can lead this massive movement. I don’t think he wants to let go. His campaign has exceeded his expectations. He is enormously energized. If he leads the civic mobilization before the election, whom is he going to help? He’s going to help the Democratic Party, without having to go around being a one-line toady expressing his loyalty to Hillary. He is going to be undermining the Republican Party. He is going to be saying to the Democratic Party, ‘You better face up to the majoritarian crowds and their agenda, or you’re going to continue losing in these gerrymandered districts to the Republicans in Congress.’ These gerrymandered districts can be overcome with a shift of 10 percent of the vote. Once the rumble from the people gets underway, nothing can stop it. No one person can, of course, lead this. There has to be a groundswell, although Sanders can provide a focal point”

Read the full article: Chris Hedges: Welcome to 1984 | Chris Hedges – Truthdig

Remembering Father Berrigan

Bernardine Dohrn writes of her memories of Father Berrigan, from a time when both of them were wanted by the FBI.

Dan Berrigan refused to report to prison, and during his time “underground” he repeatedly appeared publically to conduct church sermons or to give anti-war speeches, further infuriating FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. His was both a playful “underground” and a passionately moral one. He wrote, of the Catonsville action: “Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children…”

The Weather Underground responded with a much less eloquent “communiqué” to “Brother Dan,” just after he was arrested in 1970. “We watched you, Dan, on TV when they took you to jail, smiling and with hands raised, handcuffed, giving the sign of peace. You have refused the corruption of your generation.”

I ran across these links today. Rest in power, Father.

The Priest Who Practiced Radical Direct Action: Father Daniel J. Berrigan | Beacon Broadside

Imagining The New Creation | Religious Socialism Blog

Bearing The Cross | Chris Hedges at Truthdig

The photo of Father Berrigan is by Jim Forest.

Stein and Hedges Discuss It All

“Stop supporting the lesser evil and start working together for the greater good.”

Here are both parts of the recent conversation between Jill Stein and Chris Hedges. Although the truth they present here can be hard to take, they present a way forward through the gloom. What they suggest may well be our only hope as a species. Please watch with an open mind and heart.

In this first episode of this set from teleSUR’s Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges and Green Party candidate Jill Stein diagnose the problems plaguing US politics, highlighting the dysfunction of a two-party system dominated by corporate interests.

And in part two, they lay out the solutions to issues like economic inequality and climate change, and explain the need for sustained civil disobedience and a unified grassroots movement.

News and Commentary

From Around the Web – 18 February 2016

Turkey v Islamic State v the Kurds: What’s going on? – BBC News – Although military affiliates of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) have been some of the most stalwart and effective opponents of Daesh (the Islamic State), Turkey has chosen to focus their efforts on destroying the Kurdish freedom movement. The United States’ support of these efforts is unconscionable. This article from BBC News from a few months ago gives a decent overview of the situation.

Thomas Piketty on the rise of Bernie Sanders: the US enters a new political era | The Guardian – French Economist Thomas Piketty writes that the Vermont senator’s success so far demonstrates the end of the politico-ideological cycle opened by the victory of Ronald Reagan at the 1980 elections.

Bernie Sanders’ Phantom Movement – Chris Hedges – Truthdig – Hedges argues that no movement or political revolution will ever be built within the confines of the Democratic Party. And the repeated failure of the American left to grasp the duplicitous game being played by the political elites has effectively neutered it as a political force.

China’s currency reserves plunged in January – BBC News – China still has the world’s biggest reserve of foreign currency holdings. But that has declined by $420 billion over six months and stands at the lowest level in nearly four years. This is the most underreported and significant economic news of 2016, thus far.

Can the U.S. escape the slump? | SocialistWorker.org – Lee Sustar looks at the prospects for the U.S. economy amid global instability.

Greatest Threat to Free Speech in the West: Criminalizing Activism Against Israeli Occupation | The Intercept – Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman report that there is a coordinated and well-financed campaign led by Israel and its supporters to criminalize political activism against Israeli occupation, based on the fear that the worldwide campaign of Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment is succeeding.

The end of capitalism has begun | Books | The Guardian – Paul Mason posits that Capitalism will not be abolished by forced-march techniques, but by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values and behaviors.

More money for Wall Street, more problems for Chicago’s schools | Chicago Reader – From Ben Joravsky: “It seems the mayor and his council allies remain defiantly determined to waste money, raise taxes, and plunge Chicago Public Schools into bankruptcy.”

EFF to Support Apple in Encryption Battle | Electronic Frontier Foundation – “For the first time, the government is requesting Apple write brand new code that eliminates key features of iPhone security—security features that protect us all. Essentially, the government is asking Apple to create a master key so that it can open a single phone. And once that master key is created, we’re certain that our government will ask for it again and again, for other phones, and turn this power against any software or device that has the audacity to offer strong security.”

Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050 – Forbes – Drew Hansen, writing for that hotbed of Socialist thought, Forbes, says that corporate capitalism is committed to the relentless pursuit of growth, even if it ravages the planet and threatens human health.

The 2016 Bottom Line

Chris Hedges gets to the bottom line of the 2016 U.S. elections.

I intend to devote no more time to the upcoming presidential elections than walking to my local polling station on Election Day, voting for a third-party candidate, most likely the Green Party candidate, and going home. Any further energy invested in these elections, including championing Bernie Sanders’ ill-advised decision to validate the Democratic Party by becoming one of its presidential candidates, is a waste of time. Every action we take now must be directed at ripping down the structures of the corporate state.

Source: Chris Hedges: America’s Electoral Farce – Chris Hedges – Truthdig

Hedges on Marx

At the Left Forum in New York City on May 30th, Chris Hedges opened a discussion of why Karl Marx is essential at a time when global capitalism is collapsing.

The final stages of capitalism, Marx wrote, would be marked by developments that are intimately familiar to most of us. Unable to expand and generate profits at past levels, the capitalist system would begin to consume the structures that sustained it. It would prey upon, in the name of austerity, the working class and the poor, driving them ever deeper into debt and poverty and diminishing the capacity of the state to serve the needs of ordinary citizens. It would, as it has, increasingly relocate jobs, including both manufacturing and professional positions, to countries with cheap pools of laborers. Industries would mechanize their workplaces. This would trigger an economic assault on not only the working class but the middle class—the bulwark of a capitalist system—that would be disguised by the imposition of massive personal debt as incomes declined or remained stagnant. Politics would in the late stages of capitalism become subordinate to economics, leading to political parties hollowed out of any real political content and abjectly subservient to the dictates and money of global capitalism.

But as Marx warned, there is a limit to an economy built on scaffolding of debt expansion. There comes a moment, Marx knew, when there would be no new markets available and no new pools of people who could take on more debt. This is what happened with the subprime mortgage crisis. Once the banks cannot conjure up new subprime borrowers, the scheme falls apart and the system crashes.

Read the Remarks in Full: Chris Hedges: Karl Marx Was Right – Chris Hedges – Truthdig

The Last Gasp

“We increasingly do not remember what it means to be free. And because we do not remember, we do not react with appropriate ferocity when it is revealed that our freedom has been taken from us. The structures of the corporate state must be torn down. Its security apparatus must be destroyed. And those who defend corporate totalitarianism, including the leaders of the two major political parties, fatuous academics, pundits and a bankrupt press, must be driven from the temples of power. Mass street protests and prolonged civil disobedience are our only hope. A failure to rise up—which is what the corporate state is counting upon—will see us enslaved.”

Read More: Chris Hedges: The Last Gasp of American Democracy – Truthdig.

An Interview With Chris Hedges

On a new series from The Real News called Reality Asserts Itself with Paul Jay, Chris Hedges observes that although the liberal elite continues to speak in the “feel-your-pain” language of traditional liberalism, they’ve completely betrayed the very people that they purport to represent and defend.

I would urge you to watch the entire series.

Reality Asserts Itself – Chris Hedges

YouTube Playlist