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The Best Among Us

Chris Hedges on the struggle to Occupy Wall Street.
Chris Hedges: The Best Among Us

Eric Lusion

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There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to be complicit in this radical evil. To stand on the sidelines and say "I am innocent" is to bear the mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet. To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal. Ask Tim DeChristopher

Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you. They are terrified this will spread. They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets. They have their metal barricades set up on every single street leading into the New York financial district, where the mandarins in Brooks Brothers suits use your money, money they stole from you, to gamble and speculate and gorge themselves while one in four children outside those barricades depend on food stamps to eat. Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today they run the state and the financial markets. They disseminate the lies that pollute our airwaves. They know, even better than you, how pervasive the corruption and theft have become, how gamed the system is against you, how corporations have cemented into place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequious cadre of politicians, judges and journalists who live in their little gated Versailles while 6 million Americans are thrown out of their homes, a number soon to rise to 10 million, where a million people a year go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of proper care, where real joblessness is spiraling to over 20 percent, where the citizens, including students, spend lives toiling in debt peonage, working dead-end jobs, when they have jobs, a world devoid of hope, a world of masters and serfs.

The only word these corporations know is more. They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves. Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in the street. Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear. Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs. Let the prison system, the largest in the industrial world, expand to swallow up all potential dissenters. Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, firefighters, postal employees and social workers join the ranks of the unemployed. Let the roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail lines, subways, bus services, schools and libraries crumble or close. Let the rising temperatures of the planet, the freak weather patterns, the hurricanes, the droughts, the flooding, the tornadoes, the melting polar ice caps, the poisoned water systems, the polluted air increase until the species dies. 

Who the hell cares? If the stocks of ExxonMobil or the coal industry or Goldman Sachs are high, life is good. Profit. Profit. Profit. That is what they chant behind those metal barricades. They have their fangs deep into your necks. If you do not shake them off very, very soon they will kill you. And they will kill the ecosystem, dooming your children and your children's children. They are too stupid and too blind to see that they will perish with the rest of us. So either you rise up and supplant them, either you dismantle the corporate state, for a world of sanity, a world where we no longer kneel before the absurd idea that the demands of financial markets should govern human behavior, or we are frog-marched toward self-annihilation. 

Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope. They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith. They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible. They have tasted fear, been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded by pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, laughed, sung, talked too long in general assemblies, seen their chants drift upward to the office towers above them, wondered if it is worth it, if anyone cares, if they will win. But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth. This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.

This article originally appeared on truthdig. Chris Hedges has been at the Wall Street Occupation and gave an interview live from Freedom Plaza. Hedges’ latest book is a collection of his essays called The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress. Check out OCCUPY TOGETHER, a hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.

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288 comments on the article “The Best Among Us”

Displaying 181 - 190 of 288

Page 19 of 29

Anonymous

Of course no one likes corporate greed, or anybody who makes an enormous amount of money. Instead of protesting I am putting myself in the best position, by studying (something useful) and working, to do something first hand. You willl not see me holding a rediculous sign, (End the Fed, really so are we just going to barter with no currency again?), wearing a hemp hoodie, and looking like a misfit toy. Why does our generation think we are entitled to everything? I find most of these people pathetic and extrodinarily lazy or just plain dumb.

Anonymous

Of course no one likes corporate greed, or anybody who makes an enormous amount of money. Instead of protesting I am putting myself in the best position, by studying (something useful) and working, to do something first hand. You willl not see me holding a rediculous sign, (End the Fed, really so are we just going to barter with no currency again?), wearing a hemp hoodie, and looking like a misfit toy. Why does our generation think we are entitled to everything? I find most of these people pathetic and extrodinarily lazy or just plain dumb.

Anonymous

I have a few issues with your comment:

There are many of us who work hard and study hard and don't think that we are entitled to everything, we spend our down time asking ourselves why the world isn't perfect, and then we find out what is causing this and move to fix it.

You think that people who participate in non violent protests are "just plain dumb" but history has proven it to be a very effective force for change.

You won't be seen wearing a 'hemp hoodie'? what would you rather be seen in, a brand name jumper? Most of the people you refer to would have made a concsious decision to buy that product because they wanted to have as little impact on the environment and unfair working conditions as they possibly could, I might add that the majority of these people would never judge you on the clothes that you wear.

You claim that you want to put yourself in the "best position" but the current system is built so that there are very little of these positions, would you still want a postion if you knew every single person that the current system fails (a.k.a the majority) personally?

You refer to people who you have never met as met as "pathetic" or "extraordinarily lazy", I sincerely hope that you begin spending your time doing things that are positive and refrain from derogatory comments, those people are fighting so that everybody can get to a better postion together.

Also, it's *ridiculous and *extraordinarily

Anonymous

I have a few issues with your comment:

There are many of us who work hard and study hard and don't think that we are entitled to everything, we spend our down time asking ourselves why the world isn't perfect, and then we find out what is causing this and move to fix it.

You think that people who participate in non violent protests are "just plain dumb" but history has proven it to be a very effective force for change.

You won't be seen wearing a 'hemp hoodie'? what would you rather be seen in, a brand name jumper? Most of the people you refer to would have made a concsious decision to buy that product because they wanted to have as little impact on the environment and unfair working conditions as they possibly could, I might add that the majority of these people would never judge you on the clothes that you wear.

You claim that you want to put yourself in the "best position" but the current system is built so that there are very little of these positions, would you still want a postion if you knew every single person that the current system fails (a.k.a the majority) personally?

You refer to people who you have never met as met as "pathetic" or "extraordinarily lazy", I sincerely hope that you begin spending your time doing things that are positive and refrain from derogatory comments, those people are fighting so that everybody can get to a better postion together.

Also, it's *ridiculous and *extraordinarily

Anonymous

There was nothing Wall Street did without the compliance of Congress. Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer, Barney Frank were heads of Banking Committees. Their #1 contributors were Wall Street & Banks.
Google: Barack Obama, political contributions, opensecrets. OMG! He took in $15 million plus another $8,25 bundled. $1 just from Goldman Sachs! Unhappy about the Wall Street bonuses. They came from the Obama administration. Google Blame Dodd Attacks Ignore Facts on FactCheck!
At least the Tea Party has been busy voting out those who bailed out the Banks.

Anonymous

There was nothing Wall Street did without the compliance of Congress. Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer, Barney Frank were heads of Banking Committees. Their #1 contributors were Wall Street & Banks.
Google: Barack Obama, political contributions, opensecrets. OMG! He took in $15 million plus another $8,25 bundled. $1 just from Goldman Sachs! Unhappy about the Wall Street bonuses. They came from the Obama administration. Google Blame Dodd Attacks Ignore Facts on FactCheck!
At least the Tea Party has been busy voting out those who bailed out the Banks.

Anonymous

To everybody out there blaming Obama, Bush or any other singular government official as the cause for America's prosperity getting flushed down the toilet. You're missing the big picture. The situation is simple: The near entirety of the US government is corrupt and run by political Bribe-takers bought and paid for by people who have amassed the most wealth overall in this country (the top 1% of the U.S. population).

These politicians, now solely representing their funders and not the voters turn around and pass legislation that gives the Super Rich here every advantage possible, including free money (Quantitative Easing/Bailouts), lower taxes and zero accountability for their actions. In order to prevent revolts from the increased burden to the unrepresented in this country, the Super Rich have set up a bogus political party to siphon off and redirect the anger of the masses (The Republicans) and an ineffectual party (The Democrats) to cave to “republican pressure” while pretending to care about the masses.

In addition, they have co-opted and bought out nearly all of the mainstream media in order to filter out any info that would lay the blame on the true culprit, instead leaving the majority of America divided and focusing their energies on decoy scapegoats and partisan nonsense. The super rich and those they pay for care not one bit about jobs or the welfare of the country they grew from. They merely care about having as many digits as possible for their bank statement balance. And if that means the middle/working class will eventually need to vanish, then so be it. The entire system is broken.

If you really want to end Wall Street greed, you have to FIX CONGRESS FIRST. www.fixcongressfirst.org

P.S. Please feel free to repost this message elsewhere if you agree. Part of the way to help turn the tide of this problem is by raising awareness to the reality of the situation.

Anonymous

To everybody out there blaming Obama, Bush or any other singular government official as the cause for America's prosperity getting flushed down the toilet. You're missing the big picture. The situation is simple: The near entirety of the US government is corrupt and run by political Bribe-takers bought and paid for by people who have amassed the most wealth overall in this country (the top 1% of the U.S. population).

These politicians, now solely representing their funders and not the voters turn around and pass legislation that gives the Super Rich here every advantage possible, including free money (Quantitative Easing/Bailouts), lower taxes and zero accountability for their actions. In order to prevent revolts from the increased burden to the unrepresented in this country, the Super Rich have set up a bogus political party to siphon off and redirect the anger of the masses (The Republicans) and an ineffectual party (The Democrats) to cave to “republican pressure” while pretending to care about the masses.

In addition, they have co-opted and bought out nearly all of the mainstream media in order to filter out any info that would lay the blame on the true culprit, instead leaving the majority of America divided and focusing their energies on decoy scapegoats and partisan nonsense. The super rich and those they pay for care not one bit about jobs or the welfare of the country they grew from. They merely care about having as many digits as possible for their bank statement balance. And if that means the middle/working class will eventually need to vanish, then so be it. The entire system is broken.

If you really want to end Wall Street greed, you have to FIX CONGRESS FIRST. www.fixcongressfirst.org

P.S. Please feel free to repost this message elsewhere if you agree. Part of the way to help turn the tide of this problem is by raising awareness to the reality of the situation.

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