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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 81 - 90 of 288

Page 9 of 29

Anonymous

you are right in the fact that our country has been turned into a plutocracy... we all know that the government is just really an arm of the decadent petty bourgeois & corporate tyrants. and yes something needs be done. For the sake of America, for humanity as a whole. but you couldnt be more wrong about the root cause behind it!!! keep tracing backwards and you will see. first democracy.bourgeois... do an etymology on it. the real class warfare was not the bourgeois vs the proletariat but rather the aristocracy vs the bourgeois. the wealthy wanted power from the aristocracy, this is what was ultimately destroyed. when they speak off free speech, of free elections, of a free press... they know this only puts everything up for sale, they wealthy can then buy elections, the press etc... its not really free; evryone knows that. so everything becomes about money, money is the measure of all things and decadent hedonistic values are the only ones being exalted.The aristocracy always stood for something, for family, for country, duty, honor etc... most importantly the represented the true will of the ppl, was more true to human nature, glorified and put on a pedestal what was strong and healthy for life. the harsh reality is that tha vast majority are weak, and only like thanks to sum miracle of modern science, obese lazy cows. you can see what the majority favor, just like that of a woman... comfort and safety above all else. but I am not going to write you a paper on morality and try to convince you of the real problem facing modern man! our complete lack of culture and values. so to is democracy only a symptom... morality, symptoms of decline. the weak wanting to call themselves good, only because they lack any claws. the problem today is that we value quantity over quality!!! that ppl want certainty above all else. the hunger for truth, when in actuality the truth is precisely what they fight against. why then does evryone so easily accept that "truth" is more valuable than deception?? in truth... truth is what most ppl shriek in horror from. evrythin about us is built upon deception. the singular I, the ego, ego as cause, free will, god. the truth is we are creaturs that act with very limited data, we never know for sure how things will turn out. we are mortal, and if we wasnt everything wud be utterly fukn miserable. imagine how boring this would be. no need for art, philosophy. no pain or pleasure, no risks. we wud be tlking like a bunch of computers. we would no all. what if this was the truth?? what if we did figure out how to live forever and it fukn sucks. it becomes a horrible nightmare so we created a simulated world of mortality to make it fun and tolerable. would then truth be so beneficial?? or if it wer the truth that we are just a bacteria, a cancer on the face off the earth. all we do is reproduce and consume, teach our kids how to raise kids. all we value is reproduction until we destroy life. men use to value differently, we wer more carefree. Napoleon wasnt so worried about safety and comfort . he was on the front lines with cannon balls flyn around his head. neway ppl now only value comfort, safety. and certainty. as if the atom is real, another deception, we just observe sumthing, an ever changing something, in a particular state. to cut this short , the problem is weak values, democracy... ppls fear of rule, fear of death... the weak, the inability to resist a stimuli . to delay instant gratification . the weak slander all in their weakness. bla bla bla... the problem is nihilism

Anonymous

you are right in the fact that our country has been turned into a plutocracy... we all know that the government is just really an arm of the decadent petty bourgeois & corporate tyrants. and yes something needs be done. For the sake of America, for humanity as a whole. but you couldnt be more wrong about the root cause behind it!!! keep tracing backwards and you will see. first democracy.bourgeois... do an etymology on it. the real class warfare was not the bourgeois vs the proletariat but rather the aristocracy vs the bourgeois. the wealthy wanted power from the aristocracy, this is what was ultimately destroyed. when they speak off free speech, of free elections, of a free press... they know this only puts everything up for sale, they wealthy can then buy elections, the press etc... its not really free; evryone knows that. so everything becomes about money, money is the measure of all things and decadent hedonistic values are the only ones being exalted.The aristocracy always stood for something, for family, for country, duty, honor etc... most importantly the represented the true will of the ppl, was more true to human nature, glorified and put on a pedestal what was strong and healthy for life. the harsh reality is that tha vast majority are weak, and only like thanks to sum miracle of modern science, obese lazy cows. you can see what the majority favor, just like that of a woman... comfort and safety above all else. but I am not going to write you a paper on morality and try to convince you of the real problem facing modern man! our complete lack of culture and values. so to is democracy only a symptom... morality, symptoms of decline. the weak wanting to call themselves good, only because they lack any claws. the problem today is that we value quantity over quality!!! that ppl want certainty above all else. the hunger for truth, when in actuality the truth is precisely what they fight against. why then does evryone so easily accept that "truth" is more valuable than deception?? in truth... truth is what most ppl shriek in horror from. evrythin about us is built upon deception. the singular I, the ego, ego as cause, free will, god. the truth is we are creaturs that act with very limited data, we never know for sure how things will turn out. we are mortal, and if we wasnt everything wud be utterly fukn miserable. imagine how boring this would be. no need for art, philosophy. no pain or pleasure, no risks. we wud be tlking like a bunch of computers. we would no all. what if this was the truth?? what if we did figure out how to live forever and it fukn sucks. it becomes a horrible nightmare so we created a simulated world of mortality to make it fun and tolerable. would then truth be so beneficial?? or if it wer the truth that we are just a bacteria, a cancer on the face off the earth. all we do is reproduce and consume, teach our kids how to raise kids. all we value is reproduction until we destroy life. men use to value differently, we wer more carefree. Napoleon wasnt so worried about safety and comfort . he was on the front lines with cannon balls flyn around his head. neway ppl now only value comfort, safety. and certainty. as if the atom is real, another deception, we just observe sumthing, an ever changing something, in a particular state. to cut this short , the problem is weak values, democracy... ppls fear of rule, fear of death... the weak, the inability to resist a stimuli . to delay instant gratification . the weak slander all in their weakness. bla bla bla... the problem is nihilism

Anonymous

elevate yourself by taking the moral high ground, the problem is your fukn morality!!! I agree we need to do away with the corporate fascism; but I disagree with elevating fukn decadent moral monsters. may as well become a priest and start a pagan cult!! its a lil embarrassing to have ron paul supporters and ppl that call fukn nadar awesome on the site... but oh well...support the protestors!!! Down with the corporate tyrants that are oppressing this country!!! Kill ur local tea party representative ;)

Anonymous

elevate yourself by taking the moral high ground, the problem is your fukn morality!!! I agree we need to do away with the corporate fascism; but I disagree with elevating fukn decadent moral monsters. may as well become a priest and start a pagan cult!! its a lil embarrassing to have ron paul supporters and ppl that call fukn nadar awesome on the site... but oh well...support the protestors!!! Down with the corporate tyrants that are oppressing this country!!! Kill ur local tea party representative ;)

crenshawco

Title: The 28 day Protest......

I disagree. The most effective means of protest in a capitalistic society is fiscal.

Organize those 20 million mortgage holders in the US who are underwater on their mortgage ( owe more than their house is worth). Organize them to withhold their monthly mortage payment, on a given month, for 28 days.

This way the homeowner would incurr no penalty but cost the banking industry millions in daily interest. If you could pull this off with just 5% of the identified population, the banking industry would pay attention. So would Congress.
I am no organizer but I am a social capitalist.
Good luck.
-p

crenshawco

Title: The 28 day Protest......

I disagree. The most effective means of protest in a capitalistic society is fiscal.

Organize those 20 million mortgage holders in the US who are underwater on their mortgage ( owe more than their house is worth). Organize them to withhold their monthly mortage payment, on a given month, for 28 days.

This way the homeowner would incurr no penalty but cost the banking industry millions in daily interest. If you could pull this off with just 5% of the identified population, the banking industry would pay attention. So would Congress.
I am no organizer but I am a social capitalist.
Good luck.
-p

andre100

Some of the many things that needs to get fixed....

1. END CORPORATE WELFARE!
2. End corporate personhood
3. Reinstate Glass-Steagall
4. Ban flash trading
5. Robin Hood tax
6. A hedge fund billionaire must pay the same proportion of income in taxes as his secretary
7. Full Transparency between money and politicians
8. FULL DISCLOSURE OF ALL FINANCIAL "CONTRIBUTIONS"
9. Start investigating and prosecuting Wall Street for fraud and financial crimes etc.
10. Stop the Wars. We can not afford it.
11. Stop wasting $700 BILLIONS per year on military spending
12. A full audit of Federal Reserve
13. Stop the Big Brother society
14. Impose full Transparency in politics, business, banks
15. Stop the system of socialised losses and Privatised Gains for banks
16. All corporations have to pay taxes
17. Break-up Goldman Sachs. It's to powerful.
18. Get rid of Goldman Sachs ex-employers in the administration
19. Get rid of former Clinton advisors & Tim Geithner and put in people who fight for the 99%
20. Stop paying attention to what 0.1% wants and focus all the attention on the 99.9%
21 If you break it you pay for it. Make BP etc. pay the full -costs for their oil spills.
22. ...

andre100

Some of the many things that needs to get fixed....

1. END CORPORATE WELFARE!
2. End corporate personhood
3. Reinstate Glass-Steagall
4. Ban flash trading
5. Robin Hood tax
6. A hedge fund billionaire must pay the same proportion of income in taxes as his secretary
7. Full Transparency between money and politicians
8. FULL DISCLOSURE OF ALL FINANCIAL "CONTRIBUTIONS"
9. Start investigating and prosecuting Wall Street for fraud and financial crimes etc.
10. Stop the Wars. We can not afford it.
11. Stop wasting $700 BILLIONS per year on military spending
12. A full audit of Federal Reserve
13. Stop the Big Brother society
14. Impose full Transparency in politics, business, banks
15. Stop the system of socialised losses and Privatised Gains for banks
16. All corporations have to pay taxes
17. Break-up Goldman Sachs. It's to powerful.
18. Get rid of Goldman Sachs ex-employers in the administration
19. Get rid of former Clinton advisors & Tim Geithner and put in people who fight for the 99%
20. Stop paying attention to what 0.1% wants and focus all the attention on the 99.9%
21 If you break it you pay for it. Make BP etc. pay the full -costs for their oil spills.
22. ...

kennykaren1

I like the Demands list posted by GhandiKingMindset at http://occupywallst.org/forum/proposed-list-of-demands-please-help-editadd-so-th/

Succinct, savvy. Not perfect (what is?), but I highly recommend the GA coalesce around this "Demand"

kennykaren1

I like the Demands list posted by GhandiKingMindset at http://occupywallst.org/forum/proposed-list-of-demands-please-help-editadd-so-th/

Succinct, savvy. Not perfect (what is?), but I highly recommend the GA coalesce around this "Demand"

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