Adbusters

Chris Hedges

What's left of the country?

COURTNEY SACCO

The global struggle for real democracy has reached a precious moment of truth: In Egypt, the Tahrir Uprising has morphed into an unpopular Presidential election where neither candidate represents the youth who sparked the revolution. In Wisconsin, a vibrant bottom-up insurgency has resulted in a humiliating electoral defeat. Meanwhile in Greece, an openly fascistic party is gaining momentum. And then there is Occupy which has thus far been unable to recapture the magic we created last year.

Who has the vision? Who has the memes? We’re at a fork in the road … a tipping point moment in the global meme war and we on the Left have a lot of soul searching to do.

Here is an inspiring article by Chris Hedges from Adbusters #102 to set the tone for the days ahead:

What was left of electoral politics in the United States gasped and sputtered to its extinction with the 2010 Supreme Court ruling known as Citizens United. At that point the game was over. Legalized bribery now defines the political process. The most retrograde elements of corporate capitalism, such as the Koch brothers, are the undisputed king makers. They decide who gets elected by anonymously pouring hundreds of millions into campaigns. They hang with their SuperPACs like vultures over the heads of every federal and state legislator. Any politician who dares to challenge corporate demands and unregulated corporate capitalism knows they will be thrust from political life as well as their highly paid corporate jobs once they leave office. Politicians, including Barack Obama, are corporate employees. And they know it.

Corporate money had corrupted the American political system even before the 2010 Citizens United ruling. We had 35,000 corporate lobbyists in Washington by 2010 writing legislation and funneling corporate donations to compliant politicians. But the ruling snuffed out even tepid and marginal resistance. It transformed us into an oligarchic, corporate state. It marked, in essence, the culmination of the corporate coup d’état that has slowly been established over the past few decades. We can identify our individuality through brands or choices in lifestyle, but political freedom does not exist.

Our highly choreographed campaigns are bizarre spectacles, sterile and empty acts of political theater. The personal narrative of candidates is the central point of debate, not issues, programs or policies. The rhetoric and style is different – in short the brands are different– between Republicans and Democrats, but the substance is the same. It is impossible within the political system in the United States to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil. Political debate is dominated by opinion rather than fact. Lies are true.

The right-wing Heritage Foundation, for example, designed Obama’s healthcare bill. It was first put into practice by then-Governor Mitt Romney in 2006 in Massachusetts. Barack Obama adopted it, after corporate lobbyists for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries rewrote it to include $447 billion in subsidies. Romneycare is Obamacare. It forces consumers to buy a default corporate product. The insurance companies can raise co-payments and premiums, including for the elderly and those on fixed income. They are exempted from providing coverage to chronically ill children. Once you get sick you can be priced out of the market. Of the one million Americans who go bankrupt every year because they cannot pay their medical bills, 80 percent are insured. This abuse will remain untouched. The healthy will pay. The sick will be pushed aside.

The debate on the airwaves between Republicans and Democrats over the healthcare bill, now before the Supreme Court, is part of the vast dumb show. And this is true for every piece of legislation pushed through Congress. The corporate media exists not to illuminate but to perpetuate the mirage. Coke or Pepsi. Take your pick. As if there is a difference.

The capturing of the legislature, executive and judiciary by corporate power, however, is only the first stage. We have now entered the second. The corporate state, led by Congress and the Supreme Court, is rapidly criminalizing dissent. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was a bipartisan bill signed into law on New Year’s Eve by Obama, permits the US government to employ the military as a domestic police force that can detain citizens accused of supporting terrorist groups or “associated forces” without due process until, in the language of the law, the end of hostilities. Obama has employed the Espionage Act against government officials who have leaked information about war crimes to the press, virtually shutting down investigative reporting. Only the official narrative now prevails. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment Act (FISA) retroactively made legal what under our Constitution was illegal, the warrantless wiretapping, monitoring and eavesdropping on citizens. And the Supreme Court, utterly inverting the concept of the rule of law, recently ruled that those who are strip-searched by police or corrections officers, even if they are innocent of a crime, couldn’t challenge the measures in a court of law. In short, there is no legal recourse to the abuse of power.

The corporations will disembowel, or in the language of business schools “harvest,” what is left of the country. The security and surveillance apparatus will lock up those who resist. This is the future. The iron circle will be shut tight.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and former international correspondent for The New York Times. His latest book is The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.

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200 comments on the article “Chris Hedges”

Displaying 121 - 130 of 200

Page 13 of 20

Anonymous

Now, now... the guns are not for fighting against any big force such as the government or corporations, they're for fighting among ourselves. Come on, stick with the program.

Anonymous

Ha! That's what you think, they'll be out there fighting for 'white rights'. When Americans take out their guns then its time for blacks, jews and hispanics to hightail it out of here. You got milk, I got a passport.

Anonymous

You are obviously of the idea that an un-intelligent leadership or even group conscience can lead its followers into stupidity and folly.

Of course this may have some empirical validity.

But it does not make it necessarily the right lens through which to view the world.

Or maybe I mean everyday interactions.

Anonymous

Yep, pretty much the impression I was left with as well. In the beginning I was proud and by the end I was to embarrassed to even invite anyone to come and experience the movement. All because of the "band of angry know-nothings"

Rashad Hill

The Venus Project, resource based economy. This is the most radical thing out there right now. The problem is, it's constantly viewed as "idealistic" a "utopia" so you know what, it'll remain that way. I best most who put it down hasn't even studied it. The man behind the venus project has spent most of his life working on this, and it's based off science. I mean people like science right. It's based off the notion that, if you have an opinion, back it up we'll even provide you with what you need to put your theories to test. It's also based on the premise that the resources belong to EVERYBODY, the common heritage of all people. This isn't some joke people. I beg of you please read it, study it. Are we all about opinions now? No more studying? No more applying those concepts in reality and seeing if they hold up? Or will be just dismiss everything because it's foreign? If people really want some change, it's not gonna come from the same way of thinking that caused the problems which is where most of our thinking has come from. Time for something fresh, The Venus Project is an approach, Jacque Fresco is the man behind all of it, I would recommend watching some of his videos.

Also check out their 45 min video: Paradise or Oblivion. Please people, 96 years old, he's seen a lot in his time his concepts of the world are backed by experience and testing which we seem to lack nowadays.

Anonymous

I agree. It's sad how America bastardizes the Hippy culture. In truth, we decide how humane we can be. What the man in this video is talking about is a viable transition from a paper monetary system. Not only that, but the transition from placing power in belief and back into rationality. Psychological studies have shown that it is primarily our environments which dictate who we are; not our genes. Soldiers commit horrendous crimes because they are conditioned to kill, not question. The citizen will NOT rise up due to the Bystander Effect. The Stanford Prison experiment explains why the prison system is FAR from rehabilitating. Stanley Milgram's shock therapy experiment illustrates how, even just a decade after world ward 2, people are still capable of the same atrocities... because they will follow the herd.

Well, believe it or not, it works BOTH ways. If we make an environment focused on peace and providing for thee entire planet, view each other as a human RACE... not divisions of ethnicity, countries, and the like, we WILL BECOME EQUAL. For THAT is evolution. Morality is not absolute... it is relative to the environment. Consider morality in biological terms: it makes us sad when people we know and love die. It's a biological effect... conceived of by culture and harbored in our synapses. As for god, we don't know if there is a god, 1,000 gods, no god, or if we are gods. We simply do not know. So we should stop acting like we do. Because, when we do, people die.

Anonymous

I don't like it. sure it's a great idea for some things but the overall idea is to have one asshole dictating every damn thing, making us all live in rabbit hutches, with one architecture style, in building designed first for fashion. I hate it. You guys go live in those never ending tracks of stucko dome units. I hope you don't die of boredom as everything begins to look like everything else.

Anonymous

...and you thought that border fence was to keep Mexicans *out*? The joke's on you, amigo! The joke's on you.

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