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 181 - 190 of 200

Page 19 of 20

Anonymous

Sounds really interesting - but what does it mean? Then again, people are always talking about this down the pub. Cheers!

Anonymous

People in mass are working on the problems of One Percent oppression. Open your eyes and your mind, this is a multifaceted problem with much of what needs to be know hidden.

Anonymous

I really don't know what you are complaining about.

In case you haven't noticed,

ALL THE MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL CAMPAIGNS ARE NOW BEING RUN BY THE OIL INDUSTRY.
(and pretty much nobody else)

Which is exactly what we all wanted. So everything is going great. So shut up.

Anonymous

There are no jobs in the United States.

There is no corporate loyalty or patriotism.

The queen 1%ers have poisoned the hive.
The 1% think they do not need the hive nor the worker bees.

Do you trust corporations to run the government?

Profit as the only motive is evil and now our ultimate demise.

There are no jobs.
What does that tell you?

First they ponzi the homes of the middle class.
Now they are targeting the pensions.

We need 50 million Americans and we need to overturn Citizens United.

Anonymous

Citizens United is the LEAST of your problems.

Overturning it will not fix any of the major problems in the Corporate States of America. The problems existed before Citizens United, and Citizens United is like the icing on the cake of corporate ownership. The ownership of government, legislation and capital, can be traced all the way back to the formation of the District of Columbia in 1790 (which acts as a corporation), and then the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, and the post World War II Military Industrial Complex.

America cannot be reformed, it needs to be re-imagined, reorganized, recreated.

Anonymous

Comrades at Adbusters,

I check up adbusters almost everyday, but most days there's nothing new coming in

There is a great stock of previous articles which deserve being read and rediscovered. You can always google for a specific topic, search on previous issues and so on, but I'd suggest the website being reformed so there are some featured articles like at www.roarmag.org, best articles from previous years to facilitate their reading and finding and increasing their visibility, Ir a list of "most viewed". Smth of the like

Somehow, to promote the rediscovery of the vast legacy of thoughs and ideas of adbusters (and also I'd say of the kickitover.org campaign)

thank you for your outstanding work comrades
solidarity

Anonymous

As much as I blame big money for the current crisis in America, I blame Occupy and the Left just as much. Yes, them. I've followed Occupy since its inception, and while I support its goals, its members and its leadership can come across as being incredibly arrogant and condescending, spewing forth extreme opinions and expecting everyone to naturally agree with them. That is the sentiment I'm seeing on "Adbusters" and other pro-Occupy sites and threads. Commands to "wake up" -- and the labelling of "sheeple" as being "stupid" and "brainwashed" if they do not vote our way -- smacks of the "we're-right-you're-wrong-and-go-to-Hell-if-you-disagree" mindset I have seen in the Right.

Noam Chomsky said that Occupy and the Left have to win the support of the public to succeed. They did a good job with the Keystone XL protests and with bank foreclosures, but they've squandered those victories with extreme rhetoric and rants. Gee, thanks for ignoring Noam, folks!

The reverence of Chris Hedges by Occupy doesn't help much, I'm afraid. Hedges and his ilk dominate the knowledge-thirsty minds in Occupy. Unfortunately, Hedges devotes much of his energy to saying on no uncertain terms that the situation is irreversibly hopeless and that everyone will either end up dead or forced to live in a commune to escape the Powers That Be. He constantly preaches that we will be rolled over, and rarely gives a plan of action to stop that from happening. This column of his has his usual "this-is-the-future-and-it's-set-in-stone" tone. That's hardly "inspiring". With a bleak message like that, is it so surprising that Occupy seems to have stagnated in recent months?

The more Hedges and others inject nihilism into Occupy, the more the Occupiers develop hopeless myopia, the more people like Scott Walker and Golden Dawn get elected. It's a positive-feedback loop, like climate change. The doom and gloom Hedges broadcasts and the Occupiers accept and dread becomes a reality of their own making.

Anonymous

While it is clear that people have been brainwashed, and need to be unplugged from the system, Occupy and Adbusters would be mad to call anyone "stupid". It is just that the powers-that-be have had years to work on mass/mind-control - and are very good at it. Look at how they sexed-up information Iraq and Libya. Look how they are now undermining Syria. Then again, anyone that understands Noam Chomsky would already know this. So who has been ignoring Noam?

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