The Big Ideas of 2047

The Next Fissure is only a Spark away

Chris Hedges on the inevitability of revolt.

The most important dilemma facing us is not ideological. It is logistical. The security and surveillance state has made its highest priority the breaking of any infrastructure that might spark widespread revolt. The state knows the tinder is there. It knows that the continued unraveling of the economy and the effects of climate change make popular unrest inevitable.

The state knows that as underemployment and unemployment doom at least a quarter of the U.S. population, perhaps more, to perpetual poverty, and as unemployment benefits are scaled back, as schools close, as the middle class withers away, as pension funds are looted by hedge fund thieves, and as the government continues to let the fossil fuel industry ravage the planet, the future will increasingly be one of open conflict.

This battle against the corporate state, right now, is primarily about infrastructure. We need an infrastructure to build revolt. The corporate state is determined to deny us one.

The corporate state, unnerved by the Occupy movement, has moved to close any public space to movements that might reignite encampments. The state has, at the same time, heavily infiltrated movements in order to discredit, isolate and push out their most competent leaders.

The state has used its vast surveillance capacities to monitor all forms of electronic communications, as well as personal relationships between activists, giving the state the ability to paralyze planned actions before they can begin. It has mounted a public relations campaign to demonize anyone who resists, branding environmental activists as “ecoterrorists,” charging activists under draconian terrorism laws, hunting down whistle-blowers such as Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden who shine a light on the inner secrets of power and condemning them as traitors and threats to national security.

Occupy articulated the concerns of the majority of citizens. Most of the citizenry detests Wall Street and big banks. It does not want more wars. It needs jobs. It is disgusted with the subservience of elected officials to corporate power. It wants universal health care. It worries that if the fossil fuel industry is not stopped, there will be no future for our children. And the state is using all its power to stymie any movement that expresses these concerns.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show Homeland Security, the FBI, the Federal Protective Service, the Park Service and most likely the NSA and the CIA (the latter two have refused to respond to FOIA requests) worked with police across the country to infiltrate and destroy the encampments. There were 7,765 arrests of people in the movement. Occupy, at its peak, had about 350,000 people – or about 0.1 percent of the U.S. population.

“Look how afraid the power structure was of a mere 1/10th of 1 percent of the population,” says Freedom Plaza Occupier, Kevin Zeese. “What happens when the movement grows to 1 percent—not a far reach—or the 5 percent that some research shows is the tipping point where no government, dictatorship or democracy can withstand the pressure from below?”

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning author and former international correspondent for the New York Times. His latest books include The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress and Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt with Joe Sacco. This is an excerpt of his article, Sparks of Rebellion originally published on Truthdig.

18 comments on the article “The Next Fissure is only a Spark away”

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Everyone is revolting for a shift in priorities. Our resource allocation is completely messed up right now. The wealth needed to drive the industries that will save us (alternative energy, practical food solutions, affordable medicine, adequate housing, public transport, etc.) is quietly being walked into the pockets of swarthy salesmen and finance giants, where it stays. The fact that government legislation is bending to accommodate this makes it worse still. If 5% of the population was motivated to protest this fact, it may start to weaken.

Imagine the Occupy Movement as a test rocket. We saw how much power a movement needs. We saw how the media covered it. And it showed us where the weaknesses are. When the symbol of the Occupy Movement is college educated, unemployed twenty and thirty-somethings rather than a shanty town run by stoners, it won't fail so easily. I'm certainly no kid, and the next movement will have my full support.

Progress is always perpetuated by conflict. If enough people get on the same page before the internet becomes corporatized, maybe America can avoid complete enslavement to big business and the police state. But that would give us less than 10 years, by my calculations.


Guys I'm sorry to have to break the news to you, but we are way too far gone now. The technological difference gap has just expanded exponentially.

We have totally lost and it's going to take us at least 500 years just to begin to extricate ourselves from this deep bondage.

Sorry guys.

James Boss

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