We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

We Are All Deplorables

Click here to access article by Chris Hedges from Truthdig.

In the past ten years I have witnessed Hedges often hedging his critical views against the ruling capitalist class with his sermon-like essays (in his youth he did enroll in seminary to become a preacher like his father) about the immorality of the ruling capitalist class--of course, he never identified them as such, and still doesn't. He still prefers casting shame against the "liberal class" and the "oligarchic and corporate elites". And I really got my dander up when he wrote that despicable piece called "The Cancer in Occupy" in which he didn't merely argue against the tactics of anarchists but condemned them for directly attacking the violent agents of the ruling class (the police) and because they broke a few windows in the process. (I can foresee a future when we will all value the knowledge gained by anarchists in their experience while fighting these enforcers of the ruling class.)

But I've noticed a decided change in this piece. He appears to be climbing off his conflicted ideological wall and advocating for the destruction of capitalism and capitalist rule, that is, if we can take what he writes in this statement seriously:
The liberal class has no hope of defeating the rise of American fascism until it unites with the dispossessed white working class. It has no hope of being an effective force in politics until it articulates a viable socialism. Corporate capitalism cannot be regulated, reformed or corrected. A socialist movement dedicated to demolishing the cruelty of the corporate state will do more to curb the racism of the white underclass than lessons by liberals in moral purity. Preaching multiculturalism and gender and identity politics will not save us from the rising sadism in American society.
Initially when I read this, I was put off by his constant use of the phrase "liberal class". To me words matter because they are the vehicles by which we understand reality. My higher education was in political sociology in which I learned that class always referred to social-economic class whose components were framed in an understanding of the class nature of capitalism. The word "liberals" has come to mean in modern usage (as against the classical usage as an advocate of capitalism) as an apologist for capitalism with its emphasis on identity issues while ignoring and obscuring class issues. Most contemporary liberals are found in the middle or upper-middle class, particularly in those who enjoy the many privileges of academic employment. This, of course, is where Hedges has been situated as a highly educated career journalist for some of the major media corporations.

But then it hit me. If he means what he writes, he has decidedly given up his fence sitting and is now clearly decided to oppose the rule of capital and support the rule of workers. I also liked that he affirmed a loyalty to workers even though many have been confused and deluded by voting for Trump (when they should not have voted for neither). He identified with them and their plight by writing that "we are all deplorables" which referred to Hillary Clinton's condemnation of Trump's supporters.

I wondered if I had short-changed Hedges by not reading most of his articles. So I did a search on the partial word "socialis" (to find either socialism or socialist) in each of his articles posted in the last six months. I found only one which pertained to the US: a November 6 article entitled "Defying the Politics of Fear" in which he wrote this moving and inspiring statement:
No social or revolutionary movement succeeds without a core of people who will not betray their vision and their principles. They are the building blocks of social change. They are our only hope for a viable socialism. They are willing to spend their lives as political outcasts. They are willing to endure repression. They will not sell out the oppressed and the poor. They know that you stand with all of the oppressed—people of color in our prisons and marginal communities, the poor, unemployed workers, our LGBT community, undocumented workers, the mentally ill and the Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghans whom we terrorize and murder—or you stand with none of the oppressed. They know when you fight for the oppressed you get treated like the oppressed. They know this is the cost of the moral life, a life that is not abandoned even if means you are destined to spend generations wandering in the wilderness, even if you are destined to fail.
I inadvertently found an article posted on September 25 entitled "Police Killings Won’t Stop" in which he wrote what I believe described his prior liberal point of view: "The corporate state, by pillaging the nation, has destroyed capitalism’s traditional forms of social control." I think that this statement suggests a previous view that capitalism could be reformed by restoring "social control" (or regulatory controls) and therefore restoring a legitimate society that workers could be satisfied with. This rejection of controlled or regulated capitalism paved the way for his November 6th article where he explicitly came down on the side of socialism, the public ownership and control of the economy (however organized), and affirmed the necessity of revolution!    

1 comment:

  1. Este Hedges es una lamentacombinacion de geohistoria burbujanaitica
    For u all amerrrrrikan liberals read some history about stealing in larin america
    To anticiate what is comjng

    ReplyDelete

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