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 Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, July 29, 2016

The 1 Percent’s Useful Idiots

Click here to access article by Chris Hedges from TruthDig.
The parade of useful idiots, the bankrupt liberal class that long ago sold its soul to corporate power, is now led by Sen. Bernie Sanders. His final capitulation, symbolized by his pathetic motion to suspend the roll call, giving Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination by acclamation, is an abject betrayal of millions of his supporters and his call for a political revolution.
It's debatable whether Bernie Sanders fits the definition of useful idiot as accurately defined by Wikipedia: 
In political jargon, useful idiot is a term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.
Although one can't get in Sanders' head to really find out, it is really quite unbelievable, given his long career in government, that he didn't know how the game is played in the selection of fake leaders--also known as the election process--to act out their roles in government. You either play up to the real power centers in the invisible government peopled by major bankers, stockholders, and corporate CEOs, or you forget about having a political career. 

So I begin my commentary on this piece in a very skeptical mood. I've watched Chris Hedges too long to not be skeptical. He loves to sermonize. (He originally started training to become a preacher like his father.) He has enjoyed a high standard of living and arguably one might say that he has served as a "useful idiot" for the NY Times, the mouthpiece of the real but invisible government. I grew especially skeptical of his sincerity after he wrote the piece depicting anarchists battling police (the enforcers of the capitalist deep state) on the streets of Oakland as "The Cancer in Occupy [movement]". Apparently seeing people fighting back against what passes for law and order in the US was too much for Hedges' allegiance to the capitalist state. I came to think of him as a consummate poseur who liked to moralize, and got off on people seeing him as some kind of radical. 

So along comes this post which could have been written by a genuine revolutionary. Taken at face value, it is a very eloquent call to action against the capitalist state. But then I notice that he read this essay at the "Socialist [sic] Convergence" gathering in Philadelphia to commiserate over Sanders' defection and to salvage some valuable scrap out of their political wreckage. This occasion presented a perfect audience for him to demonstrate his well-honed oratorical skills loaded with radical sounding themes and to lend credence that the movement to elect Bernie Sanders had something to do with the radical sounding term "socialism" which their movement has redefined--to the comfort of the invisible "deep state", into that of social democracy.

Like Sanders I can't get inside Hedges' head to determine definitively whether he is a fake or not. But I have my doubts. (I tend to agree with Joseph Kishore in his article from World Socialist Web Site.) When Hedges talks explicitly in favor of public ownership and control of the economy, I will then recognize him as a genuine revolutionary. You, as always and as an independent thinking human being, will have to decide for yourself.