Rise Up or Die

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This post originally appeared at Truthdig.

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2008 file photo, a mountaintop removal mining site at Kayford Mountain, W.Va. with Coal River Mountain, left, in the background. Environmental activists gained more momentum this year than in the past decade against the destructive, uniquely Appalachian form of strip mining known as mountaintop removal. But they have yet to mobilize the millions of supporters they want. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner, File)
A mountaintop removal mining site at Kayford Mountain, W.Va. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner, File)

Joe Sacco and I spent two years reporting from the poorest pockets of the United States for our book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.” We went into our nation’s impoverished “sacrifice zones” — the first areas forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace — to show what happens when unfettered corporate capitalism and ceaseless economic expansion no longer have external impediments. We wanted to illustrate what unrestrained corporate exploitation does to families, communities and the natural world. We wanted to challenge the reigning ideology of globalization and laissez-faire capitalism to illustrate what life becomes when human beings and the ecosystem are ruthlessly turned into commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. And we wanted to expose as impotent the formal liberal and governmental institutions that once made reform possible, institutions no longer equipped with enough authority to check the assault of corporate power.

Chris Hedges (Credit: Dale Robbins)

What has taken place in these sacrifice zones — in postindustrial cities such as Camden, N.J., and Detroit, in coalfields of southern West Virginia where mining companies blast off mountaintops, in Indian reservations where the demented project of limitless economic expansion and exploitation worked some of its earliest evil, and in produce fields where laborers often endure conditions that replicate slavery — is now happening to much of the rest of the country. These sacrifice zones succumbed first. You and I are next.

Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics and impose our educational curriculum. They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other independent mass organizations, as well as having bought off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of workers. With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform — the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions — we are left defenseless against corporate power.

The Department of Justice seizure of two months of records of phone calls to and from editors and reporters at The Associated Press is the latest in a series of dramatic assaults against our civil liberties. The DOJ move is part of an effort to hunt down the government official or officials who leaked information to the AP about the foiling of a plot to blow up a passenger jet. Information concerning phones of Associated Press bureaus in New York, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Conn., as well as the home and mobile phones of editors and reporters, was secretly confiscated. This, along with measures such as the use of the Espionage Act against whistle-blowers, will put a deep freeze on all independent investigations into abuses of government and corporate power.

Seizing the AP phone logs is part of the corporate state’s broader efforts to silence all voices that defy the official narrative, the state’s Newspeak, and hide from public view the inner workings, lies and crimes of empire. The person or persons who provided the classified information to the AP will, if arrested, mostly likely be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. That law was never intended when it was instituted in 1917 to silence whistle-blowers. And from 1917 until Barack Obama took office in 2009 it was employed against whistle-blowers only three times, the first time against Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The Espionage Act has been used six times by the Obama administration against government whistle-blowers, including Thomas Drake.

The government’s fierce persecution of the press — an attack pressed by many of the governmental agencies that are arrayed against WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and activists such as Jeremy Hammond — dovetails with the government’s use of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force to carry out the assassination of U.S. citizens; of the FISA Amendments Act, which retroactively makes legal what under our Constitution was once illegal — the warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of tens of millions of U.S. citizens; and of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which permits the government to have the military seize U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them in indefinite detention. These measures, taken together, mean there are almost no civil liberties left.

A handful of corporate oligarchs around the globe have everything — wealth, power and privilege — and the rest of us struggle as part of a vast underclass, increasingly impoverished and ruthlessly repressed. There is one set of laws and regulations for us; there is another set of laws and regulations for a power elite that functions as a global mafia.

We stand helpless before the corporate onslaught. There is no way to vote against corporate power. Citizens have no way to bring about the prosecution of Wall Street bankers and financiers for fraud, military and intelligence officials for torture and war crimes, or security and surveillance officers for human rights abuses. The Federal Reserve is reduced to printing money for banks and financiers and lending it to them at almost zero percent interest; corporate officers then lend it to us at usurious rates as high as 30 percent. I do not know what to call this system. It is certainly not capitalism. Extortion might be a better word. The fossil fuel industry, meanwhile, relentlessly trashes the ecosystem for profit. The melting of 40 percent of the summer Arctic sea ice is, to corporations, a business opportunity. Companies rush to the Arctic and extract the last vestiges of oil, natural gas, minerals and fish stocks, indifferent to the death pangs of the planet. The same corporate forces that give us endless soap operas that pass for news, from the latest court proceedings surrounding O.J. Simpson to the tawdry details of the Jodi Arias murder trial, also give us atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide that surpass 400 parts per million. They entrance us with their electronic hallucinations as we waiver, as paralyzed with fear as Odysseus’ sailors, between Scylla and Charybdis.

There is nothing in 5,000 years of economic history to justify the belief that human societies should structure their behavior around the demands of the marketplace. This is an absurd, utopian ideology. The airy promises of the market economy have, by now, all been exposed as lies. The ability of corporations to migrate overseas has decimated our manufacturing base. It has driven down wages, impoverishing our working class and ravaging our middle class. It has forced huge segments of the population — including those burdened by student loans — into decades of debt peonage. It has also opened the way to massive tax shelters that allow companies such as General Electric to pay no income tax. Corporations employ virtual slave labor in Bangladesh and China, making obscene profits. As corporations suck the last resources from communities and the natural world, they leave behind, as Joe Sacco and I saw in the sacrifice zones we wrote about, horrific human suffering and dead landscapes. The greater the destruction, the greater the apparatus crushes dissent.

More than 100 million Americans — one-third of the population — live in poverty or a category called “near poverty.” Yet the stories of the poor and the near poor, the hardships they endure, are rarely told by a media that is owned by a handful of corporations — Viacom, General Electric, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Clear Channel and Disney. The suffering of the underclass, like the crimes of the power elite, has been rendered invisible.

In the Lakota Indian reservation at Pine Ridge, S.D., in the United States’ second poorest county, the average life expectancy for a male is 48. This is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere outside of Haiti. About 60 percent of the Pine Ridge dwellings, many of which are sod huts, lack electricity, running water, adequate insulation or sewage systems. In the old coal camps of southern West Virginia, amid poisoned air, soil and water, cancer is an epidemic. There are few jobs. And the Appalachian Mountains, which provide the headwaters for much of the Eastern Seaboard, are dotted with enormous impoundment ponds filled with heavy metals and toxic sludge. In order to breathe, children go to school in southern West Virginia clutching inhalers. Residents trapped in the internal colonies of our blighted cities endure levels of poverty and violence, as well as mass incarceration, that leave them psychologically and emotionally shattered. And the nation’s agricultural workers, denied legal protection, are often forced to labor in conditions of unpaid bondage. This is the terrible algebra of corporate domination. This is where we are all headed. And in this accelerated race to the bottom we will end up as serfs or slaves.

Rebel. Even if you fail, even if we all fail, we will have asserted against the corporate forces of exploitation and death our ultimate dignity as human beings. We will have defended what is sacred. Rebellion means steadfast defiance. It means resisting just as have Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, just as has Mumia Abu-Jamal, the radical journalist whom Cornel WestJames Cone and I visited in prison last week in Frackville, Pa. It means refusing to succumb to fear. It means refusing to surrender, even if you find yourself, like Manning and Abu-Jamal, caged like an animal. It means saying no. To remain safe, to remain “innocent” in the eyes of the law in this moment in history is to be complicit in a monstrous evil. In his poem of resistance, “If We Must Die,” Claude McKay knew that the odds were stacked against African-Americans who resisted white supremacy. But he also knew that resistance to tyranny saves our souls. McKay wrote:

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back! 

It is time to build radical mass movements that defy all formal centers of power and make concessions to none. It is time to employ the harsh language of open rebellion and class warfare. It is time to march to the beat of our own drum. The law historically has been a very imperfect tool for justice, as African-Americans know, but now it is exclusively the handmaiden of our corporate oppressors; now it is a mechanism of injustice. It was our corporate overlords who launched this war. Not us. Revolt will see us branded as criminals. Revolt will push us into the shadows. And yet, if we do not revolt we can no longer use the word “hope.”

Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” grasps the dark soul of global capitalism. We are all aboard the doomed ship Pequod, a name connected to an Indian tribe eradicated by genocide, and Ahab is in charge. “All my means are sane,” Ahab says, “my motive and my object mad.” We are sailing on a maniacal voyage of self-destruction, and no one in a position of authority, even if he or she sees what lies ahead, is willing or able to stop it. Those on the Pequod who had a conscience, including Starbuck, did not have the courage to defy Ahab. The ship and its crew were doomed by habit, cowardice and hubris. Melville’s warning must become ours. Rise up or die.

Watch Bill Moyers’s 2012 interview with Chris Hedges about his book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt a collaboration with comics artist and journalist Joe Sacco.

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  • Phaedrus

    One word: brilliant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.mugge.5 John Mugge

    One might like to take a look at David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years. He describes how minted coinage was first produced to pay soldiers. The population was required to pay taxes in the new coinage, and so markets arose so farmers and artisans could sell their goods to the military to gain the money to pay the taxes which were to pay off the nation’s debt which was essentially a war debt. Markets were born in a milieu of violence and repression. The reform that is required now is far reaching.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s an idea to inspire more women to abjure safety and consider new economic possibilities: http://fangedwilds.org/ – Fanged Wilds acknowledges animals as part of our growing non-corporate awareness.

  • scott

    Could not have said it better

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.elgee.5 Pat Elgee

    When someone writes something like this, he should offer solutions as well. We understand how international corporations have bought our government and are destroying not only our environment, but the 99% who must work for a living.
    Some things I can offer a solution, like student loans to those who teach or coach in our schools and colleges for 5 years, should have their loans forgiven. Perhaps the same should go for nurses and doctors who work in clinics for 5 years.
    I would also say, make voting records more easily accessible to the voters. Personally I would vote out all republicans who are obstructionist. Then next term carefully cull the democratic party who have not voted to put the reins on Wall Street, and voted for the people in other important issues like clean environment, clean political donations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.pallesen.9 Steven Pallesen

    Isaiah 61

    King James Version (KJV)

    61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

    2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

    3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.


    Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me


    Be still, and know that I am God
    Love and Peace

  • Guest

    But what do you liberals want instead? Communism? Maybe if Hedges started working for a living he’d be successful, too.

  • Douglass Bartlett

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if we all refused to pay our income taxes until tax breaks for corporations were eliminated and until those making over 250 grand got their taxes raised?????? A revolution is what is needed.

  • locality

    He’s talking about systemic change. Solutions like the ones you give as examples won’t result in the profound change we need.

  • Vernon

    I disagree with your points and I strongly disagree with your thinly veiled call to anarchy. To say “corporations are to blame” for the world’s problems is fantasy. Corporations only exist as words on paper. They have no more of a physical existence than Grimm’s Fairy Tales. People run corporations. People make the decisions that have terrible consequences like you are describing. People. Not corporations, not governments, not the tooth fairy – people do. To call for violence against “corporate tyranny” will have as much effect as me shooting at a thunderstorm. I’m not advocating to do nothing for the kids in West Virginia, the people in South Dakota, inter alia, but I am saying that what you are promoting will provide no relief for these people or any others. If toxic sludge is in West Virginia, then clean it up. If the people in South Dakota are the poorest, help them do better. If nature is being exploited to exhaustion/extinction, protect it.

    I don’t disagree that leaders of businesses have made decisions with dire and devastating consequences to others and the Earth. And they should be held accountable. But working under the owners are millions of ordinary people with families who thank God for their job and frankly have nothing to do with the situations you’re describing. Is a Wal-Mart store manager in Kentucky responsible for wage discrimination that occurred in California? Is a well-operator in North Dakota to suffer for an oil spill off the shore of Alaska? Is a bank owner in Florida to be vilified for abuse on Wall Street? The answer has to be no. Even if possible, to bring down the entire corporate model would be to bring us all down – way down. To conclude, I would argue we all need to be working earnestly to help those at the bottom pick themselves up as opposed to pulling everyone down. That especially includes those who make the most money. As a Christian I take Jesus’s words very seriously and quite literally when he said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God. And again in Luke, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from
    the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” What will ALWAYS be the right answer is to help those in need.

  • Pete Joachim

    Locality is right – Its a a paradigm shift on national level to recommit our gov’t to the people.

  • Bernal

    The fact that I’m able to read these words gives me hope. We MUST save the Internet. It’s our only hope to communicate effectively. Thank you Chris Hedges, and Thank you Bill Moyers! Your efforts are NOT in vain…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Imani-Burrell/100002259534084 Imani Burrell

    A systemic change that would require war. We are already in a paradigm shift, evidenced by the thread here. Taking a Ghandi-like approach, takes patience and persistence, but would prove to be more lasting, therefore more valuable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.webb.92 Dennis Webb

    Utopian? Sounds like dystopian!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ray.donaldson.71 Ray Donaldson

    We are living in a country of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations. I don’t know how to change this within the existing domination system. One positive thing I’ve heard is that this is not the first time the USA has been in this position. The railroad robber barons controlled the country at the beginning of the 20th century. The system then was not changed without going through the major disaster of the great depression. Can we change the current system without first going through the collapse of the system? Will the USA give up its belief that the United States is the world super power, able and entitled to resolve all the world’s problems as it sees fit? We must take decisive action quickly. Michael Dowd says in his book “Thank God for Evolution”: “we are the Universe becoming aware of itself, Nature uncovering its own nature, Cosmos exploring its very essence.” There is no “God” out there to solve this problem. We are “God’s” hands on earth.

  • William

    Please explain why a convicted cop killer is presented on Bill Moyers site as some kind of hero. 3 eye witnesses.

  • William

    “The radical journalist”–try “convicted cop killer”

  • http://www.facebook.com/angrybeardedman Duncan McGinnis

    Because sometimes even those who are convicted of crimes are innocent of any wrong doing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/luis.g.aguilera Luis Gabriel Aguilera

    Here is what the corporate-state agenda run by the elites is doing to public education alone: http://www.scribd.com/doc/106337306/THE-CHICAGO-PUBLIC-SCHOOLS-ALLERGIC-TO-ACTIVISM But what to do? We can inform ourselves and others, divest, boycott, support the independent businesses and independent elected officials or third party alternatives, litigate via individual and class-action suits, provide substantial documentation of those facilitating the agenda to pursue prosecution, marginalize the corrupt, etc. We can begin to build authentic communities that help one another. All of this can be done. But it requires work, patience, etc. and folks practicing deliberative/participatory democracy every day rather than waiting for the one leader to set them free…

  • Charles Hilton

    Interesting how something that “exists only on paper” can bring down an entire civilization. You need to redirect your ire and stop shooting the messenger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hedda-Gabler/100001167541604 Hedda Gabler

    Hahhahahahahahahahaha… OMG, this is better than The Onion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/garydexter1 Gary Dexter

    The most sane assessment of the sorry state of unfettered capritalism that is choking our country and planet. Watch the mad teabaggers and Republicans bare their fangs and hiss after reading the truth. This IS the truth and we must fight these mongrel money changers who wish to rape this Earth at all costs to fatten their bottom line.

  • http://www.facebook.com/howard.mays.3 Howard Mays

    You sir are the problem. It isn’t our responsibility to prop up failed liberal enterprises. If it doesn’t work ,change the paradigm, process or risk implosion. The problem is too many expect to be bailed out even when they had every reason to think they would fail. Can’t blame them when so many are bailed out, especially the 1% this admin rails so loudly against. Moyers is a bleeting milquetoast wet sponge who has had nothing but horrible failed ideas. Small wonder he has made a small name for himself in the fringe media market.

  • moderator

    To the community,

    This article certainly will bring out some strong opinions and we welcome all points of view, but please read our comment policy before joining the discussion. If you cannot stay within our clear guidelines your comment will be removed.

    Thank You,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • Coda

    I have been a commentor in the Washington Post; funny, but when I read the President’s budget and got the epiphany that he is a blue-collar president by choice and not aloof or any of those things, I got blocked from commenting anymore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bradford-Nelson-Bray/1229997270 Bradford Nelson Bray

    Dear Vernon, I am confused with your post. It seems very clear that Mr. Hedges refers to “people,” the oligarchs of our time, when speaking. Indeed, is it not law that Corporations are understood as “people” according to the Supreme Court of The United States? Of course. Indeed, it is real people, with real motives and intentions, who stand behind the label “corporation.” That is, in my opinion, a core point within the article. That real people within these multinational corporations are turning a blind eye to human and planet suffering for the sake of profit and keeping shareholders happy with their quarterly earnings. What Chris shares is, as he states, nothing new in history. Taking advantage of others for personal gain is as old as human history itself. What IS new is the global aspect of it. What is also new, in the USA narrative, is the dismantling of our government being for, with and by “the people” and replaced with being for, with and by “the minority of people in corporate power structures.” Chris understands history. I think he is imploring us to learn from history or to be doomed by repeating it! It is a historical fact that change within power structures do NOT happen internally, but from the outside, from the grass roots as it were. You quote Jesus. Indeed, he was a leader in a grass roots movement against the power structures of his day, Rome and their puppet kings within his own culture. Jesus was VERY critical of the authorities and power structure. “Look at what they (the Temple Authorities) do to the poor widow! They take all she has!” These are NOT words to inspire tithing or giving an offering! They are a total rejection of a system that bleeds the poor and working poor for the wealthy authorities in The Temple and Roman Empire. Turning over the money tables was also a powerful way to make his point. It got him noticed. It got him arrested. It got him executed by the state. This, I think, is the historical case, the case Chris is heroically trying to make and share!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bradford-Nelson-Bray/1229997270 Bradford Nelson Bray

    I think, in a word, Chris is saying “we” (the 98%) ARE the “solution.” As Gandhi famously stated, “(you) Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It is up to US, the majority of the world’s peoples who are suffering, being used and ignored, who need to change our sleepwalking and other habits of complacency (and feelings of powerlessness) in order to see systemic change happen!

  • Anonymous

    We, the people, have to quit thinking that our government can run on auto-pilot and still represent us or protect us. Democracy is not, and never has been, a spectator sport. While the odds are already overwhelming because corporations own the government behind the scenes, we still barely have some tools left. But it will require that we all actually think about the issues, take the time to sort fact from BS, quit being so susceptible to propaganda and vote the crooks out. We must remain engaged and focused, give money to campaigns, work for candidates and vote for people who tell the truth and represent us – not the 1%.

  • http://www.facebook.com/annemullettamg Anne Mullett

    Many visit areas for holidays, maybe mobile phone tech gives the opportunity for the public in vast numbers to film, upload and make viral the truth. Many of us have no idea as to the extent of and effect on humanity in these areas. Boundaries, i.e. not sharing on social media. Music without conscience for the young, should respond. It’s their future, they have to know and wakeup. Certainly, they proclaim,we are only young, we want some fun,.That doesn’t cut it any more. The extended childhood is the ruination of thought and conscience.

  • Bryndis Tobin

    In many cases, if we can enforce the laws and settlement agreements we have, we can make positive change. http://tinyurl.com/mhohko4

    The home you save may be your own*…or mine!


    Thousands of families have been trying for several years to get Wells Fargo to modify our home loans. They are supposed to modify loans under the settlement agreement they signed with the CA Attorney General over the ~!@#$%’d up loan type we were tricked into getting, but thus far they’ve only modified the loans of around 3% of the 60,000+ people who have applied, and the settlement loan
    modification program is supposed to end in June.

    If Wells Fargo can be forced to comply with settlement terms and modify loans as they should, it would save thousands of families thousands of dollars,
    prevent wrongful foreclosures and further damage to our economy. Please sign my petition – http://start2.occupyourhomes.org/petitions/seek-injunctions-to-enforce-settlement-terms-and-stop-the-foreclosures – telling Attorney General Kamala Harris to join NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and insist banks comply with prior settlement agreements or face legal action.

    A recent survey showed banks in California are not complying with the national mortgage settlement terms either. An email from Joseph A. Smith Jr., the
    government-appointed monitor for the national mortgage settlement, said
    that survey’s findings “are consistent with much of what I’ve heard as
    I’ve traveled the nation in the past year…” http://tinyurl.com/cehn5j5

  • mamabearroars

    I hope you folks will call in for a debate on these illegal wars! It has been extremely tough to get someone from one of the War Protest Movements to be on our Radio Show but we have finally a representative and it is sure to be a lively debate. JOIN US PLEASE!

    Thomas H Madison <ActivistCentralTalkRadio…See More
    Activist Central Online Radio by Activist Central
    Resisting Any Attempts to Stifle Free Speech. "It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts … For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing…

  • mamabearroars

    Listen On-Line at http://Www.BlogTalkRadio.Com/ActivistCentral or Call the Switchboard Live During Show at: 347-324-5043
    also at http://Www.ActivistCentral.Weebly.Com

  • Diana Hagerty

    I suppose you haven’t read any of Hedges works. He often refers to the idea of “inverted totalitarianism” which I also believe is our current system. Unlike earlier versions of totalitarianism, there is no clear enemy, no clear leader, no clear person to blame. That is the genius of the new system: the anonymous corporate state. How can a single person stand up to the corporate state when they own everything and everyone and make the laws? Our unions are decimated. We can’t organize legally anymore. “To help those in need…” your comments are limited in scope. We want to help. We want to do something. Many of us are trying desperately through legal means, including Hedges. But guess what? It doesn’t work. That’s why he’s saying what he’s saying. Why don’t you try it and let us knows how it goes. Hedges is on the front lines every day. He gave up his financial security by protesting the war and getting fired from the Times. He is perhaps the only political commentator I believe, aside from Cornel West. Do what he does and then I’ll believe you.

  • Diana Hagerty

    I am currently reading Hedges’ War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. Wow is all I can say. I bow to you man. Thank God for people like you and the Truth.

  • Jeff McCabe

    So your against constitutional government, rule of law and for confiscatory taxes. Got it. I always love the random “teabagger” from someone too lazy to investigate past the caricature. A few years ago it was “neocon”. On the plus side, it’s a helpful indicator that the author hasn’t a clue on anything else he or she is saying.

  • David Schwartz


  • jgalt63

    Kiplings ‘The Old Issue’, rather than diversions to ‘capitalism’, is key to the current tyranny in the uSa. “A tyrannical government needs be underpinned by a tyrannical priesthood” – LH Lehman, Behind The Dictators, 1942

  • Anonymous

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Herman/100001010274735 James Herman

    I lament fracking may be poisoning our water and fossil fuels are changing our climate to our peril. However I ask if the whole world will voluntarily go to a one child rule to lower the population to a sustainable level (someting less and 2 billion)? That alone could go a long way toward saving us. Ever hear of supply and demand? Fewer workers would mean higher wages and better working conditions. So worker slavery is of our own overpopulating doing. I point to China as an example of this. The government’s one child rule is the only thing preventing these people from populating themselves into an even worse condition. Mexico, Haitti, India and the Phillipines are also examples. The surplus people of Mexico come across the border just to seek survival. We could have public financing of campaigns and elect politicians who always act in the public interest to safeguard our health and safety. If people refused to fight then there couldn’t be any war. I point to North Korea as a perfect example of this. I got my tubes tied when I was 23. No one will enslave my children because I don’t have any and I’m living very happily on about $12,000/yr. I’ll be able to keep up with inflation even for the next 40 years when my pension kicks in next year and when I start collecting social security when I’m 70. End exclusionary zoning and you’ll be able to buy a home as easily and as cheaply as you can buy a car. Local governments and home owner’s associations have been using exclusionary zoning devices to raise the cost of housing to keep out lower income groups deemed undesirable. However Detroit lost 240,000 people between 2000 and 2010. They have 10,000 acres of empty lots. Yet Detroit still has exclusionary zoning. So I maintain that our misery is of our own doing. Almost all cities have exclusionary zoning and only the rural areas have a free housing market. So exclusionary zoning is mostly over population based. When’s the last time you saw a singlewide mobile home in any city on it’s own residential lot where the owner is paying property taxes like everyone else? I am not ready for a revolution in my lifetime. I’m retired and loving it.

  • ShannonS

    We cannot excuse ourselves from this equation. The tyranny of government rises and thrives where constituents take their hands off the wheel. Collectively Americans have said: “We don’t want to make the difficult choices. We don’t want any of the comforts and niceties we enjoy to be jeopardized in the short term for gains in the long term.” And corporations and governments have listened. This did not happen over night. The rising is – must be – a rising up of character. Of humanity. Of responsibility. At a grass roots level. A conversation of care-taking and principled living that we extend to ourselves and neighbors that takes roots in our communities. Rather than just railing against outside forces that “did it to us.” Ditto Glebec – “democracy is not, and never has been, a spectator sport.”

  • Mary

    An incredible cartoon showing Man over 500,000 years. It’s short and entirely worth watching.

  • Mary
  • mona

    just as any
    civilization grows and relys on less and less diversity, so too I feel we are
    going that same direction. the powers that be come across as relegating the
    average citizen to the consume and recycle bin. GMOs in our food (we all need
    to eat). GMO is spliced in DNA that produces the insecticide from the corn
    plant itself – (Craig Childs writes that the corn fields of the mid-west are
    silent for lack of insects). Fracking to extract natural gas and the associated
    toxic chemicals. banks raking in profits. Hedges brings up the point – just as
    they tested societies willingness to adapt in airforce housing, the powers that
    be are testing to see what they can get away with. it is a selfish, very
    selfish world. just as my public health masters instructors directed us to go
    to the Mn. state government proceedings to observe how the legislature worked
    we should all observe how the powers that be are directing change that benefits
    them and relegates the average citizen to the expendible bin. i have become a
    union steward and am getting incredible resistance, they do not even
    acknowledge the rights of workers to point out the rules in the union contract
    they are not following. i am observing first hand how they are testing how far
    they can go.

  • John

    So Gary, where is the outrage against Obama? Hope and change are empty words as many of these things, people he appoints in charge, are contributing to even making things worse. Isn’t it more infuriating to support somne who says one thing pretending to care and then does th opposite? The article alludes to this but you only want to point the finger at the “tea baggers” and republicans. How is this helpful when Obama is in charge and not held accountable for his decisions.

  • Christopher Maxwell

    I would like to present one other thought – what if the thinking people that knew better abandon this swamping ship and moved on ,concentrated in some place less insane and help the rest of the world disconnect from the flailing dying US empire?

  • http://www.facebook.com/pablo.cree Pablo Cree

    Great Article. Freedom is NOT Free; from the beginning 1776 to 2013 237 Years later. We must struggle to be Free. Protect and defend the Constitution.

  • Anonymous

    I really like C.H. but I find it ironic, that as he talks at length about the limited resources of the planet, he’s fathered 4 or 5 children!

  • Jes999

    As Hedges notes above, the Monster is independent of the U.S. Where would we go?

  • LAGuy28

    Bill Moyers must be getting old because I can’t find any other reason why he would choose to prop up Chris Hedges. Hedges has built a little niche market for himself preaching about the “corporate state” (whatever that is) and how the end of the world is upon us. But the fact is he deals in fearmongering, hysteria, exaggeration, hyperbole, call it what you will. It’s a matter of perspective. We can choose to focus on all the ills in the world, or we can look to the positive and try improving upon it. Hedges is very one-dimensional and is not a real intellectual.

    It’s amazing how even the hyper-educated left can be susceptible to demagoguery like Hedges’. He isn’t that different from Rush Limbaugh when you get down to it.

  • LAGuy22

    Because those not entranced in a left wing ideology understand immediately how ridiculous and over the top Hedges is.

  • Anonymous

    “The anonymous corporate state” indeed.
    Look at Mitch McConnell arguing forcefully, as the GOP Senate Majority Leader, that corporations and rich people should have their donations to sham nonprofits, doing outright political work, remain anonymous and untraceable, for fear that the rabble will make life more difficult for the corporations and the wealthy. They are building a nameless and unaccountable machinery of corporate domination.
    And yes, Vernon, corporations are run by people, but those people are an intertwined network of very wealthy, unapproachable and largely unaccountable figureheads, sitting on each other’s boards and authorizing the rape, plunder and destruction of our planet for short term monetary riches. Riches well beyond any person’s ability to spend on themselves or even their progeny.
    Greed is destroying our planet. Centuries ago, greed could only destroy one region, kingdom, or system. Global interconnection means that the next societal collapse will be worldwide. This corporate oligarchical end-state of voracious greed will not likely end well.

  • Cloud Shaman

    Obama is a product of the elite system. A coconut, brown on the outside and white on the inside.

  • LAGuy29

    Hedges tone is strident and partisan, but his facts are documented and his conclusions valid. What is amazing about LAGuy28 comments is that he doesn’t address or dispute a single fact, but resorts to name calling and invoking the power of positive thinking . Name calling and ignoring the facts are in fact the Rush Limbaugh MO.

    Does LAGuy 28 deny that the “ability of corporations to migrate overseas has decimated our manufacturing base. It has driven down wages, impoverishing our working class and ravaging our middle class”. Does he deny that there are 100 million Americans who live in poverty or a category called “near poverty.”? I guess he subscribes to the belief that the poor will always be with us.

    BIG Government and BIG Business are the Corporate State. Same thing.
    I am not a “lefty”. I believe in community based solutions, not government imposed. This guy doesn’t even recognize that he is living in a corporate state (denial) since he offers no concrete suggestions for “improving upon it”. Perhaps, he is just a disinformation agent
    massive tax shelters that allow companies such as General Electric to pay no income tax.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005797179481 Thomas G. Hancock

    I think Hedges’ argument is essentially right in calling for resistance. I think his tone is counter-productive for many people though. When faced with his short-form Jeremiads, many may lie down and give up rather than march.
    But, cross-reference other writings today, like ‘Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful’ and the more general ‘Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty’. Then mix in some history and you can see we are in very dangerous waters now. Politically, economically, and environmentally.

  • CLM1

    Many people had lots of children before America became a corporate state.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.rittenour.543 David Rittenour

    I’m still amazed there hasn’t been an all-out civil war yet in the U.S.

    Exactly how much more abuse is it going to take to push the citizenry over the edge? This article doesn’t even factor in all the bull crap of the Roberts Court – Citizens United, The Walmart Class Action suit that got tossed out (which was just obscene and unfounded) and a slew of other grievances… they’ve been gradually yet methodically stripping away whatever recourse is left against corporations. Go watch the Documentary “Hot Coffee” if you haven’t seen it, it’s a rather horrifying eye opener – much like this call to action.

    As far as I’m concerned, Obama & the rest of his party are traitors to society & liberalism. The U.S. really needs a second Rosevelt badly – someone who will actually stand up to the corruption and fight the system, and not just feign empathy like the Tea Party.

  • Lorna Dee

    Would that be a Bernie Sanders? …..How can one person, your “someONE” do single handed what none of us are capable of doing collectively?

  • http://twitter.com/lorasaura laura m doll


  • Ida Tarbell

    The Roosevelt you mention, is how I saw Obama in 2008.

  • Jayaprakash Narayan

    A very meaningful article. Calls for serious thinking and consideration by one and all, all over the world.

  • marylaan

    Move to Amend, and geurilla actions we won’t mention specifically.

  • Anonymous

    Global Corporatocracy is managed financially by 2 primary organizations: WTO, IMF. They are beholding to no one. It’s chief operational function is to create debt in 3d world countries and then leverage that debt to export natural resources or the product of slavery-cheap labor.

  • Anonymous

    Actually Hedges speaks to a phenomenon in today’s new global order that has been fairly well documented, all factual no demagoguery, in the 1995 book “When Corporations Rule the World.” Rush Limbaugh just makes stuff up.

  • Jane

    Community building based on spiritual growth is a positive approach… better than civil unrest which will cause discord and collapse. Change hearts first… minds follow.

  • xenrae

    “Hyper-educated left…” ? You can’t be serious. It is an insult to have an education now? I agree with earlier comments; you’re reaching for something negative about an article that is entirely on point. My hyper-educated self thinks you can do better.

  • fgr1111

    Thats precisely the traitor Dave is talking about. Along with all the (d) small d democrat.

  • hephraesdus

    LAguy29, good response.

    Community based solutions, by definition, involve our gov’t. ‘Community’ government, then state and national and sometimes, international considerations are part of every ‘solution’.

    Big gov’t is intertwined with big business, big profits and a big corporate-gov’t state system. That system is creating inequality and injustice, daily, too numerous to track but the tracks are clear and they point to unfettered, undisclosed donations, and tax free statuses.

    We need to exchange our goods and services with one another, carefully, and always, if possible, with each of us who value human and natural resources in addition to a fair, market price.

    B Corporations take this value and offer an alternative to the capitalist corporate state of profit | rent that has failed us.


  • http://www.facebook.com/william.wilson.716 William Wilson

    Creative non violence was the way of early Christians and the best way. One idea is to have a national slowdown. Last one we saw a reduction of hwy deaths by 25%. It would have real purpose this time of actually slowing down. By extension the mad growth corporations and govenment bow can be tamed. Carbon will keep its better bed in the ground and people will rise above the smog and global warming to take back control. Like all addictions it will be impossible without enough determination and dedication to slowing down enough to keep good things working as people increasingly disconnect the plugs of those things harmful. If it doesn’t work for people it doesn’t work is my motto, and that includes doing no harm to others first.

  • Anonymous

    The “City of London” is where the International Bankster Crime Syndicate is headquartered. The “City of London” is 1 square mile within the 600sq. mile Greater London. This 1 sq. mile is an on-shore off-shore Bankster Haven which operates as a city state with its own rules,laws,police etc. The laws of England do not apply within this 1 sq. mile. This is where the ownership and control of the Feder…al Reserve system is located. These are the thieves who have run up their Derivative Ponzi Debt to over $2,000 TRILLION DOLLARS. The entire world yearly product is only $70 TRILLION DOLLARS. They are hopelessly Bankrupt and thats why they are trying to get us at war with each other. So they can get away with the Largest Heist in History… Something easy to watch on money and learn is Bill Still’s, “The Money Masters” or his “Secret of Oz”. These are the best. Bill travels to these places when he explains the Money story. So if you want to know who the enemy is and where he is, watch one of these and if nothing else you will learn what “The Wizard of Oz was really about…$Money$

  • Anonymous

    I could never get behind this. If we instead forced all the texters to relinquish their driver licenses and take public transportation, I could get behind it, but speed limits are too slow all ready – it’s 50 on the interstate here. My motorcycle gets approximately 44mpg even going 90 mph based on my tests :(

  • http://obbop.wordpress.com/ obbop

    Minds far superior to mine proclaim:

    “There has been class warfare going on,” Buffett, 81, said in a Sept. 30 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS. It’s just that my class is winning. And my class isn’t just winning, I mean we’re killing them.”

    “One reason companies are so profitable is that they’re paying employees less than they ever have as a share of GDP. And that, in turn, is one reason the economy is so weak: Those “wages” are other companies’ revenue.

    In short, our current system and philosophy is creating a country of a few million overlords and 300+ million serfs.” Blodget

    “While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks,” Buffett wrote in a Sunday New York Times Op-ed.

  • http://obbop.wordpress.com/ obbop

    Move to Amend merits the support of the masses.


    A powerful tool of the forces arrayed against the masses of common folks is life-long indoctrination via many sources; from K-12 education to unrelenting advertising.

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone written their congressmen to impose tariffs to prevent corporations from taking advantage of the low wages in those countries that don’t provide labor laws or safety nets (social security, OSHA, EPA, etc.)? or create a movement to accomplish such? What happened to Occupy? How do you reach the segment of the population that put the radical politicians in office?–like maybe requiring the FCC to provide equal time for progressives. The article is very heavy on problems but pretty light on solutions except for what should be the last resort–revolution.

  • Don Eichelberger

    Join us and confront the Oligarchy at their mid-Summer ritualistic gathering to cremate care at the Bohemian Grove. We will be there July 20th to ask them why it is more important for them to pay lower taxers while the sequester takes away our entitlements?

    We are fellow citizens, left behind by economic chaos and personal misfortune, who will stand at a door of these men that is accessible to us and ask them why their profits are more important than our survival?

    That’s along the Russian River in the Sonoma County, California town of Monte Rio.

    Be there!


  • Peter Drinnan


    Nothing new here. This was has been going on for thousands of years. Ordinary people had it relatively good for a few decades recently, but as always happens, they started to believe they were safe and “doing ok”. They basically stopped thinking and just trusted their “leaders”, who are and have always been employees of the ultra-rich. Thanks to mass entertainment and other forms of distraction, it has been much easier to intellectually crush the masses into believing the poor are to blame for all of their personal miseries.

    Maybe in a few hundred years people will start to think again.

  • http://www.theMadBagLady.wordpress.com/ Ms. M.

    I live in one of the poorest cities in the country. When I walk around my neighborhood, people (my neighbors) approach me and beg me for money. Yet there is an affluent neighborhood and surrounding suburbs. When I talk to people over there they seem surprised when I inform them this is one of the poorest cities in the country. Sometimes they accuse me of being “negative” and tell me they think it’s a fine city where we live then they point out the affluent areas as examples of what a ‘wonderful’ city this is…

    When I tell them that it bothers me that only a few are doing well while the rest of the city is going to pot, they look at me like I’m nuts or sometimes look down on me with scorn. Some of them try to “explain” to me that my outrage over this economic inequality is what is keeping me poor, i.e., if I started admiring and worshiping the rich I’d become one of them.

    Honestly, with a people this selfish and lacking in compassion, how can we possibly turn things around? I don’t see a revolution happening because a revolution requires a certain amount of cooperation and connectedness among the masses. Americans are just too selfish for that. I think what’s going to happen is that Americans are going to attack and rebel against each other. We’ll see more violence, more crime and, of course, more surveillance (to combat the crime, supposedly.) Wish someone could prove me wrong on this…

  • http://www.theMadBagLady.wordpress.com/ Ms. M.

    Something else I’ve been thinking abt too is that Americans won’t even rebel in small, nonviolent ways–refusing to shop at Walmart, refusing to buy from big corporations that outsource to 3rd world countries, etc. If we can’t get the masses to shut down these big businesses just by not shopping w/them then things will continue to get worse until ppl are suffering so much that violence will ensue. We have a chance now to shut ’em down nonviolently but it doesn’t look like most Americans will do that. They’re going to wait till things get so bad that it’ll be too late to shut things down in a reasonable and peaceful way.

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