Replay Our Live Chat with Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco

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Journalist Chris Hedges and graphic artist Joe Sacco joined us for a live chat on Wednesday, July 25. You can see what they had to say by replaying the chat below..

On Moyers & Company, Hedges talked about America’s “sacrifice zones” — downtrodden places where people are trapped in endless cycles of poverty, powerlessness and despair as a direct result of capitalistic greed. In such books as War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, his weekly Truthdig column and other writing, Hedges puts truth-telling, dissent and social activism above all else, even if it means going to jail. Hedges tells Bill: “Truth and news are not the same thing. And the really great reporters are management headaches because they care about truth at the expense of their own career.”

In his new book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, Hedges teamed up with Sacco, who has traveled all over the world using the techniques of the comic book illustrator as a tool of journalism. Together, the two of them tell the stories of the people in these forgotten corners of America with uncommon insight and humanity.

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  • mbrecker

    Question for Chris Hedges. Since both you and your wife are dual citizens, if things continue to get worse here have you ever considered emigrating?

  • Bobahall

    i agree with your conclusions on the death of democracy if we fail to reverse coporate greed, however, my question is about why you published your book in a for profit manor ratherthen just releasing it on the web for all to read?

  • Carolyn Knoll

    Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for inviting one of the best writers of our time on your show.   Aloha, Chris, I met you in Santa Fe and am continually impressed and awed by your articles/editorial and can’t wait to read your new book.  I, too, am sustained by faith, not necessarily faith in humanity, faith that I am doing what I can right now and will do more in the future.  The word “hope” isn’t in my vocabulary any longer, sad to say.  I vacillate between cynicism and despair; there is so much to do.  Chris, considering all you have seen, how do you keep from despairing or from being cynical?

  • JonThomas

    A couple of questions…

    Where do you guys stand on corporations as legitimate entities? Should the business concept of a corporation, since it shields responsibility and liability, still be allowed? Popular sentiment aside, would society benefit from having serious considerations and discussions of such business instruments revisited?

    How would you differentiate between the psychological concept of compartmentalization and what you described as “moral fragmentation?”

    Great interview…good to see people finding coherent, acceptable voices on the deep, contextual, yet glossed over issues of our times.

    Thank you.

  • StayWoke

    What responsibility do those who had the good fortune and fortitude to
    make it out of such places have to those they left behind?

    The
    “successful” doctors, lawyers, Hip Hop Artists, Pro Sports Stars, etc.
    that come from places like Detroit, Camden, the South Bronx, Compton,
    etc. many times make it out and never reach back to help those left
    behind, except maybe their close family and friends.

    However, they could
    easily buy up and build up whole blocks and could employ and train
    inhabitants to rebuild their communities, open credit unions, senior
    citizen centers, youth community centers, provide scholarships, create
    community endowments and trust funds, grow community gardens, establish
    and run co-ops, etc. Google Fixing the Future for more examples.

    If one makes 7 figures a year but only lives off 5, imagine how much good
    that surplus money could do if re-invested in the communities from which
    they came. Who would be hard pressed to live off of $90,000 a year?

    The “People of the Abyss” who escaped the abyss must be less selfish and
    more selfless.

  • Laura

    Your title sound like zones can be predicted and exist because of forces that are known. What is the role of planners and local governent in recognizing these forces and preventing a zone from developing?

  • Michelle

    Thank you Bill Moyers and Chris Hedges, this discussion is exactly what the country needs at this moment. My question is about institutions. In the interview you say (quoting):

    >Paul Tillich writes about, you know, “Institutions are always
    inherently demonic, including the Church.” And you cannot finally serve
    the interests of those institutions. That for those who seek the moral
    life, there will always come a time in which they have to defy even
    institutions they care about if they are able to retain that moral core.
    And in essence, what, you know, “The New York Times,” or other
    institutions were asking is that I muzzle myself.

    BILL MOYERS:
    But all institutions do that, don’t they?

    CHRIS HEDGES:
    All institutions do.>
    [end quote]

    Does this mean, in your view, and any effort to create truly democratic institutions is doomed? You say that journalism is essential, so what kind of journalistic institutions do we create, what kind of democratic institutions do we create? What are the _new_ tools that we need to fight the “forces of death” and the takeover of democracy by the corporate state. Can we make things better as dissenters _within_ institutions? Are there institutions, like some universities, that can be built to thrive on dissent and opposition at some level?
    Do you think the combined power of social media and mass resistance (the Occupy movement) can offer a forum to organize the re-form and reclaim our democratic institutions? What might be the next concrete steps for the masses of us who understand the urgency of what you are articulating?
    Thank you!

  • Robert

    I have only three things bothering me that lead me to believe that a Conspiracy exist in America to take all the power away for the general public and grab all the wealth and resources (by a hand full of people) they can get, before,,,,,, What? What’s the end game for what we have seen in the past 20 years?
    1. 9/11- Building #7 WAS DEMOLISHED on PURPOSE, period! Why? (This is the one event that day that is caught on video that no-one can deny! Why did CNN say that building had fallen 15 minuets BEFORE it actually fell? Why did Larry Silverstein say that day; “They just made a decision to PULL IT”???? How could a few FURNITURE FIRES Destroy a steel framed building in that fashion?? They CAN’T Period!!!!)
    2. The lies about Saddam Hussein weapons in Iraq. That was ALL LIES leading up to the war. Why? Again right in front of us and they get away with it?? Is Owning the Oil in the Middle East that important?
    3 The outright Theft of Trillions of dollars from the Middle Class, Transferring that wealth to the top 400 families in America? All done right under our noses and nobody goes to jail??? Why?
    “The true enemies of our Great Country are not the Terrorist, it’s the Lack of Morality by our Elected Officials, the largest Corporations, big Banks, Wall Street Financial Intuitions and even our 4 big Media outlets! They are all contributing to and feeding this disease”!

    Answer any of these three but #1 is the one that people always have trouble explaining and No One can really deny that it was Destroyed on purpose!
    If that was ever exposed for what it actually was, that might open up the Pandora’s Box of Lies and expose this ASSAULT by the 1% we face today and with time, reform our whole Government to the greatness it once was!!??

    Thanks Bill for Putting The TRUTH Out There!!!!!!!!!!

  • Obtrusive Elusion

    My first question is one of historical perspective. This country made a fundamental moral reform of an economic system when slavery was eliminated. That change required a full blown civil war. Civil rights was a “relatively” minor tweak on top of that massive change that didn’t threaten profits. It seems to me that corporate reform is a slavery magnitude change, whereas something like unionization would be closer to a civil rights level change. If that is true, then civil rights is an insufficient blueprint for change. So my question is, would you agree that corporate reform is closer to slavery than to civil rights in magnitude, and therefore requires something closer to a revolution than to mere public demonstration.

    My second question is one of practicality. In order to survive, most people are forced to work for a corporation, because large corporations are the primary employers. In order to get the products and services we need or want, once again we are dependent upon corporations. As both workers and consumers we enrich and empower sociopaths who then use that money to strip us of our rights. We are the enablers of our own self destruction. The people who run this system are not going to see a protest and suddenly think, I’m immoral and must change. They know they are immoral, and don’t care. Instead of trying to change evil people who are not capable of change, why don’t we focus our attention on providing an alternative system. For example, let’s create a national system of nonprofit credit unions to replace banks. Instead of helping Massey Energy make profits from destroying mountains, why not create environmentally friendly local utility cooperatives. Rather than trying to reform evil people, wouldn’t it be more productive to bypass them and make them irrelevant by giving people an alternative system.

  • M.M.

    I just finished reading the book! I am planning on using it
    in a freshmen English class at a community college where I just got my first
    teaching job. Mr. Hedges you find the solution to the “destruction” in the form
    of the occupy movement. You discuss Tim DeChristopher who was sentenced to a
    two prison term for his environmental activism. Upon reading this I was
    troubled with the thought that the disruption of the status quo also meant the
    disruption of the family unit. My question is: how do those who have
    obligations to spouse and children revolt against the system when they have
    mouths to feed and can’t face jail time?
    M.M. San Francisco, California

  • Obtrusive Elusion

    When you spout this 9/11 truther nonsense you lose your credibility. This is a distraction from real issues and not relevant to the topic of the show.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Hedges and Mr. Sacco, do you see Mitt Romney as an example of what you call, “systems managers?” He seems to have internalized the logic of the coporate structure, thinking of his behaviors in terms of legality instead of morality.

  • M.M.

    The end of Winston in Orwell’s 1984 scares the heck out of
    me (sorry if this is a spoiler). Mr. Hedges, you cite 1984 a few times in Days of
    Destruction, Days of Revolt. Why illuminate a story in which Winston who tries
    to bring change faces unimaginable hell and is forced to repent? In 1984 the system
    seeks those like Winston not only to quell rebellion, but to inflict pain on individuals for
    the sake of only pain. They need to inflict pain to fulfill their idea of power
    for power’s sake. Who wants to be an
    invisible martyr? Why risk joining the Brotherhood or Occupy Movement if those
    we seek to trust could be those we should fear?
    M.M. San Francisco, CA

  • TGrant

    I have worked with children of a “sacrifice zone” – and, actually, I
    have also been arrested for civil disobedience (in the 70s, when a call went
    out from the union of concerned scientists on the safety of nuclear power
    plants at that time. I was especially focused on the way strontium 90 is
    recognized as calcium in the body, causing bone cancers in
    children). I still concentrate my energy on child growth and
    development. The influence of corporate power begins there. Not only are our
    children bombarded with sponsored and selective educational material -and waves
    of commercial messages, but a permanent underclass and the stratification of
    our society is maintained through access to the enriched environments that are
    essential to the development of both mental and physical health.

    Intelligence is not rare. Children of all races, ethnicities, and
    genders are born with creative potential and a sense of human dignity – and
    they are filled with energy and an excitement to express their unique gifts and
    talents.

    I, personally, have been involved with the grassroots Montessori
    movement for over 20 years. (Children learn directly from their own experience,
    at their own pace, within a logically ordered environment that allows
    interdisciplinary and creative exploration and is responsive to precise
    developmental requisites -within a learning community culture of intellectual
    curiosity and profound respect for Life.)

    I wonder if Mr. Hedges can speak to the importance of protecting our
    children, while also empowering their ability to become independently
    functioning adults with the skills required for participatory self-governance?

  • http://twitter.com/PivotGuild Alyson B. Miller

    Two questions:

    1) I’ve heard many professional journalists across the political spectrum bemoan the advent of nonprofessionals invading the 4th estate via social media. If institutions are inherently corrupt, does that mean that you (Chris and Bill) support Citizen Journalists as the alternative?

    2) I love the juncture of art and storytelling as a powerful impetus for social change. In fact, I know of young fine artists and performers who are engaged in this type of social entrepreneurship (e.g. The Art Affect, Seattle). How can we introduce more young people to the journalism-art mix as a means of activism?

    THANK YOU! Looking forward to the live chat.

  • TGrant
  • Julie

    Two things happened to shake me into resistance: hearing Rene Fleming sing Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More” and Chris Hedges on Moyers & Company. This time I’m going to do something. SOMETHING! Everyone, please listen to the song. If your heart hardened, it will melt — into action.

  • http://www.facebook.com/duboisist Clinton Freeman

    I see two problems:
    1. People focus too much on intentions (ie “I tried to do x. Don’t that it didn’t work and/or other people got hurt as a consequence of my actions.”)
    2. When people can’t explain what’s happening to them (and to others around them) they resort to a believe some sort of determinism.

    People’s experience is self-centered, on one hand, and alienated, on the other.
    How do people participate in “the commons” that they may not even realize exists?

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Hedges, in “Empire of Illusion” and in other talks you have given, you have talked about the world of illusion created by an image based culture. But you always seem to exclude the written world from the realm of artificial knowledge, when in my experience, reading a book still gives someone the feeling of knowing something without really experiencing the thing. Why do you feel that written knowledge should be excluded as virtual information?

  • Scott Mckeeman

    Thank you Bill (& Staff) and Mr. “Welcome to the revolution…” Hedges, Question; When Jesus wrote on the ground, was he drawing corporate logos?

  • Rob Steibel

    I just posted a link to the Moyers/Hedges interview at my daily weblog focused on the work of Jack Kirby.

    http://kirbymuseum.org/blogs/dynamics/2012/07/25/days-of-destruction-days-of-revolt/

    First of all, Chris Hedges did an incredible job eloquently addressing all of Bill’s questions. Chris is a terrific writer and speaker.

    Since I write about comics artist Jack Kirby every day, I have a question for Joe Sacco. I’d like to ask: How much was Joe influenced by popular comics artists like Jack Kirby? Does Joe have any thoughts on the current court case between Jack Kirby and Marvel Comics? Jack Kirby’s treatment by Marvel certainly symbolizes the greed Chris Hedges discussed in the interview. And one more question for Joe: obviously most folks use comics to write fiction, was there anything specific that inspired Joe to use the comics medium as a journalistic tool?

    Thanks to all involved for the interview, I look forward to reading the book.

    - Rob Steibel

  • Rob Steibel

    Chris Hedges did an incredible job eloquently addressing all of Bill’s questions. Chris is a terrific writer and speaker.

    Since I write about comics artist Jack Kirby every day, I have a question for Joe Sacco. I’d like to ask: How much was Joe influenced by popular comics artists like Jack Kirby? Does Joe have any thoughts on the current court case between Jack Kirby and Marvel Comics? Jack Kirby’s treatment by Marvel certainly symbolizes the greed Chris Hedges discussed in the interview. And one more question for Joe: obviously most folks use comics to write fiction, was there anything specific that inspired Joe to use the comics medium as a journalistic tool?

    Thanks to all involved for the interview, I look forward to reading the book.

    - Rob Steibel

  • Robert Steibel

    Sorry if this comes up more than once, for some reason my questions keep getting kicked out of the comments section.

    Chris Hedges did an incredible job eloquently addressing all of Bill’s questions. Chris is a terrific writer and speaker.

    Since I write about comics artist Jack Kirby every day, I have a question for Joe Sacco. I’d like to ask: How much was Joe influenced by popular comics artists like Jack Kirby? Does Joe have any thoughts on the current court case between Jack Kirby and Marvel Comics? Jack Kirby’s treatment by Marvel certainly symbolizes the greed Chris Hedges discussed in the interview. And one more question for Joe: obviously most folks use comics to write fiction, was there anything specific that inspired Joe to use the comics medium as a journalistic tool?

    Thanks to all involved for the interview, I look forward to reading the book.

    - Rob Steibel

  • GLB CoSigner

    Yo, everyone needs to take a page from Grace Lee Boggs PlayBook:

    {R}Evolution in the 21st Century New Pamphlet She’s doing the Do in the “D”!

  • David

    I started reading the book last night, and although I haven’t yet seen the interview, I wanted to thank Bill Moyers for giving him a seat at his table. I wish Mr. Hedges would address the issue of political perspective and a way forward. He identifies himself as a socialist, as do I. Does he see any socialist organization anywhere that is worthy of our support? If not, what does he propose? These are important questions.