Chris Hedges: Zero Point of Systemic Collapse | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters

The cultural belief that we can make things happen by thinking, by visualizing, by wanting them, by tapping into our inner strength or by understanding that we are truly exceptional is magical thinking. We can always make more money, meet new quotas, consume more products and advance our career if we have enough faith. This magical thinking, preached to us across the political spectrum by Oprah, sports celebrities, Hollywood, self-help gurus and Christian demagogues, is largely responsible for our economic and environmental collapse, since any Cassandra who saw it coming was dismissed as “negative.” This belief, which allows men and women to behave and act like little children, discredits legitimate concerns and anxieties. It exacerbates despair and passivity. It fosters a state of self-delusion. The purpose, structure and goals of the corporate state are never seriously questioned. To question, to engage in criticism of the corporate collective, is to be obstructive and negative. And it has perverted the way we view ourselves, our nation and the natural world. The new paradigm of power, coupled with its bizarre ideology of limitless progress and impossible happiness, has turned whole nations, including the United States, into monsters.

Chris Hedges, almost two years ago, on “junk politics.”

There’s really only one acceptable narrative, and it’s part of the function of the message machine to ensure that we stay within its parameters. The rest of it is just kabuki theatre designed to produce the illusion of choice, of debate, of a genuine multiplicity of viewpoints.

Something to keep in mind whenever you see Sun News meat puppets ranting about the Maoist collective at the State Broadcaster.

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Setting up for #OccupyTO | #OccupyBaySt #OccupyWallStreet #ows

More from Chris Hedges on #OccupyWallStreet: Why the Elites Are in Trouble

Why the Elites Are in Trouble

by Chris Hedges

Ketchup, a petite 22-year-old from Chicago with wavy red hair and glasses with bright red frames, arrived in Zuccotti Park in New York on Sept. 17. She had a tent, a rolling suitcase, 40 dollars’ worth of food, the graphic version of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and a sleeping bag. She had no return ticket, no idea what she was undertaking, and no acquaintances among the stragglers who joined her that afternoon to begin the Wall Street occupation. She decided to go to New York after reading the Canadian magazine Adbusters, which called for the occupation, although she noted that when she got to the park Adbusters had no discernable presence. 

The lords of finance in the looming towers surrounding the park, who toy with money and lives, who make the political class, the press and the judiciary jump at their demands, who destroy the ecosystem for profit and drain the U.S. Treasury to gamble and speculate, took little notice of Ketchup or any of the other scruffy activists on the street below them. The elites consider everyone outside their sphere marginal or invisible. And what significance could an artist who paid her bills by working as a waitress have for the powerful? What could she and the others in Zuccotti Park do to them? What threat can the weak pose to the strong? Those who worship money believe their buckets of cash, like the $4.6 million JPMorgan Chase gave a few days ago to the New York City Police Foundation, can buy them perpetual power and security. Masters all, kneeling before the idols of the marketplace, blinded by their self-importance, impervious to human suffering, bloated from unchecked greed and privilege, they were about to be taught a lesson in the folly of hubris. 

Even now, three weeks later, elites, and their mouthpieces in the press, continue to puzzle over what people like Ketchup want. Where is the list of demands? Why don’t they present us with specific goals? Why can’t they articulate an agenda? 

The goal to people like Ketchup is very, very clear. It can be articulated in one word—REBELLION. These protesters have not come to work within the system. They are not pleading with Congress for electoral reform. They know electoral politics is a farce and have found another way to be heard and exercise power. They have no faith, nor should they, in the political system or the two major political parties. They know the press will not amplify their voices, and so they created a press of their own. They know the economy serves the oligarchs, so they formed their own communal system. This movement is an effort to take our country back.

This is a goal the power elite cannot comprehend. They cannot envision a day when they will not be in charge of our lives. The elites believe, and seek to make us believe, that globalization and unfettered capitalism are natural law, some kind of permanent and eternal dynamic that can never be altered. What the elites fail to realize is that rebellion will not stop until the corporate state is extinguished. It will not stop until there is an end to the corporate abuse of the poor, the working class, the elderly, the sick, children, those being slaughtered in our imperial wars and tortured in our black sites. It will not stop until foreclosures and bank repossessions stop. It will not stop until students no longer have to go into debt to be educated, and families no longer have to plunge into bankruptcy to pay medical bills. It will not stop until the corporate destruction of the ecosystem stops, and our relationships with each other and the planet are radically reconfigured. And that is why the elites, and the rotted and degenerate system of corporate power they sustain, are in trouble. That is why they keep asking what the demands are. They don’t understand what is happening. They are deaf, dumb and blind. 


Some further thoughts from the guy who pulled Kevin O’Leary’s sweater up over his head.

What does this mean for the similar actions planned for Canadian cities this weekend? Stay tuned …

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Beyond Kevin O’Leary: the Occupy movement and journalism’s latest FAIL

Nothing’s highlighted the weaknesses of the corporate media better than their demonstrated befuddlement with this particular story.

The spanking laid on Kevin O’Leary by Chris Hedges last week is a particularly egregious example. In between the condescension, name-calling and insults, O’Leary also manages to make the story about him and getting called out for his boorish behaviour, thus taking the focus off the Occupy Wall Street activists and their motivations.

But this goes far beyond just one embarrassing moment on the CBC. Kevin O’Leary isn’t the only one seemingly at a loss because the movement doesn’t have designated spokespeople or official demands. Even a well-intentioned piece on a local news site seems to fall into the same trap:

Until official demands are released, it remains unclear—as with protests in other cities—how long they are prepared to stay, and what would constitute a victory for them.

No, it’s not hierarchical. It’s not broken down into easily digested soundbites. And it might not lend itself to simplistic he said / she said construction.

Reporters like an easy-to-grasp storyline. They like it even more when it’s spoon-fed. Genuine research, complexity, and nuance are time-consuming, and even intimidating. Who’s got time to struggle for genuine insights when you’re on deadline? Who’s got time to provide a genuine and detailed portrayal of how the Wall Street activists are conducting themselves, resisting the power of the state, organizing their makeshift community? Who’s got time to put the events of the past 24 hours in a larger historical context that encompasses class struggle, distribution of wealth, the role of the public sphere, and citizenship? Easier to set activists up as a bunch of dirty privileged hippies who just want to sit around, smoke drugs and whine about oppression. Count the stereotypes.

Not entirely their fault, of course. Traditional media outlets have investors to keep happy. Their owners, most of the time, are more likely to identify with the 1% rather than the 99%. Self-censorship, therefore, becomes a matter of self-preservation. And career advancement often depends on misdirection, fluff, and the Shiny Object strategy.

The results, however, are there for anyone who cares to look, and the most telling detail, I think, is in the array of forces being marshalled against the Occupy Wall Street activists and the narrative embodied by their presence: egregious police brutality, misrepresentation, hoarding of resources, greed, harassment, demonization.

You can tell a lot about the power of an idea by measuring the resources devoted to smearing, opposing and/or suppressing it. And it’s pretty clear that the 99% meme has a lot of powerful interests very worried.

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Video: Chris Hedges owns Kevin O’Leary (YouTube) | #OccupyWallStreet

Big thanks to whoever put this on YouTube. Unlike the Yahoo link, you don’t have to deal with an autoplay / embedded commercial first.

Once again, though: it’s instructive for anyone who still thinks of the CBC as a left-wing propaganda outlet. All you need in that regard: some basic critical-thinking skills. Just look at the energy devoted to distorting, misrepresenting, and suppressing the message coming from the Occupy Wall Street action. Somebody’s deeply worried. Any guesses as to who?

Oh, and I’m sure there’s no connection between this and the end of Konrad von Finckenstein’s tenure at the CRTC.

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Chris Hedges schools Kevin O’Leary | #uspoli #OccupyWallStreet


Big h/t to Jymn and Dr. Dawg.

Chris Hedges, who’s been cited here before, calls out Kevin O’Leary for his snide condescension, name-calling and browbeating, all the while recasting the whole notion of conservatism versus radicalism in the context of discussing the Occupy Wall Street action currently taking place in New York. Several important points about what Hedges characterizes as the criminal nature of the parasitic banking class, and how it contrasts with traditional views of capitalism and productivity. Right toward the end, Hedges turns the traditional corporate-media analysis on its head by making a trenchant observation about who the conservatives are and who the revolutionaries are.

As Jymn points out, anyone who still thinks of the CBC as a left-wing propaganda outlet ought to see this. O’Leary does his best to channel the likes of Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity, complete with the insults, interruptions, sneering and red herrings, and Hedges pins the Fox comparison squarely on his forehead.

If we’re interested in preserving the quality of public discourse, if we value respect and civility, we could start by taking away Kevin O’Leary’s publicly funded soapbox.

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Chris Hedges on #OccupyWallStreet | #classwarfare

The Best Among Us

Posted on Sep 29, 2011
AP / Louis Lanzano

Protesters pass Federal Hall on Wall Street in a recent march. The Occupy Wall Street protest is entering its third week in New York City as demonstrators continue to speak out against corporate greed and social inequality.

By Chris Hedges

Editor’s note: Chris Hedges’ weekly columns usually appear here on Monday mornings, but Truthdig posted this week’s edition early, on Thursday, Sept. 29, in the wake of controversy about the pepper-spraying of participants in the Occupy Wall Street protest.

There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

You can tell a lot about the power of a narrative by measuring the resources devoted to opposing, discrediting or suppressing it.