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Chris Hedges
Truthdig / Op-Ed
Published: Tuesday 18 October 2011
“Resistance, real resistance, to the corporate state was displayed when a couple of thousand protesters, clutching mops and brooms, early Friday morning forced the owners of Zuccotti Park and the New York City police to back down from a proposed attempt to expel them in order to ‘clean’ the premises.”

A Movement Too Big to Fail

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There is no danger that the protesters who have occupied squares, parks and plazas across the nation in defiance of the corporate state will be co-opted by the Democratic Party or groups like MoveOn. The faux liberal reformers, whose abject failure to stand up for the rights of the poor and the working class, have signed on to this movement because they fear becoming irrelevant. Union leaders, who pull down salaries five times that of the rank and file as they bargain away rights and benefits, know the foundations are shaking. So do Democratic politicians from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi. So do the array of “liberal” groups and institutions, including the press, that have worked to funnel discontented voters back into the swamp of electoral politics and mocked those who called for profound structural reform.

Resistance, real resistance, to the corporate state was displayed when a couple of thousand protesters, clutching mops and brooms, early Friday morning forced the owners of Zuccotti Park and the New York City police to back down from a proposed attempt to expel them in order to “clean” the premises. These protesters in that one glorious moment did what the traditional “liberal” establishment has steadily refused to do—fight back. And it was deeply moving to watch the corporate rats scamper back to their holes on Wall Street. It lent a whole new meaning to the phrase “too big to fail.”

Tinkering with the corporate state will not work. We will either be plunged into neo-feudalism and environmental catastrophe or we will wrest power from corporate hands. This radical message, one that demands a reversal of the corporate coup, is one the power elite, including the liberal class, is desperately trying to thwart. But the liberal class has no credibility left. It collaborated with corporate lobbyists to neglect the rights of tens of millions of Americans, as well as the innocents in our imperial wars. The best that liberals can do is sheepishly pretend this is what they wanted all along. Groups such as MoveOn and organized labor will find themselves without a constituency unless they at least pay lip service to the protests. The Teamsters’ arrival Friday morning to help defend the park signaled an infusion of this new radicalism into moribund unions rather than a co-opting of the protest movement by the traditional liberal establishment. The union bosses, in short, had no choice.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, like all radical movements, has obliterated the narrow political parameters. It proposes something new. It will not make concessions with corrupt systems of corporate power. It holds fast to moral imperatives regardless of the cost. It confronts authority out of a sense of responsibility. It is not interested in formal positions of power. It is not seeking office. It is not trying to get people to vote. It has no resources. It can’t carry suitcases of money to congressional offices or run millions of dollars of advertisements. All it can do is ask us to use our bodies and voices, often at personal risk, to fight back. It has no other way of defying the corporate state. This rebellion creates a real community instead of a managed or virtual one. It affirms our dignity. It permits us to become free and independent human beings.

Martin Luther King was repeatedly betrayed by liberal supporters, especially when he began to challenge economic forms of discrimination, which demanded that liberals, rather than simply white Southern racists, begin to make sacrifices. King too was a radical. He would not compromise on nonviolence, racism or justice. He understood that movements—such as the Liberty Party, which fought slavery, the suffragists, who fought for women’s rights, the labor movement and the civil rights movement—have always been the true correctives in American democracy. None of those movements achieved formal political power. But by holding fast to moral imperatives they made the powerful fear them. King knew that racial equality was impossible without economic justice and an end to militarism. And he had no intention of ceding to the demands of the liberal establishment that called on him to be calm and patience.

“For years, I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions in the South, a little change here, a little change there,” King said shortly before he was assassinated. “Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire system, a revolution of values.”

King was killed in 1968 when he was in Memphis to support a strike by sanitation workers. By then he had begun to say that his dream, the one that the corporate state has frozen into a few safe clichés from his 1963 speech in Washington, had turned into a nightmare. King called at the end of his life for massive federal funds to rebuild inner cities, what he called “a radical redistribution of economic and political power,” a complete restructuring of “the architecture of American society.” He grasped that the inequities of capitalism had become the instrument by which the poor would always remain poor.

“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism,” King said, “but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”

On the eve of King’s murder he was preparing to organize a poor people’s march on Washington, D.C., designed to cause “major, massive dislocations,” a nonviolent demand by the poor, including the white underclass, for a system of economic equality. It would be 43 years before his vision was realized by an eclectic group of protesters who gathered before the gates of Wall Street.

The truth of America is understood only when you listen to voices in our impoverished rural enclaves, prisons and the urban slums, when you hear the words of our unemployed, those who have lost their homes or cannot pay their medical bills, our elderly and our children, especially the quarter of the nation’s children who depend on food stamps to eat, and all who are marginalized. There is more reality expressed about the American experience by the debt-burdened young men and women protesting in the parks than by all the chatter of the well-paid pundits and experts that pollutes the airwaves.

What kind of nation is it that spends far more to kill enemy combatants and Afghan and Iraqi civilians than it does to help its own citizens who live below the poverty line? What kind of nation is it that permits corporations to hold sick children hostage while their parents frantically bankrupt themselves to save their sons and daughters? What kind of nation is it that tosses its mentally ill onto urban heating grates? What kind of nation is it that abandons its unemployed while it loots its treasury on behalf of speculators? What kind of nation is it that ignores due process to torture and assassinate its own citizens? What kind of nation is it that refuses to halt the destruction of the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry, dooming our children and our children’s children?

“America,” Langston Hughes wrote, “never was America to me.”

“The black vote mean [nothing],” the rapper Nas intones. “Who you gunna elect/ Satan or Satan?/ In the hood nothing is changing/ We ain’t got no choices.”

Or listen to hip-hop artist Talib Kweli: “Back in the ’60s, there was a big push for black … politicians, and now we have more than we ever had before, but our communities are so much worse. A lot of people died for us to vote, I’m aware of that history, but these politicians are not in touch with people at all. Politics is not the truth to me, it’s an illusion.”

The liberal class functions in a traditional, capitalist democracy as a safety valve. It lets off enough steam to keep the system intact. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. This is what happened during the Great Depression and the New Deal. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s greatest achievement was that he saved capitalism. Liberals in a functioning capitalist democracy are at the same time tasked with discrediting radicals, whether it is King, especially after he denounced the war in Vietnam, or later Noam Chomsky or Ralph Nader.

The stupidity of the corporate state is that it thought it could dispense with the liberal class. It thought it could shut off that safety valve in order to loot and pillage with no impediments. Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. And the reduction of the liberal class to silly courtiers, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, meant that the growing discontent found other mechanisms and outlets. Liberals were reduced to stick figures, part of an elaborate pantomime, as they acted in preordained roles to give legitimacy to meaningless and useless political theater. But that game is over.

Human history has amply demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet retain the trappings and privileges of power, they are brutally discarded. The liberal class, which insists on clinging to its positions of privilege while at the same time refusing to play its traditional role within the democratic state, has become a useless and despised appendage of corporate power. And as the engines of corporate power pollute and poison the ecosystem and propel us into a world where there will be only masters and serfs, the liberal class, which serves no purpose in the new configuration, is being abandoned and discarded by both the corporate state and radical dissidents. The best it can do is attach itself meekly to the new political configuration rising up to replace it.

An ineffectual liberal class means there is no hope of a correction or a reversal through the formal mechanisms of power. It ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and the middle class will find expression now in these protests that lie outside the confines of democratic institutions and the civilities of a liberal democracy. By emasculating the liberal class, which once ensured that restive citizens could institute moderate reforms, the corporate state has created a closed system defined by polarization, gridlock and political charades. It has removed the veneer of virtue and goodness that the liberal class offered to the power elite.

Liberal institutions, including the church, the press, the university, the Democratic Party, the arts and labor unions, set the parameters for limited self-criticism in a functioning democracy as well as small, incremental reforms. The liberal class is permitted to decry the worst excesses of power and champion basic human rights while at the same time endowing systems of power with a morality and virtue it does not possess. Liberals posit themselves as the conscience of the nation. They permit us, through their appeal to public virtues and the public good, to see ourselves and our state as fundamentally good.

But the liberal class, by having refused to question the utopian promises of unfettered capitalism and globalization and by condemning those who did, severed itself from the roots of creative and bold thought, the only forces that could have prevented the liberal class from merging completely with the power elite. The liberal class, which at once was betrayed and betrayed itself, has no role left to play in the battle between us and corporate dominance. All hope lies now with those in the street.

Liberals lack the vision and fortitude to challenge dominant free market ideologies. They have no ideological alternatives even as the Democratic Party openly betrays every principle the liberal class claims to espouse, from universal health care to an end to our permanent war economy to a demand for quality and affordable public education to a return of civil liberties to a demand for jobs and welfare of the working class. The corporate state forced the liberal class to join in the nation’s death march that began with the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Liberals such as Bill Clinton, for corporate money, accelerated the dismantling of our manufacturing base, the gutting of our regulatory agencies, the destruction of our social service programs and the empowerment of speculators who have trashed our economy. The liberal class, stripped of power, could only retreat into its atrophied institutions, where it busied itself with the boutique activism of political correctness and embraced positions it had previously condemned.

Russell Jacoby writes: “The left once dismissed the market as exploitative; it now honors the market as rational and humane. The left once disdained mass culture as exploitative; now it celebrates it as rebellious. The left once honored independent intellectuals as courageous; now it sneers at them as elitist. The left once rejected pluralism as superficial; now it worships it as profound. We are witnessing not simply a defeat of the left, but its conversion and perhaps inversion.”

Hope in this age of bankrupt capitalism comes with the return of the language of class conflict and rebellion, language that has been purged from the lexicon of the liberal class, language that defines this new movement. This does not mean we have to agree with Karl Marx, who advocated violence and whose worship of the state as a utopian mechanism led to another form of enslavement of the working class, but we have to learn again to speak in the vocabulary Marx employed. We have to grasp, as Marx and Adam Smith did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill and lie to make money. They throw poor families out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars to make profits, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship money and power. And, as Marx knew, unfettered capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself. The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the perfect metaphor for the corporate state. It is part of the same nightmare experienced in postindustrial mill towns of New England and the abandoned steel mills of Ohio. It is a nightmare that Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans, living in terror and mourning their dead, endure daily.

What took place early Friday morning in Zuccotti Park was the first salvo in a long struggle for justice. It signaled a step backward by the corporate state in the face of popular pressure. And it was carried out by ordinary men and women who sleep at night on concrete, get soaked in rainstorms, eat donated food and have nothing as weapons but their dignity, resilience and courage. It is they, and they alone, who hold out the possibility of salvation. And if we join them we might have a chance.

This article was originally posted on Truthdig.



Author pic
ABOUT Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges is a weekly Truthdig columnist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

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Just what the dcootr ordered,

Just what the dcootr ordered, thankity you!

Alternatives to corporate

Alternatives to corporate capitalism: Permaculture, TransitionTowns, Libre (open/ free) software movements, CreativeCommons, WikiEducator, Open Source Ecology etc etcThose who think voting 'left' (ie Democrat if you are in the US) can change anything need only look at Obama's complete failure to even withdraw US troops from occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, or restore civil liberties from the ravages of the Patriot Act. Or the fact that he signed off on the deep sea oil drilling that resulted in the Gulf spill. Changing the veneer does not fix the rotten wood beneath. The house of democracy needs a total rebuild.

THANK YOU, CHRIS HEDGES. This

THANK YOU, CHRIS HEDGES.
This thoughful article reflects a true and deep understanding of the fundamental issues which gave birth to Occupy and feed the fire burning in the heart and soul of the Movement.
On the march for meaningful change.
Meet you on the street.

MLK Jr was charismatic leader

MLK Jr was charismatic leader who was the founder and president of an organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference - everything that this OWS movement now rejects (leader, formal organization with a president).And you say a little march holding broons is the real resistance to the corporate state! That is ludicrous! The futility of this notion laughable. You are pandering ot your fans, which is the last thing that this movement needs, since it is already too enamorated of itself.We need better critical thinking than this if we want this movement to not be one more failed protest movement, like 90's anti-globalization, the anti-war movement, and so many others.

Obama, Sanders, Boxer,

Obama, Sanders, Boxer, Waters, etc. the real fighters must stand in front of the protester and tell them to register their "America's 99% Party". This good people need help and advice to aspire to positions in the House and the Senate where they can get the changes they want. Start looking for well known good prepared educated candidates and place then to be elected this November and November 2012. Millions of us will vote for them.

It makes me sad to read your

It makes me sad to read your attacks on Unions, liberals and MoveOn in particular (as I'm a part of that organization). We have been nothing but supportive of this movement: attending the March on Wall St., calling and writing Bloomberg to stop him from kicking the kids out (and one of our Field organizers went out and gathered mops for the cleanup effort). We are not "people scared of becoming irrelevant." We are people deeply dedicated to the same principles of ecomic justice looking for ways during this exciting time to help change the system. No, we haven't taken the bold steps these kids have. We still have been active: going to town hall meetings, rallying in front of Bank of America. We have been trying. Now is not the time to think of what certain groups and organizations have or have not done. Now is a time to work together. How do you champion a non-partisan, democratic movement while being elitist about who should or shouldn't be involved in this movement? MoveOn, the Unions, community groups... have resources and assets that this movement doesn't. We should work together and learn from each other.

Occupy's desire for autonomy

Occupy's desire for autonomy from Democratic Party-serving organizations like MoveOn is not "elitist", it's counter-elitist.

MoveOn got a seat at the table at Tuesdays With Rahm (it's an old HuffPo article, check it). MoveOn not only turns all its energies to GOTV for whatever Democrat the corporate party advances - it specifically opposed civil disobedience as a tactic during its drive to get members to "visit" their bought-paid-for supposed "representatives" and in protests around local banks. I know because I was a volunteer organizer and was told specifically they did not endorse civil disobedience.

Now MoveOn (and Van Jones new "American Dream" org) rides Occupy's popularity coattails to fundraise, as does the Democrats' House fundraisers, the DCCC, which spends most of its donations to reelect ConservaDems. Let some who believe in voting for the lesser-of-two-evils maintain their course.

Let hopefully more who believe in justice and accountability, no matter who holds office, maintain their course. Occupy are the ones out in the rain and cold, non-violently facing abuse via laws written so that unionized cops all work to protect the 1%. Occupy are the ones facing all that just to exercise true consensus-based democracy, to support one another and all the 99% regardless of party, and to visibly, vocally protest injustice. They are definitely the ones making the greater sacrifice, thereby earning the greater respect.

Let’s wake up America! The

Let’s wake up America!

The 1% of Piratical Capitalists are strangling the other 99% of Americans and the rest of the world to death!

I’m sick and tired of the Democrats, the Republicans, the tea party, and the news media!
I’m sick and tired of listening to incessant political nonsense while we the people, are losing everything!

Are we supposed to remain passive while we lose our jobs, our homes, our families, our health, our savings, our future, and our lives!? Are we…really!?!?! Do you people out there want to let this happen!?

Are we just supposed to lie down and die?! Sure, the elite rich would love that wouldn’t they? If we’re dead, then we can’t cause any trouble. If we’re dead, then we can’t come after them!

We’ve been blind and passive way too long. We keep dancing around the real solution here, while the rich pay off our politicians and the courts to stay free and so they can repeatedly rape us!

No-way, it’s time we put a stop to this! They need a lesson here. Unfortunately, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Russian Revolution were necessary because the royals and elite rich just never did get it. They didn’t care that millions of people were being hurt or dying because of them.

We have that same exact international situation right here…right now. We’re not dead yet, and there are millions and millions of us around the world. And that, is POWER!

People, we are in the midst of a Global Revolution! It’s happening now and it’s time we pulled these arrogant royals off of their thrones. Yes people, it’s time it got ugly.

This is why.

THE NEW AMERICAN PIRATES, ARE KILLING AMERICANS.

This is not about glamorized or fictional piracy. This is, “real piracy.”

Hundreds of our wealthiest leaders and most powerful corporations know that in the next few years, they will be able to siphon, skim, and steal, so much “NEW CASH,” that they and their progeny will be ultra-rich for generations to come.

Welcome to the modern “Piratical Capitalism” movement. And, welcome to WAR!
No, this is not funny, or fiction, or a conspiracy, it is just simple greed and simple theft.
The new pirates of America have launched an all-out siege on us…the 99%, in order to capture, amass, and hold many trillions of dollars for themselves.

All of the recent political power grabs and nonsensical debating is purely a slight-of-hand deflection. President Obama, Democrats, Republicans, the International Press, and even the Tea Party, are watching the tiny pea in the shell game…while the rich and powerful “Piratical Right” is stealing America right out from under us.

Consider that their combined total plunder from corporate flipping, downsizing, offshore labor, speculation, price fixing of oil and energy plus, corruption in defense, health care, banking, student loans, foreclosures, etc., etc., is a trillion dollar treasure for these pirates.
Go ahead, put your own calculator to it.

Are they smarter than we are? Yes, and they are laughing at us. I, we, you, and all of us, have not been able see the big picture of what is happening to our own country and to our own people. The rape and theft of America, has been cleverly packaged, promoted, and sold under the guise of “cost-cutting,” “deregulation,” and “free enterprise.”

The “Piratical Right” is directly responsible for millions of people dying, getting sick, losing their jobs and homes, losing their ability to fight, their spirit, and even losing their will to live. The sick smell of this carnage now permeates the air across America.

To us, this is all unimaginable, because we look for some sense or the morality of things. These modern-day American pirates however, have no moral compass. They are devoid of any conscience, humanity or soul, and are feeding on the flesh of the American people.

Don’t look to the President, the Senate, Congress, the press, or any political party to help. Sadly, they just don’t see it, don’t care, or are part of it. “We the people” are on our own. Start asking questions. Demand answers. If we don’t fight back America…who will!?

History has taught us how to stop piracy!

Dannah just said is quite

Dannah just said is quite true - without a political organisation then nothing will change. Saying "It is not interested in formal positions of power. It is not seeking office. It is not trying to get people to vote" leaves you at the mercy of those people who are interested in power, and looting the economy. The track record of third parties in the USA is dire - the only possible way forward is to re-capture the Democratic Party (or let the Tea Party in to wreak havoc).

We've made unimaginable (in

We've made unimaginable (in today's politics) advances during GOP administrations when we had protests movements' organized mass resistance in the streets (EPA was approved by Nixon, for pity's sake!). Both parties manipulate social issues, but in the final vote, they come down for the 1% to profit more so the 1% can bribe party operatives more. Unless we take it to the streets. The pro-Democratic Party new operatives like MoveOn are, like labor unions, hierarchical and self-serving. Labor unions were righteous - and can be so again - when they fought for every working person, and didn't pay their leaders 5X what they negotiate for their workers whose CEOs make 300x+ what the workers do. Can any political party be righteous? I doubt it, but both can be made accountable, both can be made to serve the people if/when the people refuse to engage in nothing but click-democracy and voting-for-the-lesser-evil. Let some continue the every two-years four-years six-years battles for a party to reign. Let more take to the streets, disobey unjust laws non-violently, and make EVERY party, including the "business community", accountable.

Bryan Hemming's picture

Years of railing against

Years of railing against banks and the system; years of predicting where unfettered capitalism would lead, left me the butt of many jokes back in London. My frustration compounded by having to provide immediate solutions. The solutions I did provide, such as reversing the deregulation of the financial markets were instantly derided.

My main point was always ignored. I did not have solutions as such, but if we didn't start talking about finding them we would end up in a situation far harder to resolve.

The suggestion more disinterested parties should be brought into government for discussion, such as philosophers, pure scientists and artists was dismissed as the rantings of a madman. It was as though I had said government should only be composed of philosophers, pure scientists and artists.

Thank God, things are turning round with the hope all sections of society may get the chance to be represented in some sort of new democracy, which may not be called democracy at all. Not only will philosophers, pure scientists and artists be able to take part in decision-making but also builders, factory hands, teachers and students. All have something to offer.

If we seriously want a new society, we have to start anew. We have to consider completely new methods of reward and exchange. I have ideas of my own involving assessing need, reward and worth on the basis of calories. It may sound crazy, it may be crazy, but we do need every type of input from every type of being. Forward, ever forward!

Eliminate the upper class and

Eliminate the upper class and the lower class by rewriting the tax code to create a thriving middle class.

Few can write more movingly

Few can write more movingly and more accurately than Chris Hedges. We are all most grateful to him. Viva la Revolution!

When 750,000 Americans take

When 750,000 Americans take to Wall Street, then I'll believe that this movement can't fail. It can and should be done. The clock is ticking--there is very little time left to stop the capitalist genocide. Wake up from your stupor, Americans, and take to the streets. Don't wait for somebody else to do it for you!

Great text. Can you mention

Great text. Can you mention any authors who have undergone the task you point out, that of successfully disclosing the marxist reductionism yet salvaging the political science tools it created? And, seems that at least marxism proposed a total system. What do we have now as an alternative to capitalism? Looks like E.F. Schumaker (Small is Beautiful) had something going back then for a while, where did that beginning go? Please inform how far are we in formulating the minimal alternative, from your perspective. Thanks.

Dannah and Bangthedrum have

Dannah and Bangthedrum have it right. Hand wringing dithering about what's wrong w/o action is probably what Rove et al. are banking on again. In fact, those cats may be underwriting the dithering. Only 10 million votes separated O/B from McC/Palin; 54% to 46%. (of course it was the state counts/Electoral College that really mattered) Consider Hedge's endless lists under McC/Palin. Or make more lists as the Koch's slide the pizza racist along so that in the end, the ever-easy-to-manipulate Mitt ends up in the WH. Toss in the Senate. Then, under those conditions, consider the future of Hedge's lists again. Come on folks, be the (Gandhi) change we want to see.

I suggest everyone reads "To

I suggest everyone reads "To the Occupy Movement" by James Keye, which can be found at dissidentvoice.org.

You don't have to be

You don't have to be underemployed for very long to see what has happened to the middle class. High unemployment turns into the new class of underemployed who take whatever is cast at them. No more full time jobs. A minimum wage that doesn't keep a singe person let alone a family alive. One paycheck away from destitution. I am so glad to see the protest growing. Finally people are getting angry and doing something about it.

Long live the protest!!!!!

Long live the protest!!!!!

Everyone knows when the

Everyone knows when the foundation of any structure is weakened to the point of collapse the rest of the structure will go with it.

The voice of the protest are the groan of a modern civil collapse for all the points so well noted in this article.

So anyway, let's remember Joe Hill, this is dated and I hope things don't need to get this bad all over again:

Workers of the world, awaken!
Break your chains, demand your rights.
All the wealth you make is taken
B y exploiting parasites.
Shall you kneel in deep submission
F rom your cradles to your graves?
Is the height of your ambition
To be good and willing slaves?

Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!
Fight for your own emancipation;
Arise, ye slaves of ev'ry nation, in One Union Grand.
Our little ones for bread are crying;
And millions are from hunger dying;
The end the means is justifying,
'Tis the final stand.

If the workers take a notion,
They can stop all speeding trains;
Every ship upon the ocean
They can tie with mighty chains;
Every wheel in the creation,
Every mine and every mill,
Fleets and armies of the nation,
Will at their command stand still.

-Chorus-

Join the union, fellow workers,
Men and women, side by side;
We will crush the greedy shirkers
Like a sweeping, surging tide;
For united we are standing,
But divided we will fall;
Let this be our understanding-
"All for one and one for all."

-Chorus-

Workers of the world, awaken!
Rise in all your splendid might;
Take the wealth that you are making --
It belongs to you by right.
No one for bread will be crying,
We'll have freedom, love and health,
When the grand red flag is flying
In the Worker's commonwealth.

-Chorus-

"Workers of the World, Awaken!" was written by Joe Hill.

This movement must take it's

This movement must take it's energy and move to dominate the political process. Welcome any experienced politician who has proven they have fought for the 99% THROUGH THEIR ACTIONS. Sanders, Kucinich, etc. Fill the ballot box with write ins for the 99%. We can't outspend the GOP and the Dems but we can
out vote them.

I agree that the structure

I agree that the structure itself needs to change, but ALSO we still need to elect better people to office even as we try to create a new design. Its not an either/or propostion. Its both/and. There has never been any politician 'left' enough for me, but as long as elections exist, I will still vote for whoever is looking more in that direction. Meanwhile, I hope all the powers that be are paying attention. And I hope that we do not have our own Tianneman Square, although we have been the creators of that kind of bloodshed in so many places in the world for so many years.

I am very happy that people

I am very happy that people have finally realized that the issues need to be taken to the street to make anything happen, but to blame the liberals for complicity is a bit over the top. As with any change, there will be those who want to keep the status quo (conservatives) and those who want to push forward and try new solutions (liberals). The liberal sin is that we thought the system would work and correct the ills...war, poverty, lack of education, lack of healthcare. What we are finding out is the greed and power changes the equation and the Democrats who we thought had our backs, started stuffing their pockets instead. But do not dismiss the liberal senators and congress members that fight for the right thing. Our system may be broken, but I would rather fix it than attempt to throw it out and start over.

This is a very good article

This is a very good article by Chris Hedges and as a real leftist I do have some points I disagree with. Leftist have always considered liberals as the middle of the political spectrum and not the left going way back to the First International. Remember the Phil Ochs song “Love Me I Am A Liberal?” Since I have begun a life of activism in 1965 the far left has also rejected not only any centralized power but also any centralized economic system. Many actually advocated a moneyless society. Remember during the Spanish Civil War in large parts of Spain they got rid of money for several years. The IWW used to advocate the value of economic worth being determined by labor and not property, gold or silver.

It just demonstrates how far we have moved to the right when liberals are considered as the left. Chris mentions Marx but rarely do we hear about Michael Bakunin who opposed Marx in the International wanting power of the International governed by autonomy of the local chapters rather than the Central Committee that Marx advocated. Nor do they mention Peter Kropotkin who predicted where capitalism would take the world in the future. Although writing in 1886 in Freedom magazine his writings are apropos today.

The occupy movements, which really began in the recent decades with international exposure of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, but can be traced in the U.S. further back to the 1918 Seattle General Strike organized by the IWW anarcho-syndicalists which sparked the only time in the U.S. Martial Law has been declared throughout the Country which gave birth to the Palmer Raids and the anti-syndicalism laws which led to imprisonment of union members without legal due process.

Another important point that is new for mother earth is the people are not just linked by purpose and an intellectual understanding of the current problems but also by consciousness. What we are witnessing just may be the manifestation of the ‘Hundredth Monkey’ phenomena.

Thank you Chris. Well said,

Thank you Chris. Well said, you said what is in all of our hearts and minds. Sorry Dannah above, the political process is broken - broken big time. This is about changing that very system. The 2 party system in this country is a joke and the joke is on us. Tell me who among those of us engaged that are unemployed, have lost or on verge of losing our homes can afford to "run for office" - change from within - puleez. Try it, you will be squashed like a bug underfoot.

Thanks Steve 13565 for your

Thanks Steve 13565 for your corrective. You are right, Hedges is a bit starry eyed about who makes up this movement. And it's too bad, because the movement is broader than he gives it credit for. It has given voice to the unsayable--those thoughts which inhabit the corners of the minds of millions of people--who have watched with disbelief at the unfolding of this economic crisis. I like Hedges' passion, but I wish he'd edit some of his more extravagant flourishes--would make this even a better piece--more acceptable to cynics and skeptics who will latch onto the naivete and dismiss the rest of what he has to say.

S.R Lavin's picture

What We Have Learned So

What We Have Learned So Far

The Wall Street Occupation has revealed a most fundamental reality…you can only oppress people so far and then all hell breaks loose. More than two hundred cities are now “occupied” in the U.S. and all over the globe. The implications are huge. At home Americans are finally awakened to the reality that the rich and privileged are now powerful enough to undermine democracy, destroy the environment, and control the resources and wealth of the planet with no regard for what’s really good or makes sense. Corporate priorities are all about profiteering, controlling consumers and manipulating “public opinion.” And just when it looked like there was no opposition anymore to this global corporate takeover, a phenomenon of epic implication has arisen. The 99% of the human race has a new voice, a new reason to protest and a bold, fresh reassessment of what can and should happen from here on out. Our common humanity is demanding (with one voice) a new agenda…a new sense that populism, democracy and the common good are inexorably able to redefine history…and that wars of occupation and “nation building” will be forever exposed as a waste of wealth, manpower, and insane political reasoning. Like the war on drugs, which has failed on all counts to either control use or prevent distribution, we just don’t want to spend our time and resources on failed policies that produce only more misery, poverty and despotic regimes. Billions of human beings have real needs that need to be met every day…the Occupy Wall Street Movement evokes a new and progressive direction and a new, vibrant hope that it ain’t over til it’s over.

S.R.Lavin

S.R Lavin's picture

What We Have Learned So

What We Have Learned So FarThe Wall Street Occupation has revealed a most fundamental reality…you can only oppress people so far and then all hell breaks loose. More than two hundred cities are now “occupied” in the U.S. and all over the globe. The implications are huge. At home Americans are finally awakened to the reality that the rich and privileged are now powerful enough to undermine democracy, destroy the environment, and control the resources and wealth of the planet with no regard for what’s really good or makes sense. Corporate priorities are all about profiteering, controlling consumers and manipulating “public opinion.” And just when it looked like there was no opposition anymore to this global corporate takeover,a phenomenon of epic implication has arisen. The 99% of the human race has a new voice, a new reason to protest and a bold, fresh reassessment of what can and should happen from here on out. Our common humanity is demanding (with one voice) a new agenda…a new sense that populism, democracy and the common good are inexorably able to redefine history…and that wars of occupation and “nation building” will be forever exposed as a waste of wealth, manpower, and insane political reasoning. Like the war on drugs, which has failed on all counts to either control use or prevent distribution, we just don’t want to spend our time and resources on failed policies that produce only more misery, poverty and despotic regimes. Billions of human beings have real needs that need to be met every day…the Occupy Wall Street Movement evokes a new and progressive direction and a new, vibrant hope that it ain’t over til it’s over.S. R. Lavin

"And it was carried out by

"And it was carried out by ordinary men and women who sleep at night on concrete, get soaked in rainstorms, eat donated food and have nothing as weapons but their dignity, resilience and courage."

Let's not get too idealistic about who is carrying this movement. In Worcester, MA. we were approached by a man begging for spare change as we gathered to decide the goals for the movement. When we told him we were two busy deciding on how to help the poor to give money to an admitted drunk, he called us all phonies and walked away.

There are lots of Students, the recently graduated, and old lefties propping up this movement. Maybe we don't get the real poor either.

Other than that, yes, a very moving article that ought to scare the bejeebus out of liberals.

This was perhaps the most

This was perhaps the most painful article I have ever read. I have held fast to the title of liberal in the face of scorn and belittlement all of my life. I knew Reagan was a turning point, a turn in a direction that would do little but damage the fundamental structure of our then more-or-less functional democracy, but I was never able to articulate it.

Thank you for putting into words, and eloquent words at that, all the inchoate fears and and questions of my last 40 years.

One can only hope that these protests will continue and grow and actually achieve at least some of their goals. Each of us must do what we can to support them.

You can't change fascism by

You can't change fascism by voting. Voting is a democratic process. America is controlled by a wealthy, powerful corporate fascist oligarchy. The majority of Americans don't want self-rule: they prefer a white male authority figure that relieves them of the responsibility of self-rule. Hence, those of us who DO want self-rule (democracy) find ourselves enslaved under fascist rule "elected" by the majority. As the founding fathers repeatedly stated: self-rule demands vigilance. It's not the norm: you have to fight for liberty. Merely voting for liberty doesn't work--as history proves.

Yes, but without actual

Yes, but without actual engagement in the political process the mouvement will go nowhere: do run for office, do vote, keep engaging in the political process with all its institutional and constitutional constraints - like the 60 votes required for anything to be passed in the Senate, for instance. What you want will not happen by magic or by some sort of osmosis, only through the political process of legislating. Elect more Bernie Sanders, and things will change; avoid losing people like Russ Feinglod, and things will change - not everything, but some will. Or keep pouting and let the Repubs run the show - and please do not start again with 'both sides are the same' - we are not in high school here, are we? Try running for office and actually working in Congress - Talking and wishing and sneering will not advance anything.

WOW... WELL SAID! THANK YOU.

WOW... WELL SAID! THANK YOU.

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