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Reprinted from Truthdig
Smoke and fumes from a 2012 fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., sent 15,000 residents to hospitals or medical offices. Richmond City Council member Gayle McLaughlin, interviewed in the article below, is a vocal critic of Chevron’s effect on
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SANTA ANA, Calif.–All resistance will be local. We will have to dismantle the corporate state, piece by piece, from the ground up. No leader or politician is going to do it for us. Every community that bans fracking, every university and institution that embraces the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement, every individual who becomes vegan to thwart the animal agriculture industry’s devastation of the planet and holocaust of animals, every effort to build self-sustaining food supplies, every protest to halt the use of lethal force by police against our citizens, especially poor people of color, every act of civil disobedience against corporate power and imperialism will slowly transform our society.
Those who rebel, once they rise up, will build alliances with other rebels. This will give birth to a new political expression, one that will be fiercely anti-capitalist and will seek to sustain rather than destroy life. Rebellion will come from the bottom. I do not know if we can succeed. The forces arrayed against us are monstrous and terrifying. The corporate state has no qualms about employing savage and violent repression, wholesale surveillance, the criminalizing of dissent, and its propaganda machine to demonize us all. But I know this: We are the only hope. We are the people we have been waiting for. And if we do not act to save ourselves, the climate crisis and the corporate state that caused it will continue to ravage the ecosystem and human societies until catastrophic collapse occurs. Indeed, we are already frighteningly far down that road.
I recently met here in Santa Ana with Gayle McLaughlin, who served two terms as mayor of Richmond, Calif., a city of 100,000, after being elected to that post as a Green Party candidate, and physician Jill Stein, a Massachusetts resident who was the Green Party presidential nominee in 2012 and now is a candidate for the party’s nomination in the 2016 presidential election.
McLaughlin spent a decade building the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), a party that refuses corporate donations. The RPA formed coalitions with other groups and parties, including the Peace and Freedom Party, and by 2004 it was winning elections. Among the supporters it attracted were many disenchanted members of the Democratic Party.
McLaughlin was elected to the Richmond City Council as a Green Party candidate in 2004 and won a race for mayor in 2006. She served in that office until this year, when she termed out. She is back on the seven-member City Council — which includes two other RPA members — despite the efforts of Chevron, which has a huge refinery in the city and ran Richmond like a company town for decades (it used to keep a desk for a Chevron executive in the city manager’s office). The company poured $3 million into the 2014 City Council campaign in an unsuccessful bid to defeat McLaughlin and the other RPA candidates.
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McLaughlin and the RPA have attempted to turn back the tide of corporate pillage in Richmond. They have doggedly fought Chevron, extracting an extra $114 million a year in taxes. They have stood up for the working poor and the homeless. They have pushed through a law requiring a minimum wage of $13 an hour by 2018. They have denounced the rampant militarism of American society.
McLaughlin and the party, in a program called Richmond CARES (Community Action to Restore Equity and Stability), advocate using eminent domain to purchase or seize homes whose value has fallen below the amount owed on the mortgage. The city would then renegotiate the mortgages with private financial firms to reflect the real value of the homes, reduce mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure. Implementation of the program has been blocked by bank lawsuits and other factors.
The example of Richmond, and cities such as Denton, Texas, where residents organized to ban fracking, illustrates that on the local level, where grass-roots organizing can counter corporate propaganda and money, it is possible to wrest power back.
“The Chevron Richmond refinery is the most productive refinery in the state of California,” McLaughlin said when I met with her and Stein in Santa Ana. “It is in our city’s boundaries. It makes billions of dollars in profits every year while our community suffers from poverty and health issues. We had a major fire [at the refinery] in 2012, and 15,000 [Richmond residents] were sent to local hospitals. We are suing Chevron as a result of that fire. Chevron wants candidates in office who will settle for pennies. It bought up every billboard in town. It spent a lot of money on social media. It sent out high-quality mailers. But the people saw through it. We went door to door [in the 2014 City Council election campaign]. We were at community events. We built on 10 years of hard work. And we defeated them, although we were outspent 20 to 1.”
Nationally, because the United States lacks powerful radical, grass-roots organizations, the hegemony of corporate power is largely unassailable. The Republicans and the Democrats, beholden to corporate money and subservient to corporate power, have effectively conspired to shut out the possibility of a viable third party. Any vote on a national level for third-party candidates — who are locked out of the debates and, because money rules politics, can get little airtime — is largely a protest vote against the system. And while that vote is important, if only to send the message that we will not cooperate, our energy should be spent mostly in pushing back locally against the intrusion of corporations.
“How do you get past the corporate leviathan?” Stein asked. “We’ve all become Richmond, Calif. A hostile corporate force occupies us all. Corporations are polluting our air and our water. They are degrading our jobs or exporting them. They have imposed a massive lockdown, a state of siege for an entire generation.
“But the leviathan is so over-zealous, so heavy-handed and so overfunded that it is beginning to self-destruct,” Stein went on. “We are seeing that in the American national political scene. The pompous buffoons in the Republican debates horrify people. People are clamoring for other options. A recent Wall Street Journal poll shows that 50 percent of Americans no longer identify as being either Democrat or Republican. The system is crumbling from its own internal decrepitude. Our push is to try and help that happen.”
But Stein and McLaughlin concede that the political, economic, environmental and cultural unraveling may also embolden powerful proto-fascist groups, often bankrolled by the most retrograde forces of corporate capitalism. These right-wing groups do what all fascists do — demonize and attack the vulnerable. Undocumented workers, Muslims, African-Americans, homosexuals, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, artists, dissidents and radicals are vilified as the cause of national decay. The Christian right, the tea party, nativists, white supremacists, neo-Confederates and militias celebrating the sickness of gun culture call for internal purges in the name of vengeance, patriotism and moral renewal. Many in the police and other organs of internal security harbor similar sentiments. As those of us who seek the overthrow of the corporate state gain strength, these proto-fascist groups, tolerated or even blessed by the state, will along with the state employ violence against us. Corporate power will not give up its grip easily.
“This is an existential moment we are in,” Stein said. “It is hard not to envision scenarios of self-destruction, including massive homicide and Gaiacide. We are being destroyed by a predatory, occupying corporate force and an economic elite.”
The commercialization and destruction of culture by corporations have, however, handed to dissidents a powerful weapon. No revolutionary movement succeeds until it harnesses the power of its disenfranchised artists and intellectuals and captures the public imagination. Theater, film, music, painting, poetry, fiction, dance and sculpture make ideas felt, as Emma Goldman pointed out. They allow us to reflect on our own reality. They expose systems and patterns of despotic power. They offer alternative visions. They inspire resistance. They hold up the possibility of transcendence. They allow us, in short, to know ourselves, to understand where we come from and where we should go. This dimension of artistic depth is fundamental to resistance. And this is why in all totalitarian states, including our corporate totalitarian state, independent artists are shut out. They are marginalized, silenced, repressed and censored or forced because of economic necessity to use their talents to work on behalf of corporate propaganda and the banal spectacles that dominate mass entertainment. All who deal in the realms of truth, beauty and justice are a threat, but none more so than artists.
“Vision is essential,” McLaughlin said. “We are not only in a political crisis because of the two-party system, because the Democratic Party leads movements into dead ends, but we are in a cultural crisis. We are dominated by corporate culture. We need our artists. They are not valued, especially our working-class artists. In all revolutionary moments there are collaborations between art and politics. There is an intersection of politics and culture, which addresses social ills and also inspires movements. Art can do what political ideologies often cannot.”
The state is acutely aware of our rights, needs, frustrations and aspirations. It manipulates them with appalling cynicism. This is how Barack Obama got elected. And it is why the Democratic Party — which has carried out an economic and political assault against working-men and -women, obsequiously served the demands of the merchants of death that manage empire, assisted in the building of our vast system of mass incarceration, expanded the assault on the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry and revoked most of our civil liberties — tolerates Bernie Sanders. It can force him, in the end, to play by its rules. It will demand that Sanders become its propagandist, which he has agreed to do if he is not the Democrats’ presidential nominee, in the battle with corporate Republicans to control the perks and financial rewards that come with political power.
“The enthusiasm around Bernie Sanders’ campaign is like the enthusiasm around Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign,” Stein said. “And in the Obama campaign, people were betrayed. We have to lift up an alternative, outside a corporate party, that will not be about betrayal.”
“On a national level it is certainly gamed,” Stein said of the presidential campaign. “But there are many purposes that the national race serves. One is to build a structure through which, eventually, circumstances may permit a victory [for progressive change]. This may not be now, but we have to build it. Social change happens because of social movements, but political and electoral movements can help amplify that. It can help fan the flames.”
“If you look at, for example, the labor movement in the U.S. in the early 1900s, there was a proliferation of small independent parties that applied a lot of pressure and gave rise to a national voice in the form ofEugene Debs‘ presidential campaigns,” Stein said.
“When we run for higher office we have to stand outside the two-party system,” said McLaughlin, “but when we do this we have the situation Jill is facing [as a presidential candidate]. We are not getting heard enough. We are not getting into the debates.”
“We need a new third party,” she went on. “We need to connect Greens with other third parties and independently thinking people. We need a reciprocity relationship with movements such as Black Lives Matter.”
All those who stand outside the system to denounce and defy corporate power, marginalized though they are, give us hope. There are rumblings of rebellion that already frighten the corporate state. The corporate state will seek to use all of its resources to funnel us back into its embrace, to attempt to make us believe that the options it offers are the only options. It is time to break free. It is time to refuse to cooperate. It is time to do what is right. If we follow our consciences, if we dismantle corporate power in community after community, perhaps we have a chance.
Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. The Los Angeles Press Club honored Hedges’ original columns in Truthdig by naming the author the Online Journalist of the Year in 2009, and granted him the Best Online Column award in 2010 for his Truthdig essay “One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists.”
Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City and has taught at Columbia University, New York University and Princeton University. He currently teaches inmates at a correctional facility in New Jersey.
Hedges began his career reporting the war in El Salvador. Following six years in Latin America, he took time off to study Arabic and then went to Jerusalem and later Cairo. He spent seven years in the Middle East, most of them as the bureau chief there for The New York Times. He left the Middle East in 1995 for Sarajevo to cover the war in Bosnia and later reported the war in Kosovo. Afterward, he joined the Times’ investigative team and was based in Paris to cover al-Qaida. He left the Times after being issued a formal reprimand for denouncing the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.
He has written nine books, including “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best-selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. His latest book is “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010)
Hedges holds a B.A. in English literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif. Hedges speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and knows ancient Greek and Latin. In addition to writing a weekly original column for Truthdig, he has written for Harper’s Magazine, The New Statesman, The New York Review of Books, Adbusters, Granta, Foreign Affairs and other publications.
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Articles Listed By Date List By Popularity
Sunday, October 4, 2015 (6 comments)
Local Resistance Can Overthrow Our Political Masters We are the only hope. We are the people we have been waiting for. And if we do not act to save ourselves, the climate crisis and the corporate state that caused it will continue to ravage the ecosystem and human societies until catastrophic collapse occurs. Indeed, we are already frighteningly far down that road.
Monday, September 28, 2015 (3 comments)
State Terror Against People of Color The message this violence sends to poor people of color is this: We can kill you and your children with impunity. There is nothing you can do about it. You have no rights. You will never be safe. And if you attempt rise up and resist we will kill you and your children en masse.
Monday, September 21, 2015 (43 comments)
What It Means to Be a Socialist There can be no accommodation with global capitalism. We will overthrow this system or be crushed by it. And at this moment of crisis we need to remind ourselves what being a socialist means and what it does not mean.
Monday, September 14, 2015 (62 comments)
Where is Our Jeremy Corbyn? We have yet to mount this battle effectively in the United States. But we too must work to build a socialist nation. We may not win, but this fight is the only hope left to save ourselves from the predatory forces bent on the destruction of democracy and the ecosystem on which we depend for life. If the forces that oppose us triumph, we will have no future left.
Sunday, September 6, 2015 (42 comments)
The Real Enemy Is Within Militarists and war profiteers are our greatest enemy. They use fear, bolstered by racism, as a tool in their efforts to abolish civil liberties, crush dissent and ultimately extinguish democracy. To produce weapons and finance military expansion, they ruin the domestic economy by diverting resources, scientific and technical expertise and a disproportionate share of government funds.
Sunday, August 30, 2015 (50 comments)
The Great Unraveling Those of us who seek to create a world that has hope of viability have little time left. The neoliberal order, despoiling the Earth and enslaving the vulnerable, has to be eradicated. If we do not remove the ruling elites from power, if we do not overthrow the neoliberal order, and if we do not do it soon, we are doomed.
Sunday, August 23, 2015 (3 comments)
Eulogy for a Friend The highest morality is the morality of kindness. It is higher than a morality based on principles, doctrines or creeds. It is one person reaching out because another is alone, in despair or in distress. Nothing is nobler than a life dedicated to caring for others.
Sunday, August 16, 2015 (22 comments)
Amnesty International: Protecting the “Human Rights” of Johns, Pimps and Human Traffickers Amnesty International has, in essence, legitimized the weapon of male objectification and violence in the war against women. This weapon exists apart from the evils of global capitalism. The fight to end male violence against women has to be integral to those of us who also fight global capitalism. We need the liberation of women and girls, including those who are poor and of color.
Sunday, August 9, 2015 (6 comments)
Evoking the Wrath of Nature We do not have the power to make a new world. We only have the power to destroy or preserve the world we inhabit. We will either recover the sacred or vanish from the Earth. Those who do not respect the force of nature, who do not intimately know and understand its power, are doomed by it. The Native Americans got this right.
Sunday, August 2, 2015 (3 comments)
A Haven From the Animal Holocaust The animals, which receive state-of-the-art medical care and are fed vegan food, roam the pastures unmolested. Cows are not impregnated in order to keep them producing milk. Eggs are not taken from chickens for human use. And all the creatures live out their natural lives liberated from the animal holocaust that defines the animal agriculture industry.
Monday, July 27, 2015 (4 comments)
Why I Support the BDS Movement Against Israel Justice for Palestine will never come from the traditional governmental institutions or political parties that administer power. These institutions have surrendered to moneyed interests. Justice will come only from us. And the sole mechanism left to ensure justice for Palestine is the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
Sunday, July 19, 2015 (3 comments)
My Teacher I have always thought of myself as a preacher. This is not a vocation one proclaims openly if he or she works for The New York Times, as I did. Preachers, like artists, care more about the truth than they do about news. News and truth are not the same thing. The truth can get you into trouble.
Sunday, July 12, 2015 (44 comments)
We Are All Greeks Now The corporate dismantling of civil society is nearly complete in Greece. It is far advanced in the United States. We, like the Greeks, are undergoing a political war waged by the world’s oligarchs. No one elected them. They ignore public opinion. And, as in Greece, if a government defies the international banking community it is targeted for execution. The banks do not play by the rules of democracy.
Sunday, July 5, 2015 (5 comments)
Corporate Capitalism Is the Foundation of Police Brutality and the Prison State No discussion of race is possible without a discussion of capitalism and class. And until that discussion takes place, despite all the proposed reforms to the criminal justice system, the state will continue to murder and imprison poor people of color with impunity.
Monday, June 29, 2015 (17 comments)
The Lonely American Corporate propaganda has become so potent that many Americans are addicted. We must leave our isolated rooms. We must shut out these images. We must connect with those around us. It is only the communal that will save us. It is only the communal that will allow us to build a movement to resist.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 (77 comments)
My hatred of Authority, Along With My Loathing for the Pretensions, Heartlessness, and Sense of Entitlement of the Rich The public’s inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic corporate elite makes it difficult to organize effective resistance. Compliant politicians, entertainers, & our vapid, corporate-funded popular culture & news media hold up the elites as leaders to emulate. We are repeatedly assured that through diligence & hard work we can join them. We are taught to equate wealth with success– narratives which veil the truth
Monday, June 22, 2015 (15 comments)
America’s Slave Empire In Alabama prisons, as in nearly all such state facilities across the United States, prisoners do nearly every job, including cooking, cleaning, maintenance, laundry and staffing the prison barbershop. Only a few hundred of Alabama’s 26,200 prisoners — the system is designed to hold only 13,130 people — are paid to work; they get 17 to 71 cents an hour. The rest are slaves.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 (55 comments)
America’s Electoral Farce Evil lurks within the body politic. It is fueled by an induced ignorance. The specter of meaningless presidential elections caters to this idiocy. Our corporate masters are counting on most of us remaining entranced by the shadows they project on the wall of the cave.
Monday, June 8, 2015 (4 comments)
Thou Shalt Not Kill The military also incentivizes killing. If you do well at marksmanship you get rewarded with three-day passes. You only think about the points you can get from becoming an expert marksman. You don’t think about the act of taking a human life. Those who kill are supposed to be heroes.
Sunday, May 31, 2015 (235 comments)
Karl Marx Was Right Government expenditure accounts for 41 percent of GDP. Corporate capitalists intend to seize this money, hence the privatization of whole parts of the military, the push to privatize Social Security, the contracting of corporations to collect 70 percent of intelligence for our 16 intelligence agencies, as well as the privatization of prisons, schools and our disastrous for-profit health care service.
Sunday, May 17, 2015 (70 comments)
The Pathology of the Rich White Family Drug use, crime and disintegrating families are the result of poverty, not race. Poor whites replicate this behavior. Take away opportunity, infuse lives with despair and hopelessness, and this is what you get. But that is something rich white families do not want people to know. If it were known, the rich would have to take the blame.
Monday, May 11, 2015 (8 comments)
A Nation of Snitches Totalitarian states record even the most banal of our activities so that when it comes time to lock us up they can invest these activities with subversive or criminal intent. And citizens who know, because of the courage of Edward Snowden, that they are being watched but naively believe they “have done nothing wrong” do not grasp this dark and terrifying logic.
Sunday, May 3, 2015 (29 comments)
Make the Rich Panic It does not matter to the corporate rich who wins the presidential election. It does not matter who is elected to Congress. The rich have the power. They throw money at their favorites the way a gambler puts cash on his favorite horse. Money has replaced the vote. The wealthy can crush anyone who does not play by their rules.
Monday, April 27, 2015 (13 comments)
Rise of the New Black Radicals The emerging revolt, although it comes in many colors, speaks many languages and has many belief systems, is united around a common enemy. Bonds of solidarity and consciousness are swiftly uniting the wretched of the earth against our corporate masters.
Monday, April 20, 2015 (15 comments)
Choosing Life The animal agriculture industry is an integral part of the corporate state. The corporate state’s exploitation and impoverishment of workers and its poisoning of the environment, as well as its torture and violence toward animals, are carried out because of the obsession for greater and greater profit.
Monday, April 13, 2015 (16 comments)
For Nader, Defiance Is a Way of Life Nader still writes letters to the powerful, pounded out on his 50-year-old manual Underwood typewriter, but they are rarely answered. That he writes them, that he refuses to surrender and doggedly struggles against all odds for a restoration of American democracy and the rule of law, makes Nader one of the moral and intellectual giants of our age.
Monday, April 6, 2015 (6 comments)
Boycott, Divest and Sanction Corporations That Feed on Prisons The corporate state seeks to reduce all workers at home and abroad to the status of prison labor. Workers are to be so heavily controlled that organizing unions or resistance will become impossible. Benefits, pensions, overtime are to be abolished. Workers who are not slavishly submissive to the will of corporate power will be dismissed. There will be no sick days or paid vacations.
Monday, March 30, 2015 (10 comments)
No One Is Free Until All Are Free The sexual abuse of poor girls and women expands the divide between the predators and the prey, the exploiters and the exploited. And in every war zone, as in every boomtown that rises up around extraction industries, you find widespread sexual exploitation by bands of men.
Monday, March 23, 2015 (4 comments)
Journalism as Subversion Journalism is about communication. It is about information. It is about connecting to your society. It is about a society having a conversation with itself. From this richness, they’ve reduced journalism, as has happened in the United States. It [journalism] is one more revenue stream for a corporation that has 100 other revenue streams.
Monday, March 16, 2015 (31 comments)
The Most Dangerous Woman in America People are infuriated about income inequality, about the pillaging by the big banks. They are burning at the entrenched racial injustice in America. They want a solution to climate change. They are looking for something radically different.” The call for a national party is, in the end, a call to educate. It is a call to put forth a program that offers an alternative to global capitalism.
Monday, March 9, 2015 (25 comments)
The Whoredom of the Left If we accept prostitution as legal, we will take one more collective step toward the global plantation being constructed by our corporate pimps.
Sunday, March 1, 2015 (18 comments)
Tariq Ali: The Time Is Right for a Palace Revolution Tariq Ali: “I can’t see the old way of reproducing a political party of the left, modeled on the Republican and Democratic structures, as working. These people only work with money. They do not even speak with very many ordinary people. It is credit-card democracy. The left cannot and should not emulate this. America is the hardest nut to crack, but unless it is cracked we are doomed.”
Monday, February 23, 2015 (2 comments)
We Kill Our Revolutionaries There are lessons about resistance that apply not only to the 2.3 million Americans who are incarcerated but to a society in which the loss of civil liberties and the creation of the security and surveillance state increasingly mirror the prison state.
Sunday, February 15, 2015 (21 comments)
“Pornography Is What the End of the World Looks Like” The VCR, the DVD and, later, the Internet allowed porn to be pumped into individual homes. The glossy, still images of Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler became tame, even quaint. America, and much of the rest of the world, became pornified. The income of the global porn industry is estimated at $96 billion, with the United States market worth about $13 billion.
Monday, February 9, 2015 (6 comments)
The Terror We Give Is the Terror We Get If ISIS had fighter jets, missiles, drones and heavy artillery to bomb American cities there would be no need to light a captured pilot on fire; ISIS would be able to burn human beings, as we do, from several thousand feet up. But since ISIS is limited in its capacity for war it must broadcast to the world a miniature version of what we do to people in the Middle East. The ISIS process is cruder. The result is the same.
Monday, February 2, 2015 (24 comments)
Malcolm X Was Right About America “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck,” Malcolm said. “Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless.”
Monday, January 26, 2015 (33 comments)
Killing Ragheads for Jesus Kyle justified his killing with a cloying sentimentality about his family, his Christian faith, his fellow SEALs and his nation. But sentimentality is not love. It is not empathy. It is, at its core, about self-pity and self-adulation. That the film, like the book, swings between cruelty and sentimentality is not accidental.
Monday, January 19, 2015 (6 comments)
“You Have a Mother” The Nazi extermination of 12 million people, including 6 million Jews, was a colossal, tragic and absurd waste of human life. I wrote this piece to say that the fierce and protective love of a mother and a father is stronger than hate. It can overcome evil.
Sunday, January 11, 2015 (6 comments)
A Message From the Dispossessed We have engineered the rage of the dispossessed. The evil of predatory global capitalism and empire has spawned the evil of terrorism. Rather than understand the roots of that rage and attempt to ameliorate it, we have built mechanisms of security and surveillance, passed laws for targeted assassinations and torture of the weak, and amassed armies and the machines of industrial warfare to dominate the world by force.
Monday, January 5, 2015 (61 comments)
All Forms of Life Are Sacred A slave has only external value. A slave is a thing. This is what we have done to animals. Animals are property. Animal welfare laws cannot work because they are based on balancing the interests of humans and nonhumans. As long as animals are chattel property the animal owners win.
Monday, December 29, 2014 (19 comments)
The Prison State of America The roughly 1 million prisoners who work for corporations and government industries in the American prison system are models for what the corporate state expects us all to become. And corporations have no intention of permitting prison reforms that would reduce the size of their bonded workforce. In fact, they are seeking to replicate these conditions throughout the society.
Sunday, December 21, 2014 (5 comments)
Banning Dissent in the Name of Civility Our universities, like our corporate-controlled airwaves, are little more than echo chambers for the elites and the powerful. The bigger and more prestigious the university the more it seems determined to get its students and faculty to chant in unison to please its Zionist donors. What the Israel lobby fears most are facts.
Monday, December 15, 2014 (2 comments)
ISIS — the New Israel ISIS is a mortal threat to the House of Saud. It is a open challenge to the religious authority of the Saudi ruling family, which is the custodian of Mecca, the site of the holiest shrine in Islam. It challenges, by anointing Baghdadi as caliph, the right of the Saudis to determine religious doctrine.
Monday, December 8, 2014 (10 comments)
A Society of Captives Police and national intelligence and security agencies, which carry out wholesale surveillance against the population and serve as the corporate elite’s brutal enforcers, are omnipotent by intention. They are designed to impart fear, even terror, to keep the population under control. And until the courts and the legislative bodies give us back our rights–which they have no intention of doing–things will only get worse.
Monday, December 1, 2014 (8 comments)
Alcatraz: A Prison as Disneyland The message was clear: In the United States those in prison deserve it; in foreign lands they are imprisoned unjustly. The Disneyfication of Alcatraz is the equivalent of turning one of Stalin’s gulags into a prison-themed amusement park. Prisons are institutionalized evil. And whitewashing evil is a moral monstrosity.
Monday, November 24, 2014 (31 comments)
Why We Need Professional Revolutionists The revolutionist is a curious hybrid of the practical and the impractical. He or she is aware of facing nearly impossible odds. The revolutionist has at once a lucid understanding of power, along with the vagaries of human nature, and a commitment to overthrowing power. And it is the revolutionist alone who can save us from corporate tyranny.
Sunday, November 16, 2014 (5 comments)
The Last Days of Tomas Young Young hung on as long as he could. Now he is gone. He understood what the masters of war had done to him, how he had been used and turned into human refuse. He was one of the first veterans to protest against the Iraq War. He wrote a poignant open “Last Letter” to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in March of 2013 on the 10th anniversary of the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Monday, November 10, 2014 (30 comments)
Saving the Planet, One Meal at a Time We can, by becoming vegan, refuse to be complicit in the torture of billions of animals for corporate profit and can have the well-documented health benefits associated with a plant-based diet, especially in the areas of heart disease and cancer.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Joe Sacco: A Bomb in Every Comic Sacco is perhaps best known for marrying his reporting with his graphic art to create serious and important nonfiction books about conflicts in places such as Palestine and Bosnia. And his graphic novels, especially “Palestine,” have introduced a generation to the injustices and suffering inflicted on the Palestinians by Israel.
Monday, October 27, 2014 (20 comments)
The Myth of the Free Press The mass media are plagued by the same mediocrity, corporatism and careerism as the academy, labor unions, the arts, the Democratic Party and religious institutions. They cling to the self-serving mantra of impartiality and objectivity to justify their subservience to power. To effectively disseminate state propaganda the press must maintain the fiction of independence and integrity.
Monday, October 20, 2014 (29 comments)
The Imperative of Revolt Resistance will begin locally, with communities organizing to form autonomous groups that practice direct democracy outside the formal power structures, including the two main political parties. These groups will have to address issues such as food security, education, local governance, economic cooperation and consumption. And they will have to sever themselves, as much as possible, from the corporate economy.
Monday, October 13, 2014 (14 comments)
Chris Hedges: Ordained to Write Three decades ago Chris Hedges sought to become a minister and report the war in El Salvador. A church committee refused to see his work as a journalist as a valid call to the ministry. On Oct. 5 his ordination–marked by addresses from James Cone and Cornel West–finally took place.
Monday, October 6, 2014 (17 comments)
The Trial of Stanley L. Cohen: Justice as Farce Now that the state has codified this judicial lynching, the legal equivalent of pre-emptive war, it will be used on the rest of us, as many activists in the environmental, anti-globalization, anti-nuclear, sustainable agriculture and anarchist movements are discovering.
Monday, September 29, 2014 (17 comments)
Becoming Hezbollah’s Air Force Violence as a primary form of communication has become normalized. It is not politics by other means. It is politics. Democrats are as infected as Republicans. The war machine is impervious to election cycles. It bombs, kills, maims, tortures, terrorizes and destroys as if on autopilot. We have surrendered our political agency and our role as citizens to the masters of war.
Monday, September 22, 2014 (44 comments)
The Coming Climate Revolt If the response of the corporate state is repression rather than reform, then our strategy and our tactics must be different. We will have to cease our appealing to the system. We will have to view the state, including the Democratic Party, as antagonistic to genuine reform. We will have to speak in the language of … revolution.
Monday, September 15, 2014 (4 comments)
Sacrificing the Vulnerable, From Gaza to America Israel’s indiscriminate use of modern, industrial weapons to kill hundreds of innocents, wound thousands more and make tens of thousands of families homeless is not a war. It is state-sponsored terror. The tinder of revolt is piling up. No person or movement can ignite this tinder. No one knows when the eruption will take place. But it is certain that a popular revolt is coming.
Monday, September 8, 2014 (21 comments)
Driving American Politics Underground The squabbles among the power elites, rampant militarism and the disease of imperialism, along with a mindless nationalism that characterizes all public debate, have turned officially sanctioned politics into a carnival act. Politics in the hands of the corporate state is anti-politics. It is designed to denigrate and destroy the values that make a liberal democracy and political participation possible.
Monday, September 1, 2014 (26 comments)
The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals The climate change march in New York on Sept. 21, expected to draw as many as 200,000 people, is one of the last gasps of conventional liberalism’s response to the climate crisis. It will take place two days before the actual gathering of world leaders in New York called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris.
Monday, August 25, 2014 (27 comments)
How the Brutalized Become Brutal Every criminal has a story. No one, except for perhaps a few psychopaths, wakes up wanting to cut off another person’s head. Murder and other violent crimes almost always grow out of years of abuse of some kind suffered by the perpetrator. Even the most “civilized” among us are not immune to dehumanization.
Monday, August 18, 2014 (31 comments)
Chris Hedges: Rebellion in Ferguson: A Rising Heat in the SuburbsAmid ongoing strife in Ferguson, Mo., civil rights veteran Lawrence Hamm foresees social unrest shifting out of the inner cities that erupted in the 1960s.
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