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Some comments on Chris Hedges ‘Wages of Rebellion’ speech

A bit old, but not having very good access to the internet these days, normally, I get to rely on happening to watch LinkTV on television wherever i happen to see it (i don’t have a TV). The Chris Hedges is quoting, according to the narrator, from his book Wages of Rebellion.

First, Chris Hedges said some really interesting things that i would like first to quote here, and then maybe comment on quickly. Note, I don’t know a lot about the background of Hedges, but from what i’ve read smatteringly (heh), he has a pretty good grasp, if still ideologically-challenged by Leftism, which i realize most cannot help but be.

To start off, did you ever notice how Chris comes off, in the sound of his voice? He really sounds like a preacher…or a priest. Same difference “in my book”. It’s kind of funny…except for the seriousness of his topics.

“Tens of thousands of people driven towards psychological breakdown and yet they stand up anyway.”

my comment: Beautiful!!!

And “neofeudalism”. Nice one! Eye-opening!

Other general statements:

Corporate tyranny is all about destroying community.

We’ve all become a sacrifice zone

No more collaboration because they don’t listen.

Nebulous (foggy, vague) legal terms

rendering citizens impotent

What these forces have done to others, they’ll do to you.

Fines (in Ferguson, MO and etc.) for not mowing the lawn, for standing in a crowd for 5 seconds…

Overthrow of all forms and shapes of corporate tyranny.

Hedges:

“We live in an age where we are going to stand with all of the oppressed or none of the oppressed [citing the palestinian peoples in israel]. In the face of corporate tyranny we cannot pick which oppressed group is convenient to support and which is not. Because it is the language of oppression; it is the experience of the oppressed that will teach us how to resist. And will give us the courage and honesty to fight back.”

my comment:

Of course, that all boils down to WHO GETS TO BE VIEWED AS BEING OPPRESSED. Do “registered citizens” (“rc’s”) get to have that privilege? (“rc’s” are those whom have served their ‘time’ in prison for crimes and yet get to be publicly hounded and persecuted –by hyped-up bureaucrats and vigilantes– for their lifetimes –see groups like http://www.sosen.org )  No, they aren’t allowed that privilege. Why is that? Increasing numbers of kids fall under that attack as well (see: http://solresearch.org/report/Criminalizing_Childs_Play ), but for some reason the Left cannot and will not “go there”.

So what about all the groups whom haven’t gone through the meta prerequisites of Leftist “defense”? Care to “take a shot at” that one?

So it seems to me that Leftists (and Rightists) use their words in manipulative ways, notably assisting (but how thoroughly???) some while perpetuating rigid dichotomies in the bigger picture. (Where’s the SOLIDARITY?)

Thus, after corporate tyranny is done away with, doesn’t the old mindset survive? Don’t get me wrong, i’m for doing away with all forms of tyranny, it’s just that…well, I suspect you know what i’m getting at.

“[Elites] manufacturing reality in order to disempower us.”

“We have got to build movements that are unrelentingly antagonistic to every aspect of corporate power.”

my comment: Gee, does that get to include the social sciences, in which many Leftists have careers in? Say, psychiatry (across the board, not just one school of belief or another)? Historically (as in the last 40 years especially), if you were caught challenging the social sciences you were automatically labeled a right-winger and discredited. Then Amy Goodman (on Democracy Now!) touched on the subject, finally ( http://www.democracynow.org/2010/12/24/dr_gabor_mat_on_the_stress ) opening up the floodgates…well, er, at least allowing for a trickle of critique. Such as the shows around the APA and torture. Pretty interesting. But did it go as far as, say, what Dr.Tom Szasz ( http://www.szasz.com ) demystified? I didn’t see that. Perhaps you think i’m missing something?

 

comment on another statement Hedges made, but i don’t have the quote:

Hedges comes out against ‘child labor’ during his speech, and gets applause.

While I agree that most of what was ‘child labor’ in the 19th and early 20th (u.s.a.) century was extremely problematic from a liberation standpoint, i also understand that SOME kids SEEK to be “financially independent” and would very much like to work, at least part-time. And they would LIKE to have the capability to be freer than they are. Remembering here an article published in the investigative magazine, MOTHER JONES, about a CHILDRENS LABOR UNION in the ‘third world’ that was 14,000 members strong ( http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2000/11/underage-unions ). A short article but very important, and worth investigating further! (there were several websites from the point of view of the kids, several years back, but i was unable to find them in a short search, today; i do recall that one youth liberation worker from the ‘third world’ was murdered. His name was Iqbal, something.)

Maybe that’s the clincher, drawing out the desire to be free of groanup control by gathering the one (?) frame of reference readily available around them: Be viewed as SERIOUS and CAPABLE and become ‘mature’ in the eyes of their adults …similar to some teen moms, i suspect, and why they may have babies. The need for serious affirmation, and not being scapegoated with patronizing ways, and that sort of thing. (note: the term “groanup” comes from a youth liberation group of the 1970s that lasted for 10 years. If you’d like more info, look for FPS/CHIPS and “Ann Arbor Youth Liberation”)

Of course, i would promote such decisions as a PROCESS. Let kids experience their desires and as well allow them to move on when or if they choose!

And I think it makes sense to make a distinction between “very young” kids and teenagers; curiously, in today’s post-Rollback climate, ALL kids under 18 are reduced into being “children”…

Another distinction would certainly be the distinction between “first world” and “third world” kids. In the “third world”, kids are reacting to the reality of colonialism that has pushed them to work in the first place (where before colonialism, they were free, i think, to explore and participate in all aspects of life, and did not have to generally worry about starving homelessly in the street). So that is certainly an important context. On the other hand, “first world” kids are coming from a very different trajectory.

For example, when i was 13 i had my own paper route. And at 15 i worked a shitty job, paid only $1.25 an hour. (i was not part of any program) At 16 i was hired as a camp counselor and even had my own cabin at one point. Under the ideological rigidity of today’s system, all that participation, good and not so good, is wholly denied persons under 18, apparently, and employers get saddled with hysterical labels, thus they don’t do it, and most kids aren’t allowed to work –for money. (I admit i have not researched this lately; my knowledge was up to par around the early 2000s.)

Leftists (and other ideologically-challenged folk) cannot seem to allow for ANY grey area, and thus do a disservice more than a service, i think to human beings called kids. These groanups’ stuckness in propaganda-type tactics feels to me like foolishness, when you’d think they’d “get it” that SOLIDARITY is the better approach. Or at least variations of becoming solidarity, say by instituting programs that allow kids to explore while being paid fairly.

Leftists want to make statements that might incite their masses, instead of promoting that “the people” actually think things through in a more village-like way, where openings for MUTUAL liberation remain an integral part of the process of change. Not simply crushing coercions and attack (which characterize so much of politics and political action), which feel to me to be all too like the machiavellians and other would-be vanguardists of the Lippmann/Bernays/Niebuhr/Lasswell variety. Projecting ageist assumptions and directives against a whole ‘class’ of humans as usual! So WHERE IS THE NOTION OF STANDING WITH ALL OF THE OPPRESSED???? Is this not an example of the corporate elite “manufacturing reality in order to disempower”, as Hedges said in his speech???

 

Hedges:

“By scaring the powerful, revolutions do their work nonviolently.” (an approximate quote, i think that one was)

my comment: Who gets to be called The Powerful? All white men? (oh, I’m sorry, that’s “straight” white men!)

The way I’ve come to think of the situation (via much deep reflecting) is that those who are doing the most persecuting are in fact the most persecuted; that is, psychologically. Like when John Trudell spoke of white people having been put through “psychological genocide” while Indigenous people have been put through physical genocide, i think there is something profound to think through there. So heavily trounced, psychologically, EVEN IN THEIR ELITE SCHOOLS, i think, that they TRULY DO NOT KNOW AN ‘SERIOUS’ ALTERNATIVE TO THE COERCION THAT THEY ARE TAUGHT!

Think about THAT one for a minute. They have all of the material riches, but their psyches are attacked. Only one student may be “MADE AN EXAMPLE OF” and yet EVERYONE gets to indirectly experience that attack. Think about that one! Most just learn to “keep our heads down and our mouths shut”!

Oppressed people are of course much worse off physically AND psychologically. And yet those who actually CARRY OUT the mandate …they become sadists, they become severely alienated from the rest of humanity. And even the elites that don’t have to carry out the mandate directly. Look at the psychology of their lives. They cannot trust even their own kids (much less their kids’ intuitions)!

(So imagine constructing a dissent movement that encompasses this reality! Talk about solidarity! No one allows these treacherously alienated people to TRAMPLE anyone, but they DO allow their symptoms to be AIRED! They DO promote that their alienation be evolved! Imagine the NUMBERS that would be interested in THAT!)

Those who feel called, do your scaring; those of us called to try to somehow poeticly bridge, we can do our wradical humanity-ing in plethoras of creative ways. Does any one method work? i don’t think so. i think we may well need both and all. Tho we’ll most certainly need to organize separately from the martially-oriented (a.k.a. the physicality-trusting).

An alternative to SCARING people might be found in this older article: “Good Peasant, Bad Peasant” ( http://visionaryhumanity.blogspot.com/2007/11/good-peasant-bad-peasant-some-ideas-for.html ). Basically i recall that it promoted a methodology that takes from the “Good Cop, Bad Cop” routine and does a little “mass-jiu-jitsu”, Saul Alinsky style. This seems like a good way to approach, perhaps in tandem with scaring.  Let the Hedges types get a few good swings in, and then the more feminine side of people gets to try to more poeticly bridge?!!

 

Hedges quotes Howard Zinn: “Every opening in the u.s….came from radical movements.”

Good quote. I’d only say that the problem with “radical” is that it means ONLY going to the roots of things, not their HEARTS. So it feels like a status-quo game, the old one (continuing!) about attacking and suppressing SYMPTOMS while never truly dealing with the REASONS FOR THE SYMPTOMS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

This all comes together into what i value in puzzling through things and people. The way i see it, EVERYONE is DOING THE BEST THAT THEY CAN in a context of being strategically and ideologically-challenged! Most simply DO NOT have this:

Serious frames of references’ for other paradigms.

In other words, for instance, college educations give people other frames of reference, generally speaking, but are they allowed to be seen as truly serious and valid? I have to wonder.

Most folks, i think, are heavily encumbered by the pressure to conform to the groups (family, gang, peers, formal society) arrayed around them. Groups which have become rigidized in the context of everyday war. War so often in so many places (and in so many types, covert or overt, intense and subtle) that groups and groupthink becomes rigidized.

So i seek to promote life beyond that rigidity by thinking it through and puzzling it out as best as we can. While Left/Rightists don’t promote that. They promote hype in various forms, seeking to mobilize.

Dissent welcome!

 

 

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