“But there is a hostility towards civilization as it’s currently configured and it must be taken down. Their problem with those of us on the organized left is that we, in essence, are attempting to reform it rather than destroy it.” -Chris Hedges from his Truth-Out Interview
Despite Hedges obvious ignorance of Black Bloc tactics, as written about by David Graeber in a paternalistic way– Hedges understands the polarity of opinion regarding how we must change the present system.
In addition, Hedges said something that may help anti-capitalists to understand the thoughts of American reformists. It was something that I’ve heard before from other pseudo anti-capitalists.
Hedges states essentially that the internal national repression brought by capitalism is somehow disconnected from the external repression in other nations brought by capitalism. He basically argues that Americans are different from Egyptians and Greeks; that our struggle is disconnected. He is a proponent of the idea that their struggle is at a more advanced stage than our (American) struggle.This nationalist “not in my backyard” attitude destroys international solidarity between revolutionaries, and creates a false sense of safety through the artificial boundary drawn on a map.
Peter Gelderloos seems to agree that we as activists must overcome the nationalism that pollutes our movement: ”Around the world, people are fighting for their freedom and resisting the depredations of the rich and powerful. In the United States, there is plenty of cause to join this fight, but as long as people continue enact a fear-driven, Not-In-My-Backyard pacifism, and to pander to the corporate media as though they would ever show us in a positive light, the rich and the powerful will have nothing to worry about.”
Hedges, like many Americans, lives in a comfortable position, and I think that is why he is afraid. Rather than seeking to overthrow the horrific, unjust, disgusting system that we have, Hedges seeks its survival to maintain his present level of comfort. He believes that the transition would be “always tragic,” ignoring the tragedy that is presently occurring under the system of capitalism. “I don’t want to go there…I don’t want us to descent into that,” admits Hedges. This fear of confronting the terrifying system we live under is the same fear that the reformists have with regard to the media. The liberal collaborators would prefer to pander to the capitalist media out of fear that the capitalist media will show the movement in a negative light. This is irrational, as the media will always negatively portray the movement so long as the movement threatens the status-quo. That is the reason why the Tea Party despite all of its flaws was depicted by the capitalist media as a legitimate, patriotic, grassroots, american movement. The fears of change, the fear of transition and revolution, of venturing into the unknown must be overcome. We will never advance the struggle until we can overcome our fear, and help others to overcome their fears. We must be more afraid of ignorantly fighting for a perpetual continuation of oppression.
This article was originally posted on artfrancisco.wordpress.com 2/19/2012
Followup interview with Hedges on truth-out: http://www.truth-out.org/interview-chris-hedges-about-black-bloc/1328799148
Open Letter to Hedges regarding “The Cancer in Occupy” written by Anarchist David Graeber http://www.revolutionbythebook.akpress.org/concerning-the-violent-peace-police-an-open-letter-to-chris-hedges/
A Response by Anarchist Peter Gelderloos: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/02/09/the-surgeons-of-occupy/
Part 1 of Ben’s responses to the Liberal counter-offensive http://www.revleft.com/vb/blog.php?b=6731
Part 2 of Ben’s responses to the Liberal counter-offensive http://www.revleft.com/vb/blog.php?b=6739