Chris Hedges Original

Chris Hedges: American Bloodlands

The enraged, polarized segments of the population are rapidly consolidating as the political center disintegrates.

By Chris Hedges / Original to Scheerpost

The tinder that could soon ignite widespread violent conflagrations throughout the United States lies ominously stacked around us. Millions of disenfranchised white Americans, who see no way out of their economic and social misery, struggling with an emotional void, are seething with rage against a corrupt ruling class and bankrupt liberal elite that presides over political stagnation and grotesque, mounting social inequality. Millions more alienated young men and women, also locked out of the economy and with no realistic prospect for advancement or integration, gripped by the same emotional void, have harnessed their fury in the name of tearing down the governing structures and anti-fascism. The enraged, polarized segments of the population are rapidly consolidating as the political center disintegrates. They stand poised to tear apart the United States, awash in military-grade weapons, unable to cope with the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, cursed with militarized police forces that function as internal armies of occupation and de facto allies of the neofascists.

Illustration by Mr. Fish

The spark that usually sets such tinder ablaze is martyrdom. Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a supporter of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, was wearing a loaded Glock pistol in a holster and had bear spray and an expandable metal baton when he was shot dead on August 29, allegedly by Michael Forest Reinoehl, a supporter of antifa, in the streets of Portland. A woman in the crowd can be heard shouting after the shooting: “I am not sad that a fucking fascist died tonight.” On Thursday, Reinoehl, allegedly armed with a handgun, was shot and killed by federal agents in Washington state.

Once people start being sacrificed for the cause, it takes little for demagogues of the radical left and the radical right to insist that self-preservation necessitates violence and is a prerequisite for victory.

Violence is a narcotic. It fills the emotional void. It imparts a feeling of God-like omnipotence to the powerless. It instills feelings of comradeship and belonging to the alienated. It gives to social outcasts, crippled by humiliation and rejection, a sense of meaning and higher purpose. It obliterates the despair that once defined their lives and replaces it with feelings of ecstatic self-importance and self-adulation, a state of being outside the self. The world suddenly becomes a Manichean battleground between them and us, the forces of dark and the forces of light. 

When I wrote War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, a reflection on the culture of war after two decades as a correspondent in Central America, Africa, The Middle East and the Balkans, I meant it. I have seen this dark elixir at work in other disintegrating societies. I know too intimately the rush that violence engenders, the overpowering lusts that seize a mob or armed unit when it destroys, even human beings, and the heady attraction of suspending all personal morality and individual responsibility for the wild intoxication of violence. It is the absence of empathy, perhaps the best definition of evil.   

The words left and right, once violence becomes the primary form of communication, are meaningless. These are death cults. They venerate and worship death. The martyrs justify the murder of the enemy, including the detested voices that call for understanding, reconciliation and nonviolence. To suggest anything other than the total annihilation of the enemy—and the enemy includes all who do not fully and uncritically support the cause—is apostasy. It is the dead who rule. Their voices cry out from beyond the grave demanding vengeance and new heroes and martyrs to take their place. There are constant and repeated acts of remembrance for the fallen.

The body of Michael Reinoehl is taken away early Friday morning, Sept. 4, 2020, in Lacey, WA. Reinoehl was killed Thursday night as investigators moved in to arrest him after he had been suspected of fatally shooting a supporter of a right-wing group in Portland, Oregon, last week after a caravan of Donald Trump backers rode through downtown Portland. [AP Photo/Ted S. Warren]

This cult of the dead is integral to combat units in the military. Those who attend the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, an 8-week course held at Fort Benning, Georgia, to become an Army Ranger must select a “Ranger in the sky” who was killed in action. Recruits, who are warned not to pick Pat Tillman, are required to know the details of the dead Ranger’s personal life before enlistment and his military career. They must carry this information on a piece of paper with them at all times. It is an inspectable item. Idealists, seeking to lift themselves up from the depths of social obscurity and be fêted as heroes, become, whether as Army Rangers or members of violent militias, willing sacrificial victims. But as deaths accumulate, these martyrs, once so important and precious, disappear into faceless, nameless piles of corpses.

The Nazi Party in 1930 found its primary martyr in the 19-year-old brownshirt Horst Wessel who led a branch of the Nazi paramilitaries that attacked Communists, especially those who made up the rival Communist militia the Red Front-Fighters’ League (RFB). Wessel was shot dead by Albrecht “Ali” Höhler, a Communist militant and petty criminal — later assassinated by the Nazis — after a complaint was made to the party about Wessel by his Communist landlady. Wessel instantly became a “martyr for the Third Reich.” The Horst Wessel song became the official anthem of the Nazi Party. Fascist and Communist violence, with deaths on both sides, exploded in the streets of Weimar Germany in the early 1930s. The mayhem, much of it instigated by the fascists, eventually exhausted the German public and made it susceptible to the right-wing and fascist promises to impose law and order.

Martyrdom also played a central role in the eruption of the war in the former Yugoslavia. On March 1, 1992, a wedding procession of Bosnian Serbs in Sarajevo was attacked by Ramiz Delalić, a career criminal and a Muslim known by his nicknameĆelo. The father of the groom, Nikola Gardović, was killed. A Serbian Orthodox priest was wounded. The shooting of Gardović, like that of Wessel, was used by Serb nationalists to whip up a blood fury. It saw Serbs erect armed barricades and roadblocks throughout the city, that led not long afterwards to a war in which most of Bosnia was destroyed, 2.2 million people were displaced from their homes and at least 100,000 died.

“It is the first death which infects everyone with the feeling of being threatened.”

Elias Canetti

I watched many funerals in Gaza for Palestinian martyrs. They were little more than recruiting ceremonies for militants and suicide bombers. A truck with a generator in the back and huge loudspeakers on the cab would be at the head of the funeral procession. The speakers would blast out verses from the Koran, along with slogans calling on heroes to fight and die for Palestine and become a “shaheed,” or martyr. Young boys would run alongside or behind the truck. The funeral processions made their way slowly down the dusty, narrow streets of the refugee camps, past the concrete hovels, the walls decorated with pictures of the newest martyr or murals that depicted past attacks, such as a bus with the Israeli Star of David on it being consumed in a fiery explosion. “Don’t be merciful to those inside,” the Arabic script read below the picture of the bus. “Blow it up! Hit it!”

“It is the first death which infects everyone with the feeling of being threatened,” wrote Elias Canetti, a Bulgarian refugee from Nazi persecution, in “Crowds and Power”:

“It is impossible to overrate the part played by the first dead man in the kindling of wars. Rulers who want to unleash war know very well that they must procure or invent a first victim. It need not be anyone of particular importance, and can even be someone quite unknown. Nothing matters except his death; and it must be believed that the enemy is responsible for this. Every possible cause of his death is suppressed except one: his membership of the group to which one belongs oneself.”

The flashing red lights are all around us. Joe Biden and the Democratic Party will do little to restore the social bonds or address the social inequality and disenfranchisement of tens of millions of Americans, now facing evictions and bankruptcy, which is fueling the social collapse. Donald Trump and the Republican Party, along with media outlets such as FOX News, in a bid to retain power, are fanning the flames of violence, seeing in the incitement of far-right mobs a route to a ruthless police state.

In armed conflicts, facts and truth no longer matter. Lies, if used to further the cause, become righteous. Truth, if it hurts the cause, is blasphemy. If your side commits an atrocity, it’s justified by an atrocity, real or invented, carried out by the enemy. The ends always justify the means. The moral universe is banished, replaced by a self-serving pseudo-morality.

“In the beginning war looks and feels like love,” I wrote in War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. “But unlike love it gives nothing in return but an ever deepening dependence, like all narcotics, on the road to self-destruction. It does not affirm but places upon us greater and greater demands. It destroys the outside world until it is hard to live outside war’s grip. It takes a higher and higher dose to achieve any thrill. Finally, one ingests war only to remain numb. The world outside becomes, as Freud wrote, ‘uncanny.’ The familiar becomes strangely unfamiliar — many who have been to war find this when they return home. The world we once understood and longed to return to stands before us as alien, strange, and beyond our grasp.”         


[Chris Hedges writes a regular original column for Scheerpost twice a month. Click here to sign up for email alerts.]

Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. 

Copyright 2020 Chris Hedges.

60 comments

  1. This is a useful warning, but if it’s all that Hedges sees he’s being very pessimistic. Violent extremists are a small minority. Most people are somewhere between the extremes, either demonstrating fairly peacefully or staying home. As the people who lost their jobs run out of money they will turn against the government and the cops, and there aren’t enough cops to hold them off.

      1. Cops have theirs(guns) but so do I and as a pacifist would prefer to never use mine except as a last line of self defense. But as times become more turbulent I’m glad I have them for self preservation. A collapse of society can happen in a flash which now seems quite likely.

      2. Yup – the country is on the brink of collapse… but I’d argue that’s a good thing. Sure, it’ll suck to be inside the US when SHTF, but the rest of the planet might actually get a break from US Imperialism. Seriously, the US has ALWAYS been a warmongering empire controlled by corporations. We should celebrate the collapse, not mourn or fear it. Also, leave the country ASAP.

        Of course, if the US Empire starts WW III on its way out…

    1. Hedges has said multiple times over the course of his many interviews and speeches that he’s not here to ‘give hope’ or otherwise reassure people. He’s stated it’s very bleak right now, and he’s exactly right. I myself see no way out of this.

      1. I don’t know any details, but people have told me that Hedges has red lines he can’t cross without facing personal consequences.

    2. The demonstrations for metaphysical changes – Justice and Peace are emphemeral..

      The protesters have been marginalized by their “facile showing” and are for reproducing an inspiring ‘nostalgia’ for the past -the old REALITY that must not die..

      The simulacra reveals there is nothing behind the mask…

      No sacrifice, no gain…

      Can you stop buying into the bullshit and disavow the internet? The automobile? The individual?

      Then you want more of the same as “all the same”….

      People don’t know when to begin when it’s over because their ideas hold them down…

      Reality today is shocking, stunning and too much!

      It didn’t happen…You saw 9/11 in full simulated view from a 360 degree panoptic effect on a pixelized screen…

      Did you smell the air? Did it really smell like death to you?

      Ever have a bullets whistle over your head or get kidnapped and talk your way out of it “in the presence” of death?

      It can’t happen to you, so it maybe didn’t happen to Chris Hedges, that darn old Mythbuster?

      Yeah, Hedges said Bernie couldn’t win before Bernie couldn’t win…He said Bernie and the Progressive caucus would be marginalized!

      How utterly preposterous that he could break my dream with the Real!

      I was shocked, stunned, overwhelmed!

      It’s over…nice eh?

      Did Chris mention a technical Dark Age?

      I can hardly wait for peace and justice to creep out if the nothingness .

      “The dream is over, what can I say?”…

      Get Real?…it’s good to be a pessimist until it’s a good time to be an optimist..

      Go back to living and wait for the world to change on its own!

      It will do unto itself what we can’t…I call that being harmonized and pragmatic…:-)

      1. And I don’t get high on pictures of jerks like Richard Coleman parading red flags and waving their fists.

      2. Hmmm. Haven’t done any of that lately. So what does get you high then? And why should I or anybody else care?

      1. Maybe you should listen to The Internationale once in a while. In any case, what’s your point?

      2. Does that “small minority” include the police who are on a racist killing rampage across the country?

      3. And I don’t get high on pictures of jerks like Richard Coleman parading red flags and waving their fists.

    3. Chris Hedges is one of the most remarkable men I have ever heard or read. As a bloke asking him questions during one of his book launches said;

      “I am amazed at how astute you are.”

      And he is astute, but he also understands the limits of his knowledge.

      I have never found anything he has said trivial, banal or lacking in a deep insight; insight grounded in the dangerous, horrifying real life situations that he has confronted and that confronted him in his reporting career.

      I just listened to his Audio book “I don’t believe in Atheists” where he shows the four media stars, who belittle religious thought and scholarship, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins to be paper men. Men who see everything through the prism of science. Men who can’t and won’t think about the non-rational questions that are outside the scope of science to answer, but which trouble the ordinary person every day of their lives. Men who see evil only in others, but never in themselves. I’m an engineer, science is my life, but I’ve always had an affection for Christs teachings since Sunday school 60 years ago. I particularly liked the beatifications.

      Chris has showed me how like him I can be reconciled with the non-rationality of religion, so that I can use it to guide that large part of my life for which science says nothing.

      He points out there are the humbler atheists, who struggle with the same challenges we all do and that they have as legitimate views and insights into the human condition as any religious person, people who have made great contributions to human understanding and thought and who don’t despise religion.

      In a sense I’m a Christian atheist. Of course people will criticize this, calling it hypocritical or mendacious, probably both, but I cannot pretend to believe in things that make no sense, I have to find my own way that is in the spirit of the good. The way we make sense of the non rational has to be a very personal affair. There is no right or wrong way. What counts is that we must all recognize that given the right circumstances we are all capable of evil and that evil is intoxicating. We need our own story of the non-rationale to recognize the evil in our selves so we don’t fall for its rational, seductive and ultimately self destructive embrace.

      The non rational exists, it must be dealt with. We can get guidance from others, but in the end it’s ours and as it’s personal and it’s legitimate. When I denigrate another’s approach to the non-rational I am being a hypocrite. It cannot be personal for me, but not for him. Hypocrisy of a most dangerous kind. The kind that gives Harris the idea that the west can legitimately murder Muslims, because they understand the non rational and Harris maintains it doesn’t exist.

      There is one thing that I thought Chris and I disagreed on, something I agreed with Harris on; that free will doesn’t exist or that it is meaningless. I think this because logic doesn’t support it and its existence is scientifically un-proveable. However after reading his book on Atheists, where he shows that the power of our underlying and hidden psyche on our behavior, conscious thoughts and emotions are like the relationship of an iceberg with its tip.

      Free will is simply another part of the non-rational that is inaccessible to us, an impossible mystery, intangible and yet seemingly so tangible whenever we stand outside ourselves and contemplate our lives. Whenever we attribute what we have achieved, to our rational and brilliant decision making. When we allow our hubris to overshadow the non-rational human in all of us.

      When we forget we are just men not God.

    4. I would argue that your assumption that the extremes exist within a small minority are incorrect. One only needs to realize that some 60 million people still support trump and this far-right extremism, despite the 20+ women who have accused him of sexual assault, the name calling he revels in, the mocking of a reporter with Cerebral Palsy, the affair with a porn star, the affair with a Playboy model, a campaign manager, deputy campaign manager and special advisor all pleading guilty to “conspiracy against the United States”, a crime of treason as defined by article 3, section 3.1 of the Constitution. As Voltaire said, “When one can get you to believe absurdities, they can get your to commit atrocities”. We have passed the point of no return and entered Sinclair Lewis’ unthinkable as we now understand it can happen here.

  2. With an oligarchy that thrives on exploitation, a military that thrives on destruction, police forces that thrive on confrontation, religions that thrive on obfuscation and a populace that thrives on distractions, the US is going down the drain of history.

  3. Very well said and perceptive as always. But the arguments against force are of no concern to the rightwing bullyboys, who support only force for personal gain within the tribe.

    It is tribalism and bullying that we must oppose, both with education and reformed mass media and amendments to the Constitution, to restore democracy by protecting its institutions from money power. Unfortunately that will not happen without violence, precisely because we do not have a democracy. The violence is a sign that we are on the path to a miserable recycling of completely corrupted institutions. But we have much further to go: probably two or more generations of decline and domestic tyranny. The first signs of meaningful confrontation may be well-organized gang attacks on the gated communities and mansions of the rich scammers who make up oligarchy.

    1. Very well said, Mark W. These right-wing bullies, as you correctly called them, will never be interested in anything civilized because frankly they are not. A reformed media may be a cure, but I don’t think education will do anything at all because the American right has always viewed education as anathema to their (warped) Christian beliefs or as a path to runaway liberalism, which is exactly how they view universities. Which in turn is odd because these people will spend thousands per year on college football tickets, team merch and such yet blast the colleges themselves as bastions of liberalism. Okay.

  4. Love Chris but don’t think he sees this clearly. This is not the Middle East and the sociological/cultural difference are vast. The death cult is the corporate state. People are awakening from a darkness and trying to find their way to the truth. Unfortunately, that’s a violent and nontrivial process. I actually have substantial hope and faith in the average American who has been given the shaft. They are resilient and adaptive. No hope the system will survive. It’s rigid and non adaptive.

    1. Some years ago I was saying that most Americans were zombified but stirring in their sleep, and when the zombies woke they would be angry and confused, and we who were awake should be preparing to fill them in. I think that was pretty accurate. And I think we should still be trying to reach the zombies who broke in the wrong direction.

    2. Exactly. The left vs. right programming will dissolve once the right and left working class unites under the knowledge that both parties have replaced our republic with a plutocracy. Many on the left are already there, it is right wing working class that still see “liberals” as the problem when in reality it was conservatives who ushered in the Reaganomics that destroyed their lives. Neoliberal Democrats only backed them up afterwards. If we can dismantle their Stockholm Syndrome, things will de-escalate. They have to see that it wasn’t the “other” who is harming them but their own ideology.

    3. If you have read Hedges’ writings you would have discovered where he has continually railed against the evils of the corporate state.

  5. I think you meant ‘morality bankrupt’ – the elite certainly are not ‘bankrupt’. And what right-wing mobs are you talking about? I don’t recall any during 8 years of world destruction by Obama. I don’t see any now, during all the death & violence enacted by the racists in BLM or Antifa or extremist Democrats. This is an intra-US observation, both parties have hellish foreign policies.

    1. What you leave out is that the vast majority of protests by Black Lives Matters supporters have been peaceful. It also should be pointed out that, despite the hysteria from the right wing media, there have been zero murders caused by followers of antifa while a recent study has revealed hundreds of cases of violence and murders during the past ten years and especially the last eight months by extremist right wing organizations.

  6. “Millions of disenfranchised white Americans, who see no way out of their economic and social misery, struggling with an emotional void, are seething with rage against a corrupt ruling class and bankrupt liberal elite that presides over political stagnation and grotesque, mounting social inequality.”

    If Hedges is specifically talking about white fascists when he writes “disenfranchised white Americans”, then they aren’t this way because they’ve been disenfranchised. They’re this way because they were taught the values of ignorance, hatred, bigotry and intolerance at an early age. If this is who Hedges is referring to, and I suspect it is, this irks me to no end.

    First, think of it this way: when was the most robust economic time in America? 1950s-60s, and it was ironically a time in which white people were really the only beneficiary, due to blacks being deliberately excluded from New Deal benefits. So due to their economic superiority, were whites not racist then? Because I seem to remember blacks still being hung from trees, bridges and lamp posts in the South during those Great White Times. White Americans had major economic superiority over every other non-white American race yet preached these horrific practices. And whites, as a class, weren’t exactly poor then either. Yet they still had a seething rage. Why? So economic disenfranchisement has zero to do with it.

    Second, the ‘seething rage’ I see by angry whites today aren’t directed at the ruling class. I see them taking their rage out on unarmed protestors and those who wear masks. I don’t recall there being a Kyle Rittenhouse, or Richard W. Preston, or Steven Ray Baca or Dylan Roof right-winger firing at a Wall Street type or a Jeff Bezos or a Elon Musk, much less killing them. Nope, I see them taking it out on the aforementioned protestors and, to a less violent extent, mask-wearers. Not the elite. This is just as ridiculous as hearing right-wingers justifying police violence by saying police force is needed to combat the looters and vandals; I’ve seen more than my share of police violence videos and I have yet to see one depicting looters walking out of a darkened Walmart at night with a TV or lawnmower, head on a swivel, then immediately being tackled and tased by cops. I’ve yet to see a video of someone tagging the side of a building being pushed down by a cop to the point of busting their head open on the concrete. Nope, who I see being beaten up by cops are protestors. So cut this whole crap notion that cops are out there to take on looters and vandals. Just like police violence isn’t actually directed at looters and vandals, white cosplay militia violence isn’t actually directed at the rich and powerful. I wish Chris and the rest of the left leadership would stop with this illusion yesterday. It’s just not true for these white racist types, it never has been.

    But no, let’s feel bad for Aaron Danielson, who, by the fact he went out armed to the teeth by Hedges’ own account here, went out explicitly to hurt or kill someone to begin with. I’m with the woman in the crowd, I don’t get all broken up when people like this die. I’ve known these types all my life, fuck those people. They lived by the gun, they died by it. People who value and worship violence get no respect from me and I’m not about to pat these Fascists and Nazis on the head and tell them “we understand”. Makes me sick.

    I don’t doubt Hedges’ credibility as a foreign correspondent and what he’s experienced. He has my upmost respect and America needs his voice more than ever. But America’s historic racialization, coupled with hypermilitarization, produces a different kind of violence, one that’s not exactly based on disenfranchisement from the economy. It’s a twisted blend of identity & tribal politics. And this is precisely why nothing changes for the better here.

    1. I think he was talking about Trump supporters, most of whom are not fascists, although many Liberal Democrats might think so.

      1. Perhaps, but not long after that Hedges coins them as “[standing] poised to tear apart the United States, awash in military-grade weapons” so I assumed he was talking about the Fascists and not the (seemingly very few) peaceful Trump supporters. Not to mention naming Aaron Danielson soon after, who clearly didn’t show up to be peaceful.

        Of course I wouldn’t mind at all conversing with a Trump supporter who first wants to tear down the system and the elite and not go after police brutality protestors and other of their countrymen who just happen to be on the other side of the political spectrum.

    2. An excellent comment. Much as I respect CH, I think he’s off on the wrong metaphysical foot here. One thing he left out was the question of survival. If our — the so-called “left”, which is really expressing the interests of the majority, if not the species (and is getting more and more support all the time, I believe)–survival is threatened by the rising fascist race/civil war, what would he have us do? The violence of the working and oppressed masses is not a matter of style or addiction to a sensation as he describes, but a matter of survival. Even a rabbit, it cornered by a wolf will turn and try to fight. Of course it’s hopeless, but s/he’ll try…..because it’s survival is at stake. So is ours.

    3. An excellent comment. Much as I respect CH, I think he’s off on the wrong metaphysical foot here. One thing he left out was the question of survival. If our — the so-called “left”, which is really expressing the interests of the majority, if not the species (and is getting more and more support all the time, I believe)–survival is threatened by the rising fascist race/civil war, what would he have us do? The violence of the working and oppressed masses is not a matter of style or addiction to a sensation as he describes, but a matter of survival. Even a rabbit, if cornered by a wolf will turn and try to fight. Of course it’s hopeless, but s/he’ll try…..because it’s survival is at stake. So is ours.

    4. A compelling polemic. Wrong about economics having nothing to do with racist violence, though. Hard times exacerbates it, always, and everywhere.

    5. Excellent! I couldn’t agree more. As a black gay man, I can observe objectively that white supremacy exists within the psyche of average white Americans regardless of economic conditions.

      They are fascists, because they are raised to see themselves as racially superior to the brown people they alternately enslave or genocide for profit and empire.

      I love chris, but his need to pretend that antifa and the nazis are the same only inspires more hatred. He’s supposedly an ally, yet he blamed radical leftists for violence and acts as if we are akin to the neo nazis. Is his white male heterosexuality a blind spot? Despite all his rhetoric, he’s still a straight white man. He, of course, can empathize with the nazis. They are white men just like he is.

      Cornell west credits antifa with saving his black life from the nazis hedges wants us to “understand ” and pity.

      I’m disappointed in this piece by him, but I’m not surprised either. He’s ultimately one of them.

  7. The town of Ellsworth, WI, is named after one of the first Union soldiers killed in the Civil War. He was killed over removing a Confederate flag. The uniform he was shot in was toured all over the North to raise support for the war — including in places like western Wisconsin, which was far removed from the conflict. (Although Minnesota was a central location in the Dred Scott case, so nothing in America was truly distant from the issue of slavery.)

    The Civil War was, of course, fought on the North’s side for morally excellent reasons (if we excuse the Constitution’s authors for not addressing the issue earlier, when they were fully aware that this condemned millions to death in slavery/war). And the Union used a martyr’s uniform to raise support for it (since the fate of enslaved Africans wouldn’t have mattered as much to many).

    Martyrs are powerful symbols, indeed.

  8. After 20 years after publishing his book, I would expect Hedges to go into systemic nature of war beyond propaganda psychology applied Just before and during the war to extort support for engaging in war for those who have vested material interests in waging it.

    A Human Has no reason or cause to kill other human being, it is propaganda of those who have interest of usurping power Itself artificially fabricates just reasons , Noble causes and deep meanings of brutality waged by elites with people’s hands .

    As it is the system of Concentrated power, Domination, and exploitation of other human beings that requires material or psychological warfare to accomplish making killings look righteous and meaningful.

    Such a state of acquired personal meaning as someone important defending the righteous on whose Personal sacrifice future defends is willfully accepted but imposed by extreme fear mongering and terror of both sides of the war, friends and enemies alike, as a moral way out of fundamental moral dilemma of any human weighting violence of war of self defense against violence of “peace“ and submission.

    There is no peace among western societies as there is no social peace of equality, equity and egalitarianism, no peace of caring and sharing, no peace of self governance and consensus ruling but war of usurpation, dictate, manipulation and exploitation.

    It is called Brutal and deadly class war waged by ruling elites in Global, international and national context, ongoing war on working class all races and creeds that is hidden by media and replaced by staged Televised wars we are forced to take sides and create our own meaning of engagement in them. The only real war today is class war where working class heroes names remain unmentioned.

    Hedges wrote he understood armed resistance of Honduran peasants against death squads who destroy their economic foundation as a form of attacking their self organization and opposing exploitation, can he understand the same meaning of the war applied to other wars Of survival in dignity.

    Meaning of class war is not martyrdom of the past but wary about future generations suffrage under so called peace of these days Pax Americana.

    1. The promotion of racism was used by Southern slave-owning planters to distract the lower classes and stay in control. In the 1870s the Northern Industrialists made peace with Southern racists and brought the tactic north. Nixon’s Southern strategy was to bring all racists into the R Party. The D and R Partys now collaborate to keep the race pot boiling and distract the majority from the class war.

  9. Is not George Floyd the ‘first’ martyr, “the first dead man in the kindling of wars”? Is the righteous fury engendered by Floyd’s murder ‘unjustified’, not valid, because of the ensuing violence? Yet other ‘first men’ (and women) from the oppressed inevitably will continue to arise to reignite the tinder. Should defenseless peaceful protestors remain so and continue to suffer being preached at to be peaceful in the face of relentless state and rightwing militia violence? Should they not organise effective defense on the understanding that those using violence against them do so to suppress them, to put them ‘back in their place’, to kill them if they persist, peacefully or otherwise, in protesting ruling class injustice, repression and murder? Do not the oppressed have the right to ‘defend themselves by any means necessary’? And why shouldn’t the oppressed have their own martyrs to inspire and steel them in civil conflict? Why on earth should the oppressed continue to ‘turn the other cheek’, as Caesar’s greatest donors (preachers) always urge?

    It’s actually a very good thing that the “enraged, polarized segments of the population are rapidly consolidating as the political center disintegrates”. The body politic is polarising because it simply reflects the abyss between the rulers and the ruled, a chasm which can no longer be papered over and disguised, one that now manifestly affects everyone acutely in myriad ways every day. Except it’s not just white workers who have been locked out, for some time now, but blacks and Hispanics also, for much longer. That’s the material basis for class unity across race and ethnic lines, despite the ‘best’ efforts of fascists and the cops to prevent this most fearful of prospects for the ruling class. A prospect that most liberals can’t even imagine.

    The capitalist system is so clearly disintegrating that this must be confronted honestly in that it’s no different historically than what all societies in transition have experienced. The necessarily devolution into warring classes, often in other guises, is in accord with who has the most to lose versus who has the most to gain from change. Social disintegration, social pathologies, revolution and civil war are the inevitable labour pains of the protracted birth of a new society. As Gramsci so presciently put it, “The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters.” And the bleak ‘woe to us’ pessimism is part of that.

    But it’s certainly not an “emotional void” that’s at issue, or its bloodlust ‘salve’, as posited here. It’s a programmatic and leadership void lying at the root of political despair. There simply is no leadership presently that can address the aspirations and needs of all the disenfranchised, white, black, brown and yellow, with a program that effectively confronts an intractable crisis that the capitalist ruling class has unleashed on everyone.

    Until the social and class power of the producers of this society is harnessed to bring about the necessary expropriation of the capitalist rulers, to put all the resources, human and material, to the benefit of the vast majority, the protracted labour pains will only persist. And if mother and child both die and the US does go down in a flaming heap and fails to transform itself into a rationally planned society to replace the irrational chaos of capitalism, at least the main bulwark defending capitalism internationally will be irreparably disabled. The rest of the world will then more easily transform itself to the new rationally organised society so sorely needed with less social pain or fear of retribution from the dominant international ogre that the US ruling class is earnestly striving to remain.

    1. If you get into street fighting you aren’t fighting the ruling class. You are only reinforcing the polarization they rely on to distract attention from themselves. And if you get into fighting the police before enough people are available to make it work, you will only provoke reaction.

    2. Beautifully written and 100% accurate. Fascism and it’s believers must be purged from humanity. Forever. That cannot happen without violence. No society has ever come into existence without violence. The society that we need i.e. a world without capitalism, racism, homophobia, sexism, and climate destruction will not come into being without racists, capitalists, homophobes, sexists, and climate deniers dying.

      1. Ouch. One of the uglier comments I have seen on the internet. Do you assume you will be the one to decide?

  10. I agree that the mob mentality infects all sides. In my fairly small city of 40,000, the “mob” is represented by BLM, who appear to be mostly college students. They hold signs saying “No Justice, No Peace”–the BLM logo, after all, is a raised fist–and I’ve seen them verbally assaulting people with f-bombs who are simply eating dinner at a sidewalk restaurant. Though they make a lot of noise they cannot seem to articulate a message beyond the rather unspecific “justice now.” Their antics do not seem to be helping matters.

    My only thought is, “What would MLK do?” If MLK ever had a logo, I suspect it would have been an outreached hand. Messaging–and actions–matter.

  11. Hedges is right as usual. The shit storm is coming to our failed state awash in military rifles and nuclear weapons. Shit show.

  12. Chris is my favourite journalist bar his one glaring inconsistency. His understanding of the Yugoslav Wars in the 90s. He arrived, like most journalists, after the conflict began and thus his understanding of the causes of the conflicts is derived from who was committing the most atrocities at the time. The war in Bosnia did not start because Serbs became fascists after a wedding shooting, it began because Austria gave the Muslim fundamentalist leader of Bosnia a blank check to start a war of independence, assuring him of Western support.

  13. This is such false equivalence bullshit. The “radical left” wants everyone to have health care. There is not “radical right”- republicans and Conservatives have always been violent authoritarian bigots. Comparing the two is laying their game. Your basically saying there are fine people on both sides, you repugnant troll. A mentally disturbed man overreacted to the most recent terrorist behavior of the fascist insurrection and you have the gall to smear anyone else with that single action? Meanwhile, literally legions of heavily armed terrorists swarm peaceful protests and they’re “extremists on both sides”.

    You, sir, are the kind of vile enabler that’s lead us to impending blood shed. Leftists don’t have standing armies. Leftists just want Justice. Leftists aren’t defending vigilante murder. But that’s not what you see. For you, all things are balanaced- because there can’t just be bad actors who are wholly responsible. Heaven forfend, that’s too clear cut. You can’t be the impartial, reasoning judge if that’s the case. No- there has to be leftists extremists too. Fraud. You are a fraud and a ghoul. And you share in the violent aftermath the fascists lust for. And frankly, that you want too. So you can say I told you so. Because you’re a petty, concern trolling fraud.

    1. Thank you for telling the truth. The right is the enemy to life on earth. Leftists are not motivated by destruction and control of others or the earth. We want peace. We cannot have peace, because of right wing fascists.

      Hedges shows himself to be inconsistent constantly claiming to want world free of hate, but not acknowledging the haters are all on the right. He’s obsessed with finding common cause with terrorists and klansmen.

  14. Chris knows we’re totally phucked…what he’s working for is our standing when we die.

    The fundamentals of the US contradict one-another. It’s baked in to the body, the what and who of the structure that we arrive at a zuswang. Collapse is inevitable. Naturally there’s a fascist phase…as it was for Weimar and the German nazis…so for Murka and her nazis…but recall how that glorious period ended in Berlin.

    Of course now we have climate change and germwar to add inflection… Very Jolly!

  15. i see trumps election as an instinctive, semi concious effort by the public to shrug off the representatives of their oppressors–the political class.
    it repeats thru history, the endless effort to enslave mankind and its periodic efforts to resist that–to me that is a sacred effot–and sh be supported in whatever form it takes

    instead i see, ‘OH DEAR< TRUMP ISNT LIKE ME,! and thats more important than what the people are desperately trying for

    my heart sinks as i watch this happening

    and again please direct me to evidence of current organized right wing violence

  16. In this instance Hedges fails to thoroughly report the bizarre conflicting witness reports about the shooting death of Forest Reinoehl which — unbelievably — Wikipedia does detail:

    Shooting of Reinoehl Edit
    Reinoehl was shot and killed by members of a federal law enforcement task force near Lacey, Washington, a suburb of Olympia, Washington, between 6:45 and 7:30 p.m. on the night of Thursday September 3.[24][19]

    Members of the task force approached Reinoehl outside an apartment on a residential street as he attempted to enter his car.[19] Lieutenant Ray Brady of the Sheriff’s Department in Thurston County stated that four officers fired at Reinoehl outside an apartment after he drew a gun.[1][24] Brady said he did not believe the involved officers used bodycams or vehicle dashboard cameras during the incident.[34] According to a senior member of the United States Department of Justice, one member of the FBI and Marshals Service task force shot and killed Reinoehl after he drew a handgun during his arrest.[27] No officers were hurt during the incident.[24]

    There were conflicting witness reports:[35]

    One witness said she saw Reinoehl fire first.[34]
    Another told The New York Times he saw two SUVs approach the area quickly around 6:45 p.m. and then heard gunshots over a period of one and a half minutes.[19] He said that he saw a man next to a white pickup, walking backwards and appearing to hold a gun while officers fired at him.[19]
    Two witnesses working nearby were reported to have said that Reinoehl was in a car outside an apartment complex when two unmarked SUVs converged on Reinoehl’s car. Reinoehl then got out of the car and fired 40 to 50 rounds from what appeared to be a semi-automatic rifle at the SUVs before officers returned fire.[36] One of the witnesses later said he and his coworker were misquoted and he was unsure whether Reinoehl had a weapon.[37]
    Another witness said he heard 30–40 gunshots and yet another witness said he heard 8–10.[36]
    On September 9, a neighbor who says he witnessed the shooting issued a statement through his attorney, saying that Reinoehl was holding only a cellphone when officers arrived at the scene, and that officers opened fire without any verbal warning.[38][39] He said that after officers began firing, Reinoehl tried to duck for cover behind his car, but that his path was blocked by police vehicles. The witness said that he did not see Reinoehl reach for anything while being fired at, and that he never got into his car.[38][40]
    Law enforcement officials did not state that Reinoehl fired at them before they returned fire but only that he drew a weapon.[19]

    On September 17, authorities said that Reinoehl was found to have been armed with a .380-caliber handgun.[40] They further said that a spent shell casing of that caliber was found in Reinoehl’s vehicle and that a .22-caliber AR-15-style rifle, with its serial number removed, was located in a bag on the vehicle’s front seat.[40][41] According to the official investigators, Reinoehl was first fired on as he was leaving the apartment building.[40] Reinoehl then ran to his station wagon, but he was unable to drive off as the vehicle was boxed in.[40] Reinoehl then attempted to run off and was fired on by officers again.[40] A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office investigating the shooting said that notwithstanding witness reports saying that Reinoehl had appeared to be holding a rifle, he did not believe Reinoehl had in fact brandished his rifle.[37][41] Ballistics reports on the handgun would become available in two or three months’ time.[41]

    Witness video shows officers attempting to perform CPR on Reinoehl.[36][42] The aftermath of the shooting was video recorded and posted on the internet.[36]

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killings_of_Aaron_Danielson_and_Michael_Reinoehl

    There is so much wrong with this takedown by some sort of badged armed state authorities that it is hard to begin to try to start to deconstruct.

    I wish Hedges would get us into the minds if who ever these badged armed state authorities Were .. along with the badged armed authorities who killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend and in and in. The violence that needs to be defused is not that of the molested but id rather thr violence of the molesters.

    Shall we all just go the way of Jesus and not resist, defend, avoid or return fire? Maybe so. Tell us why, please. And not just that we, like he, are powerless in this world.

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