Chris Hedges Video

On Contact: Cornel West on America’s Existential Crisis

What we can learn after witnessing enraged supporters of Trump storming the Capitol.

On the RT show this week, Chris Hedges talks to moral philosopher, Dr. Cornel West, about what we can learn about America’s existential crisis after witnessing enraged supporters of Donald Trump storming the Capitol to try and halt Congress’s counting of the electoral votes to confirm the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Dr. Cornel West is the professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University, and the author of numerous books, including Race Matters.


  1. The US has no free universal free health care, and its leaders have come out against what is a basic right in every other industrialized country. We have Covid-19, a plague of those over age 60 (95% of the deaths), and no support from Congress since July 31, whereas every other industrialized nation is helping their people survive their loss of livelihood.
    It is unclear what happened at the Capitol (beyond the MSM demon Trump!) However during the George Floyd protests, attended by over 10 million people, NOT ONE protester was killed by police bullets (not to trivialize those who lost eyes to flash bombs or bean bags, or were hospitalized from tear gas– banned from war!) A policeman shooting an unarmed woman in the Capitol is an outrage! It’s a wonder that wasn’t a flashpoint for complete chaos. In 1954 four Puerto Ricans shot five Congressmen in the Capitol, one almost died, yet none of these shooters were killed. They were arrested and served up to 25 years in jail. Arrest the violent ones today for sure, but this is crossing a red line. Whatever happed to the First Amendment right ” to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Since when does protest have to be countenanced by the Establishment? And police are free to shoot unarmed protesters?
    With all the censoring of medical information, often dissenting from authority, and partisan shutdowns of social media, we can see the Police State blooming before us. Any progressives cheering for these actions must not realize they are next.

    1. Michael888. Kyle Rittenhouse. Thanked by the police for his support. Who makes up the “Free Kyle” movement?

      “Since when does protest have to be countenanced by the Establishment? And police are free to shoot unarmed protesters?” I completely agree. Still, Police repeatedly, continuously, and almost daily shoot and kill unarmed black and brown people. Those murders are not separate from the mass revolt that rose up to protest them. The cops shoot single unarmed individuals out of “fear for their lives.” If that excuse works everyday all over the nation, I expect it’ll be valid for a rampaging mob, many carrying guns? Remember, the BLM protesters were NOT armed NOR did they bring machine guns to the protests. They knew if they carried weapons they’d be mowed down. You are comparing Apples and people of color, painting them all with one brush. One unarmed group is protesting the wanton murder by the state of fellow citizens , the other armed group is protesting their loss in a political engagement — to other citizens.

    2. I agree that the American police state is in full bloom and, to put it a bit differently, progressives should be alert and in an offensive posture politically.
      We both understand the constitution allows us to petition our government and makes clear distinctions between petition and sedition.
      The police aren’t free to shoot unarmed white conservative protestors. But police can shoot seditionists assaulting the Capitol, especially when police believe the lives of the Vice President and Congress are at stake.
      We can agree on a need for police reform. Far too many white nationalists are in our police forces. We need laws naming white nationalists groups as domestic terrorists and banning them from any and all law enforcement and military.

  2. I so appreciate Hedges and West for their wisdom.
    Even though it (and West’s prognostication) makes
    this heart sore.

  3. Wow. An extremely well executed interview. Text book example of how to interview a brilliant guest. Ask well formulated questions. Let him talk.
    Definitely worth more than one listen.
    It’s an honor to be living during the time of Dr. Cornel West. We would do well to heed his warnings.
    I see connections with what Dr. West says and Howard Zinn recognizing how Americans have been pitted against each other historically. Fighting each other forces us to make decisions against our own best interests and leads to fascism.
    The best way for a government to defeat fascism is to take care of its people. The best way to avoid Dr. West’s prescient warnings about a reactionary Biden presidency is to push Biden progressive.
    It can be done. Georgia is a template. Arizona is a template. Biden will swim in whatever river he’s in. We just have to make it a progressive one.

  4. Chris, great interview. Thanks.
    You and Cornel mention that you gave each other reading lists.
    Any chance of publishing them in one of your columns?

  5. It was so heartbreaking to watch Cornel reveal the loss he’s at about how to arrest this anomic death spiral our civilization slipped or was thrown into who knows how long ago (maybe on its first day). It was hard to hear him wonder out loud about where the breakthroughs are going to come from with all this disappearing of more and more countervailing forces relative to this Thanatotic freefall we’re so fully involved in.

    However candidly he has accepted the grimness of the situation, though, it’s also oddly uplifting to hear him make the case that something different’s got to give, that it’s going to take some new and improved feats of human ingenuity to get us all glued into one troupe with a sense of affiliation that’s substantial enough for us to share an overarching human narrative that gets each of us from womb to tomb without suffering all this awfulness that comes with the rupturing of our bonds of human solidarity.

    In my mind, Cornel West and Chris Hedges are among our social commentators who are acquitting themselves best with their insistence on mincing no words about the scope of our disappointment as human beings and their refusing to lose themselves in this proliferation of quibbles at the cost of never getting to the hearts of our problems as a species that’s so awfully squandering all our promise.

    For my money, nothing should come out of the mouths of our talking heads and other pundits and assorted public intellectuals but the words it takes for everybody listening to get the bigger picture where we’re all featured together as the big family of poster children showing us all what not to do as a species if extinction or something worse like never being put out of the misery we keep causing each other is not what we want along our shared narrative arc.

    We should maybe even think about canceling the cottage industry’s worth of thinkers like Steven Pinker who won’t stop spreading the nonsense that humanity is doing an awesome job. We’ve got to stop letting ourselves off the hook for the part we’ve all played in letting this so-called march of human progress do nothing but poison our solidarity.

    Chris talks about the nihilism that moves in to fill the space left by the disappearing belief in human progress’s inevitability. I wonder, though, if counterintuitively this nihilism couldn’t be treated with some new and improved feat of true human ingenuity like scoffing in unison at the thought that our vaunted human ingenuity has ever done anything but result in the opposite of progress.

    Maybe dropping the curtain on this tragicomic human self-love story would free us up to share a new and much better human drama loaded with fresh metaphors and tropes and themes and kinds of characters and ingenious props like a hard ceiling on the self-importance that undoes the humility it takes to feel our ties with our fellow human beings.

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