Chris Hedges Original

Chris Hedges: Cancel Culture, Where Liberalism Goes to Die

Elites and their courtiers who trumpet their moral superiority by damning and silencing those who do not linguistically conform to politically correct speech are the new Jacobins.
Original illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

The Rev. Will Campbell was forced out of his position as director of religious life at the University of Mississippi in 1956 because of his calls for integration.  He escorted Black children through a hostile mob in 1957 to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School.  He was the only white person that was invited to be part of the group that founded Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  He helped integrate Nashville’s lunch counters and organize the Freedom Rides.  

But Campbell was also, despite a slew of death threats he received from white segregationists, an unofficial chaplain to the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.  He denounced and publicly fought the Klan’s racism, acts of terror and violence and marched with Black civil rights protestors in his native Mississippi, but he steadfastly refused to “cancel” white racists out of his life.  He refused to demonize them as less than human.  He insisted that this form of racism, while evil, was not as insidious as a capitalist system that perpetuated the economic misery and instability that pushed whites into the ranks of violent, racist organizations.  

“During the civil rights movement, when we were developing strategies, someone usually said, ‘Call Will Campbell. Check with Will,’” Rep. John Lewis wrote in the introduction to the new edition of Campbell’s memoir “Brother to a Dragonfly,” one of the most important books I read as a seminarian. “Will knew that the tragedy of Southern history had fallen on our opponents as well as our allies … on George Wallace and Bull Connor as well as Rosa Parks and Fred Shuttlesworth.  He saw that it had created the Ku Klux Klan as well as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. That insight led Will to see racial healing and equity, pursued through courage, love, and faith as the path to spiritual liberation for all.”

Jimmy Carter wrote of Campbell that he “tore down the walls that separated white and black Southerners.”  And because the Black Panther organizer Fred Hampton was doing the same thing in Chicago, the FBI — which, along with the CIA, is the de facto ally of the liberal elites in their war against Trump and his supporters — assassinated him.

When the town Campbell lived in decided the Klan should not be permitted to have a float in the Fourth of July parade Campbell did not object, as long as the gas and electric company was also barred. It was not only white racists that inflicted suffering on the innocent and the vulnerable, but institutions that place the sanctity of profit before human life.

“People can’t pay their gas and electric bills, the heat gets turned off and they freeze and sometimes die, especially if they are elderly,” he said.  “This, too, is an act of terrorism.” 

“Theirs you could see and deal with, and if they broke the law, you could punish them,” he said of the Klan. “But the larger culture that was, and still is, racist to the core is much more difficult to deal with and has a more sinister influence.”

Campbell would have reminded us that the demonization of the Trump supporters who stormed the capital is a terrible mistake.  He would have reminded us that racial injustice will only be solved with economic justice. He would have called on us to reach out to those who do not think like us, do not speak like us, are ridiculed by polite society, but who suffer the same economic marginalization. He knew that the disparities of wealth, loss of status and hope for the future, coupled with prolonged social dislocation, generated the poisoned solidarity that give rise to groups such as the Klan or the Proud Boys. 

We cannot heal wounds we refuse to acknowledge.

The Washington Post, which analyzed the public records of 125 defendants charged with taking part in the storming of the Capital on January 6, found that “nearly 60 percent of the people facing charges related to the Capitol riot showed signs of prior money troubles, including bankruptcies, notices of eviction or foreclosure, bad debts, or unpaid taxes over the past two decades.”

“The group’s bankruptcy rate — 18 percent — was nearly twice as high as that of the American public,” the Post found. “A quarter of them had been sued for money owed to a creditor. And 1 in 5 of them faced losing their home at one point, according to court filings.”

“A California man filed for bankruptcy one week before allegedly joining the attack, according to public records,” the paper reported. “A Texas man was charged with entering the Capitol one month after his company was slapped with a nearly $2,000 state tax lien. Several young people charged in the attack came from families with histories of financial duress.”

We must acknowledge the tragedy of these lives, while at the same time condemning racism, hate and the lust for violence.  We must grasp that our most perfidious enemy is not someone who is politically incorrect, even racist, but the corporations and a failed political and judicial system that callously sacrifices people, as well as the planet, on the altar of profit.  

Like Campbell, much of my own family comes from the rural working class, many espousing prejudices my father, a Presbyterian minister, regularly condemned from the pulpit. Through a combination of luck and scholarships to elite schools, I got out. They never did. My grandfather, intellectually gifted, was forced to drop out of high school his senior year when his sister’s husband died. He had to work the farm to feed her children. If you are poor in America, you rarely get more than one chance. And many do not get one. He lost his.

The towns in Maine where my relatives come from have been devastated by the closures of mills and factories. There is little meaningful work. There is a smoldering anger caused by legitimate feelings of betrayal and entrapment. They live, like most working class Americans, lives of quiet desperation. This anger is often expressed in negative and destructive ways. But I have no right to dismiss them as irredeemable. 

To understand is not to condone.  But if the ruling elites, and their courtiers masquerading as journalists, continue to gleefully erase these people from the media landscape, to attack them as less than human, or as Hillary Clinton called them “deplorables,” while at the same time refusing to address the grotesque social inequality that has left them vulnerable and afraid, it will fuel ever greater levels of extremism and ever greater levels of state repression and censorship.    

The cancel culture, a witch hunt by self-appointed moral arbiters of speech, has become the boutique activism of a liberal class that lacks the courage and the organizational skills to challenge the actual centers of power — the military-industrial complex, lethal militarized police, the prison system, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the intelligence agencies that make us the most spied upon, watched, photographed and monitored population in human history, the fossil fuel industry, and a political and economic system captured by oligarchic power.  

It is much easier to turn from these overwhelming battles to take down hapless figures who make verbal gaffes, those who fail to speak in the approved language or embrace the approved attitudes of the liberal elites. These purity tests have reached absurd and self-defeating levels, including the inquisitional bloodlust by 150 staff members of The New York Times demanding that management, which had already investigated and dealt with what at most was poor judgment made by the veteran reporter Don McNeil when he repeated a racist slur in a discussion about race, force him out of the paper, which management reluctantly did. 

Too often the targets of the cancel culture are radicals, such as the feminists who run the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and who do not admit trans people because most of the girls and women in the shelter have been physically assaulted and traumatized by those with male bodies.  None of the critics of these feminists spend ten or twelve hours a day in a shelter taking care of abused girls and women, many of whom were prostituted as children, but fire off screeds to attack them and cut their funding. The cancel culture, as the Canadian feminist Lee Lakeman says, is “the weaponization of ignorance.”  

The cancel culture was pioneered by the red baiting of the capitalist elites and their shock troops in agencies such as the FBI to break, often through violence, radical movements and labor unions.  Tens of thousands of people, in the name of anti-communism, were cancelled out of the culture. The well-financed Israel lobby is a master of the cancel culture, shutting down critics of the Israeli apartheid state and those of us who support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement as anti-Semites.  The cancel culture fueled the persecution of Julian Assange, the censorship of WikiLeaks and the Silicon Valley algorithms that steer readers away from content, including my content, critical of imperial and corporate power. 

In the end, this bullying will be used by social media platforms, which are integrated into the state security and surveillance organs, not to promote, as its supporters argue, civility, but ruthlessly silence dissidents, intellectuals, artists and independent journalism.  Once you control what people say you control what they think.  

This cancel culture is embraced by corporate media platforms where, as Glenn Greenwald writes, “teams of journalists at three of the most influential corporate media outlets — CNN’s ‘media reporters’ (Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy), NBC’s ‘disinformation space unit’ (Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny), and the tech reporters of The New York Times (Mike Isaac, Kevin Roose, Sheera Frenkel) — devote the bulk of their ‘journalism’ to searching for online spaces where they believe speech and conduct rules are being violated, flagging them, and then pleading that punitive action be taken (banning, censorship, content regulation, after-school detention).”

Corporations know these moral purity tests are, for us, self-defeating. They know that by making the cancel culture legitimate — and for this reason I opposed locking Donald Trump out of his Twitter and other social media accounts — they can employ it to silence those who attack and expose the structures of corporate power and imperial crimes. The campaigns of moral absolutism widen the divides between liberals and the white working class, divisions that are crucial to maintaining the power of the corporate elites. The cancel culture is the fodder for the riveting and entertaining culture wars. It turns anti-politics into politics.  Most importantly, the cancel culture deflects attention from the far more egregious institutionalized abuses of power.  It is this smug, self-righteousness crusade that makes the liberal class so odious. 

Doug Marlette, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist who created the comic strip “Kudzu,” which featured a Campbell-inspired character called Rev. Will B. Dunn, brought Campbell to speak at Harvard when I was there.  Campbell’s message was met with a mixture of bewilderment and open hostility, which was fine with me as it meant the room swiftly emptied and the rest of the night Marlette, Campbell and I sat up late drinking whiskey and eating bologna sandwiches.  Marlette was as iconoclastic and acerbically funny as Campbell. His cartoons, including one that showed Jesus on Good Friday carrying an electric chair instead of a cross and another that portrayed Jerry Falwell as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, provoked howls of protest from irate readers.

Campbell’s memoir, “Brother to a Dragonfly,” is not only beautifully written — Campbell was a close friend of Walker Percy, whose novels I also consumed — but filled with a humility and wisdom that liberals, who should spend less time in the self-referential rabbit hole of social media, have lost. He describes America, which routinely employs murder, torture, threats, blackmail and intimidation to crush all those who oppose it at home and abroad, as “a nation of Klansmen.” He refused to draw a moral line between the American empire, which many liberals defend, and the disenfranchised and angry whites that flock to racist groups such as the Klan or, years later, would support Trump. The architects of empire and the ruling capitalists who exploited workers, stymied democracy, orchestrated state repression, hoarded obscene levels of wealth and waged endless war were, he knew, the real enemy.  

Campbell remembers watching a documentary by CBS called “The Ku Klux Klan: An Invisible Empire,” after which he was invited to address the audience. The film showed the murder of the three civil rights workers in Mississippi, the castration of Judge Aaron in Alabama, and the deaths of the four young girls in the Birmingham Sunday school bombing.  When the film showed a Klan recruit pivoting right when the drill master shouted, “Left face,” the audience erupted in “cheers, jeers, catcalls and guffaws.” Campbell writes that he “felt a sickening in my stomach.”  

Those viewing the film were a group convened by the National Student Association and included New Left radicals of the sixties, representing Students for a Democratic Society, the Port Huron group, young white men and women who had led protests at campuses across the country, burned down buildings, coined the term “pigs” to refer to police. Many were from affluent families. 

“They were students in or recent graduates of rich and leading colleges and universities,” he writes of the audience. “They were mean and tough but somehow, I sensed that there wasn’t a radical in the bunch.  For if they were radical how could they laugh at a poor ignorant farmer who didn’t know his left hand from his right? If they had been radical they would have been weeping, asking what had produced him. And if they had been radical they would not have been sitting, soaking up a film produced for their edification and enjoyment by the Establishment of the establishment — CBS.”

Campbell, who was asked to address the group following the film, said: “My name is Will Campbell. I’m a Baptist preacher. I’m a native of Mississippi. And I’m pro-Klansman because I’m pro-human being.”

Pandemonium erupted in the hall.  He was shouted down as a “fascist pig” and a “Mississippi redneck.”  Most walked out.

“Just four words uttered — ‘pro-Klansman Mississippi Baptist preacher,’ coupled with one visual image, white, had turned them into everything they thought the Ku Klux Klan to be — hostile, frustrated, angry, violent and irrational,” he writes. “And I was never able to explain to them that pro-Klansman is not the same as pro-Klan. That the former has to do with a person, the other with an ideology.”

“The same social forces which produced the Klan’s violence also produced the violence in Watts, Rochester and Harlem, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Nashville, Atlanta and Dayton, because they are all pieces of the same garment — social isolation, deprivation, economic conditions, rejections, working mothers, poor schools, bad diets, and all the rest,” Campbell writes.

And these social forces produced the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests after the police murder of George Floyd and the storming of the Capitol by an enraged mob.

Campbell never asked any of the members of the Klan he knew to leave the organization for the same reason he never asked liberals to leave “the respectable and fashionable organizations or institutions of which they were a part and party, all of which, I was learning, were more truly racist than their Klan.”

This radical love was the core of Dr. Martin Luther King’s message. This love informed King’s steadfast nonviolence.  It led him to denounce the Vietnam War and condemn the US government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” And it saw him assassinated in Memphis when he was supporting a strike by sanitation workers for economic justice.

Campbell lived by his oft-quoted creed, “If you’re gonna love one, you’ve got to love ‘em all.”  Like King, he  believed in the redemptive and transformative power of forgiveness.

The ruling elites and the courtiers who trumpet their moral superiority by damning and silencing those who do not linguistically conform to politically correct speech are the new Jacobins. They wallow in a sanctimonious arrogance, one made possible by their privilege, which masks their subservience to corporate power and their amorality. They do not battle social and economic injustice. They silence, with the enthusiastic assistance of the digital platforms in Silicon Valley, those who are crushed and deformed by systems of oppression and those who lack their finely developed politesse and deference to linguistic fashion. They are the useful idiots of corporate power and the emerging police state. Cancel culture is not the road to reform. It is the road to tyranny.     

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

Chris Hedges
Chris HedgesChris 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 2018 Chris Hedges


    1. I agree with what you’re saying and I guess you could say my politics lie toward the left, even though I have some so-called conservative beliefs. What about Sanders? He’s spoken out constantly about corporations ruining this country and the military-industrial pharmaceutical complex. Tell me he wasn’t “canceled” by Democrats in the 2016 primaries. The mainstream media labeled him a “socialist”, gave him no airtime and canceled him. It was because of who he was going after: corporations; that’s why. Not a speck of dirt in his background, an intelligent, well-qualified man who deserved a fair shot, but didn’t get it.

      1. What you are describing is a raw exercise in power, of the kind that is always at the core of all politics which are, after all, “war by other means.” The corporate wing of the party will not go down without fighting tooth and nail, for its survival/dominance.

        I believe “cancel culture” is a term, like “identity politics,” which is just a perjorative shorthand for “ways people are trying to exercise power that I disagree with.”

        The problem with shorthand is that we rarely agree on that the summarizing term means….

      2. My comment isn’t to you, Tracy, but the person who replied to you named, apparently, “Editor.” Their comment doesn’t have a reply button for some reason… To wit:

        Editor wrote:

        ” I believe “cancel culture” is a term, like “identity politics,” which is just a perjorative shorthand for “ways people are trying to exercise power that I disagree with.” ”

        Well, sure, you can believe anything you want to believe. But your comment speaks to ignorance.

        Identity Politics is a device used by the powerful or those who want to be powerful to try and get support by the public while avoiding discussions of policy and substituting any version of “identity” some group will -ahem- identify with.

        Cancel Culture is a behavior adopted by people who are demonstrably NOT interested in the actual benefit of or improvement of life for the masses, and who are demonstrably not interested in being persuasive, but rather who want to dominate over others they disagree with by “canceling” them – a power that _I_ believe _nobody_ should have short of a trial and conviction, and even then, it’s a strategically stupid action.

      3. Despite your arrogant tone, this is just nonsense, Art, historically. Maybe you only just started paying attention?

        After the Civil Rights movement wiped the most engregious LEGAL discrimination, the country has struggled to find ways to go from nominal legal equality to actual social, economic and political equality. A half-century of Affirmative Action, government contracts to support minority- and women-owned businesses, pressure to integrate executive boards and legislatures and break glass ceilings…all of it has been beaten back or watered down, yet still proved annoying to those most benefitting from the status quo — who then labeled all of this with the PERJORATIVE LABEL of “identity politics” — an attack on anybody who fights for their particular oppressed group to see more representation at the seats of power.

        If you use the slur “identity politics,” you are might as well as cry “reverse racism” anytime somebody criticizes whites for a history of genocide and self-serving discriminiation.

        Cancel culture is even braoder and more vague — basically, it is like the old definition of pornography: “I know it when I see it,” and yet nobody agrees which is the “good” kind of cancelling and which is the “bad,” and the lack of an agreed upon definition makes the whole debate nearly pointless. Doesn’t the left want to “cancel” racism, sexism and xenophobia? Was it dethroning Harvy Weinstein a good thing? Or do you think the means (social media shaming) did not warrant the ends?

        A lot of this is just the old game of respectability politics — telling people they can’t participate in the political game because they don’t talk, act or look right.

      4. Apparently “EDITOR”, you’re the one not paying attention.

        Pay attention to when and how Identity Politics is used and who does it.

        If you did so, you’d see that virtually 100% of the time it’s used by someone who wants political support from some group – some “identity” – and who carefully avoids discussions of public policy.

        The whole intention is to fool people of some “identity” that they should politically support someone of that same identity JUST BECAUSE of that identity. This belies the fact that everyone is unique and that groups are not monolithic. This hidden fact is used by the ultra-rich to select those of a given group, often a minority, who have views that are agreeable to them, and support these people’s political climb with the goal of getting these people elected to office with the support of whatever “identity” WITHOUT having their real political views examined by the public.

        The truth is that The People are increasingly stressed and have barely time to support their own lives, and the time it takes to research a candidate and look beyond the ultra-rich people’s propaganda is a luxury fewer and fewer of us have as we march into oligarchy. And so, using identity, and identity alone, it’s fairly trivial to get people to vote for candidates whose actual policies are actually against their best interests .

        So yes, “identity politics” is rightfully seen as a pejorative since its entire purpose is to evade public policy discussions.

        If you don’t agree with this, I suggest you haven’t been paying enough attention.

      5. I can’t argue with people who make such sweeping generalizations and lack of actual definitions and examples. And “you haven’t been paying attention” is a pointless and unprovable ad hominem attack. We disagree, but I assure you I have been paying too much attention for half a century!

        Also, identity politics is a pejorative from jump street — because it was literally invented to insult and belittle the direction of the civil rights movement post-1960s — it is never used by the people you are blaming! This is the same as the conservative capture of the old Leninist term “politically incorrect” to smear those who would say — “Hey, please stop saying such racist, sexist shit all the time.” Our frat can’t have a “pimps and hos” party, or dress up as homeless people or Latinx laborers as a joke? How politically incorrect!

        The history of the fight for civil rights in this country, whether it was for the Chinese in SF or Chicanos in LA and the Central Valley or, yes, rural whites in Appalachia, is being smeared as “identity politics.”

        People are most motivated to fight for their own group. That is human and fine. Are there also opportunists and lampreys and poverty pimps and all the rest? Of course! Cause, you know, humans gonna be human.

        Here is an argument that I think you can make: There is tension between certain political aims, where some may benefit from an emphasis on unification (i.e., class over race) and where others benefit from the power generated by a subgroup’s passion and specific demands.

      6. He was cancelled by the corporate democrat elite. They don’t want someone in office who is going to lift the curtain on their corrupt deals.

      7. The DNC cancels anyone who is good; i.e., Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Jill Stein….those who care more about people than about the MIC, ongoing wars, Wall Street and Big Pharma. God forbid anyone is allowed to do good for people without an uphill losing battle. The DNC and RNC are identical…the Republicans are more honest about their hate and greed for money and power; the Democrats are just as bad but pretend otherwise.
        BTW, speaking of cancel culture, the most dangerous woman in America is Robin deAngelo who wrote, “White Fragility,” the book with the most ignorant premise I’ve ever heard: if you are white, you are racist. She is one of the founders of cancel culture if ever there was one.

    2. Dude, Chris, I just watched your video for “America: The Farewell Tour” and it ROCKED.

      You NAILED IT, even you were caught off guard. I would elaborate, maybe later, but for now… YOU’RE THE SHIT!

      – Bif Crowley

  1. Great piece but I must object to the antiquated, sexist notion of laying social ills at the feet of working mothers (see Campbell’s quote). Mothers have always worked — harder than anybody else, as a matter of fact.

    1. So we should cancel Campbell because of his insensitivity to working mothers? Did the point of this 10 minute read fly completely above you? What part of keeping your eye on the ball-that is, it is the ruling elite that needs to be the subject of scorn and resistence, that you don’t understand? It is no wonder that I can only shake my head, knowing that the present dystopia will continue on its relentless path-strengthening its stranglehold on whats left of the remaining outposts declaring free speech and thought.

      1. I guess the poster was nitpicking something that wasn’t the main point of the article, but as far as I can tell she didn’t come close to suggesting canceling Campbell.

        Anyway, Hedges’ article is fantastic.

    2. You’re right, women have always worked harder and with little to no acknowledgement of it. But, in this case, you’re taking Campbell’s comment way out of context, which is the very thing cancel culture often does when it mob-lynches their version of the unwashed. Campbell made that comment in a time (around 1960) when a women working outside the home meant the family was financially struggling; the economic injustice that created that hardship was what Campbell was addressing. The absence of nuanced thinking that plagues cancel culture is appalling and entraps would-be allies in the fight against injustice. This lack of understanding plays right into the hands of the oppressor class, who keep the disadvantaged at each others’ throats — over petty distinctions — so we won’t be attacking them.

  2. Chris Hedges – Your lucid and dogged tongued insistence on our seeing more deeply and with more openness to the deeper truths fills this heart and mind with gratitude and respect. Teachings on the attitude and substance of deep love. To look at events and people asking what is really going on here? Who or what ultimately is benefited by this? limited and shut down by this? What is missing here? Present but not heard? What is here that must be dropped or transformed? Where in my thinking and attitude is it corporatized? (profit and power over persons) Thank you.

  3. I find it interesting in an article on the dangers of cancel culture, Chris (I can call him Chris) manages to cancel a segment of the global population. I completely agree this wave of corporate censorship is leading to a very dangerous time, particularly for those on the left.

    So why focus on one paragraph? Why even include it? I don’t support vandalism or placing obstacles in front of those who need support, but where is the research into the larger picture? What alternatives were suggested or provided? Have you read through the policy recommendations submitted to the UN and HUD in the US by so-called radical feminist groups working alone and in tandem with US christian fascist groups to exclude Trans individuals from housing, support, healthcare and even the discussions of human rights?

    I understand fully I don’t have a platform and that no-one will remember or care what is written here. One would hope the person who wrote, “We need to reintegrate those who have been pushed aside back into the society, to heal the ruptured social bonds, to give… dignity, empowerment and protection.” would sow inclusion rather than division and derision.

    I’ve spent hours before leaving New York in groups with other transwomen, many of them older and working the streets, not because I wanted to, but because at the time it was part of the Standards of Care. Where do these women go after they show up in ripped stockings and torn blouses for an hour or two respite from the abuse on the street? Are these the lucky ones because they haven’t been strangled and stuffed under a bed or thrown into the Hudson River? What relief or sanctuary is given to the hardened Vietnam Vet who has spent the last ten years trying to end her life because she still hasn’t moved past the time her Father crushed her larynx as a teenager when he discovered her in a dress?

    Can one live a reflection of the New Testament and be unable to recognized the humanity in all of us, even when it makes us uncomfortable.

    1. It can be quite dangerous for many trans women to be forced to stay in the male section of a shelter, a prison, a mental health facility. It is a bad look for femiinists and/or providers not to find a way to work this issue out to the benefit, or at least compromise, of all.

      1. The editor writes, “It can be quite dangerous for many trans women to be forced to stay in the male section of a shelter, a prison, a mental health facility.”

        Why is this danger the problem of the women in the shelter, the prison or the mental health facility?

        Are women the ones threatening this danger? No, males are. This is male violence.

        So why does the editor think that women should not only be responsible for male violence, but take on the risk of violence and sexual assault themselves after the inevitable abuse of policies that allow men who self-identify as women into spaces where women are vulnerable?

        Women in shelters and prisons have a staggering rate of prior sexual and physical abuse; their abusers are overwhelmingly male. Again, why is male violence women’s problem?

        It is a violation of the Geneva Convention to house women prisoners with men, and yet the editor of a “Progressive” publication is blaming feminists fighting to retain this basic human right for other women, rather than men’s inability to stop committing violence against each other.

        Male violence is men’s problem to sort out. Women (including radical feminists and conservative women) fighting for other women’s rights, privacy, dignity and safety, are the heroes here.

      2. Blaming? was not my intent at all. I was trying to complicate an oversimplification, which could be read in Hedges use of this as “cancel culture.” The only way one can believe this is not a nuanced issue is if you don’t believe “trans” gender is a thing.

        It would appear that you don’t believe trans women are actually women, otherwise you wouldn’t describe them as “men who self-identify as women” as if they were dodgy cross-dressers sneaking into the lady’s showers at the Y. I am not here to tell you that you are expressing transphobia, because I don’t know you like that, and obviously this is a complicated subject, but there would be plenty of people, trans and allies, that I’m sure would not have trouble taking that step.

        Also, to clarify, I am not “the” editor, but “an” editor, and moderate comments so we can have them, is one of my tasks, and sometimes I compelled to dash off a comment as a perogative. It is usually not that well received!

      3. I’ll put it more clearly and concisely than Karen has:

        What these trans women need is their own NGO that supports them; the non-trans women’s support group should be left alone. And, they need to STFU about whining about not being welcome with biological women since even if there’s no risk of further physical harm, triggering abused people in this way is unnecessary.

        So, instead of whining about it, and instead of trying to cancel a group doing good works, how about trying to start a new organization to help _yet_another_ abused group?

      4. Right, because the tiny number of trans women in the country will suddenly be supported by an outpouring of support for alternative facilities at every level of society.

        Your vicious “cancellling” language (“STFU about whining”) is telling — you hate these women for not being born biologically female but claiming to be women.

        Apparently each group should only worry about their oppression? How is that better qualitatively better than the view of the white supremacists?

      5. This reply isn’t quite at the right spot because, again, no REPLY option below your comment I actually wanted to reply to.

        You write:

        “you hate these women for not being born biologically female but claiming to be women.”

        Sorry, that’s the bullshit in your own head making shit up then regurgitating it here to stink up the place.

        I don’t hate anybody, and especially not whole groups just based on group membership, though I’m starting to understand you as someone who hates on a whim.

        IF YOUR ARGUMENT – not that you really made an argument that I read as I have a decidedly incomplete reading of your comments – were that YOU WANT TO SUPPORT THESE WOMEN SUPPORT GROUPS AND HELP THEM TO EXPAND THEIR SERVICES, well then, that would be different. If anything, it reads like you hate a group that doesn’t already help yet another group that, agreeably, also deserves support.

        I recommend you quit projecting your own hatreds and idiotic presumptions on others; I wrote NOTHING than can reasonably be understood as projecting hate against anyone – that’s all from inside YOU. In sharp contrast, your response to me was filled with vitriol I didn’t deserve. … Most charitably your reaction was “knee-jerk.” Perhaps you can put more thought into your READING before you write.

      6. Well, I interpreted transphobia from your comments and others. If that was wrong in this case, my apologies.

        However, to tell a transwoman, like of color and broke, that their request to come peaceably into a rape shelter after they have been, presumably, RAPED, “STFU up and stop whining” struck me as pretty hateful.

        I have children in my family who are trans and the bashing I have seen from recent comments (some which were too vicious to approve) based on what I can only hope is ignorance has upset me, that is true.

      7. Editor,
        You ignore the fact that this “tiny” number of trans “women” wield an inordinate amount of political clout, which could only happen in a culture that is alarmingly bio-phobic — even bio-hostile. Labeling people who don’t buy into the current popular fad (i.e. derangement) that biology is optional and has no basis in reality other than what our whims decide in any given moment as ‘haters’ is another incidence of cancelling those who don’t buy into every trendy absurdity that comes down the proverbial pike. It’s laughable that otherwise intelligent people refuse to see the difference between a person’s actual biology and the one they mutilated their bodies to “become”, yet those who see the difference and have the audacity to speak it are the bad people. Yeah sure. This plays right into the script of the oppressor class: keep the masses too busy attacking each other to turn their attention on us. And what better wrench to throw into the machinery than a denial of biological reality itself? Biology is real and words have meaning; the claim that trans women are biological women is a denial of both. Stating that doesn’t make someone a hater or a bigot, it makes them a realist.

    2. Why are some men so comfortable with demanding women put our bodies in between them and other violent men?

      Women are not human shields for feelings in men’s heads.

      If you want shelters, prison cells, and safe spaces in mental institutions for men who claim to be women, fight for them, like women had to.

      1. Re: transwomen, shelters, “claiming” to be women. I have direct experience with this–I’m trans, an FtM. I’m also over 70, which means that before transitioning, I had to live as female for 54 years with all the indignities and outright danger that go with a decidedly 2nd class status.

        For a decade +, I’ve been an activist in support of trans women, particularly BIPOC. Many of whom were tossed out of their families. Few had any job training, and none had the connections educated and economic elites take for granted. So lots of street work. Which often means prison time. The issue of physical safety in jail is not, then, a minor one.

        It seems that Karen misunderstood the editor’s reply and the original post by Fran. Then skewed the discussion into one about male violence and responsibility. “…inevitable abuse of policies that allow men who self-identify as women into spaces where women are vulnerable” sounds very much like the right-wing canard about molesters in drag haunting women’s public restrooms. NOT ONE CASE EVER. So exactly what threat does that shadowy “abuse of polices” consist of? Looks like just another political tactic meant to by-pass facts and whip up fear.

        Incidentally, I’ve actually worked at a shelter. I’ve heard the heart-rending, horrible accounts of why women, many with children, were there. As to the source of the violence these victims experienced…please notice that NONE are trans women, who also are victims, not perpetrators. To shoehorn them in with some generic male violence is flat out bigotry. The very definition of which is that all members of a group are considered identical and interchangeable. It isn’t even true of all cis men.

        Then there’s the implication that only cis women are “real” women. Which relies on a misinformed argument that XX chromosomes are the sole determinant. Scientifically, there is much more to identity and physiology than a couple of chromosomes; the total biology of which is quite complex. Let alone psychological or psycho-spiritual factors. No neat Aristotelian either/or logic will suffice. Poor science in defense of transphobia is about as valid as so-called racial science was in defending segregation a 125 years ago.

    3. It’s possible I’m now spending more time on this than I intended, but, you know,… pandemic.

      The language of that one paragraph suggests to me there has been no attempt to better understand the “condition” (language of the oppressor) since the article I was provided an opportunity to respond to in Truthdig.. I understand there are things going on globally affecting humanity in general, so why take the time to understand a small segment go the population? But then, why include the paragraph? Is it perhaps time to grow out of the 2nd wave to an understanding of shared oppression and that if we are not all included in the struggle to retain our humanity (beings that are human; see Trudell) our children and grandchildren remain at risk.

      I would suggest from a Jungian perspective what Raymond (I’m not going to read the book) and others, like that one from Manchester are repulsed by is actually there own attraction.

      With regard to some of the sciency comments; Well, I read it on the interwebs, so it must be true. That gender sensitive healthcare has become big business, to me is laughable. All I can think is in the words of the Paul Simon song; “Where’s my shot at redemption?”

      As a child growing up in Queens we would often take the bus past Creedmore. Even then I knew what happened to people like me in those places, only to be confirmed years later listening to some of the victim; electro-shock, lobotomy. How can one not walk through the Bowery, the West Side or sit through a support group populated most by older transwomen, almost all of them broken, and not wonder about the colossal waste of human potential and our own failures as individuals and a society still steeped in the tenets of Rome?

      What was the line from Melville’s “Moby Dick”? “Ignorance is the parent of fear.”

      1. Did you mean ScheerPost in that second sentence? Understandable mistake, but this is not that site…

  4. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you Chris.

    As a psychologist working with people who have committed terrible crimes for completely understandable reasons, people who our justice system and citizenry are determined to punish, torture and silence rather than understand, I am grateful for your profound openness to considering the full range of reasons why people do terrible things. Yours is a truly rare gift and it brings me great comfort to read pieces like this.

    1. Who decides if the reasons for crimes are completely understandable?
      According to their conceptions and sometimes even laws , the Nazis and Communists (mutatis mutandi) had completely understandable reasons for their crimes!
      A society in which people can do terrible things because they think they have good reasons cannot survive.
      There is a reason why the Goddess of Justice is blind!

      1. “A society in which people can do terrible things because they think they have good reasons cannot survive.”

        Well, the USA has always been a society in which people can and always have done terrible things because they think they have good reasons, yet the USA survives. So, there goes your theory.

        “There is a reason why the Goddess of Justice is blind!”

        Justice isn’t blind in the USA; it’s mostly prejudiced based on money, though I surely wish it was blind.

  5. Thanks to Chris, who understands people better than most of us do.
    I am just reading Diana Johnstone’s latest book “Circle in the Darkness”, and besides hundreds of other examples, she includes a French comedian, Dieudonné, who with compassion and wit, made fun of all sorts of pompous figures and was extremely popular for years, with none of the Christians, Blacks (Dieudonné is black), Chinese, Jews, Muslims taking offence at the obvious humour. Suddenly, he was accused of “antisemitism” of course, fined and persecuted, his concerts cancelled by the officials, court cases and fines of 10 000 euros. He never gave up, but his career and reputation were ruined, while the alleged home of the “rights of man” allowed Jewish lobbies and French laws to destroy him, while the 7 million Muslims in France have a hard time being accepted as equals and the élite of all Parties allow Zionist influence to control legal decisions affecting the population in general. Accepting people as they are is /was Dieudonné’s gift.

    1. Dieudonne has not been “suddenly” accused of antisemitism but condemned more than 8 times in France for things like regretting that a Jewish reporter has not been sent to the gas chambers, calling Holocaust commemorations “memorial pornography”, expressing sympathy for the killers at a kosher shop in Paris etc. These do not seem to be examples of compassion and wit!
      He is also a 9/11 terror acts denier and a friend and politically ally of the FN and Jean-Marie Le Pen.
      A racist is a racist by any other name and the fact that he is black is irrelevant as the same acts performed by a white, yellow or blue with orange polka dots person would have caused the samr consequences!

      1. So, am I to understand you correctly, that the official government 9/11 conspiracy theory is sacrosanct, and that questioning it is analogous to anti-Semitism? and that Dieudonne should have been jailed for engaging in speech deemed hateful by the govt? (That is why he was jailed, you know.)

      2. Do you equally condemn Sarah Silverman’s open hatred against Christians and their belief ?
        A racist is a racist, right? Some jokes simply aren’t funny, right?

  6. Excellent article. Hedges is always consistent, but a bit less doom and gloom today than usual. I have of course heard of Fred Hampton and his (the original) Rainbow Coalition, but I had never heard of Will Campbell? Thanks!

    A minor quibble (always): “….the boutique activism of a liberal class that lacks the courage and the organizational skills to challenge the actual centers of power — the military-industrial complex, lethal militarized police, the prison system, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the intelligence agencies …”
    It is not a lack of courage and skills, the liberal class is now the vanguard for the MICIMATT. They celebrate its power and have no interest in challenge or change.

      1. MICIMATT, or Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank Complex.
        (from Ray McGovern?)

  7. Wow, I am a huge admirer of Hedges, but he knocked it out of the ballpark with this one. I am in awe!

    I gotta admit I have come to despise BLM as much as the klan.., but this is a reminder to love the people of both groups equally. The ones I really have a problem with though are the santimonious neo libtards with their black lives matters signs in front of their opulent estates. Reminds me of a sign I say this summer in front of an affluent white females business. Said sign stated, In this house we support black lives and womens rights. Said business owner forcing minimum wage mostly white workers to serve unmasked covid carrying people during a deadly pandemic. Gotta admit that woman I have a hard time loving. Her brutal capitalist business is not a house, and her staff are not her slaves, although she obviously believes they are.

    Like I’ve mentioned before, I feel like I have more in common with the poor mostly white riff raff where I live than the neo libtards supporting BLM while castigating the poor whites who stormed the capitol of the capitalists. I almost hate to admit, but there was a part of me that liked seeing the bought and paid for lawmakers running for their lives from the angry mob. Legislators should be afraid of us, they have sold us out to the highest bidder, now their bill is due, with interest.

    I often think of the film version of Fahrenheit 451. As the protagonist is fleeing people are calling his whereabouts in via red phone booths placed around the city. Even a genius like Bradbury couldn’t imagine smart phones and Stellar Winds.

    Our only hope lies in non judgemental alliances with other disenfranchised groups. I put no faith whatsoever in neolibtards, and their favored politicians, especially so with the IDPOL Fraud Squad.

    1. That you equate BLM with the Klan on your hate meter should be of great concern to anybody you admire.

      1. Black progressives are by far the largest group honorably charged WITH THE MOST HATE CRIMES in the USA. Your progressive FBI.

      2. If you are implying that I said the FBI is progressive, I have no idea where you got that from. The FBI has a terrible history of racism, at least in the not so distant past.

        Also, where is the evidence for your claim?

      3. Perhaps you should let the author answer for himself. In the meantime you still owe an apology, from the last time you implied I am a racist, which by the way was noted by other commentors.

        I listen to the radio show native america calling five days s week. Native Americans are less than enthusiastic about BLM. The police murder on average 3 people a day in the ,U.S. and 2 of them are white. Why is BLM’s sole focus on black lives, and not all victims of state violence. You don’t find a lot of support for BLM in poor white communities or native american communities. Maybe if they stopped lecturing poor whites n our white privelege we might join them. Perhsps if BLM publicy stated thst natives were treated much worse then blacks and should be first in line for reparations more native smericans might be supportive of them. They do find support from well to do white liberals, and young college educated whites snd occasionally from poor whites like the antifa man assasinated by police near Lacey WA , who BLM was stangely quiet about.

        The police murder poor people in the U.S., and when you look at the statistics based upon income levels of the murder they are nearly identical i.e. poor whites are murdered by police at nearly the same rate as poor blacks. If you don’t account for income a black man is 256 percent more likely to be murdered by police. Accounting for income that number drops to 5 percent. Not too many rich black people murdered by thr police, nor rich whites.

        Forgive me for not wanting to support a group that wantsme to be subservient to them and lectures me on my white privelege. Yes I am privileged to live in a delapitated 19 foot motor home without running water or a furnace in winter temps down to 30 below zero, with little to no money in my senior years. Why I thank God every day for my white privilege. Rest assured though, if I ever forget about it I am sure to be reminded of my white privilege by BLM or white liberals such as yourself.

      4. That you don’t understand that you can be part of a white supremecist society and, yes, carry white privilege WHILE STILL BE BROKE is not my problem, man. I am sorry that, if true, your living situation is so rough, but it is not the job of BLM or any other social political movement to take up your plight.

        Of course the cops kill a TON of white people they SHOULD NOT BE SHOOTING. Yet, where are the white-dominated protests against this? Why are poor white people not marching on their city hall or police station demanding better treatment of the mentally ill, the addicted, etc.? Why are they not demanding the demilitarization of the police, etc.?

        As long as we are oversimplifying, let’s put the rat on the table: Far too many poor and lower-middle class whites have, since the beginning of colonialism, found it quite convenient to accept racism and white privilege as the cutlet thrown down from the master’s table, and each wave of broke-ass pale immigrants from the Europe has worked hard to gain a niche from which they can piss down on the Native Americans, the blacks, the Mexicans, the Chinese and anybody else they can gain leverage over or ego stature from.

        Now, decades after we thought it was possible, white voters (along with those few from other groups who identify overly strongly with capitalism, xenophobia, mysogeny, etc.) have brought us back to the edge of a racially-infused fascism. Non-dominant white citizens cosplaying as sans-cullotes of the French Revolution (and powered by right-wing billioniares) have bought into the oldest card in the reactionary playbook — turn the mob against the scapegoat.

        Speaking of insults, I am not a liberal, thanks, which I would define as a person who believes the system basically works but just needs to have some of the rougher edges sanded down. And I feel comfortable assuming you ARE at least passively racist if you don’t believe in white privilege.

    2. why would you despise BLM? they have a very real grievance and are protesting for change, if you do not support BLM, then stay out of the fray, otherwise you are a racist who thinks ” oh those blacks are just blowing off steam” as far as the rioters go they are not protestors they are rioters. gregg

      1. I despise BLM and anyone who trivializes the plight of poor whites. BLM and their supporters very purposely ignore poor whites and native americans plight.

        Both myself and many of my neighbors live under conditions that most BLM protestors cannot even imagine. Yet when we point this out we are castigated and reminded we are racists and deplorable, hence deserving of our plight.

        BLM is every bit as racist as the klan, and routinely engages in victim blaming. Am I to blame for the sins of past generations of people that had the same color skin as I. Am I not a human being deserving of human rights. Must I confess my sins and white privileges before I can join the sacred army of BLM. The very concept of that is incredibly racist.

        Onto the editor’s question as to why poor whites don’t make a stand against police/state violence. Speaking for myself only, I live in a rural area, where it is virtually impossible to organize and say hold a mass rally, or I would. Historically poor whites in chicago aligned with the Panthers to fight social inequality. They were welcomed as equals by Fred Hampton, and allowed to fly the confederate flag in their public meetings with the panthers and Young Lords. They later dropped the use of the confederate flag, when they became more enlightened. Compare this with BLM,s victim blaming and shaming of poor whites. On a similar note the bugaloo boys have been providing security in some instances around the country for BLM.

        I have a fairly large number of Alaskan Native friends and not a single one of them supports BLM. None support Trump, a few moderately support Biden, and none of them believe in the system.

        The institution of BLM is deeply racist, and most of their white supporters are classist pigs. How many BLM protestors live under conditions as deplorable as myself or my white or native neighbors? We have to haul water in jugs and find inovative ways to dispose of our human waste. Many of have safe access to showers since the pandemic, so in my case I have gone 2 months sans shower. We live in abject terror of being pulled over by the police, and try to ensure we are home before the killings begin.

        According to the Guardians counted Alaska and New Mexico had the highest murder by police rates in the U.S. The Alaska State Troopers wear no body cams and conveniently never have any witnesses to their murders. The local police are worse.

        I know I’m a racist and deserving of everything, especially so since I’m unrepentant. If only I realized that all these problems are racist in nature, and ending racism will solve the problems!

      2. Donald, please review this:,the%20first%20person%20is%20making.

        Nobody said you shouldn’t have rights, BLM didn’t call you deplorable (that was H.R. Clinton), you are putting your head in the sand and then repeatedly citing your friends who are people of color as your “cover” to prove you are right.

        This may shock you, but nobody speaks for their race, ethnicity or gender. Your smears of BLM are baseless and false. Have you ever even been to a BLM rally?

      3. I find this remark truly funny, coming as it does from someone who right here in these comments has supported Identity Politics:

        “This may shock you, but nobody speaks for their race, ethnicity or gender.”

        That sentence is correct, and it’s exactly why NOBODY should vote based on identity, or certainly not identity alone; a person’s actual public policy positions – and their past history – are how we should decide where to put our political support, not someone’s “identity.”

      4. Many things are paradoxical and I can hold two ideas at the same time, as well.

        Yes, representation matters. You MUST integrate a society at every level, a school or a government or a company should ROUGHLY represent the diversity of the community they serve, from top to bottom, because not only does that reflect true equity of opportunity, but it MAKES THOSE ORGANIZATIONS BETTER.


        Yes, the opinion of one person does not stand into for their whole demographic.

        This means: Native Americans, to keep to this thread, should be supported in ways that boost their success so they can pursue opportunities to the best of their abilities, yet a few friends of Don can’t dub him “cool with the POC” and have that wipe away the reactionary nature of his stated beliefs.

      5. I despise BLM the institution as it is inherently racist. I do not despise the rank and file members. I have never attended a BLM rally mainly because I live in rural alaska. There was one BLM rally in Palmer AK that I wanted to attend, but had no transportation. It was supported by the Anchorage chapter of the NAACP, and from what I can tell accomplished nothing.

        I personally want to see an end to the 1033 program, defunding of the police, civilian oversight of the police, the immediate unconditional release of all misdeamenor offense prisioners. I also want improved medicare for all, a UBI. total student debt relief, a federal job program to employ all who are able to work a decent paying job, a wealth tax, and a “defense budger of 10 percent of the current. I also want to abolish the “ownership” of land, and universal rights for all humans and the earth.

        What I don’t want is another identity politics group blaming and shaming me for my supposed white privilege. If BLM wants me to stand with them against police violence then they need to accept me as an equal not a subordinate.

        Who do you think has more privilege, me or Obama? Your perception of white privilege is actually class privilege. The police murder poor white people at nearly the identical rate as poor blacks. A poor black has a 5 percent higher murder rate than poor whites a far cry from the often quoted rate of 256 percent. All of my poor whites are scared to death of the police and despise them.

        You want to end police violence against blacks the only way to do that is to end all police violence. You want me and my poor white neighbors to join you then stop lecturing us about our white privilege and start talking about class.

      6. Class privilege is real. Race privilege is real. Gender privilege is real. So is privilege accrued or subtracted passively based on your age, ability, color, accent, language, and on and on…

        There is an awkward but accurate term you may not have heard of — “intersectionality” — which academically describes what is a common sense notion that I am unclear as to why you are not getting it: Privilege comes and goes in many ways.

        I’m going to put this simply: As an older white man, you have the privilege to go to a store in a nice neighborhood and not be assumed to be a shoplifter to be followed. You probably don’t have an accent that would block you from many opportunities, look “menacing” to white middle-class people, are not Muslim or some other religion that is linked in the public American mind with violence and backwardness, and in Alaska, you look, sound and act like most of the people in the state, allowing you a daily comfort that “outsiders” or “the other” simply don’t get, adding to their daily level of stress.

        Meanwhile, by your own description you are poor, older, isolated, rural and have many other challenges which greatly limit your ability to “win” in this society. These are areas you do NOT enjoy privilege.

        Is there a computer that calculates this all for us? Of course not. That doesn’t make it any less real.

        If you don’t believe racism against non-white people is a real and major problem in this country, then I simply think you are posting on the wrong site and should perhaps find a forum where your white grievances can find a more receptive audience…

    3. Your use of the word “libtard” is disgusting, repugnant, and truly bigoted. My brother has a mild form of mental retardation and is the most wonderful, generous person I know. You should be ashamed of your grotesque prejudice, you vile scum.

      1. So let me get this right, me and other poor whites living in what any would call deplorable 3rd world conditions id o.k., but my use of the term neo libtard to describe people mired in identity politics makes me reprehensible scum. Talk about cancel culture!

      2. I agree Brian got too vicious, I probably should have moderated it.

        But he was talking about the use of the word as offensive to those with intellectual disabilities, as “tard” etc. had become an offensive insult, and clearly it hit him hard because of his personal connection. He didn’t say anything about your situation.

  8. I feel that both the cancel culture and wokeness are grassroots actions by the left predicted in karl popper’s paradox of tolerance, whereby a tolerant society if it is to stay tolerant must be intolerant of the intolerant, lest the intolerant will raise up to rule the tolerant. trump legitamized the racists, white supremists, etc. what was the left to do? jan 6 proved that intolerant citizens are on a rampage and we better be intolerant to them. i am a big fan chris but on this one you are missing the bigger picture which you are well aware of, gregg connolly

    1. Chris never misses “the big picture.” He has that rare ability to follow this sound advice: “Recognizing truth requires selflessness. You have to leave yourself out of it so you can find out the way things are in themselves, not the way they look to you or how you feel about them or how you would like them to be.” In other words, step back and take the long view, see the big picture.

    2. Google: In the 1980s, a Far-Left, Female-Led Domestic Terrorism Group Bombed the U.S. Capitol
      Historian William Rosenau investigates the May 19th Communist Organization in a new book about the little-known militant group

      Source: Smithsonian

      Sincerely, an ex-progressive

    3. Far-sighted and brave, as always.
      But I do feel that Hedges is describing too wide an arc without quite seeing the small print.
      Yes, the Klan may have been disabled by the filthy capitalist culture, but that scarcely applies to all Klansmen.
      And despite John Lewis’s broad understanding, the Klan has still terrorized and lynched thousands of Black humans for more than a century now.
      Nor would I align the young Black Panther Fred Hampton, assassinated by COINTELPRO, with Will Campbell.
      Fred Hampton held back when the mostly white Weatherpeople tried to work together with him and the Panthers.

      1. Funny, I must have read a different article by Chris Hedges than you did.

        Hedges praised Will Campbell not for his association with the Klan, but for recognizing that these people (Klansmen) were redeemable. And Campbell’s point that REAL racism is pervasive in the Liberal Establishment and less reversible than the ignorance of Klansmen (or Deplorables).

        Fred Hampton has always been a hero of fair-minded people, NOT because he led the Chicago Black Panthers but because he realized he needed to join with poor whites and Poor Hispanics to build an effective coalition. Chacha Jimenez of the Young Lords, Hispanic gang members, and Southern Poor whites, led by Preacherman Fesperman (who even had confederate flag symbols proudly displayed; Hampton told his complaining lieutenants that we will tolerate such symbols for the bigger issue: helping the poor community in Chicago.) Hampton wasn’t killed for his identity politics, but for transcending racial issues and focusing on the Poor and Needy.
        The Weather Underground were basically domestic terrorists and Hampton did not agree with their methods; some thought the Weather Underground were working with the FBI/CIA as provocateurs.

    4. You are sounding like the college kids from the 60 Minutes interview. If we can’t talk to the “intolerant” it will only lead to things getting worse.

    5. Talk about missing the big picture. Those people storming the capital were not victimizing the average person. The true proletariat who own small shops on the streets now seem to draw the insane rage of antifa, blm and rioters taking it out on everyone’s property. They have been violently tearing places like Portland Oregon apart night after night. Its not the proud boys looting peoples personal property and breaking shit. The people storming the Capital? Thats OUR capital It belongs to the people who pay for it. That place and the officials in there are supposed to work for us not themselves or some globalist corporate agenda. Ok. understand?

      1. Hmmn, this might be pushing it. Most American cities where looting happens as an offshoot of protests (rather than a full-fledged riot of rage and righteousness mixed with opportunism and gangsterism, like the LA riots), the anarchists, teens, et al, target chain stores, banks, etc., in the downtowns that long ago rejected the poor as not hip, rich or cool enough. Not defending it as a political tactic, which seems infantile to me personally, but let’s not pretend this is all happening in the High Street full of mom and pops. That America is almost gone at this point…

  9. PLEASE stop calling the advocates of cancel culture liberals; they are the antithesis of liberalism. Liberals are not afraid of bad ideologies; they believe in free speech, debate, reason, objectivity, and universal human values combined with respect for the individual. The proponents of cancel culture reject all of these in favor of divisive tribalism and identity politics based on superficialities such as skin color and gender. Really, Chris, you should know better.

    1. Well, this is a conundrum, because Hedges is quite clear that he is not a liberal and does not support them.

      1. Read Hedges’ “Death of the Liberal Class” for an understanding of his concept of “liberal”.

        All this angst over “identity politics” and “cancel culture” could be clarified by reading Professor Nancy Fraser’s works on “Progressive Neoliberalism” and the Democratic Party.

        And as an editor, I find you far too aggressive and your comments divert from the thrust of Hedges’ piece.

  10. Wow Chris Hedges ! This piece takes me to new perspectives / places. I’ll sit with it for awhile to further digest its moral depth. It challenges political affiliation, if you even have one. It doesn’t separate the good guys and the bad guys.

    The Rev. Will Campbell lived by his oft-quoted creed, “If you’re gonna love one, you’ve got to love ‘em all.” Like King, he believed in the redemptive and transformative power of forgiveness.

  11. The most pernicious, still under the radar, recent censorship and cancelling by MSM and Silicon Valley thought police has been in support of Big Pharma and it’s vaccine wor$hiping public health “experts” and politicians, denying the American public access to tons of credible medical/scientific info (including MD testimony before U.S. Congress) re safe, effective, inexpensive treatments against Covid, which, if not withheld from the public, could have saved (and could still save) hundreds of thousands of lives.
    (see: https://covid19criticalcare.comhttps://,, and

    1. Agreed. Science requires critical dissenting voices which have been silenced by know-nothing censors spewing nonsense about “disinformation”. As a retired scientist I’m shocked when “helpful” and dissenting posts are taken down across a spectrum of experts, many more knowledgeable than the WHO or Fauci (who is quite good, or was, on AIDS and Ebola, but not respiratory coronaviruses.)
      A great example is the efficacy of glucocorticoids (dexamethasone, methylprednisolone, asthmatic steroid inhalers). Chinese immunologists published success in Covid-19 with glucocorticoids in MARCH (noting that the WHO disapproved of their use– probably a necessary caveat for publication). British scientists ‘rediscovered” the efficacy of this class in mid-June. Only in late August did the WHO acknowledge that this could be a therapy, if used very cautiously. Physicians noted that asthmatics had unexpected LOWER fatality rates than the general population, traced to steroid inhalers to help them breath. Still not approved by the FDA for Covid-19, glucocorticoids are the only proven treatment for use in intubated or serious cases, conservatively saving a third of such patients.
      Simple recommendations to prevent/correct vitamin and nutrient deficiencies (associated with worse outcomes with Covid and common in the Elderly) have been removed by the thought police. Ivermectin and a host of repurposed drugs
      have been used with at least partial efficacy around the globe, possibly accounting for the much lower death rates than in the West, but cannot be championed.
      The most annoying to me is the fact that Covid-19 is a disease of the Elderly (95% of deaths globally over age 60), yet in the West “ANYONE CAN CATCH AND DIE FROM COVID-19!” The scientific journal Nature noted (August 28, 2020) that if you are under age 50, you have almost ZERO chance of dying from Covid-19. Anyone can catch it, of course, and it is deadly to the Elderly (most deaths are in those over age 80). If infected, an 80 year old has a 1 in 6 chance of dying. The Elderly, and the 5% who are vulnerable due to serious medical issues, are the only real candidates for the vaccines. No one else is seriously at risk from the virus.

      1. The children who have died of covid-19 are, even more than among adults, disproportionately children of color — about three-quarters of those who’ve succumbed to covid so far, according to CDC data. [WashPost]

  12. “…the economic misery and instability that pushed whites into the ranks of violent, racist organizations. ”

    From my experience, anyone who ended up in a violent, racist organization when they were less wealthy were just as racist and prone to violence when they were rich.

    Or to reduce this piece to absurdity, what radicalized Trump? His casino bankruptcies?

  13. You know, for an old-school reporter, you are extremely reckless when it comes to giving examples. The Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter example is an obvious one because, by your logic, Chelsea Manning would not be allowed into the center. If those “radicals” have a problem with that, they don’t deserve to be called an organization that protects rape victims.

    1. Vancouver Rape Relief is not an organization that protects “rape victims” – Vancouver Rape Relief was specifically formed to protect raped women.

      I would suggest that everyone who thinks Jack has a case read up on the history of what transgender activists did to Vancouver Rape Relief, including a long court battle that almost bankrupted a shelter for women who had just been through the horrific experience of male sexual violence.

      Transgender activists also physically threatened Vancouver Rape Relief, including nailing a dead rat to the door.

      Women had to fight for rape shelters the same way women had to fight for other sex-segregated spaces in order to have some modicum of protection outside of the home.

      Some, like bathrooms, women fought for simply to be able to leave the house long enough to participate in public life.

      Men like Jack seem to think that women should open up our spaces to any and all men simply based on their self-identification as women, even though men commit almost 100% of rapes.

      Are you going to give women some kind of decoder ring, Jack, so we can tell if the man with the big swinging male genitalia in our locker room is a woman or not?

      Because, in the US, close to 90% of men who identify as women keep their male genitalia.

      And to the approx. 1/5 American women who have been raped it doesn’t really matter if the naked man in their locker room thinks he’s a woman or not.

      Where are women’s rights, Jack? Where are women’s rights to safety, privacy and dignity?

      Or are women’s rights not human rights?

      And what makes Chelsea Manning a woman, Jack? I want a detailed answer.

  14. “Cancel culture is not the road to reform. It is the road to tyranny.”
    The motivations behind Cancel Culture are twofold. First, it is an act of utterly dehumanizing the intended target. It is an act of denying another person’s inherent rights to be who and what they are and to think and act and do as they choose… to be a free human being exercising his or her God-given rights to be a unique expression of life and spirit seeking and finding its own way.
    And second, it is the first step toward the eventual total and complete erasure of the intended target. Cancel Culture is wrongfully elevating one group of persons or one way of thinking above all others and allowing that inflated group to exercise power and control over others that it does not rightfully possess under any circumstances. And this way of thinking can easily lead to genocide.
    In a sense, Cancel Culture is also a violation of the First Commandment. Those who act to cancel others are self-deifying and elevating themselves as a god (usurping the True God) and assuming the role of God as True Overseer of our thoughts and behaviors while acting as judge and jury without appeal.
    Cancel Culture is a truly despicable act.

  15. Never has there been a man so adept at articulating the terribleness of our American lives. I think sometimes Chris Hedges is a CIA operative paid to to elucidate the narrative “There is no hope at all for anyone anywhere” He destroys all hope and optimism like it were an infection. At least he is consistent. Everything he writes proves he is right in his denigration of life in America. Everyone is so grateful to Chris for showing how deep and disgusting our demise is. At the end of each piece he writes, is the smiling Chris photo who has just shown us once again how brilliant he is at summing up our awful plight while bringing us down to know we are screwed beyond all belief or reason.
    With so much ability to articulate his point of view, can he not help others rather than just exciting them about his miserable and terrifying conclusions of hopelessness. Surely he has some answers. Any answer? anything to help avoid the end of Humanity, No? OK ill keep reading him next week anyway perhaps a few more of his articles will cheer me on to suicide. Maybe thats his job?

  16. This is a hard message, but I think it’s one that Americans need to hear because Hedges isn’t wrong, even though we may disagree with his gloomy tone or quarrel with some of his examples (such as the issue of trans women in shelters).

    I am a non-tenured adjunct lecturer at a public college and if I were to even broach these ideas in my class on multicultural public health, I would be risking my job. In my 6 years of teaching undergraduates, I have witnessed an increasing emphasis placed on “inclusive” speech within academia. Our university’s Chief Diversity Officer routinely sends emails and hosts forums on things like gendered pronouns, indigenous land acknowledgments, and the campus social climate. And although these things may be important from an intellectual standpoint, there is a pervasive ideology within academia that the we are winning the war on racism (or any -ism for that matter) if we simply do things like begin our faculty meetings by saying the name of the indigenous tribe that lived on the land our campus now occupies.

    What is left undiscussed is the glaring lack of material opportunities for our students, the majority of whom are coming from less than advantageous circumstances (working class, immigrants, first to go to college, etc.). And the ironic thing is that these students, most of whom are Asian, black, or Latino, see through our sanctimonious harping on language because they have much bigger issues to worry about.

    Most of my students work at least 15 hours per week in service-oriented jobs that pay low wages, and yet they are still incurring huge debts to obtain a degree. Some work two jobs in addition to taking care of family or other responsibilities. They are more concerned with the rising costs of tuition, and the fact that our university offered them no financial reprieve for transitioning to online classes during COVID, and continued to charge them for on-campus amenities, like the gym. They’re stressed about their security and financial future in this country, not whether someone used the wrong pronoun when addressing them. And even if they were, that linguistic slight can be redressed by genuine vulnerability and listening: as writer Chimamanda Adichie defiantly said in response to her own politically incorrect statements, “the answer to bad speech is more speech.”

    Sadly, I think many students want to talk about issues like the ones Hedges highlights, but don’t feel comfortable doing so for fear of saying the wrong thing or inadvertently offending someone. Social justice has become synonymous with language justice, and the manifold problems of housing and healthcare and tuition and wages have been pushed to the periphery.

    Dr. King was right when he warned in his 1963 letter from a Birmingham jail that we are living in “monologue rather than dialogue.”

    1. Academics, already weakened by the decline of tenure, seem to be the most receptive audience to this message.

      I wonder, though, if it too much to ask if academics might start taking more risks to engage with the whole situation directly to both strengthen their intellecual freedom and also challenge the racism, sexism, ablism, etc. baked into these institutions by history?

      Careerism is the real killer of free speech, far more than the Twitter mob or the dreaded “Diversity police” ever will be.

      Why do people think change comes without pain? Fight for tenure, fight for free speech, fight for the rights of TAs and adjuncts, fight for inclusive and anti-racist policies, fight for it all. Or don’t, because let’s be real — that shit is HARD. (It is.)

    2. You do realize that women’s rape shelters are for women who have just had a penis forced in their vagina?

      You do understand that whatever a man calls himself- whatever mysterious feeling of “womanhood” he has in his head – to most of humankind he is a male.

      Except apparently to this new breed of Leftists who missed biology freshman year of high school and/or were indoctrinated into Queer Theory at institutions of “higher” education such as yours.

      Vancouver Rape Relief, and any other women-specific rape shelter, does not exist to validate men’s internal feelings of themselves.

      They are there to help women overcome the trauma of male sexual violence.

      BTW: Chimamanda Adichie is a Nigerian feminist who did not back down from the mob of transgender activists who threatened her with rape and death like they threaten every woman who stands up for women’s rights.

      Maybe, because like many women who live in the real world far from Western academia, she knows that women are not oppressed based on whatever sense of gender they have in their heads.

      In Africa, female infants are raped by men who think that sex with a virgin female cures AIDs. These female infants are not raped because of their pronouns or gender identities, or are they, Harold?

      Are women raped because of their gender identity or because of their biology? Hmmmm….

      1. So you don’t believe in gender fluidity … because you took freshman biology.

        Always good to know what we are dealing with here. In this case, somebody who closed their mind to new ideas decades ago, and can find no sympathy for those who seem weird to them.

        Tell me, JH, do you work or volunteer at a rape shelter? Do you know any trans women?

        Also, good dramatic use of the 19-year-old debunked myth that child molestation in Africa is linked to a virgin cleansing myth.

        Child molestation happens everywhere and there is no need to throw racism in with your transphobia.

      2. Spoken by an anonymous person who just makes assumptions about another anonymous person.

  17. I can relate. My grandfather the logger, a very bright man limited to an 8th grade education, was a Wobbly. My dad had to turn down a scholarship to Cooper Union during the Depression; he had to work because he had custody of his little brother. He was able to support our family in the ’50s-60s as a proud union member.

    Prior to returning to college late in life (botany, then MA theology,) I was a skilled blue collar union worker for 20+ years. Trained by ’30s labor organizers who told me: “liberals are the ones who leave the room when the fight starts.” Also a local Dem campaign mgr, I fought the usurpation of the party by neolib “centrists.” I’ve personally experienced their sniffing dismissals of the working class as mere ignorant masses fit only to vote for their allegedly lesser evil.

    The D “leadership” represents the 20% upper middle class professional elite while the rest of us are supposed to be grateful for the occasional noblesse oblige. The majority working class was rendered invisible, then hit by Dem trade policies and stripped by trickle-up, becoming econ causalities and serving as fodder for those profitable endless wars. People abandoned in the Rust Belt continue to sink into what are called deaths of despair–drugs, alcohol, suicide.

    But it serves the econ system so beneficial to the 1% and their R minions, as well as the privileged D 20% elite, to portray the desperate as hateful bigots. No context ever given, no MSM investigation of how people who were once the active base of the D party came to vote for and support such a horrid Pres.

    The econ warnings were obvious by the late ’80s– look up the Philly Inquirer’s “America: What Went Wrong” by Bartlett and Steele. (Book form 1992.) So incendiary many newspapers refused to carry the series or stopped halfway through. Had that been heeded, the Dem party would be explicitly New Deal, Trump would not have been Pres, and the Capitol riots would not have occurred.

  18. Wonderful Chris! This needed saying. Thank you.

    They silence the critics and those who speak out.
    There’s a right way of thinking and speaking no doubt.
    Yet like Jacobins who purged the unclean,
    they now cancel us with their guillotine.

  19. Excellent even by your high standards. It’s good to know that at least someone thinks deeply about these issues to day.

  20. A Note to the Editor –

    Of course one should never equate BLM with a hate group such as the KKK.

    However, I think that it’s important to mention that BLM accepted millions of dollars in corporate money, thus making it vulnerable to the influences of the very centers of power that Hedges speaks out against.

    Although I can’t be sure, perhaps, rather than equating the two, this is what the reader Mr. Ruck was referring to in his comments.

    1. Let’s be real, though. BLM is a tiny organization (or multiple organizations competing to be the true BLM, more likely) but a MASSIVE, nearly spontaneous and decentralized MOVEMENT.

      BLM is not a labor union or a DC lobbying outfit. It is national outpouring of frustration and demands for change.

  21. My question to Mr. Hedges is this: suppose you didn’t get “lucky” as you say, and “get out”? Do you think you would be a member of a right-wing militia? Would you have stormed the Capitol, full of hatred, ready to kill?

    I chose to stay where I am – poor in Alabama. I love this place and I am so sick of intellectuals making excuses for the hatred in the hearts of others.

    Perhaps you are a better man than me, Mr. Hedges. Perhaps there is a love in your heart that I will never know, but the bottom-line for me is this: these people made bad choices. They have no interest in being properly informed. I know them – see ’em everyday. Trump flags still fly high here. It’s pathetic, and I have no sympathy for their plight.

    1. Ken, as a black American in Chicago my knee jerk reaction to that point of view was the same as yours, but we have to try civic engagement with all of our fellow citizens.

  22. I was also fortunate to read Campbell’s writings and hear him speak in my late 20s. Like Dr. King , his writings and life are prophetic and compassionate in critique of America. In that same vain, I recommend the writings and life of William Stringfellow, a contemporary and colleague of Campbell’s. All three of their Christian witnesses continue to influence and critique my outlook and behavior to this day.

  23. We’ll see how this evolves, but I’m very skeptical as to whether policy and cultural appeals will evolve in a better direction than they generally tend to. In full disclosure, I am an African American male, in an urban city. I saw the Capitol siege unfold on television. I wasn’t overly shocked, but I implicitly knew this would not be treated the same way as a black or brown mass protest. I also remember the footage of the large throngs of people situated outside of Detroit’s TCF Convention Center in the nights and days after the November 3rd election—the supporters of Donald Trump, in particular, were shouting claims of fraud, and intermittently tried to barge into where the ballot workers were counting. And of course, this spilled into the Wayne County Board of Commissioners’ meeting where the two Republican commissioners in particular initially voted to not certify Wayne County’s (Detroit’s) voting results. And of course, leading into January 6th and beyond, Donald Trump remained unabashed in his uplifting of unfounded notions of fraud having somehow altered the ballot results against him in various states, including cities with a heavily Democratic local leadership and populations with high volumes of African Americans.

    A certain form of ‘color-blind’ economic justice, even that which is espoused by well-meaning, self-identified progressives (and not from the, ahem, ‘limousine liberal’ camp) cannot come before restorative racial justice. When it comes to the high-minded notion of ‘seeing somebody’, who they are, who their family is? I already get to see them. I have no choice but to see them. People who look like me have never had the option of simply “not seeing” what the majority – dominant culture looks like. Their political perspectives, their social standards, their beliefs on law, and ethics and fairness, work, leisure, art, theology. Everything that gets to be designated as culture or civilization. People like them get to be the majority of public officials at the statewide and national level. (This was once exclusively so even at the local level, until the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s). Families who look like theirs get to have their social sensibilities prioritized when it comes to the behavior of those public officials. Black families have always had to exist with the implicit knowledge that no matter how mundane, fractious or idyllic our at-the-moment existence may be, often times we can do little BUT observe as the white collective ponders what to do about the topics that they deign as paramount (what neighborhoods or tax brackets get tax relief, what cities to cut revenue sharing for, what companies to buy out or inflate the stock price, what social programs to cut, and oh, this highway would look really good here– oh, y’all live here? Well, you gotta go now..), which historically, has frequently marginalized and outright ignored people who look like me.

    People like the dominant culture who voted for Donald Trump get the benefit of phrases like economic anxiety, living in the heartland, suburban moms, which all help to serve as a cover for their whiteness that these folks vote in alignment with.

    “Whiteness”, in this case, isn’t particularly a reference to skin color. Instead, it is the aggregation of narratives, starting at the beginning of this nation in 1619, that colonization and Manifest Destiny were natural outgrowths of the advancement of a culture. The conceits that still largely attribute a recurring innocence to the motives of the actors that achieved “great” things for a particular cohort of people, while other cohorts of people were deliberately left out, actively attacked, or both. These narratives, gradually assimilated and both implicitly and explicitly reiterated, have led to the ethnocentric conclusions that people of America have about themselves.

    People of the dominant culture who voted for Donald Trump are the folks who get nervous when folks who look like me move in on the block, just come to visit or have a delivery to make from Fed Ex. They call the police when we’re having a barbecue in a public park. If my son or daughter gets lost in their neighborhood and knocks at the door, there’s a high risk of the homeowner assuming he’s a burglar and maybe he gets a shotgun pointed at him. (This really happened, in Rochester Hills Michigan!) The dominant culture has always felt comfortable to weaponize the police on behalf of their own racial anxiety; a personal strike force when they get perturbed. They even feel emboldened to act as de facto police in any given situation.

    I’ve seen these people all of my life. But now there’s supposed to be some kind of “kumbaya” get-together where the other side talks about how they do things like go to work, run a small business, carpool, go to church, coach little league baseball, go fishing, volunteer at community events, and all of a sudden there’s supposed to be this light-bulb moment where I realize, “gosh, we’re not so different…”

    No. Miss me with all of that. Four long years and a CVS Pharmacy-receipt-long list of examples of outright kleptocracy and mayhem, supposedly in the name of “draining the swamp”? And for a slim majority of people of the dominant culture, they can still be casually loyal to the likes of a Trump?

    Allegedly mindful, pious Christians and others who can’t help but to support the bald-faced lie of the Q-Anon Cult, among other spurious notions? What does it mean to be a “pious Christian” who frequently uplifts the pleasant ‘melting pot’ narrative about assorted disparate groups of people who emigrated to the United States for a better life (implicitly, almost exclusively from Europe), but in practice, have no quarrel with keeping brown families in prison-style detention centers, with wildly varying conditions of sanitation, deliberately separating children from their parents, with supervisory officials on record as saying “the cruelty is the point”?
    I question the priorities of faith of people who supposedly respect the parable about Jesus feeding a group of people with loaves of bread and fishes: a community cooperatively sharing resources needed by everyone who was there—but who vote for politicians who consistently attack public health and social assistance programs like SNAP (or currently, recent coronavirus relief payments) as causing people to be “lazy”. Even in the midst of this pandemic, where random cohorts of people have become sick, died, lost jobs and lost homes—trends that are ongoing—they have re-elected senators at the statewide and national level who are notorious for stalling helpful legislation simply because they can and the opposition party drafted it.

    I question the priorities of the faith of people who can speak glowingly about The Nativity—the birth of Jesus: But beyond solemn references to closed hotels, barn mangers and cameos by three kings bearing nice gifts, what’s some of the deeper context? You have a refugee family fleeing the oppressive rule of Herod, who purportedly ordered the death of all first-born male children in Judea… The circumstances of the birth of the central savior figure in Christianity is steeped in the narrative of the vulnerable, the marginalized, the minority. But you know what? Let’s build a wall. Keep out everybody that’s not meant to be a “real” American. ‘Jesus loves you, baby’—but you’re not welcome in my town. And you’d better not think about dating my daughter.

    If that is the case, then I dare say that there are grave, stark differences in our values that gathering to offer treacly anecdotes on how we may mutually like baseball and apple pie do not get to the root of.

    I’m done with centering the feelings of the dominant culture. The efforts of black people, in particular, “rescued” America from a continuation of the Trump political saga, regardless of whatever criticisms can be made about the pragmatic reality of a Biden-led White House. The experiences of BIPOC people have to be centered going forward, in public policy discussions of all kinds. For decades, choices have been made that have figuratively pushed vulnerable communities to the edge of a cliff.

    If there is to be a conversation between Black Americans and White people who support contemporary conservative movements as exemplified by Donald Trump, I am afraid that there is simply nothing to say. When it comes to the prospect of meeting with the M.A.G.A. people “halfway”, I will paraphrase the author James Baldwin: you are asking me to be an accomplice in my own murder.

    And that, I cannot countenance. Not in the least. It is not up to me to engage “that” cohort in the attempt to convince them of my humanity and that their implicit belief in zero-sum politics, the master narrative that they’ve believed all their lives, is dead wrong. In 2021 and forward, I expect policymakers with whom I am sympathetic to propose and defend policies that uplift the vulnerable and the marginalized, and unapologetically.

  24. It’s so disappointing how obviously problematic this argument is.
    How is it not just a nonsensically righteous lobbying for the canceling of cancel culture?

    When Chris invokes or at least incidentally mentions his many credentials while he’s railing at the liberal elite, isn’t he being an anti-liberal elitist guilty of wallowing in the same “sanctimonious arrogance” he’s pointing out in the liberal elite?

    When he so readily papers over the awful rotten harms the so-called deplorables have so regularly done to others in word and deed singly and collectively for a very long time as they’ve religiously adhered to traditions and institutions and worldviews that keep their hatreds alive through good times and bad, isn’t Chris giving away a liberalism derangement syndrome that ought to be looked into?

    Or maybe it’s a scholarship kid’s chip on the shoulder that explains his giving such a pass to the salt of the earth no matter how much inhumanity they’ve dished out to their fellow human beings and for how long.

    Maybe it’s Chris’s humble beginnings that make him so blindly angry at the ruling elite that he can’t see that the little guy and gal are no less deserving of his anger. At all echelons we’re all guilty of basically the same thing—doing a truly awful job as human beings. I don’t see how an elite class’s using their power to make life miserable for everybody else is much or any worse than everybody else doing nothing after all these millennia to limit how powerful their greediest and most self-important and heartless and soulless fellow human beings can get and doing nothing about how much more awful and hateful they themselves become the longer they do nothing about the powerful if you don’t count buying all the time into what the powerful keep selling.

    In the name of intellectual honesty, maybe the next time Chris writes an article on cancel culture, he should print a few choice hate and rage and disinformation and threat and incitement-filled instances of the poor common folk and/or their elite heroes exercising their unfettered right to free speech and then make his apparent argument that we shouldn’t at least try to put a limit on how low our human discourse can go.

  25. Reading a Hedges column is like a drink of cold water in the desert. Our overheated culture and rhetoric are literally maddening and invariably unhelpful. It’s important to be reminded that we have assassinated our sages because they were right — and their wisdom stands the test of time while we still struggle with the same intractable issues.
    Write more, Chris. Calm, educated and intelligent analyses are in such short supply that we “die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”*
    *apologies to William Carlos Willams

  26. What was Cesar Chavez’s grape boycott if not a “canceling” of oppressive farming practices? What is a strike if not a “canceling” of the boss? “Canceling” was an idea birthed by gay “stan” culture on social media, and it has been divorced from its original intent by self-described “free speech warriors” who adopted the language without knowing (and in some cases, cynically obscuring) its history.

    “Stans” would “cancel” celebrities they no longer wished to “stan”; all that meant was no longer buying their merchandise. The original idea was playful (“She is so CANCELED!”) but likewise in the fashion of whisper networks that marginalized people employ to keep themselves safe. Women who work for or with abusive misogynists will warn each other, “This professor tried to rape me in his office; don’t take his class” or “This man grabs the asses of all the women here; don’t go to lunch alone with him.”

    The powerless “cancel” the powerful because they know those in vaunted positions rarely if ever face any consequences for their actions; it’s a grassroots effort to protect the oppressed.

    “Canceling” wasn’t considered a “culture” until cishet men decided they had had enough of women “canceling” predatory artists like Bill Cosby and Woody Allen; that’s when you saw this epic turn to make “canceling” all about freedom of speech–a straw man that severed the word from its meaning. That’s around the time when people like Hedges and Chomsky (who, let’s face it, are not particularly “online” people) picked up on the phrase, feeding into the conservative parody of who was canceling whom. The birth of the phrase “cancel culture” was one giant deflection from a legitimate conversation about men in powerful positions facing no consequences for their abusive behavior, and I’m sorry to see people I admire fall for it.

    Please find a better way to describe your frustration with free speech limitations; that’s not “canceling”, and to insist that it is is to assist the reactionary libertarians who used the phrase to quell criticism of abusive men they lionized.

  27. I see the Twitter and Facebook bans more as a reaction to the spread of cultish conspiracies and mass delusion than an attack on people… not sure how sanctimonious liberals mocking the poor they pretend to care about factor into that.

    I’m also not sure how allowing poor (and not so poor) people to fill their heads with visions of baby eating cabals running the world is any different from allowing drug addicts to keep killing themselves with meth. In this case, it’s possible to cut off the supply so they can find more productive ways to spend their time… how is that not better for everyone? I mean, besides all the slippery slope arguments about Orwellian social apocalypses?

    1. The problem is that people are being “cancelled” all over social media! Their accounts are being suspended, in some cases permanently, for specious reasons or no (provided) reasons at all. Silicon Valley is not your friend. It is happening to people on both the left and right and to journalists posting the very same videos posted by MSM outlets like CNN. It makes no sense, and there is no justification for it. It isn’t about Q-Anon, it is about all of us. It’s madness, and no one should support it. except totalitarians.

  28. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
    Ephesians 6:12

  29. What a load of garbage, spun to make a point. There is so much wrong with it that it becomes comical. My marker is dry.
    I for one was glad when when the cancel culture canceled apartheid.

  30. Wow. There’s a lot to unpack in this article. Let’s start with the obvious.
    It’s never been legal to yell “fire” in a crowded theater.
    It’s never been legal to incite violence.
    Only the government has limits on restricting free speech. Corporations can and do restrict free speech daily.
    Now to this quote: “The ruling elites and the courtiers who trumpet their moral superiority by damning and silencing those who do not linguistically conform to politically correct speech are the new Jacobins.”
    Historically, the KKK has committed torture, rape, lynchings and other types of murder. They advocated and fought for slavery, even after the Civil War ended. They revere and salute Nazi symbols. Their members advocate and commit violence against people with whom they disagree politically.
    The KKK is not a merely politically incorrect. It’s a hate group with historical ties to domestic terrorism.
    This article is an exemplar of dissembling, omitting facts to make the case for a type of free speech that does not and never has existed while pretending members of the KKK are merely free speech advocates and not violent conspirators for hate and racism.
    There’s a lot that could be said about promoting free speech and stopping hate speech intended to incite violence. This article doesn’t say it. Instead, it offers no solutions but simply trudges down Hedges’ well worn path of gloom and doom.

  31. All of the violence and social misery unfolding right now, and Hedges decides the most pressing issue of the moment is the spectre of “cancel culture.” Based, no less, upon this flimsy notion that the people who rioted at the Capitol are some immiserated strata of the working class, rather than the well-funded well-armed shock troops of reactionary capitalism.

    And of course he couldn’t resist doubling down on his wretched hot-take that Trump — who as ex-prez still posesses the most powerful megaphone in the world — has been “cancelled” because he was banned from Twitter. This would all be laughable if we weren’t in such a moment of extreme peril.

    Also teling how Hedges joins Greenwald, Taibbi et al in punching down against the rank-and-file labor organizing that has taken place at major publications like the NYT, which he decries as the next Spanish Inquisition [lol]. There is a distinctly elitist class character to this perspective, even if none of them will acknowledge it.

    This whole argument is mostly nonsense that should be dismissed out of hand. Quite an indictment about how out-of-touch Hedges’ perspective is concerning these matters.

    1. Labor organizing is supposed to be about working conditions and not censure of opinion!
      Part of Cancel culture is the extension of the domain of the struggle to include the perceived deterioration of the work-space by people not conforming to whatever arbitrary standards the Woke Committee or politruk decrees

      1. When people rebel against the status quo, it is not always pretty or clean.

        Name a revolution of any kind that didn’t make some people scared?

      2. Au contraire, labor organizing is about censuring the opinion that workers are undeserving of basic rights and protections. Workers “cancel” their bosses via work slowdown and/or stoppage. It is an ideological struggle at its core–not about left v. right, but top v. bottom. My local’s president was a communist, and our VP was GOP; it didn’t matter, because they were united for workers’ rights against the tyranny of the bosses.

  32. For the record, I’m still not persuaded that what people are calling cancel culture is just old fashioned shunning and holding accountable for beyond the pale positions.
    Happy to be shown with proof that I’m wrong. Hasn’t happened yet.

    1. I agree, actually.

      However, the power given to the “Twitter mob,” especially in an era where employers have not the slightest loyalty to their employees and you can have your life turned into a living hell overnight (through doxxing, Swatting, hacking, etc.) has magnified the power to a level which has to concern anybody who takes a public stance of any kind, anywhere, “Manqueman.”

      1. That’s not cancelling. That’s blowback, accountability, a bunch things but not cancellation.

      2. As I’ve said repeatedly down here these past couple days, the problem is literally that everybody is using this term without definition so it is just “what I disagree with is cancelling and bad.”

        Providing synonyms for using power to demand consequences does not clarify the situation.

        If somebody throws paint on a woman wearing a fur coat, some would call that a political protest, others would call it assault. People need to stop hiding behind sweeping generalizations, is my opinion.

    2. If you look at what is happening to people on social media (permabans, etc) there is your proof.

      1. Like what? How many individuals out of how many are getting barred?
        Too, there’s no right to access to a social platform.
        I take one huge issue with all the sloppy rhetoric about cancellation starting with misusing the word then blurring the concept.
        Shunning, accountability, an employer being an asshole — all are reactions. None are cancelling as in like make someone a non-person.
        As for Trump, he should have been banned at least a year ago when he started his literally deadly lies about the coronavirus.

  33. Thank you Mr. Hedges for your enlightened words and your unending passion to dig deeper, expose and educate us. I, an almost atheist, have turned to the wisdom of religious leaders of late who are telling us to listen to those who are different. Listen and find common ground. Then, we may find our true enemy, the true evil, the blockers of progress. I learned a term in a Black History Conference last night, “Dangerous White Liberals”. They’re really not liberal at all. They’re block headed and narrow and call those they oppose, “stupid” who are not stupid. Saying so shows how stubborn and un-liberal they are. They are not trying to “see” or understand those who stormed the capitol. We need to open open our eyes, ears, and minds.

  34. Chris pointing in a positive direction! The world needs more of this.

    Chris, your message may not get through to many, but it has gotten through to me. That’s one, may there be more. Besides, there’s no percentage in giving up.

  35. Excellent article. But I fear this is a human problem.

    Liberals may say the right things without actually doing as they say – and non-liberals may not even bother saying the ‘right’ things. The result is the same; non-acceptance, censorship, or in some other way, attacking the ‘other.’ Those of every label can be as guilty in their thoughts and actions.

    Some few recognize the humanity in others, as well as in themselves, warts and all, and act appropriately. Sometimes those people are widely recognized and religions form in their name. Most often, they merely help maintain a minimal level of civilization and might be recognized in an occasional article.

    I believe that the United States, at this moment, could benefit from a few more of that sort.

  36. Cancel culture is as American as apple pie. Liberals write off Trump’s supporters as racist, Conservatives write off any idea that they don’t like as preposterous, socialist-facist nonsense that does not deserve a response. Early Americans wrote off native Americans as heathens and people from the Middle East as Islamo-Jihad terrorists. Every one of these cancels has blinded people from what is actually happening. Thanks Chris, for bringing more clarity to the issue.

  37. Question: Isn’t ‘cancel culture’ what McCarthyism of seven decades ago was all about?

    So much for the notion of American progress!

    Are we, in fact, not still dealing with the same phenomenon; with the same ruse: the supposed failure of but a first attempt at a more inclusive form of a ‘communal’ sharing; an as yet untried attempt at a more democratic socialism?

    1. All of these examples are of people exerting power over other people. Cancel culture is a term which elides more meaning than it uncovers. A first question should always be: Is the punch traveling UP or DOWN? Who is throwing it, and why?

      McCarthyism was a governmental witch hunt using a red brush to drive a man’s perceived enemies out solely to support his own rise to power and tolerated by more powerful forces who anybody who promoted equity as a threat to the status quo they ruled.

      #metoo was punching up, at the powerful men and their enablers who dominated industries that were shamable on social media. This is guerilla warfare, not McCarthyism — but even “good” guerillas hurt the wrong people sometimes. Change does not come without pain or collateral damage.

      BLM is punching up, at cops and others who accept the status quo of routinized violence and repression of Black communities. Again, not everything is going to be by the book, neat and orderly, because this is a revolt.

      Some cases are more tricky. If a fraternity or sorotity sings racist songs or has an offensive party and protesters demand they be exiled from the university community permanently, is that punching up or down? I would say up, since the Greek system clearly represents the American status quo of conformity, privilege, etc. but others would say, no, they feel the protesters are more powerful (in that moment) and are being bullies, not accepting apologies, etc.

      Examples of punching down: Social media corporations deciding what publications, blogs or posts are too radical. The Internet terrorizing and destroying a non-public individual who does something stupid. A university over-prosecuting peaceful protestors on its campus.

      People who would tell furious people suffering from centuries of oppression, whether it is women, people of color, the rural poor, the developing world to “play nice” are simply using respectability politics to maintain the status quo.

  38. Rodney King, 1992 after being beaten, almost to death by white racism: “Can we all get along”

    1. So then in your point of view, basic needs of decent and food and decent employment ($15/min wage) are irrelevant to the creation/ adoption/ maintenance of racist attitudes, i.e. viewing and treating others as better or less than based on skin color. So, then, if those conditions are incidental, what does cause racist attitudes in a person? And, once “set”, what would be the impetus for the person to relinquish them?

      1. Prejudices generated by education (or lack of), religion, mob bigotry and purposeful deceit by politicians and public opinion influencers.
        Being hungry does not make racist, but somebody telling you that you being hungry is the fault of the Blacks, the Jews or the Asians does.
        It is very hard to remove bias at an individual level but it can be done by education. (not CRT!)
        The challenge is blocking individual biases from polluting the public space, be it economic, intellectual, cultural or politic. And that is the job of the laws !

  39. I totally agree with what I understand to be the gist of your article , namely that the cancel/woke culture in all its manifestations is an aberration which should be opposed by every person that respects the ideas of individual freedom, equality and free speech, and is capable of rational thought.
    But, as always, the devil is in the details, and I have issues with parts of your argumentation. Comparing the rejection and criticism of racist and violent groups as the participants in the Capitol riot last month ( and in some of the BLM protests) with the doings of the “cancel” proponents is in my opinion totally off the mark. Unfortunately, it appears to directly flow from the tendency to see everything through the prism of “class struggle”, including such patently absurd ideas as crediting the creation of the KKK to the misdeeds of the capitalist system that through economic misery and instability provoked poor, angry, disenfranchised whites to don ridiculous robes and hunt Blacks, Jews and Catholics! Sometimes racism and prejudice are not a class thing, notwithstanding the Marxist preeminence of the economic factors.
    There are in human society patterns of behavior and, yes, ideas that need to be roundly condemned and extirped, with zero tolerance and without trying to understand and justify them by the history of the people doing or believing them. The SS responsible for the concentration camps may have been just following orders and suffering from the sequels of the First World War and the Great Depression (the fault of the capitalist system, of course) but that did not excuse them in the Nuremberg Trials.
    It is not perhaps a very popular position, but personal responsibility should not be conditional on the income or assets of a person. (see also the comments today in the Daily Kos on the socio-economic background of the participants in the Capitol riot. It points out that they seemed to have enough resources to get to DC with semi-military gear, communication equipment so they should have prioritized paying their debts).
    I find hard to accept a relativistic point of view that presents George Wallace and Rosa Parks as equal victims of the dark forces of the corporate/police state.
    Some additional remarks :
    1. Comparing the cancel/woke followers to the Jacobins is an injury to the Jacobins who successfully conducted a war against all Europe and created modern France, which are accomplishments far from what the cancel/woke crowd may dream of achieving.

    3.Regarding to BDS, I beg to differ. Criticizing policies of the Israeli government is legitimate and even desirable. Calling for sanctions and boycott against the whole Israel people is not. I find it telling that you apply such a flagrant double standard compared with your indulgence versus the KKK! Don’t you think that the marginalized Israelis of Ethiopian, Russian, North African descent which vote for the nationalistic Right parties are disenfranchised victims of the economic misery and instability fostered upon them by the capitalist system?
    To finish, quoting your conclusion “They are the useful idiots of corporate power and the emerging police state. Cancel culture is not the road to reform. It is the road to tyranny. ” Just one correction-they are not useful.

    1. On the last point:

      There is no “boycott against the whole Israel people.” You can’t boycott a people! But you can boycott the companies from that country, whether produced privately or by the government. It was done against apartheid South Africa, to salutory effect! Many globally have boycotted products from China, Japan, the United States, Burma/Myanmar, Iran, North Korea and so on based on these nation’s repressive and/or imperialist and/or economic bullying policies.

      Hell, many of my Jewish relatives won’t buy a German car 75 years after the Holocaust. That. Is. A. Boycott. Should I feel sorry for the German people? Hell no!

      Honestly, on some days all I want is for people to not contradict their own logic in the very next sentence! If you believe in protest, if you believe social justice, then you can’t turn around and tell people they can’t try to “cancel” powerful racists or sexists or boycott a country because you think it is oppressing its minorities.

      1. It is refreshing (and rare)to be able to have a relatively polite debate with somebody capable of reasoned argument , albeit from the wrong premises.
        And now for the main act!
        “Comparaison n’est pas raison”. Comparing the apartheid regime with the jew-arab conundrum in Israel is either ignorance or bad faith bias. The apartheid regime under the title of “equal but separate” allocated the majority of land and resources to the white minority , parked most of the black majority population in “self- ruling ” bantustans and enforced draconic “whites only” limitations to access .Nothing of the sort exists in Israel where the Arab minority has full legal rights, can vote and send its representatives to the Knesset and local governing bodies. I agree that there are areas of de facto discrimination but they are not based on any racial basis but on nationalistic suspicion of a fifth column bent on aiding and abetting Israel foes.
        But these nuances are lost on BDS proponents which do not limit to companies and entities directly contributing or participating in activities perceived as contrary to international law (settlements) but extend for instance to “canceling”of Israeli researchers from international forums or cooperation , banning of Israeli speakers from campuses just for being Israelis. Yes, this in my opinion is a boycott against the whole Israeli people!
        And what is your opinion on the BDS movement double standards? I am not aware of any action against China, India, most Arab countries (for their treatment of women), the African countries where homosexuality is illegal and punishable etc. Where are the self proclaimed guardians of fairness and social justice?
        For the record, I feel pretty consequent in my opinions. In a functioning (even if imperfect) democracy with an effective rule of law, I do not believe in protest per se or in a vague concept of social justice. I believe in democracy ( with emphasis not on majority rule but in preserving minorities rights) and equality before the law.
        I also disagree with people not buying German cars (I would more than happy to be able to afford a nice BMW or Audi) or cancelling Wagner in Israel, even if I can understand their sensitivity to that

  40. Thank you Chris for tackling this social phenomenon – silencing – that endangers so many social justice movements today. I appreciate your inclusion of the cancel and defund campaign against Vancouver Rape Relief by people who seem typical of other ideologues who you critique here. Naming people transphobes is a way of silencing feminists and promoting disinformation against us. In fact, the transideologues refuse to discuss: biology or the support among many feminists for prostituted transwomen, or the ways that of us have for decades supported transwomen’s rights to exist without harm. Instead our very existence as a sex class is removed and we don’t exist except as “ovary-havers, chest-feeders, menstruators.” The profits generated by pharmaceutical corporations are ignored This is unconscionable.

  41. Mr. Chris Hedges, et. al,

    Oh no! Say it ain’t so! Chris, I have had high respect for you for many years, read many of your books, and in the past attended many of your lectures in-person.

    But I find *much* less in this article that I agree with. It seems to imply we should accept, even embrace these neo-Nazi, fascist thugs among us with an open heart (even as we wouldn’t do as they do). Pardon me, but I just can’t get there. While stopping short of labeling someone ‘inhuman’, I would support doing more to stand up against these hate-driven, eliminationist, murderous evildoers. I don’t agree with embracing or defending them as Rev. Campbell appears to have done — even if he warrants respect for his own ‘good works’.

    Also, regarding Campbell’s statement: “.. the liberal’s respectable and fashionable organizations or institutions of which they were a part and party, all of which, I was learning, were more truly racist than their Klan.. ”. On its face, this is really hard to believe. Yes, there was & is racism among liberals, but *more* than the Klan? I find that overstated to a fault.

    Two more points in response to this article:

    I thought you had respect for the New Left of the 1960s & 70s. It is sad to see you appear to berate the Students for a Democratic Society, the Port Huron group, others like them from this period. Not radical? Really?? So, they are to be excoriated for laughing at a Klansman (a wannabe member of a disgusting, violent *hate* group) when watching a film? (as if this defines them?). It appears they’re being mocked for talking tough but not being tough. Not tough?? I suspect that Noam Chomsky and a host of others might find this assessment of them rather off base. From what I know about what these students did — they were among the toughest and the most ethical people of that time — compared with the vast majority of their peers. For a time, they were just about the only moral conscience of the nation.

    Chris, I’ve always found you spot-on when it comes to identifying the horrors of the predatory capitalist system we have, and the accommodation of this system by the liberals that should have been fighting against it for the past 2-3 generations. However, I’ve come to suspect that — even as you remain eager to excoriate the ‘liberal class’ on an ongoing basis, you’ve increasingly ignored or glossed over the far worse — indeed hideous — failings of the violent far-right in America & elsewhere. I have no problem with ‘liberal bashing’ these days; although, I think that some perspective is getting lost as the far-right-wing gets ever more unhinged, more violent, and more powerful from year to year. I assume you still believe, as you’ve stated, that “.. there is no moral equivalency between antifa and the alt-right.. ”. Ok. Let’s pause on that for a moment. Let’s have that sink in before moving on.

    Thank you & regards.

  42. Bravo, Chris! Cancel culture can only end up turning a weapon against the Left. We have already seen the moderate, Liberal elements (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc) use cancellations as a weapon against the Left. Chris has been on the receiving end of this, as Howie Hawkins was in the 2020 election.

  43. There is a good, reasoned argument in here.
    Unfortunately Hedges turns that into a cudgel, totally undercutting the middle ground he claims to be defending.
    The telling point is that there is no mention of those who scream loudest about alleged “cancel culture” and who their targets are.
    Hedges certainly did thorough enough work in other parts of this, so it can’t be that he is unaware of what the term means here and now in 2021.
    His blaming “elites” is even more of a giveway than the apologism for the Washington Capitol attack, and Julian Assange.
    It kind of flies in the face of his indictment of the Black Bloc too, for which he was pilloried by many on the left; which side is he really on here? It is okay in Washington but not Seattle?
    It pisses me off, and saddens me, because not only is he a good writer, I also agree with him in some things (if not all). So to see him turning into a propagandist is really disappointing. Though I kind of saw it coming when he signed on with RT.

  44. 50% of our population lives at or below the poverty level. There is a “fight” going on for $15.00 an hour minimum wage. We are a nation of slaves. Income and cultural inequality is the breeding ground for the disease of Hate. Hate is a disease. Hate is a community health issue. In his State of The Union speech of 1944 FDR tried to prevent todays ills with his Second Bill of Rights. Senator Sanders tried to bring it forward and we all know what happened. This piece by Mr. Hedges should be required reading by all citizens so they too would understand that this is by design, this failed State. Just who is being taken care of within this State? Are you, fellow citizen? It is best to remember, “all of our shadows are the same”.

    1. Simply written. With a quietude of truth that shakes my atoms and corpuscles like a breaking heart. Thank you much.

      1. You are welcome and thank you Selina. Truths are simple, it’s the answers to the questions of why where we get tied in knots.

  45. Your story about the Klan film reminded me of the students in my college class who laughed at the families depicted in “Roger & Me” who were being evicted. Those scenes were scurrilously edited by Moore to provoke the audience into demeaning those poor folks, by contrasting their plight with scenes of polished executives delivering some drivel speech.

  46. Hedges is spot on here. My grandfather was functionally illiterate, my father went to college on the GI Bill, and I went to an Ivy. At Penn, I encountered so-called Liberals into boutique politics. These people loved the working-class, as long as they were maids and butlers. It’s totally understandable why the white working class voted for Trump. The Democratic Party abandoned them a long time ago. For a long time, I wondered why the Dems have focused so heavily on LGBT and Trans rights. I came to the conclusion that it’s politically and economically cheaper to promote these kinds of rights than it is to get national healthcare, bring back unions, and attack Wall Street and Lockheed Martin. The Liberal class is pretty kaput.

  47. I vaguely remember the name Will Campbell from my youth. He seems to me to be another well-meaning person, who could not clear the fog of his belief in religious mythology and bible quotes and be able to do totally precise political analysis. I certainly agree with his statement: “The same social forces which produced the Klan’s violence also produced the violence in Watts, Rochester and Harlem, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Nashville, Atlanta and Dayton. social isolation, deprivation, economic conditions, rejections, working mothers, poor schools, bad diets, and all the rest”, to the extent that all Americans are subject to the oppression of living in a capitalistic, militaristic society. However, “all the rest” surely must refer to Racism. And clearly, Campbell could not possibly understand the effect of living in the U.S., the most racist country in the history of the world, has on a Black person.

    This apologist attitude for the tens of millions of racist white people in the country cannot be sugar-coated with ideas of how much they suffer under capitalism. Any human being knows, on some level, that racism is immoral. Literally hundreds of years of brainwashing have left these deplorable Americans people full of hate, fear and violence. Giving them all $40 per hour jobs and nice housing will not change this. Campbell (and you too Mr. Hedges) cannot walk the fence and talk about empathy for Klansmen, while still being a proponent of a society with equality and justice for all. Hate is hate. It must be cancelled. In all of its forms and forums. The proponents of white supremacy are the enemy. They were the enemy of Native Americans, African slaves, the people of Hiroshima, the people of Viet Nam, and on and on. We don’t need to love them. We need to cancel them.

    ‘There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.’

    Eldridge Cleaver

    There are a lot of things that must be cancelled in this country. Yes, this means corporate capitalism, the military industrial complex and all militarism, income inequality, fossil fuel, and on and on. But it also includes racism, in all its forms. And it includes blind advocacy of so-call free speech and free press. Those concepts may have been appropriate in 1780. But they are outdated and dangerous when a single individual can use Twitter to brainwash 80 million people. As we recently saw first-hand, the cost of this can be too high.

  48. I generally agree with about 95% of what the brilliant Chris Hedges writes. But not this time.

    [“The same social forces which produced the Klan’s violence also produced the violence in Watts, Rochester and Harlem, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Nashville, Atlanta and Dayton, because they are all pieces of the same garment — social isolation, deprivation, economic conditions, rejections, working mothers, poor schools, bad diets, and all the rest,” Campbell writes.

    And these social forces produced the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests after the police murder of George Floyd and the storming of the Capitol by an enraged mob.]

    In my opinion this is a terribly flawed analogy by Chris Hedges, equating the response to police brutality and oppressive conditions in Watts, e.g. to the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner on Rock Cut Road in Neshoba Co. MS, and the killing of six Black children, Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, Virgil Ware, and Johnny Robinson in Birmingham.
    Per History . com, “Over the two years leading up to the (Watts) riot, 65 Black residents were shot by police, 27 of them in the back and 25 of them unarmed. Only 1 police officer was charged. Where has the KKK suffered this kind of violence at the hands of the police? Furthermore, the rebellion resulted in 34 deaths — 23 of whom were killed by the police and National Guard. Where has the KKK suffered this kind of violence at the hands of authorities?

    Secondly, the statements by Campbell and Hedges are egregious because they disregard the psychic force of philosophical white supremacy driving the violence of the KKK, and other raw elements of the White Supremacy Dynamic. That same psychic force drives state-sponsored violence against Black people, and it protected the white rioters on Capitol Hill. There was no comparable psychic force driving the rebellions between Watts and George Floyd.

  49. Wasn’t the woman who was killed during the riot also in financial trouble?

  50. Never ceases to amaze me the extent of the tortured logic many find to justify hatred and racism.

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