Chris Hedges Labor Original

Hedges: America’s New Class War

Organized workers, often defying their timid union leadership, are on the march across the United States.

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

Original illustration by Mr. Fish.

There is one last hope for the United States. It does not lie in the ballot box. It lies in the union organizing and strikes by workers at Amazon, Starbucks, Uber, Lyft, John Deere, Kellogg, the Special Metals plant in Huntington, West Virginia, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the Northwest Carpenters Union, Kroger, teachers in Chicago, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona, fast-food workers, hundreds of nurses in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

Organized workers, often defying their timid union leadership, are on the march across the United States. Over four million workers, about 3% of the work force, mostly from accommodation and food services, healthcare and social assistance, transportation, housing, and utilities have walked away from jobs, rejecting poor pay along with punishing and risky working conditions. There is a growing consensus – 68% in a recent Gallup poll with that number climbing to 77% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 – that the only way left to alter the balance of power and force concessions from the ruling capitalist class is to mobilize and strike, although only 9% of the U.S. work force is unionized. Forget the woke Democrats. This is a class war.

The question, Karl Popper reminded us, is not how we get good people to rule. Most of those attracted to power, figures such as Joe Biden, are at best mediocre and many, such as Dick Cheney, Donald Trump, or Mike Pompeo, are venal. The question is, rather, how do we organize institutions to prevent incompetent or bad leaders from inflicting too much damage. How do we pit power against power?

The Democratic Party will not push through the kind of radical New Deal reforms that in the 1930s staved off fascism and communism. Its empty political theater, which stretches back to the Clinton administration, was on full display in Atlanta when Biden called for revoking the filibuster to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, knowing that his chances of success are zero. Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, along with several of the state’s voting rights groups, boycotted the event in a very public rebuke. They were acutely aware of Biden’s cynical ploy. When the Democrats were in the minority, they clung to the filibuster like a life raft. Then Sen. Barack Obama, along with other Democrats, campaigned for it to remain in place. And a few days ago, the Democratic leadership employed the filibuster to block legislation proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz.

The Democrats have been full partners in the dismantling of our democracy, refusing to banish dark and corporate money from the electoral process and governing, as Obama did, through presidential executive actions, agency “guidance,” notices and other regulatory dark matter that bypass Congress. The Democrats, who helped launch and perpetuate our endless wars, were also co-architects of trade deals such as NAFTA, expanded surveillance of citizens, militarized police, the largest prison system in the world and a raft of anti-terrorism laws such as Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) that abolish nearly all rights, including due process and attorney-client privilege, to allow suspects to be convicted and imprisoned with secret evidence they and their lawyers are not permitted to see. The squandering of staggering resources to the military — $777.7 billion a year — passed in the Senate with an 89-10 vote and in the House of Representatives with a 363-70 vote, coupled with the $80 billion spent annually on the intelligence agencies has made the military and the intelligence services, many run by private contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton, nearly omnipotent. The Democrats long ago walked out on workers and unions. The Democratic governor of Maine, Janet Mills, for example, killed a bill a few days ago that would have allowed farm workers in the state to unionize. On all the major structural issues there is no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.

The longer the Democratic Party does not deliver real reforms to ameliorate the economic hardship, exacerbated by soaring inflation rates, the more it feeds the frustration of many of its supporters, widespread apathy (there are 80 million eligible voters, a third of the electorate, who do not cast ballots) and the hatred of the “liberal” elites stoked by Donald Trump’s cultish Republican Party. Its signature infrastructure package, Build Back Better, when you read the fine print, is yet another infusion of billions of government money into corporate bank accounts. This should not surprise anyone, given who funds and controls the Democratic Party.

The suffering and instability gripping at least half the country living in financial distress, alienated and disenfranchised, preyed upon by banks, credit card companies, student loan companies, privatized utilities, the gig economy, a for-profit health care system that has resulted in a quarter of all worldwide COVID-19 deaths—although we are less than 5% of the world’s population—and employers who pay slave wages and do not provide benefits is getting worse. Biden has presided over the loss of extended unemployment benefits, rental assistance, forbearance for student loans, emergency checks, the moratorium on evictions and now the ending of the expansion of the child tax credits, all as the pandemic again surges. The handling of the pandemic, from a health and an economic perspective, is one more sign of the empire’s deep decay. Americans who are uninsured, or who are covered by Medicare, often frontline workers, are not reimbursed for over-the-counter COVID tests they purchase. The Supreme Court – five of the justices were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote – also blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers. And on the horizon, fueled by the economic fallout from the pandemic, are large-scale loan defaults and another financial crisis. The worse things get, the more discredited the Democratic Party and its “liberal” democratic values become, and the more the Christian fascists lurking in the wings thrive.

As history has repeatedly proven, organized labor, allied with a political party dedicated to its interests, is the best tool to push back against the rich. Nick French in an article in Jacobin draws on the work of the sociologist Walter Korpi who examined the rise of the Swedish welfare state in his book “The Democratic Class Struggle.” Korpi detailed how Swedish workers, as French writes, “built a strong and well-organized trade union movement, organized along industrial lines and united by a central trade union federation, the Landsorganisationen (LO), which worked closely with the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Sweden (SAP).” The battle to build the welfare state required organizing – 76% of workers were unionized – waves of strikes, militant labor activity and SAP political pressure. “Measured in terms of the number of working days per worker,” Korpi writes, “from the turn of the century up to the early 1930s, Sweden had the highest level of strikes and lockouts among the Western nations.” From 1900–13, as French notes, “there were 1,286 days of idleness due to strikes and lockouts per thousand workers in Sweden. From 1919–38, there were 1,448. (By comparison, in the United States last year, according to National Bureau of Economic Research data, there were fewer than 3.7 days of idleness per thousand workers due to work stoppages.)” There are a few third parties including The Green Party, Socialist Alternative and The People’s Party that provide this opportunity. But the Democrats won’t save us. They have sold out to the billionaire class. We will only save ourselves.

Unions break down political divides, bringing workers of all political persuasions together to fight a common oligarchic and corporate foe. Once workers begin to exert power and extract demands from the ruling class, the struggle educates communities about the real configurations of power and mitigates the feelings of powerlessness that have driven many into the arms of the neofascists. For this reason, capitulating to the Democratic Party, which has betrayed working men and women, is a terrible mistake.

The rapacious pillage by the elites, many of whom bankroll the Democratic Party, has accelerated since the financial crash of 2008 and the pandemic.

Wall Street banks recorded record profits for 2021. As the Financial Times noted, they milked the underwriting fees from Fed-based borrowing and profited from mergers and acquisitions. They have pumped their profits, fueled by roughly $5 trillion in Fed spending since the beginning of the pandemic, as Matt Taibbi points out, into massive pay bonuses and stock buybacks. “The bulk of this new wealth—most—is being converted into compensation for a handful of executives,” Taibbi writes. “Buybacks have also been rampant in defense, pharmaceuticals, and oil & gas, all of which also just finished their second straight year of record, skyrocketing profits. We’re now up to about 745 billionaires in the U.S., who’ve collectively seen their net worth grow about $2.1 trillion to $5 trillion since March 2020, with almost all that wealth increase tied to the Fed’s ballooning balance sheet.”

Kroger is typical. The corporation, which operates some 2,800 stores under different brands, including Baker’s, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Foods Co., Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Gerbes, Jay C Food Store, King Soopers, Mariano’s, Metro Market, Pay-Less Super Markets, Pick’n Save, QFC, Ralphs, Ruler and Smith’s Food and Drug, earned $4.1 billion in profits in 2020. By the end of the third quarter of 2021, it had $2.28 billion in cash, an increase of $399 million in the first quarter of 2020. Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen made over $22 million, nearly doubling the $12 million he made in 2018. This is over 900 times the salary of the average Kroger worker. Kroger in the first three quarters of 2021 also spent an estimated $1.3 billion on stock buybacks.

Grocery store workers cheer as they picket outside a King Soopers store after rejecting the latest contract offer from the chain that is owned by Kroger, Co., Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in east Denver. The grocery store strike is the first in Denver since workers walked off their jobs in 1996. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

“Kroger is the only employer for 86 percent of their workers, making it their sole source of earned income,” Economic Roundtable in a survey of Kroger workers found. “Working full-time to earn a living wage would require Kroger to pay $22 per hour for an annual living wage total of $45,760. The average annual earnings of Kroger workers, however, equal $29,655. This is $16,105 short of the annual income needed to pay for basic necessities required for the living wage. More than two-thirds of Kroger workers struggle for survival due to low wages and part-time work schedules. Nine out of ten Kroger workers report that their wages have not increased as much as basic expenses such as food and housing have increase. Since 1990, wages for the most experienced Kroger food clerks have declined from 11 to 22 percent (adjusted for inflation) across the three regions surveyed. Across the entire grocery industry, 29 percent of the labor force is below or near the federal poverty threshold.”

More than one-third (36%) of 10,000 employees at Kroger-owned stores in Southern California, Colorado, and Washington said they were worried about eviction. More than three-quarters (78%) are food-insecure. One in 7 Kroger workers faced homelessness in the past year. Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) Kroger employees said they hadn’t paid the previous month’s mortgage on time.

More than 8,000 unionized Kroger’s King Soopers employees went on strike on Jan. 12 in Colorado, demanding higher wages and better working conditions from the country’s largest grocery store chain and fourth-largest private employer.

This is where one of the emerging front lines in the class struggle are located. It is where we should invest our time and energy.

Our capitalist democracy from the start was rigged against us. The Electoral College permits presidential candidates such as George W. Bush and Trump to lose the popular vote and assume office. The awarding of two senators per state, regardless of the state’s population, means that 62 senators represent one quarter of the population while six represent another quarter. The founding fathers disenfranchised women, Native Americans, African Americans, and men without property. Most citizens were intentionally locked out of the democratic process by the ruling white male aristocrats, most of them slaveholders.

All the openings in our democracy were the result of prolonged popular struggle. Hundreds of workers were murdered, thousands were wounded, tens of thousands were blacklisted in our labor wars, the bloodiest of any industrialized country. Abolitionists, suffragists, unionists, crusading journalists and those in the anti-war and civil rights movements opened our democratic space. These radical movements were repressed and ruthlessly dismantled in the early 20th century in the name of anti-communism. They were again targeted by the corporate elites following the rise of new mass movements in the 1930s. These popular movements, which rose again in the 1960s, moved us, inch by bloody inch, towards equality and social justice. Most of these gains made in the 1960s have been rolled back under the onslaught of neoliberalism, deregulation, and a corrupt campaign finance system, legalized by court rulings such as Citizens United, which allow the rich and corporations to bankroll elections to select political leaders and impose legislation. The modern incarnation of 19th-century robber barons, including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, each worth some $200 billion, summon us to our radical roots.

Class struggle defines most of human history. Marx got this right. It is not a new story. The rich, throughout history, have found ways to subjugate and re-subjugate the masses. And the masses, throughout history, have cyclically awoken to throw off their chains.


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.  Author Link

Copyright 2021 Chris Hedges

70 comments

  1. Middle class workers rose up against unions by the 1980s, calling them “leftist organizations,” and demanding their freedom. US job losses had long surpassed job gains. Currently, an estimated 10 million jobless, many with $0 incomes, 26 years into the Democrats war on the poor. What remains of today’s liberals simply have no cognizance of our poverty crisis.

    1. It’s not that elite liberals have no cognizance of poverty, they don’t care. The 80 percent or so are the “irrelevant” class- to them, as described by their esteemed philosopher Harari, we are useless hackable animals (of course, Harari considers himself superior to the rest of us):

      https://mobile.twitter.com/M_K_Waterlander/status/1483707403736551425?cxt=HHwWgsCs5bmBmJcpAAAA

      The Whitney Webb episode linked to in this tw posting is excellent, it’s one of her best and more relevant than ever.

  2. Once again brilliant piece Chris, thank you! Until people everywhere wake up to the truth of this class war we are doomed. The success of the neoliberals depends on divide and conquer their ancient strategy to keep the masses divided by the lies of race division, peace activists, gay rights, poor etc and they can sleep easy. However, when people unite on all fronts their grip on the throats of ordinary people is loosened. We need a strong international movement that is totally global in scale to throw off our chains one of the strategies of divide and conquer is Militari$m in the US the most cynical appeal to patriotism that exists. Now they want to distract everyone with the threat of Russia and China. The question now will Americans fall for this bullshit again or rise up and call Biden and the warmongers to account? As a betting man I wouldn’t count on it as the majority of Americans remain utterly entranced by the “Bread and Circuses” offered up by a shallow selfish culture and a media that supports unquestioningly the status quo. Not even the mainstream churches and synagogues of America challenge the lies, so much for being counter-cultural. Where is the leadership?

    1. > The success of the neoliberals depends on
      > divide and conquer their ancient strategy
      > to keep the masses divided by the lies of
      > race division, peace activists, gay rights, poor etc

      This is such an important point!

      If you were to attend a party thrown by the über-rich (fat chance!), you would no doubt find all kinds of people there: white, brown, black, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, straight, gay… The only thing they’d have in common would be possessing fat-ass bucks, and that would be enough for them to get along (and laugh at the rest of us).

      In the meantime, the masses have been led to believe that wars other than the class war matter — that personal pronouns are of greater importance than the ability to pay for food.

      The motto indeed used to be “divide and conquer”, but at this point in history (about three generations from its end in my estimation), the masses have been hypnotized by the elites into dividing up themselves. They’ve won. We’re fucked.

  3. Chris Hedges is of course correct although I bet even he would admit he is grasping at straws. This country is broken as are it’s people. On a philosophical and historical level I find it all quite fascinating while on an emotional level I shrink back in horror of it all. The image my mind conjures up when I contemplate the totality of it all, is that of a runaway train running at high speed towards a great chasm with no one at the controls.

    We are all collectively in the hands of the Gods of Chaos…..

  4. We don’t have a democratic republic. Maybe In an ideal world, but not in reality. The rich and powerful have always written the rules. Those with the most money rise to power. The powerful get ever richer. We all serve the money god. It is called capitalism and we will self destruct as the imbalance will destroy everything in our greedy path. The engine of civilization requires ever increasing resources that cause scarcity and degradation. We have reached the limits to growth. As Stephen Hawking said, we need to find a new planet.

    I was raised if you work hard, you get rewarded. And if that failed, a god will reward you in the next life. The meek shall inherit the earth. Ha. Nice trick, but it just ain’t so. The——(insert your favorite religious fascist) has existed since beginning of time. Leaders appointed and anointed by their god(s). It has always been a demographic driven world. Scare the beegeebees out of underlings, torture them, tax them, imprison them, enslave them or kill the infidels whitest they laugh all the way to the bank and lap up a life of luxury.

    All civilizations collapse eventually due to this imbalance in power. Name one that has survived. They all follow a similar trajectory on this road to collapse. No heeding warnings, or science, or religion, or unionization will cure the human need for more, regardless of the consequences. Humans are the top of the food chain, but we depend on the others for our very survival. We are in ecological overshoot and desperation is setting in. Greed just speeds that up,

    A George Orwell Animal House.

  5. We’ve allowed the worst of our humankind to amass enough wealth and power to rule and control the better, best, and rest of us. We’re now being systematically annihilated under a feral tyranny driving us to extinction by extermination.

    It seems it’s by design, actually … as if the mostly anonymous feral elites willfully chose this course for all humanity and engineered us to this very outcome once the MIT models delivered their LIMITS TO GROWTH analyses in 1972 … as if they’re a 4th Reich whose Final Solution wet dream is coming true at last.

    After all, what has the world become now but a global death camp, complete with an increasingly toxic gas chamber that had been our ecosystem biosphere?

    #votestrike

    1. > We’ve allowed the worst of our humankind
      > to amass enough wealth and power
      > to rule and control the better, best, and rest of us.

      Respectfully, I never allowed it. I am a card-carrying socialist (yes, we are still not fully extinct) and have fought this dominance of the most wicked among us tooth and nail.

      But the reality is that I live in a properly functioning democracy (the Netherlands) yet the vast majority of our electorate is super happy with their neoliberal overlords. Never underestimate the power of marketing!

  6. Unions must transition to demanding employee ownership of at least the majority of voting shares of the companies they organize in. The core dynamic of master/servant power relationships in Capitalism wont work until we transition to market economies of worker cooperatives.

  7. Why is a cumulative total essential and relevant? Because one institution in 2008, Citigroup, was insolvent for much of the time the Fed was flooding it with cheap loans. (Under law, the Fed is not allowed to make loans to an insolvent institution.) And when an insolvent institution is getting loans rolled over and over by the Fed for a span of two and a half years, at interest rates frequently below one percent when the market wouldn’t loan it money at even double-digit interest rates, it’s highly relevant to know the cumulative tally of just how much Citigroup got from the Fed. According to the GAO, that tally came to $2.5 trillion for just some of these Fed loan programs. (See page 131 of the GAO study here.)

    https://wallstreetonparade.com/2022/01/nomura-jpmorgan-and-goldman-sachs-received-a-cumulative-8-trillion-from-the-feds-emergency-repo-loans-in-fourth-quarter-of-2019/

    They get trillions. We get eviction notices.

    1. The Wall Street bailout between 2009 and 2012 cost taxpayers over $29 Trillion:
      cnbc.com/id/45674390
      levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_698.pdf
      huffpost.com/entry/bernankes-obfuscation-con_b_1147291
      rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/2008-financial-bailout-809731/
      Millions lost their homes which could probably have been salvaged by Federal funding (instead of bailing out the gamblers/ crooks); those banks would still have ended up with all the money.

  8. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, each worth some $200 billion, summon us to our radical roots. Oh, so much more than just the half a trillion. They are on the government payroll for life — their business is our business, as we pay them for contract after contract.

    The world’s 85 richest individuals possess as much wealth as the 3.5 billion souls who compose the poorer half of the world’s population, or so it was announced in a report by Oxfam International. The assertion sounds implausible to me. I think the 85 richest individuals, who together are worth many hundreds of billions of dollars, must have far more wealth than the poorest half of our global population.

    How could these two cohorts, the 85 richest and 3.5 billion poorest, have the same amount of wealth? The great majority of the 3.5 billion have no net wealth at all. Hundreds of millions of them have jobs that hardly pay enough to feed their families. Millions of them rely on supplements from private charity and public assistance when they can. Hundreds of millions are undernourished, suffer food insecurity, or go hungry each month, including many among the very poorest in the United States.

    Most of the 3.5 billion earn an average of $2.50 a day. The poorest 40 percent of the world population accounts for just 5 percent of all global income. About 80 percent of all humanity live on less than $10 a day. And the poorest 50 percent maintain only 7.2 percent of the world’s private consumption. How exactly could they have accumulated an amount of surplus wealth comparable to the 85 filthy richest?

    Hundreds of millions live in debt even in “affluent” countries like the United States. They face health care debts, credit card debts, college tuition debts, and so on. Many, probably most who own homes— and don’t live in shacks or under bridges or in old vans— are still straddled with mortgages. This means their net family wealth is negative, minus-zero. They have no propertied wealth; they live in debt.

    Millions among the poorest 50 percent in the world may have cars but most of them also have car payments. They are driving in debt. In countries like Indonesia, for the millions without private vehicles, there are the overloaded, battered buses, poorly maintained vehicles that specialize in breakdowns and ravine plunges. Among the lowest rungs of the 50 percent are the many who pick through garbage dumps and send their kids off to work in grim, soul-destroying sweatshops.

    The 85 richest in the world probably include the four members of the Walton family (owners of Wal-Mart, among the top ten superrich in the USA) who together are worth over $100 billion. Rich families like the DuPonts have controlling interests in giant corporations like General Motors, Coca-Cola, and United Brands. They own about forty manorial estates and private museums in Delaware alone and have set up 31 tax-exempt foundations. The superrich in America and in many other countries find ways, legal and illegal, to shelter much of their wealth in secret accounts. We don’t really know how very rich the very rich really are.

    Regarding the poorest portion of the world population— whom I would call the valiant, struggling “better half”—what mass configuration of wealth could we possibly be talking about? The aggregate wealth possessed by the 85 super-richest individuals, and the aggregate wealth owned by the world’s 3.5 billion poorest, are of different dimensions and different natures. Can we really compare private jets, mansions, landed estates, super luxury vacation retreats, luxury apartments, luxury condos, and luxury cars, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars in equities, bonds, commercial properties, art works, antiques, etc.— can we really compare all that enormous wealth against some millions of used cars, used furniture, and used television sets, many of which are ready to break down? Of what resale value if any, are such minor durable-use commodities? especially in communities of high unemployment, dismal health and housing conditions, no running water, no decent sanitation facilities, etc. We don’t really know how poor the very poor really are.

    Millions of children who number in the lower 50 percent never see the inside of a school. Instead they labor in mills, mines and on farms, under conditions of peonage. Nearly a billion people are unable to read or write. The number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. So poverty is spreading even as wealth accumulates. It is not enough to bemoan this enormous inequality, we must also explain why it is happening.

    But for now, let me repeat: the world’s richest 85 individuals do not have the same amount of accumulated wealth as the world’s poorest 50 percent. They have vastly more. The multitude on the lower rungs—even taken as a totality—have next to nothing.

    1. The idea is to have humans accept ‘less’ because less is “more”..

      Having more money means you can fill your house full of jewels but can you keep them? MORE SECURITY means less security in mind!

      Billionaires fear getting sued for all their money ..

      Once you make it to the majors leagues you want to stay at that level so, you need to improve your performance and ‘buy back your own ‘performing’ stock and using steroids was a ‘temporary fix’..

      “Cheating” has become the ‘new normal’ in American business..

      Its illegitimate like the western govts bought and sold out political parties..

      DON’T VOTE and give a rotten political system any legitimacy..

      Let them sit in their congresses as monstrosities to human life..

  9. “The question is, how do we organize institutions to prevent incompetent or bad leaders from inflicting too much damage. How do we pit power against power?”

    Since being ‘incompetent’ and a ‘bad leader’ is a necessary prerequisite for career advancement in these Woke United States, we know that side of the equation will not change. These are the ‘Inflictors’ class. But what of we, the ‘Inflictees’? We can’t just wait for an institutionalized response to this damage. We must also find it at our level of being individuals in our own personal life circles.

    “The Democrats have been full partners in the dismantling of our democracy…”

    JFK not only met his personal end in 1963, but with him went anything of value that used to exist with that once-proud Party. Starting with the big loud brute Texan that replaced him and then the ongoing parade of deepening levels of Marxists and Socialists posing as Democrats, it’s been a decades-long liquidation of what once was a useful workers-centered political force. At least to a certain extent.

    Democrats set a course for their own Party liquidation. Now they have set upon the full liquidation of the United States of America.

    And no, the Other Side is not doing much useful either these days. But at least They now appear to be less delusional than their esteemed Colleagues Across The Aisle.

    “The suffering and instability gripping at least half the country living in financial distress, alienated and disenfranchised, preyed upon by banks, credit card companies, student loan companies, privatized utilities, the gig economy, a for-profit health care system…”

    Certainly there are some at Eagle’s-eye viewing level of these banks, etc. who see that half the Nation is broke and getting desperate. And These institutional strategists no doubt pre-positioned a response to make sure that We the People don’t get too uppity or become too much of a nuisance. Hmmm. Anything important going on in the World the last two years? Anybody notice anything different? Anything we might recognize that was fully put into play to be Their answer to millions of angry people coming along?

    “All the openings in our democracy were the result of prolonged popular struggle.”

    The entire population of the World has been forced into a prolonged and ongoing existential struggle whether we wanted to be or not. We did not ask to be in this fight. Many of us don’t even believe we are in a fight.

    Perhaps that’s the answer. The first step toward winning a battle is to recognize that you are in one.

    1. The Democrats growing more Marxist and Socialist? Give me a break! I wish they truly were! In truth, they’re growing more and more Capitalist as time goes by. Corporations control the Democrats as much as the Republicans, and there’s no way you can describe Corporate America as anything even close to Marxist or Socialist.

      Before you throw those two words around, do take the effort to learn what they actually mean. It would spare you a good deal of embarrassment.

      1. ‘Socialism (defined): Social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that plans and controls the economy.’

        The key words here? Centralized… Plans and controls.

        How are the Democrats ‘Socialist’? The planned and controlled means of production and distribution of goods by a centralized government are what Democrats now advocate. They don’t want free Capitalistic producers (real Capitalism not the crony kind) and free choice by consumers but prefer Democrat-friendly corporate monopolies that crush and limit competition and small business.

        In fact, today’s version of Democrat doesn’t want a ‘free’ ANYTHING. They want everything under Their tight centralized control, economy and all else. Including our thinking. Free thinking not allowed. Is there even just one free-thinking Democrat leader somewhere that doesn’t submit to Party dictates? Maybe one or two. And they are catching major hell from their Democrat ‘colleagues’ for not ‘Following Orders!’.

        Democrats turned their backs on working people and sold their souls to Big Corporations who in turn purchase favor with the Federal Government of which the Democrats lust to be in charge of. A centralized government of control under combined Democrat/Big Corporation control. And that means we could throw one more current social/political quality of Democrats as well:

        “The definition of fascism is The marriage of corporation and state ” ― Benito Mussolini.

        ‘‘Marxism defined: a political and economic theory where a society has no classes. Every person within the society works for a common good, and class struggle is theoretically gone.”

        Key words: No classes… ‘common good’.

        Democrats do want a society with no classes and everyone working for the ‘common good’. But for Democrats, only they get to define ‘no classes’ and ‘common good’.

        Democrats for the past 50 years have worked hard to create a single American class of impoverished people where once a solid and prosperous Middle Class used to exist. They embrace policies to keep working people and minorities struggling rather than advocating for them as they used to do. Class struggle is gone because the Country is now dis-spirited and broke with help from both Parties. There’s your lack of class distinction of a Marxist: One single class of broke and unhappy people. Class struggle is gone! We’re all One now! Aren’t we All In This Together!?

        And the ‘common good’? What Democrats mean when they say ‘Common Good’ is what is good for THEM. Again, they turned their backs on pursuing Common Good when They turned their backs on working people.

        Republicans used to be called the Party of the Rich. For a couple decades now, Democrats reinvented themselves into the second Party of the Rich when they started to betray Working People.

        ‘Centralized’… ‘Plans and controls’… ‘No classes’… ‘common good’… sounds a lot like today’s standard Democrat boiler-plate speeches.

        And no, the Other Side is no better. Bi-Partisan National failure for America.

      2. The Democrats long ago stopped championing the Poor, the Blacks and Minorities, the Working Class, those who had been their constituencies, and instead turned to the CEOs, Managers and Experts, and the War Mchine, the big Establishment players (and donors). They advance “Socialism for the Rich, and privatization for the Poor”.
        Before Mussolini combined corporations and government to produce Fascism (he called it Corporatism), Mussolini had been the leading Socialist in Italy. Fascism and Socialism are not so far apart, if based on authoritorianism. Mussolini realized that Italian workers could not compete globally with poorer countries, and had few natural resources. So Workers of the World Unite became Workers of Italy Unite.
        The US’s leaders since Reagan have increasingly encouraged off-shoring of our high tech, even military, manufacturing. Keeping labor costs low means more profits for the few, but makes Fascism a viable option, and the Democrats are enabling that alternative.

  10. Bullshit, let alone a subtle attempt to further his socialist dreams. Unions are collectivist by nature which explains why they have historically supported the Democratic party. If the American workforce were to suddenly become unionized, all paying a “living wage”, the price of everything would quadrupedal even if you taxed the executive class to death.

    Further, to shit on Musk & Besos is to shit on every big dream innovator America has ever had. The transcontinental railway may well have been built by Irish and Chinese labor, but someone had to first come up with the idea and arrange the financing and planning. Same can be said for everything from the electric light to the first computer. Billionaire parasites my ass!

    America may well be seriously fucked-up in may ways but it sure beats living under a totalitarian state like China. Try going in that direction and Hedges’ worst nightmare (Christian fascists) will come true.

    1. I have consulted various dictionaries, but I cannot find a word for just how ignorant and stupid you are. Enjoy your fascist future (it sounds as if you might)!

      PS: “quadrupedal”? Did you even finish high school?

    2. I can only hope that the AFL-CIO etc. will never donate another dime to the Democratic Party .

    3. I’m sorry, but the railroads were built on land granted by the federal government. And nearly all innovation has been funded from public coffers. You are living the lie that competitive capitalism works, when, in fact, it’s destroying the planet we live on. Not a great track record.

    4. China has a history of setting ambitious, nearly impossible goals and then achieving them –often before deadline – so this pledge is significant.

      Under the Communist Party of China (CPC), Beijing has already created an “economic miracle” in transforming China into the largest economy in the world. It ended extreme poverty while creating the largest middle class in the world.

      It has virtually eradicated Covid-19 through non-pharmaceutical methods, while vaccinating up to 20 million people daily, and pledging the largest number of vaccines (2.2 billion) and distributing more than a billion to the rest of the world.

      It has also been applying similar focus and national resolve to tackle climate change.

      China has the greatest program of adopting renewable energy of any country. It generates more renewable power than North, Central and South America – 42 countries – combined. It has more solar parks and wind farms than any other country. Last year it established more wind power than the rest of the world combined.

      It has more electric vehicles than any other country: it operates 420,000 electric buses, 99% of the world’s total; Shenzhen alone has 16,000 e-buses and 22,000 e-taxis. It aims to have 325 million electric vehicles operating by 2050.

      Its high-speed rail network spanning 38,000 kilometers is so extensive and effective that air travel is starting to become obsolete. No country has as dense, large, and efficient system of clean public transportation and high-speed rail as China.

      In addition, China has the greatest carbon-sequestration afforestation program in the world, creating forests the size of Belgium every year. It has doubled its forest coverage to 23% over the past 40 years. Satellite analysis over the past 20 years by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Lab proves that China has contributed more to greening the planet than any other country in the world.

      In other words, by almost every sustainability index, China is a world leader – far ahead of the US, for example – and is pioneering a way forward for the planet. It will likely hit its targets ahead of time.

      These things are happening because the CPC has written sustainability and ecological development directly into its constitution. This is then implemented into regional and local policy, such as sustainable eco-city mandates, transportation policy, energy infrastructure, and advanced research, as well as dedicated funding for alternative energy development for companies to start up and build clean energy technology.

      These commitments exist despite the fact that China’s historical and per capita GHG and CO2 emissions are a fraction of the world’s total. According to the World Bank, on an annual per capita basis, China’s share is less than half of the United States; its household energy consumption is one-eighth of America’s.

      1. I can give you an equally long list of achievements from Stalinist Russia but that doesn’t make it any less totalitarian.

      2. Wow! Paul+Haeder as apologist for the CCP! That’s a surprise!
        So your solution for everything that ails America is a one party police state, led by one Chairman whose Thought is compulsory learning from kindergarten , where non pharmaceutical methods for COVID 19 eradication include total lockdowns for millions of peoples , where the Party tells you where you are allowed to live, with total media censure, etc
        So who is going to be the American Chairman Xi?

      3. China has become the greatest nation in the World, in part because the US off-shored our most important technologies and jobs to them. The Clintons in particular worked hard to get them favored nation trading status (in return for Chinagate?), dropping regulations which stopped certain applications from going to Communist countries. China shared the wealth a bit better than Western countries (or India) lifting millions out of poverty. The goal of the Clintons was that the Soviets/ Russians were our enemy, and China would be a bulwark against them. Now China is potentially the bigger enemy.
        China has always been more of a mercantile empire than a military empire. By necessity they have joined with Russia militarily, but if they defeat the US, their alliance will likely collapse. With our neocons and neolibs running America (and the World!) war is evitable (Thucydides Trap?)

    5. Progress in capitalist ventures are only sustainable when the profit margins allow it..Cotton had to be moved to ports for export and the railroads were promoted as being the prime mover in investment…

      If not for slavery, the American cotton market opened the doors to prosperity to those who could afford to invest in America’s exporting its futures in cotton..

      There’s nothing heroic in parasitical investments when no one knows yet the means to profit would turn out to be human EVIL..

      1. We can debate all day long about what made America great. It certainly wasn’t socialism. We can probably agree that is was some form of corruption. But I fail to see where corruption hasn’t been the driving factor in every political system the world has ever come up with. Altruism only exists in theory not in practice.

    6. Here’s the problem with you leftist idealists. You are NEVER satisfied. You look at the world through rose-colored glasses, completely ignoring the Real World around you. Your Woke segment is clinically insane due to a volatile mix of unattainable hyper morality and emotional overload. “La La Land or Bust” should be your new mantra. Multi-colored bumper stickers galore to celebrate a cult of people who cannot understand why the world doesn’t work the way their sensitive minds say it should!

      Hedges is arguably the best social critic in the world today and should stick to what he does best instead of trying to buy his stairway to heaven with cultural Marxism. STFU with pie-in-the-sky solutions you know perfectly well will not work. Hedges’ real strength is his ability to actually understand the Real World. His downfall is a religious obsession to follow the good, but he has no real workable solution to attaining that objective. He says (repeatedly) “I don’t fight fascism because I think I will win. I fight fascism because it is fascism.” These are the words of a martyr. The “Jone of Arch syndrome”. You need to stick to the Real World Doom and Gloom that you know and preach so well with the intent to kill the fear among your followers! There are no solutions to the cyclical twists and turns this lunatic species regularly demonstrates throughout history. If this realistic appraisal frightens people they need to come to terms with what drives this emotional response. All you are doing with fluff pieces such as the above is feeding the disorder.

      I want the real Hedges back! The guy who can see shit storm coming! I want him to tell people that there is no way to avoid this and to prepare your minds to deal with it! FDR nailed it when he said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Without that debilitating malady holding you back the world is yours. 😉

      1. Money and citizenship is what keeps me here. You think I wouldn’t fucking leave if I could? My children deserve better than this godforsaken cracker hellhole police state.

    7. I’m 100% certain that there is poor child somewhere on the planet that is capable of greater things than Musk and Bezos have accomplished
      Ideas don’t come from capitalists. They’re stolen by them and commodified and owned. You all are such simps. Humans innovated before capitalism and will after.

      1. No doubt, but all we have in the Real World right now is Musk, Bezos and all of the other movers and shakers. Not all of them were thieves of ideas. Are you suggesting they would have done better under another political system? If your only problem with Musk and Bezos is they are highly successful and employ hundreds of thousands of people, I don’t get what you have to complain about. 🙂

    8. Spoken like someone that knows nothing of unions and a bootlicker you are. Remember when the minimum wage was $4.25 and they said if it went up, a Big Mac would be $20. Now McDonalds (where I live in KY) pays $15/hr and a Big Mac meal is $9. While it’s not the cornerstone of nutrition, it does prove the old bootlicker tripe of, “if we raise wages, the price of everything goes up,” doesn’t hold water. But do you know what still holds up after all these years? You get what you pay for. Unions make better lives. Social issues take care of themselves with unions.

      1. Hello Kentucky. 🙂

        Nothing is this simple. $15 per hour = $29,250 per year before tax, which is barely a subsistence wage for one person never mind a family. And McDonald’s is not in the food business but rather the real estate business while fronting as a food business, so the financial dynamics of a large corporation change in that situation. A $9 Big Mac deal doesn’t hold water with everything else taken into account.

        Same with your views on unions and social issues not being that simple. If all you are looking at is better wages and added benefits like health care and more vacation days, then your view of “unions make better lives” is true. However, if you look at the nature of unions, which are collectivist and socialist (how could they be anything else!), now you get problems in a capitalist system because the two ideologies are diametrically opposed.

        Hedges is a socialist who endorses a left-wing oligarchy that by its very nature will eventually go full blow Marxist. If you have ever wondered why unions are opposed by a capitalist system this is the opinion of the ruling elite. 🙂

    9. If the American workforce were to suddenly become unionized, all paying a “living wage”, the price of everything would quadrupedal even if you taxed the executive class to death.

      Umm, no. This sort of economic delusion of a dog-eat-dog zero-sum game is at the heart of bad economics and the crazy politics that comes with it. But it keeps the “executive class” on top, sabotaging the economy and everyone’s lives. Just so they can stay on top, no other reason, ever. Employing everyone at living wages is a good thing for everyone; there are NO negatives. That’s what rational theory and historic experience unequivocally says.

      When the USA (or anywhere in the rest of the world) was more unionized, when people were paid a living wage, inflation was lower, prosperity was rampant, unemployment or homelessness hardly existed. The “executive [ruling] class” demands a fantastic mass of inefficiency and lunacy – again, to keep itself on top. Get these a–holes, these billionaire parasites who are legends in their own, and sadly far too many others’ minds -get them out of power. Triumph over them as was done in the middle of the last century – say 1930-1980 in the USA – (See Sam Pizzigati’s book The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class, 1900-70 for one) – and we have a far better world.

      Their only weapon is the lies, the fake history, the fake statistics that people like Chris Wolf and so many others have succumbed to. All one has to do is – one’s intellectual homework – and the truth is obvious. But the lies are so omnipresent and deeply ingrained that most of the Left unconsciously repeats and reinforces the more pernicious lies while attacking the lesser ones.

      1. I’m not bashing unions here. So far, capitalism has compromised on unions to a degree but careful not to let the movement get out of hand. To look at this as some “economic delusion” is to ignore the politics that run it all and oil and water don’t mix well. I’ll give capitalism due credit for compromising to the degree they have. If the shoe were on the other foot the socialists wouldn’t have anything to do with them.

        This is a pick your poison world. And while capitalism is experiencing another downward cycle, better that than the kind of Marxist oligarchy Hedges endorses. 🙂

  11. “how do we organize institutions to prevent incompetent or bad leaders from inflicting too much damage. How do we pit power against power?”

    That is a technology of democracy design that was never developed after the Constitution was written, despite the warnings of the Founders. It is done in control systems by redundant controllers, using one of two means: Where the controller cannot detect its own errors (as in aircraft autopilots), it is placed in a group of three that vote and disable the dissenter as broken. Where the controller can detect its errors but not fix them (as in mass storage systems), it is placed in a groups of at least two, and upon detecting an error, disables itself and reboots while the other handles the workload.

    The US Constitution made a guess that the three federal branches could implement checks and balances between each other. That works about as well as relying upon the aircraft landing gear and rudder if the wings fall off. The branches cannot balance each other, only a few scenarios were considered, no checks at all were placed on the judicial branch, and the executive branch has every bit of the actual power, and has rarely been balanced or checked by the others.

    In a human organization subject to corruption and error, both methods are needed. The federal branches must have redundant control groups that implement checks and balances, at each level and the top level of each branch. But they must also have extensive preclusion of external influence, internal monitoring, rotating committee memberships, automatic checks for bias factions, and the ability to swap out bad elements, and reconfigure bad groups.

    The College of Policy Debate (CongressOfDebate dot org) will have such controls to prevent bias, and can serve as a model of government reform. In a few weeks I will place a downloadable book there describing the many controls that are needed to prevent factional takeovers. The College will conduct moderated text debates between all viewpoints on all issues worldwide, by university experts, and produce commented debate summaries for public access with mini-quizzes and discussion groups.

    1. You fight fire with water POWER because water changes its form to suit the cracks it must go through to seek its own level that benefits all and that is down below others where people don’t usually like to go…

    2. I had a very similar idea very recently (even drew up a ‘Bring back Public Debate’ logo). What you describe is mush more fleshed out. I agree wholeheartedly, that we need to promulgate a grass roots movement for restoring integrity to thought. If you need any support in your efforts many people like myself (PolySci background with 20 years coding experience) am ready to heed the call, just say where to show up.

  12. Even though the people of the United States have been living under corporate feudalism for nearly 250 years, they like to believe they live in a democracy.

    The people of the United States imagine democracy to be the bedrock of their federal government, when in fact instances of democracy are the exception.

    1. Leftism is seen as altruistic /idealistic in America regardless of the fact that it’s never even fucking existed here in any kind of meaningful way in the government. The New Deal was socialism. Corporate bailouts are also socialism. Socialism is when money is collectivized and used on things. Thats it. You can use it on the right or left.
      The multi-million people strong IWW was brought to it’s knees last century by corporate power paying governors to use the national guard and sherrifs against its own striking workers and citizens. The only way out of oppression is to kill your oppressors. Tale as old as time. Enjoy the burning planet and roving bands of homeless.

      1. Socialism for the rich? Corporate welfare? Bull. Socialism is for the good of all people, lifting up the poor and the sick, and creating a society where the exploiters do not exist, and where war is not the planning undergirder for everything.

        Inverted totalitarianism, sure, but the corporate crimes are crimes, not socialism. You know that. There are billions of people who want their land back, who want to be left alone by the parasites, the capitalists. You know that.

        Forty acres and a mule and decent water and housing, that’s not stealing from anyone. You know that.

        The good old days when we truly hated the rich:

        In 1920, Wall Street reporter Edwin Lefèvre derided “some wretchedly rich people” in a Post article called “The Annoyances of Being Rich Today.” Without naming names, Lefèvre detailed conversations with bankers and heirs about their gripes with imperfect service and ungrateful butlers. One rich man told the author that he feared a revolution was afoot after he asked a waiter for bread and — instead of silent obedience — the response came: “Sure thing!” Others complained about accusations of vanity or the prospect of their service staff seeking higher wages.

        Lefèvre sums up the groans of the plutocrats by casting wealth as a sort of illness:

        I am convinced that there is a definite social disease which we may call gold poisoning. When a man has too much gold, some of it gets into the system; through the pores, it almost seems. It causes deafness and affects the sight. These ailments, gold deafness and gold blindness, are responsible for most of the annoyances of which the stricken rich so bitterly complain today. Instead of seeing or hearing, they are merely aware of a rumbling sound—the tread of their fellow men marching toward them, armed with bombs, bitterness, and taxes.

        John Stuart Mill called the rich, “the unearned excrement.” Oh, what a day it would be to see that again, lifted up high, daily, in the media, but this is a world of valorizing the rich, listening to the liars and grifters — the thespians — and all the handlers, the hangers-on the rich-super rich employ to massage their messages.

        Larry Glickman, a professor of history at Cornell University, says he has used this clip in one of his classes to illustrate the criticism of so-called robber barons of the late nineteenth century: “In the Gilded Age, ‘capitalist’ was really a term given by its enemies to people who had earned wealth in an unfair, immoral way, so a lot of small business men said something similar to what Hickenlooper said.” Glickman says the distrust of robber barons (or capitalists) comes back to the question of hard work. “There was this idea that you had labor producing things, and that accumulating wealth through honest production was a good thing,” he says, “but there was a new class of people called capitalists getting their wealth through unproductive, exploitative ways.” (Saturday Evening Post).

      2. Michael Parenti summed this up perfectly in his 2015 book “Profit Pathology and Other Indecencies” with this passage that was recently shared by Louis Allday:

        “But they don’t care about what we think. They turn a deaf ear to us,” some people complain. That is not true. They care very much about what you think. In fact, that is the only thing about you that holds their attention and concern. They don’t care if you go hungry, unemployed, sick, or homeless. But they do care when you are beginning to entertain resistant democratic thoughts. They get nervous when you discard your liberal complaints and adopt a radical analysis. They do care that you are catching on as to what the motives and functions of the national security state and the US global empire are all about at home and in so many corners of the world. They get furiously concerned when you and millions like you are rejecting the pap that is served up by corporate media and establishment leaders.

        By controlling our perceptions, they control our society; they control public opinion and public discourse. And they limit the range and impact of our political consciousness. The plutocrats know that their power comes from their ability to control our empowering responses. They know they can live at the apex of the social pyramid only as long as they can keep us in line at the pyramid’s base. Who pays for all their wars? We do. Who fights these wars? We do or our low-income loved ones do. If we refuse to be led around on a super-patriotic, fear-ridden leash and if we come to our own decisions and act upon them more and more as our ranks grow, then the ruling profiteers’ power shrinks and can even unwind and crash—as has happened with dynasties and monarchies of previous epochs.

        We need to strive in every way possible for the revolutionary unraveling, a revolution of organized consciousness striking at the empire’s heart with full force when democracy is in the streets and mobilized for the kind of irresistible upsurge that seems to come from nowhere yet is sometimes able to carry everything before it.

        There is nothing sacred about the existing system. All economic and political institutions are contrivances that should serve the interests of the people. When they fail to do so, they should be replaced by something more responsive, more just, and more democratic.

  13. HOORAY ! At last the people who get stuff done are eagerly rebelling against the ones who arrange the financing !
    ( … the finicky billionaire parasites who like jugglers , prosper @ the whim of the public .)

    And the alert public ( us ) is no longer pleased w/ the obsolete generation of union leaders who have been snoozing while we’ve been losing.

    We’ll throw them out, put jumper cables on the existing unions that can be re-started & improvise new ones (unions ) all over the place!

    -J.Joslin ( IBEW Local # 58 , Detroit , Michigan near Canada )

  14. Deary me. From advocating ‘civil disobedience’ as a strategy for change, Hedges now posits this way forward: ‘…organized labor, allied with a political party dedicated to its interests, is the best tool to push back against the rich.’ At least it’s a start — of sorts. But good grief, capitalist Sweden as the template, as an ‘answer’? And via an utterly false parallel of the bourgeois Greens, the cop lovers of Socialist Alternative or the petty bourgeois electoral machine of The Peoples Party (take your pick!)? These outfits are Hedges’ US equivalents of the Social Democratic Workers Party of Sweden, given that the capitalist Democrats somehow ‘walked out on workers and unions'(!). No, the Democrats never were for workers or union interests. They only ‘walked out on’ paying lip service to workers and unions, from Clinton on.

    The Democrats have always been a capitalist party and never had a working class base, despite sellout trade union misleaders throwing away hard earned union dues to the Democrat Party electoral machine, like pearls to swine. Or being co-opted to run in elections. But have no illusions, the trade union misleaders by no means are ‘timid’, as they’ve always been very aggressive in stabbing strikes in the back, and always are very non-timid when it comes to witch hunting and stamping out any militancy in the rank-and-file. Invariably, they’ve been swine throwing pearls to swine.

    Truly ‘exceptional’, the US is the only industrialised capitalist country without a mass workers party. The closest it came to getting one was precisely when the Communist Party USA rode and led many of the 1930s class battles waged by workers which won them a lot of working class support and wrested the New Deal out of FDR’s Democrats. But just as soon as the ‘deal’ was sealed, the CPUSA channelled all the workers’ energy and militancy into supporting the Democrats. What should have been the beginnings of a genuine mass workers party in the US, the product of militant class consciousness born in successful struggles and pitched battles that forged the industrial unions of the CIO, was betrayed by the reformist CPUSA. The New Deal didn’t really ‘stave off’ communism — the CPUSA did that.

    The notion that the capitalist Greens could possibly be a candidate ‘political party dedicated to its interests’ is a cruel, grotesque joke the working class can ill afford to entertain. The Greens’ have a long, sorry record of power sharing in Germany, and now they’re the extremely anti-working class, Russophobic, and pro-NATO right wing of a rather reactionary governmental coalition. Anyone expecting the Greens to be any different if given the chance in the US should seek the help of a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. ECT might be the only cure. Along with the Greens, Socialist Alternative, DSA, the Peoples Party and other ‘State Department’ socialists fit the profile of the CIA’s ‘non-communist left’ to a tee. And, like the CPUSA, they’re no threat to capitalist rule but if only given the chance to ‘prove’ themselves, would be its bulwark.

    Sweden is no model for change at all. Its much vaunted social welfare system has been undergoing a slow but sure dismantling since the 1980s. All reforms under capitalism are contingent, and the speed of their dissolution always depends on the willingness and ability of the working class to defend them. The presence of a mass working class party, even a reformist one like the Swedish Social Democrats, can slow this process somewhat. Accordingly, over the last 4-5 decades post-WWII reforms have been dismantled at different tempos in different capitalist countries, including in Scandinavia.

    It is thus a profound delusion to believe in notions propounded by reactionary anti-communists like Karl Popper that if only ‘good people’ were running capitalism’s institutions things somehow would be better, and good outcomes for the majority might somehow return. The institutions of capitalism have never been there to serve the majority, whether they’re run by the ‘very best’, mediocrities or the venal. The decay of a social system is reflected in the decay of its institutions, and a society in terminal decline is evidenced by kakistocracy (‘rule by the worst’).

    The institutions of capitalism, especially its state machine of repression, desperately need not reform but to be smashed completely and replaced by a rational system of production, distribution and governance that serves rather than exploits the vast majority. With its social power, with its ability to turn production off and on, the organised working class led by (and not simply ‘allied with’) a revolutionary party, is uniquely placed to do this, to not merely ‘push back against the rich’ but to expropriate them and drive these parasites from power. Only then can our species have any hope of avoiding a rapidly approaching, or even sudden, extinction.

    1. Civil disobedience is what it will take for unorganized or poorly organized working people to ‘unionize’ or re-unionize themselves.
      Effective organizing by workers is perfectly illegal in the United States .

      1. Civil disobedience is just a start, but it goes nowhere if leaderless and with no program of what to do after the ‘disobeying’ — just as BLM, Occupy and Extinction Rebellion have led to nothing. And the exemplar civil disobedience often held up by Hedges, Extinction Rebellion, notably has been omitted from this piece. Despite anarchoid sympathies, even Hedges might be beginning to recognise that leaderless movements with no social power and a program for power are a waste of time and energy. They burn people out.

        Organising in the US has always been illegal, yet after pitched battles, unions covering whole industries were achieved, with many operating under closed-shop rules. The reason for that has been leadership from socialist and communist organisations (ie, reds, dreaded ‘outside agitators’) that knew how to use workers power to beat back the bosses and their state. That’s what the 1930s was all about. In contrast, the inchoate, leaderless and classless ‘grass roots movements’ of today that at most cause traffic jams and ‘led’ by well-meaning ingenues who abhor ‘authority’ have been so easily co-opted and otherwise quelled. Organising union shops requires ‘outside agitators’, as do any movements for significant change that conflicts with the interests of the ruling class and the forces at its disposal.

        While the lessons of history seldom are remembered or are even known about by the oppressed and working class (who certainly don’t have the time or opportunity to soak them up), the ruling class and their state certainly have learnt them. And that’s also why leadership is so important for the oppressed and exploited to have any chance of winning — such leadership necessarily comes from the outside.

    2. Let me know when human beings can effectively end oppression without counter violence and civil disobedience. You fuckin delusional clowns think you can just vote your way out of this.

  15. Thank you Lord for Chris Hedges. I wouldn’t give you 50 cents for an intelligent man, but someone with the sort of knowledge Chris has becomes utterly priceless in these times of utter folly.

    Most simply summarized, human history is the story of the subjugation of the weak by the strong.

    As Chris has pointed out, we can’t count on the masters to bail us out of this one. After all, they are the same leaders who have brought us to the edge of the abyss and told us it will all be OK if we take one more step. This includes all your favorite states, corporations and institutions. …And yes, this means it’s up to us slaves.

    We have to disrupt commerce through non-violent action as exhibited by Extinction Rebellion and communicate (or “be heard”) through public demonstrations as exhibited by Black Lives Matter. Further, we must organize and there is no reason we can not organize globally.

    Disrupting production is only one method we should utilize. In all probability, it will be even less effective and efficient than our ability to disrupt markets. How can the working and poor class do this?

    They won’t talk a lot about this, but it’s critically important. Workers are the Consumers in this system.

    That means we can get together to boycott.

    The market is also their weakness. The one percent can’t grow riches by trading amongst themselves. They need us to buy their things and services. We are the 80% (the other 19% are in cahoots with the 1% so the lion’s share of these won’t get onboard).

    We can start by supporting the BDS movement. Look at what was accomplished in South Africa before the capitalists swooped in with the IMF and company.

    We don’t have time for most reform including what’s needed in the Democratic Party. Revolution (the non-violent sort guys like Chris support) is our only real hope now.

  16. There’s much discussion of central bank digital currency these days, of its future implications and its technological origins. I’ve noticed, however, there are not many examining its roots in social policy. The concept of programmed money didn’t show up center stage in time for the Fourth Industrial Revolution without considerable advance planning. Social scientists and behavioral economists used impoverished communities as testbeds for unscrupulous experimentation in the decades leading up to the crypto-bait and switch. Illustrious academic careers have been built on investigations into evidence-based public assistance “reforms” including Mexico’s Progresa and the World Food Program’s refugee iris-scan payment system.

    A slide deck prepared by the World Bank in 2014 promoting conditional cash transfers shows programmed benefits reaching tens of millions of people worldwide. The program in Brazil, Bolsa Familia, started with 3.5 million people in 2003, expanding to 54 million a decade later. In the Philippines a conditional cash pilot serving 6,000 people in 2007 grew to 14 million participants in only seven years. Once hooked into the payment programs, participants are subject to rules of proper behavior imposed by the government including daycare and school attendance, vaccination, workshop participation, and demonstrations of productive labor.

  17. Working class people fail to fight the class war now waged against us as long as we believe professional class gatekeepers like Hedges that we should struggle on behalf of our own demise for ‘health care’ and ‘welfare’ as designed by ruling class powers behind the covid coup agenda.

    The false flag ‘pandemic’ or scamdemic which has overtaken the world with such measures of medical martial law as disaster capitalism’s imposition of economic lockdowns, far more destructive and deadly in their genocidal impact than another normal flu season, and primarily responsible for the conditons of increased austerity and immiseration bemoaned by Hedges here, is in fact an instrument of elites’ final solution to the longstanding history of class war, including its recent neoliberal period as that ruling order has been on the verge of collapse, again, under the weight of its own crises and contradictions. Human resources of labor have become expendable in the Great Reset’s 4th industrial revolution, and are to be socially engineered by manufactured crises of public health, from covid to climate change, into global depopulation and genetic and digital adaptation to a technofascist world order under the rule of AI.

    The collaboration of leftist intellectuals manufacturing dissent for consent to the lies of the emerging biosecurity state, as with Hedges’ effective support for mandated (non-)’vaccines’ and their bioweaponized means of mass murder (or Chomsky’s call for forced isolation and denial of access to basic necessities for the unvaccinated), is a gross and reprehensible betrayal of working class people, representing the very radical evil about which Hedges so often sermonizes.

    If you want to find true friends of working class people today, look to someone like Reiner Fuellmich and the Corona Investigative Committee, now about to present our case (Nuremberg 2.0) in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in this war still being waged against us. And join the resistance.

    1. Much harsher lockdowns have been imposed by the CCP, the Party of the Working Class by definition, which I suppose is not part of the “disaster capitalism” you profess to abhor!

  18. Another exquisite piece of disinformation propaganda from the Chris Hedges’ production line, replete with non sequitur reasoning, selective use of statistics and quantitative data , but this time with the unintended (I hope) consequence of actively contributing to the victory of Trumpism in the vital electoral confrontations of 2022 and 2024.
    The list of America’s injustices and faults is real enough , but the adoption of “pox on both your houses” point of view throwing together the Democrats and Republicans is both factually false and de facto helping the most extreme wing of the Republicans. It is true that the Democratic Party is far from perfect and for sure not the party to lead the Workers Class (whatever that means in our time) to victory in the Class War, but on every measure is preferable to the alternative and fact is that in this universe there is no third alternative !
    The drive to improve the pay and conditions of service workers is justified and necessary, by regulation or industrial action (i.e. strikes and unions), but this is not class struggle/war in the Marxist sense which implies the abolition of capitalism by changing the ownership of the means of production from private to collective (i.e. statal). Marx and Engels stressed that the unions, by concentrating on improving conditions and pay do not oppose the wage system underpinning the capitalist structure, but help enforce and perpetuate it!
    Unions also will not address social and political issues such as the convoluted US electoral system and their relevance in today economy (where for instance a company such as Kroger is 84% owned by institutions which are not necessarily committed to its continued existence) is not always clear.
    The use of Sweden as an “ideal “society is funny because it has all the elements that are normally anathema to CH and like : very high wealth inequality (even more than the US! GINI coefficient of 0.867 vs 0.852) , private control of practically all industry, a powerful arms industry (the 9th or 10th arms exporter in the world, which for its population is remarkable),reduction of income taxes (albeit from a very high level). In 2013 it had 2 days of work stoppages per 1000 workers (same as the US).
    In any case , there is no real usefulness in comparing an European country with an ethnically homogenic population of about 10 million, with such a diverse country as the US with its 320 million people.
    In conclusion, the battle cry of the “class war” for 2022/2024 should be “No Pasaran” (Trumpisti) and not the defeatist quest for the perfect , crystal pure anti capitalistic knight on a white horse!

  19. If I had heroes, Chris Hedges would be one, which is why it pained me so to read perhaps the worst sentence Hedges ever wrote:

    “presidential executive actions, agency “guidance,” notices and other regulatory dark matter that bypass Congress. ”

    And he linked to a Competitive Enterprise Institute corporate propaganda piece too supported its!

    Stunning, because Hedges often praises his hero, Ralph Nader, who was a master of “regulatory dark matter”.

    Hedges also writes about the Powell Memo, which was corporate America’s attack on “regulatory dark matter”.

    And Hedges knows that right now, not only Brietbart and Co. are attacking the “administrative state”, but the Supreme Court is about to dismantle the legal basis for “regulatory dark matter” by stripping EPA of power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions the same way they just gutted OSHA’s about to mandate vaccines.

    What the heck was he thinking? Chris, take that back!

  20. “The Supreme Court – five of the justices were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote – also blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers.”

    Chris Hedges seems to be suggesting that the Supreme Court’s blocking of the Covid shot mandate was a bad thing. I think it’s important to remind him that the experimental MRNA gene therapy is being administered without patient knowledge of its ingredients, nor its implications for a person’s long term health, thus violating patient informed consent laws.

    Hedges correctly sounds the alarm for creeping fascism in context with labor struggles for better pay and benefits, but contradicts himself by seeming to support medical fascism as exemplified by the merging of Government and Big Pharma in their push for illegal mandates.

  21. We are screwed when workers at Kroger can’t afford the groceries at Kroger.

    I seem to recall that Henry Ford paid his auto factory workers much more than the going factory wage, so that they could afford to buy the cars they made.

    How far we have fallen.

  22. Someone needs to call bullish•t on Green energy. Ok there is climate change and to be a denier would only be shallow but green energy is an oxymoron . For one thing building electric cars and wind farms requires the utilisation and mining of rare metals and minerals for parts and fuel cells which in itself is polluting and in fact no better than what we have all ready. I do not drive never had but I’m in awe of the combustion engine. It has taken only a couple of centuries for human beings to harness this technology that has touched that nuclear ball we call the sun.

  23. With information so readily available these days, it does not bode well that most still have not accepted nor even considered the idea of One Big Union.

    I have no faith in the current strikes mentioned in this piece making much if any difference. A general strike is the only possible solution.

  24. as usual hedges is wrong. he has zero cultural awareness and certainly does not comprehend Marx, Lenin, Marcuse, etc. he fails to comprehend the peculiar american character, history.
    “Americans live in a thicket of illusions: they demand illusions about themselves”. Daniel boors tin
    “americans are entirely confused about themselves”. Simone de Beauvoir
    “americans bewilder Europeans”. Geoffrey Gorer

  25. As a working class person from a working class family, it’s very difficult to not see the majority of people in my class as absolute dupes. The idea that working folks don’t have the time or resources to learn the true history of the labor movement is ridiculous. They have plenty of time to watch crap TV & Fox ‘news’. Libraries are still free. There is plenty of info at their fingertips online but posting shit on FB is clearly more important to them. It’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so damn disheartening. The reality is most working class white people in the U.S. just don’t care much about anything of importance. Make excuses for them if that makes you feel better. They are doomed & loving it. A sick breed.

  26. Land. That’s the capitalists’ agenda. Thieving Capitalists.

    The world’s food systems are in crisis, and big agribusiness is at its heart OpenDemocracy | 19 Jan 2022

    We can no longer afford to pour billions in public money into projects that exacerbate debt, inequalities, poverty and climate change

    Minister heralds Chinese agri investments Phnom Penh Post | 18 Jan 2022

    Cambodia’s Minister of Agriculture hosts meeting on agricultural cooperation with a Chinese company identified only as “Hualong”.

    AgDevCo offloads Babator Farming Company to Ghanaian Oba Pack Limited, accelerating investment in farming hub Food Business Africa | 17 Jan 2022

    A Ghanaian-owned agribusiness has acquired a 356 hectare irrigated commercial farm developed by AgDevCo.

    US: Corporations are consolidating water and land rights in the West The Counter | 04 Jan 2022

    With farms, ranches and rural communities facing unprecedented threats, a worrying trend leads to a critical question: Who owns the water?

    How a bloody land feud in Honduras is stoking migrant flight to U.S. Reuters | 23 Dec 2021

    Nearly 150 murders and disappearances in connection with land conflicts have convulsed the Aguan Valley since 2008, when violence first intensified there.

    The mediation between Busra Indigenous Communities and Socfin Cambodia concludes with agreements to end long-standing land disputes MRLG | 03 Dec 2021

    In September 2021, the signature of the final agreements between representatives from indigenous communities in Busra commune and the rubber company Socfin Cambodia concluded a five-year mediation process that started in 2016.

    The battle for Zimbabwe’s land never ended Vice | 22 Apr 2021

    Outrage over a mass displacement for a dairy farm has seized the national conversation in Zimbabwe, where it is impossible to talk about land without interrogating the legacy of colonialism and the present reality of anti-Blackness

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