activism Chris Hedges Original Politics

Hedges: How to Defeat the Billionaire Class

There are ways to defeat the billionaire class and many of these tactics have been pioneered or refined by Socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant and the Socialist Alternative party in Seattle.
Original Illustration by Mr. Fish — “How to Defeat the Billionaire Class”

By Chris Hedges / Special to ScheerPost

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and the Socialist Alternative (SA) party have, for nearly a decade, waged one of the most effective battles against the city’s moneyed elites. She and the SA have adopted a series of unorthodox methods to fight the ruling oligarchs and, in that confrontation, exposed the Democratic Party leadership as craven tools of the billionaire class. Her success is one that should be closely studied and replicated in city after city if we are to dismantle corporate tyranny.

Sawant, who lives on $40,000 of her $140,000 salary and places the rest into a political fund that she uses for social justice campaigns, helped lead the fight in 2014 that made Seattle the first major American city to mandate a $15 an hour minimum wage. Following a three-year struggle against Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s richest men, she and her allies pushed through a tax on big business that increased city revenues by an estimated $231 million a year. She was part of the movement that led to Seattle’s successful ban on school year evictions of school children, their families and school employees. She was one of the sponsors of a bill that protects tenants from being evicted at the end of their term leases, requiring landlords to provide tenants with the right to renew their leases and a bill that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent if the rent was due during the COVID emergency and the renter could not pay due to financial hardship.

The billionaire class has targeted her since she assumed office in January 2014. It has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a corporate PAC called “A Better Seattle” and saturated television and digital platforms with negative advertising. She and the SA have been denied ads by Google, YouTube, and Hulu. Amazon alone spent over $3 million to defeat her when she ran for re-election in 2019. In December, Sawant defeated a well-funded campaign by the city’s business community to remove her in a recall vote. The Democratic Party in Seattle is currently trying to gerrymander her district to separate her from working-class supporters.

You can watch my full interview with Sawant, who has a PhD in economics from North Carolina State University, here. Below I have summarized some of her guiding principles.

Always Be on the Offensive

The billionaire class orchestrated a recall vote last year which they expected would put Sawant on the defensive and remove her from office. Rather than let the oligarchs define the themes of the recall, she and her party used it to collect 15,000 signatures to establish rent control. She rejects the attempt to placate the centers of power by resorting to “moral persuasion and prioritizing peaceful” opposition. This, she says, is a recipe for failure. She is not interested in “cordial relationships” with big business, establishment politicians, the Democratic Party and business lobbyists. They are the enemy. We will not succeed, she says, by “talking nicely” to “convince rich people to hand a little bit of crumbs to those of us who don’t have any.”

The capitalists, she says, along with the media outlets they control, promote the idea of cooperation so that the public is “lulled into this idea that we’re all on the same side, this is a shared situation, that COVID was a shared sacrifice.” This belief disempowers working men and women.

“The very essence of capitalism is that the very wealthy at the top make this enormous profit at the expense of ordinary people,” she says. “The only way to address the class war is through class struggle.”

The Democratic Party cannot be reformed from the inside

Sawant is one of nine city council members. The other eight are Democrats. The Democrats often rhetorically support progressive reforms, but as is true nationally, they have little intention of implementing them. Sawant’s radicalism has exposed the Democratic Party’s duplicity. The Democratic Party has repeatedly joined forces with the oligarchs, many of whom are their donors, to destroy Sawant. The self-identified progressives in the Democratic Party, she says, play “a role which is contrary to the interests of working people. Every step of the way they have placed obstacles in the path of winning these victories.” She notes that every victory she and her allies achieved, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and the renter’s rights laws, “has come about despite the overt or backroom opposition and tactics by the Democrats.” These victories were won not by appealing to the Democratic Party leadership, but by mobilizing unions members and workers to fight for them.

“One of the first things that happened when I took office was these two prominent Democrats, Democratic council members who came into my office, sat me down, and said, ‘well it’s all well and good’ – I mean, I’m paraphrasing, obviously, I don’t remember the exact words – but paraphrasing, that ‘it’s all well and good, you roused the rabble and got elected as a socialist, but we’re here to tell you that City Hall runs on our terms,’” she says. “‘You are not winning any wage increase, let alone $15 an hour.’ And less than six months later, we had won the $15 an hour minimum wage. So that about sums it up for the Democrats.”

“The Biden administration has completely failed,” she says. “And you don’t have to take the word of a socialist. You can see the approval ratings for Biden are as low as they’ve ever been throughout his presidency. It’s not just him. The Democratic establishment, including his regime, has completely failed in passing any kind of progressive program, whether it is $15 an hour or Medicare for All. He promised to cancel student debt and not even a fraction of that measure has been carried out. This is exactly the reason why now we are staring into potential clobbering of the Democrats by the Republicans and by the right-wing in the midterm elections.”

If radical New Deal-type reforms are not implemented, right-wing populism and Christian fascism will flourish

Sawant and the SA have not only been targeted by the billionaire class and the Democratic Party but by the extreme right. Campaign volunteers have been harassed and threatened. The former police union president Ron Smith, who like many in law enforcement is sympathetic to the extreme right, called for Sawant to be handcuffed as Seattle police actively worked to have her removed via the recall vote. The best way to battle the extreme right, she argues, is to implement reforms that ameliorate widespread suffering. If this is not done, the extreme right will grow.

“The extent to which right populism succeeds is a testament to the failures of the Democratic Party and the infancy of the left, the U.S. left,” she says. “How much the right succeeds, and how much of a clash there will be, is dependent on how the balance of forces adjusts itself. If the agenda for a living wage adjusted for inflation, for Medicare for All, for canceling student debt, for a real Green New Deal policy agenda, if all of this were put forward by the Democrats, they would be able to win over a big section of the voting population that ends up either staying out of the elections or voting for Republicans and the right wing. There is a genuinely dangerous and reactionary current on every continent, but to the degree to which they get traction, that entirely depends on what else is on offer.”

“Working people in America right now are searching for answers,” she says. “It is because of the disappointments on the electoral arena, the disappointments from many of the BLM leaders being unable to deliver on the promise of this enormous Black Lives Matter movement that happened in 2020. It is because of all these reasons that young people are testing the avenue of labor organizing. It’s amid this complete failure and disarray that the Democrats are in, that the workers at the Amazon warehouse on Staten Island were able to win the first ever union in Amazon. And the reason they were able to win is precisely, again, they used class struggle methods to convince their coworkers.”

Identity politics will not win over the working class

The Democratic Party and the liberal class have replaced a genuine political agenda with what she calls “woke soundbites.” 

Sawant calls this tactic “dangerous.” She argues that most of the American working people “are already won over to the ideas of a society that genuinely respects everybody around us.” Two-thirds of Americans, for example, support Roe v. Wade. The barrier for progressive change, she argues, is not racism, but the leadership of the Democratic Party, including the squad, the labor movement, and the leadership of social movements such BLM. Identity politics “is not the way to win over working-class people. That is handing a weapon to the right wing on a golden platter.”

Be wary of labor union leaders allied with the Democratic Party

Sawant warns that most labor leaders, along with social activists such as Al Sharpton, who are allied with the Democratic Party exist for photo-ops and to “co-opt our movements.” “We should be wary of them,” she says. Our best hope lies in the mobilization of rank-and-file workers. She points out that the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) succeeded at the JFK warehouse “because they did not use what I would call the business unionism, basically the conventional ideas that have existed in the labor movement, in the Democratic Party, and even among social movement and NGO leaders, that the way to organize for change and even to win a union election or to win a good contract is to think about the margins, this sort of mythical idea of a few labor leaders at the bargaining table, and then not mobilizing the rank and file.” The ALU “led with concrete demands and “didn’t talk about the union as an abstract entity.” The ALU focused on winning a $ 30 an hour starting wage, job security, a say in scheduling and the ability to work full-time if desired. “The other thing that they did right was that they made it very clear that the bosses are not on your side. They didn’t cultivate illusions that somehow, they could convince management and Jeff Bezos to be nice just by making morally persuasive arguments.” 

Political campaigns must be organized around demands, not personalities

Politicians, even self-identified progressive politicians, she says, have “made peace with the capitalist system.” They falsely believe that they can negotiate with the billionaire class and barter for a few progressive reforms. This tactic, she says, has failed. “The Biden administration is in shambles precisely because that approach does not work. And it also calls into question how far are we going to aim to change society?”

“If you look at the data on the climate crisis, it is very clear,” she says. “We have a very small window in which we need to make a fundamental shift away from capitalism. And for that, we will need mass movements of workers. We will need mass revolutionary struggle led by working people, ordinary people, to bring about that kind of change. That kind of change, flowing from the needs of the planet itself, cannot happen through elections.”

“Campaigns need to be organized around demands, not around personality politics,” she says. “The way to run a strong electoral campaign is to, as I said, completely reject personality politics, completely reject careerism, and build political organizations like Socialist Alternative. Except we need far bigger organizations where we can hold our elected representatives and other leaders in the organization accountable in the program of demands that we are fighting around. This becomes the central focus, not those individuals who could then use those positions to build their own careers by making themselves useful to the ruling class. That’s what we need to reject.”

Focus campaigns on the 80 million people who do not vote

Sawant and the SA reject the Democratic Party’s tactic of focusing on centrist or likely voters. They mobilize those who are often part of the 80 million eligible voters who don’t cast ballots, including immigrants, those living in public housing, and marginalized communities. She and her party distribute campaign material in eight languages. This tactic has built a new political base. In one heavily East African building in Seattle, for example, turnout was nearly 10 times what it was in the general election.

The Democratic Party, she claims, lacks a commitment to disillusioned and disenfranchised voters. Its “primary task is to be useful for the ruling class under capitalism, but the way they do it is by speaking from both sides of their mouth. For example, they will talk about $15 an hour. Every so often you will see Pramila Jayapal, the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus tweet out saying it’s time for Medicare for All. But then when it comes time to fight for it, they will use their progressive status to give cover for the Biden regime.” They do not, for this reason, have any interest in mobilizing workers. “We would not have won our elections had we not mobilized a whole section of the population that is typically disenfranchised. Not because they don’t have the legal right to vote, but because there’s nothing for them to vote for.” 

The engine for change will be a militant labor movement independent of the Democratic Party

Sawant expects the Democrats to take “an absolute shellacking” in the midterms.

“The prospect of a Trump resurgence is also a very real one, unfortunately, at this point,” she says. “That’s how dangerous the whole debacle of the Biden regime has been. The only way to cut across that and create a genuine alternative to right populism that could unite most working-class people in America is through working-class politics.”

New labor leaders, she says, will need to rally workers around a common working-class based program in defiance of traditional unions and the Democratic Party. She points to the labor uprisings by teachers in West Virginia in 2018 “who won an enormous victory by standing up not only to the Republican led legislature in the state, but also to the leaders of their own unions who were not willing to take a fighting approach to winning a strong contract, and to maintaining solidarity across the board among public school employees.” She is also encouraged by the example of Starbucks workers now in nationwide unionization drives in hundreds of stores. “All of this is telling us the way to push back against corporate politics, push back against the failures of the Democrats, and to defeat the rise of the right wing is to build struggles of the working class where we’re able to unite a majority of working people on a common working class-based program.”

None of this, she cautions, is going to be automatic. “We need a courageous rank and file leadership to make that happen. And the political clarity that a labor leadership that is tied at the hip to the Democrats is not going to be the force of change. The force of change will be a revival of the militant labor movement.”


NOTE TO SCHEERPOST READERS FROM CHRIS HEDGES: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at chrishedges.substack.com so I can continue to post my now weekly Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report.

Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges

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

72 comments

  1. [ forgive me, Hedges, I’m not on topic, but this is a thing I’ve got to cough on up ]
    The old saying-slash-curse: “May you live in interesting times.”
    Sub Evil for interesting.

    And another one: “Death by a thousand cuts.” Imagine being on the receiving end of a terminal thousand cuts.
    Here’s one more recent: Death by thirty thousand ticks.

    https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/10.1139/cjz-2018-0140
    (January 2019)
    It’s a long one, and dense, and not easy reading.

    Mortality assessment of moose (Alces alces) calves during successive years of winter tick (Dermacentor albipictus) epizootics in New Hampshire and Maine (USA)

    The predominance of calf mortality (88%) was caused by the effects of high winter tick infestations. (That’s 88% of all moose calves of that year died)

    Tick abundance estimates on hides (95% were >30 000 ticks) indicated moderate to severe infestation levels (Musante et al. 2007), but these should be considered conservative because calves died throughout the adult tick disengagement period.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    I admit I got a dog in this fight… I am a dog in this fight. But God Damn, thirty thousand ticks on an animal is incomprehensible. And Evil. This, to me, is indisputable.
    I see ads on TV about chews that protect dogs from ticks, so I’d like to hope someone somewhere is charged with figuring out how to get that stuff into a moose. On the other hand, I’m afraid enlightened self-interest will prove itself an immovable object, even though the facts suggest that the above has the potential to bloom into an epidemic.

    1. paul wichmann,

      A dead link to a 3 year old article on animal disease. If this is mockery & insult you’ve done your job.

      Why in the name of nonexistent gods would a Moderator allow this nonsense to be posted here? Why would any coherent thoughtful person bother to write here if the Moderator will allow this?

      1. C. Kent- A likely Democrat. Well-meaning but way off the mark and willing to settle on saving cute calves.

      2. Let’s congratulate Christopher Lynn Hedges for offering a solution, a way to defeat billionaires. All you posters demanded he tell us how. It was difficult to inform his readers about how hard its gonna be. He always qualifies his suggestions by saying that victory is not for certain. That’s a trait of honesty.

      3. Come on…..saving animals is as honorable as saving humans, often more so, even if this was not the place to post about it.

        Great writing again by Mr. Hedges. Sawant is the kind of person we need pushing the Dems and Repubs out of the way. There’s no dealing with them. I learned that long ago. She’s right. Let’s help that method spread.

  2. Celebrity politics is a narcissistic endeavor, personality as the veneer behind which lies mostly self-interest. It’s hence inconsistent with mass movement politics. Civility politics goes hand-in-hand with that approach, offering its own glossy patina of polite dialog as a substitute for action. The American psyche, seasoned by the exceptionalist mindset seems easily seduced by these skin-deep approaches. We can criticize and offer regrets, even compensation, for that exceptionalist history, but its subliminal effects are deeply ingrained in long-term members of this culture. Perhaps the current generations can mute those effects, although it seems unlikely to me.

    1. Vincenzo+L:
      Sawant is a celebrity in her own way. The $40K personal budget cap is courageous. When it comes right down to it someone has to step up first and be assertive to change things. In 1998 I stood up to a 6’3″ 300 lb.union garbage collector who expected a trip to Hawaii on the dime of our AFSCME dues. I got a Chris Rock slap and woke up 2 hours later after my formerly complacent co-workers had tied the big lunk up with duct tape and called the cops. Things got better at work after that, but I’m still a little deaf on the left side.

  3. It is interesting to see how Americans still pretend they care about, and even live in, a democracy. The needs of “ordinary people” are ignored by those in power, and as we see here, the powerful fight against any improvement in the lives of those they find “pushy”. It starts from the top, as instead of thrying to help everyone and keep to the USA’s own business, enemies are chosen (!) and fought against wherever they may be in the world. Why make a fuss of Taiwan? Why assume Russia has no rights to security? Why invade Iraq, why help Israel kill Palestinians and Iranians, why occupy Afghanistan then steal its money, why blame Venezuela for daring to elect someone we do not like?
    Even inside the USA the same attitude, the opposite of the ‘freedom’ we claim we admire.

    1. Ros You write:

      “ Why assume Russia has no rights to security?”

      Of course she does. But try to tell it to Sawant.

      It is really difficult to figure out in what SA in engaged in regarding Ukrainian war because it is not simple antiwar activism.

      These below are excerpts from SA website writing in for support of Russian antiwar activists. Unfortunately it sounds like snippets from anti Russian CIA psychological warfare play book repeating Ukrainian Nazis’ anti Russian propaganda full of lies, unverified conjectures without any minimum scrutiny or solid proof. The tone and language portrays Russian state as savage and the country and society on a verge of collapsing because of defeat in the war. The fact is the Russian state is no more savage then US and the west. Did Sawant forget about torture of Assange, a journalist or about Snowden who revealed crimes of Uzs government?

      What is shocking that there is no mention about over 25 Ukrainian anti war activists who wanted Kiev regime to stop the war and were murdered by Ukrainian Nazis who bragged about that, showed corpses online as a part of efforts defeating Russian collaborators. Yes, collaborators not with Russian government but with Russian antiwar movement. That alone annihilates any credibility of SA antiwar efforts.

      SA:

      “20 May: Day of International Solidarity with Russian Anti-War Activists!

      ..“The Russian regime is showing increasing signs of desperation at its lack of success in its “special military operation” aimed at the “denazification” of Ukraine..

      [no proof of that whatsoever, even Zelensky concluded that Russia is wining that means success.]

      Discontent within the ruling elite is reflected by individualistic acts such as the flight abroad of leading figures from the entertainment world, or a number of top-level suicides and resignations from company boards..

      [again no proof of any connection to the war, if anything some decisions may be affected by unprecedented war like western sanctions that failed to destroy Russian economy. SA is peddling just empty conjectures. BTW where those Russian artists want to go when all Russian culture was canceled in the west art stolen, Mussorgsky condemned, Russian artists abroad boycotted their bank accounts frozen, their children harassed. Those who went abroad hardly found freedom to create there.]

      Parents of young sailors apparently killed when the cruiser “Moskva” sank are joined by those whose sons have ‘disappeared’ in Ukraine and are frantically searching for news. There are many reports of soldiers who either disobey demands in Ukraine, or who refuse to be sent there in the first place.

      [ not true. Russian Army is entirely a contract Army, no recruits. It was Ukraine that tortured hundreds of captured Russian soldiers to death and refused to handover the bodies as they are themselves evidences of Nazi war crimes. The only mercenary on Russian side are soldiers of privately owned Wagner Group they can leave as well. Chechens fight as volunteers of regular army units. Any soldier can leave Ukraine but it would involve monetary penalty for bridge of contract as a matter of fact most are coming back to Russia for R&R and meeting with families. Officers go home for up to ten days.]

      A wave of fires has destroyed oil and weapon storages in Russia itself, not just on the border with Ukraine.

      [no connection to any sabotage was found deep inside Russia , some Azov terrorists were captured with weapons before they made any damage. The most of damage is done in the border zone by Ukrainian long range artillery and some aviation as they attack predominantly civilians in rural areas and civilian infrastructure not used by army]

      .. huge warehouse storing school textbooks in Tver, a city 100 km north of Moscow was destroyed, just after the publisher announced it was removing any mention of Ukraine from history textbooks.”

      [utter nonsense, there is no way to write Ukraine out of Russian history textbooks as Russia started as “Kiev Russia” over a thousand years ago]

      It is simply appalling that SA supposedly aware of history and historical process could peddle such a completely ahistorical nonsense. There is no building socialism on lies.

      https://www.socialistalternative.org/2022/05/19/20-may-day-of-international-solidarity-with-russian-anti-war-activists/

  4. Sawant is a compelling figure. Made me think of Saul Alinsky. I look forward to following her career more closely.

    But on a side issue, I just don’t see any political upside to forgiving college loans.

    And who decided to call it “forgiveness.” Forgiveness is what we do when we are wronged. Get Frank Luntz on the phone.

    Let’s just hand the brush to the Right to, for the millionth time, paint the Dems as degree loving costal elites.

    The reactions will be negative from anyone who has ever paid off a student loan.

    The reactions will be worse from everyone with only a high school degree who isn’t getting any forgiveness from their mortgage or car loan.

    I know there are valid and decent reasons to cancel these loans but it’s political suicide to do it when your congressional margins are so thin.

    Come at it from the other direction. Figure out how to lower the costs of college.

    1. WDD:
      I’ve paid off several student loans, but many years ago.
      Times are much harder now as inflation and austerity and precarity and privatization and off-shoring and union decimation have crept up on the American working class. They were boiled like frogs (Sybil Edmonds). It would please me to no end if all student loans could be forgiven. The respite would give people a little breathing room to react and demand more. The children’s tax credit should already be restored, and permanently. I watched my most pitiful neighbors using that little bit of money to buy healthy food and decent clothes for their kids. It broke my heart when it was discontinued. Damn you Joe Manchin! You really wonder, what’s the use of working if you always come up short and have to borrow to exist. College ought to be subsidized for any qualified students eager to learn.

      1. Manchin and Biden are humanoid monsters working for psychopaths. I don’t need a Ph.D. to figure that part of the puzzle.

  5. Well….
    The problem with the laws set up against landlords is many landlords gotta eat too.

    Yeah, there are the Oligarchs like Trump who own dozens if not hundreds (thousands) of homes and apartments who can easily absorb the loss of 10 or maybe even 20% of their rental income. What about the pensioner who bought a house to rent out? He gets hit with a 100% loss of his income. Who’s going to make it up to him?

    Being one of those guys, and having experienced that total loss of income, who’s going to make me “whole”? Better yet, how do I avoid having to move to the beach?

    Well, I’m dumping my rental. In the face of rising inflation combined with (still) ridiculously low interest rates, it seems I might be able to “last” another few years. Yes, there should be significant capital gains but my cost of living has also increased. I mean Safeway was charging $8 for a 1lb loaf of bread! (Yeah, yeah, yeah, That price is for everyone not just landlords. If you want to argue that, you’re missing the point. Perhaps my fault for not expressing it well.)

    Let’s just say, I’m conflicted. There doesn’t seem to be a “win-win” option here. There will be a lot of “casualties” in the war against the Oligarchy. Perhaps I’m selfish in not wanting to be one of them.

    There’s the problem. I’ve walked around Green Lake (a very nice park in Seattle) looking at all the tents. I want the need for those tents to go away, but truly fear that my only option will be to get one at REI before I can no longer afford even that.

    BTW: I understand that those “homeless pukes” (purposely using a derogatory description here, it is called hyperbole) have been moved out of Green Lake using Federal COVID funds that were allocated to the Seattle Police Department so they’d have the manpower necessary to “clean up the park”. Where did they go? Does anyone care? I’d kind of like to know so I know where to go.

  6. If only the rest of America couldn’t hear her! The American oligarchs will do their best so she won’t!….P.S. The SA label will probably be used against her, I can see Tucker and others screaming about Nazis.

    1. Tucker doesn’t understand that NAZI is written on his back.
      He’s just a stupid frozen food heir, not competent in any subject, except maybe microwaving.

  7. Excellent call to action. Indeed we need “a courageous rank and file leadership … a revival of the militant labor movement.” And parties to fund socialist candidates, and NGOs to push for the necessary amendments to the Constitution. One of those is the Congress Of Policy Debate (CongressOfDebate dotcom) to place summaries of unbiased debates of all viewpoints on all issues before the public.

  8. The wishful idea that an EMPIRE can be removed or overcome by just contributing money to one of these two dual-party Vichy-facades of faux-democracy, will, like the story of trying to ‘teach a pig to sing’, simply will not work , and it will annoy the pig.

    Like wise, trying to overturn this Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal & War-Starting EMPIRE, controlled by the ‘Ruling-Elite’, UHNWI, <0.003%ers, TCCers, arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe", and "Evil (not-so) Geniuses" [Kurt Andersen] — which hides Empire behind their totally corrupted dual-party, pro-Empire, Vichy-facade of faux-democracy.

    Only a "Strategic Advantage" [Michael Porter HBS] can, IMHO, End an Empire with contributions or dirty money — fro the simple reason that the EMPIRE essentially has all the Money.

    Bernie's 'Grass Roots' plan to collect lots of small contributions worked for Bernie's 2016 campaign, and partially for his 2020 campaign, but when this plan was expanded to all Democratic candidates running for any office, it just beggared many of his low-income base, and besides, Bernie was simply torpedoed twice, by Hillary, Clyburn, AIPAC, DMFI, DNC, and the Empire of Money & Corporate Media, in a 'double-tap' operation.

    Only Strategic Advantage in analyzing, understanding the weak-points and vulnerabilities of a more powerful EMPIRE can be effective as a winning strategy in exposing, expunging, excoriating, and ending an Empire by name.

    Corporate
    Capitalism
    Creates
    EMPIRE

    Corporate Capitalism Creates Empire

    “Guns don’t kill people — Empire does”

    The Co-producer of the fabulously revealing film "Don't Look UP", Ron Suskind, revealed in metaphorical-thinking what the NY 'Times' printed in 2004, focusing on the weakness of the opponent force, "We're an EMPIRE Now".

    The fault is not in our stars, nor in ourselves, but in the EMPIRE.

    Additionally, Ret. Col. and BU History Professor, 'Skip' Bacevich, at Quincey Institute, in just the 7th chapter of his expository book "After the Apocalypse" fully exposes our "Quiet American" cancer of EMPIRE! "Fire for Effect".

  9. America could do well with greater variety of political & economic positions and points of view, it’s freedom of expression and useful experimentation. But Hedges is playing make believe with his approach to this article. And I find it interesting he includes a note begging for handouts: “There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost … without your help.” Huh? Chris Hedges has worked all his life in significant positions, he surely has an impressive bankroll and retirement investments that give him plenty of time to write his stories, which invariably are just reflections of his thoughts.

    There is only some, or perhaps marginal, traction for election changing roots level socialism in local government in the United States, because people still do well with hard work and struggle in the capitalist environment, no matter who the hell is running it or owns it. The minute a person attains a skill and earns some decent money, they want nothing to do with sharing and property rejection. They want privacy and stuff. That is human nature.

    All the people with basic skill sets who clog the highways at 7am on the way to work, that make a society function; painters, plumbers, carpenters, even paper pushers in every business, reject sharing their hard earned and perhaps simple lives with others as though they are on a life raft in the middle of the Pacific sharing a dead gull and bucket of rainwater. While people are cooperative, it’s is not human nature to think of strangers as yourself one you can be yourself by your own means.

    Hedges would have done a better service had he written about socialism in Seattle without the make-believe and instead focused on it as an example of an experiment. He seems lost to me, perhaps he is set up so well for retirement he’s become a droning philosopher rather than a practical thinker.

    1. No, it is not human nature to completely reject social responsibility once one is self-sufficient. Many are that way, because our society neither teaches nor practices any social contract or personal morality, because it elevates the lowest scammers to control businesses, and political parties via bribes.

      You have no basis for your claim that the author is hoarding cash from prior employment. That is a scam to discredit him without evidence. You also have no basis for your claim that his articles are no more than “reflections of his thoughts” whatever that might mean. Troll alert.

      1. Very good post. Our society for centuries has taught individualism. Individual rights & freedoms, etc. But as Hedges correctly wrote in his book “America: The Farewell Tour”, individualism in America is nothing more than selfishness and narcissism run amok. I’d throw in there ignorance & hostility for good measure.

        Nevertheless, America has never acknowledged, much less taught nor embraced, the concept of a society. While Reagan & Thatcher publicly scorned the idea of a society, which was congruent with the selfish and superficial conservatism that marked the 1980s, a proper American society was strangled in its bed long before them. And this so-called “individualism” isn’t just relegated to the political and economic powers, it’s long infected the regular workaday Americans.

        Then again the Founders never cared for creating a proper society. They just wanted to stop paying taxes to the Crown.

      2. Notice it is your human nature to twist my words & name call, in your own self interest. Viola, you demonstrate my point.

        As for your thinking about Hedges, you may want to visualize him as a broke person, but people who’ve pursued long careers in institutions have investments. For instance Ralph Nader (childhood hero of mine) is a millionaire, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Even Karl Marx had a sugar daddy.

        In any case your reply is derivative of the angry thoughtlessness of the Kampuchean political commissar, who selects people out of line for special processing because they have glasses.

      3. Kent, you once again make statements unsupportable by fact or argument:
        1. I seek truth not self interest as you falsely state. I listen to arguments not deprecations.
        2. You are trying to say “voila” not “viola” but you make no argument to declare complete.
        3. I do not “visualize” a writer as “broke” by rejecting your accusation of him as hoarding funds.
        4. You accuse without evidence or argument, claiming that “Marx had a sugar daddy” versus funding sources, that Nader is a millionaire, and then make the wild claim that Hedges must have great wealth, which you hope will discredit him although stating that there is “nothing wrong with that” to appease your bosses.
        5. Your accusation without evidence or argument of the “angry thoughtlessness of the Kampuchean political commissar” reveals that your goal is to accuse, rather than argue a point.

        You must desist from careless fact-free denunciations: your comment was pure propaganda.

      4. Joe B,

        You were replying to ME. Your reply was selfish name-calling nonsense, and distortion of my words meaning, and I told you so. And now you are doing the same in a second reply. Not much to say about that but point it out.

  10. I appreciate Sawant for calling *our* government “a regime.” It’s time someone does.

  11. Everything said here about the Ds is spot on, and has been said by many, including myself, for years – pushing 3rd party politics …. arguing that if electoral politics has failed us, is it the fault of the system, or of the way we have used it – to elect the same bums over and over – and “hoping” for, if not actually expecting, different results …

    So now – let’s see – “The only way to cut across that and create a genuine alternative to right populism ” and “The way to run a strong electoral campaign is to, as I said, completely reject personality politics, completely reject careerism, and build political organizations like Socialist Alternative. ”

    This being extolled by a guy who forever has been dismissing electoral politics – saying the answer is “not at the polls, but in the streets”, who at the same time was supporting Nader when he ran for Pres… if electoral politics is useless, why bother with an SA or a Kshama Sawant?

    C’mon Chris, either electoral politics is useless, or it is possible to successfully practice it outside of the duopoly – make up your mind … I have argued incessantly for the latter, but i do not have your platform or sphere of influence – so if you have stopped being a mugwump – and chosen that “possibility” side, please stop doing the “electoral process is useless” bit – I see that echoed by sooo many – put both feet in and the rest of you and help out!

    1. He did not say that the electoral process is useless.
      Why not represent the article correctly?

      1. To Joe,
        Not in this piece, but i have been reading him for years and that is a consistent theme – which is why brought it up …. and it is a consistent echo in sooo many comments …

  12. Oh, I worked with her in Seattle, in her early days, a while back, when I was organizing part-time college faculty for that big ugly union, SEIU.

    But she gets it wrong about Ukraine, about Russia, and defeating the billionaire class, 3,000 of them, and their families, hundreds of thousands, and their Eichmann’s, hundreds of millions, well, good luck, and so does it matter to socialists if Accused Rapist Trump gets back in or Accused Rapist Biden chugs along? Both parties are parties of thieves, rapists, and, well, Chaos, Lies, Propaganda on Steroids, Murder, Terror, etc.

    +–+

    Marxists define their attitude toward a given war by analyzing the profound historical and material forces that give rise to it, and which are manifested in the development of the conflict. The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), while opposing the invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government, places the current war in the context of a broader Marxist analysis of the entire 20th century, in particular of the historical processes triggered by the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the subsequent three decades of imperialist war waged by the US and NATO.

    A diametrically opposed attitude is adopted by petty-bourgeois opportunists. They base their views on the surface of events and the limits of their own orientation to capitalism and its national state system.

    One of the most striking expressions of this attitude is exemplified by a Morenoite and Shachtmanite amalgam called the International Socialist League (ISL). Over the past months, the ISL has issued statements with titles such as “No to Russian imperialist aggression against Ukraine! NATO and the US out of Eastern Europe! No more wars in the interests of the imperialists!”; and “Russian imperialism out of Ukraine! Solidarity with the Ukrainian workers and people! No more wars promoted by the imperialists!”

    Over the past months, the ISL has issued statements with titles such as “No to Russian imperialist aggression against Ukraine! NATO and the US out of Eastern Europe! No more wars in the interests of the imperialists!”; and “Russian imperialism out of Ukraine! Solidarity with the Ukrainian workers and people! No more wars promoted by the imperialists!”

    These pseudo-lefts seek to camouflage their support for US-NATO imperialist policies with phony “anti-imperialist” slogans. Joining the frenzied war propaganda of the Western corporate media in promoting “Ukrainian resistance,” regardless of its NATO-backed and largely far-right character, the ISL presents the alleged aggressive expansionism of “Russian imperialism” as the determining factor in the outbreak of war. To the extent that NATO’s participation is mentioned, they claim that its presence “is no guarantee for peace” and “provides Putin excuses.”

    The ISL enthusiastically endorsed “anti-Russian aggression” protests that took place in Germany and other European countries, covering up the role of their bourgeois leaderships, which demand a military escalation by their imperialist states, distill hatred against the Russian people and promote Ukrainian chauvinism.

  13. And here’s what the anti-war [sic] icon said the other day as he voted to send $40 billion of your money to support the war efforts of Neo-Nazis and transhumanists in Ukraine:

    “We should always have a debate, but the problem is that Ukraine is in the middle of a very intense war right now. I think every day counts, and I think we have to respond as strongly and vigorously as we can.”

    AOC, another infamous radical [sic] socialist [sic] firebrand [sic], also voted to fund the war but she didn’t even bother to issue a press release.

    Reminder: The powers that shouldn’t be are relying on YOU to continue supporting the two-party deception.

    1. Those phony socialists of ISL or SA or DSA or defunct ISO etc., all pretend to not know what is actually position of Marxists on Imperialism and imperial wars.

      Luxemburg formulated such positions on imperialism understood as natural evolution of radical capitalism via concentration of accumulated capital and on imperial wars as means of capital expansion via looting and control over more profit generating working class.

      And no Luxemburg was no pacifist as all those pseudo leftists pretend to be but instead she opposed not wars themselves instigated by ruling elites but ideological, cultural, political, economic, social and physical price working class has always to pay for no benefit at all in fact to detriment of themselves.

      To really be antiwar means to teach people during peacetime about critical importance of socialist internationalism and condemning radical nationalism and fascism everywhere as the most important antiwar weapon.

      It also includes rejecting lie of imperative national self defense, condemning of warmongering and funding of wars, condemning public hatred of other peoples worldwide , condemning MIC investments in tools of war, security and surveillance calling for termination of military and MIC employment encouraging sabotage, blockades of commodity, capital, labor and financial flows supporting capitalist rule that inevitably results in imperialism.

      It means rejection of any division or discrimination based on nationalism or on fascism as modern nations are artificial concoctions of ruling elites. The very concept of superior race or creed or ethnicity or merit etc., shared by all fascist ideologies imperial/colonial or national, stems direct from elitism of ruling elites who treat people as subhuman creatures of earth that need to be cultivated, used and discarded.

      Only, often informal, communities united by their direct local or regional interests bound by their common work ethos are structures that truly represent interests of people who work for living performing labor beneficial to such self governed communities of sharing and caring about humanity and natural resources.

      Any other administrative and political structures and institutions like state including organized religions are designed to limit or eliminate self governance of communities.

      Which means no to globalization of capital, not to every kind of elitism, autocracy and technocracy, no to mass uprooting people from their communities for whatever political or economic reasons, supporting tourism but no emigration that is direct result of hot or cold imperial wars of exploitation.

      To be really antiwar means to defeat ruling elites in ongoing vicious class war and make revolutionary systemic changes to social relations and to restore human bonds based on love, caring and sharing our lives not based on power, wealth and intimidation what capitalism is all about.

      It means that people everywhere must rule themselves locally decide about all things that affect them by themselves from wars to natural disasters to pandemics to economic, social and cultural development. And that includes stewardship of renewable local nature and natural resources which is all we have.

      All those things must not be imposed or influenced by however seemingly righteous forces from outside of community but decided by equal, equitable, egalitarian community itself by full consensus as such consensus is the most important community bond.

      In such community it takes one person to stop the war while it takes exactly 100% to wage one. Such principle applied to existing bourgeois liberal “democratic” political framework of today would stop all the wars today. That is why we are not allowed to have real democracy as it would have meant no wars. Real direct democracy by consensus is the thing that would end all wars permanently.

      The same attitude must be applied to Ukraine war which is imperial war between ruling elites of NATO block and elites of Russia and China where working people are used as cannon fodder for elites who fight for their new spheres of influence amid reaching planetary expansion limit.

      The real antiwar position of socialists should be to denounce all warmongering governments call for socialist revolution in Ukraine, Russia and the NATO countries as the only sure way to stop killing, to denounce rampant militarism, standing armies, MIC, , mobilizations and military draft, blockading production and weapon supplies to Ukrainian fronts from any country, cut blood money flows that turn war economy wheels, calling for general strike, encouraging mass desertions, encouraging mutiny and spontaneous negotiated cease fire to establish peace and withdrawal of weapons from local frontlines, calling for plebiscites on disputed territories, encourage UN chsrter guarantee of right to self determination of people, demanding eradication of all ethnic and collective hatred from media narratives, eradication of Fascist ideologies that fuel this war.

      One sided condemnation of Russians supporting Russian antiwar protest while ignoring massacres of Ukrainian antiwar activists by Kiev Nazi regime common among phony socialists serves no peace but in fact is fueling warmongering and war itself resulting
      in more bloodshed, more pain and suffering of ordinary people who always want peace.

      Sadly SA and Savant is wrong on socialism and wrong on Ukrainian war and has no clue how to defeat Billionaire class who rule the world.

  14. “Sawant . . . helped lead the fight in 2014 that made Seattle the first major American city to mandate a $15 an hour minimum wage.”

    I admire Dr. Hedges so much in so many ways. But he loses me with this stuff . . .

    Look y’all! We have an answer! Some peasants got a higher peasant standard over there in Seattle.

    WELL, CELEBRATION TIME!! COME ON! WE GONNA CELEBRATE AND HAVE A GOOD TIME!

    There it is, a plan for defeating the billionaire class. Yeah, right. Grandiose much?

    In all of European history we have never defeated the wealthy with one small exception that lasted barely forty-five years, and it was for White men only, and to a lesser degree White women. No one else. No Black people, no Mexican Americans, No Asian Americans, no Native Americans were included in it.

    However, having this discussion about strategy and objectives, tracking and analyzing the war the wealthy wage on everything and everyone, and doing the same analysis in connection with the participants of the day, century after century . . . well, it all keeps food on the table for the talking heads, even the so-called opposition.

    Wealth requires poverty. If you have wealthy people, you haven’t “defeated” them in any way. They can take that money and those rights right back, and they will. If not this generation, the next one.

    Because you allow wealth. And because there is no answer but violence right back at them, and that’s not an answer.

    1. @Tupe
      Right! The problem is that the vast majority of people lust after material things and obsess on money. People who want to be rich, which is most of them, are just as bad as people who are rich. To paraphrase a Native whose name I can’t recall, this love of things is like a disease with them, “them” meaning the colonizers. That’s the real problem, and as you said, once people have material wealth, the rest is just minor details. My main concerns are for the Earth and all the nonhuman life here, but this problem affects humans too.

  15. Oh, darn . . .

    U.S. Conditions

    “The Dow [Jones] is on its longest weekly losing streak since 1923.”

    “The US gross national debt has now reached $30.4 trillion, having spiked by $7.0 trillion since March 2020.”

    “GDP decreased at an annual rate of 1.5% in the first quarter of this year, a drop from the previously expected decrease of 1.4% in the advanced estimate, according to the BEA [Bureau of Economic Analysis].”

    “Unsold inventory of new houses spiked in a historic month-to-month leap of 34,000 houses, and by 127,000 houses from April last year, to 444,000 unsold houses, seasonally adjusted, the highest since May 2008.”

    “The share of home sellers who dropped their asking price shot up to a six-month-high of 15% for the four weeks ending May 1, up from 9% a year earlier. The 5.9% increase is the largest annual gain on record in Redfin’s weekly housing data back through 2015. For homebuyers, the typical monthly mortgage payment skyrocketed a record 42% to a new high during the same period.”

    “The average age of a car in the US is up to 12.2 years, a new record.”

    “More than 70 Sears stores to close across country.”

    Once the Kmart store in Avenel, New Jersey closes [in April 2022], “the number of Kmarts in the U.S. – once well over 2,000 –will be down to three in the continental U.S. and a handful of stores elsewhere.”

    “Two years after New York’s first indoor dining shutdown, restaurants and bars continue to close their doors. More than 1,000 have closed since March 2020 due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.” The real figure is higher.

    “CEO pay rose 17% in 2021 as profits soared up to a median of $14.5 million; workers trailed.”

    “US savings rate crashes to lowest since Lehman [2008].”

    “Microsoft is the latest tech giant to slow hiring.” Dozens of other big businesses are doing the same.

    “We could see a million layoffs or more – here comes the job market shock.”

    “Apple Store workers in Georgia call off union vote over intimidation claims.”

    “Baby formula crisis: Products from closed plant won’t hit shelves until at least mid-July, Abbott says.”

    “Surging meat prices push summer grillers to order pizza instead.”

    “US truckers talk ‘unprecedented’ diesel price surge. The price of diesel has been hitting all-time highs.”

    “Delta to ‘strategically decrease’ flights this summer.”

    “2 in 3 adults avoid social events — because they’re embarrassed about their financial struggles.”

    “In June 2020, 74.9% of people aged 18–24 reported at least one mental health or substance use concern. Eight in 10 (83%) college students reported feelings of significant anxiety or stress after the start of the fall 2021 semester, according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness.”

    International Conditions

    “Every 30 hours, world gets a new billionaire, a million new poor.”

    “Oil prices are set to surge even higher this summer.”

    “Brazil kicks off $7.4 billion Eletrobras privatization.” Eletrobras is Brazil’s state-controlled power utility.

    “Azerbaijan to hold new privatization auction.”

    “People in US and UK face huge financial hit if fossil fuels lose value, study shows.”

    “In 2021 half of Britain’s energy suppliers went bankrupt as gas prices soared by 250%.”

    “Paris [France] reduces trash pick-up days.”

    “Spain passes decree limiting use of air conditioning in public buildings to conserve energy.”

    “The tech company layoffs have hit Europe. Several of Europe’s best-known startups have made drastic cuts to their teams in order to cut costs and preserve their cash runway as the global economy takes a downturn.”

    “’Negative trajectory’ in consumer confidence shows Canadians increasingly anxious about economy.”

    “Toyota just cut production for the second time this week. The supply chain crunch isn’t easing up for the world’s top-selling automaker — or anyone, for that matter.”

    “Syria’s economy so bad many people don’t have one meal a day, nun says.”

    “Doctors, bakers and truckers protest as Lebanon’s currency plunges after election.”

    “Zimbabwe’s inflation soars to 131.7%.”

  16. Quoting: In this context, recent media chatter about whether there will be a recession this year is diversionary because we have been in a long depression since 2008. Most countries have been running on gas fumes since then, and everything the financial oligarchy has done since 2008 has intensified the all-sided crisis. The fact is that “people don’t need the [neoliberal] government to tell them we are in a recession to start feeling like we are in a recession,” said David Haggith, publisher of The Great Recession Blog.

    On top of all this, the rich and their entourage nonchalantly talk and act like lurching from crisis to crisis is somehow inevitable and unpreventable. The notion that the economic collapse confronting humanity is mysterious, incomprehensible, or hard to fix is irrational and self-serving to the extreme. The economy is not a mystery and can be directed quickly and properly to serve a pro-social aim. Everything needed to advance pro-social aims already exists. Workers already run everything and many people with valuable expertise in many fields can be brought together to advance a pro-social direction. Many serious chronic problems can be solved quickly with working people in charge of the wealth they collectively produce. Without political authority and power, however, pro-social changes will remain piece-meal and inadequate. Living and working standards will remain subpar for millions. Working people, youth, students, senior citizens—the polity as a whole—must have sovereign power over economic and political affairs. The aim and direction of the economy must not be set and controlled by big business because that leads only to more disasters.

    Smash the silence on economic and social conditions. Discuss these worsening conditions with everyone. Share and disseminate information that combats the disinformation and propaganda of the rich. Speak up in your own name and strive to organize each other for pro-social aims. Put these serious matters on the agenda, reject unprincipled divisions and diversions, and work together to develop collective solutions. History and the will-to-be demand it. It is all do-able.

    https://dissidentvoice.org/2022/05/booming-economy-leaves-millions-behind-part-six/

  17. “They are the enemy. We will not succeed, she says, by ‘talking nicely’ to ‘convince rich people to hand a little bit of crumbs to those of us who don’t have any’.”

    We will not succeed by telling rich people ANYTHING. ‘They’ always know best about everything.

    It seems our World will always be plagued by adolescent bullying rich boys (and girls) who never grew up who want to be The King Of The World.

    This is a result of what happens when those with Narcissistic personality disorder begin to leave their teen years. There are so many years yet ahead of them… ‘What to do? I know! I’ll be King of the World! Worship me! Worship me!’

    If these misfits weren’t so dangerous one could almost pity them. But they are too dangerous for that. The worst kind of low-grade ‘humans’ with their filthy hands on the highest levels of power and influence upon We the People. Many times handed to them on a platter thanks to the culture-caste-system-incest that goes on in such soiled realms.

    And couple that with the equally sick delusion that only ‘They’ count and have value and everyone else upon the Earth is a disease that must be removed by Them… and you have a recipe for a disaster of cosmic proportions.

    “‘Working people in America right now are searching for answers,’ she says.”

    Answers that will not come from any of the legacy institutions that are now all fully corrupted. Answers that can only from within We the People. The last source of what is left of common sense in the World. That is, that part of We the People that has not yet also become corrupted.

    People today are desperate for many things. But the greatest of these needs is hope.

    People cannot live without hope. And we are not talking about pie-in-the-sky things like winning the lottery, but real hope to be realized within one’s own life. Yes, it’s still possible despite what ‘They’ are trying to tell you.

    No. We will not own nothing and like it.

    No. We will not eat your Frankenfoods.

    No. We will not censor our thoughts to conform to your Thoughts Prison.

    No. We will not puncture ourselves until we look like human pin cushions.

    No. We will not surrender our children to your curriculum of the bizarre and the anti-social and the inevitability of the Glorious One World Order.

    No. We will not accept your Anti-Social Credit Score System from which reward points will be magically transported into our banking accounts for our ‘good behavior’.

    People cannot live without hope. It’s been said in many ways by many people. But the truth is the same however one says it…

    “Totally without hope one cannot live. To live without hope is to cease to live. Hell is hopelessness. It is no accident that above the entrance to Dante’s hell is the inscription: “Leave behind all hope, you who enter here.”
    – Prof. Jürgen Moltmann

    We need food. We need a livable environment. We need clean water. We need a viable new financial system. We need a reborn medical establishment. We need media that does more than lie to us all day long. We need these things and more…

    But without hope, none of these things makes a damn bit of difference.

  18. I am sorry but in Hedges description of what Savant is supposedly doing there in Seattle , is nothing that possibility can defeat Billionaire class.

    Just after few years of nominal $15 per hour wage campaign what SA won is real wage drop to equivalent old $5 per hour worth workers purchase power.

    Her agenda reminds me discredited Kautsky anti revolutionary ideas of engaging in corrupted bourgeois liberal pseudo democratic political framework to enable step by step some limited mediocre social changes that ultimately would supposedly later lead to a systemic change to socialism.

    Such a fantasy was completely disproved by German Socialist Party, SPD, a leader of Second International that against electoral promises supported Germany in war and after WWI and collapse of German Second Reich was running government not to introduce new socioeconomic system but to create bonanza of unfettered capitalism in Weimar Republic that resulted in hyperinflation, the very capitalism that enabled and supported rise of fascism.

    All that while SPD was condemning its revolutionary splinter KPD faction even ordered assassination of Luxemburg and Liebknecht son of former leader of SPD. At critical point in 1930 and 1932 SPD refused coalition with KPD to stop NSDAP allied with right wing Christian coalition.

    What socialist Alternative is peddling is a phony Alternative to Socialism exactly as DSA. And in fact both are what people in Europe recognize as social Democratic Parties, a petty bourgeois leftist factions of bourgeois liberal ideology of disingenuous oxymoronic “capitalism with some human face”.

    It is worth to note that all those socialdemocrats in Germany, Austria, Scandinavia funded their generous welfare state by horrific exploitation of working class in Africa and South America that was not allowed at home. There is nothing socialist in rejecting internationalism.

    In Sweden that was used by Sandernistas as bright example 60% of economy was state controlled while over One million dollar a year income was taxed at 105% rate, a dream of SA crowd, but in the same time taxes on foreign earning of the same corporations were several times lower often nearly zero. Workers worldwide paid for it.

    Additional funding for, now dismantled, excellent welfare state was coming from state sponsored smuggling. For example neutral Sweden was number one breaker of sanctions against Soviet Union and South African apartheid regime, while General Pinochet rode into Presidential palace to kill Allende on September 11 1973 on tanks produced by Styer in neutral Austria smuggled to Chile despite sanctions.

    SA and DSA do not see their failure to implement socialist agenda but would be success of their politics in reintroduction of modified FDR new deal that in fact was reactionary according to FDR himself, purposely designed to derail brewing revolution in US amid Great Depression.

    Such parties cannot be called socialist. Their so called defense of Social security, universal healthcare, unemployment and social welfare ignores fact that primarily all those above programs serve to support profits of capitalists and are aimed at developing working class corporate and state dependency, clientelism and as temporary anesthetic for social unrest that may lead to revolution.

    If those people would read Marx with comprehension they would know that they are nothing but hired rescue troops tolerated by powers only to attend to wounds inflicted by the capitalist system with no attempt to hit back leaving working people weak, divided and exposed to oligarchic atrocities of everyday capitalism perhaps alleviating some agony. SA and others position themselves as populists not socialist as they do not teach about revolution but instead “ feel peoples pain” to harvest their electoral influence.

    To really call themselves socialists they would have to acknowledge that their work prolong capitalism not oppose it and that working class is subjected to vicious and deadly class war that underlies all the policies of ruling elites.

    Whatever spin they put on it all policies of US regime serve one purpose to attack working class. Anything narrow, even minutely positive for workers is just “unfortunate” side effect of such blatantly pro oligarchic policies brutalizing workers policies that could not be avoided.

    Even Marx acknowledged that his successful campaign for 8 hour workday and against child labor in England benefited British capitalism, while driven by humanitarianism prolonged capital domination while slightly alleviated individual exploitation, lowered pain and suffering but changed nothing as far as furthering of Socialist revolution.

    Let’s be honest. Such noble goals and temporary pyrrhic successes do nothing for real change of fate of working class but only entrenching dividing, slave-like trade syndicalist kind of social consciousness that drowns class consciousness and class solidarity.

    This incessant SA setting on already corrupted trade unions which bosses become workers “elites” and make dirty deals with corporates that benefit themselves and their cronies to detriment to non unionized workers and working class as a whole.

    The concept of trade Union is divisive simply because it by definition divides workers by trade and location etc.,. Such division was a foundation of racist AFL. In contrast Workers Unions unite working class across trades, locations, races, ethnicity, cultures, nationalities worldwide like IWW did.

    And most of all Workers Unions have clear political agenda of socialist revolution of all working class not only contemporary defense of socioeconomic base of their membership.

    SA and DSA engaged in dirty electoral politics to promote their cultish following do disservice and in fact help suppress genuine socialist movements that want to overthrow US regime among those who finally understood that it is capitalist system stupid not who is elected or pretend to run it. They don’t, for 240+ years in these US the same aristocratic and oligarchic elites rule continuously.

    We know how to defeat Billionaire class. It can only be done via socialist revolution that leads to creation of equal, equitable egalitarian society of caring and sharing run by democratic consensus where there is no need to fight Billionaire class as such class does not exist.

  19. Thank-you Chris (and Kshama) for this powerful example of making a difference.

    What can easily get lost in this discussion, is that it’s not about the $ per hour or specific rent protections, but creating sustained movements to improve the quality of life for everyone. The US is like a Banana Republic in terms of its poverty and the govt’s emphasis on the police and military.

    If a more caring, social democracy is not created, as the article relates, the Republicans will sweep to power on the backs of peoples’ misery and frustration. However, even if a strong, healthy working class existed in the US, our consumer way of life will lead to damning consequences from climate change (see for example: https://theanalysis.news/a-dire-warning-about-the-end-of-human-civilization/). So it’s not only social wellbeing, but a healthy environment that is needed.

  20. America isn’t “the 1% vs. the 99%.” I haven’t determined yet if the middle class is oblivious to the millions of poor and low-income, or if they assume that these masses want to protect the middle class from the rich. In fact, they have other priorities.

    1. IMHO “99%” is 20%er propaganda. The upper middle class professional and administrative classes plus wanna-be elitists whom the Dem party actually represents. They want us to believe they’re with us, the 80% who aren’t beneficiaries of the econ system destroying workers and ecosystems.

      Of course we didn’t notice that they ditched the New Deal and abandoned labor. Or that they saved themselves by agreeing to serve their 1%er sponsors. Middle class used to include well-paid workers, now a distant memory–in fact, the entire middle class is rapidly disappearing.

  21. Kshama Sawant is cunning, energetic, and impressively fearless. Certainly she is right about the identity politics mania doing just what the corporate chieftains want it to do. As a university professor who teaches graduate students in a college near the Mexican border, I can testify that the politically correct pronoun is vastly more important than children in cages at the border, more important also than the large debt these very students have incurred. And both faculty and university administrators have jumped right on board the pharisaic bandwagon.

  22. Just because something is a “Third Party” doesn’t mean it is any less corrupt and self-serving than the Democrats, who are admittedly dismal. Groups spout slogans and publish policy positions that do not reflect the actual aims and purposes of the core group. We’ve seen this problem in all the gossip about Black Lives Matter.
    The greatest caution I would warn about is affiliation with a group based on compatibility with their rhetoric. Watch and see. Are they all talk, or mostly pomposity? Political organizations play the same mind games as businesses and organized religions. They’ll often state that you can agree with just a few basic principles, and that they’ll fill you in on the complete information later. So when they want your opinion they’ll give it to you? There’s an old Christian hymn that commands “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” But I can verify to you as a person that’s worked hiding wanted people in the underground, and having performed covert and unlawful acts for good causes that there are other ways, and that you can find them yourself. Gorbachev was a career apparachik but he was correct about glasnost.
    Problem was, as he achieved acceptance and celebrity he became enthralled and trusted the West too much, ran off at the mouth. It’s like working at Amazon and expecting integrity and openess. Not gonna happen. Don’t keep discussing what you’re gonna do if… If you know its right go ahead and do it on your own without waiting for a chorus to echo your righteousness. Be a meteor, not a comet. If anyone with a conscience remains let them assist.
    Quality of life is most important until existential (extinction danger) situations arise and negate all the other connected stuff. Sawant says in the article about climate disruption, and I would also include nuclear war: ” We will need mass revolutionary struggle led by working people, ordinary people, to bring about that kind of change. That kind of change, flowing from the needs of the planet itself, cannot happen through elections.”

    1. To Red,
      I think the point about 3rd parties – at least for me, is that, to the extent they don’t take corp money, instead being funded by “the people”, lots of small donations, they do feel they are answerable to those small donors – true, any party can be corrupted, but we could get a few good years out of them and if/when the corruption becomes apparent, we can “move on” …

      As to “That kind of change, flowing from the needs of the planet itself, cannot happen through elections.”, but those elections apparently put her in a position where she can accomplish things, because those elections were decided by the same people who comprised those movements – I have long believed that movements without electoral politics or vice-versa are like a one legged man – he can hop around a bit, but he won’t get too far – if Sawant didn’t believe in elections, why did she run?

      1. SH: Points well taken.
        But it cannot be denied that most of these fund raising schemes wind up like James Taylor’s Flying Machine, in pieces on the ground. All I meant was (but failed to communicate) was whatever you choose get in there and make the effort your own. No amount of money can replace bodily commitment

      2. @Red Hornet
        I basically agree with both your comment and your response. As to corruption regarding elections, the main corruption problem is that private campaign donations are allowed at all. It should all be public money, and all candidates should get the same amount. But keep in mind that there are other ways to sell out than being financially corrupt. I’ve been a Green Party supporter since the 1970s, because their original platform was peace and the environment, with other issues being secondary as they should be. Then, at least in the U.S., they decided to prioritize other issues in order to try to win elections — how has that worked out? — and have actually taken anti-environmental positions on specific issues. They didn’t do this for money, they did it for power (not the mwaaaha kind of “we want to rule the planet” power, but power nonetheless).

        I also could not agree more that elections can only do so much. Ultimately, we need to win the hearts & minds of people to get real, long-lasting or permanent change. This takes a long time, even more so in a society that’s so badly brainwashed that they think that acquiring money and the material things it buys is the ultimate goal in life (almost no one admits that, but look at what people do, not what they say).

        As to elections themselves, in this totally unrepresentative U.S. system, one’s time & energy is much better spent trying to get proportional representation and eliminating private campaign contributions than trying to decide which corporate jerk to elect or to vote for a 3d party candidate who has virtually no chance of winning. Sure, vote Green, socialist, or whatever, but don’t spend a lot of time or energy on that.

      3. To Jeff,
        OK, so you don’t like the GP – is there any party you do like?
        As for getting money out of politics and proportional representation – just how do you propose we do that as long as the D/Rs are in power – for whom the current system works quite well indeed … I have asked that ? in a number of places and never get an answer …

        And here you go again – spouting the favorite duopoly meme – “3rd parties can’t win”, which is total BS because anyone on a ballot can win if enough folks vote for ’em …. And please, don’t give me that line “I vote for ’em” – so you vote for ’em at the same time you discourage any one else from doing so …. hmmm, with friends like that who needs enemies ..

      4. @SH
        I’m registered and vote Green because that’s the closest there is to anything good. But electoral politics is a dirty game that corrupts everyone, just like the Democratic Party corrupts supposed progressives (or maybe real progressives, I don’t know). There’s no Earth First! Buddhist Party, that’s who I’d vote for if it existed and stayed true to its ideals.

        As to voting, you totally mischaracterize my position. I never discouraged anyone from voting Green or other 3d party. What I said is that’s not where your focus should be, because it’s a rigged system and your time & effort is much better spent on unriggiing it than obsessing on rigged elections.

        I also never said that 3d party candidates can’t win; I said that the system is rigged, and that the CHANCES of 3d party candidates winning are extremely low because of that. This is about priorities, not making things mutually exclusive like you’re doing.

        I’ve also answered your question multiple times: you organize, run ballot initiatives, etc. This is a chicken-and-egg issue that you think has a starting point, which it clearly doesn’t.

      5. To Jeff,
        – Indeed – unrigging it, and it seems to me the best way to “unrig” it is to vote out the folks who rigged it …
        So precise what are you “organizing” for – I don’t think you have been paying a lot of attention Jeff – those “ballot initiatives” get swamped by big money as well, and can often be overturned by, guess who ,,, the same folks who are rigging the system – it is indeed a “chicken or egg” issue – if you want to get rid of the rotten eggs, best way is to oust the chickens who laid them … saying the “system is rigged” amounts to giving a reason for 3rd parties not winning – when the real reason is simply that enough folks aren’t supporting and voting for them – and a big reason for that is that they believe they “can’t win”

        If you are not out giving the lie to the “can’t win” meme, by pointing out they can win if enough folks vote for ’em – if you are not encouraging others to vote as you do, then all your own votes are simply virtue signalling …

        Have been down this road before, Jeff, over the years, with a lot of folks like you …

      6. To Red,
        I agree – and have made a number of efforts “my own” over the years, I have signed the obligatory petitions, written the letters, made the phone calls, gone to meetings, sued in court, and “taken to the streets”, demonstrated to the point of getting arrested, etc. – but it is because I have seen that doing all these things and $3.50 (or has the price gone up?) has gotten me a cup of coffee that I now feel so strongly that in a country that is too big to be administered directly by its citizens, i.e. is a Republic where decisions are made by representatives of those citizens, it behooves us to see that the folks that represent us actually represent US …. and that we actively support and vote for those who do ….

        I “push” 3rd parties because, over the 3 decades (I am considerably older than that) in which I have been paying attention, I have “noticed” the pattern of the 2 parties that have run the show – and it has struck me that they resemble nothing more than a political mafia – dividing up the territory (this country) – running rackets, including “protection” rackets, to enrich themselves, taking and dispensing bribes, and doing all they can to insure there are no interlopers (3rd parties) who threaten them …

        Anyone who runs as a D/R thinking they can “reform” these parties is rather like someone who joins the mafia thinking (s)he can reform it – and what do we wind up with – a mafia who now gives us ice-cream socials or picnics in the park …

        So it seems to me that, if not the first, at least perhaps a vitally important place, to start our “revolt” is at the polls …

  23. Agreed. The workers are represented by neither the right wing GOP or the right of center Dems, who together have constituted the Neoconservative power structure of this country ( and others) since the late 70’s.
    They do NOT represent the workers, and it is indeed up to us and people like Kshama Sawant to challenge their agenda.
    In my humble opinion however, this does not go far enough, as, even if we get piecemeal concessions here and there, they still control power and have the ability to thwart democratic change at every turn with ‘inflation’ (price gouging/ profit taking; rent increases, layoffs, outsourcing, moving jobs overseas/offshore) as well as new military conflicts in order to continue feeding their primary industry, the Military Industrial Complex.
    In short, we are merely shuffling the deck-chairs on the titanic whilst the band (Run DNC) plays on…
    What is actually needed is a total paradigm shift in the social-economic and political system AWAY from producing goods and services simply for profit (at the expense of the entire planet and everything that lives here), to a system of production and distribution based upon the NEEDS of all people. Capitalism is the cancer that is destroying this planet, and we need to start moving away from its systemic damaging by-products before humanity and indeed most life forms on earth are all extinguished.

    1. To Paul,
      What if what she is doing in Seattle was done on a national scale …

      1. There’s got to be a way to bounce the stylus off the turntable.

  24. Interesting article, however my fundamental criticism of Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and the Socialist Alternative (SA) party is that they are technically not socialist in the true sense of the word.
    What they are striving for technically is ‘capitalist reformism’ . Their ultimate goal is NOT the overthrow of the capitalist system, but simply to make life better for workers within the system. This never works in the long run, as the owners still retain complete control of the system and grant a few crumbs here and there until they are able to then reposition their boot heel back onto the working class windpipe again.
    The only way to ‘change’ the system is to totally overthrow it by democratic means, and usher in a system that produces goods and services based upon human needs instead of purely on the basis of profit. THIS is true Socialism. It is a (future) system without money, the State, or political ‘leaders’ and to learn about it I would recommend a wee visit to: worldsocialism.org/spgb

    1. You got all that right. Not just purely profit, either. Who says we deserve profit? We make that garbage up.

  25. I’m beginning a project. It’s the We Need project. I’m going to begin tracking all the things We Need to live. According to us, that is.

    I’m beginning to realize that I could probably make a living writing articles about things We Need. If you read a lot of news all over the place like I do, you also would begin to see the overwhelming preponderance of discussions around the topic of all that We Need.

    I don’t understand why I didn’t see this pattern sooner. I’m disappointed in myself.

    I say We Need to stop. This is what humanity must do to “save” the world and ourselves.

    We have to stop living to be rich. No one gets to be wealthy. We have to meet our real needs, which are not many, and then we must stop tearing up the world altogether. We don’t even get to kill butterflies for research. Butterflies are few in number these days.

    We have to shut down commerce along the lines of covid. Remember how many activities and jobs were NOT essential? That one should have made a dent in someone’s consciousness, but it has not. We can’t suck up the planet like a vacuum just to make more money. We have to entertain ourselves in nondestructive ways and locally. We can do this. People did it for thousands of years before we came along.

    We cannot live the way we live with renewable energy or even fusion nuclear power, because pumping CO2 into the atmosphere is only one of tens of thousands of things we do wrong in connection with the Earth.

    We have to come up with magical technology that doesn’t exist to remove the CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere and the oceans. That possibility is quite sketchy for the timeline available.

    We have to come up with magical technology that doesn’t exist to deal with all our toxic nuclear waste that we’ve already generated. We have to start shutting down nuclear power plants immediately, and managing all of those. There are more than 450 in the world.

    We have to clean up the rest of the toxic waste, especially the plastic. We don’t know how to do that. The toxic chemicals from plastic are in our bloodstreams now. Every newborn in this country has at least 200 toxic chemicals in their blood.

    We have to give back lots of land to the animals and allow their populations to come back.

    Those are the evidence based priority actions we must take to have a future. I have zero belief that we will do them in time, if they are even possible. I have good reason to believe we won’t try to do them at all. Because we don’t believe in living that way.

    Our belief that humans deserve wealth screws us and everything about us up every minute of every day, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We believe we can have wealth and “manage” it. We’ll make up rules for people to follow that we will then enforce, we say. We’ll pass laws to make sure it’s all fair.

    We have zero historical evidence that we can do this, but it’s the only goal we can conceive of.

    We will continue to fantasize ourselves and everything else to death because we can’t do what needs to be done, which is take over all this stuff and shut it down.

    We can call the fantasizing, I mean, brainstorming that occupies our last terrifying days the We Need Project. We can centralize it with a website, and bring people together around it. It will be fun.

    1. To Tupe,
      Check out Maslowe’s Hierarchy of Needs – this seems to square with what you are talking about – It’s interesting, I am conversing with someone who is very much into tech and wants to connect with folks in a discussion about how to make it useful for actually helping us – as soon as you get your site set up, please include an e-mail as to how to connect with you so we don’t have to shift through a bunch of other posts (smile)

      As for CO2 and CH4 – Mother Nature has been an expert at establishing an equilibrium in maintaining the conditions for “life as we know it” for ages – and indigenous folks have long understood and followed the “rules” of maintaining that equilibrium, it seems to me – and in that equilibrium re CO2 the soil has played a significant role – the buffalo on the plains, the 3 Sisters as a staple of agriculture – do I have that right?

      As I guess I have made rather clear in many posts, I do “believe” in the capacity of electoral politics to do some good things – will they be enough, maybe not to turn things around but at least in going in that direction we can align ourselves with MN – and that, it seems to me should always be our goal ….

      Oh yeah, in my voting, one of my votes was for Nader/LaDuke – I think she is a pretty cool lady (smile)

      1. The soils are significant in connection with CO2. The oceans even more so, however. Most CO2 has gone into the oceans, causing the acidification.

        CO2 in the soils comes from plants dying and being encased in the soils. Soil doesn’t absorb CO2 from the air like the oceans do. When we plow or otherwise tear into the ground, we release that CO2 back into the air, exacerbating every other thing we do.

        I really like LaDuke. I think she is tres cool and wonderful.

      2. Re soil – that’s why the concept of regenerative ag with “no till” is promoted – as for carbon fixation, its the what I call “critters” in the ground – the microbes, et al. and the plants, who process it along nitrogen fixation, etc fit in – all things are connected, and, as I pointed out, MN has done a great job of establishing an equilibrium favorable to life for ages – we are the ones who have upset that equilibrium, but if we utilize the mechanisms MN has used – for actually “pulling” CO2 out of the air on a grand scale – and even out of the sea with seaweed, etc – we can go a long way toward doing half of what we need to do – the other half, of course, is stop putting so much of the stuff into the atmosphere in the first place!

        I mentioned the buffalo because I understand that their grazing habits etc. have actually helped the prairies they graze on.

        As for LaDuke – neat lady indeed – check out her work with hemp, which can be a replacement for a whole lot of stuff ..

  26. I wanted to add:

    I don’t doubt that if we had a caring society, one that cherished and nurtured every spirit, that the harm that Chris talks about in his essays would not persist. Could we develop the wisdom and maturity to do this? Sawant talks about creating bigger movements that can match tyranny in its many forms, and that would mean an epiphany for much of the human race.

    For me, there is hope if the power of the American govt declines steeply, as China’s Belt and Road Initiative helps countries find independence from the US. Crises like high inflation or climate disaster would motivate citizens to challenge the US govt to address their needs, instead of the leaders of neoliberalism, America’s predatory capitalism.

  27. How about “How To Defeat the Poor? A Media Primer for the Billionaire Class.

  28. Focus 100% on your winning “Strategic Advantage” [Michael Porter HBS] and ignore the ‘Money Ball’ insanity of trying to out raise this dual-party Vichy-facade of faux-democracy which IS the DNC, DMFI, et. al.

    This EMPIRE is NOT a form of Government — even WIKI does not include or recognize EMPIRE as any form of Government, but rather as the polar opposite of government.

    CORPORATE
    CAPITALISM
    CREATED
    EMPIRE

    “Guns don’t kill people” — EMPIRE does.

    The Co-producer of the fabulously revealing film “Don’t Look UP”, Ron “We’re an EMPIRE Now” Suskind, revealed in metaphorical-thinking what the NY ‘Times’ printed in 2004, focusing on the weakness of the opponent force.

    The fault is not in our stars, nor in ourselves, but in the EMPIRE.

    Additionally, Ret. Col. and BU History Professor, ‘Skip’ Bacevich, at Quincey Institute, in just the 7th chapter of his expository book “After the Apocalypse” fully exposes our “Quiet American” cancer of EMPIRE, which must be peacefully and surgically ‘excised’ in a second Peaceful Political “Revolution Against Empire” [Justin duRivage]!

    Zero in, and “Fire for Effect” against EMPIRE.

    Focus, ‘like a laser’ on Democratic Socialism v. Empire.

    “Do you know why the streets are shit?” — Many don’t answer anything. Then I simply say — “Because Billionaires don’t drive cars”

    “Do you know why ‘Least Worst Voting’ occurs?” — Most don’t answer. And I reply — “Because Billionaires really like their private Empire”

    These are my newest, simplest, and double-sided signs that my LOV campaign will be using:

    LOVE OVER
    POWER, MONEY
    HATE & EMPIRE

    GROW LOVE
    END EMPIRE

  29. If we’re to be wary of labor leaders allied with the DP, we should also be suspicious of the Fight for Fifteen, which sounds like a platform right out of the playbook of bizzness unionism for pacifying working class discontent and militancy. Hardly measuring up to respectable standards of that dubious notion of a minimum wage (not to be confused with a livable wage), which serves as a reminder of the bare minimum of crumbs our masters are willing to toss us, the scheme for fifteen often is adjusted downward for ‘what the market (and those who control it) can bear’ and implemented on a gradualist basis which by the time of completion promises to translate into at most minimal if not negative gain of wages for even barest necessities (now guaranteed with such crises by design as skyrocketing inflation, since the capitalist class doesn’t have to wait on price gouging).

    I’m all for reform in pursuit of revolution, but lying like this about amelioration of people’s hardships seems like the progressive facade of fascism. Workers of the world aren’t taking the offensive in fighting for a socialist future with any lame-ass movement made to order for compliance to such rigged games played at our expense for the benefit of ruling elites.

    It just goes to show how political campaigns are as susceptible to corruption by demands as by personalities. A lot of what constitutes popular politics nowadays is the product of philanthropically colonized movements like BLM which feature demands for marching people at the grassroots into astroturfed solutions for social problems. PhDs are welcome to cry power to the people, but when social justice has become professionalized by the big bizzness of the nonprofit industrial complex then we the people need to be demanding some fresh starts at organizing the resistance.

    By far the most insidious example of cooptation by and collaboration with the billionaire class is the present coup that began with covid. There’s remarkable uniformity across the professional left with demands for solutions, indeed final solutions like universal ‘vaccination’ and techno-totalitarianism, to problems fabricated for our complete enslavement as resources for the predatory psychopaths in charge. Climate change hype and hysteria adds insult to injury already leveled upon us from the scamdemic, predictively programming populations into more permanent biosecurity states of exception to any further pretense of the rule of law, as with lockdowns and austerity measures under digital dictatorship allocating carbon credits, for us, not them.

    We’re being sold a Green New Deal, as if the old one was all that great, with demands from owners of the economy for a Great Reset and 4th Industrial Revolution to reduce the proverbial 99%, give or take, to synthetic equipment within an internet of things, and bodies as things. Anyone organizing among Amazon workers, for instance, and not alerting them to the entire agenda of Bezos and other billionaires of the 1% presiding over most of the earth, and wanting it all, should take a closer look at robotic replacement designed to make most of us useless eaters fit for depopulation.

    Goals. Strategies. Tactics. What are ours? (Is it worth recalling, and recovering, such precedent as the Seattle general strike of 1919?) Surely one imperative for making such determinations is to recover our own autonomy and agency in real-world relations with one another as the changes we want to see – participatory democracy, mutual aid, compassionate solidarity countering the dominant culture of competition, contempt and divide-and-conquer horizontal hostility, etc.

    If any and all of the above is too much to expect from managers of consent and dissent, at least a consistent break with identity politics would be a relief. Hedges might consider beginning with himself, and his own woke soundbites of white supremacy and blah, blah, blah.

    1. $15 is here by default.
      But with inflation it’s still $7.25.

      1. @Red Hornet
        Remember, FDR said that he saved capitalism (basically from itself). So long as we live in capitalism, there will be great inequality, though that inequality has existed ever since civilization, the latter being far closer to the root cause of the problem.

  30. SEATTLE’S RADICAL HERITAGE

    I’m a 5th generation Seattleite; my great-great grandparents are buried up on Capitol Hill. And I’m in my 70’s.

    “A Better Seattle”?! Ah, such a prime example of the all too common combo of ignorance and arrogance. As if the city had no history and longs for some outsider rich white guy to swoop in and save us.

    The last time we saw this degree of cluelessness was during the 1999 meeting of the WTO, provoking protests I’m proud to say became known as “The Battle of Seattle.” Where liberal Ds failed to understand that a city with strong labor unions, several large universities, lots of eco-activists and outdoor types, several near-by Native American tribes, and a lengthy radical history might not appreciate having the global econ elite in town.

    Seattle. Which helped elect a Populist governor in 1896. Where the 1919 General Strike happened. Where Wobblies (my grandfather among them) organized. Where the Washington Commonwealth Federation of the ’30s, consisting of everything from what were then centrist Dems to outright Marxists, was popular. Such that James Farley, Postmaster General in town to dedicate a new post office in 1936, made reference to “the Soviet of Washington.”

    Kshama Sawant is a great representative of Seattle’s true heritage!

  31. When I read the title of Hedges latest, I said yes to myself and sat back to enjoy a tour de force in revolutionary thought and action. I was disappointed. Chris you missed the mark in what should have been your masterpiece. People are starving for a solution, a hope, a way, and you gave them….Seattle.

    I am no Chris Hedges and don’t pretend to be but I will tell you the solution…the only solution. Mass peaceful civil disobedience is the only way. It requires risk and pain with no guarantee of success. It requires a will rooted in the bedrock of moral certainty. It requires the courage to resist even in the face of our own possible destruction. It requires the wisdom to not become the very monster we resist.

    That is the way and what is required. Now you understand why I continually state the obvious…we are so massively and magnificently fucked. I see no daylight.

    1. Mass peaceful civil disobedience – I wonder if that could well be the Seattle model writ large – that we need to do “a Seattle” all over the country – and that includes “civil disobedience” at the polls – refusing to vote for the duopoly that keeps repeating the policies and programs that made this mess – refusing to accept the “there is no alternative” to the D/Rs and supporting, en masse, the alternatives there are such as Sawant represents …

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: