Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Let's pick up the clue phone....

The excerpt below is from Chris Hedges' latest column on Truthdig:

"...And so, even as Wall Street steals billions of taxpayer dollars and the Gulf of Mexico is turned into a toxic swamp, we do not know what to do or say. We decry the excesses of capitalism without demanding a dismantling of the corporate state. The liberal class has a misguided loyalty, illustrated by environmental groups that have refused to excoriate the Obama White House over the ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Liberals bow before a Democratic Party that ignores them and does the bidding of corporations. The reflexive deference to the Democrats by the liberal class is the result of cowardice and fear. It is also the result of an infantile understanding of the mechanisms of power. The divide is not between Republican and Democrat. It is a divide between the corporate state and the citizen. It is a divide between capitalists and workers. And, for all the failings of the communists, they got it.

Unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class warfare and filled with those who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated partners of the capitalist class. They have been reduced to simple bartering tools. The social demands of unions early in the 20th century that gave the working class weekends off, the right to strike, the eight-hour day and Social Security have been abandoned. Universities, especially in political science and economics departments, parrot the discredited ideology of unregulated capitalism and have no new ideas. Artistic expression, along with most religious worship, is largely self-absorbed narcissism. The Democratic Party and the press have become corporate servants. The loss of radicals within the labor movement, the Democratic Party, the arts, the church and the universities has obliterated one of the most important counterweights to the corporate state. And the purging of those radicals has left us unable to make sense of what is happening to us.

The fear of communism, like the fear of Islamic terrorism, has resulted in the steady suspension of civil liberties, including freedom of speech, habeas corpus and the right to organize, values the liberal class claims to support. It was the orchestration of fear that permitted the capitalist class to ram through the Taft-Hartley Act in 1948 in the name of anti-communism, the most destructive legislative blow to the working class until the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It was fear that created the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, offshore penal colonies where we torture and the endless wars in the Middle East. And it was fear that was used to see us fleeced by Wall Street. If we do not stop being afraid and name our enemy we will continue toward a state of neofeudalism..." See entire post on Truthdig.


Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

"But once the Communist Party, along with other radical movements, was eradicated as a social and political force, once the liberal class took government-imposed loyalty oaths and collaborated in the witch hunts for phantom communist agents, we were robbed of the ability to make sense of our struggle. We became fearful, timid and ineffectual. We lost our voice and became part of the corporate structure we should have been dismantling."

The ever-enlightening Chris Hedges sees and understands. He hasn't been blinded by the pseudo-regulatory liberalism that's posed as the neo-left ("weakened-left") for at least the last thirty-five years. The staunch radicalism that was pervasive during the 1960s has given way to a new breed of ineffectual liberalism -- watered-down and given an impotent new name of progressivism. It's fueled by ideas of conserving the existing structure; tweaking it here-and-there and hoping for the best. It believes, for the most part, that capitalism isn't wrong; it's just out-of-line. It has a Viagra-mentality of defeatism; there's nothing that can be done, so just artificially make adjustments and everything will be just fine.

Just as Mr. Hedges states, "[l]iberals bow before a Democratic Party that ignores them and does the bidding of corporations." Liberals continue to cling to the hope of an already failed presidency, simply because they've failed to comprehend the true divide in this nation. Again, Hedges makes it crystal clear: "The divide is not between Republican and Democrat. It is a divide between the corporate state and the citizen. It is a divide between capitalists and workers."

Back when I was a student in college, one of my economics classes required the reading of a text titled "Economics & Social Issues". several social challenges of the time, from an economics perspective, were presented by three viewpoints; three potential solutions: the conservative, the liberal, and the radical. I found myself repeatedly defending the radical side in our class discussions and assignments, simply because it always was the most humanistic and societal-centered. The term, "radical", grew out-of-favor in the ensuring years, eventually dropped from the lexicon and seemingly replaced by the wimpy and non-intimidating "progressive" label. As Mr. Hedges summarizes in his final paragraph, "We must find our way back to the old radicals, to the discredited Marxists, socialists and anarchists, including Dwight Macdonald and Dorothy Day. Language is our first step toward salvation. We cannot fight what we cannot describe." Let's bring the working title of "radical" back. At least we know what that stands for.

4:45 PM  

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