Monday, September 30, 2013

Revolution And The Corporate State

Chris Hedges has no illusions about the power of the corporate state:

The state, to protect itself, lies. Politicians, corporations, the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and our ridiculous television pundits speak as if we can continue to build a society based on limitless growth, profligate consumption and fossil fuel. They feed the collective mania for hope at the expense of truth. Their public vision is self-delusional, a form of collective psychosis. The corporate state, meanwhile, is preparing privately for the world it knows is actually coming. It is cementing into place a police state, one that includes the complete evisceration of our most basic civil liberties and the militarization of the internal security apparatus, as well as wholesale surveillance of the citizenry.
And it is concentrating its power on eliminating those who would rebel:

The state has, at the same time, heavily infiltrated movements in order to discredit, isolate and push out their most competent leaders. It has used its vast surveillance capacities to monitor all forms of electronic communications, as well as personal relationships between activists, giving the state the ability to paralyze planned actions before they can begin. It has mounted a public relations campaign to demonize anyone who resists, branding environmental activists as “ecoterrorists,” charging activists under draconian terrorism laws, hunting down whistle-blowers such as Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden who shine a light on the inner secrets of power and condemning them as traitors and threats to national security. The state has attempted—and in this effort some in the Black Bloc proved unwittingly useful—to paint the movement as violent and directionless.

Faced with such a phalanx of power, one has every right to ask whether there is any hope for change. Hedges believes there is; and he hopes that the revolution will be nonviolent. But,he writes, it will not be like past revolutions:

It is not the poor who make revolutions. It is those who conclude that they will not be able, as they once expected, to rise economically and socially. This consciousness is part of the self-knowledge of service workers and fast food workers. It is grasped by the swelling population of college graduates caught in a vise of low-paying jobs and obscene amounts of debt. These two groups, once united, will be our primary engines of revolt. 

As always, revolutions start among the dispossessed. But they gather steam among those who can no longer stomach injustice. The problem is that modern technology has made it easier to entrench injustice.

In the end, as Martin Luther King said, physical force must be met with soul force. Hedges believes that such a revolution is underway.


ron wilton said...

Apparently the only things that make the world community react to the injustices and inhumanities of dictators and other oppressive regimes, are the videos and stills of the obscene , barbarous violence being demonstrated by the oppressors and the responses of their citizenry.

The only thing that gets Canadians in disgust mode is when they see the videos and stills, not of the environmental carnage perpetrated by extractive corporations, but by the physical brutality of the police forces enforcing questionable legal injunctions against their fellow countrymen who could easily be their sons and daughters or mothers and fathers or friends or even themselves.

Sadly, the violence is a necessary precursor to mass resistance and positive change.

Such will be the case in BC when herr harper will refuse to take 'no' for an answer.

Owen Gray said...

The state will probably exercise violence against resistors, Ron -- just as it did at the G20 summit.

But it was the non violent resistance to thugs like Bull Connor that turned the tide against Jim Crow nearly 50 years ago.

Edstock said...

Actions have consequences, always have, always will, and conservatives ignore this at their peril — some of the brighter cons are starting to see the possibilities of a 1789 redux and the end of this era's Ancien RĂ©gime, but greed and hubris will have the 1% keep on keepin' on.
Ten years ago, I speculated that 200 years from now, historians will say that the prime importance of 9-11 was that it caused the state to beef up the "security organs" (fine Marxist phrase) with the result that the Second American Revolution was delayed by 75 years. Now, I am not so sure about the delay, because my intuition suggests that there is a 'perfect storm' drawing closer.
The biggest challenge to the fascists will be the disappearance of more and more jobs as the next tech plateau arrives. MIT has a report that indicates up to 45% of US jobs could be threatened within 20 years, and when the people can't get employment and the 1% are buying Rolexes and Bugattis . . .

Owen Gray said...

If there's one thing that conservatives lack, Ed, it's a sense of history.

Even now Republicans in the U.S. Congress have forgotten the lessons of 17 years ago. They are clueless about what happened in 1789. So, as Santayana said, they are doomed to repeat history.