Friday, September 16, 2016

No Noble Savages



Chris Hedges had hoped that Bernie Sanders would spark a revolution. Unfortunately, he writes, the revolution was still-born:

The naive hopes of Bernie Sanders’ supporters—to build a grass-roots political movement, change the Democratic Party from within and push Hillary Clinton to the left—have failed. Clinton, aware that the liberal class and the left are not going to mount genuine resistance, is running as Mitt Romney in drag. The corporate elites across the political spectrum, Republican and Democrat, have gleefully united to anoint her president. All that remains of Sanders’ “revolution” is a 501(c)(4) designed to raise money, including from wealthy, anonymous donors, to ensure that he will be a senator for life. Great historical events happen twice, as Karl Marx quipped, first as tragedy and then as farce. 

The corporate agenda remains firmly in place:

The multibillion-dollar extravaganza of our electoral Circus Maximus is part of the smokescreen that covers the ongoing devastation of globalization, deindustrialization, trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, endless war, climate change and the intrusion into every corner of our lives by the security and surveillance state. Our democracy is dead. Clinton and Donald Trump do not have the power or the interest to revive it. They kneel before the war machine, which consumes trillions of dollars to wage futile wars and bankroll a bloated military. To defy the fortress state is political suicide. Politicians are courtiers to Wall Street. The candidates mouth the clich├ęs of justice, improvements in income equality and democratic choice, but it is a cynical game. Once it is over, the victors will go to Washington to work with the lobbyists and financial elites to carry out the real business of ruling. 

In the end, nothing will stand in the way:

To neoliberals, everyone and everything are disposable. The failed states that have risen up across the Middle East, Africa, the Caucasus and Asia in the wake of the Cold War herald a neoliberal world driven by violence, corruption, greed and desperation. The drug traffickers, smugglers, pirates, kidnappers, jihadists, criminal gangs and militias that roam huge swaths of territory where central authority has vanished are the real faces of globalization. These nihilists define Islamic State just as they define the corporate state. Corruption may be more naked and cruder in Afghanistan or Iraq, but it has its parallel in the for-sale politicians and political parties that dominate the United States and Europe. The common good—the building of community and solidarity—has been replaced through decades of corporate indoctrination with the callous call to amass all you can for yourself and leave the stranger bleeding on the side of the road. 

There is a new world order. It is based on naked exploitation. It—not democracy—is what we have exported across the globe. And it looks a lot like the anarchic state that Hobbes feared. The criminal gangs that deliver migrants to Europe make about $100 million a month for their work. They exploit and traffic human beings just as highly paid CEOs do.

It's a dark vision -- in which there are no noble savages.

16 comments:

Lorne said...

I don't know if you have seen The Star article on why millenials are having such a hard time supporting Hilary, Owen, but the reasons echo much of what Hedges says: https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/09/15/blame-millennials-clintons-struggles-with-young-voters-help-trump-close-gap.html

I am currently reading a book by Jeffrey Sachs, and his assertions also ring true: The Republicans are seen as the party of Big Oil, and the Democrats are the party of Wall Street.
Neither attracts people who want something better.

Owen Gray said...

I did notice that article, Lorne. If Bernie's people stay home, Trump wins.

Steve said...

thats why I vote for Trump. Its a lay down hand.

Owen Gray said...

I beg to differ, Steve. But we've been through that before.

The Mound of Sound said...

I've been having doubts about whether Hedges has gone too far in his pessimism. His column reads as a capitulation. All is lost, it's over. It's an abject abandonment of hope and, with it, any reason to aspire, much less fight, for something better. It might be helpful if Hedges would take a few steps back and fashion some ideas worth pursuing.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Mound. I'm foolish enough to believe that some of us can rise to the occasion -- as difficult as that might be.

The Mound of Sound said...


There are problems that we may be unable to solve, outcomes not to our liking. However we can always strive to ameliorate impacts. We need to see that capitulation ensures the worst possible outcome.

Owen Gray said...

Our efforts may fail, Mound. But, if we capitulate, we bear some responsibility for the tragedy which befalls us.

Dana said...

Owen, I'm sure you didn't mean to infer we don't already bear the responsibility for what befalls us - and I mean *all* of the responsibility not just some.

Anonymous said...

Chris is not being overly pessimistic but merely suggesting what seems obvious. Real change can only occur from outside, not within, the Dem party. The establishment Dem party members supporting Hillary will ensure the status quo prevails. Sanders and the progressive Dems have already been sidelined - just look at Hillary's choices for her running mate and for leader of her transition team, both men regarded as being on the right wing of the Dem party. Hillary once had prided herself as a "Goldwater" girl too.

Owen Gray said...

The Dems could regret those decisions, Anon. Sanders appealed to millennials. And the Democrats will need their support to win.

Owen Gray said...

You're right, Dana. We bear all the responsibility. Capitulating doesn't relieve us of that responsibility.

the salamander said...

.. thanks .. your article gave me a nice 5:00 AM lift ..

I've been contemplating (mulling - has been hijacked by potential political party leaders) where the point of the indy spear needs to be aimed - for maximum effect.. and the article & comments have given me some 'juice' that I may be on the right track..

The analogy that Canada 'sleeps with an elephant' (the USA) always gets me going.. I'm fortunate in that working with large horses & cattle in confined and open spaces has driven the aptness home. For an individual to 'manage' huge & powerful beasts requires cunning. Trying to clean the stall, or groom a thoroughbred, or innoculate a 1200 lb steer, requires courage, trust & smarts. Those tasks also require an understanding of environment.. its why many vets request cats needing a rabies shot be delivered in a bag, the needle can pass through. After some screeching palpations, the vet finds the muscle of the thight or the butt & gets the job done. Next barn cat please.

My rambling here is meant to stimulate confidence thst - there are solutions ..
Sometimes they may appear simple, or difficult or impossible.. but an idealist like me thinks its doable. I recently turned Mound onto The Upside Of Down. That book could easily be updated vis a vis many of our current contemporary challenges or disasters. Even political disasters. Does 'big government' have to be wrestled into tapping out and submitting? Yes.. so lets figure out how to recspture and control the beast. Is corruption rampant among the parasitic clingons & corridors of power? Yes.. so lets lesrn to identify them or flush them out of the dsrk stinking corners

Lateral or common sense solutions.. or the early steps.. usually require stating the problem in ways that embody part or all of the solution. If the common people or indy media have to tell lazy or captured mainstream media - what the correct message is. then lets get more and more aggressive on that task.

Owen Gray said...

To admit that the situation is dark does not mean that it is hopeless, salamander. Let's get on with the job of lighting a few candles.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

My hats off to Mr. Hedges for understanding and pointing out the parallel characteristics of both the "respectable" and the roguish.
That what one group/demographic does is just as evil as what the other groups/demographics do.

Owen Gray said...

So far as I can tell, Tal, no one has cornered the market on morality.