Chris Hedges "Fascism in the Age of Trump"

Chris Hedges "Fascism in the Age of Trump"

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[Music] it really is communities like this especially given the times were about to face that are gonna sustain it us because when things get bad the elites will retreat into their gated compounds with amenities and services and security that's denied to the rest of us and they'll leave us on our own and we are
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you know as Martin Buber understood it is for those of us who endure it is going to be a complete inversion of the values of the consumer culture which I'm going to speak about and it really is going to be we are going to be are not only our integrity but our ability to endure will be measured by our capacity to sustain our neighbor and that's really what sanctuary is about which is why I'm thrilled to be here and why I
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admire the work you do so much the American Empire is coming to an end the US economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion across the globe it is burdened by growing deficits along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade
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agreements our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud all the while looting trillions from the US Treasury in the form of bailouts the nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce a lie in Europe Latin America Asia and Africa
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to do its bidding add to this the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles con artists thieves opportunists and war mongering generals and yes I am also speaking about the
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Democratic Party the Empire will limp along steadily losing influence until the dollar is dropped as the world's reserve currency plunging the United States into a crippling depression and instantly forcing a massive contraction of our military machine short of a sudden and widespread popular revolt which does not seem likely the death
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spiral appears unstoppable meaning the United States as we know it will no longer exist within a decade or at most to the global vacuum we leave behind will be filled by China already establishing itself as an economic and military juggernaut or perhaps there will be a multipolar world carved up among Russia China India Brazil Turkey
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South Africa and a few other states or maybe the void will be filled as the historian Alfred McCoy writes by a collection of transnational corporations multilateral military forces like NATO and an international financial leadership self-selected at Davos and build a bird that will forge a supranational Nexus to supersede any nation or Empire under every measure
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from financial growth and infrastructure investment to advanced technology including supercomputers space weaponry and cyber warfare we are being rapidly overtaken by the Chinese in April 2015 the US Department of Agriculture predicted that the American economy would grow by nearly 50 percent over the next 15 years while China's economy is predicted to triple and come close to
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surpassing Americas by 2030 China became the world's second largest economy in 2010 the same year it became the world's leading manufacturing nation pushing aside a United States that had dominated the world's manufacturing for a century the Department of Defense issued a sober report at our own peril DOD risk assessment in a post primacy world it
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found that the US military and I quote no longer enjoys an unassailable position vs. state competitors and it no longer can automatically generate consistent and sustained local military superiority at range McCoy predicts the collapse will come by 2030 empires in decay embrace an almost willful suicide
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blinded by their hubris and unable to face the reality of their diminishing power they retreat into a fantasy world where hard and unpleasant facts no longer intrude they replace diplomacy multilateralism and politics with unilateral bombastic threats and the blunt instrument of war this collective self delusion saw the United States make
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the greatest strategic blunder in its history one that sounded the death knell of the Empire the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq the architects of the war in the George W Bush White House and the array of useful idiots in the press and academia who were cheerleaders for it knew very little about the country's being invaded were stunningly naive about the effects of
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industrial warfare and were blindsided by the ferocious blowback they stated and probably believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction although there was no valid evidence to support this claim they insisted that democracy would be implanted in Baghdad and spread across the Middle East they assured the public that US troops would be greeted by grateful Iraqis and
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Afghans as liberators they promised that oil revenues would cover the cost of reconstruction they insisted that bold and quick military strikes shock and awe would restore American hegemony in the region and dominance in the world but it did the opposite as speak now Brzezinski noted this unilateral war of choice against Iraq precipitated a widespread D
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legitimation of u.s. foreign policy historians of empire called these military Fiasco's a feature of all late empires micro militarism the Athenians engaged in micro militarism when during the Peloponnesian War they invaded Sicily suffering the loss of 200 ships and thousands of soldiers and triggering revolts throughout the empire Britain did this in 1956 when an attack Egypt in
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a dispute over the nationalization of the Suez Canal and then quickly had to withdraw in humiliation empowering a string of Arab nationalist leaders such as Egypt's Gama Abdel Nasser and British rule over the nation's few remaining colonies neither of these empires recovered while rising empires are often judicious even rational in their application of armed forced for
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conquest and control of overseas dominions fading empires are inclined to ill-considered displays of power dreaming of bold military master strokes that would somehow recoup lost prestige and power McCoy writes often irrational even from an imperial point of view these micro military operations can yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating
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defeats that only accelerate the process already underway but empires need more than force to dominate other nations they need a mystique this mystique always a mask for imperial plunder repression and exploitation seduces some native elites who become willing to do the bidding of the imperial power or at least remain passive and it provides a patina of civility even nobility to
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justify to those at home the costs and blood and money needed to maintain Empire the parliamentary system of government that Britain replicated in appearance in its colonies and the introduction of British sports such as polo cricket in horse racing along with the elaborately uniformed viceroys and the pageantry of royalty were buttress by what the colonial said was the invincibility of their Navy and their army and England was able to hold this
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Empire together from 1815 to 1914 before being forced into a steady retreat America's high blown rhetoric about democracy liberty and equality along with basketball baseball in Hollywood as well as our own deification of the military entranced and cowed much of the globe in the wake of World War two behind-the-scenes of course the CIA used
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its bag of dirty tricks to orchestrate cooze fix elections and carry out assassinations black propaganda campaigns bribery blackmail intimidation and of course torture but none of this works anymore the photographs of physical abuse and sexual humiliation imposed on Arab prisoners at Abu Ghraib inflamed the Muslim world it fed al Qaeda and later Isis with
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recruits the assassination of Osama bin Laden he was unarmed it's called assassination and a host of other jihadist leaders including the US citizen Anwar al-awlaki openly mocked the concept of the rule of law the hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of refugees fleeing our debacles in the Middle East along with a near constant threat from militarized aerial drones exposed us as state
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terrorists we have replicated in the Middle East the US military's penchant for widespread atrocities indiscriminate violence lies and fatal miscalculations that led to our defeat in Vietnam the brutality abroad is matched by a growing brutality at home militarized police gunned down mostly unarmed poor people of color and fill a system of Penitentiary's and jails that hold a
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staggering 25% of the world's prisoners although Americans represent only 5% of the global population many of our cities are in ruins our public transportation is in shambles our educational system is in steep decline and being privatized opioid addiction suicide mass shootings depression and morbid obesity plague a population that has fallen into profound despair
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the deep disillusionment and anger that led to Donald Trump's election a reaction to the corporate coup d'etat and the poverty afflicting at least half the country have destroyed the myth of a functioning democracy presidential tweets and rhetoric celebrate hate racism and bigotry and taunt the weak and the vulnerable the president in an address to the United States United Nations threatened to obliterate North
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Korea in an act of genocide we are worldwide objects of ridicule and hatred the foreboding for the future is expressed in the rash of dystopian films motion pictures that no longer perpetuate American virtue and exceptionalism or the myth of human progress the loss of this mystique is crippling it makes it hard to find
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pliant surrogates to administer the Empire as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan the omnipotence empires project masks the fragility of decayed structures the expansion of empire beyond the capacity of the homeland to sustain the maintenance and costs of Empire makes the system vulnerable especially during a financial crisis
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states that do not administer empires are able to devote more of their resources to domestic prosperity and basic security but empires have no such option and when revenues shrink empires fracture and disintegrate without the financing that arises almost organically inside a sovereign nation empires are famously predatory and their relentless hunt for plunder or profit witnessed the Atlantic slave trade
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Belgium's rubber lust in the Congo British India's opium Commerce the Third Reich's rape of Europe or the Soviet exploitation of Eastern Europe McCoy writes so delicate is their ecology of power that when things start to go truly wrong empires regularly unravel with on a holy speed just a year for Portugal two years for the Soviet Union eight years for France 11 years for the Ottomans seventeen for Great Britain and
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in all likelihood just 27 years for the United States counting from the crucial year 2003 the loss of the dollar as the global reserve currency will instantly make it impossible for the United States to pay for its huge deficits by selling depressed Treasury bonds there will be a massive rise in the cost of imports unemployment will explode domestic
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clashes over what McCoy calls in substantial issues will fuel a dangerous hyper nationalism that could morph into an American fascism the Neo ISM and rage sweeping across the globe are not generated by warped ideologies or medieval religious beliefs these destructive forces have their roots in the obliterating of social cultural and religious traditions by modernization
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and the consumer society the disastrous attempts by the United States to carry out regime change often through coos and Wars and the utopian neoliberal ideology that has concentrated wealth in the hands of a tiny cabal of corrupt global oligarchs the rage is directed at discredited elites this vast global project of social engineering during the
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last century persuaded hundreds of millions of people as Pankaj mishra writes in the age of anger to renounce and often scorned a world of the past that had endured for thousands of years and to undertake a gamble of creating modern citizens who would be secular enlightened culture and heroic the project has been for all but a handful of global elites a spectacular failure the wretched of the earth is
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Frantz Fanon all called them have been shorn of any ideological or cultural cohesion they are cut off from their past they live in crushing poverty numbing alienation hopelessness and often terror mass culture feeds them the tawdry the violent the salacious and the ridiculous and they are rising up against the forces of modernization driven by an atavistic fury to destroy the
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technocratic world that condemns them this rage is expressed in many forms Hindu nationalism proto fascism jihadism the Christian Right anarchic violence and other beliefs but the various forms of resistance spring from the same deep wells of global despair and this resentment is fueling a virulent virulent nationalism xenophobia
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chauvinism and violence poisoning the civil discourse and feeling and assault on basic civil liberties yet Western elites rather than accept their responsibility for the global anarchy self-serving Lee define the clash as one between the values of the enlightened West and medieval barbarians they see in the extreme nationalist religious fundamentalists into hottests and inchoate
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and inexplicable irrationality that can only be quelled with force they have yet to grasp that the disenfranchised do not hate us for our values they hate us because of our duplicity use of indiscriminate industrial violence on their nation's and communities and our hypocrisy the dispossessed grasp the true message of the West to
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the rest of the planet we have everything and if you try to take it away from us we will kill you the more the Western elites are attacked the more they to retreat into a mythological past self flora fication and willful ignorance the rise of hyper nationalism expressed in the absurd slogan make America great again the demonization of
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Muslims are documented workers the growing bellicosity of the state and the attempt to blame foreign interference is used as a mask to cover the root cause of a discontent which is profound social inequality which in the United States is in the is the worst in the industrialized world huge segments of the world have been cast aside by globalization treated in an age of
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corporate capitalism as human refuse and their rage is expressed in the kind of anarchic and Neel istic violence that characterized another era of vast inequality the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century our rash of mass shootings at schools churches concerts malls and cinemas are a reaction to the lies fed to workers across the globe by the architects and
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ideologue of corporate capitalism these lies fueled by an arms industry that is saturated the country and the planet with weapons have spawned homegrown terrorists that have carried out indiscriminate killings at the Boston Marathon a South Carolina Church Tennessee military facilities and a Texas army base the proponents of globalization promised to lift workers
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across the planet into the middle class and instill democratic values and scientific rationalism religious and ethnic tensions would be alleviated or eradicated the global marketplace would create a peaceful prosperous community of Nations all we had to do was get government out of the way and kneel before market demands held up as the ultimate form of progress and rationality neoliberalism in the name of
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this absurd utopia stripped away government regulations and laws that once protected the citizen from the worst excesses of predatory capitalism it created trade agreements that allowed trillions of corporate dollars to be transferred off into offshore accounts to avoid taxation jobs to flee to sweat lops sweatshops in China and the global south where workers live in conditions that replicate slavery social service programs and public services were
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slashed or privatized mass culture including schools and the press indoctrinated an increasingly desperate population to take part in the global reality show of capitalism what we were never told was that the game was fixed we were always condemned to lose our manufacturing migrated abroad General Motors for example pays Mexican workers
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in Monterrey $3 an hour without benefits to make cars and trucks American workers with unionized wages that came with benefits were cast aside wages have declined our working class is impoverished endless war is a lucrative business in the world's wealth has been seized by global oligarchs kleptocracy such as the one now installed in
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Washington brazenly loot the nation's wealth Democratic idealism is a joke and we are knit together only by Commerce and Technology forces that Hanna Erin called negative solidarity nowhere is this more true than with the modern calls for jihad by self style Islamic radicals most of them have no religious training and who often come out of the secularized criminal
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underworld the jihadist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi nicht I nicknamed the Sheikh of slaughters in Iraq was before he became a radical jihadist a pimp a drug dealer and a heavy drinker the Afghan American Omar Mateen reportedly was a frequenter of the nightclub in Orlando Florida where he massacred 49 people and had been seen there drunk Anwar al-awlaki who preached jihad and was eventually assassinated by the United States at a
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penchant for prostitutes Abu Mohammed Al Adani a senior leader of the Islamic state when he was killed called on Muslims in the West to kill any non-muslim they encountered these are his words smash his head with a rock or slaughter him with a knife or run him over with your car or throw him down from a high place or choke him or poison him these crude and I would mention deeply anti Islamic sentiments have far more in common with Bakunin 's
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propaganda by deed that characterized the Neel ism of the late 19th century it is an it is updated and amplified in videos and live stream feeds and social media this anarchic violence fill the fills the void left by the destruction of indigenous beliefs traditions and rituals and as Mishra notes these jihadists represent the death of traditional Islam rather than its
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resurrection it is this rage this resentment at being left behind that drives terrorist attacks in Paris London and now New York it is what led timothy mcveigh to bomb the Alfred P murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 killing 168 people including 19 children and injuring 684 and when McVeigh was imprisoned in
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Florence Colorado the prisoner in the adjacent cell was ROM si Achmed Yusef the mastermind of the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 after McVeigh was executed Yousef commented I have never known anyone in my life who has so similar a personality to my own as his it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish us from our enemies Trump
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given the political economic and cultural destruction carried out by neoliberalism is not an aberration he is the result of a market society and capitalist democracy that has ceased to function and angry and alienated underclass is entranced by electronic hallucinations that take the place of literacy these Americans take a perverse and almost diabolical delight in
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demagogues such as Trump that expressed contempt for and openly flout the traditional rules and rituals of a power structure that preys upon them similar demagogues like Modi have risen up in India the Philippines Poland Hungary and other states and this is almost always a characteristic of the final stage of the some 69 empires that have risen and fallen throughout human history
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these demagogues and mythologize errs we see them on Fox News and other right-wing outlets askew truth for historical and cultural myth Reinhold Niebuhr called them the blind fanatics of Western civilization who regard the highly contingent achievements of our culture as the final form and norm of human existence the unacknowledged reality is that the process of modernization and
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colonialization has been accompanied by carnage and bedlam the rapacious appetite of capitalists and imperialists as mishra notes never considered such constraining factors as finite geographical space degradable natural resources and fragile ecosystems and in carrying out this project of global expansion and modernization no form of coercion or violence was off-limits
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terrorist attacks such as the flying of the hijacked planes into the World Trade Center illustrate that those who oppose us our products of our moral universe they have been schooled well in the art of modern warfare the dramatic explosions the fireballs the victims jumping to their deaths the collapse of the two huge towers in Manhattan were straight out of Hollywood
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where else but from the industrialized world did the suicide hijackers learn that huge explosions and death above a city skyline are a peculiar and effective form of communication they have mastered the language we taught them they learned that the use of disproportionate and indiscriminate violence against innocence is a way to make a statement and we delivered the
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same incendiary messages in Vietnam Robert McNamara the Secretary of Defense in 1965 defined the saturation bombing of the north which hundreds of thousands of civilians dead as a means of communication to the communist regime in Hanoi and we speak this language in Iraq Afghanistan Syria Pakistan Somalia and through our Saudi
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proxies in Yemen the roots of even the worst atrocities carried out by jihadists have their origins in our campaigns to colonize and subdue the rest of the world it was the French colonists who used waterboarding a technique inherited from the Nazis on Algerians we like the Soviets turned psychological torture into a science when we employ in black sites around the
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world and in our prison system Isis copying the masters of these dark arts dress their Western hostages in Guantanamo's orange suits and turn on smartphone cameras before beheading their victims the favored form of execution of Muslims by the Crusaders if we had not destroyed government authority in Iraq Afghanistan Libyan
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Syria leaving vast swaths of territory to criminal gangs warlords and ad-hoc militias there would have been no vacuum for these radical jihadists to fill George Santayana foresaw that America's obsessive individualistic culture of competition and mimicry would eventually incite a lava wave of primitive blindness and violence the inability to
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be self-critical and self-aware coupled with a cult of the self would lead to collective suicide Karl cherski in fene too sick Vienna politics and culture wrote that Europe Europe's descent into fascism was inevitable once it cut the cord of consciousness once we no longer acknowledge or understand our capacity for evil once we
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no longer know ourselves we become monsters who devour others and finally devour our own we are paying the price for discarding hundreds of millions of people onto the dung heap of history unable to understand and cope with reality we wage endless wars in the name of democracy and Western civilization
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which engendered or Mars to fuel the violence we seek to crush we are afflicted by what Albert Camus called Auto intoxication the malignant secretion of one's preconceived impotence against the enclosure of the self and until this ototoxic ation is addressed the rage and violence at home and abroad will expand as we stumble
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towards a global apartment apocalypse this slow-motion march towards apocalypse is assured if we refuse to confront the ecocide we are carrying out on the planetary systems that sustain human life seas and rivers are being poisoned and emptied of their stocks of fish wild fowl wild fires droughts flooding monster hurricanes typhoons and
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tsunamis along with soaring temperatures and the evaporation of the polar ice sheets along with glaciers ravaged the planet this ecocide exacerbates the breakdown of social structures fuels the mass migration of the displaced and refugees which in turn creates more political instability unchecked these forces will lead in many parts of the globe to complete systems
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breakdown the greatest existential crisis of our time is to at once accept the tragic reality before us and find the courage to resist it is to acknowledge that the world as we know it will become harsher and more difficult that human suffering will expand but that we can if we fight back
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perhaps reconfigure our lives in our society to mitigate the worst savagery dramatically reduce our carbon footprint and save ourselves from complete annihilation the power elites will do nothing to save us to be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic Howard Zinn wrote it is based on the
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fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion sacrifice courage and kindness what we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives if we see only the worst it destroys our capacity to do something if we remember those times and places and there are so many when people have behaved
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magnificently this gives us the energy to act and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction and if we do not and if we do act in however small away we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future the future is an infinite succession of presence and to live now as we think human beings should live in defy
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of all that is bad around us is itself a marvelous victory this makes resistance immoral and an existential imperative resistance entails suffering it requires self-sacrifice it accepts that we may be destroyed it is not rational it is not about the pursuit of happiness
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it is about the pursuit of freedom resistance accepts that even if we fail there is an inner freedom that comes with defiance and perhaps this is the only freedom and true happiness we will ever know to resist evil is the highest achievement of human life it is the supreme act of love it is to carry the cross as the theologian James Caan reminds us and to be acutely aware that what we are
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carrying is also what we will die upon most of those who resist Sitting Bull Emma Goldman Malcolm X Martin Luther King are defeated at least in the cold calculation of the powerful and the final and perhaps most important quality of resistance as Cohn writes is that it inverts the world's value system hope
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rises up out of defeat those who resist stand regardless of the cost with a crucified this is their magnificence and it is their power the seductive inducements to conformity money fame prizes generous grants huge book contracts hefty lecture fees important academic and political positions and a public platform are scorned by those who resist the rebel
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does not define success the way the elites defined success those who resist refused to kneel before the idols of mass culture and the power elites they are not trying to get rich they do not want to be part of the inner circle of the powerful they accept that when you stand with the oppressed you get treated like the oppressed the inversion of the world's value system
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makes freedom possible those who resist are free not because they have attained many things or high positions but because they have so few needs they sever the shackles used to keep most people in bondage and this is why the elites fear them the elites can crush them physically but they cannot buy them off the power elites attempt to
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discredit those who resist they forced them to struggle to make an income they push them to the margins of society they write them out of the official narrative they deny them the symbols of status they use the compliant liberal class to paint them as unreasonable and utopian but resistance is not fundamentally political it is cultural it is about finding meaning and expression in the
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transcendent in the incongruities of life music poetry theatre and art sustained resistance by giving expression to the nobility of rebellion against overwhelming force what the ancient Greeks called Fortuna which can never altom utley be overcome art celebrates the freedom and dignity of those who defy malignant evil victory is not inevitable or at least not victory
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as defined by the powerful yet in every act of rebellion we are free it was the raw honesty of the blues spirituals work chants that made it possible for african-americans to endure power is a poison it does not matter who wields it the rebel for this reason as
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an eternal heretic he or she will never fit into any system the rebel stands with the powerless and there will always be powerless people there will always be injustice and the rebel will always be an outsider and resistance requires eternal vigilance the moment the powerful are no longer frightened the moment the glare of the people is diverted and movements let down their guard the moment the ruling elites are
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able to use propaganda and censorship to hide their aims the gains made by resistors roll backward we have steadily been stripped of everything that organized men and women who rose up in defiance and were purged demonized and killed by the capitalist elites achieved with the New Deal the victories of african-americans who paid with their bodies and blood in making possible the Great Society and ending legal
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segregation also have been reversed the corporate state makes no pretense of addressing social inequality or white supremacy it practices only the politics of vengeance it uses coercion fear violence police terror and mass incarceration has its primary form of social control our cells of resistance will have to rebe rebuilt from scratch
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the corporate state however is in trouble it has no credibility all the promises of the free market globalization trickle-down economics of benek as a lie an empty ideology used to satiate greed and the elites have no counter-argument to their anti-capitalist and anti imperialist critics the attempt to blame the electoral insurgencies in the United
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States to ruling political parties on Russian interference rather than massive social inequality is a desperate ploy the courtiers in the corporate press are working feverishly day and night to distract us from reality the moment the elites are forced to acknowledge social inequality is the root of our discontent is the moment they are forced to acknowledge their role in orchestrating this inequality the US government
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subservient to corporate power has become a burlesque the last vestiges of the rule of law are evaporating the kleptocrats are pillaging and looting like barbarian hordes programs instituted to protect the common good public education welfare and environmental regulations are being dismantled the bloated military sucking the marrow out of the nation is unassailable poverty is a nightmare for half the people poor people of color a
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gun down with impunity in the streets our prison system is filled with the destitute and presiding over the chaos and dysfunction is a political PT Barnum a president who while we are being fleeced offers up one bizarre distraction after another like Barnum's Fiji mermaid there are no shortage of artists intellectuals and writers from Martin Buber and George Orwell to James Baldwin who warned us
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that this dystopian era was fast approaching but in our Disney fide world of intoxicating and endless images cult of the self and willful illiteracy we did not listen søren kierkegaard argued that it was the separation of intellect from emotion from empathy that doomed Western civilization for the soul has no role in
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a technocratic society the communal has been shattered the concept of the common good obliterated greed is celebrated the individual is a god the celluloid image is reality the artistic and intellectual forces that make transcendence and the communal possible are belittled or ignored the basest lusts are celebrated as forms of identity and self-expression
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progress is defined exclusively by technological and material advancement and this creates a collective despair and anxiety that feeds and is fed by glitter or noise and the false promises of consumer culture idols the desperate or the despair grows ever worse but we never acknowledge our existential dread as Kierkegaard understood the Pacific
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character of despair is precisely this it is unaware of being despair those who resist are relentlessly self-critical they ask the hard questions that mass culture which promises an unachievable eternal youth Fame and financial success deflects us from asking what does it mean to be born
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what does it mean to live what does it mean to die how do we live a life of meaning what is justice what is truth what is beauty what does our past say about our presence how do we defy radical evil we are in the grip of what Kierkegaard
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called sickness unto death the numbing of the soul by despair that leads to moral and physical debasement those who are ruled by rational abstractions and an aloof intellectualism Kierkegaard argued are as depraved as those who succumb to hedonism cravings for power or violence and predatory sexuality we achieve salvation when we accept the impediments of the body and the soul the
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limitations of being human yet despite these limitations seek to do good this burning honesty which means we always exist on the cusp of despair leaves us in Kierkegaard's words in fear and trembling we struggle not to be brutes while acknowledging we can never be angels we must act and then ask for forgiveness we must be able to see our face in the
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face of the oppressor Paul Tillich did not use the word sin to mean an act of immorality he like Kierkegaard defines sin as a strange 'men for Tillich it was our deepest existential dilemma sin was our separation from the forces that give us ultimate meaning and purpose in life this separation Foster's alienation anxiety meaningless and despair that are
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preyed upon by mass culture as long as we fold ourselves inward embrace a perverted hyper individualism that is defined by selfishness and narcissism we will never overcome this estrangement we will be separated from ourselves from others and from the sacred resistance is not only about the battling of the forces of
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darkness it is about becoming a whole and complete human being it is about overcoming estrangement it is about the capacity to love it is about honoring the sacred it is about dignity it is about sacrifice it is about courage and it is about
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being free resistance to radical evil is the pinnacle of human existence thank you thank you Chris [Applause] and thank you all again for being here if you're we're gonna do a question answer session and if you want to ask a question you can start lining up here at this mic depending on how long the line is it'll it'll go this way into the
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community room it's a lot to think about it's scary you know bringing Chris here it feels like group therapy right we're figuring out what is going on in this world and and how can we work together what can we do to make it better can we make it better and that's that's what we're doing here at the sanctuary every day again the the radio station is a huge opportunity to amplify all of that
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you can help us do that you can help us by joining us on the air becoming a volunteer and by donating again we need $30,000 and we need it quickly so we can build transmitters in Albany and Schenectady and be bringing bright intelligent independent thinking voices that are not driven by corporate interests to the airwaves the airwaves are an extremely powerful medium people are tuned in and listening it's intimate and and it's an
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opportunity it's one of the few places where I've said this before where in this day and age you might hear an opinion that you don't already have so please consider donating to this right now if you're thinking about donating 50 bucks think about donating a thousand dollars if that is terrifying and you can't do that and it's just no bring it down to 250 but try to stay there so
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again we're gonna if please stand up and line up if you have have a question is this a line okay good so there's no people here I in the meantime I'm gonna have people stationed along the side and we're gonna pass a jar it's you know it's a worship here it's it's it's sacred it's a it's spiritual so I hope you'll you'll contribute and thank you to Chris for
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handing me a hundred dollars just you know before he started speaking [Applause] there was a pleasure listening to you and I every time we come to these kinds of events I always have the same question that I've never asked it's I hope I'm verbalizing it I would bet $100
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that less than 1% of the people here are considered themselves like Republican or conservative so so when I come to these events I keep seeing the same you know my group of people you know the same kind of people and I'm wondering you're you talked about people feeling disenfranchised and betrayed by the system and by their leads and that's that's the kind of
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people that supposedly voted for Trump and in your message is recurring in your writing of you know coming together in focusing on helping each other I feel like when you say that I always think of the people that voted for Trump you know the lower class you know poor uneducated whatever you know there's that sector of the population is and I'm not sure I'm
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saying it correctly but what can we do to bring that the power of those people to they feel like they're part of us like we're all together trying to struggle in this world against the big forces of capitalism and and you know well we have rich we have to organize around specific inch think issues that make their lives better $15 minimum wage universal health care as Saul Alinsky
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said there are no permanent allies there's only permanent power and that means reaching out to people whose political views we find distasteful and even repugnant but as Rosa Luxemburg understood conversion takes place through acts of empathy that are carried out to people who are not your natural allies and when you organize around those concrete
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issues that is the starting point for political consciousness and political awakening and one of the things that does disturb me is the kind of dismissive tone towards that disenfranchised white working-class i don't defend what the flag-waving Confederates do in the streets of Charlottesville or anywhere else but they are also victims and I would all encourage you to go back and read the
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great book brother to a dragonfly by will Campbell who had been the Baptist minister who in fact that picture of walking the girls to school in Little Rock for disregulation he's right next to them in the south but it but but became the chaplain to the clew Ku Klux Klan in a sense that the the state seeks to keep us polarized and divided and
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we're not going to gain traction by speaking them about to them about their mythological past and because they've retreated into the world of magical thinking like the Christian Right we're going to begin to break down that ideology by concretely addressing those forces that create that despair at Chris my name is Ted Hartman I'm from this area and I think anyone from this area would would tell you that certainly on a local level the Democratic Party
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has a has a very strong hold over Albany Albany Troy Schenectady there's been machine politics in this area for decades and my question to you is I think like you I think we'll all agree that the corporate powers have taken over the Republican and Democratic parties however it seems to me that like a far-right white nationalist element has taken over the Republican Party is it do you think it's even worth our effort or time to try to insert socialists into the Democratic Party and to try to take over that party because
01:00:14
they do have the mechanisms of power even if even if they're not expressing our views is it pi is it worth our time and effort to try to try to insert ourselves into though an in hijack sort of their their power of mechanisms because they've got voter rolls they've got organization I don't think all of the people that voted Republican last time were people who are necessarily white nationalist but they voted for people who are white nationalist and so is it possible for us to take over their democratic party and serve socialists
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and then and then use their mechanisms of power to to go to try to enact what we want to go No the Democratic Party is a creation of Wall Street those who are in power pelosi schumer are creatures of that system they know that if they were for instance to institute true campaign finance reform they'd be out of a job
01:01:14
and we are watching the purges now within the DNC of the Bernie Sanders supporters because they would rather go down then create an open system which would knock them off their perches or their platforms of power politics is a game of fear I mean the last liberal president we had was Richard Nixon not because he was a liberal or had any integrity or
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but because he was frightened of movements and we have to rebuild those movements that's our goal and we have to hold fast to moral imperatives and not allow the establishment including the Democratic Party to buy us off so you had the beginnings of a very widespread any war movement at the inception of the Iraq war and what happened in 2004 they went into hiatus to elect John Kerry who assured us that he wouldn't have pulled
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out of Fallujah and this is a big mistake you know there's that great scene in kissinger's memoirs don't buy the book where Nixon and Kissinger are looking out the window I think it's 71 or something there's a huge anti-war demonstration and the White House has put empty city buses in a ring around the White House to protect themselves and Nixon's wringing his hand and says Henry they're gonna break through the barricades and get us and that's where we want people in power to
01:02:47
be hi Chris Dan Linda here I'm curious and and it was very interested in kind of the utility of the the word resistance that you're using through this and my question is so if resistance is such a fundamental kind of experience as a human does it kind of presuppose that there will always be something to resist against which is equally as fundamental to our experience
01:03:25
yes I mean there's that great passage in the in vastly Grossman's magnificent P work life and fate one of the probably the greatest work of fiction of the 20th century out of Russia where he talks about the power of human kindness I don't I'm not gonna I'm gonna read it but I don't want to butcher it Oh am i I don't have my iPhone luckily where's
01:03:56
Megan is Megan around maybe she can she find it for me it's called life and fate you all have to do is put in vastly grossman life and fate Chris Hedges and you'll get it but but I think there yes i know i i i i come out of Calvin I have a very dark view I was a war correspondent I have a very dark view of human nature I I think evil will always be there and it was an eternal battle on
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our part to resist and you know I tell the story of since I'm close to scary of my dad who was a Presbyterian minister and Schoharie all white as you know farm communities he was very outspoken about the civil rights supporting the civil rights movement this was a time when Martin Luther King was probably one of the most hated men in America in rural white enclaves like scary County he had been a sergeant North Africa in World War two but he came back from the war a
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pacifist and was very active and opposing the Vietnam War and the issue for which he got pushed out of the church he was very outspoken about gay it's his youngest brother was gay my uncle and my father understood the pain of being a gay man in the 50s and 60s and that I was eight nine very important time for me because he taught me that you're not rewarded for positions of
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virtue in fact you're usually punished for them and what finally pushed the institutional church over the edge was his outspokenness about gay rights and at the time I was a undergraduate at Colgate and my father by the way there was no gay gee BLT organization at Colgate so my dad actually brought the gay speakers down to the campus to have meetings with students of which I would
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join and finally he kept saying that you have to build a public organization and finally because they were too frightened to come out of the closet he came down one day and took me out to lunch and told me that even though I wasn't gay I had to found the G BLT Alliance at Colgate which I did it met every and I would go into the dining hall at breakfast lunch or dinner the guy would check off the my car and hand it back and go [ __ ] so when the church told
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him to stop he responded by holding an Easter service for the G BLT community at that time in the city of Syracuse we had a church and he said marriage is a sacrament it is not a reward for being a heterosexual and any church that refuses to honor the sacrament of marriage does not deserve to call itself Christian and he was out years later after being the
01:07:08
Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times I was publicly denouncing Bush's call to invade Iraq I was booed off of a commencement stage lynched by right-wing media called into the New York Times and given a formal written reprimand and told I was no longer allowed to speak about the war in Iraq and I realized and I had been there 15 years it wasn't an easy
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moment no one wants to leave their lose their job but I realized at that moment that I could muzzle myself in service to my career but to do so would be to betray my dad and I quit and when I walked out the door that building for the first time in my life I articulated
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what it was my father had given me and that was freedom I didn't need the New York Times to tell me who I was I knew who I was I was my father's son and in the Christian faith we call that resurrection and that is the power of resistance which perhaps even my father didn't see and it will always be there and it those acts of resistance are what father Daniel Berrigan told me when he
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defined faith as the good drawing the belief that the good draws to it the good even if all the empirical evidence around us says otherwise the Buddhists call it karma but I've seen rebellion Eastern Europe I was speaking at dinner about watching The Velvet Revolution I was every night in the Magic Lantern
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theater with Vaslav Havel and dims beer and all the people who would inherit the government and the walls of Prague that winter were filled with posters of the charles university student yan Pollock who to protest the soviet invasion in 1968 had gone to vent salah square and lit himself on fire and died four days later from his burns his funeral which was a non-event was never covered by the state media was broken up by the police when his grave
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became a shrine his body was exhumed cremated his ashes were given to his mother and she was told she was not allowed to Ribery them and two weeks after the communist government fell ten thousand people marched to Red Army Square and renamed at yon Pollock's square I was in vents alas square when Marta kuba Shova the great singer who had sung the anthem of defiance a prayer
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for Marta that was broadcast out over the airwaves in 1968 and after the imposition of the Soviet backed government her recording stock was destroyed she spent the intervening years working on assembly line in a toy factory she was banned from the airwaves there were 500,000 people invents a la square that night it was snowing when she walked out on that balcony and began
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to sing the prayer for Marta and every check in that crowd knew every word that is the power of resistance the moral power of resistance that even for all those people you think are asleep somewhere here it [Applause] thank you Chris for being here did we find Megan or maybe yeah yeah okay after
01:11:33
Reid's one of my favorite quotes it's from vasily grossman and it's from his book life and fate he was probably the premier war correspondent in the Soviet Union you read any account of Stalingrad because he was in the front lines they're gonna be quoting Grossman and at the end of the war he carried warn peace with him he went all the way from Stalingrad to Berlin and he came to the belief that any form of
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totalitarianism any form of utopian belief whether it's communism or fascism is evil and he waited until Stalin died attempted to publish the novel it wasn't palatable it was seized he became a non-person he died I think in 64 and then it was until 1980 the manuscript was smuggled out and published in Europe and I think it's one of the finest books of the 20th century Oh Megan you better come up here I'm like useless with these
01:12:35
things yeah okay we got it and this is this is the quote from him my faith has been tempered in hell my faith has emerged from the flames of the crematoria from the concrete of the gas chamber I have seen that it is not man who is impotent in the struggle against evil but the power of evil that is impotent in the struggle against man the powerlessness of kindness of senseless kindness is the
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secret of its immortality it can never be conquered the more stupid the more senseless the more helpless it may seem the vaster it is evil is impotent before it prophets religious leaders reformers social and political leaders are impotent before it this dumb blind love is man's meaning human history is not the battle of good struggling to
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overcome evil it is a battle fought by a great evil struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness but if what is human in human beings has not been destroyed even now then evil will never conquer [Applause] you

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