I read somewhere that Chris Hedges may be this century’s Tom Paine. I tend to agree. His language is exacting, rhythmic, and beautiful — always a pleasure to read. Plus, I tend to trust his take on events (see him on video here), especially because he’s a veteran war journalist who covered most of the 20th century’s populist revolutions across the world, and because he’s a father of two young children who cries to think that they might have a father who did not stop up to the plate when the time came to help save the Earth for their generation’s future.
Here are two excerpts from his latest piece on truthdig.com. But read the whole thing, where he especially takes to task the hedonism and white privilege of the (my) ’60s generation’s Vietnam protest movement, and begs that it not be repeated in the Occupy movement now.
October 24, 2011
by Chris Hedges
The power elite are frantically searching for the ideological weapon that will discredit the movement. But the clarity of the protests, the painful personal stories of dislocation that are the heart of its message, and, most important, the self-discipline, despite police provocation, which has kept these protests nonviolent have advanced the movement and discredited the forces of control. The power elite, held together by the glue of force and fraud, are seeking ways to communicate in the only language they know they can master—unrestrained force. And as we enter the second month of demonstrations, the power elite fear that the core message and the calls for resistance, which resonate with a majority of Americans, will lead to a direct confrontation with the corporate state. If the movement starts to pull hundreds of thousands of people together, if it leaps across class lines, as I saw during the peaceful revolutions in East Germany and Czechoslovakia, then the corporate state is probably finished. Our corporate overlords know this. And they are doing everything in their power to make sure this does not come to pass.
What we are witnessing in parks and squares across the United States is not simply widespread revulsion over the greed and cruelty of corporate capitalism, but the articulation of a new and potent radicalism. This radicalism challenges the right of corporations to poison our ecosystem and turn greed and self-promotion into the highest good at the expense of human life. If this movement can cross class lines, if it can articulate its vision to those in marginalized communities, especially poor people of color, it can tap into a force and power that was never part of the New Left. It can make possible the shaking of the foundations and, let us hope, the toppling of the corporate state.