Chris Hedges on Activist Journalism, Obama’s Empire, Gun Rights & Serious Revolt

Abby Martin interviews Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Chris Hedges, about activism and journalism, Obama’s presidency, the death of the liberal class and the erosion of civil liberties.

Abby Martin

Abby Martin

Creator at The Empire Files
Creator The Empire Files on teleSUR, Founder Media Roots, BOD Project Censored & Former Host Breaking the Set
Abby Martin

23 Comments on "Chris Hedges on Activist Journalism, Obama’s Empire, Gun Rights & Serious Revolt"

  1. For serious revolt we need an Andrew Jackson to lead the battle.

    Warning: The following link is only to be read by those dedicated to a world where the “Have Not”s kick the living shit out of the “Have More”s.
    Sample Quote:”What made me maddest was that in a bloodthirsty way, the Battle of New Orleans was as close as early America got to real populism, real democracy and equality. We were the most mongrel army since Darius: blacks and whites, Anglos, French and Spanish, Pirates, clerks, and Tennessee backwoodsmen all fighting together behind the cotton bales. It went bad later, sure. That’s what history does, go bad. But for that one day, the goofy fantasy that they feed you in those Pirates of the Caribbean movies—all the misfits fighting together against the Empire—was real. And victorious. It was Andy Jackson who made that happen.”

    • Calypso_1 | Jan 10, 2013 at 11:20 pm |

      I’m sorry when you say ‘Andrew Jackson’, I hear ‘Trail of Tears’.

      • Yea, I know. It’s a luxury of the soft comfy world we live in to look back on history and judge who was “good” and “bad”. We get to say the Indians were “good” now that they’re gone and we’re safe..

        • Calypso_1 | Jan 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm |

          If you look back on history you find plenty of Jackson’s contemporaries who vocally expressed their disdain for the Indian Removal Acts. No luxury of hindsight is needed to make that such comparisons. It was largely his betrayel of the cherokee who had fought with jackson in order to make the way ‘safe’ for further settlement and to secure their own land under treaty that fit the standard of duplicity that set the stage for america’s future treatment of all natives.

          • Yes, there was a dispute over what was the right decision regarding the Cherokee. But let’s not kid ourselves that most of those who opposed Jackson did so out of some genuine concern for the Cherokee people rather than pure political posturing; the same phony moral posturing that goes on all the time today.

            But in modern terms it often gets framed that Jackson was some kind of monster for doing what he did. In reality, his decision -right or wrong, good or bad- was that moving them would prevent greater bloodshed down the line.

            I’m not defending the rightness or goodness of what he did on that issue, I’m just saying the reality of the Yankee vs Indian saga is a lot less black and white and a lot more gray than most people would like to believe.

          • Calypso_1 | Jan 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm |

            When Jackson ‘removed’ the cherokee they were a constitutional republic that had regularly fought for their rights in the us congress & Supreme court.
            I have scant belief in ‘black & white’ intepretation of any issue much less this one. History has not judged these acts kindly.

  2. Hedges is a lost, disillusioned soul mired in his own ideological swamp of liberalism. ‘It’s over; they’ve won.’? Really? With only one mention of a bank (Goldman Sachs) and no allusions made to the quickly-eroding supra-social system of control–fiat currency–his analysis is antiquated. It’s stuck in a quasi-marxist, false intellectualism where he understands the pulse of the nation better than its own inhabitants.

    Didn’t he ‘nail it’ by saying that those that are trying to defend the Second Amendment are ‘mostly white males who dwell in a gun culture’??? Those Americans that hope to defend against government tyranny with their own guns are fooling themselves? Just wait until a SEAL Team shows up on their doorstep? Seriously? This is the same man that tried to demonize the black bloc in OWS because they were ‘violent’.

    If he were to pin point the massive fraud through fiat currency being perpetrated on the public from square one, thanks to the state system, he might be of some use to stirring sentiment for the coming revolt. Marxist/PC Liberal pseudo divisions will quickly erode when the nature of the omnipresent tool of the oppressor–money–is illuminated bright and clear for all to see. I guess we’ll have to wait for the crash of the dollar until the public readies the guillotines for our ‘leaders’. I hate waiting this long.

    • Jesus Christ. Another Gun Nut heard from.

    • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Jan 11, 2013 at 8:33 am |

      Hedges is the most eloquent and informed person of integrity in the public sphere. Your ad hominems not with standing (quite literally), it seems your only objection is his (correct) assertion that white men like guns because they fear losing privilege as a class. Identify much?

      This is a man who is actively engaged in a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s indefinite detention of American citizens using the military. It will likely go to the Supreme Court. They might just rule in his (our) favor. They will name the case after him in history text books.

      Do you even know what kind of reporting he has done on the incestuous relationship banks have with government? It was a short interview. Sorry he didn’t talk about your (dog whistle) issue.

      • You’ve pegged me all wrong, Abby. Actually, I’m quite familiar with his work. His first two books _What every person should know about war_ and then _war is a force that gives us meaning_ inspired me to get into activism and continue my studies to understand war. I have great respect for his war reporting, and I can identify with his moral drive to bring the suffering of others into the public gaze; but, I’ve learned to temper my respect for people–to compartmentalize it–because people who often take moral stances based on ideology, take them all the fucking way. His ideology is liberalism, hence his lawsuit against Obama over the NDAA. Of course, I agree that indefinite detention is heinous, but I cannot agree with the principle that our rights should have to be ‘won’ back through the very institution that took them away to begin with–the state. As bat-shit-crazy as this may sound, I feel that’s counterproductive.

        Liberalism is the ideology that encourages this disconnect between thinking and practice. Liberalism tells us we need to work with our oppressors to right the wrongs they have imposed on us from the beginning. It’s the ultimate political tool to divert attention away from the effective leverage points to gain systemic change (through the medium of economic exchange–the money system–but that’s beyond the scope of this reply). This indellibly taints revolutionary practice. In fact, it works against it, but in the most unsuspecting ways–one thinks they are doing good, when actually they are convincing others through their actions that their way is the best way. Diversity is a greater force, however, whether it be biodiversity in nature, or diversity in thought and praxis on the streets, farms and factories. Hedges doesn’t seem to agree with the tactics of anarchists as he wrote in his piece ‘The Cancer in Occupy’. He may have meant well, as Graeber acknowledged in his open letter in response, but in practice it becomes divisive and harmful as the movement begins to turn against itself, as Graeber pointed out.

        I encourage you to read more on anarchism. Anarchism is to liberalism what Gandalf is to Saruman. Anarchism embraces a diversity of tactics, encourages the individual to act for themselves, recognizes the autonomy of the individual under any conditions and challenges the ideology of authority in every nook and cranny of our daily lives. It’s the daily challenges to authority that matter most, because they add up to more than grand court cases or symbolic confrontations with violent oppressors. The famous addage ‘be the change…’ is literally true. If one wants oppression to end, it begins with a heaping dose of introspection. This may seem quaint in comparison to the problems of the world, but it’s the only way forward; because acknowledging the inviolability of individual autonomy (what a liberal might obsequiously call ‘rights’) implies that it is inviolable in any time and at any place–it need only be actualized.

        As for me identifying with the gun culture, or being ‘another gun nut’; yes, I am white, and yes, I am a male; but I don’t own a gun. I don’t have a license to own one, and I’ve only ever fired a gun once. But I recognize the ideology of tyranny clearly; it is becoming silently entrenched among us as we legitimize its various incarnations in the courts, parliaments, and bureaucratic offices (armed and unarmed). When rhetoric has been exhausted–which is to say, when someone who suffers from this ideology of tyranny acts it out despite my best arguments to convince him or her otherwise–firearms seem to me to be the final defense. I hope they remain a potent deterrent to allow the great social discoupling from ideological tyranny to take place peacefully.

        • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Jan 12, 2013 at 12:32 am |

          I’m not Abby, flattered though.

          I’ve read enough anarchist ‘literature’ to be extraordinarily tired of its ostentatious verbosity. I’m sure you and your “cadre’s” praxis are totally more subversive than Mr. Hedges’. It sounds like you take umbrage at his position on the so called ‘black block’. I have news for you. Starting fires in dumpsters and throwing garbage cans through bank windows amidst a group of peaceful protesters doesn’t get the revolution going. It’s adolescent and such actions only highlight the lifestylism of said actors. See, tactics only make sense in the context of a strategy. When your guys do the same thing as agent provocateurs, then maybe you should look at where those actions take all of us. These violent hippies get together and crash somebody else’s party. It’s never an effective action. Just a bunch of children, justifying the police crack down. For shame.

          You’ll get no argument from me that the government is illegitimate, corrupt, dangerous, deceitful and vindictive. Ditto for the economic system which spawned it. Nor shall I deny that the majority of the law is written by the powerful and is designed as a tool to oppress the common person. However, there are times when power is constrained by the Law. And those who would resist power would do well to pursue such leverage points. What hope we have, and Mr. Hedges sees this clearly, what little remains of this hope of maintaining a relatively free society without MASSIVE bloodshed, depends on maintaining key aspects of the Law. You talked about a diversity of tactics. We need him. His voice is important and to slander him is to do disservice to a larger movement.

          I recommend you read some feminist literature. Peace.

          • Well, I don’t think it’s normal for me to feel like I’ve been violently puked on every time you write a comment to me. Your prose reminds me of the snooty grad students I went to skool with; trendy hipsters who hang out in avant garde bars debating the different skools of thought in their given field of study, lamenting the poverty of culture and society while sipping on their $9 microbrew pints. A strange picture of cognitive dissonance–entertaining ideas of political grandeur and revolt while miring themselves in debt to institutions they would later leave skool to go happily work for. Silly me for being half cordial in my reply to you. You’ll learn what my mad ravings are about one day, my friend. Good luck.

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Jan 12, 2013 at 10:15 am |

            I’m sorry my comments invoked those feelings for you. I’ll try to be more considerate in the future. For what it’s worth, I suspect we have a lot more in common than my tone may have implied. I’ll be paying attention, maybe I will understand. Good luck.

          • Calypso_1 | Jan 12, 2013 at 1:23 am |

            Did you read Hedges’ thoroughly asinine, ill-informed [informed] {read} co-opted, slanted & politically hedged piece on the black bloc? In short a work of disinformation.

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Jan 12, 2013 at 10:01 am |

            Absolutely I did. My interpretation wasn’t so conspiratorial. I remember taking issue with a few points, which I can’t recall. Such was the voracity of my disagreement, that I wouldn’t remember. What I do remember was in reading anarchist zines and infoshops and such at the time, how their response to criticism of their “tactics” drove me away from their “philosophy.” I think that what Mr. Hedge’s criticized and the anarchist community’s response to his writing are both founded in is a failure of alternative culture members to self examine. Perhaps this helps explain the abject failure of anarchism to gain any traction in society. To describe their guiding ideas as directionless would be shortsighted. A hose under pressure goes all sorts of directions.

          • May I suggest you steer clear of zines and other infoshop literature until you have acquired the basics? Try starting with Kropotkin’s Anarchism, Its Philosophy and Ideal. After you’ve read it carefully and with an open mind, I doubt that you will still have the same thoughts on anarchism that you do now.

  3. Side issues and there are many ought not to be condemned as the problem. The administrations in all our countries are over reaching their ability to resolve our concern, that in my view, is security of self. Pardon me for saying this but it is clear that there are those of great influence that will not stand by while we live a peaceful non confrontational existence.
    Deal with it.
    By projecting our fears on every mirror in the world we get distracted from a simple fact. Power is by it’s nature parasitic. Dissolution of power to the Sovereign citizen/individual is our only salvation.
    That statement declares a process will be necessary which will mean fracturing every monolith that’s been created.

  4. Activist journalism should just relate to where you focus your journalistic abilities. What you right should still be truthful and expressed in neutral language.
    Not that it ever should obstruct the journalist from ‘opinion’ pieces where the journalist uses more personal and aggressive language to express the opinions and emotions without losing control.
    The two different styles of expression should be used to clearly differentiate from factual and opinion pieces.
    Activism in this case just means ignoring news the journalist has no interest in of that the journalist considers to be of now value ie who kicked the last goal in what ever sport or how they did it, who got what ever pseudo celebrity pregnant and how they did it, which pseudo celebrity child pooped and how they did it or what ever latest piece of corporate propaganda advertising.
    The most activist journalistic activity should always be the pursuit of the buried truth.

  5. Killing Your STRAWMAN – The Path To Freedom
    There needs to be precision in your thinking. You must realize what has been done to you by way of legislation and statutes (taxes on the other side of that coin), then you can release yourself from those tools of taxation.

    You are sovereign. The legal society isn’t your society, You don’t belong to the political Institutions. You are a Sovereign individual. Taste the freedom it gives you, see this society for what it is and then you will know the gravity of your situation. You can then set yourself free from them and the fear they impose on you.

    Next Spencer Barclay

  6. The idea that those concerned for the 2nd Amendment do not care about all the other rights being infringed upon is absolute bulls**t. I’m always suspicious of those that are ready to quote annual casualties from firearms while ignoring casualties prevented through the use of firearms. Has to do with intellectual honesty.

  7. Apathesis | Jan 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm |

    Godfuckin’dammit… Disqus is eating my comments.

    The idea that peaceful revolution is the only appropriate method for change is defeatist bullshit. Trying to work within an increasingly corrupt and power hungry system keeps the average citizen at least two steps behind. What hope does the average citizen have when they have to continually fight to win back their rights through litigation, when time and money are two valuable resources they can’t afford to spend on anything but necessities?

    Why is it immoral to demand real change now? Why should we accept their terms and their conditions? We don’t owe them anything. We are not indebted to our antecedents, we just had the misfortune of being born in their wake.

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