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Becoming Serfs

Becoming Serfs

Chris Hedges

You know the statistics. Income inequality in the United States has not been this pronounced in over a century. The top 10 percent has 50 percent of the country’s income, and the upper 1 percent has 20 percent of the country’s income.


It wasn’t just “unions, strikes and protests” gave us FDR’s New Deal.

During the first half of the 20th century 10% of voters voted for socialist or communist candidates. With 95 to 98% of voters voting for corporate Dims and GOP during the past quarter century the oligarchs and the politicians they own have zero incentive to give the 99% anything and every incentive give the 1% everything.


The end result of this system called Capitalism under the control of the Oligarchy might well be worse then even Fuedalism. Under Fuedalism there was some form of reciprocity where the Noble class owed some sort of Duty to the Serf. This reciprocity started to vanish as property rights gained ever more traction near the end of the Fuedal period. Under the meme of “property rights” the owner of property could do as he wished to his property and this would not be subject to sanction by Church or the Crown.

Just as way of example under the older Fuedal system the serfs could at least use the lands they lived on to grow food for their own use even if they did not hold title to that land. When John Locke started promoting property rights above all this dynamic changed and the landowning class began the proces sof land enclosure where those living on the land and using it as the Commons were turned off it to becom homeless so that the landowner could use his property to generate the maximum amount of profit.

in the 1650s this lead to the ride of the Digger movement. These were groups of poor landless people who wished to reassert what they claimed were their rights to use land communaly to grow food. The Landowning class send in hired thugs and soldiers to beat these people down and turn them out of their homes by force.

Capitalism is devolving to the State to where the only rights are MONIED rights. No money or property, no rights.


Also not counted as employment, and most similar to “stay-at-home spouses” are family caretakers. For example, those members who care for their aging, ill declining parents. It’s not work at all.


That’s how it began. Going back to its roots.


I always enjoy reading Mr. Hedge’s articles as he always cuts to the chase. And my definition of a democracy is: where the 99% have participation in political power, which like Chris says has been stripped from 99% of us.


“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dems–good luck changing those rules, instead of the system.


I never read that quote before by MLK.Jr. Thanks.

More corroboration of my view that the two party system is nothing but a dog and pony show for the sophomoric and dumbed down masses in order to make them think they live in a democracy and have political powers.


It is his quote, no doubt, but I don’t know from what speech or writing.

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We are not sufficiently enlightened (raised the collective conciousness enough) to share so we have to set a maximum amount one person can keep for personal use per year. It would still be millions but no more billionaires.

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Yes, and add to that they have brainwashed the citizens into believing they must vote for the two party system. That they have no other choice. My father was a political science major, he fully believed this, so I know it’s taught in our education sys.


in the 1650s this lead to the ride of the Digger movement.

A reminder from the writings of a Digger Gerrard Winstanley

1649, The True Levellers Standard Advanced: Or, The State of Community Opened, and Presented to the Sons of Men.

“And the First Reason is this, That we may work in righteousness, and lay the Foundation of making the Earth a Common Treasury for All, both Rich and Poor, That every one that is born in the land, may be fed by the Earth his Mother that brought him forth, according to the Reason that rules in the Creation.

Not Inclosing any part into any particular hand, but all as one man, working together, and feeding together as Sons of one Father, members of one Family; not one Lording over another, but all looking upon each other, as equals in the Creation; so that our Maker may be glorified in the work of his own hands, and that every one may see, he is no respecter of Persons, but equally loves his whole Creation, and hates nothing but the Serpent, which is Covetousness, branching forth into selvish Imagination, Pride, Envie, Hypocrisie, Uncleanness; all seeking the ease and honor of flesh, and fighting against the Spirit Reason that made the Creation; for that is the Corruption, the Curse, the Devil, the Father of Lies; Death and Bondage that Serpent and Dragon that the Creation is to be delivered from.

And we have moved hereunto for that Reason, and other which hath been shewed us, both by Vision, Voyce, and Revelation.

For it is shewed us, That so long as we, That so long as we, or any other, doth own the Earth to be the peculier Interest of Lords and Landlords, and not common to others as well as them, we own the Curse, and holds the Creation under bondage; and so long as we or any other doth own Landlords and Tennants, for one to call the Land his, or another to hire it of him, or for one to give hire, and for another to work for hire; this is to dishonour the work of Creation; as if the righteous Creator should have respect to persons, and therefore made the Earth for some, and not for all:

And so long as we, or any other maintain this Civil Propriety, we consent still to hold the Creation down under that bondage it groans under, and so we should hinder the work of Restoration, and sin against Light that is given into us, and so through fear of the flesh man, lose our peace.

And that this Civil Propriety is the Curse, is manifest thus, Those that Buy and Sell Land, and are landlords, have got it either by Oppression, or Murther, or Theft; and all landlords lives in the breach of the Seventh and Eighth Commandements, Thous shalt not steal, nor kill.”

1652 The Law of Freedom in a Platform; OR, True Magistracy Restored. CHAP. I.

“That which true righteousness in my judgment calls community is this, to have the earth set free from all kingly bondage of lords of manors and oppressing landlords, which came in by conquest as a thief takes a true man’s purse upon the highway, being stronger than he.

And that neither the earth, nor any fruits thereof, should be bought or sold by the inhabitants one among another, which is slavery the kingly conquerors have brought in; therefore he set his stamp upon silver, that every one should buy and sell in his name.

And though this be, yet shall not men live idle; for the earth shall be planted and reaped, and the fruits carried into barns and store-houses by the assistance of every family, according as is shewed hereafter in order.

Every man shall be brought up in trades and labours, and all trades shall be maintained with more improvement, to the enriching of the commonwealth, more than now they be under kingly power.

Every tradesman shall fetch materials, as leather, wool, flax, corn and the like, from the public store-houses, to work upon without buying and selling; and when particular works are made, as cloth, shoes, hats and the like, the tradesmen shall bring these particular works to particular shops, as it is now in practice, without buying and selling. And every family as they want such things as they cannot make, they shall go to these shops and fetch without money, even as now they fetch with money, as hereafter is shewed how in order.”

CHAP. V. - Education of mankind, in Schools and Trades.

“There shall be no buying and selling of the earth, nor of the fruits thereof …

….And are not all children generally simple and weak, and know not the things that belong to their peace till they come to ripe age? But before they come to that understanding, the cunning ones who have more strength and policy have by this hypocritical, lying, unrighteous and cheating art of buying and selling wrung the freedoms of the earth out of their hands, and cozened them of their birthrights.

So that when they come to understanding, they see themselves beggars in the midst of a fruitful land, and so the proverb is true, `Plain dealing is a jewel, but he who uses it shall die a beggar’. And why?
Because this buying and selling is the nursery of cheaters, it is the law of the conqueror and the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, which both killed Christ and hindered his resurrection, as much as darkness can to put out light.

And these cunning cheaters commonly become the rulers of the earth, and then the city mankind mourns, for not the wise poor man, but the cunning rich man, was always made an officer and ruler, such a one as by his stolen interest in the earth would be sure to hold others in bondage of poverty and servitude to him and his party.

And hence arise oppression and tyranny in the earth upon the backs of the weak younger brethren, who are made younger brothers indeed, as the proverb is, by their cunning elder brother; and as Daniel said, The basest of men under kingly government were set to rule, who can command but not obey, who can take other men’s labours to live at ease, but not work themselves.

Therefore there shall be no buying and selling in a free commonwealth, neither shall any one hire his brother to work for him.

….Therefore there shall be no buying and selling in a free commonwealth, neither shall any one hire his brother to work for him.”

CHAP. VI. - The Kings’ old laws cannot govern a free Commonwealth.

“Laws for silver and gold.
33. As silver and gold is either found out in mines in our own land, or brought by shipping from beyond sea, it shall not be coined with a conqueror’s stamp upon it, to set up buying and selling under his name or by his leave; for there shall be no other use of it in the commonwealth than to make dishes and other necessaries for the ornament of houses, as now there is use made of brass, pewter and iron, or any other metal in their use.”

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The " dumbed down masses " sounds like you’ve been taking notes at a Trump rally or flinging OT verses around a Pence sponsored camp revival meeting.
The " masses" aren’t an ignorant block of voters all brainwashed by poor public schools and TEEVEE. About 40 million of them are " dumbed down " by religious practices that would make The Mayans blush. They’re effin’ Zombies For Jesus and the market penetration they’ve achieved puts Coca-Cola back on its’ heels. And, note most of the things Hedges and Wolfe mentioned weren’t iniated by Democrats. Until Clintonistas arrived, the Idiot Super Highway was mostly used by Republican religious fanatics. ( Look how long it has taken the Catholic Church to own up to just some of their heinous criminal behavior while people of color are railroaded into prison en masse for petty or non-crimes ).
Not to put to fine a point on this, but those draconian laws were Reagan/Bush iniatives until the Obama Adm. ( Clinton in 1996 being the biggest exception ).
All in the name of White Christian Privileges masquerading as modern era morality. What you really need to call them is " dumbed down phony Christian asses " to get a clear picture here.
And, my main ??s to you, " Where do think these disillusioned moderates from The Duopoly will migrate to? " Socialist policies? The Green Party? DSA or The Working Families Party? The Libertarian Party? And, " Where’s the billions of dollars to do this nationally going to come from? Are you going to pick up the tab for all the lawyers?
No offense but miracles, unicorns, pink ponies and leprechauns should get equal time with daydream remarks without substance or
answers. Hedges & Co. should provide some way forward, too. ( Or everyone interested should check out the article on The Surveillance State running earlier on CD ).

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Is socialism a construct of the elite???I support INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM—I support the COMMONS! Most of us from birth are taught to be slaves----we need to earn our freedom by serving the elite. We all have a right to land , water, air , and natural resources(fire) beyond the power of the state.

And there are KEYS to help people understand how they are enslaved. The current KEY is healthcare. Americans are waking up and asking why do some have great healthcare , and the many have to navigate this for profit system of healthcare. I support a national healthcare system that works to build strong community healthcare centers. And I’m not talking about a building with just doctors , but open space , community gardens–a common place for people to come together and understand the needs of the community.

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True statement! In the time of Jesus he called them much the same when he called the Pharisees and Sadducee’s "vipers and hypocrites ".

Nice reply…thanks.

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Do we want the exploitocracy to “do better” by us, or do we want to have the power to determine our own fate?

Do we want to be bought off, or do we want to buy in to the idea that no one should have the right to control our lives?

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I agree wholeheartedly. His inclusion of thinkers such as Richard Wolff is another reason that I respect Chris’s writings as much as I do. He “connects the dots” and puts things in a historical
context as well as anyone; and better than most.


Thank you for reminding us of Dr. King’s wise and prophetic words.


Yes. MLK represents the paragon of 20th century use of classical rhetoric in world leaders. “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” we shall recall, was written upon scraps of toilet and newspaper. And his love/passion of language was contagious.

Meanwhile, the current Tweeter in Chief struggles to construct 5th grade level 140 character tweets. And he uses prodigiously amounts of toilet paper and cannot read newspapers.


We’ve sunk to a new low for sure.