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Only the Struggle Matters

Only the Struggle Matters

Chris Hedges

In the small chapel to the right at the entrance of the neoclassical Church of Saint-Sulpice is a large mural by Eugène Delacroix. The painter, at the end of his career and suffering from the tuberculous laryngitis that would soon kill him, depicted a story from Genesis.


The nonviolent ‘fight’ is not futile despite the violence of some who take advantage of numbers that they do not inspire. The struggle of this modern day will be televised and therein lies the rub as well. Unlike in a previous era, nonviolent protest is far more effective than ever before. The true political struggle is fought in the media.

We seem unable to recognize the power of the media except when it opposes us. People should ‘take back the media’ or at least attend to their presence on camera with more effectiveness. Yes it is a circus but then all life is a stage and we are actors upon it. Sit ins (a long forgotten success story) were totally about using the media to communicate. They worked though because of it.

Street theater draws a crowd while protest marches are a crowd but difficult to create. Any street theater communication talents out there? A media camera awaits you!


35 thoughts on obstacles

1. “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” Moliere

2. “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Frank A. Clark

3. “Obstacles are designed to make you stronger, only the weak avoid them.” Anonymous

4. “There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits.” Michael Phelps

5. “Obstacles do not block the path, they are the path.” Anonymous

6. “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” Henry Ford

7. “Sometimes life gives you obstacles. Obstacles that may seem unfair or too extreme. But you are given choices. Break through the obstacles or let the obstacles break you.” Anonymous

8. “An obstacle is often a stepping stone.” Anonymous

9. “When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” Zig Ziglar

10. “Obstacles are put in your way to see if what you want is really worth fighting for.” Anonymous

11. “Love overcomes obstacles.” Craig Croeschel

12. “Go through obstacles, never let them prevent you from getting things done.” Anonymous

13. “The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.” Daniel J. Boorstin

14. “Obstacles are like wild animals. they are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them, they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will sink out of sight.” Orison Swett Marden

15. “Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” Thomas Carlyle

16. “The obstacles that are in your way aren’t meant to stop you. They’re designed to point the way to a new route, new possibilities, and new doorways.” Anonymous

17. “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Michael Jordan

18. “Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.” Niccolo Machiavelli

19. “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Christopher Reeve

20. “Be grateful for all the obstacles in your life. They have strengthened you as you continue with your journey.” Anonymous

21. “The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph but whether he can overcome obstacles.” Garth Stein

22. “It is by overcoming obstacles that you develop new skills and new ways of handling what the rest of your life has in store for you.” Anonymous

23. “You have to be stronger than your obstacles, and braver than your fears.” Anonymous

24. “The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race.” Don Marquis

25. “Faith and perseverance is the key to overcoming obstacles.” Lorna Jackie Wilson

26. “Life is full of challenges, obstacles, and problems. But learn to face them courageously with joy. Live every moment with happiness and positivity, for we never know.” Sai Kaustuv

27. “Most of our obstacles would melt away if instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.” Orison Sweet Marden

28. “Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all, other people can’t stop you. Only you can stop you.” Jeoffrey Gitomer

29. “I certainly don’t regret my experiences because without them I couldn’t imagine who or where I would be today. Life is an amazing gift to those who have overcome great obstacles, and attitude is everything.” Sasha Azevedo

30. “The biggest obstacles in our lives are the barriers our mind creates.” Anonymous

31. “Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation.” Anonymous

32. “When you meet obstacles with gratitude, your perception starts to shift, resistance loses its [power], and grace finds a home within you.” Oprah Winfrey

33. “You augment your strength every time you overcome obstacles. Discover and use that unique potential you have in coping well in a positive way no matter how bad the situation can be.” Angelica Hopes

34. “No matter what obstacles may come your way, stay focused, stay positive and you will overcome them.” Anonymous

35. “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” Christian Larson


Sounds like the CIA and close relatives in France, have figured out a way to keep the
spirit of MLK from exposing the rapacious evil of the Corporate State, the Black Bloc
sounds like a “black operation.”


It isn’t at all a stretch to speculate about a possible black-ops role in the Black Bloc/ Anarchist contingent. While Hedges doesn’t himself raise that possibility here, he notes,

He also notes that

In any case, it is a time proven strategy to plant agent provocateurs amidst protest groups. It wouldn’t take much to effect such a riot, given a context of plenty of juvenile, would-be “warrior-heros” who’ve grown up with a fascination with, if not addiction to, violent-action video games, along with the anonymity and inherent lack of accountability that is an inherent part of the Black Bloc ‘organizing’ framework.

This is a growing problem for any social change movement, this hijacking of peaceful protest, whether or not it is catalyzed by agents provocateur. Somehow, those involved in mass demonstration must find a way to effectively marginalize / stop the violent extremists. I doubt, given their anarchist tendencies, they would even be approachable - even if “leaders” could be found. i find myself envisioning a beehive-defense-like strategy; where a specialized group containing hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were trained to encircle each and every masked marauder, and “escort them” away from the main protest, or just hand-cuffing & hog-tying them. Or perhaps the defense team would be equipped with injectors of sleep-inducing or similar ‘medicine’. I realize this is fantasy and probably itself illegal, but somehow, short of just bashing their fool brains in, this undermining of strategic protest must be stopped. I’d recommend trying to work out agreements with the local constabulary but fear they might not cooperate - possibly wanting the violence to escalate as Hedges suggested.


RH, I appreciate your extensive reply and the Venezuelan opposition
and electric outages carries the dark Deep State mark too.
William Blum’s, Killing Hope amplifies your understanding.

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Thank you, Chris Hedges, I will press on more bravely.


My radical religious right friends use those same examples: they just add in the name of JC. I wonder what I am not hearing??

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The term “Black Block” is thrown around quit a bit, and judgements made that are not well informed. Wikipedia has this definition/history of the black block activity around the world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_bloc

I think what we are seeing in France attached to the Yellow Vest marches is opportunists that just want an excuse to bust things up and get media attention. They have nothing to do with the efforts of the Yellow Vests. But Chris is right that these actions play into the agenda of the elite and the status quo that serves to quell participation by peaceful marchers/activists that have an honest issue with Macron and the status quo.

Not sure how the people in France or anywhere else can rise up peacefully to resist capitalism and the elite without the system using the Black Bloc idiots that make it possible for the people to resist peacefully without being harmed by the cops and/or military.


In 1994, a local Greenpeace group opposed a November bond measure to fund a light rail extension wrongly believing it would harm the adjacent river habitat. I grew up hiking this area and remember its degraded banks, desolate bed and even an industrial waste pond nearby. Finally, Greenpeace reversed its position, the line was built, and the riverside habitat has never looked better. Some salt marsh is even returning to its ocean outlet, an unexpected plus.

The agent provocateur I believe can be traced to property owners along the route, the most likely being Chevron Oil Company, possibly caught red handed. Thus the political machinery opposing the project was shut down. Protests over raising gas prices in France and the black bloc seems to be the work of agent provocateurs.

I think that is the elegant question. To first pose questions. Centered in your own experience; not claiming dominance and seeing that ‘obstacle’ is not prima face reason to react. It implies that others are valued in any action and that options exist.

It will not be televised.
The media provides cover for an attempted coup in Venezuela, covers fake Russian meddling and basically ignores what is going on in France. Most people have no idea what the Yellow vest movement is or how long it has been going on. Similarly they have no idea that the people in Haiti are rioting because they support Maduro. Venezuela/Chavez was providing cheap fuel. The corrupt government sides with DC while continuing to steal from the poor. US oil companies are refusing to deliver fuel oil to Haiti, holding it for ransom until they extort more money.
Tech companies like FB are doing what they can to eliminate alternative media and opposition voices from their platforms.
I agree that it will be televised but the general public has no idea where to look.

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My point was that the struggle is either seen on TV news or it doesn’t exist for most people. There is a reason that after the sixties that the conservative right staged a takeover of the media. Thus the Fox News, Limbaughs and Hannitys etc rabid frenzy when manipulating/slanting the news.

The struggle needs to be televised. It needs to be seen in the media.

Exactly, thank you Mr. Hedges! There is an ecstatic quality that seeks expression and in that expression finding transcendent serene bliss, to knowing you walk in the path of truth even if it’s “hopeless”.