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The Price of Resistance


#1

The Price of Resistance

Chris Hedges

This is a talk that Chris Hedges gave Monday, April 17, 2017 at Princeton University in New Jersey.

In the conflicts I covered as a reporter in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans, I encountered singular individuals of varying creeds, religions, races and nationalities who majestically rose up to defy the oppressor on behalf of the oppressed. Some of them are dead. Some of them are forgotten. Most of them are unknown.


#2

"As Hannah Arendt wrote in "The Origins of Totalitarianism", "...the only Morally Reliable people are not those who say "this is Wrong" or "this should Not be Done", but those who say "I Can't."

That's why we voted Green in 2016, and why we cannot go along, today.


#3

People, Planet, and Peace over Profit!

How did 130 million voters choose Greed over Green?


#4

Yup, that moment in Wenceslas Square in Prague in 1989 was for real

Let peace continue with this country.
Let wrath, envy, hate, fear and struggle vanish.
Now, when the lost reign over your affairs will return to you, people, it will return.

The cloud is slowly sailing away from the skies,
Everyone is reaping his own harvest.
Let my prayer speak to the hearts
(that are) Not burned by the times of bitterness like blooms by a late frost.

Let peace continue with this country.
Let wrath, envy, hate, fear and struggle vanish.
Now, when the lost reign over your affairs will return to you, people, it will return.

Let my prayer speak to the hearts
(that are) Not burned by the times of bitterness like blooms by a late frost.

Let peace continue with this country.
Let wrath, envy, hate, fear and struggle vanish.
Now, when the lost reign over your affairs will return to you, people, it will return.


#5

Damn good question. " How did 130 million voters choose Greed over Green? "

My answer: because the corrupt DNC eliminated Bernie!


#6

And instead of jumping ship and going with a 3rd party, Bernie elected to stay with those who undermined his candidacy. What does that tell you?


#7

Nice phrasing that >>> People, Planet and Peace!

The voice of the future!


#8

What it should tell us is that Bernie didn't disappear and is in the fight as we speak by going around the country as a Dem with his programs. Bernie is one of America's best. The Dems shafted him and now they (and we) all regret it. Bernie keeps on keeping on nevertheless! If he runs next time around, you kind of think that the Dems will have gotten the message by then!

Yay Bernie! People are listening.


#9

What that tells me is Bernie sold me and millions more like me..OUT! When Bernie knew he was a much stronger candidate against Trump for POTUS than HRC, but still said: : " I am backing Hillary because we cannot afford to let Trump win". So to me, that means Bernie did more to elect Trump than anyone else!


#10

A great many of us who believed in Bernie feel that he betrayed us.

What made it so bad was the fact that for an entire year Bernie campaigned on why we should not support Hillary, then, two weeks before the Democratic Convention, as if a switch was turned off, Bernie gave up the fight.

I'll never believe he willingly turned to the Dark Side.

He too was betrayed.

Now, we all suffer from that betrayal.


#11

In the Art of War, the most important ingredient for victory is not guns, cunning, cleverness, manipulation, mendacity but morality. Morality is the key to victory. When morality is your chief weapon who can defeat us?


#12
 Protesting takes courage but it also needs to be thought out.  A few extremists can undo the participation of many thousands.  I am a pro-choice Republican.  I agree with a lot that was said during the women's march.  My biggest problem with the women's protest is the lack of results.  Remember that the majority of white women voted for Trump.  Did any of them change their mind?  The Republicans eagerly replayed unwise comments from the women's march.  I suspect that the comments of Madonna and Ashley Judd did more harm than good.
 I believe in the First Amendment.  I have no problem with people voicing their displeasure with Trump.  I just don't see the Democrats and liberals gaining converts.  I think the protesters should plan their speeches and slogans with the goal of gaining converts.

#13

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that Bernie was some how intimidated by the DNC and Hillary's thugs, but whether true or not, I do not believe Bernie betrayed his acolytes for arbitrary or capricious reasons, I would argue, there is a lot more than we will probably ever know why Bernie threw the POTUS away; thereby, enabling Trump to be elected.


#14

And it MOST ironic, since Vaclav Havel proved to be an extreme neoliberal leader -- leading the Slovaks to separate themselves from the Czech Republic for their own protection!


#15

Resistance can't be just a nice thought without conviction; it also needs the will and rebellious action that needs continuous support and determination if it's to be successful. A one off march such as the women's march in January is not enough, only to watch it die a quick death the following month. Resistance and rebellious action needs constant pressure applied with conviction and resolve. People will be arrested. Laws will be passed to further erode your civil rights. The pressure needs to increase instead of die, form a new progressive party to take back the control of congress from the corrupt militaristic corporate state. Vote your convictions instead of the party line. Write emails to your senators and representatives more than once; let your voice be heard, loudly and often. What starts out small can gather steam and become a real movement; anything less is total surrender to the power of the state. Time's wasting, so get started or watch the world dissolve before your eyes.


#16

I, too, am speechless!


#17

I am very glad to see Vasily Grossman referenced in this article. Far too few Americans have read his powerful novels.


#18

The truth of such searing reminders is always painful to accept.

On the author's last thought, hope please with me that we may all include the willingness to allow the idea that something else, something perhaps larger and more enlightened is also taking place in our lives, maybe in a form never known before to all human society or history, a thing that is far more than the smallest bit of good being set upon by the largest of evils.

Could it be said, for example, that humanity's most confused are in the last throes of the ends of hatred? We are one immense human race, with all our cultural and environmental differences, racing to ever more shocking numbers at breakneck speed. And still we stand, looking for and maybe only so far in the smallest ways, finding the means to take hold of ourselves, outside whole, reckless, self-inflicted self-destruction.

Could it be believed that humanity is exiting a long, dark age, figuring out how to take hold of itself, even in the face of the extremes of reality in human motivations? Yes, Chris, some are insane on the drunkenness of unbridled permission to take. And yes, you're right that the heroes of intelligent maturity are the far smaller group, but if you'll allow us permission to throw a kind of bright-outlook cast upon the whole matter, perhaps it will become easier for us all to get there sooner.


#19

This is a magnificent speech by Chris Hedges! I seriously consider him to be a prophet for our time, with as much wisdom, insight and empathy as any prophet or philosopher of past times.

Say what you will, but I feel inspired every time I read anything he writes!


#20

Hedges is a great critic but seems to get a little lost when it comes to solution and focus on the root of the problem. “Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness.” All ruling classes throughout history have sought to crush human kindness usually by validating it only for and among themselves right down to today’s “greed is good” capitalist philosophy. They also make kindness harder to come by when everyone is put in competition with everyone else, even for life’s basic necessities.

The Reverend Hedges does trace a spiritual pathway to “transcendent happiness” for the faithful at the price of rejecting “what it means to succeed in a capitalist, consumer culture, especially the idea that we should always come first.” For the faithful of any religion god or gods always come first. Hedges quotes theologists and novelists but not the many brave socialists that have fought capitalism, imperialism and even the class system of party membership in the U.S.S.R. and other communist dictatorships. Socialist failures have been spectacular but the socialist dream still lives and grows as it is the only hope for those not owners of either this world or eternal life via a “soul”.

I have no problem with religion when the faithful act out of kindness to help those less fortunate. Much good has been done in the past by the religious faithful and they can even take credit for many social improvements and for most people today believing that people should not suffer needlessly. The problem though has never been enough “good people” or too many “bad people” but the existence and organization of society under a class system.

There has never been a just society with a class system. Law exists to protect the property of the haves against the have nots. The owners of the world are 1,810 billionaires on the Forbes 2016 rich list that own $6.5 trillion, “as much wealth as the bottom 70 percent of humanity.” If you work for a living or are starving to death they still own you. Ninety percent of U.S. law is Roman Property Law which is why lawyers must know the dead language of Latin. Along with the law all western empires have sought to copy the Roman Empire and the U.S. Empire is the latest but probably not the last.

Capitalism is what it is wether it be the state capitalism of China or the corporate monopoly capitalism of the U.S. Empire. In either system social/party rank and wealth determine justice. It cannot be otherwise in a class system no matter how class is determined. In economically good times there will be more opportunity for an individual to succeed through personal effort but studies have shown that even during the boom decades in the U.S. following WWII most people did not rise far above the class they were born into. The whole social and economic system in a class system is set up to keep people in place in order to protect and enrich those at the top; most of it is so subtle that even those at the bottom think it's right. The biggest flag wavers and the best soldiers of empire are those from the lower classes.

In a falling empire more control must be exercised to protect the propertied and privileged few. The First Amendment has always been relative, as is all U.S. law. One gets as much justice as one can afford and demand. Protest is now penned off, kept out of sight, and limited in length. Protest is also being spun as "terrorism". The U.S. Empire has had it's rise and soon, in its fall, there will be no place to flee to as it will precipitate a worldwide crash. Reaction and revolution will be as violent as state repression makes it.

The answer though is not in another redistribution through revolution but in finally ending the class system. I do not believe that anything new is possible except under a socialist system which abolishes class. There is nothing but more of the same and worse under capitalism. Consumer capitalism is now ecologically unsustainable and it is destroying the human race. The deluge has already begun.

Good luck to you and yours. We do seemed destined for extinction in the sixth mass extinction event technology and greed is causing. Choosing how one will die, whom and what one will cling to, and what one will risk may be a luxury for only the rich in a world of plague and famine, devastated by natural disaster and war.

It's socialism or death.

Or one can “accept sorrow” and seek transcendance through practicing one’s religion. This has been the solace for many down through history, even for those who were persecuted and murdered for their belief and resistance to state authority. But there are those of us who do not have the “opiate” of any religion and believe that there is only this life and no eternal life after death via a “soul”. For us the path of resistance and personal sacrifice may be the same as the religious devout but for us “salvation” comes through taking action to bring about a world without class systems that always oppress and exploit the many for the sake of the few.

Only socialism gives opportunity and greater freedom to all by doing away with the class system. Only socialism favors the many at the price of a few. Class systems favor the few at the price of the many and are endemically corrupt and criminal. Freedom to mercilessly exploit others and profit even at the expense of the ecology and the very existence of the human race should not be allowed just as certain freedoms, such as killing whomever you want, are not allowed and are criminalized.

It is criminals that have owned and run society via class systems throughout history, wrapped in flags and religion.