Do Not Pity The Democrats

Discuss! Chris Hedges:

The menace we face does not come from the insane wing of the Republican Party, which may make huge inroads in the coming elections, but the institutions tasked with protecting democratic participation. Do not fear Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. Do not fear the tea party movement, the birthers, the legions of conspiracy theorists or the militias. Fear the underlying corporate power structure, which no one, from Barack Obama to the right-wing nut cases who pollute the airwaves, can alter. If the hegemony of the corporate state is not soon broken we will descend into a technologically enhanced age of barbarism.

Investing emotional and intellectual energy in electoral politics is a waste of time. Resistance means a radical break with the formal structures of American society. We must cut as many ties with consumer society and corporations as possible. We must build a new political and economic consciousness centered on the tangible issues of sustainable agriculture, self-sufficiency and radical environmental reform. The democratic system, and the liberal institutions that once made piecemeal reform possible, is dead. It exists only in name. It is no longer a viable mechanism for change. And the longer we play our scripted and absurd role in this charade the worse it will get. Do not pity Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. They will get what they deserve. They sold the citizens out for cash and power. They lied. They manipulated and deceived the public, from the bailouts to the abandonment of universal health care, to serve corporate interests. They refused to halt the wanton corporate destruction of the ecosystem on which all life depends. They betrayed the most basic ideals of democracy. And they, as much as the Republicans, are the problem.

“It is like being in a pit,” Ralph Nader told me when we spoke on Saturday. “If you are four feet in the pit you have a chance to grab the top and hoist yourself up. If you are 30 feet in the pit you have to start on a different scale.”

All resistance will take place outside the arena of electoral politics. The more we expand community credit unions, community health clinics and food cooperatives and build alternative energy systems, the more empowered we will become.

“To the extent that these organizations expand and get into communities where they do not exist, we will weaken the multinational goliath, from the banks to the agribusinesses to the HMO giants and hospital chains,” Nader said.

7 thoughts on “Do Not Pity The Democrats

  1. That probably wasn’t the discussion you were hoping for!

    Nader’s right — Go Local. It’s often much easier to get involved and stay informed.

  2. I went to the Socialism Conference in Oakland, CA this July out of curiosity (after reading about it on lambert’s blog). Hedges spoke eloquently. The same message. Totally resonates with me. I’m about ready for a revolution myself.

  3. Talking about it as something that needs to be started is misleading. Aging hippies and people forced out of the system are well on the way towards this new utopia.
    The system has already changed. It’s just a matter of waking up to it.

  4. OK, I’ll bite. Now I’d like someone describe the 21st century social structure that supports 4(?) billion people on community credit unions, community health clinics, food cooperatives and alternative energy systems? Not that I’m against it.

    And I’m sure the Plutocrats wouldn’t move to prevent this. In fact the only tool capable of integrating such and operation, the internet, is already being co-opted. One assumes they’ve foreseen this weakness and are moving to assimilate cyberspace into their economic realm.

  5. Hedges is certainly eloquent and even clear-headed — up to a point. We won’t get anywhere by trying to change the status quo through the existing electoral system, which is owned by corporate interests. Obama (“Change you can believe in”) and the Democratic Congress that was elected with him in 2008 proved this once and for all. Hedges gets a bit muddy when he suggests weakening the “multinational Goliath” can be done in an orderly way, on the local level. He knows better. The powerful don’t surrender power without a long, bloody fight — the sort of fight that won’t start in America until the non-rich realize declining living standards are not reversible, not under the existing system.

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