Hedges: “We’re in a pre-revolutionary society… this is extremely dangerous”

A couple of videos for your viewing pleasure.

The first is Chris Hedges in a brief interview on the state of the current American revolution, which he believes has already begun. Before things boil over, they ferment. He believes the revolutionary fermentation is already in process — for example, read here — and it’s only a matter of time before further revolt is forced on us by what he calls the “ruling elite.”

Offered for your consideration. I’ve been using the term “critical mass” — as in, “the Movement of the 60s had critical mass, which we haven’t achieved yet” — and I think the concepts are the same. We both agree that there’s a beneath-the-surface revolt that’s gaining momentum.

I don’t think that living in revolutionary times is any fun; and I think that revolutions very often go disastrously wrong. So I’m not cheering this one, and I’m angry indeed that the greed-mad (I mean that clinically) barons are determined to force us to rise up. Even without the climate chaos they may force on us, the next few decades will not be peaceful.

But decide for yourself. Here’s Hedges on why he thinks we’re ripe for revolution, in the start of one already, and what we should do (source here):

Some notes:

▪ At 7:15: “What happens in moments of breakdown, is that people not only turn against an ineffectual liberal elite, that in essence has presided over political or economic paralysis, but they also jettison the values that elite purports to defend. And that’s what’s dangerous. And we’re certainly barreling towards that kind of a crisis. I worry that we’re not only weakened, but unprepared.”

▪ At 8:45, Hedges talks about what vision replaces the current one, since people need to be fighting for something, not just against something. And he makes a nice connection between the current prison population and anti-revolutionary forces and critiques in our society.

▪ At 11:00 he talks about the recipe for revolution in current society as a fusion between “declassé intellectuals” — students whose lives are burdened and broken by debt and joblessness — and service workers, “who are in essence the working poor.” Think a student debt strike would light a fire? I do.

▪ He ends by articulating a vision (in my view, viable) of where and how change will come from.

“It’s going to come off the ground, it’s going to come by stepping outside of the mainstream, it’s going to come by articulating a very different vision about how we relate to each other, how we relate to the economic system, and ultimately how we relate to the ecosystem.”

The essay they reference, “Our Invisible Revolution,” is here. A related piece, “The Revolutionaries in our Midst,” is here. I think Hedges would offer these as further evidence that, well, it’s started.

The lives of the very very rich

I want to close this piece with a fun look at how the other .001% lives. These are the lives of the winners, the people your losses are supporting. This piece is delivered in an adoring tone — after all, it’s “lifestyles of the rich and famous” on steroids. But listen past the love to the images, to the lives themselves (h/t the writer Masaccio, from this excellent piece):

Be sure not to miss the Personal Jets segment at 12:30. You’ve been to the airport, right? Not like this. At 20:45 there’s an interesting segment about dueling excess, the Battle of the Megayachts. And part three talks about the problem of spending it all, which leads to sports teams. The one thing the show doesn’t talk about is … buying politicians. But I’m sure you thought of that.

Nothing is out of reach for these people — things, people, power, control. This is both incredibly childish and incredibly dangerous. In just the sports arena, about Russian billionaire Roman Abramowich’s massive spending on the now-world-champion Chelsea football (soccer) team, one commentator says on film, “British football is pretty much ruined.” But hey, a single human on the planet is happier. So win-win, right?

Not all of the wealthy are this corrupt, this evil. I know several — admittedly only millionaires — with intact visions and consciences, highly motivated to do good, and highly effective. But they are the few.

The many are in charge. And the damage won’t stop until we stop it. Most men and women this wealthy are currently drunk on the drug called More. It’s literally true that David Koch, worth $36 billion, wants you to have less so he can have more. As I said on a recent Virtually Speaking, the rich are in a tulipmania-type bubble, and the commodity is greed. They literally can’t get enough, and it’s killing us. They really have to be stopped.

À la résistance,


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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  • The_JME

    Chris Hedges does bring to light a very important and interesting argument, that we need to have something, some vision of the future, to motivate the masses to rally behind and fight for. I do not necessarily agree that a revolution is on the horizon. I do however think that we need to rally behind the politicians that will be the voice for the people, not just the voice of the select few. We need to have more individuals in office that want to inspire change, motivate the nation to heal itself and move forward towards a future where the American dream is alive once again.

    We are always going to have a class system, we just need to realign our priorities with taxes and the nations budget. Tax heavier on the upper class and worldwide corporations that can afford it. Provide tax breaks for small businesses, American farms and corporations, and the lower classes. We are always going to have unemployment, homeless, various crises will arise…we just need to have an American society of informed citizens who are invested not only in their future, but invested in the future of our government and health of our democracy.

  • JCNow

    The majority has the power to change the laws. You simply need to elect the right people, and the right people are not coming from those who are financed by mega-greedy non-humans, like the Koch brothers. Besides changing our tax laws, we need a constitutional amendment that limits the amount of spending on political elections. Those running for office can easily set up web sites that convey all the information necessary about their views and positions. It’s time for us to take back control.

  • JCNow

    We don’t have to have a revolution. All we really need to do is tax the shit out of them and close all the tax loopholes these obnoxiously greedy non-humans are receiving . It would only take a couple of generations to spread the wealth if we reinstated 75% tax on all income (including investment income) of anyone with more than $100 million in income. And then raise the gift and estate tax to 75% as well.

  • Milo_Bloom, your comment that “you folks enjoy the occasional school shooting” is offensive and inappropriate.
    You are warned. Another comment of this type will result in your black-listing.

  • Bruce

    This time, with PEACE On earth, Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.

  • Jim Olson

    “..enjoy the occasional school shooting?” Are you serious? You think we enjoy watching young people get shot up in schools by their classmates or by mentally ill individuals? This discussion is over.

  • karlInSanDiego

    “But Bin Laden was attacking the US long before the start of the Bush regime.”
    Respectfully, that’s not accurate. The Bush’s controlled foreign policy during the 12 years of Reagan/Bush, and were responsible for the CIA inception of The Base, al Qaeda. Noone is crediting GW with any original thought, but his CIA asshole father was orchestrating all the clandestine malicious shit that went on for those 12 years, and he just so happened to still be working with Bin Ladens and the defense game on 9/11. And 9/11 as told by the Commission wouldn’t have taken a lot of planning and resources. Box-Cutters and flightschool failures are cheap. What was tough was fast-passing all the visas for the fakejackers while building their fake backstories, rigging the trade towers buildings (plus the building 7 command center) for perfect demolition, hitting the Pentagon with a cruise missile, vanishing flight 94, and faking impossible cell phone calls to family members. That was difficult. Oh, and planning nation wide war games for that day, too.

    Like I said. This country is never short of heros unencumbered by the independent thought process. Our military operates with a chain of command that can only be interrupted by a soldier recognizing that his CO is off the reservation, and risking court masrhall or a swift fragging by disobeying orders. It’s reasonable to assume you could find US Jihadists among their ranks who are willing to kill some to “save” many. In fact the Air Force has been inundated with religious BS at its war college for many years. You think GW’s slip in calling our newest Gulf Wars crusades was just chance? Read about PNAC and their rationale for overthrowing governments in the middle east because it the US’s responsibility to use our singular power to reshape the world. Then ask youself, as we should have all along, was 9/11 an inside job to launch holy wars across the middle east and land grab for nat. gas pipelines, oil, and military contracts?

  • Milo_Bloom

    I think you need to recount how many are truly “legally obtained.” I know you folks enjoy the occasional school shooting, it really gets your juices flowing. Consider that even in your favorite, the shooting last year, the gun was taken by force from the legal owner. However the vast majority of your everyday killings (gangs, robbery, the ones that don’t play as well for you in the press) happen by criminals with illegally obtain guns and/or by people who would obtain them illegally if they needed to. How about stopping criminals instead of oppressing law abiding citizens?

    Your car analogy doesn’t work. If it did, a drunk who’s license was suspended would never drive drunk again, right? Also, your license and registration for a car are to operate it on public roadways. You can own a car, even operate it on private roads without a license. Your “final solution” for gun owners is hardly as permissive.

    You can be as suspicious as you like; you have no authority in the matter.

  • Nathanael

    “The guns and bullets are just to allow us to rape, pillage and plunder each other”
    Exactly. We have to try to make sure people don’t fall for that trap.

    “Rebellion, turn off the power to the boroughs of New York.”
    Any successful rebellion requires electrical engineers. :-) Not kidding.

    Nothing is going to happen until we hit the point when the educated middle class who makes all the fancy things work gets just as mad as the underclass. (This happened in the Russian Revolution and in the French Revolution and even the Haitian Revolution — all of them.) Remember, the 0.001% don’t actually do any of the work running any of their factories, ships, etc. *themselves* — they rely on underlings to do it.

    Now, if after they get fed up, the educated middle class who makes all the fancy things work manages to vote a better government in, everything will calm down. But if that is somehow prevented by election theft *again*… then the best-case scenario looks a bit like the Ukraine today.

  • Nathanael

    It’s not just that nobody went to jail. Most of them still have their jobs and obscenely large salaries! Jamie Dimon is still running JP Morgan Chase, even as the billion-dollar criminal cases against it pile up!

  • Nathanael

    Don’t be so sure about that. Jesuits aren’t known for just giving nice speeches. They’re trained to be practical — even Machiavellian. And there’s a *long* feud between the Jesuits and the hierarchy, to the point where the Jesuits were banned at least once — twice I think.

  • Nathanael

    “I imagine, when soldiers have a choice between supporting the oppressors or the people, that will also help”

    In every fight against oppression you hope that the soldiers will be on the side of the people. Historically, referencing the cases I’ve researched, this seems *more* likely to happen when the people are *unarmed* and the soldiers start feeling sick and ill about killing unarmed people.

  • Nathanael

    OK, so Milo, to be clear, you actually *do* think that the 2nd amendment guarantees the private right to own tanks?

    For refernce, during the Missouri war immediately before the Civil War, a privately owned cannon was actually important in the fight of the abolitionists against the slaver government! So there’s a little history on your side if you believe this!

    But I’ve never met a gun fan who believed in the unrestricted right to own tanks, RPGs, drones, artillery, etc. before. If you are the exception, at least you have a consistent and defensible point of view, and I apologize for lumping you in with the rest of the idiots.

  • Nathanael

    So you *do* support private ownership of militarized drones? And you *do* believe that preventing people from owning militarized drones is a tyrannical infringement on the 2nd Amendment?

    Just getting this clear. Because if so, *at least you have a consistent point of view*, and I respect that. If not…

  • Nathanael

    The Crisis of Legitimacy is a slow-moving process; it was quite obviously well in progress in 2000 when the Presidential election was blatantly stolen, and this illegitimacy was recognized at least half the population. But you’re right that the Democratic Party crisis of legitimacy became clear in 2010.

    “Pre-revolutionary periods seem to last a couple decades or so. Perhaps
    technology will speed that along in this case. Perhaps not. People can
    be very tolerant of pain, but everyone has a breaking point. In France,
    it was the failure of the winter wheat crop causing starvation among the
    masses whilst the nobles fatted themselves up on their stores–and even
    that was caused by a volcano in Iceland, not politics per se. In
    Russia, it was a decades long process of ending feudalism, coupled with a
    brutal state that had no idea how to move forward without causing even
    more pain. In other nations, it was the pain mindlessly inflicted by
    colonial powers that thought people would just grin and bear it. Hubris
    is a common thread in all of them.”

    This is an extremely insightful analysis. I guess I’ll have to read the book.

    I would have to add that in Russia, the final breaking point was losing a war. After losing the war in 1905, people in Russia came very close to revolution — it was averted by promises from the Tsar. The Tsar broke those promises. Then when World War I started, everyone rallied ’round the flag, until the Tsar started *losing* again, and huge numbers of Russians died due to his botched military incompetence. *That* was the immediate trigger for the first (Kerensky) revolution, comparable to the crop failure before the French revolution.

    “So like you and others, I say it as a warning, not something to happily anticipate.”
    Yes, indeed. We still have a chance to avert it by electing an FDR-type politician who will create a better society before people become completely desperate. If that fails, we still have a chance to have a quick, peaceful outcome like Portugal’s Carnation Revolution. If both of those fail, it will be very unpleasant.

  • Nathanael

    Gah, you’re right, of course. So sorry to get that wrong. Thanks for the correction!

  • Nathanael

    I hope you’re right that we can fix things at the ballot box. I really, really, hope you’re right.

    “the impediments to productive political action today and the current
    level of political corruption are actually far less, or at least no
    greater, than they were in the past when truly stupendous gains were
    Well, it is true, the impediments are much less than in the 1850s, and stupendous gains were won in the 1860s– but that worked out quite bloodily.

    Your analysis of the Civil War is not right. The Southern aristocrats were absolutely furious at the *realignment* election of Lincoln — the realignment happened when the Whigs fell apart and were replaced by the Republicans — and the Southern elites simply decided to go to war to prevent it. The Northern bankers did not rely on the South’s wealth, although they were happy to profit from it; industrialization had already happened, and in the north.

    If you look at the late-19th century labor vs. corporate fights, the impediments were also greater than now. Those fights were *also* bloody, though thankfully much less so than the Civil War.

    When Earl Grey forced the Reform Bill through the English Partliament in 1832, he did so in a situation with much worse structural and political obstacles, and it did go *fairly* peacefully, despite the Days of May. But he did so against a background where everyone remembered the French Revolution and Napoleon. Right now the 0.001% seem to have forgotten all about such things, and Congress seems to act as if such things are impossible. This means they keep “fiddling while Rome burns” rather than dealing with the problems which are driving people to desperation.

  • tuffle

    you’re hard-on for lenin is disturbing–there is nothing admirable, revolutionary, or heroic about lenin…napolean had his faults, but he’s the only one of the two to whom the word “heroic” applies.

    napolean was not a revolutionary, he was not in either of the two competing revolutionary parties, the Montagnards and the Girondins. in gthat sense he didn’t betry anyone.

    lenin betrayed everyone–he was fraud, and had he lived, he would have been just as bloody as stalin.

    bonapartism is not a marxist term of art, marx just borrowed the term from france, where the real meaning of the word comes from and the only one that really makes sense–they used it to describe all of the bonapartist claimants to to the empire, in the same way that the english have the yorkist claimants, lambert fruitcake and perkinwarbeck…and possibly that brick layer from somewhere in the south of england

  • Jim Olson

    Really? How many crazy people with legally obtained guns shooting up schools is it going to take before we decide that we’ve had enough? How many attacks by people who legally own the gun they use to shoot their loved one? There is surely more than one story about a person who uses a legally obtained gun to commit a crime. No, sorry. I’m not convinced. What I proposed above is no more than what we expect of people who wish to have the privilege of driving a car. That you cannot see that tells me that I should be very suspicious of you owning a gun at all.

  • tuffle

    rude, doesn’t make right.

    lenin was not history’s preeminent communist on any level.

    this was his philosophy–“workers have a false consciousness that must be redirected by those with superior understanding.” that isn’t communism, it’s elitism (and an elitism that would be embraced and cheered by every capitalist that has ever lived).

    Here’s what his contemporaries thought of his motives more than a decade before the revolution:

    “Lenin’s concern is not so much to make the activity of the party more fruitful, but to control the party.” Rosa Luxemorburg, German SPD, 1903.

    “[Lenin’s] methods lead, as we shall yet see to this: the party organization substitutes itself for the party; the Central Committee substitutes itself for the organization; and finally, the ‘dictator’ substitutes himself for the central committee.” Leon Trotsky, 1904.

    in fact, lenin’s dictates for ComIntern were the major reason that communism and socialism became seen as two different things after 1920. until Comintern, the two words had been used interchangeably, even by marx. but once lenin co-opted the word “communism” to represent bolshevisim (and it was only at this point that the bolsheviks started to call themselves communists), the second international began to use the word socialism exclusively.

    bolshevism was not communism (“bolshevik” just means “majority;” it wasn’t even the name of the russian social democratic labor party, it was th name of a faction within a party).

    lennin seized control of the russian social democratic labor party the way all pyschopaths do–he was charismatic, and he used the grief of the war as his weapon to root out those who stood in his way. the bolsheviks didn’t gain power on their own, they did it with a temporary alliance between themselves, the urban proletariat, and the peasants, which they broke almost immediately upon seizing power.

    like i said, russia is easy to understand if you use the right words (and have more and history channel’s grasp of history.

    france is harder to understand and would take a long time to set out the facts than i feel like doing. but just so that others don’t mistake you for doing anything more than talking out of your ass, the reign of terror lasted for 10 months, just about as long as the salem witch trials–16,594 people lost their heads in 10 months…

  • tuffle

    a corrupt court and a stolen election does not a coup make.

    we’ve had more corrupt courts and stolen elections than you can shake a stick at–yet in the end, the revolutionary changes we’ve made, and we’ve made more than any other country in our 200 some odd years, have always been made via the ballot box and pen.

    the civil war was not a revolution or a realignment. it was a fight between two groups of elites–the northern bankers who relied on the south’s wealth (the antebellum american south was the richest economy on the planet at that time, it dwarfed england), and the southern aristocracy to whom that wealth belonged. had the south been the poor, back water it is now, there would have been war, there would have been a shrug and a “don’t let the door hit you in the ass.”

    the 19th century realignment coincided with andrew jackson, it’s what put him in office.

    the impediments to productive political action today and the current level of political corruption are actually far less, or at least no greater, than they were in the past when truly stupendous gains were won.

    the federal government has never been the source of change–change has always started in the states and then overwhelmed the federal government.

    there will be no bloody revolution in this country–but there will be a sea change.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Ouch! Not too politically correct there. Careful, Mother Jones will revoke your Leftist Permit.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Well, with the high taxes we are forced to pay, I like to make myself affordable as a gift to the community.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Actually the opposite is true. You’ve no counter to the views I express, that’s why you attack me as a person.

  • “as a vegetarian” I can easily imagine you as a vegetable.

  • Bargain Basement

  • Mocking you is so easy, because your arguments are so weak.

  • Bill_Perdue

    There is no way to equate Lenin, a genuine revolutionary hero and leader, with Napoleon, whose betrayals of the French Revolution gave us the concept of Bonapartism.

    “Bonapartism is often defined as a political expression in the vocabulary of Marxism and Leninism, deriving from the career of Napoleon
    Bonaparte… The term Bonapartism is often used to refer to a situation in which counter-revolutionary military officers seize power from revolutionaries, and then use selective reformism to co-opt the radicalism of the popular classes. In the process, Marx argued, Bonapartists preserve and mask the power of a narrower ruling class. … A Bonapartist regime appears to have great power, but only because there is no class with enough confidence or power to firmly establish its authority in its own name, so a leader who appears to stand above the struggle can take the
    mantle of power. It is an inherently unstable situation where the apparently
    all-powerful leader is swept aside once the struggle is resolved one way or the other. … The term was used by Leon Trotsky to refer to Joseph Stalin’s regime, which Trotsky believed was balanced between the proletariat, victorious but shattered by war, and the bourgeoisie, broken by the revolution but struggling to re-emerge.” Wiki

  • Milo_Bloom

    So you say. Considering the source, I won’t get too distraught. However, as a vegetarian, could we not make me ham? I could be a nice salad?

  • Bill_Perdue


  • Milo_Bloom

    What can I say, I’m on sale! ;-)

  • Milo_Bloom

    You don’t know words big enough to confound me, but I suggest you learn a new word every day! It’s good for you, like spinach!

  • Milo_Bloom

    I don’t think the bare hands would work; if you really are in a revolution, I’d suggest the best defense one can muster. Back to the idea of “shall not be infringed” and the other parts you’d like to take.

    I imagine, when soldiers have a choice between supporting the oppressors or the people, that will also help. Not to mention that the effectiveness of an IED-style front. Again, I don’t think you are taking in the whole picture here.

  • Milo_Bloom

    More name calling! Love the left, when lacking substance, mock.

    My arms? Individually? Perhaps. I’ll take my chances compared to you, unarmed, against that same oppressive government. By the way, how do you know what weapons I own?

    I have to admit, like all law abiding gun owners, I’ve never shot at children and unarmed civilians, so I can’t really report on that. Again, no law abiding citizen does that. I’m sure “Mother Jones” tells you otherwise.

    As for anti-aircraft missiles, that’s soo 1985. Now a nice drone like your cowardly Mr. Obama prefers, I hear that’s the ticket for the young revolutionary on the rise.

    I’m afraid your rather fragmented assault has proven you to be the one who lacks coherence. Wish I could help.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Actually, the argument has been made, and frankly allowing all that makes a lot more sense than the slippery slope that banning presents. So, I guess you now take me seriously. ;-)

    My arms? Individually? Perhaps. I’ll take my chances compared to you, unarmed, against that same oppressive government.

    Your last sentence doesn’t make sense: I assure you, I’ve not given up on anything that would help defend me against anyone.

    Try again.

  • Milo_Bloom

    First of all, I’m not your sweetie. I also doubt people are lining up for the job ;-)

    Second of all, I guess all I’d need is one gay pastor story to vilify all gays? All Pastors? Of course not. Your prejudice is mis-founded.

  • ronbo

    Gaius, I certainly hope not. I soooo wanted to enjoy my golden years.

    I’m fairly sure guillotines can be identified by the drone operators and even if they miss every now and again, who will take note? http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-yemen-drone-strike-wedding-20131213,0,4137970.story

  • Another running academic joke for decades has been at the expense of athletic science majors, and their facility with the phrase: We want millions with that.

  • Clearly you are a thinking ham.

  • And you are worth exactly two cents.

  • I’m glad it pleased you and the words were not too big to understand.

  • Wrong on so many banal levels.

  • Nathanael

    Now you’re in fantasyland. If people defending their homes have a “spirit that a soldier for hire cannot muster” and therefore don’t need decent weaponry (RPGs, bombs, tanks, anti-aircraft missiles) then you don’t need guns at all, am I right? You can defend yourself with your bare hands and win!

    The Afghans had RPGs, bombs, tanks, and anti-aircraft missiles; they weren’t idiots like you.

  • Nathanael

    What a stupid, ignorant person you are, “Milo”. I’ve done some research into what it would take to have a violent military defense against tyranny and your little wimpy guns are useless — all they’re good for is shooting children and unarmed civilians.

    If you were defending the right to own anti-aircraft missiles, you might actually have a coherent idea in your head. But you don’t.

  • Nathanael

    You’re not thinking clearly, Milo. The government already heavily regulates people who want artillery, rocket-propelled grenades, tanks, etc. — and has for over 50 years. When I see you gun nuts fighting against THAT, I’ll believe you’re serious about defending yourself against oppressive government.

    Your pathetic, wimpy little small arms are useless for defending yourself against an oppressive government. And you already gave up on defending the right to own the stuff which actually would be useful — showing that you don’t really give a damn abou tit.

  • Nathanael

    Russia almost had a revolution in 1909.

    We’re in a period closer to 1909, not a 1917 period. Early days yet. Trouble is we keep on having incompetent governments fail to deal with the problems at hand. People will tolerate this for an *astoundingly* long time but eventually they get fed up.

  • Nathanael

    Russia was a complicated sequence of events; so was France. Both started out as genuine populist revolutions; both were hijacked later on by ambitious men.

    What you need in order to avoid a Russian or French scenario is *a decent, coherent, democratic replacement government* for after you get rid of the existing government. People demand a government which will do what needs to be done, and it’s when they don’t get that that they turn to Napoleon (rather than the National Assembly) or Lenin (rather than Kerensky’s Duma).

  • Jim Olson

    You’ve never been on the wrong end of a drunk conservative with a gun, have you sweetie? Let me tell you. The vile filth coming out of this man’s mouth, while standing on my front porch after I’d answered the door was enough to convince me that most Americans should not be allowed to have guns. I’m thankful that I do not have a bullet hole in my head. He was on my porch (and, I suspect was the one who shot the windows out of my front room) simply because he “didn’t want that new faggot Pastor anywhere near his kids”. I live in Chicago, gun violence capital of America and I am *far* less afraid of being shot here in the city than I was living in rural Vermont. Seems to me that there is a lot of white America that would be plenty happy to round up the above named list should there be a significant revolution. I am afraid of both the unregulated “militias” that would form, and of my government; mostly because it seems to me that the government is full of people who support the idea of the unregulated militias.

  • Nathanael

    If the realignment is thwarted, THEN we get a revolution.

    Think about it. The Civil War happened when (A) the realignment was thwarted for a long time, and (B) the losers of the 1860 election acted so entitled that they refused to accept the results.

    We’ve already HAD one coup in my lifetime, when the Supreme Court stole the Presidential election in 2000. The Republican policy right now is gerrymandering, and voter disenfranchisement, and election fraud, and if those don’t do the trick, outright election theft. If they manage to keep this stuff up, the realignment will be *prevented*. People will *see* that it’s been prevented and *THEN* people will take to the streets.

    A working democracy is critically important, as democracy is what prevents us from having bloody revolutions.

  • Nathanael

    Fairly high risk.

    It’s important to note that the revolution can still be averted. It’s just getting harder every year that Washington fiddles while the population burns.

  • Nathanael

    There’s a revolution coming. If you haven’t studied history, you won’t see it coming. If you have, it’s obvious.

    It can be avoided if we can elect a better government early enough. (If we elect it too late, we get Civil War II.) But the current trend is gerrymandering and disenfranchisment, and that takes us closer to revolution.

  • Nathanael

    I’ve been saying the same thing as Hedges for some time.

    Watch the public mood — watch the popular TV shows, for one thing. We had _Leverage_, which was a warning sign. Now we have _Dracula_, which is a much more serious warning sign. In 10 years, the public mood is going to be ready for blood.

    It is very close to that already. First essay in the New Yorker this week states outright that violence is necessary in order to make progress — you wouldn’t have seen something like that 10 years ago, or 20, or 30. We are in pre-revolutionary times and moving fast.

  • Bill_Perdue

    ‘… proving that rationality is overrated.’ For some.

  • Bill_Perdue

    “the russian revolution was a coup.” Wrong, it was a revolution led by the Bolsheviks operating in the Soviets of Workers and Soldiers Deputies, an alternative government set up to defend workers, soldiers and peasants from the Czarist government. They addressed the question of the war by ending it, the question of the economy by nationalizing the wealth of the rich without compensation and the question of the ownership of land, which they took from rich landowners.

    “lennin was like castro, he wasn’t an ideological communist” Preposterous. Lenin was history’s preeminent Communist.

    The French didn’t go crazy, they had a revolution that, over time, inspired the termination, often with extreme prejudice, of feudalistis, royalists, aristocrats, colonialists and the rule of the cults. That work is still going on.

  • 1973m

    So lets go after the successful because they have more than us. I am sure there are some bad mega rich people. Just like im sure that there are plenty of poor people who are just as bad. One thing i am certain of, there is no revolution coming. Nobody in the real world talks like that. Good luck with this.

  • Milo_Bloom

    The truth is often a bitter pill, I grant you that.

  • fletcher

    No we just find your can of bull hard to swallow.

  • Ford Prefect

    It’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping!


  • MyrddinWilt

    Thats fairly easy to explain, the Bushies are simply too incompetent to have carried something like that out. And who would they get to fly the planes on suicide missions?

    I think that they wanted to keep Bin Laden alive afterward and let him escape the Tora Bora because they wanted to have a convenient bogeyman on the run to use as a pretext for their other wars. But Bin Laden was attacking the US long before the start of the Bush regime. He was the only person with a large enough organization to pull it off.

  • Milo_Bloom

    But “Awww! I’m out of ideas to counter the thinking man! Quick Larry, give up!” is.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Yes, we are. We are having our rights threatened. You people never seem to latch on to the “shall not be infringed” part of the Second Amendment, do you? Law abiding, sane gun owners by and large do mind the hardly modest increases of gun laws that pro-government, anti-liberal people are lobbying for. (That was fun!)

    Frankly, all of the draconian measures you wish to oppress law abiding gun owners with are both wrong and do nothing to regulate non-law abiding criminals.

    Your question was odd because it made no sense. What interest would gun owners have “rounding up” any of those people. History teaches us governments generally take the lead in such persecutions.

    You are fearing the wrong folks.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Hey, it pleases 5 year olds, too.

  • Bill_Perdue

    That comment is non-responsive. Support for the Argentine military junta and it’s murderous attacks on everyone from from liberals and union organizers to leftists, killing thousands in their dirty little CIA inspired war in the 1970’s. Bergoglio was part of that, although he now denies it, just as Ratzinger denied his Nazi past. Rightwingers, cult leaders, the police and other organs of state repression are the buttresses of the rule of the rich.

    Allegations that Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, collaborated with Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship have been circulating for decades. The Pope, and the Vatican he now heads, have vehemently denied these allegations.

    The Vatican has dismissed the allegations against the new Pope as a “left-wing anti-clerical attack on the church.”… On Sunday, an Argentinian newspaper published a government memo that seems to definitively prove that Bergoglio did indeed provide information to the murderous dictatorship, informing authorities about allegations against two Jesuit priests who were kidnapped, tortured and imprisoned for five months for allegedly contacting anti-regime leftist guerrillas.

    Furthermore, Gregoglio is alleged to have sold the priests out even while he personally promised them his protection. On March 13, Digital Journal published a lengthy article detailing Jorge Bergoglio’s– and the Argentine Catholic church’s– alleged role in collaborating with that country’s brutal, US-backed military dictatorship, a regime characterized by kidnapping, torture, murder and disappearance. As many as 30,000 people, from students, trade unionists, journalists and leftists and their sympathizers to children and even pregnant women (whose babies were stolen), were killed or disappeared during the 1976-1983 ‘Dirty War,’ which was fully supported by the Carter and Reagan administrations.” http://www.globalresearch.ca/smoking-gun-memo-proves-pope-francis-collaborated-with-military-junta/5327354

  • kenthomes

    Don’t you dare question 9/11!!! You are an apple pie hating, anti-American scumbag to dare suggest that the official story is full of holes, even according to many members on the commission. That being said….I love Chris Hedges and listen to all of his speeches and have read most of his articles. He is pretty spot on, except when it comes to America. Americans are truly dumbed down to an amazing degree, and as was said above, have been brutally brainwashed from birth to believe that they will be able to become rich, as long as they play by the rules and work hard. I do not see this Meme dying down anytime soon. America is really about the only country with this magical thinking holds sway. The only way revolution will come to America is if you have the south break away from the North again, maybe dragging Mormon Utah and Idaho with them. I think alot of people would like to see that happen. It would get rid of alot of baggage that the United States has been carrying since we forced the south to remain in the Union.

  • Jim Olson

    No, you’re not. You are not having your rights threatened. You people never seem to latch on to the “well regulated” part of the Second Amendment, do you? Law abiding, sane gun owners by and large do not mind the modest changes to gun laws that most people are lobbying for. A standardized gun owner’s registry similar to the way we register cars that is searchable nationwide. Gun insurance. A system of titling guns purchased that is similar to the way we title cars, with the same sorts of regulations for transferring ownership of them. National background checks. Three day waiting period, and eliminate the gun show loop-hole. And, if we’re really hoping, repeal of the concealed carry laws for non-police and non-military, as well as much stiffer fines and penalties for illegal possession and gun crimes.

    My oblique question was in reference to who you thought the gun-enthusiasts might start rounding up after a revolution. Homosexuals? Jews? Blacks? Anyone who isn’t a white male Republican? Slippery slope once we start talking about revolution. I’d bail to a safer nation immediately were it to happen here in the US. My husband and I would be on the short list for detention by armed, un-well-regulated local militias. You have no idea how frightening this prospect is to us. And, I probably could never explain it to you.

  • Badgerite


  • Hue-Man

    I live in a country that has had zero revolutions and has had to defeat invading armies from the south only a few times (we’ll ignore the British victory over the French in the 18th century as well as the near-extermination of the people who were living here when Europeans arrived). The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 – maybe the largest general strike in North American history – is the closest thing to a public revolt that Canada has experienced and the causes are very similar to our 2013 environment (you know how to check out wiki). Generally, we would rather talk you to death than have a fight.

    My outsider’s question is, what is the risk that the next American revolution will lead to Civil War II or a fracturing of the Union along something similar to Civil War lines? Is it time to start reading up on the break-up of the former Yugoslavia? (Water could well be the flashpoint in Civil War II but fortunately the TeaParty States don’t believe in climate change.)

  • Eventually the treasury won’t have anything left for the rich to loot. Then we’ll see the real breakdown. It’s going to be ugly.

  • tuffle

    ps; given how hard it was for the french to finally slay their aristocratic dragon, the fear that people like marat had of the aristocracy seems to have been well-founded; and given that, killing them all off at once wasn’t necessarily an illogical solution (it’s not his fault he couldn’t foresee napolean–the thought that anyone could simply proclaim themselves artistocrats was inconceivable to the french of 1789) …but purges are always distasteful, even if logical, and invariably spiral out of control into insanity, as the purgors turn on each other and become the purgees. the most horrific periods of history have always been those were logic held sway. logic isn’t concerned with soundness or fairness after all; it’s a-moral. morality is irrational and is obsessed with soundness and fairness–proving that rationality is overrated.

  • tuffle

    to understand what happened in france and russia, it helps to use more specific words to describe them.

    the russian revolution was a coup. there was an economic realignment involved but the modes of governing were not significantly different as those employed by the czars, and there had never been any intention otherwise…the russians replaced their tyrants, not their tyranny.

    lennin was like castro, he wasn’t an ideological communist, he just wanted to be king, but unless you’re born into a royal family, you have to have something else to prop up your claim, and if you don’t have a n army backing you, then you have to have an ideology you can sell, and the only ideology open to him was communism. he would have taken capitalism for sure if it had been an option, but no one in czarist russia had any concept of capitalism–they were basically still a medieval economy.

    france is more complicated. you have to bear in mind that france didn’t have one revolution, they had many. they had to keep fighting the resurgence of the aristocracy all through the 19th century and into the 20th. but the first french revolution is a toothless boogeyman for the excesses of revolution. you don’t need a revolution for people to go crazy and it wasn’t the revolution that made the french go crazy. it was the same thing that made the people of salem go crazy and the germans and the people of jonestown…a crazy person convincing others that craziness was the only way to save themselves. in france that person was marat.

  • judybrowni

    Break out the pitchforks and tumbrels!

    Eat the rich!

  • emjayay

    Producing their products for the lowest cost thus maximising profit is their job. If they can pay no taxes and get free factories and free land and free rail and road connections, that is what they are supposed to do.

    It is the job of people through their governments to not give them any free stuff, make them have safe workplaces, make them pay a living wage, make them pay taxes, make unions OK, etc.

  • emjayay

    The pope is not in charge of any country’s economic system. It’s not like he can raise capital gains taxes or reform political campaigns or lobbying in the US.
    He does however have an influence on the thinking of millions of people.

  • emjayay

    Francis has been pope for a few months.

  • emjayay

    I seem to remember being viscerally and adamantly opposed to a bunch of your comments but these have been quite brilliant.
    For the rest of us, Ford Prefect is a Hitchhiker’s Guide character, and an old English Ford model.

  • tuffle

    americans don’t have revolutions (our divorce from britain notwithstanding), we have realignments–and they’ve re-occurred about every 70-75 years since our birth. the 70 year pendulum swings between populism and elitism, but at different speeds. the arc towards populism is fast, the arc toward elitism is slow (though it seems fast by the time it’s reached it’s zenith and is about to return to the other side–because most of the elitist arc has been deliberately concealed).

    the result of each cycle has been a small, but important net gain for the populists. populists gains won in one cycle are laid on top those of won in preceding cycles. these new gains are chipped away at incessantly until it appears that they will completely disappear, and then the pendulum swings furiously the other direction, and those populist gains that seemed surely lost are solidified and new gains are laid over them, which immediately begin being chipped away at. each cycle’s new gains protect the gains won in preceding cycles from erosion, like top soil.

    hedges is right that we are at the apex of the elitist arc and are already beginning the furious swoop in the other direction. there is no reason to think that today’s elites will be more successful than the elites that preceded them in preventing populist victories, but there is much to suggest that the populist victories this time around will be more difficult for them to combat than ever before.

    economic inequality was an invisible, verboten subject for all of my life (41 years in january), until it suddenly wasn’t due to a few people camping in a park in NYC. now it’s chic. “burger-flippers” are unionizing–and people are acting like that is a completely normal expected thing for them to do…i have great hopes for this current realignment.

    never doubt the american people–we aren’t revolutionaries at all, but when we have finally had enough, we eschew rock throwing for redlining code. whether an american is left or right, the one thing we will absolutely not tolerate is anyone thinking or treating us as if they are better than us. and this is why the elites here always get brought low here–they just can’t keep their condescension under wraps that long.

    ps: the 1960s was not a revolution–neither of the 2 most important progressive victories that occurred in the 1960s are owed to populist uprisings. they are both owed to LBJ’s pen and his power to marshal votes in congress, which was better than anyone else in history.

    revolutionary change is ALWAYS primarily economic; it is never primarily civil rights based. the 1960s may have seemed like revolution because of the success of the civil rights movement and people marching in the streets, but in reality the 1960s were the point on the arc swinging back towards elitism where it started to become visible.

    pps: marching is pointless and has never achieved anything other than blisters. standing your ground while people beat the shit out of you is how you change the world.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The Democrats and Republicans are unable to solve the environmental and economic crises of a capitalism, a system in it’s death agony. Nor do they have any way to prevent war crises like the one building up between the PRC and the US.

    As a matter of course, as more and more people desert them and the silly idea that fixed elections can effect change, the growth of left and socialist parties will fill the vacuum.

    As for the France of 1790-1799 and the Russia of 1917-1928 the US is a very different situation.

    The economic prowess and infrastructure of the US is enormous. There are no peasants and serfs. The educational level and political sophistication of modern workers here and globally workers is much, much higher than it was in earlier situations, although, as I pointed out, these are early days.

    The role of the cults as promoters of the society of the rich is declining as the cults themselves decline.

    And, more than ever, the fights for economic and political democracy are global in scale. Change will actually come easier now as the global system of capitalism topples first here and then there and as workers learn from fights in other nations. We are all learning to walk like Egyptians.

  • Well, one thing’s for sure. If there is a revolution, it will be very, very messy.

    The wild card in this whole scenario is the fact that people have access to more information than they ever have had before, and not all of it is good. For every solid, reliable source of information (of which there are few), there are are 10 sources of bad information that fall into the category of crackpottery.

    One thing that Hedges notes is that at some point in a revolution, there are alliances formed to take on the opposition. I wonder how this would work out in the Internet age? There are a million splinter groups all with their own agenda and their own web sites. I have no answer for that question.

    The way things are going right now, the one common thread is that people are getting screwed. They’re getting screwed by bankers, big business and not only being screwed by their government, but being spied upon by it as well. Is this enough to form a united opposition? Tough to say.

    I’ve been thinking that the only way for things to materially change in this country is for a revolution to happen, or for some rather brave politician to come along. I have more faith that the revolution will come before the brave politician.

    And that is something that deeply scares me.

  • Pearls before swine is not surrender my dear little Milo

  • yep

  • One mistake: name calling is my complete intention and directed in your case, quite satisfying.

  • Milo_Bloom

    I disagreed with Bush, too. The problem isn’t so much political parties as government vs. the people.

    As for the rest of your story, it sounds like you watch a little too much TV and movies, but you have a great imagination.

  • Milo_Bloom

    No, attacked like having our ability to defend ourselves taken away by our government. (Boy you read a lot into that!)

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    Bush signed the patriot act without reading it. The right is trying to take away our rights and they are succeeding thanks to huge dollars from right wing billionaires.

    The fact that our policed surveillance state keeps track of your compatriots in gun worship sure seems to indicate that your collection of antiques won’t help you in your “Red Dawn” style scenario where a bunch of chubby hairy gun fondlers somehow oppose professional troops with weapons and C3 you can’t even conceive of. You will be dissuaded from whatever civil disobedience you might put forth by propaganda first, then by disappearances, then by radiation weapons that will heat up the metal in your hands or send you fleeing. They don’t have to take your guns away because they are no longer relevant for overthrowing tyranny-they are only good for catching food and intimidating your fellow peasants.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    attacked like “black teenagers running away from you in terror before being shot” attacked or attacked like your girlfriend got a protective order against you just like your ex wife strange coincidence attacked or attacked like people asking you to tone it down a notch and y’all going FULL CAPS LOCK MY COLD DEAD HANDS!!!11! attacked?

  • Mighty

    I don’t see it. Far to many people vote for Republicans and believe their BS. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  • SFExPat

    Bill, I have followed your comments in various places for a few years and I admit you are somewhat to the left of my confessed pragmatism (although the 15/16th of me that is socialist still agrees with you). But it is you to whom I would turn to describe what a truly effective revolution would be like and how it could work without having happen to it what happened to the French in 1789 and the Russians in 1917, for example. How can this replacement of the parties and powers that be occur?

  • cole3244

    the czars pushed their countrymen & women too far and eventually they fought back, the same will happen here when people have had enough and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
    i hope the 99% show the elites the same courtesy they have shown them, payback is hell.

  • Milo_Bloom

    I know that this forum is hopelessly one sided, that’s what makes it fun. But, consider the technique one must use when literally “taking on all comers.” I can see patronizing, but that’s also everyone else in your little community. Obnoxious? No, frankly I’ve be called names, had vulgarities slung at me, etc. That one is clearly you guys. Likewise offensive.

    Just my two cents!

  • karlInSanDiego

    Funny how you can believe that Operation Northwoods was a real conspiracy plot (I do too), yet you dismiss that 9/11 could have been an inside job. Is that because you don’t want to imagine it was proposed again, or somehow you think rational thinkers always win out? Surely the phoney 9/11 Commission with all of it’s stalls, lack of evidence, and glossing over important details didn’t satisfy your need for an explanation, did it? I fear you’ve stated that you believe 9/11 Truthers have an agenda of creating false conspiracy theories in order to distract from real conspiracies.
    On the subject of Revolution, Chris Hedges appears to be getting a bit hysterical. I hope he’s wrong, because I prefer to think we can evolve instead of revolting, but I fully accept he could be right. The problem with founding your nation on a revolution, and protecting it with armies who live and die by 250 year old credos, is that many believe it is honorable and the way of valor to die for your freedom. It is neither honorable, nor valorous to waste your life by fighting for something you could have attained through peaceful means. It is however, stupid. I’m all for bloodless coups when they serve the people and oust a military dictator, but let’s be honest. That rarely happens.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Both of my statements were completely appropriate, considering the context. Though I do agree with you that putting words in other peoples mouths doesn’t equate to conversation, and hope they will stop soon.

    As for your diagnosis of delusion, I will consider the source and disregard. As I’ve told you, name calling is not conversation, but keep trying. I suggest reading a little too, broaden your horizons and that sort of thing. :-)

  • Milo_Bloom

    You’re a very hostile person. Just an observation. Again folks, name calling is not an argument. ;-)

    Revolution is simply a natural part of any civilization; a cycle they all have. Some faster, some slower. In our country today, the government is getting out of hand. People will accept it, then gradually turn against it, and rebel. Then the whole mess starts over again. It’s not really an if, it’s a when.

    Really that’s where the debate now centers: when. 10 or even 5 years ago, I’d have argued not in our lifetimes. As the government grows more oppressive, and the people more hostile, I’m not so sure that is the case.

  • noGOP

    I was not expressing my opinion about him, I was asking for his opinion about himself. I don’t believe I am alone in finding him patronizing, obnoxious and offensive. not in the content of his “arguments” but in his way of expressing himself. he seems to need to continually inflate his own impression of his intelligence.

  • Anonymous

    Is there ANY basis to right-wing “arguments” that isn’t based on pure speculation and superstition? There is no revolution – for that matter, there’s no Doomsday, total government conspiracy, or anything else you tinfoil hat wearers regularly allude to. It’s fear-mongering and manipulation. If all else fails, resort to religion to manipulate idiots.

  • Anonymous

    I guess that’s better than your “thanks for calling me smart” and “nice of you to surrender.” Putting words in others’ mouths doesn’t equate to a conversation. You’re delusional, and that’s not name-calling, just an observation – like pointing out someone’s weight.

  • Milo_Bloom

    “Whatever?” You’ve got to be kidding, right? What are you, a teenage girl?

    Your argument is ridiculous. If all firearms do are kill children, why are they used by law enforcement, the military, and law abiding citizens to protect their homes, communities, and families? I’ve had both children and firearms for many years, they all appear to be doing just fine despite their close proximity. Like any other tool, it can be misused but we as a society have decided that they are a necessary tool. You really want to stop a killer tool? Outlaw cars. There goes that argument.

    Between the name calling and the “whatever” defense, do you honestly expect people to take you seriously?

  • Anonymous

    The GOP narcissists are always “smarter,” according to themselves. They also find a way to pathologically divert any blame. Not worth your time.

    A circular conversation of “lalala I can’t hear you” with these selective listeners isn’t an argument. It’s a distraction from their faults. They buy time by trolling.

  • nicho

    Whatever. I wold call your arguments weak if they had any substance to them. The point is that we are undergoing tyranny right now — and the only things guns have done is kill hundreds of innocent children. About 200 children have been killed by guns since the Newtown Massacre. So much for the idiotic gun-nut argument that guns make us safer. As for “name calling,” I don’t know what else to call them. Their arguments are insane.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Surrender so quick? I think the revolution will be quicker that imagined!

  • fletcher

    Forget it, karmanot. This guy is channeling ‘Professor’ Irwin Corey, stringing along words in a circle. Not worth your or my time.

  • Milo_Bloom

    You were the one who thought his name calling was an adequate replacement for intelligent conversation. I also remember you as quite harmless ;-)

    It’s simple really; people defending their homes against oppressors have a spirit that a soldier for hire cannot muster, even with superior weaponry. Afghanistan vs. the Soviets immediately comes to mind; our present situation with same said country will doubtlessly prove it again. Many, many of our post WW2 wars reflect this, as did many battles within WW2. The British clearly had the weaponry advantage during our own revolutionary war. Couple that with the fact that many within the present military will remain loyal to the people rather than the oppressors and you have a scenario where “matching the arms of the oppressors” is hardly of consequence.

  • Milo_Bloom

    I remember you! You were the one who thought his name calling was an adequate replacement for intelligent conversation. I also remember you as quite harmless ;-)

  • Zorba

    And we certainly can do this, k.
    We can strive to be the “griots” of the flame of freedom.

  • lynchie

    “Don’t take stuff that doesn’t belong to you”. True but what about SS and Medicare which were promised over the decades as a way the elderly could retire and live in peace for a few years. What about raising the rates on student loans while giving money to banks and wall street at a couple percent. What about the illegal foreclosures which put thousands in the street with nothing to allow the banks to bundle those mortgages as hedge funds and rent them back to the people foreclosed upon.

    I agree with you first premise that we should be able to use the wealth created over the last 50 years to enhance lives, make them meaningful without everything being corrupted into profit and more of it. I once believed americans would finally get pissed off enough to rebel but I don’t hold that thought anymore. We are more concerned about guns (see above in this thread) as if the might of the armed forces both military and police couldn’t crush us like bugs. Rebellion, turn off the power to the boroughs of New York. Barricade the ports, no food or gas in, dead bodies out. Rebellion wouldn’t last long with our dependence on stores, gas stations and the like. The guns and bullets are just to allow us to rape, pillage and plunder each other while the 1% watch it on tv like a reality show except not scripted. Once we are decimated to half our population they will sweep in arrest, chip and put us to work at $5 an hour and all the gruel we can eat.

  • It would seem that the war party is not only aware of this it is very likely that they have engineered it for their enjoyment is it not?

  • “that people defending their homes against oppression and harm have a track record that often defies the logical outcome.” And what track record is that?

  • Go away little Milo and stop playing with yourself.

  • lynchie

    Look how we bailed out the banks and wall street and no one went to jail for their illegal activities. All we heard was “to big to fail”. How about the bank convicted of laundering money for terrorists and drug cartels. They got a fine and not a single person served time. But you fuck up on your taxes and you my friend are going in the can. Government is now a way of legitimizing everything the billionaires want. The constant stream of bullshit coming from government about why they can’t do something without sharing the pain with the middle class is laughable at best. The recent budget ignores raising taxes on the people perfectly able to pay more and instead cuts programs like Unemployment, food stamps, lunches for kids, etc. And we swallow that hook line and sinker.

  • Although we are old, we can tell the stories that keep the flame of freedom alive.

  • Milo_Bloom

    C’mon, it’s not that big a challenge, is it? “And I will bet…” was what I meant to say. If one little consonant can shake you like that, perhaps you should remain unarmed ;-)

  • Monoceros Forth

    And I will be that you and I will disagree which ones are right, now won’t we?

    I’d respond to that sentence except I’m not entirely sure it is a sentence. “And I will be that you and I will–” What on Earth are you trying to say man?

  • Milo_Bloom

    Indeed. And there is nothing worse than an underregulated militia, right? Seriously, I know you guys love that part, but remember the whole thing reads: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    Now, scholars will go on and on about which carries more weight, the regulated concept or the “shall not be infringed.” And I will bet that you and I will disagree which ones are right, now won’t we?

  • Monoceros Forth

    Clearly the Constitution states otherwise.

    It certainly does! I like the “well-regulated” part especially.

  • Milo_Bloom

    I’m afraid you’ve missed again: you are the one suggesting you should be able to “mind” or “not mind” what rights others exercise. Hardly any less beside the point than when you said it.

    Not sure which cat or bag we are discussing, but certainly it is the left who is robbing us of our liberty. Sad, too, because there was a day that the left stood for perserving liberty. Seems like a long time ago now that we are here in the days of the NSA, having our gun rights taken, our right to practice our religion violated, etc, etc.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Kind of you to say.

  • Ford Prefect

    Don’t conflate “suggesting to curtail” with “taking no interest in defending.” Strawman. The other strawman is your notion that I should have the right to define when something is necessary. Way beside the point.

    The left have no notion of liberty? Okay, cat’s now officially out of the bag.

  • noGOP

    You are certainly a lot smarter than the rest of us, don’t you think?

  • Milo_Bloom

    Your statement assumes that the military will side against the people and for the oppressive government. It also forgets that people defending their homes against oppression and harm have a track record that often defies the logical outcome. The government is already loosing control in a million different ways; I’d hold off on betting on their ability to hold things together in the face of increased chaos.

    I’m guessing you didn’t think your last sentence through: If gun advocates thought only with their trigger fingers, wouldn’t we have a lot less folks? Quite to the contrary, since we are under such attack by our government many gun rights advocates are far better informed on the subject than their knee-jerk opposition.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Actually you are quite prejudiced against gun ownership, as evidenced by your statements. You believe you should have the right to define when a gun is necessary (i.e. only when you don’t mind. Clearly the Constitution states otherwise.

    I hate to skip to your last paragraph, because the middle of your post is so comically wrong and dramatic, but it’s the most glaring inaccuracy you have: The folks on the left have no notion of liberty. The left is the one inviting tyranny. Then you again state that I have no interest in any of our liberties other than the right to bear arms, but you have no substance to back up that statement. When have I suggested curtailing any other right guaranteed us by the constitution?

  • Milo_Bloom

    You’ve already reduced things to name calling? LOL, shows how weak your argument is. I assure you I am far from being a “nut,”

    If you believe the constitution is “stupid,” I suggest you change it. There is a procedure for that. But don’t try to cheat and violated it, go for an amendment of your own. That is the proper procedure. It could be the “anti-liberty” amendment or you could call it the “subservience to tyranny” amendment. That’s catchy!

    Your last paragraph is vulgar and further proves your incapacity to discuss the subject. Thank goodness you have no authority in this matter, or in life.

  • Milo_Bloom

    You’ve an odd question: why assume gun owners are “going after” anyone? We are the ones being attacked and having our rights threatened.

  • Bill_Perdue

    All violence ultimately comes from the right, the rich and the deformed societies they create and nurture.

  • Bill_Perdue

    And consider the fact what while trichinosis is now rare among pigs, the same is not true of their human imitators like the rich.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The sudden ‘discovery’ of wage inequality by the pope and Obama, both creatures of the rich, is stupefying given the fact that they’ve done so much to create and sustain it.

  • Bill_Perdue

    In a real pre-revolutionary situation vast numbers of workers and small farmers are in motion defying the old order but not yet organized to achieve their goals or conscious of the necessity for a fundamental change in government.

    We’re not there yet, not even close. But there is, as Hedges notes, a lot of fermentation going on. The consciousness of working people is quickly transforming and, to be sure, we’re seeing impressive growth by the left – socialists – and especially by the union left. The union left is winning significant local battles against the AFL-CIO and CTW bureaucracies and will soon be in position to challenge them nationally on the grounds that their relations with the Democrats not only hinders the union movement, and when push comes to shove, betray it.

    The literally insane greed of the rich cannot be ‘reformed’ and cannot be altered by the current government. What has to be altered is the government. It’s a capitalist government and both political parties are so corrupt and so obsequious that they’ll have to be replaced – lock, stock and barrel. They’ll oppose real change and are preparing a police state apparatus and when the time comes they’ll peel off the velvet glove and expose their iron fist, just as they did in Vietnam, Chile, Iraq and dozens of other countries.

    When truly vast numbers of workers understand the need for fundamental change and pass from mere defiance to determined action for change they’ll be forced to create a democratic workers government in the political arena and in the workplace and end the power of the rich by confiscating their wealth, without compensation.

    They we can get socialized medicine, guaranteed good wages for active and retired workers and those who can’t work, affordable, no interest good housing and all the rest. For working people there’s no downside to that.

  • Zorba

    Oh, same deal with me, Buford. I am an unregenerate old hippie and protester.
    While I am physically unable to storm the barricades (as it were) any more, we learn to fight in whatever way we are able.
    We are old, but we can at least continue to try and make our voices heard and support causes we believe in.
    Namaste, my brother. Keep on keeping on.
    And, BTW……”You kids, get off my lawn!” {waving my cane.} ;-)
    Peace out.

  • Jim Olson

    Milo, who do you think is going to be on the short list of people the gun enthusiasts are going to go after? Your nom-de-plume suggests you may have a clue to the answer. We need Berke Breathed back.

  • Indigo

    I tend to agree with that. It has an undertone of Voltaire about it, somehow, and those horrid Jesuits that show up in ‘Candide.’

  • Indigo

    I don’t see it even though circumstances would justify a rip-snortin’ revolution. When was the Russian Revolution? 1917? That gives us 4 years to reach symmetry but we don’t have the down-trodded surfs and peasants to rile up and we don’t even have a Lenin hiding out in Switzerland, let along a bona fide theoretician with the emotional impact of good old Karl Marx to justify a revolution. All we have so far is a disastrously maladjusted economic system that systematically loots the under-middle class and middle class populations. So far, the middle and under-middle classes buy into the theory that if they work hard, they’ll get ahead. They haven’t figured the real story out yet because things aren’t bad enough, not even now. The only Revolution on the table is the Gun-Nut Obsession.

  • nicho

    Never turn your back on a Jesuit.

  • Indigo

    That won’t happen but he did agree to canonize both nice guy John 23 and enabler John Paul 2 at the same time, thus stamping approval on both sides of that coin allat once. That’s the kind of move that used to be known as “Jesuitry.” And HHPF1 is a Jesuit. Oh, my!

  • nicho

    Think of it as part of the “checks and balances” against our government becoming tyrannical

    Gun nut nonsense. That’s not the case at all. Many societies have remained free from tyranny without such a stupid amendment. And many societies that are rife with guns are the worst. Prior to 2002, every male in Iraq had at least one gun. That didn’t save them from Saddam and it didn’t save them from the tyranny of the US occupation forces.

    The only things that worked against the occupiers in Iraq were RPGs and IEDs. Why do you think the US government won’t let people have them despite the Second Amendment? They’re not afraid of the NRA members with their arsenals of popguns.

    Our Constitution has been under assault for over a decade now and has become pretty close to tyrannical. The Second Amendment “Patriots” have done nothing to stop it. They sit home, alternating between stroking their guns and their dicks — and cheering on the people trying to bring down democracy.

  • Ford Prefect

    I’m not prejudiced against gun ownership, as I just stated above. It’s the silly idea that guns somehow guarantee the other rights that is ridiculous. We’re one of the most heavily armed nations on earth and the Bill of Rights is being stripped away without a hint of dissent from GO’s, save the 2nd Amendment. That wee oversight speaks volumes.

    Somewhat analogous is another silly idea promoted by establishmentarians: the notion that all democratic politics ends at the ballot box. You think guns guarantee the rest of our rights. Well, why have they almost entirely disappeared in the face of all that heavily armed opposition? You might as well tell me that democracy relies solely on the ballot box and nothing more.

    In a “revolutionary” scenario, do you realize what will happen? The Righties with the weapons caches will be encouraged to start killing anyone to the left of Benito Mussolini… and once enough blood has been shed there, they’ll send the lot of you to the wall. So your guns don’t guarantee anything at all. You certainly don’t worry Power in the least.

    My “authority” isn’t the one you need be concerned with. And you won’t get any help from lefties either, because you’re not helping them with their notions of Liberty. So if you’re really interested in defending Liberty, you’d better start taking a more holistic approach and broaden your mind about what that means. If you’re willing to defend others, they might defend you in return. That’s really my point here. Millions of armed Americans have done precisely NOTHING to prevent the wholesale destruction of our more important rights. You know, the ones that make this nation even possible in the first place and the ones that guarantee you don’t need a gun to enforce your rights against a repressive state.

  • I am not so black and white with my perspectives, but I see your point.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Um, no, you don’t. Read it again. It’s not that the second amendment is more or less important than the others, it is the difficult but factual reality that it makes the others possible. If you don’t believe me, go talk to a bullet.

    As for what I stand for, you are clearly ignorant on that topic. After all, you’ve never met me. You’ve taken what you wish to be true and tried to label me with it. You are incorrect.

    As for gaining respect, that I have from those who’s respect I desire. Your respect? It has no value; I don’t need it.

    As for what you mind and don’t mind, I don’t care. Thankfully, neither does the constitution. Feel free to mind whatever you like.

    In summary, you have the entire argument backward because of your prejudice against gun ownership. I ask that you reconsider, believe you will not, and thank God you have no authority in the matter.

  • noGOP

    I have to agree strongly. the armaments of the citizens do not even remotely match the arms of the oppressors. It is an illusion in their minds. as far as the other liberties you mention, most gun advocates only think with their trigger finger.

  • nicho

    Francis is the Vatican’s version of Obama. Nice speeches — not much else.

  • Ford Prefect

    Um, no. I understand perfectly well. The 2nd Amendment doesn’t guarantee habeus rights, or a fair trial, or freedom of speech, or unlawful search and seizure. Your “revolution” is a one-trick pony about gun rights and nothing more. You stand for nothing beyond possessing your toys. Your not defending liberty, you’re defending your weapons.

    FWIW, I don’t mind people owning guns or shooting sports that don’t involve bloodshed. You define liberty solely in terms of your possessions and your “right” to those possessions and the power to infringe on other peoples’ rights that go along with that firepower. You stand for nothing else. But by all means, start proving me wrong. Start standing up for the rest of the Bill of Rights and you’ll gain some respect. The Bill of Rights was crafted the way it was for a reason, with Free Speech at the top of the list. Without habeus (written elsewhere), you can be “disappeared.” Without the Fourth Amendment, you can be violated. Without the Fifth, you have no right to a fair trial. And so on…

    Without those, your guns don’t mean squat and if you think a militarized police force is even remotely reticent to use lethal force against you, you’d better wake up real soon.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Phew, isn’t that the truth. It seems that the only legitimate function of government is to prop up failing business models and insure their profitability in perpetuo. We’re getting a taste of that here in the Pacific Northwest from Boeing, who once again are threatening like a spoiled baseball team to take their business elsewhere if the state of Washington doesn’t shower them with gifts.

  • Milo_Bloom

    I’ll go a step further and state, not claim, that liberty does matter. The second amendment is a key component of maintaining liberty. Think of it as part of the “checks and balances” against our government becoming tyrannical. Sure one can paint people who support it as extremists, but when it comes down to it, when all other avenues are exhausted, revolutions are fought with weaponry. You don’t have to like it, but it is true.

    I can’t think of any of the Bill of Rights that I object to, I think you simply misunderstand the role of the 2nd in securing the rest.

  • Ford Prefect

    And what revolution do you envision? Are the gun “enthusiasts” acting in defense of liberty more generally? No, just the Second Amendment. None of the other rights matter one whit. Why is that?

    You can claim Liberty matters when you start defending the rest of the Bill of Rights. Until then, you’re just full of it.

  • Ford Prefect

    The famous scholar of revolutions, Charles Tilly, said, “Revolutions are not made, they happen.” It’s a simple distinction that emphasizes the inherent chaos that goes along with revolutionary periods. That line is quoted in Theda Skocpol’s “States & Social Revolutions,” which I read 30 years ago and bought the updated version six years ago. I highly recommend the book. So like you and others, I say it as a warning, not something to happily anticipate.

    I figure we can peg the Crisis Of Legitimacy to the election in 2010, when the Democrats were punished at the polls for acting like corrupt authoritarians. With both legacy parties continuing in a race to the bottom of the polls, you’d think maybe they would start becoming more responsive to the needs of the people, constitution and even the republic. But you’d be wrong. They’re both in Stay The Course mode and simply won’t listen. This is why Barack Obama can talk about rising inequality and then tell us TPP will help with that, when in fact it will make it almost unimaginably worse. And so it goes….

    Mass surveillance and the militarization of police forces around the country tells me our beneficent elites are thinking along similar lines. Still, I doubt it’s something they can really control. This is a rather large country after all and there are a hundred million ways to throw spanners in the proverbial works. Pre-revolutionary periods seem to last a couple decades or so. Perhaps technology will speed that along in this case. Perhaps not. People can be very tolerant of pain, but everyone has a breaking point. In France, it was the failure of the winter wheat crop causing starvation among the masses whilst the nobles fatted themselves up on their stores–and even that was caused by a volcano in Iceland, not politics per se. In Russia, it was a decades long process of ending feudalism, coupled with a brutal state that had no idea how to move forward without causing even more pain. In other nations, it was the pain mindlessly inflicted by colonial powers that thought people would just grin and bear it. Hubris is a common thread in all of them.

    Civil strife forces people to organize. That’s where it “happens.” The competition among various groups is where the chaos arises. And the violence. It’s very hard to see how any of that would work out in the US. I can’t say I’m terribly optimistic, but people have managed to surprise on the upside before, so who knows? Perhaps sanity will assert itself among the elites. Perhaps not.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Are you suggesting that a propensity to cannibalism falls along party lines?

    History teaches us that a revolution tends to bring about change. Just look at how well things worked out at our last one? Hard to believe that people aren’t looking forward to the upcoming one.

  • fletcher

    How? Unless we eat the rich, as the right-wingers claim we want to do.

    Actually they probably wouldn’t taste good… even with salsa.

  • True – may be getting ahead of myself, but it’s a nice change. Enjoying it for what it is.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Actually, revolution provides the 99.99% with their influence.

  • nicho

    Wake me when Francis support equal rights for gays and women, turn bishop/criminals over to the authorities for prosecution, releases the records of child rape that Ratzi the Nazi and Wotyla put under lock and key, tells his bishops to stop obstructing justice on the child rape cases.

  • Milo_Bloom

    One man’s treason is another man’s defense of liberty. Your statement simply underlines the need for a revolution, oddly enough.

  • nicho

    All rich people have incredible influence. The 99.99 percent — not so much.

  • MyrddinWilt

    The revolution does not need to succeed to cause a large number of deaths and a huge quantity of destruction.

    Back in the 1970s a pair of crazy rich guys attempted to start a coup against the Labour government in the UK. James Goldsmith and Peter Aspinal got together with their rich friends at the club and wrote out a plot. They even got as far as recruiting the head of MI5. Which was a mistake as the head of MI5 was telling the queen and the PM everything that was going on. It was never a particularly serious threat because they never had much support and none of their supporters were armed.

    Aspinal was not a nice guy. He made his money by running a crooked casino. Lord Lucan was one of the people he bankrupted with his rigged game. Lucan later became a house gambler for Aspinal and then became the UK version of Jimmy Hoffa after murdering his nanny and disappearing without trace. One theory I think very likely is that Lucan tried to blackmail Aspinal into helping him escape and Aspinal had him murdered.

    The US is in a much worse situation than the UK because the billionaires can recruit from the heavily armed ranks of the NRA who mouth treason while talking up their patriotism. I don’t think they would get more than a few hundred or maybe a thousand libertarian gun nuts to join their beer-hall putsch and I don’t think the end result would be any different. But they could easily stage a few massacres.

    Back when JFK was president he asked the joint chiefs of staff for a plan to invade Cuba. They suggested setting off bombs in the US and blaming the Cuban government. In effect they were advocating for real the plot that the 9/11 truthers blather on about. Which I don’t think is a coincidence, having the 9/11 truthers bandy about a nutty conspiracy theory is a good way to discredit the real one.

    When people say they have to keep their weapons in case they need them to commit treason against their democratically elected government it is time to take the weapons away. I made the same argument to Timothy McVeigh twenty years ago. A week later he murdered almost 200 people.

  • Milo_Bloom

    Some rich people have pretty incredible influence, don’t they? Sad we can’t pick which ones!

    Joking aside, again, the rich are best off with the status quo. Revolution is disruptive to the building of fortunes. So while the government and the rich might be at odds as to why to stop a revolution, I assure you neither side would be in favor of it. That’s why we have them.

  • nicho

    Maybe because rich people own and operate the government.

  • Milo_Bloom

    LOL, you have a government who’s oppression of the people has escalated dramatically in the last 5-10 years, and you want to blame the revolution on… rich people? I think with a little thought, your rich folks are going to do a lot better with the status quo rather than with a revolution.

    None the less, I suppose you’ve got to blame someone, and rich people are a popular target. As long as we have the revolution, I suppose you can blame whomever makes you feel good. I have only one question: what is taking this revolution so long? ;-)

  • The Pope came out saying more things like this today. It almost makes me wish people were more religious when you get a “leader” like this.

  • iamlegion

    That’s because these people are shitty businessmen. You can become a millionaire by being a good businessman, but to become a billionaire is a different thing altogether. You don’t make that jump by building a better product; you make it by buying a law that makes you richer. You buy a law that cuts your tax rate. You buy a law that forces everyone to use your product. You buy a law that makes your competitors’ products illegal. You buy a law that transfers tax money directly to your accounts without you having to actually sell anything at all.

  • gratuitous

    I was musing just this morning on the current state of our society, and it dovetails nicely with the column here. Everything is commodified, obviously. The running academic joke for decades has been at the expense of art history majors, and their facility with the phrase “You want fries with that?” (I did not get my degree in art history.)

    The enduring question is “What is society for?” Why do we organize ourselves into nations and form governments and so forth? Do we not band together to provide a secure floor for all our citizens? If not, why not? Why does everything have to be justified solely on its financial reward? Why not put our citizens to work building concert halls, training musicians to play in them, and providing an income for composers to write music for the musicians? Just because it wouldn’t make a shit-ton of money for people who already have more than they can ever spend, does that make it a useless endeavor?

    There was a story this morning on a “ghost party” with young people invading a vacant mansion, throwing a huge party, and ransacking the place. According to the report, more than a million dollars’ worth of the owner’s possessions (there was a script “R” on the gate to the mansion) was looted. Initial reaction is “Oh, those horrid, horrid young people!” and I get that. Don’t take stuff that doesn’t belong to you. But on another level, it occurred to me to wonder why someone had more than a million dollars worth of stuff just sitting around in a mansion they didn’t occupy. Don’t look for that question to come up anytime soon, and that’s part of the problem.

  • Buford2k11

    POWER TO THE PEOPLE! Ohhh, my…It was the 60’s the last time I yelled that one…I was chased by police dogs and tear gas…Old hippies UNITE…now where’s my meds…???

  • pappyvet

    Great piece Gaius. It is only a matter of time before those who have taken “more than a good man should want or a bad man should have” start to squeeze even harder. Big money aligned itself with ultra rightwingers and religious nuts years ago. And they have been cultivating until the map of America has been torn in two. If a revolution comes , it will not be between the 1% and the rest of us. They have used propaganda very well and the line in the sand will be drawn by it’s use.

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