Chris Hedges - Truthdig! - December 15, 2019
"... the corporate state detests political mavericks such as Sanders and Corbyn, it both hates and fears the revolutionary left. The revolutionary left speaks an unvarnished truth about corporate power and calls out the entire political ruling class for its complicity. It is not interested in accommodation. It seeks to disrupt and paralyze the corporate state. When many thousands, as in Hong Kong, take to the streets shouting slogans like “There are no rioters, only a tyrannical regime” and “It was you who taught me that peaceful marches are useless,” the corporate ruling elites begin to worry. This is why populist leaders, including Eric Drouet of thegilets jaunes, or yellow vests, in France, are arrested. It is why Roger Hallam, the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, spent six weeks in jail this fall in Britain. It is why Edward Leung is serving a six-year prison sentence on charges of rioting and assaulting a police officer during the 2016Fishball Revolutionin Hong Kong. Revolutionaries refuse to play by the rules."
Global finance capital has seized control of the economies of most nation-states. The citizens watch, helplessly, as money and goods are transferred with little regulation across borders. They watch as jobs in manufacturing and the professions are shipped to regions of the global south where most workers are paid a dollar or less an hour and receive no benefits. They watch as the taxes of the rich and corporations are slashed, often to zero. They watch as austerity programs dismantle or privatize utilities and basic social services, jacking up fees to consumers. They watch as chronic unemployment and underemployment devastate workers, especially the young. They watch as wages stagnate or decline, leaving working men and women with unsustainable debts. This economic tyranny lies at the root of the unrest in Hong Kong, India, Chile, France, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon as well as the rise of right-wing demagogues and false prophets such as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It does not matter whether liberals or conservatives, Tories or Labour, Republicans or Democrats are in power. Finance capital is impervious to political control. The newly defeated Labour Party in Britain, by adopting a Brexit-neutral stance in the election, badly misread the zeitgeist. Yes, its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, had to contend with hysterical warnings of economic collapse and endured a smear campaign—amplified by a media mouthing the accusations of his Tory opponents—that included claims he was a threat to national security and an anti-Semite, but his and Labour’s failure to appreciate how desperate workers were for a solution, even one growing out of magical thinking about the promise of Brexit, was a mistake. Brexit is not a realistic alternative to economic tyranny. But it at least offers a hope, however unfounded, of shattering the bonds of corporate power. It posits itself as a weapon in the war between the insiders and the outsiders. That this desperate hope by the outsiders is peddled by con artists and charlatans such as Johnson and Trump is part of the sickness of our age, an echo of the economic distortions and right-wing populism that saw fascists rise to power in Italy and Germany in the first part of the 20th century.
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Exxon Mobile, Walmart, Apple and Amazon are the modern versions of the East India Company or La Compagnie Française de l’Orient et de la Chine. These and others among today’s global corporations, with the assistance of the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, have created unassailable monopolies and effectively hollowed out many nation-states, both physically and culturally. Forlorn, derelict urban wastelands, populated by the bitterly dispossessed, are as common in France or Britain as they are in America’s Rust Belt. Governments, captive to corporate control, have been prostituted to transfer wealth upward, swell corporate profits and crush dissent at the expense of democracy.
The decay and rupture of the social bonds that once held our societies together have unleashed the dark pathologies of opioid, alcohol and gambling addictions and led to an explosion of hate crimes and mass shootings, along with suicide. Social control provided by work, civic and political participation—bonds that integrated us into our communities and gave us a sense of place, dignity and agency—has been handed over to a heavily militarized police, a massive prison system and a judicial system complicit in abolishing basic rights, including due process and privacy.
So, to steal a line from Vladimir Lenin, what is to be done? Can a reformist political candidate, a Bernie Sanders or perhaps an Elizabeth Warren—although I question the authenticity of Warren—defeat Trump and the retrograde forces that empower him? Or will the U.S. reformers suffer Corbyn’s fate? In short, can the system be reformed from the inside? Or will we have to take to the streets, as the people are doing in Chile, Lebanon, France, Hong Kong and elsewhere, to demand the overthrow of corporate rule?
The left, even under Corbyn, is not ready to speak in revolutionary language. Revolutionary rhetoric within the political system has been adopted by the neofascists and the hard right. The Brexit debate is about blowing up the system, not working within it. Those who support Brexit and Johnson will, like those who support Trump, be betrayed. But the language employed by Johnson and Trump is about destruction, and this yearning for destruction runs deep among the working class. The tragedy is that by backing these demagogues the public is complicit in its own enslavement. ...
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