Can we stop thinking, for a time at least, about our immediate personal lives and actively engage in this movement? Whether it succeeds or not does in fact have a great deal to do with our very personal future and that of our children and grandchildren. Get Active, join the committed. Do something big. This from TruthOut and Chris Hedges:

Friday 30 September 2011

Chris Hedges | The Best Among Us
Chris Hedges, Truthdig: "There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave."


Randy95023's picture
Randy95023 8 years 17 weeks ago

I Guess I'm a "Rebel" at heart and a "Slave" by just trying to make a living. The decision of choice that's assumed by Mr. Hedges is not as simple as he portrays it. I think I represent many working people who are just struggling along from "check to check", only MY situation is even more precarious. I work for the DoD (31 years and counting) as a Security Officer. I supervise a Security Team for an Aerospace/Ordnance Plant in rural California. I totally sympathize with all the other Wage Slaves and see first hand how things have changed at our plant over the last few years. Our Security personnel are paid more than most of the assembly line workers and our obedience to management is a prerequisite for keeping our jobs. We are like the dogs in Orwell's "Animal Farm". Any Progressive or Socialist thought among the Security personnel is in secret. Modern thought police are alive and well in the Military Industrial Complex. We are paid decently and have good benefits. Our position in the scheme of things requires us to toe the Corporate line.

As an "Eisenhower Republican" and a Progressive thinker with an Economics Degree I must be careful what I say around the multitude of Tea Party fanatics that I'm surrounded by. I know for a fact that anybody who had an "Obama Sticker" on their car got little or no raise in the following Review and Pay period that takes place here every April. Any outspoken "Lefties" do NOT get promoted or even trusted for long in the USA's Military Industrial Complex.

In my heart I'm a big fan of Thom's show and the Progressive cause. In my heart I follow closely and even correspond with Derrick Jensen. In my "real life" I'm a lifelong registered Republican and an NRA Life Member. I guess I'm what Jack London would describe as a "Class Traitor". It's quite a dilemma. The reason for my imposed hypocrisy? I like to pay my bills and eat...

Peace, Randy

express's picture
express 8 years 17 weeks ago

Randy, I understand and sympathize with your dilemma but I also understand that without personal sacrifice conditions for the ordinary people in the U.S. - the working poor, the unemployed, the poor and middle classes - are only going to get worse.

Working class Germans were faced with similar dilemmas as Jews were herded into the gas chambers.

There was a time not so very long ago when folks like you. Randy, could have acted without fear of reprisal. People generally didn’t act, they just shrugged it off saying “things will get better” or “let Joe do it” or (worse yet) they simply ignored the obvious (like the horrid smell from the ovens next door).

This quote is often repeated but maybe not often enough:

First they came for the communists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller

Zenzoe 8 years 16 weeks ago

It doesn't have to be either/or, as Hedges suggests: "Either you are a rebel or a slave." That's a false choice if ever there was one. I mean, what's up with Chris these days? There was a time when Chris wrote that every act of resistance mattered: "Resistance, however marginal, affirms the sanctity of individual life in a world awash in death."

I completely understand Randy's position. I was there myself a few years ago, before I retired. It is only after retirement from a slavish position within capitalism's work spaces that you begin to understand just how alienated you were from your choices, yourself and others, within that system. I will never forget how, after 9-11 and the beginning of the Iraq war, when I criticized a pro-war poster my company had put up on the wall along with a gazillion American flags, in private to a fellow employee, I nearly lost my job. The loss of that job would have meant the loss of my health insurance; the loss of my health insurance at that time would have meant disaster, but I won't bore anybody with the details of my health issues. Suffice it to say, bringing on disaster to yourself does nothing for a "world awash in death." It only adds to the world's misery.

Not everyone has the luxury of preaching to others, as Chris Hedges does, about freedom. Chris Hedges publishes books, makes speeches and public appearances. He can afford to take a stand and wax rousingly about what everybody else should do with their lives and the lives of their families.

Many paths to resistance exist. It is foolish to think one has to drop everything and go wave signs and get pepper sprayed, especially when mainstream media isn't there. Sure, it's ONE way, but it isn't the ONLY way. Those who can, will. Those who cannot will find other ways to resist.

Express fails to allow for a wide range of tactics. In a time of massive tyranny (of the totalitarian capitalist kind), like ours, where the population has been nearly completely reduced to slave status, that population must get creative and find a thousand and one ways to resist. Take a look back at history for a few ideas:

The most common form of resistance available to slaves was what is known as “day-to-day” resistance, or small acts of rebellion. This form of resistance included sabotage, such as breaking tools or setting fire to buildings. Striking out at a slave owner's property was a way to strike at the man himself, albeit indirectly.

Other methods of day-to-day resistance were feigning illness, playing dumb, or slowing down work. Both men and women faked being ill to gain relief from their harsh working conditions. Women may have been able to feign illness more easily--they were expected to provide their owners with children, and at least some owners would have wanted to protect the childbearing capacity of their female slaves. Slaves could also play on their masters' and mistresses' prejudices by seeming to not understand instructions. When possible, slaves could also decrease their pace of work.

At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice. —Maya Angelou

The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists and topples with strong winds.
—Japanese Proverb

Which is not to say I'm not proud of those who do make the sacrifices necessary for the Occupy Wall Street protests, that is, "do something big." It's all good, all important.

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