Tag Archives: Chris Hedges

The Idiot Left Speaks


A Facebook comment by a well known radical journalist denigrates Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges for not being real leftists.

Why?

Because they “don’t want a violent revolution.”

“Real leftists” according to him, “want a violent revolution.”

It needs to be understood that his position goes well beyond the longstanding Marxist assumption of violent revolution as inevitable. Those who have accumulated wealth and privilege, so the story goes, will necessarily deploy violence to defend it and the working class should prepare itself to respond in kind.

While it might be a mistake, regarding violent revolution as a regrettable necessity is rational.

Wanting one, as the leftist in question does, is the opposite of rational.

It is insane.

To see why, it is worth itemizing what he can expect if his wish is fulfilled, which includes some if not all of the following:

**Witnessing your sister or daughter sodomized with rifle butts.

**Being chained to a wall while having electric cattle prods attached to your genitals.

**Subsisting on a diet of whatever rotting vegetables, raw oatmeal and canned food you managed to hoard during a famine precipitated by the breakdown of the food production and transportation systems.

**Not knowing for months or even years the whereabouts of friends and family only to discover that they were summarily executed by an informal revolutionary tribunal.

***
Recognizing that this is what a real -as opposed to fantasy-violent revolution entails raises a question: what term should we apply to those who want these and other atrocities to materialize?

Before answering it, it’s worth mentioning that this comment occurred within a thread bemoaning Amy Goodman’s failure to book the leftist in question to promote his new book on Democracy Now.

This points to an underlying “materialist” explanation (as the Marxists put it) for this kind of high dudgeon rhetoric.

It is a category mistake to understand it as in any way political.  Rather, it is  commercial-nothing more or less than a sales pitch to differentiate this leftist’s “brand” from the competition, i.e. other left media “product” available to us “consumers.(1)

It designed not to convince, but simply to move units among his target demographic.

***

And with that in mind, it is pretty easy to answer the question posed above. A one word description for this and other leftists in this line of work is not one they will want to hear but it is the fact of the matter. The word is capitalist.

The term idiot suggested in the title turns out not to be applicable to them since they know exactly what they’re doing.

It applies more to their followers who imagine that by feverishly clicking their assent and maniacally forwarding their rants to their network of followers they are doing anything other than helping to destroy the left.

(1) See here for some reflections on the ambiguities confronting left journalists in connection with the work of iconic left journalist Alexander Cockburn.

Updated 11/9: Minor editorial alterations for clarity.

On Activism, Voting and Responsibility

(Revised and extended version of a talk delivered to Staten Island Peace Action on Sept. 29, 2018. Many thanks to Dan Falcone, Delfina Vannucci, and Richard Singer for inviting Brittany de Barros and me to address the group, and to the members of Peace Action for an excellent discussion.)

As most of us know, the history of left politics has had its share of sharp, even profound disagreements.

Sometimes these have been about the kind of society we want to achieve.  But often the arguments have been between allies who share the same goals but who are divided about strategy and tactics.  What follows will be in the latter category and I will issue a warning that I’m going to take a side and try to show why I believe the other side is wrong. I anticipate some pushback.  If I get it, that’s good thing in that people caring enough to argue is an indication (one of many) that the movement is reaching critical mass which I believe it is-something I’ll briefly discuss at the end.  It’s also a good thing because, the glib one liner aside, we usually get into arguments not because the stakes are low but because they’re high as they surely are in this instance.

Continue reading On Activism, Voting and Responsibility

Hedges Misstatement: Open Letter to Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer

Dear Mr. Scheer,

Chris Hedges’s Truthdig column contains the  claim that
“(Bernie) Sanders, as part of (a) Faustian deal, serves (as) one of the main impediments to building a viable third party in Vermont.” To assess its factual basis, I would respectfully direct your attention to the following email correspondence with  Vermont Progressive Party head, Vermont State Senator Anthony Polinna,

On Sep 25, 2015, at 12:09 PM, John Halle  wrote:

Continue reading Hedges Misstatement: Open Letter to Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer