Monday, March 8, 2010

Blue Monday

UCal Berkley student at campus protests over budget cuts
To the right, a grim, scary face for grim, scary times. Monday is the day I read two of my never-miss bloggers, James Kuntsler over at Clusterfuck Nation and Chris Hedges at Truthdig. The former never fails to be entertaining . . . and grim. The latter never fails to be grim. But I resonate with what both have to say because they are, I think, realistic about the true state of affairs in this country and, more particularly, where we are headed as a country. Kuntsler was rather tame today, actually, musing on the string of relatively quiet days recently. Rather like the quiet days of 1860 or 1939, he observes, before cataclysmic events unfolded that wrenched the country completely out of its socket and in the process took hundreds of thousands of lives. Kuntsler sees cataclysm on the horizon.

So does Chris Hedges, only the picture he paints is far more dire (at least today, because Kuntsler doesn't call his blog "Clusterfuck Nation" because he's got a benign view of the future). Basically Hedges argues that it's time for revolution; it's time for the true to stand up. It's folly to have any faith in American institutions because the country has been given over completely to the corporate interests. Here's the opening paragraph:
There are no constraints left to halt America’s slide into a totalitarian capitalism. Electoral politics are a sham. The media have been debased and defanged by corporate owners. The working class has been impoverished and is now being plunged into profound despair. The legal system has been corrupted to serve corporate interests. Popular institutions, from labor unions to political parties, have been destroyed or emasculated by corporate power. And any form of protest, no matter how tepid, is blocked by an internal security apparatus that is starting to rival that of the East German secret police. The mounting anger and hatred, coursing through the bloodstream of the body politic, make violence and counter-violence inevitable. Brace yourself. The American empire is over. And the descent is going to be horrifying.
What Hedges sees coming is repression. The collapse of the country--the so-called "recovery" is a phantasm; it's not happening--will be blamed on all the enemies of the tea-baggers: "people of color, immigrants, gays, intellectuals, feminists, Jews, Muslims, union leaders and those defined as 'liberals'.” Random acts of violence will justify harsh measures of internal control, and that will be the end of constitutional liberties. Hey, is this scenario so hard to imagine? Do you seriously doubt that there are enough nut cases in this country to make this scenario likely? I don't, and I also know what history teaches us about how societies destroy themselves, how empires crumble.

There's a substantial portion of country that already hates that list of people above, and all that it will take to get them swarming out of their hives is just a little more poking with the unemployment, hopelessness sticks. And these will be killer bees, brothers and sisters.

It's interesting that another writer, Bill Quigley, a professor of law at Loyola New Orleans, is also urging revolution today, and citing 15 reasons why. Among them: foreclosures, unemployment, bonuses for fat cats, assaults on civil liberties, the 2 million people in jail, the expensive & wasteful wars, and on and on. Hedges makes the better case; he focuses on the disease, not just the symptoms.
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