A Study In The Insufficiency Of Liberalism: Chris Hedges And Amy Goodman

Fascism and liberalism are two sides of the same coin. To criticize capital and the state, to demand they change their course, is to validate their existence, to confer legitimacy upon them. It strengthens their position by supplication. To call for anything less than their abolition is to acknowledge their right to exist.

For liberals, Amy Goodman and Chris Hedges are beloved figures. This is bad enough, but both are seen by some on the Left as radical. Goodman attends socialist conferences and frequently is a featured speaker. And Hedges has been boasting of his radicalism for years, most recently at OccupyWallStreet venues. Yet in the two videos below, we see how they, wittingly or not, serve the interests of the ruling class.

As I’ve noted in this space before, Hedges posits himself as a radical and then delivers a decidedly non-radical message. He claims to be a friend of the 99%, an enemy of what he describes as the “corporatist state,” and then urges his listeners to adopt a course which will pose no threat to state or capital.

In this talk, Hedges wastes no time in delivering his counterrevolutionary message: “It is not our job to take power.” It is rather our task to frighten power into treating us better. This specious refrain has become his signature call, his mantra. And it is, of course, utter nonsense. Petitioning power for redress of grievances is not a radical solution, in fact it is no solution at all. Yet Hedges insists that it is, and, unfortunately, the uninitiated believe him.

In order to deceive people on this score, it is necessary to distort the views of real radicals and here we see Hedges doing a masterful job of just that. He invokes the names and works of radical thinkers, but camouflages their revolutionary nature. Watching this video one would get the impression that Marx was against “unfettered” capitalism, not capitalism itself; that Polanyi’s masterpiece, The Great Transformation, was about theology; that Zinn was a pacifist. None of these radicals would agree that it is not our job to take power, yet Hedges abuses their legacies so skillfully in support of this counterrevolutionary idea that his listeners might infer otherwise.

Asking Wall Street and its management team–the government– for better treatment is like a slave asking his master for fewer strokes from the lash. And if he or she succeeds in “scaring” the lord of the manor, it will only lead to increased security measures and more hardship for the slave. One cannot be partially free anymore than one can be partially pregnant. The radical solution to capitalism is its elimination, not besetting its viziers with a list of sheepish reforms.

[See Goodman’s report on the 75th anniversary of the Guernica bombing here.]

I ask you, dear reader, could their have been a more superficial and worthless discussion of the topic than this? She speaks for several minutes and says nothing of value, nothing but the facile treatment this subject invariably gets from media unwilling to deal with its revolutionary core.

She focuses on Picasso’s extraordinary depiction, unforgettable as it may be, the attack on Guernica was but one in a series of such horrors and apart from the art it produced it is of no special consequence. The fascists slaughtered civilians from one end of Spain to the other. By fixing on this tangent, the profound revolutionary significance of the Spanish Revolution and its defeat by the fascists go unaddressed. It is obscurantism: “In a twenty-one day frenzy…” “It shows the power of culture…” Picasso’s painting becomes the story. “It is our jobs as journalists, as citizens of the world, to show the realities of war…” Apparently it isn’t her job as a journalist to report on the radical aims of the Spanish revolutionaries. Instead we get the old, liberal, war-is-hell meme.

It gets worse. Goodman then proceeds to laud a Spanish judge for his efforts to hold war criminals responsible for their actions. Here we see a convergence of two strains of liberal propaganda: War can be sanitized by strict adherence to accepted rules, that war itself is not the problem; and that justice can be obtained from bourgeois courts. In other words: Go to war when your country calls, and put your faith in your government.

With radicals like Hedges and Goodman, capitalism has little to fear.

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1 Response to A Study In The Insufficiency Of Liberalism: Chris Hedges And Amy Goodman

  1. Pingback: Why Are Things As They Are? » Blog Archive » Rouge Forum Dispatch: Equality or Barbarism

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