2011: A Brave New Dystopia


By Chris Hedges
Dec 27, 2010

The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled.

Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure. Orwell warned of a state where every conversation and thought was monitored and dissent was brutally punished. Huxley warned of a state where a population, preoccupied by trivia and gossip, no longer cared about truth or information. Orwell saw us frightened into submission. Huxley saw us seduced into submission. But Huxley, we are discovering, was merely the prelude to Orwell. Huxley understood the process by which we would be complicit in our own enslavement. Orwell understood the enslavement. Now that the corporate coup is over, we stand naked and defenseless. We are beginning to understand, as Karl Marx knew, that unfettered and unregulated capitalism is a brutal and revolutionary force that exploits human beings and the natural world until exhaustion or collapse.

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake,” Orwell wrote in “1984.” “We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” in his book “Democracy Incorporated” to describe our political system. It is a term that would make sense to Huxley. In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. The corporation state, hiding behind the smokescreen of the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and the tawdry materialism of a consumer society, devours us from the inside out. It owes no allegiance to us or the nation. It feasts upon our carcass.

The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in “Brave New World,” they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression.”

The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.”

Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks.

Attitudes and temperament have been cleverly engineered by the corporate state, as with Huxley’s pliant characters in “Brave New World.” The book’s protagonist, Bernard Marx, turns in frustration to his girlfriend Lenina:

“Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?” he asks.

“I don’t know that you mean. I am free, free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.”

He laughed, “Yes, ‘Everybody’s happy nowadays.’ We have been giving the children that at five. But wouldn’t you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else’s way.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” she repeated.

The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

We increasingly live in Orwell’s Oceania, not Huxley’s The World State. Osama bin Laden plays the role assumed by Emmanuel Goldstein in “1984.” Goldstein, in the novel, is the public face of terror. His evil machinations and clandestine acts of violence dominate the nightly news. Goldstein’s image appears each day on Oceania’s television screens as part of the nation’s “Two Minutes of Hate” daily ritual. And without the intervention of the state, Goldstein, like bin Laden, will kill you. All excesses are justified in the titanic fight against evil personified.

The psychological torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning—who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime—mirrors the breaking of the dissident Winston Smith at the end of “1984.” Manning is being held as a “maximum custody detainee” in the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets for his bed. Army doctors have been plying him with antidepressants. The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective. Now we can all be taken to Orwell’s dreaded Room 101 to become compliant and harmless. These “special administrative measures” are regularly imposed on our dissidents, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was imprisoned under similar conditions for three years before going to trial. The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass—African-Americans. It all presages the shift from Huxley to Orwell.

“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling,” Winston Smith’s torturer tells him in “1984.” “Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”

The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.

Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.

“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”

Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.”

A GREAT Article

I was going to post it but you beat me to it.

We NEED Chris Hedges to cross the line. What an eloquent spokesperson he would be.

"We increasingly live in Orwell’s Oceania, not Huxley’s The World State. Osama bin Laden plays the role assumed by Emmanuel Goldstein in “1984.” Goldstein, in the novel, is the public face of terror. His evil machinations and clandestine acts of violence dominate the nightly news. Goldstein’s image appears each day on Oceania’s television screens as part of the nation’s “Two Minutes of Hate” daily ritual. And without the intervention of the state, Goldstein, like bin Laden, will kill you. All excesses are justified in the titanic fight against evil personified."

The insights of both are necessary

At one point in '1984,' O'Brien says to Winston Smith, 'If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever.' I think of that as very relevant to the outlook of Leo Strauss and his Neocon disciples.

Another point about that novel that I think tends to get overlooked: when people give a nod to Orwell's insights, I find they often limit their view to what the materially better-off people in the more developed economies have to contend with--corporate and state intrusiveness, loss of privacy, deceptive propaganda, the constant state of terror. But when O'Brien spells it all out to Winston Smith, he makes it plain that the reason the governments of Oceania and Eurasia and East Asia resort to these methods with their own populations is so that they can more thoroughly exploit the peoples and resources in those territories beyond their borders (what would become known as the 'third world'). Orwell's critique of imperialist foreign policy couldn't be plainer--but again, I find that it tends to get overlooked. Winston Smith learns that expoloitation abroad and repression at home are two sides of the same coin.

Both Orwell and Huxley were truthers ahead of their time.

Excellent reading.

May I respectfully recommend Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves To Death," whose analysis of popular culture and society fall squarely on the side of Huxely's view of the corruption we are experiencing.

Thank you again.

Amusing Ourselves to Death...

Technology and Society by Neil Postman 1/7

Chris Hedges is depressing

Partly because he's mostly correct, and things are not going well on planet Earth. But also because Hedges seems utterly devoid of good ideas on what to do about things. In a recent column of his, he assumed that we had degenerated to something akin to the darkest days of Stalinist Russia, and so we need to embrace little acts of defiance.

I say "baloney". It's amazing to me that there's been so little organization in the last 2 years to fix even far less "strange" defects in our society, like healthcare (not the crummy Obamacare, with mandates to pay the parasitic health care industry, which I doubt are constitutional). (I often refer to 911 as a high-strangeness subject, because it's contrary to all our mainstream conditioning.)

However, there are a few signs of life in the body politic. One thing that would help guys like Hedges brighten up is if he went to some We Are Change meetings. I've only been to one, but the energy was excellent. Furthermore, I read of their exploits. While some are over the top, what I find fascinating about them is that they manage to get highly non-standard political messages out there, in spite of no support from mainstream sources. In particular, they go into the public, in mostly small groups, and either pass out CD's, literature, or do highway signs.

I personally have trouble thinking of any other group (other than the LaRouchies, a couple of times) that I've seen out in the streets these past frew years, using this more intelligent manner of approach (small, and long-lasting; unlike peace marches, which tend to be larger but infrequent). OK, I haven't seen 911 truth groups in a while, but it's going on 10 years, now. Hopefully, they've changed focus to setting up chapters in college campuses. I've also seen teachers unions protesting at City Hall, and a group in NJ literally taking up most of the street - once.

So, good on We Are Change, which I feel is the best thing to come out of the 911 Truth Movement. Hedges, and other depressing intellectuals, could learn a thing or two from We Are Change, having nothing (directly) to do with 911.

The trouble with Hedges is the same as with other intellectuals - most of their focus is on the written word.

However, can you imagine what this world would be like if people who have any activist inclination, at all, instead of spending so much time reading and discussing (either with true believers, or with debunkers) spend half their time in street actions? In particular, street actions where what I call a "civic value proposition" is put forth?

I don't want to write a longish post, but basically I mean: take face-to-face contact approaches used by We Are Change, but marry them with an invitation to join a group that will function as either a voting bloc, or else as sort of association of voting blocs. Part of the problem with "high strangeness" subjects, such as 911, is that it's psychologically (and otherwise) difficult to ask people to do anything more than to educate themselves. However, I don't see why it should be a big deal with non-high strangenss subjects.

I can easily guess why there's virtually no progressive groups which are making either an online fuss about current government policies, much less an in-the-streets, face-to-face approach (which is virtually completely absent - and I work in Manhattan.)

That reason is co-option, which is a form of betrayal. Read up on the "veal pen" at what I consider the leading progressive blog, firedoglake.com

As for our friends in the Tea Parties, I still hold out hope for them becoming a solid force for reform. However, there was an article at antiwar.com on how neocons have successfully achieved some cooption of the Tea Parties (don't want to look for it, now.) Oh, yeah, regarding the dismissal by many lefties as Tea Party being "astroturf", there's no doubt that political cooption is a fact of life in America. But to assume complete success, as though the Tea Partiers were mindless drones, is foolish. A poll of Tea Partiers showed that they have a higher level of interest in forming a new party than the average American. They may tend to vote Republican, viewing them as a lesser evil in our first-past-the-post voting system, but it doesn't mean they all have chips implanted in their brains by either the Koch brothers or the Republican Party.


I've recently become aware of thepoint.com, which is an online facility to more intelligently help groups collaborate. I suggest We Are Change take a look at thePoint.com, and start experimenting with ways of using it.

You Must Have Missed This:

"Hope is weak, unorganized, and absurd"

Hedges said that in the video clip you posted. Do you really think "weak, unorganized and absurd" is the best way to reach out to your fellow citizens? What do you think Martin Luther King would say to that? MLK's millions of followers, during the 1960's?

I agree with 95% of what Hedges says. In fact, I'm a fan of his. However, he has no sense of strategy that I respect. Just the fact that he would look to overtly totalitarian regimes for 'inspiration', rather than America's own history in overcoming slavery and then winning civil rights, indicates the abrupt limits of Hedges otherwise sharp mind.

You might also look at the movie Iron Jawed Angels, and ask yourself if women's successful movement to get the vote could well be described by "weak, unorganized, and absurd"

Now, having said all that, I do agree that using absurdity, in the sense of theatricality, is a desirable way to reach large numbers of people, in the streets. However, that is only to get them into a rational, organized system, to begin with.

If you want to read the writings of somebody I consider very smart in terms of strategy, who also is well aware of just how corrupt our system is (and furthermore, why just following some standard practices like having infrequent, large marches is not the smartest way to go), I recommend diaries and comments by jeffroby, at firedoglake.com, openleft.com, docudharma.com, and correntewire.com. He used to be a chess player with a high ranking, and it shows.

Don't forget that a person can be brilliant in many areas, and quite average in others. In fact, I don't know anybody who is universally brilliant, and that includes Hedges. His almost total lack of useful, and new ideas to for the public to manifest their collective will, against the plutocracy is actually quite common in the political blogosphere. Sure, he's very articulate and ethical, but in terms of his strategic vision, he is not just useless, but downright disempowering. If anybody wants to follow his lead into the "weak, disorganized, and absurd", well, that's better than staying home and watching "American Idol".

But we can do much, much better.

I also recommend checking out diaries by Denis Rancourt, on the subject of activism - what threatens power, and what doesn't. Please note that exactly this sort of question - viz., what threatens power, and what doesn't - is what is almost never asked, aloud, by activists and their leaders. (Rancourt is also a 911 Truther*, but that is basically irrelevant to the discussion.) I don't agree with everything Rancourt says, but he is asking the right sorts of questions.

* See Rancourt's Why we love to hate conspiracy theories: 911 Truth as threat to the intelligentsia

"His almost total lack of useful, and new ideas...

. . . is actually quite common in the political blogosphere." amen to that!

re: "Sure, he's very articulate...but in terms of his strategic vision, he is not just useless, but downright disempowering. " yes, and i would suggest that this kind of active disempowerment actually serves the interests of the powers that be. given how intelligent hedges is, can he possibly be missing that point? i doubt it.

Get Out There and Lead the Charge With Your NEW Ideas.


Good ideas are hard to come by, for almost all people, not just.

..political bloggers. Also, when there are good ideas, like the good energy of sincere activists, it tends to get wasted by coopted gatekeepers.

Even if person A doesn't have lots of good or new ideas, that in no way disqualifies them from pointing out the inescapable about Hedges' lack of such ideas, also.

Now, I do have lots of ideas (many are derivative and/or not original, but put in proper framework which makes their utility more obvious when executed with the framework in mind), and in fact wrote a small booklet on the subject. I hand delivered the book to the progressiveradionetwork.com, but never heard back from them. (There's reasons, discussed in my booklet itself, for not trumpeting the who thing, widely.)

For now, I'm mostly going with "under the radar". However, in this diary I posted a video from a principal of thepoint.com. I'm strongly tempted to write some diaries on how to both make use of their implemented technology, as well as how to improve it. I could probably write at least a handful of diaries on these themes.

For now, though, I'll briefly float an idea that 911 Truthers, and others could embrace.

My observation of the 911 truth movement is that it's largely free of left/right and Democratic/Republican partisanship, animosity, and smearing. Many people posting at 911blogger have referred to the false left/right dichotomy. While not 100% correct, taken literally, it's largely correct in terms of plutocratic agenda. This fact means that 911 Truthers are well equipped, psychologically, to take a lead in executing this idea.

One use of thepoint.com, that activists from the 911 Truth movement could pioneer, is to start a thepoint.com campaigns to form left/right proto-voting blocs. Some more thought should go into it than what I'll do now, but I suppose that we'd want two types - one is trans-regional (not concerned with electoral campaigns in specific districts and states) and the other type of campaign is indeed related to electoral campaigns* districts and states. I suppose the former would have more to do with simply showing a slightly more nebulous support for a voting bloc (which is more flexible than a political party); This support would take the form of financial support, let's say. But the latter would involve a comitment to support a trans-partisan candidate with one's vote - provided that X 100's of thousands of other people did, likewise. You'd probably have to include an additional requirement for volunteer hours, partly for ballot access, and partly to get other people to vote for the trans-partisan candidate.

The flexibility of a voting bloc will allow them to push their candidate as a third party candidate, if they wish. But they could also push him or her as a Republican or Democrat.

As for ideology, I'm leery of going into details. But I'll just say that 1) I personally would like to see some progressive ideas in there, some libertarianish ideas in there (but not extreme ones, that reject the need for the government to regulate corporations and individuals, at all), and a sincere comitment to cost/benefit analysis, as well as ending corporate welfare. 2) Gary Null has very good ideas in this vein. He mentions them with some regularity, but unfortunately I don't think he's ever written a coherent piece on the subject. The closest he's come is via a "progressive stimulus plan". 3) I know that many 911 Truthers get angry when I argue this, but I don't believe that, at this stage of our collective dysfunction, being explicit about 911 Truth demands and claims is a good strategy to interject into a political campaign, due to it's being "high strangeness". Right now, the government is so corrupt that not just 911 Truth, but lot's of other worthy causes, have little serious chance of getting attention, because of who is sitting in positions of power.

We have to get them out, first, and then all kinds of reforms will become possible.

* please don't confuse electoral campaigns - i.e., elections - with thepoint.com campaigns

yes indeed, ideas on what TO DO. . .

. . . are VERY hard to come by. the main activities i've been involved with have been the nyccan ballot initiative, and the buildingwhat? campaign that followed. i have also stopped donating money to entities that i feel should be into 9/11 truth but aren't (democracy now! people for the american way, etc.) and donate that money (and more) to 9/11 political causes that support 9/11 truth and that have a chance to succeed (e.g., nyccan, buildingwhat?, A&E for 9/11 truth). i also tell anyone who is interested about 9/11 truth, and advise that they not serve (or let their children serve) in the armed forces. (the best way we can "support the troops" trapped in the perpetual war insanity, is to bring them home.)

i'd never heard of thepoint.com campaign but will look into that. backing 9/11 truth candidates might work, but an overriding issue there is rigged voting machines and processes. still, it would be worth a try and i'd be into supporting that effort as well.

i am an editor by trade and if i had been the editor for the hedges' article at issue, i would have told him that he needed to include his own ideas (if he has any) on what people can actually DO to try and escape the nightmare he so depressingly describes. the failure to even suggest a way out helps maintain the disempowerment created by the corporate state, which is obviously counterproductive--unless of course you are working for the corporate state.

judgments and self reflections


I think you are being too harsh on this virtuous person, incredible writer, and human rights activist. Maybe what he is exposing makes YOU feel hopeless, defeated, or that is just your interpretation, but from my point of view, he is doing an incredible job in splashing the cold water of reality on the self-defeated anti-war movement by going deeper into our present reality. He has chosen to be uncomfortable with honor, than playing the game and living without integrity to live more 'prosperously" for himself and family.

The moral compass for the anti-war movement has been displayed by the actions and responsibility of Daniel Ellsberg. We agree that real awakening naturally comes when one investigates the actions of our and world governments surrounding the events of September 11, 2001. I certainly praise this article and the man for such great work.. Uniting Orwell and Huxley in a way to help people be more aware of our present circumstances is a work of art and key awareness..

That is a great first step.. And I would support this.. because we are ripe to build coalitions to unite 9/11 truth with the anti-war corporate state movement. This gives me some hope..

Thanks for posting this amazing article.. May Chris Hedges and those acting with integrity and caring.. live long and prosper!

Thankful for news for life's survival in the 21st Century.. will post at Flyby News.

Chris Hedges analysis is excellent

When you say things like, "As for our friends in the Tea Parties, I still hold out hope for them becoming a solid force for reform," it is clear we are on completely different political planes. The Tea Party movement lacks any coherent systemic analysis of the state and capitalism, and is being funded by billionaire republicans and the like, whose sole interest is in serving the interests of capital. Not to mention the fact that they are a largely white male movement that oozes racism.

Hedges now comes from the anarchist tradition of the Catholic Worker Movement. It is not Hedges job to lay out the manual for freedom, and anarchists are not in the business of being a top down decision making factory for the rest of us. It is our job as an educated populace to organize, not Hedges alone. What I want from Hedges is clear analysis, which he does exceptionally well.

As I have said here many times, one of the largest impediments to the 911 Truth movement is that it is single issue. It needs a broader political movement to be engaged with, and that means a clearly defined politics. However, that is unlikely to happen, since as a leftist, I don't really see eye to eye with right wing elements in this movement, although I certainly believe exposing 911 to the populace is about organizing a movement to prevent us from falling into tyranny.

I have zero hope that the state will ever investigate itself in relation to 911, nor will the issue ever be acknowledged publicly in the capitalist press (i.e. that it was an inside job). I think the only hope the movement has is to organize outside of political parties and state power - like the anti-slavery movement, suffrage movement, civil rights movement, anti-war movement, etc.

However, what I honestly do fear is that a charismatic right wing, borderline fascist, leader will take up the cause of 911 to get elected someday. The question I have for everyone in this movement would be, if a Mussolini type character backed 911 Truth, then would you support it or would you resist it? I know that I would fight like hell to keep this person from achieving state power.

And that is the ultimate problem with single issue movements, is that they can lead you into a totalitarian corner.

Need assistance

Hedges kindly agreed to let me video interview him on the 9/11 issue a year ago. I have not read enough to do that justice. Is anyone out willing to help me prepare? davidslesinger@yahoo.com 410-499-5403

breakthrough interview potential


This sounds like a great opportunity. The most important part is to get the crew to help make the interview go smooth.. in the right setting.. And maybe start off on where he went in this article.. I would like to know if Hedges believes a cover-up happened, and his response to hard physical evidence and the nanothermite discovery, as well as other obvious features of the 'unprecedented' building collapses according to the official version, which of course was used to engage these unlawful wars..

The big thing is to do it in January or ASAP.
Perhaps start in with using Ellsberg's statements in support for a 9/11 investigation..

Good luck with this interview..
Thank You.

Contextualize 911 for Hedges

I have heard most of Hedges interviews. He explicitly said he never uses the words "plot" or "conspiracy" in his writings. What I would suggest is that he familiarize himself with the history of state terrorism and false flag attacks. Specifically, he should read Danielle Ganser's book, NATOs Secret Armies which documents CIA/NATO complicity in state terrorism in order to prevent the left from obtaining state power via the vote.

Ironically, Chomsky wrote a blurb for the back of Ganser's book. The book documents this history and Operation Gladio in particular. 911 is straight out of the Gladio playbook, and Hedges should respond to that comparison. I think this is a good avenue to pursue with him.

I would also point out to Hedges, who is close to Daniel Ellsberg, that Ellsberg supports a new investigation, along with Cynthia McKinney, Cindy Sheehan, and I think, Ray McGovern (I would double check McGovern).

absolutely McGovern

here's just one example

Would you and others who offer assistance contact me directly

These suggestions are worth noting. McGoverrn does support a new investigation. What I need is someone with whom I can correspond on this matter. I need help with editing my questions and even help researching matters. I'm at dslesinger@alum.mit.edu. 443-682-8725(h) 410-499-5403(m)

I think it is sad that I even need to clarify that asking for help means direct contact.

Hedges has potential because he is concerned about courage and the best description of left-gatekeeperism is lack of courage.

America’s future is the world of Winston Smith.


2011: “Dissent Is What Rescues Democracy”
America’s future is the world of Winston Smith.

Paul Craig Roberts
December 28, 2010

“Dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.”
–Lewis H. Lapham

The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the US government of US law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy.

2011 is shaping up as the terminal year for American democracy. The Republican Party has degenerated into a party of Brownshirts, and voter frustrations with the worsening economic crisis and military occupations gone awry are likely to bring Republicans to power in 2012. With them would come their doctrines of executive primacy over Congress, the judiciary, law, and the Constitution and America’s rightful hegemony over the world.

If not already obvious, 2010 has made clear that the US government does not care a whit for the opinions of citizens. The TSA is unequivocal that it will reach no accommodation with Americans other than the violations of their persons that it imposes by its unaccountable power. As for public opposition to war, the Associated Press reported on December 16 that “Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. can’t let public opinion sway its commitment to Afghanistan.” Gates stated bluntly what has been known for some time: the idea is passé that government in a democracy serves the will of the people. If this quaint notion is still found in civics books, it will soon be edited out.

In Gag Rule, a masterful account of the suppression of dissent and the stifling of democracy, Lewis H. Lapham writes that candor is a necessary virtue if democracies are to survive their follies and crimes. But where in America today can candor be found? Certainly not in the councils of government. Attorney General John Ashcroft complained of candor-mongers to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Americans who insist on speaking their minds, Ashcroft declared, “scare people with phantoms of lost liberty,” “aid terrorists,” “diminish our resolve,” and “give ammunition to America’s enemies.”

As the Department of Justice (sic) sees it, when the ACLU defends habeas corpus it is defending the ability of terrorists to blow up Americans, and when the ACLU defends the First Amendment it is defending exposures of the lies and deceptions that are the necessary scaffolding for the government’s pretense that it is doing God’s will while Satan speaks through the voices of dissent.

Neither is candor a trait in which the American media finds comfort. The neoconservative press functions as propaganda ministry for hegemonic American empire, and the “liberal” New York Times serves the same master. It was the New York Times that gave credence to the Bush regime’s lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and it was the New York Times that guaranteed Bush’s re-election by spiking the story that Bush was committing felonies by spying on Americans without obtaining warrants. Conservatives rant about the “liberal media” as if it were a vast subversive force, but they owe their beloved wars and coverups of the Bush regimes’ crimes to the New York Times.

With truth the declared enemy of the fantasy world in which the government, media, and public reside, the nation has turned on whistleblowers. Bradley Manning, who allegedly provided the media with the video made by US troops of their wanton, fun-filled slaughter of newsmen and civilians, has been abused in solitary confinement for six months. Murdering civilians is a war crime, and as General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the National Press Club on February 17, 2006, “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral” and to make such orders known. If Manning is the source of the leak, he has been wrongfully imprisoned for meeting his military responsibility. The media have yet to make the point that the person who reported the crime, not the persons who committed it, is the one who has been imprisoned, and without a trial.

The lawlessness of the US government, which has been creeping up on us for decades, broke into a full gallop in the years of the Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes. Today the government operates above the law, yet maintains that it is a democracy bringing the same to Muslims by force of arms, only briefly being sidetracked by sponsoring a military coup against democracy in Honduras and attempting to overthrow the democratic government in Venezuela.

As 2011 dawns, public discourse in America has the country primed for a fascist dictatorship. The situation will be worse by 2012. The most uncomfortable truth that emerges from the WikiLeaks saga is that American public discourse consists of cries for revenge against those who tell us truths. The vicious mendacity of the US government knows no restraint. Whether or not international law can save Julian Assange from the clutches of the Americans or death by a government black ops unit, both executive and legislative branches are working assiduously to establish the National Security State as the highest value and truth as its greatest enemy.

America’s future is the world of Winston Smith.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. He is a columnist and was previously the editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating.

time for a third party

the left right paradigm is the least democratic form of democracy
a third party is emerging in the uk
it cant happen overnight
the first result is a coalition
a third party in the US could have as a coalition-forming condition a reinvestigation of 9/11

2012 political plan

A third party may come about during the most usually fraudulent elections.. However, for the 2012 Primaries two 9/11 truth candidates announced their consideration to challenge Obama in Iowa and New Hampshire, Senator Mike Gravel and Robert Bowman.

Oskar Mosquito reported to the 9/11 Truth Leader Teleconference on his efforts to develop a national grassroots campaign to review all candidates in the 2012 elections on the single issue of their position on a reinvestigation of 9/11. The current draft can be viewed at http://truth-march.net/voting-bloc/ Oskar invited other activists to provide input:

Fight Back

Hedges is a great intellect and an astute observer of the American/Global condition- yeah, he's pretty right on with much of his analysis and he is pointedly out of balance. Missing from his dark equations are the forces that stand counter to his dismal world view- included in that group are we in the Truth Movement, Hard Core organized and active labor like ILWU, SEIU, USW, state bank activists, reform the fed activists, all liberal and conservative second amendment rights supporters, Oath Keepers, Hard Core environmental activists like Sea Shepherd, unsupported and ignored war vets and a growing multi-racial student/youth movement that is ready to produce results for a better way. There's undoubtedly more. We are not the sheep that Hedges makes us out to be. Remember, there was a minority of activists in colonial America who took up arms against England and won independence. There was a minority of legislators in England who brought down slavery in Europe. There was a minority in the northern states who risked life and reputation to begin the dismantling of American slavery- John Brown, Emerson, the abolitionists. There was a minority of women who fought for over 100 years to get voting rights.There was a minority within a minority who brought about Civil Rights reforms. What emerges is another view of Americans, who inspired by human, environmental, social justice and economic justice will fight like bloody hell to uphold our constitution and bill of rights as well as the "natural bill of rights" that covers living creatures and the environment. Revolutions always happen when you take almost everything away from the people. Are there people ready to fight for this? "You damn well better be sure there are"!

As Joe Hill said, "Don't mourn, organize".


It should be noted that Hedges’ beliefs on hope and activism are largely borrowed from the French anarchist and existentialist philosopher Albert Camus.

Hedges explains this in more detail in his article “Calling all rebels”.

In essence, he believes that rebellion (like virtue) is its own reward, regardless of the consequences; that the very act of rebelling is an expression of hope and a reaffirmation of human dignity. Camus wrote:

“one of the only coherent philosophical positions is revolt. It is a constant confrontation between man and his obscurity. It is not aspiration, for it is devoid of hope. That revolt is the certainty of a crushing fate, without the resignation that ought to accompany it.… “A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object…“But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.”

Hedges has apparently embraced this position because he honestly believes that there is no hope to be found in our current social and political institutions. Thus, he writes:

“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.”

Along with Camus’ view on the rebel, the above passage helps to explain why Hedges uses the word “absurd” to describe civil disobedience. We he uses the word “weak” he does so in the sense that human flesh is weak in the face of the truncheon or the bullet; non-violence thus exposes the violence of the state.

In a certain sense these views are actually very sentimental, even quasi-religious, rather than cynical. I find them touching, personally, but I don’t necessarily agree with Hedges’ overall take.

Hedges believes that he is viewing the horrors of the American empire objectively. He is trying to dispel the false hopes embodied by Obama and the Democratic party while replacing them with a hard-bitten realism. Doing away with false hope and illusions is a pre-requisite to adopting an effective course of action.

I certainly agree with Hedges’ dismal view of mainstream institutions like the Democratic Party as vehicles for positive change. But like others above, I think Hedges’ seeming certainty of inevitable doom is unfounded. Plausible, but by no means inevitable.

Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote on the future (but never got around to finishing):


“It is impossible to predict the future, and all attempts to do so in any detail appear ludicrous within a very few years”. So says an expert in The Philosophical Anthropology of Forecasting. His statement is an exaggeration. Many human predictions have proven quite astute. There is no question, however, that when it comes to predicting long term trends in society we are more often wrong than right.

Humorous examples abound. U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes remarked after a demonstration of Alexander Bell's telephone in 1876: “It's a great invention but who would want to use it anyway?” Wilbur Wright quipped in 1903 that “Man will not fly for 50 years.” Business Week wrote in 1968 that the “Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself.” Ken Olson, president of Digital Equipment Corp, opined in 1977 that “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”

Similarly amusing-in-retrospect examples can be found in the social sciences. Speaking of the rebellious American colonies, British Prime Minister Lord North stated in 1774 that "Four or five frigates will do the business without any military force." In 1905, U.S. President Grover Cleveland claimed that “sensible and responsible women do not want to vote." Irwin Edman, professor of philosophy Columbia University, gushed in 1932 that “By the year 1982 the graduated income tax will have practically abolished major differences in wealth."


John Pilger pointed out in a recent speech that no one predicted May ’68, or the fall of the Berlin wall, or the fall of apartheid, or the civil rights movement, and so on.

Therefore Hedges is wrong to emphatically embrace such a pitch black view of the future. It is certainly a sensible view, ie inferring from one’s senses the state of the world. But that doesn’t make it logical. The future is very slippery indeed.

I think Hedges is useful because, as Jonathan Mark wrote above, “he is doing an incredible job in splashing the cold water of reality on the self-defeated anti-war movement by going deeper into our present reality.” The first time I read him I too felt a sting of annoyance – but far more annoying than his despair are those who cling to failed liberal institutions such as the Democratic Party. Before we embrace real hope we have to do away with starry-eyed idealism and misplaced loyalties.

I found his speech at the White House incredibly moving, and will be using it in my forthcoming short film on the failure of liberalism (of “death of liberalism”, as Hedges puts it), “Lifting the Veil”.

different kinds of hope

Danse, your comment goes really deep and covers so much around the issue of Chris Hedges and hope, THANK YOU.. I found your expression and the Camus quote to be both eloquent and profound, and I learned more about Hedges..

I could only keep up my sense of hope for a major turnaround for a humane and sustainable civilization by keeping open to a miracle. Yet it is a miracle we are here now. I am open minded.. but plan to re-assess such optimism on the winter solstice of 2012. If no turnaround by then.. I am not sure I would be even half-way optimistic for human life surviving even the rest of this Century.

This in part comes from the exponential increase in what my friend, Bart Jordan, calls "Planeticide." Mars use to have an atmosphere.. But all science and understanding of our past has been denigrated by the so-called Military Industrial Complex, so learning from our mistakes is out of the question.. we are doomed.. unless.. as mentioned.. a miracle happens..

Beyond that.. my hope will remain in my faith of being created and identifying with an eternal substance or force or consciousness. This near-death experience is part of what I am hoping for. I will know more when I die, probably, or not.. But you helped me value our rebelling against the official BS 9/11 bogus terrorist attack and agenda.. win or lose.. the fight - freedom - is enough.. but miracles may never cease, too.. So no matter how dark it appears.. who knows..? we may transcend this time and space.. and while here.. transform our destiny in miraculous ways..


always rejected being labelled an existentialist.

he was also never an anarchist, by his account.

what he clearly rejected was the totalitarianism
of the left and right, which he personally lived
through in france and algeria, where he was
born and raised.

camus was a defender of free speech, and a
defender of moderation in the face of extremism.

he categorically rejected fighting terror with terror.

i believe he would recognize the moment we are
living through, because he understood how power
corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

for a time he was close with sartre, and he never
considered himself to be an existentialist, for reasons
that had nothing to do with his relationship with sartre.

Camus and Anarchism

“The Commune against the State, concrete society against absolutist society, liberty against rational tyranny, altruistic individualism finally against the colonisation of the masses"
- Camus

Camus was undoubtedly an anarchist. He spent a great deal of his life working with anarchists, writing for anarchist newspapers and supporting their causes. He was anti-authoritarian, rejecting both Stalinism and capitalism while embracing libertarianism and socialism. Whether he chose to actually label himself as such is irrelevant, as anarchism is more a tendency than an ideology.

He is also widely regarded as an existentialist, though you're correct that he rejected the term.

Here is an article on Camus' anarchism --


Organise! magazine looks at the life and work of the great existentialist writer Albert Camus.

Born in French Algeria into a poor family in 1913, Camus lost his father in the Battle of the Marne in 1916. He was raised by his mother, who worked as a charlady and was illiterate. Winning a scholarship, Camus eventually began a career as a journalist. As a youth, he was a keen footballer as well as being a member of a theatrical troupe.

From his time as a goalkeeper, Albert Camus always had a team spirit. He had a generous, if sensitive nature, and always sought the maximum unity, seeking to avoid or bypass rancour. Many intellectuals writing about Camus have obscured his support of anarchism. He was always there to support at the most difficult moments of the anarchist movement, even if he felt he could not totally commit himself to that movement.

Camus himself never made a secret of his attraction towards anarchism. Anarchist ideas occur in his plays and novels, as for example, La Peste, L’Etat de siège or Les Justes. He had known the anarchist Gaston Leval, who had written about the Spanish revolution, since 1945. Camus had first expressed admiration for revolutionary syndicalists and anarchists, conscientious objectors and all manner of rebels as early as 1938 whilst working as a journalist on the paper L’Alger Republicaine, according to his friend Pascal Pia.

The anarchist Andre Prudhommeaux first introduced him at a meeting in 1948 of the Cercle des Etudiants Anarchistes (Anarchist Student Circle) as a sympathiser who was familiar with anarchist thought.

Camus also supported the Groupes de Liaison Internationale which sought to give aid to opponents of fascism and Stalinism, and which refused to take the side of American capitalism. These groups had been set up in 1947-48, and intended to give material support to victims of authoritarian regimes as well as exchanging information. Supporters included the Russian anarchist Nicolas Lazarevitch, exiled in France, as well as many supporters of the revolutionary syndicalist paper La Révolution Proletarienne. Camus remained a friend and financial supporter of RP until his death.

Albert Camus’s book L’Homme Révolte (translated into English as The Rebel), published in 1951, marked a clear break between him and the Communist Party left. It was met with hostility by those who were members of The Communist Party or were fellow travellers. Its message was understood by anarchists and revolutionary syndicalists in France and Spain, however, for it openly mentions revolutionary syndicalism and anarchism and makes a clear distinction between authoritarian and libertarian socialism. The main theme is how to have a revolution without the use of terror and the employment of “Caesarist” methods. So Camus deals with Bakunin and Nechaev among others. “The Commune against the State, concrete society against absolutist society, liberty against rational tyranny, altruistic individualism finally against the colonisation of the masses…”

He ends with a call for the resurrection of anarchism. Authoritarian thought, thanks to three wars and the physical destruction of an elite of rebels, had submerged this libertarian tradition. But it was a poor victory, and a provisional one, and the struggle still continues.

Gaston Leval responded in a series of articles to the book. His tone was friendly, and he avoided harsh polemic, but he brought Camus to book on what he regarded as a caricature of Bakunin. Camus replied in the pages of Le Libertaire, the paper of the Fédération Anarchiste (circulation of this paper was running at 100,000 a week in this period). He protested that he had acted in good faith, and would make a correction in one of the passages criticised by Leval in future editions.

The general secretary of the Fédération Anarchiste, Georges Fontenis, also reviewed Camus’s book in Le Libertaire. To the title question “Is the revolt of Camus the same as ours?”, Fontenis replied that it was. However he faulted him for not giving due space to the revolutions in the Ukraine and Spain, and for portraying Bakunin as a hardened Nihilist and not giving credit to his specific anarchist positions. He ended by admitting that the book contained some admirable pages. A review by Jean Vita the following week in Le Libertaire was warmer and more positive.

These measured criticisms from the anarchists were in contrast to those from the fellow travellers of the Communist Party, like Sartre and the group around the magazine Les Temps Moderne. This marked the beginning of Camus’s break with that other great exponent of existentialism. The criticisms of this group were savage, in particular that of Francis Jeanson. Camus replied that Jeanson’s review was orthodox Marxist, and that he had passed over all references to anarchism and syndicalism. “The First International, the Bakuninist movement, still living among the masses of the Spanish and French CNT, are ignored”, wrote Camus. For his pains, Camus was “excommunicated” by Jeanson from the ranks of the existentialists. These methods disheartened Camus. He also received stern criticism from the Surrealists for the artistic conceptions within the book. It looked like the anarchist movement were Camus’s best supporters.

Camus marked this break in other ways too. He had made a pledge to himself to keep away from intellectuals who were ready to back Stalinism. This did not stop him from wholeheartedly committing himself to causes he thought just and worthwhile. In Spain a group of anarchist workers had been sentenced to death by Franco. In Paris a meeting was called by the League for the Rights of Man on February 22nd 1952. Camus agreed to speak at this. He thought it would be useful if the leader of the Surrealists, André Breton, should appear on the podium. This was in spite of the attack that Breton had written in the magazine Arts, over Camus’s criticisms of the poet Lautreamont, admired by the Surrealists as one of their precursors.

Camus met with the organisers of the event, Fernando Gómez Peláez of the paper Solidaridad Obrera, organ of the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist union the CNT, and José Ester Borrás, secretary of the Spanish political prisoners’ federation FEDIP, asking them to approach Breton without telling him that Camus had suggested it. Breton agreed to speak at the meeting even though Camus would be present. Gómez then told Breton that Camus had suggested he speak in the first place, which moved Breton to tears. Later Camus told the Spanish anarchists that because he had not replied to Breton’s anger in kind that a near-reconciliation was possible. Camus and Breton shared the podium and were even seen chatting (for Breton and the Surrealists links to the anarchist movement see here).

Camus took a position of the committed intellectual, signing petitions and writing for Le Libertaire, La révolution Proletarienne and Solidaridad Obrera. He also became part of the editorial board of a little libertarian review, Témoins 1956., getting to know its editor, Robert Proix, a proofreader by trade. Camus, via Proix, met up with Giovanna Berneri (Caleffi) the companion of the gifted Italian anarchist Camillo Berneri, who had been murdered by the Stalinists in Spain in 1937. Camus also met Rirette Maitrejean, who had been the erstwhile companion of Victor Serge, and had been involved in the Bonnot Gang affair and trial. Rirette had been working as a proofreader for the paper Paris-Soir for a long time. Camus also became a friend of the anarchist veteran Maurice Joyeux, who was later to remark that of all contemporary literary works The Rebel was the book that most closely defined the aspirations of the students and workers in May 1968.

Again in 1954 Camus came to the aid of the anarchists. Maurice Laisant, propaganda secretary of the Forces Libres de la Paix (Free Forces of Peace) as well as an editor of Le Monde Libertaire, paper of the Fédération Anarchiste, had produced an antimilitarist poster using the format of official army propaganda. As a result he was indicted for subversion. Camus was a character witness at his trial, recalling how he had first met him at the Spanish public meeting.

Camus told the court, “Since then I have seen him often and have been in a position to admire his will to fight against the disaster which threatens the human race. It seems impossible to me that one can condemn a man whose action identifies so thoroughly with the interests of all men. Too few men are fighting against a danger which each day grows more ominous for humanity”. It was reported that after his statement, Camus took his seat in a courtroom composed mainly of militant workers, who surrounded him with affection. Unfortunately Laisant received a heavy fine.

Camus also stood with the anarchists when they expressed support for the workers' revolt against the Soviets in East Germany in 1953. He again stood with the anarchists in 1956, first with the workers’ uprising in Poznan, Poland, and then later in the year with the Hungarian Revolution. Later in 1955 Camus gave his support to Pierre Morain, a member of the Fédération Communiste Libertaire (the Fédération Anarchiste had changed its name in 1954 following rancourous struggles within the organisation). Morain was the very first Frenchman to be imprisoned for an anti-colonialist stand on Algeria. Camus expressed his support in the pages of the national daily L’Express of 8th November 1955.

Camus often used his fame or notoriety to intervene in the press to stop the persecution of anarchist militants or to alert public opinion. In the final year of his life Camus settled in the Provence village of Lourmarin. Here he made the acquaintance of Franck Creac’h. A Breton, born in Paris, self-taught, and a convinced anarchist, he had come to the village during the war to “demobilise” himself. Camus employed him as his gardener and had the benefit of being able to have conversations with someone on the same wavelength. One of the last campaigns Camus was involved in was that of the anarchist Louis Lecoin who fought for the status of conscientious objectors in 1958. Camus was never to see the outcome to this campaign, as he died in a car crash on 1960, at the age of forty-six.


I'm so appreciative of the

I'm so appreciative of the many fine scholars among us. Thanks for sharing these things.