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The Sixth Floor's Message to History: Just Hush Now

Gil Jesus

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Guest Tom Scully

We need to find ways to convince them to fear us just enough that they will hesitate to be bold enough to do what they've been doing to us for so long, but yet not give them the excuse they lust for..... sufficient justification in their own authoritative minds, to respond to our protests with overwhelming and decisive force. If we don't do something....the Greeks at least attempted to do something, they'll just keep on doing what they've been doing, after it all, they've not had much trouble getting away with it.

What to do, what to do?


Interview With Chris Hedges About Black Bloc

Thursday 9 February 2012

by: J.A. Myerson, Truthout | Interview

....J.A. Myerson: A previous column of yours entitled "The Greeks Get It" insinuated that the riots there were productive and, as you know, they committed vandalism and arson and so did protesters everywhere from Iceland to Romania, where the prime minister just resigned. I wonder if the arsonists and vandals in those movements were cancerous to you as well.

Chris Hedges: Yes.

JAM: Then I wonder if you would explain your writing, "Here's to the Greeks. They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country... Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out ... The Greeks, unlike most of us, get it."

CH: The article and the column lauded the Greeks for responding. It was not an article about tactics. You use the word "insinuate." That's correct. You would have to insinuate that I supported rioting, but I don't know how you can in the long history of everything that I've written. The point that I was trying to make in that article was that the Greeks had gotten out on the street and risen up. I didn't agree with everything they'd done out on the street, but I was confounded by the passivity on the part of the American public that was being fleeced and abused in a manner not dissimilar to what was happening in Greece. I never in that article approve rioting. I had to put it in there, because it's what they did, but the point of the article was that the Greeks had responded and we hadn't - What's wrong with us?...

....JAM: I'm struggling with the seemingly conflicting proposals that they are opposed to organization, have no organization and hate organization and, yet, monolithically ascribe to any ideology at all.

CH: I didn't say that they subscribe to an ideology. I said that they subscribe to tactics. I don't know how much you know about them, but it's the whole anti-civilization movement. That's another discussion. But there is a hostility towards civilization as it's currently configured and it must be taken down. Their problem with those of us on the organized left is that we, in essence, are attempting to reform it rather than destroy it. And that's their attack on Chomsky. Zerzan calls him a sell-out. They hate Derrick Jensen, which is why I called him. They've really gone after Derrick.

....JAM: You write, "The Occupy encampments in various cities were shut down precisely because they were nonviolent." I think I get the point, but I wonder if you'd game that out, because it seems to insinuate that, had camps been violent, they would not have been shut down.

CH: That's a pretty broad leap. They were shut down because they articulated the concerns and anger and frustrations of the mainstream. This is a mainstream movement. Any time you went to Zuccotti Park on a Saturday, it was filled with strollers from mothers and fathers from New Jersey. And the movement spread and resonated. There has been an extremely concerted effort to destroy it, first by physically removing their centers of operation and now attempting to create internal divisions within the movement, using black bloc activity to discredit the movement, attempting to set up front organizations like Van Jones to channel the energy back into the Democratic Party and electoral politics. I think these movements really terrify the power elite and, in particular, the Democrats. One could argue that the greatest enemy of the Occupy movement is Barack Obama. I don't want to see the movement destroyed. We cannot underestimate, in this security and surveillance state, the extent to which there are internal forces within this movement seeking to rip it apart. The black bloc is a gift to their hands.

JAM: What then is the solution to the problem? What is the prognosis for the cancer?

CH: There has to be a rigid adherence to nonviolence. That does not mean that the black bloc can't exist. We saw a multiplicity of groups in the 1960s - from the Yippies to the Panthers to the Weather Underground - but the movement itself has to continue to operate in a way that it does not alienate the mainstream. If the security and surveillance state is able to alienate the mainstream from OWS, then OWS will be far more vulnerable to being destroyed. That's very similar to the civil rights movement. I'm a huge admirer of Malcolm X. And, yet, the establishment didn't really fear Malcolm X; they feared King. That's true here. They fear OWS. They don't fear the black bloc.

JAM: That sentiment I agree with completely. But it's interesting to track the basis for your compunction in the piece. That expression seems sort of practical-strategic-pragmatic in a way that I really agree with, but you weren't quoting Gene Sharp, you were quoting "All's Quiet on the Western Front," so it seems like part of your objection to black bloc tactics is less strategic-tactical than almost spiritual.

CH: It's both. I've spent my life around mobs and groups and crowds and armies and they foster for me very frightening physical and emotional responses.

JAM: Thank you for taking the time to answer combative questions.

CH: I don't mind combative questions. But a lot of it was tenuous conjecture. The idea that because I mentioned the word "riot" in the piece about the Greeks, that I embrace rioting.

JAM: It's actually a thing that confuses me personally and I'm looking for your advice on it. I am myself a big nonviolent advocate. But Iceland, Italy, Tunisia, Egypt, Chile, Romania - all over the place ...

CH: That's a longer discussion. Eight hundred people were killed in Egypt. It's a different discussion. When we get to those levels, let's talk.

JAM: Will you expand on that? Are you saying that once there's a big, widespread revolutionary movement, then there's room for that kind of thing?

CH: I'm not going to go there. Personally, I'm always nonviolent. But once that kind of repression manifests itself, it inevitably provokes counterviolence. I wrote a whole book on this called "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning." Violence is a poison and even when it's employed in a just cause, it's still a poison. This is something I intimately understand. I'm not a pacifist. You can push people to a point where they have no option but to employ violence. That's certainly what happened to the people in Sarajevo, but once you do, it's always tragic. I don't want to go there. That's why I've been such a fervent supporter of OWS, because I don't want us to descend into that.


Sun, March 11, 2012

Pulitzer winning journalist Chris Hedges

Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges was a foreign correspondent for The New York Times for fifteen years until he was reprimanded for denouncing President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Now he’s a columnist, senior fellow at The Nation Institute, and has taught at Columbia, New York and Princeton universities. He’s written eight books including What Every Person Should Know About War, American Fascists, I Don’t Believe in Atheists, and Death of the Liberal Class. In a recent book, The World As it Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress, Hedges warns, “Brace yourself. The American Empire is over. And the descent is going to be horrifying.” His description of the decline of U.S. power and politics is almost as frightening as his description of the U.S. newsroom (at the NYTimes, no less). He’s always well-informed even if you disagree with his conclusions.


Money & Power

Chris Hedges to Speak on the "Death of the Liberal Class"

Written by: Robert M. O'Brien | Tuesday, Mar 06, 2012

...Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and activist Chris Hedges — who was arrested in November for denouncing Goldman Sachs in front of their New York office — will come to MICA on March 26 to give a free talk related to his new book, Death of the Liberal Class, which — if you couldn’t get it from the title — “examines the failure of the liberal class to confront the rise of the corporate state and the consequences of a liberalism that has become profoundly bankrupted.”...

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