This Country Needs a Few Good Communists by Chris Hedges

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It’s about time Americans began to look outside the corporate Bubble.  The “trahison des clercs” is being writ large in imperial America

Crossposted on May 31, 2010 with Dandelion Salad

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by Chris Hedges
Featured Writer
May 31, 2010

<<<McCarthy and his notorious assistant, Roy Cohn. A creature born out of confusion, ignorance and carefully administrated brainwash, McCarthy enjoyed the support of many Catholics, including Joseph Kennedy himself.

Editor’s Note: The “advocacy of violence” by radicals, communists, etc. is an old canard and I’m surprised that Chris Hedges befouls somewhat this excellent piece by following this false—and to some extent politically ignorant—line of argumentation.  Marx did not endorse nor advocate violence, per se, but he did warn, as did Lenin, Mao, Malcolm X and other revolutionary thinkers, that the criminal capitalist elites would not relinquish power nicely and willingly through the ballot box and that they would be the first to resort to violence, murder and generalized repression to maintain a supremely advantageous status quo. They advised therefore that (a) violence would occur, and (b) that people fighting for social change in earnest should expect it and be prepared.  The attempts to escape capitalism by bourgeois legal means are littered with the bones of those who by choice or circumstance did not fully prepare for the inevitable onslaught from the national business class and its overseas allies, and ended up paying the ultimate price.  In 1973, Chile’s “Way to Socialism” with Pres. Allende at the helm was drowned out in blood, in a coup hatched between the Chilean upper classes and the CIA.  In the 60s, Jango Goulart in Brazil provided another example of the same. Ditto Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz, Iran’s PM Mossadegh (a mere reformer!), etc. History has shown that this is always the case when imperialism is challenged for real. What’s more, contrary to what Hedges implies, Marx, far from worshipping the state saw it as a painful necessity in the transition to communism, upon which arrival it should begin to wane.  Living in the 19th century Marx and his colleagues could not quite anticipate technological advances that would allow imperial powers to inject force and military meddling in all corners of the planet within days if not hours. Hence he could not foresee the level of sheer resilience capitalism would exhibit as a global system.   In any case, diagnosing the probable arrival of violence on the scene—and its source— is not the same as endorsing it.  A doctor may diagnose a fever but he certainly doesn’t cause it.  Would it be better for the ailing body politic that he neither diagnose nor treat the patient?— PG

THE WITCH HUNTS against communists in the United States were used to silence socialists, anarchists, pacifists and all those who defied the abuses of capitalism. Those “anti-Red” actions were devastating blows to the political health of the country. The communists spoke the language of class war. They understood that Wall Street, along with corporations such as British Petroleum, is the enemy. They offered a broad social vision which allowed even the non-communist left to employ a vocabulary that made sense of the destructive impulses of capitalism. But once the Communist Party, along with other radical movements, was eradicated as a social and political force, once the liberal class took government-imposed loyalty oaths and collaborated in the witch hunts for phantom communist agents, we were robbed of the ability to make sense of our struggle. We became fearful, timid and ineffectual. We lost our voice and became part of the corporate structure we should have been dismantling.

>>>> Instead of fighting  McCarthyism, Harry Truman simply rolled over

Capitalism was once viewed in America as a system that had to be fought. But capitalism is no longer challenged. And so, even as Wall Street steals billions of taxpayer dollars and the Gulf of Mexico is turned into a toxic swamp, we do not know what to do or say. We decry the excesses of capitalism without demanding a dismantling of the corporate state. The liberal class has a misguided loyalty, illustrated by environmental groups that have refused to excoriate the Obama White House over the ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Liberals bow before a Democratic Party that ignores them and does the bidding of corporations. The reflexive deference to the Democrats by the liberal class is the result of cowardice and fear. It is also the result of an infantile understanding of the mechanisms of power. The divide is not between Republican and Democrat. It is a divide between the corporate state and the citizen. It is a divide between capitalists and workers. And, for all the failings of the communists, they got it.

Unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class warfare and filled with those who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated partners of the capitalist class. They have been reduced to simple bartering tools. The social demands of unions early in the 20th century that gave the working class weekends off, the right to strike, the eight-hour day and Social Security have been abandoned. Universities, especially in political science and economics departments, parrot the discredited ideology of unregulated capitalism and have no new ideas. Artistic expression, along with most religious worship, is largely self-absorbed narcissism. The Democratic Party and the press have become corporate servants. The loss of radicals within the labor movement, the Democratic Party, the arts, the church and the universities has obliterated one of the most important counterweights to the corporate state. And the purging of those radicals has left us unable to make sense of what is happening to us.

The fear of communism, like the fear of Islamic terrorism, has resulted in the steady suspension of civil liberties, including freedom of speech, habeas corpus and the right to organize, values the liberal class claims to support. It was the orchestration of fear that permitted the capitalist class to ram through the Taft-Hartley Act in 1948 in the name of anti-communism, the most destructive legislative blow to the working class until the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It was fear that created the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, offshore penal colonies where we torture and the endless wars in the Middle East. And it was fear that was used to see us fleeced by Wall Street. If we do not stop being afraid and name our enemy we will continue toward a state of neofeudalism.

The robber barons of the late 19th century used goons and thugs to beat up workers and retain control. The corporations, employing the science of public relations, use actors, artists, writers, scholars and filmmakers to manipulate and shape public opinion. Corporations employ the college-educated, liberal elite to saturate the culture with lies. The liberal class should have defied the emasculation of radical organizations, including the Communist Party. Instead, it was lured into the corporate embrace. It became a class of collaborators. National cohesion, because our intellectual life has become so impoverished, revolves around the empty pursuits of mass culture, brands, consumption, status and the bland uniformity of opinions disseminated by corporate-friendly courtiers. We speak and think in the empty slogans and clichés we are given. And they are given to us by the liberal class.

The “idea of the intellectual vocation,” as Irving Howe pointed out in his essay “The Age of Conformity,” “the idea of a life dedicated to values that cannot possibly be realized by a commercial civilization—has gradually lost its allure. And, it is this, rather than the abandonment of a particular program, which constitutes our rout.” The belief that capitalism is the unassailable engine of human progress, Howe added, “is trumpeted through every medium of communication: official propaganda, institutional advertising and scholarly writings of people who, until a few years ago, were its major opponents.”

“The truly powerless people are those intellectuals—the new realists—who attach themselves to the seats of power, where they surrender their freedom of expression without gaining any significance as political figures,” Howe wrote. “For it is crucial to the history of the American intellectuals in the past few decades—as well as to the relationship between ‘wealth’ and ‘intellect’—that whenever they become absorbed into the accredited institutions of society they not only lose their traditional rebelliousness but to one extent or another they cease to function as intellectuals. The institutional world needs intellectuals because they are intellectuals but it does not want them as intellectuals. It beckons to them because of what they are but it will not allow them, at least within its sphere of articulation, either to remain or entirely cease being what they are. It needs them for their knowledge, their talent, their inclinations and passions; it insists that they retain a measure of these endowments, which it means to employ for its own ends, and without which the intellectuals would be of no use to it whatever. A simplified but useful equation suggests itself: the relation of the institutional world to the intellectuals is as the relation of middlebrow culture to serious culture, the one battens on the other, absorbs and raids it with increasing frequency and skill, subsidizes and encourages it enough to make further raids possible—at times the parasite will support its victim. Surely this relationship must be one reason for the high incidence of neurosis that is supposed to prevail among intellectuals. A total estrangement from the sources of power and prestige, even a blind unreasoning rejection of every aspect of our culture, would be far healthier if only because it would permit a free discharge of aggression.”

The liberal class prefers comfort to confrontation. It will not challenge the decaying structures of the corporate state. It is intolerant within its ranks of those who do. It clings pathetically to the carcass of the Obama presidency. It has been exposed as a dead force in American politics. We must find our way back to the old radicals, to the discredited Marxists, socialists and anarchists, including Dwight Macdonald and Dorothy Day. Language is our first step toward salvation. We cannot fight what we cannot describe.

Copyright © 2010 Truthdig

Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He has written nine books, including Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009) and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003).

7 comments on “This Country Needs a Few Good Communists by Chris Hedges
  1. First of all Americans have been brainwashed into believing that communism in its purest form is the same thing as totalitarianism. It isn’t. Second you will never convince them otherwise as long as Jews own the media. Who was the villain terrorist this year on the final season of “24”? Yup the Russians. They’re trying to wage Cold War II in the minds of very suggestible Americans. I know we have to keep fighting the elite and their plan for global enslavement of mankind but honestly Americans have already lost. The bedrock of society is the average person, the “C” student, and those 150-200 million Americans just don’t give a damn. They just wanna get paid so they can buy things to save face with their neighbors, friends and relatives. Without control of the media the amount of grassroots work required to overcome our ongoing dilemma is far too great give the amount of time we have before the elite do whatever they’re going to do to us next. America is divided on race, religion, gender, sexuality and on and on and on. I’m sorry but you cannot fix that when the people see enemies everywhere except where they really are. There’s just something wrong with white peoples’ minds.

  2. We are the most thoroughly brainwashed people on earth, and since the average person is a mediocrity, only access to the media, as G. Thompson suggests, can break the stalemate. We can see that even something as cataclysmic as the Gulf BP disaster is already being manipulated to keep oil and especially offshore oil drilling going, to the benefit of oil company tycoons, overpaid executives and their political whores. The Big Lie reigns unchallenged. That’s why we must read and support sites of this type–what else is there to keep the hope alive?

    Betty Swarthmore, Rawlings. MT

  3. The editor’s note is imperative for the American left to understand: ” The “advocacy of violence” by radicals, communists, etc. is an old canard”.

    Communists abhor violence. Dare I say it, but we are the humanists – not them as their track record over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries clearly indicates. Violence is imposed by the Capitalist state, and the corporate interests it defends. It doesn’t take much imagination to realize who initiates the head bashing, tear gas, and rubber bullets at your local demonstration.

    However, as George Thompson (obviously a newcomer to Marxism) points out correctly, the media control the public mind. I should remind our new left wing friend that communists, specifically Lenin himself, thought anti-semitism was as great a crime as counter revolution.

    Welcome to the team George! However, I suggest you do your reading before waving our flag.

    V.I. Lenin

    “It is not the Jews who are the enemies of the working people. The enemies of the workers are the capitalists of all countries. Among the Jews there are working people, and they form the majority. They are our brothers, who, like us, are oppressed by capital; they are our comrades in the struggle for socialism. Among the Jews there are kulaks, exploiters and capitalists, just as there are among the Russians, and among people of all nations. The capitalists strive to sow and foment hatred between workers of different faiths, different nations and different races. Those who do not work are kept in power by the power and strength of capital. Rich Jews, like rich Russians, and the rich in all countries, are in alliance to oppress, crush, rob and disunite the workers.

    “Shame on accursed tsarism which tortured and persecuted the Jews. Shame on those who foment hatred towards the Jews, who foment hatred towards other nations.

    “Long live the fraternal trust and fighting alliance of the workers of all nations in the struggle to overthrow capital.”

    I hate to be the one to say it, but see the writing on the wall please. I hope I didn’t derail this thread, but I can’t in good conscience listen to that, and neither should you.

  4. Actually I am not a newcomer to Marxism. I just don’t agree with every aspect of it. Just because Marx was smart and is now dead doesn’t mean we have to deify him. I’ve read the Communist Manifesto many times and very little of Lenin, Stalin or Troysky. I will get around to eventually but I understand that the Zionist Jews who control our government, media and military have assistance from the bourgeoisie. The Jewish elite are too few in number to pull off their assignments without assistance from powerful white Americans who are bribed, blackmailed and misinformed. I’m sure they are just doing their jobs so they can pay their bills and buy things they need and want as commodity festishists. That is not an excuse to operate toward your own destruction as a species.

    The problem as I see it is not capitalism but capitalism in the wrong hands. Corporations can exist for the benefit on mankind without enslaving us but they do have to be publicly owned and not via the stock market. Communism can be just as evil as capitalism in the wrong hands. There will never be pure capitalism or pure communism anywhere anyway. Those are just theoretical terms. The human element demands that we combine the best of them into what works for the people. Socialism comes to mind. Unfortunately those in power demand that we have hyper-capitalism and nothing else. They must be stopped.

    Everyone knows that Zionist Jews are not the only evil people in the world but they do work for the Rothschilds and the money trail is clear. America is their home base of operation but that will eventually be moved to Israel once America is completely destroyed, an effort well underway. Without middle and upper management at major corporations there is no way the Rothschilds and their Zionist minions could own and run everything. They have basically paid Americans to destroy themselves in some twisted “Art of War” style by infiltrating every aspect of American life that would give them the control they seek through division, distraction and currency manipulation.

    Americans play right along thinking things are not as bad as they really are. We turn the tv back on. We go buy something to make ourselves feel better temporarily, something to hide the deep-seated misery and anguish we really feel inside. America is doomed. Like I said anything positive at this point will only slow the collapse some minor amount. Once a boulder has fallen off a cliff there isn’t much that can stop it from hitting the ground.

    The Jews as a whole do not deserve all of the blame but they are at the helm of this current operation and have been at the helm of similar operations over the course of world history. Like Henry Ford and others said they are a race of parasites. Do I support exterminating them? Of course not but I do advocate isolating them and marginalizing their potential influence until their collective mindset can be altered.

    It sounds like Paul D. wants to paint me as an anti-Semite so I must object. I am anti-hate, anti-greed, an anti-consumerist and many other anti’s but Semitic people are mostly Arabs, not Jews, so how could I possibly be an anti-Semite? The term is a misnomer just like the Holocaust itself because there was no government level conspiracy to commit genocide against the Jews. Many Jews died in service to Germany and the photos of pogroms were faked using dead bodies of other races with a few Jews mixed in to make it look credible. The death camps themselves have been proven frauds already ( The real Holocaust is Maafa, the one that happened and is still happening to African people worldwide. Not all Zionists are Jews and not all Jews are Zionists but one has to understand what the Talmud really says about the Gentiles and that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is not a fraudulent document. It is real and most of it has already happened.

  5. George, I think there’s an awful lot of confusion in your hitherto acquired knowledge about Jews, Zionism, and Marxism itself, not to mention corporate power.

    I lack the time (and doubt the editors will allow me the space to go on at length) but let me just point a few things that cry for attention:

    (1) You confuse “corporations” and “capitalism” with collective social organization. What you find good and efficient in a corporation is the miracle of organizing a lot of people to pursue a given production objective. But –as you yourself suggest– a corporation need NOT be commercial, in private hands, and for the chief benefit of the owning few. It can operate as social instrument for the benefit of the many. If so, that’s (true) socialism, not capitalism. I say “true” because history abounds in instances of deformed socialism. The reasons for the ‘deformity” are many, and I have no space here to discuss that aspect, but suffice it to say that contrary to what enemies of socialism and communism always adduce, such deformations DO NOT INHERE in socialism and are brought about most frequently by the hostility and pressures of anti-socialist forces at home and abroad.

    (2) You are correct that many American media are owned by Jewish people, including the pinnacle of printed press and television. But, friend, being antisemitic is nonsensical. Marx himself was Jewish, as was Christ, and as are some of the most dedicated human beings on the planet to the arrival of a decent and just society. Indeed, some of the fiercest anti-Zionists are Jewish—from Orthodox (check out Neturei Karta), to laymen like Norman Solomom, Chomsky, and many others.

    You are again confusing powerful Jews in media— Sumner Redstone, etc.—with Jews in the American and world bourgeoisie. The latter is the problem, and it’s a class question.

    Please restudy your Marx, and especially dialectics of history. I recommend Palme Dutt’s books on Fascism, and, most especially Maurice Cornforth’s books on Dialectical Materialism and related topics.

    Good luck.

  6. I appreciate your post very much Thomas Aquinas…A good dose of Maurice Cornforth never hurt anyone.


    You are an frothy anti-Semite plain and simple (I care little about these momentary libertarian “converts”…they will be card carrying fascists at the drop of a hat…maybe we will win some over, but they are really tough to stomach, so excuse my lack of political pragmatism for the moment).

    I’m sure you are aware Adolf Hitler was a great admirer of the “international Jew” author Henry Ford, and furthermore loved to hate Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Noam Chomsky, Rosa Luxumburg, Howard Zinn, Erich Fromm, Paul Sweezy, (most of Monthly Review Magazine for that matter), Alfie Kohn and Albert Einstein (all Jews), and all true radicals and pioneers of humanism and intellectualism in every way fathomable.

    It is clever how you libertarians/neo-radicals (born the day we obtained a corporate black President) use the Zionist apartheid as carte blanche to spread anti-Semitic idiocy and ignorance all over the internet – The revolutionary anger of the Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Rupert Murdoch movement is truly a misguided bunch of super charged individualists.

    Rupert Murdoch and his minions are mostly not Jews buddy…True many wealthy “liberal”, and neo-conservatives are in fact Jews. And it is true that many American Jews must stop blindly supporting Israel, but you are just another white bread ignoramus looking for an excuse to go Jew bashing. In the future, be more specific, and watch how you phrase things – especially among radicals being Jews tend to be at the forefront of almost every revolutionary movement (maybe not in Kansas). However, last time I checked the American empire was still being run by the same white boys who have always been in charge, with a few colorful faces recruited into their ranks to make it look like everyone is on board with the bourgeois game plan.

    You did not fool Thomas above nor myself, so please, learn from your error and move on – and give that ego a rest.

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