The Atrocity of Hope, Part 15: Toward a New Radicalism

Chris Hedges on corporate liberalism:

The pillars of the liberal establishment – the press, the church, culture, the university, labor and the Democratic Party – all honor an unwritten quid pro quo with corporations and the power elite, as well as our masters of war, on whom they depend for money, access and positions of influence. …

By extolling the power of the state as an agent of change, as well as measuring human progress through the advances of science, technology and consumption, liberals abetted the cult of the self and the ascendancy of the corporate state. …

Of what import are brief, nameless lives ... to Galactus?

The state, now the repository of the hopes and dreams of the liberal class, should always have been seen as the enemy. The destruction of the old radical and militant movements – the communists, socialists and anarchists – has left liberals without a source of new ideas. …

The liberal class, by allowing radical movements to be dismembered through Red baiting and by banishing those within its ranks who had moral autonomy, gradually deformed basic liberal tenets to support unfettered capitalism, the national security state, globalization and permanent war. Liberalism, cut off from the radical roots of creative and bold thought, merged completely with the corporate power elite. The liberal class at once was betrayed and betrayed itself. And it now functions like a commercial brand, giving a different flavor, face or spin to the ruthless mechanisms of corporate power. This, indeed, is the primary function of Barack Obama ….

To accept that Obama is, as West said, a mascot for Wall Street means having to challenge some frightening monoliths of power and give up the comfortable illusion that the Democratic Party or liberal institutions can be instruments for genuine reform. It means having to step outside the mainstream. It means a new radicalism. It means recognizing that there is no hope for a correction or a reversal within the formal systems of power. It means defying traditional systems of power. And liberals, who have become courtiers to the corporate state, must attempt to silence all those who condemn the ruthlessness and mendacity of these systems of destruction. …

(Celý piroh. CHT Gary Chartier.)

Money quote: “The state … should always have been seen as the enemy.”

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4 Responses to The Atrocity of Hope, Part 15: Toward a New Radicalism

  1. Bob Kaercher May 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    MSIE 7.0 Windows XP

    I realize there’s much debate over the definition of “capitalism” in these parts, but Hedges’ inclusion of “unfettered capitalism” as an evil perpetrated by the state along with the national security state and permanent war is all the more frustrating for all the good stuff that’s there.

    Using “unfettered” pretty clearly implies free markets, it seems to me, and the notions that free markets are 1.) Horrible; 2.) Made possible and enabled by the state; and 3.) Typically characterized by corporate cartels are all deeply misinformed and misguided.

    But there’s enough good stuff here to recommend the whole piece.

  2. W.E. Hinds IV May 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    Chrome 11.0.696.68 MacIntosh

    Bob,
    Do you assume that Hodges is naive enough to claim that we have free-markets now? When read in context, it appears unfettered means free from responsibility by state fiat, not free-market.

  3. Bob Kaercher May 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Firefox 4.0.1 MacIntosh

    Maybe you’re right. I don’t know. Hedges really needs to define what he means by “unfettered capitalism”, and “globalization”, too.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he does think we have free markets now. It’s a common thing you see among many in the far Left who critique neoliberalism: They make a lot of great points but they inexplicably see corporatism as the result of free, unfettered market exchange, not of statism. It’s very confusing, as is their complete hatred of private property that you frequently see exhibited in much of their writings. I recall that Hedges’ favored alternative to the status quo is an all out New Deal-style public works and jobs program.

    It’s great that Hedges is starting to see that depending on the state as a tool for reform is contradictory, though. Maybe this is only the beginning of the Left’s total rejection of the state.

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  1. Attack the System » Blog Archive » Chris Hedges on corporate liberalism - May 30, 2011

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    [...] From Roderick Long’s blog. This is what I’ve been saying for years: That the Left has sold out to the state-corporate-military power elite in exchange for establishment support for the Left’s social agenda. ———————————————————————————————————– The pillars of the liberal establishment – the press, the church, culture, the university, labor and the Democratic Party – all honor an unwritten quid pro quo with corporations and the power elite, as well as our masters of war, on whom they depend for money, access and positions of influence. … [...]

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