When we last interviewed Chris Hedges in December, we spoke about the coming uprising and whether the left was ready for it. Now we are in the midst of a nationwide rebellion against police violence and lack of protection for workers, right wing violence is on the rise and an election is nearing. We speak to Hedges about the ways the liberal class protects the status quo, his experiences studying the Christian Right and the times in which we live. Hedges covered wars and revolutions in Latin America, the Middle East and the former Yugoslavia so he has seen what the United States is currently experiencing.
As a coup de grâce to the Bernie Sanders campaign Joe Biden declared that he would veto Medicare-for-All. This could drive a dedicated health care advocate to relentlessly pursue Med-4-All as a final goal. However, it is not the final goal. It should be the first step in a complete transformation of medicine which includes combining community medicine with natural medicine and health-care-for-the-world. Contrasting Cuban changes in medicine during the last 60 years with the US non-system of medical care gives a clear picture of why changes must be all-encompassing.
“Have you ever been arrested for a crime?” I wasn’t surprised that was the first question. I’ve said consistently over the past eight years that I wear my conviction for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program like a badge of honor. I said so on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and NBC’s Today Show. It’s no secret. “I’m going to tell you guys exactly the same thing that I tell your friends at Dulles Airport when they harass me. I’m represented by counsel. I don’t talk to cops. You have no right to detain me. I’m a journalist and I’m going to write about this incident using your true names. And you have no legal right to keep me from entering my own country.” Again they looked at each other. Finally, Oh said, “you’re free to go.”
Pick almost any slice of time in the recent past and you can find clues to how climate change is jacking up dangerous weather extremes. In the 10 days after the potential global heat record in Death Valley, an unusual lightning storm blasted California with more than 11,000 lightning strikes that sparked hundreds of fires; more heat records were set in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres; unprecedented flooding in Asia washed away villages and threatened China's Three Gorges Dam; and twin hurricanes threatened the Gulf of Mexico, with Hurricane Laura generating a storm surge as high as 11 feet that pushed far inland along the Texas and Louisiana coast.
For the second election in a row two of the least favored politicians in American history represent the range of choices speaks to the vacuity of the ‘process.’ In the throes of electoral passion, the insistence has been that personality and tenor are substance, hence the promise ‘to restore dignity to the presidency’ is put forward as a ready substitute for adequate healthcare, meaningful employment at a living wage, environmental repair, and real political participation. The American posture that elections create the political system has it perfectly backward. What better way to counterfeit the consent of the governed than through a system of choice controlled by establishment interests? By analogy, does the choice between two brands of corn chips define the range of food that can be eaten? Who it is that controls this process is demonstrated when the DNC mails ‘swag bags’ to rich donors as unemployment hovers above fifteen million people and millions more are expected to be made homeless in the coming weeks. And if this weren’t enough, healthcare lobbyists have already decided that Democratic campaign promises of a ‘public option’ go too far.
Why in the world would anyone want to do great harm to one of America’s oldest and most revered institutions, the USPS? Why? It’s the upcoming presidential election, stupid! Talk about a massive dilemma by which our democracy may very well be destroyed! Americans have watched as Louis DeJoy, the newly appointed Postmaster General testified before the Senate and House committees relative to the current conditions of the U.S. Postal Service; conditions that are now at one of the lowest points in USPS history. At these hearings, we saw a snide, arrogant DeJoy make statements that almost everyone knew were false and misleading. He tried to minimize the entire crisis in the USPS by saying that, while it has some problems, they aren’t that bad. He stressed that there would be no problem in delivering the mail-in-ballots to states on time. There is no way in the world that Democrats will ever believe that.
The nomination of Senator Kamala Harris to the position of Vice President of the United States has been widely recognized as a triumph for Black and Asian women in the country. Something similar happened twelve years ago when then-Senator Barack Obama accepted the nomination for President. There is no doubt that representation in the media, politics, education, corporate leadership, sports, among so many other areas, matters. However, the more crucial questions are how does representation matter as well as for whom and for what does it matter. Without addressing these questions, representation can easily succumb to a mechanism that contributes to the disempowerment of the very sectors that presumably benefit from it. Two hundred forty-four years after the declaration of the US independence, and only twenty-two years away from 2042, when non-Hispanic whites are projected to lose the status of demographic majorities in the country, it is clear that liberal institutions in the country cannot perpetually be managed by white people only.
In a little more than three months, on December 6, parliamentary elections will be held in Venezuela. The most extreme wing of the Venezuelan opposition, which forms the so-called G4 (that includes the parties Voluntad Popular of Leopoldo López, Primero Justicia of Henrique Capriles, Acción Democrática and Un Nuevo Tiempo) plans, with U.S. support, to boycott the electoral process and renew the mobilization in the streets. Colombian sources with access to U.S. government functionaries and to leaders of the Venezuelan opposition became aware of a recent video conference meeting including members of the U.S. foreign affairs office ”virtual embassy” for Venezuela in Bogota.
Humanitarian organizations are being penalized for fulfilling responsibilities abandoned by European governments at the world’s deadliest border, activists have warned after an eventful weekend in the Mediterranean. Late on Friday, the Louise Michel rescue ship was alerted by a charity reconnaissance plane Moonbird to a boat carrying 130 refugees in distress inside Malta’s search-and-rescue zone. The ship, funded by street artist Banksy and run by a seasoned team of rescuers, had already picked up 89 people in previous operations and so, unable to bring everyone on board, the crew waited for hours into Saturday for Malta or Italy to assist. “A crew of 10 is now onboard a 30m ship with 219 survivors,” Lousie Michel tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “[Thirty-three] are still on a life raft and one deceased person in a body bag.”
Friday’s March on Washington brought massive crowds to downtown D.C. and ended without any significant confrontations between police and protesters. But as demonstrations bled into the weekend, the response from authorities took a combative turn. Locals who had been going to demonstrations in the District since the end of May said it was some of the most aggressive policing they had experienced at protests. Police deployed flash bangs and sprayed protesters with chemical irritants. Street medics with Medics for Justice, who have organized to provide medical assistance at protests throughout the summer, rushed to aid protesters who had chemical sprays in their eyes and were injured by what appeared to be nonlethal bullets and flashbangs.
In Palestine, I have split my time between working on human rights issues for Palestinians and working for the environment. These are not mutually exclusive as there is significant overlap. There are issues of colonizer assaults on the environment and environmental justice. There are issues of human sustainability and food security (dependent on the environment). Of course where and how we act evolves and changes in time. In those 12 years, I learned that our struggle as indigenous people in Palestine is connected to the struggle of indigenous people everywhere. I also learned that since the wealthy elites have no future for themselves without a healthy planet and a healthy planet depends on us indigenous people, the elites must learn to listen to us.
Bias lived in the anti-pipeline camps for five months and got seven state misdemeanor charges of their own. Bias has been dealing with the general legal aftermath of Standing Rock ever since, fighting their own charges and supporting the federal felony defendants. As people celebrate the court ruling against the pipeline, Bias wants to remind them that the physical part of the struggle is not over. “We’re still fighting this pipeline, because we still have people incarcerated for the work we did in camp,” Bias says. “People have got to recognize that people are still putting their bodies on the line in prison to stop this pipeline.”
On August 20, Pres. Trump met with Iraq’s PM, and said the US is leaving Iraq “fairly rapidly” and making decisions on Syria “fairly soon.” The Iraqi Parliament called for the total withdrawal of US troops. A meeting of 5,000 Syrian tribal members in northeast Syria on August 11 demanded the US forces, and their SDF militia partners withdraw from occupation of the area after the SDF assassinated Sheikh Mutashar al-Hafil and his relative Dar Mihlef al-Khalaf, which provoked a wave of protests, and the call of “Yankee Go Home”. “We are calling on the international coalition to transfer control over the province directly to its Arab population, respecting Syria’s territorial integrity, as well as the rights of Syrian citizens“, the tribal elder’s statement said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not made the planet any safer from the threat of U.S. militarism. Nothing encapsulates the inhumanity of the U.S. social order more than the loss of tens of millions of jobs and nearly 200,000 lives occurring alongside the expansion of U.S. aggression around the world. For seven months, the majority of the planet has been busy engaging in high level cooperation to contain the pandemic. The U.S. has done the exact opposite, focusing instead on scapegoating China to deflect attention away from its own shortcomings.
In the late 60s and 70s, the Black Panther Party (BPP) embodied the vanguard of the revolution and anti-fascist, anti-racist action in the United States. The BPP formed an inclusionary, class-based manifesto, promoted armed self-defense and created an array of community survival programs and services, which included a sophisticated educational platform, free health clinics, breakfast for schoolchildren, teach-ins and more. Further, the BPP utilized art and music, via its newspaper and band, to spread its revolutionary agenda.