Chris Hedges’ Takedown Of Biden And Trump

| Educate!

Above photo: Screenshot.

“I fight fascists because they are fascists.”

On Sunday, August 30, Chris Hedges spoke to the Movement for a People’s Party at their “People’s Convention.” Here is the video and transcript of his comments:

Transcript

There is only one choice in this election. The consolidation of oligarchic power under Donald Trump or the consolidation of oligarchic power under Joe Biden. The oligarchs, with Trump or Biden, will win again. We will lose. The oligarchs made it abundantly clear, should Bernie Sanders have miraculously become the Democratic Party nominee, they would join forces with the Republicans to crush him. The oligarchs preach the mantra of the least-worst to us when they attempt to ram a Hillary Clinton or a Joe Biden down our throats but ignore it for themselves. They prefer Biden over Trump, but they can live with either.

Only one thing matters to the oligarchs. It is not democracy. It is not truth. It is not the consent of the governed. It is not income inequality. It is not the surveillance state. It is not endless war. It is not jobs. It is not the climate breakdown. It is the primacy of corporate power — which has extinguished our democracy and left most of the working class and working poor in misery — and the continued increase and consolidation of their wealth. It is impossible to work within the system to shatter the hegemony of oligarchic power or institute meaningful reform. Change, real change, will only come by sustained acts of civil disobedience and mass mobilization, as with the yellow vests movement in France and the British-based Extinction Rebellion. The longer we are fooled by the electoral burlesque, the more disempowered we will become.

Dr. Cornel West and I were on the streets with protesters in Philadelphia outside the appropriately named Wells Fargo Center during the 2016 Democratic Convention when hundreds of Sanders delegates walked out of the hall. “Show me what democracy looks like!” they chanted, holding Bernie signs above their heads as they poured out of the exits. “This is what democracy looks like!”

Sanders’ greatest tactical mistake was not joining them. He bowed in fear before the mighty altar of the corporate state. He had desperately tried to stave off a revolt by his supporters and delegates on the eve of the convention by sending out repeated messages in his name — most of them authored by members of the Clinton campaign — to be respectful, not disrupt the nominating process and support Clinton. Sanders was a dutiful sheepdog then and is a dutiful sheepdog now, attempting to herd his disgruntled supporters into the embrace of the Clinton and now Biden campaign.

Sanders apparently believed that if he was obsequious enough to the Democratic Party elite, they would give him a chance in 2020, a chance they denied him in 2016. Politics, I suspect he would argue, is about compromise and the practical. This is true. But playing politics in a system that is not democratic is about being complicit in the charade. Sanders misread the Democratic Party leadership, swamp creatures of the corporate state. He misread the Democratic Party, which is a corporate mirage. Its base can, at best, select preapproved candidates and act as props at rallies and in choreographed party conventions. The Democratic Party voters have zero influence on party politics or party policies. Sanders’ naivete, and perhaps his lack of political courage, drove away his most committed young supporters. They are right. He is wrong. We need to overthrow the system, not placate it.

Trump and Biden are repugnant figures, doddering into old age with cognitive lapses and no moral cores. Is Trump more dangerous than Biden? Yes. Is Trump more inept and more dishonest? Yes. Is Trump more of a threat to the open society? Yes. Is Biden the solution? No.

Biden represents the nostalgia of the ruling elite for the old neoliberal order. He personifies the betrayal by the Democratic Party of working men and women that sparked the deep hatred of the ruling elites across the political spectrum. He is a gift to a demagogues and con artists like Trump.  A Biden presidency will ensure that far more competent demagogues will rise to take power. Biden cannot plausibly offer change. He can only offer more of the same. And most Americans do not want more of the same. The country’s largest voting-age bloc, the 100 million-plus citizens who out of apathy or disgust do not vote, will once again stay home. This demoralization of the electorate is by design.

In America you are only allowed to vote against what you hate.  But by voting for Biden you do vote for something.  You vote for the humiliation of courageous women such as Anita Hill who confronted their abusers. You vote for the architects of the endless wars in the Middle East. You vote for the apartheid state in Israel. You vote for wholesale surveillance of the public by government intelligence agencies and the abolition of due process and habeas corpus. You vote for austerity programs, including the destruction of welfare and cuts to Social Security. You vote for NAFTA, free trade deals, de-industrialization, a decline in wages, the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs and the offshoring of jobs to underpaid workers who toil in sweatshops in Mexico,China or Vietnam. You vote for the assault on public education and the transfer of federal funds to for-profit and Christian charter schools. You vote for the doubling of our prison population, the tripling and quadrupling of sentences and huge expansion of crimes meriting the death penalty. You vote for militarized police who gun down poor people of color with impunity.  You vote against the Green New Deal and immigration reform. You vote for limiting a woman’s right to abortion and reproductive rights. You vote for a segregated public-school system in which the wealthy receive educational opportunities and the poor are denied a chance. You vote for punitive levels of student debt and the inability to free yourself of debt obligations through bankruptcy. You vote for deregulating the banking industry and the abolition of Glass-Steagall. You vote for the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical corporations and against universal health care. You vote for bloated defense budgets. You vote for the use of unlimited oligarchic and corporate money to buy our elections. You vote for a politician who during his time in the Senate abjectly served the interests of MBNA, the largest independent credit card company headquartered in Delaware, which also employed Biden’s son Hunter.

What the public wants and deserves will again be ignored for what the corporate lobbyists demand. If we do not respond to the social and economic catastrophe that has been visited on most of the population, exacerbated by our failure to control the pandemic, we will be unable to thwart the rise of corporate tyranny and a Christian fascism or halt the ecocide that will wipe out the human species, along with most life forms.

Right-wing violence, along with lethal police violence, will explode, with or without Trump in office, if we do not build robust socialist programs to reintegrate those who have been pushed aside back into the society, to heal the ruptured social bonds, to give workers jobs that provide a sustainable income and dignity, empowerment and protection, to provide free and well-funded schooling through college, if we do not rebuild our labor unions, along with instituting universal health care and end to the squandering of our resources on endless war.

Yes, we need new radical parties, which is why I am here today, in this election and from now on.  We need to stand up for our values, not surrender them, which is why I urge you to vote in this coming election for The Green Party.

I am not willing to surrender every issue I care about to become an accomplice in this moral squalor and death march to extinction.  I am also not naïve enough to tell you we can win.  The corporate state has built very effective mechanisms of control and oppression.  But these corporate forces have us by the throat, and they have my children by the throat.  In the end, I do not fight fascists because I will win.  I fight fascists because they are fascists.

  • NoNameSoSueMe

    We have no “lesser of two evils,” just the worse of the worse. Toss them both into a gearbox with the engine running.

  • Hal Womack

    Write in Edward Snowden for Prez?

  • John R.

    Thanks for the suggestion because no matter how awful tRUMP is I refuse to vote for a Democrat in a presidential election.

  • MrRedwoodGuy .

    Or, simply, throw the harness off, and decide to walk the moral path of an autonomous child of god, that knows helping criminals operate the slave ships of government will never improve life on our continent.

  • MrRedwoodGuy .

    Trump is not the disease, but a symptom of the diseased nation. Trump is like a pustule on a body with hemorrhagic fever. The disease in America has infected every organ, every system. It’s running blood and pus from every orifice, and the body just keeps coughing up zombies as leaders.

    It must die before any re-birth is possible.

  • pajarito

    So mobilize, strike, boycott, stop cooperating with exploiters. Join in Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”. Fight fascism, build mutual aid and communities of cooperation and regeneration.

  • John Kelly

    I like Hedges a lot, but he is giving the sheepdog Sanders the benefit of the doubt when he suggests he did not know what he was getting into… for the second time. This is pure projection on Hedges’ part… because he is a deeply moral human being and he can’t quite believe what a sellout piece of sh#t Sanders is…. actually not even a sellout. Just another in a long line of fake leftish spreaders of happy horsesh#t whose goal is to excite bleatings from the sheep in favor of whichever war criminal makes it to the top of the heap in the DemocRATic electoral farce.

    He also states that Trump is more dangerous than Biden. I think Biden is more dangerous when it comes to our criminal foreign policy… you know, who gets bombed and who doesn’t. He is even more hawkish than the war criminal Trump. As far as domestic policy goes, he might be more dangerous there as well… since we know the “resistance” will go back to sleep if Biden is elected, and he will literally be able to get away with murder just like President Kill List did, and they will blame everything on ReTHUGlican obstruction. Rinse and repeat until fully fascist.

  • Nylene13

    I will vote for the Green Party if they get Ballot Access for the Election in my state.

    Or any Progressive Socialist Party that gets it.

    Otherwise I am not voting.

  • mwildfire

    I am actually considering voting for Biden, because I find the Trump camp increasingly terrifying and I think a Biden landslide might be the one thing that can fend off civil war. But you know…don’t hyperventilate about anyone’s choices in the voting booth (unless they vote for Trump) because you can vote for Biden, you can vote Green Party or Socialist or Mountain Party (here in WV) or you can refuse to vote…and none of it is likely to make any difference. If this country is to be rescued, it won’t be via the ballot. I don’t think it can be rescued via the bullet either, but the number of bullets on the other side, and the ocean of delusion propelling them leaves me wondering whether a positive outcome is possible.

  • kevinzeese

    Write-in votes are only counted if they are for a write-in candidates. In order to be counted candidates have to collect signatures and submit the to the government to show they are a legitimate write-in candidate. Votes for Ed Snowden, Chris Hedges, Bernie Sanders and Mickey Mouse will all be treated the same – they will not be counted

  • PETER CHILDS

    I want to vote Green but especially in view of the Republican right-in-our-face efforts to subvert the democratic process, Biden needs every vote he can get. I’m going to vote for him with clenched teeth because if Trump stays in it’s all over; with Biden we may still have a chance of survival (through our actions, not Biden’s). Simple as that. Otherwise I agree as usual with everything Hedges says.

  • Nylene13

    No write-ins are allowed in Nevada. I do not know how many other states are the same.

    What difference does it make anyway?

    Trump or Biden is NO choice.

    I would like to see an article showing how Biden has voted/supported differently than Trump on issues. From what I have found, they are pretty much the same.

    Pro-Military, Anti-Environment….

  • Nylene13

    That is a good point. Just how BAD does Biden have to BE that We the People will not vote for him?
    It seems as though it does not matter-

  • MrRedwoodGuy .

    I find him to be repugnant – a true Swamp Creature with 50 years of public lies under his belt. I’m not sure I wouldn’t take “Putin” over Biden.

    But, again, the disease is the nation, not these two septuagenarian reptiles competing for the Rat House.

  • Nylene13

    Not to insult reptiles. Or Rats.

  • Southern

    …with no oil.

  • Southern

    Longer than the previous 2 elections, people have been advocating the urgent need to end the reign of the corporately controlled Duopoly by supporting third parties – [that’s presuming that the electoral system in the US is fair]

    The amount of progress made so far is reflective by the mental state of health of the two duopoly candidates.

    If a third party truly represented a threat to upset the reign of the Duopoly then I very much doubt that such complete and utter morons such as Trump and Biden would stand as candidates, they would have been replaced by someone with a properly functioning brain.

    To have those 2 candidates running for the [P]residency is suggesting to me that the establishment is confident that the outcome will be in their favor yet by nominating Biden they’re doing Trump a favor.

  • Bill Rood

    I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 because he said that 1) war is OK if we take their oil, 2) torture is OK and 3) it’s OK to punish the families of terrorists. He has consummated all three statements, so I do not plan to vote for him in November. However, I take issue with the following:

    Trump and Biden are repugnant figures, doddering into old age with cognitive lapses and no moral cores. Is Trump more dangerous than Biden? Yes. Is Trump more inept and more dishonest? Yes. Is Trump more of a threat to the open society? Yes. Is Biden the solution? No.

    Chris’s answers to the first three questions are wrong, and the last is the wrong question. His answers belie a visceral hatred of Trump, the same sort of hatred that caused partisan Democrats to attack Trump for being insufficiently militaristic or for meeting with foreign leaders. Such Trump Derangement Syndrome leads to blaming the Covid-19 response on Trump alone without holding others accountable, and blaming the riots on Trump as well, even though it is in fact Democratic mayors, prosecutors, attorneys general and governors who have justified the riots and allowed them to rage out of control to the point where people are summarily executed on the street. It is also mainly TDS that causes people to believe Hydroxychloroquine is only dangerous when used in the treatment of Covid-19 and that heavy intrusions into the doctor-patient relationship, as well as media censorship, are justified in suppressing its use. Of course, that’s music to the ears of Gilead and Moderna executives because “the love of money….”

    Chris does correctly answer the last question he poses, and lists many awful things people will be voting for if they vote for Biden, but he misses the most important things they will be voting for: 1) Mask mandates even though actual studies indicate masks have no significant effect in slowing the spread of respiratory illness and there are at least theoretical reasons to think they can damage the immune systems, 2) Intrusive contact tracing that has nothing to do with containing a disease to which the majority of the population has already been exposed, 3) Mandatory vaccination with hastily developed vaccines that will probably cause more harm than good and for which manufacturers will have no liability due to a Reagan Era law and 4) No accountability for people who have been destroying the Bill of Rights for the last 4 years, with illegal surveillance of Carter Page and political prosecutions under color of law. Those who vote for Biden will be voting to continue medical totalitarianism indefinitely, for a “global reset” that will cause food shortages resulting in widespread starvation and for no restoration of our rights under the Constitution.

    Chris is right that this contest is a contest between factions of our political elites, but it’s more than that. Globalist elites really don’t have much of a problem with anything Trump has done policy-wise. The problem is that they can not control Trump or his base, and many of them are deathly afraid they might be prosecuted.

    Now for the question Chris might have asked if not for his TDS. Is Trump the solution? No. A vote for Trump is a vote for continued massive military spending, an Israeli-directed Mideast policy and continued unilateral sanctions that have had no effect other than to create suffering in targeted populations and to gradually isolate the United States as a rogue state that can not be trusted under any circumstances.

    So Chris’s conclusion is similar to mine. Our best choice is to vote for the 3rd party that best represents our policy positions and has a shot at affecting future thinking, or leaving the choice blank. That includes virtually all down-ballot races, because we have seen how quickly even the most progressive candidates are co-opted by the Democratic leadership. The only Democrat I would vote for if I had a chance is Shahid Buttar, because his opponent is Nancy Pelosi.

  • mwildfire

    Twenty years ago, WV was a guaranteed vote for Democrats. Now it’s a guaranteed vote for Republicans, so I can cast a Green (or Mountain Party) vote here knowing it won’t affect the outcome. I wonder if this could possibly change…WV has the oldest population, and the failure of Trump’s COVID19 policy plus his threats to do away with Social Security OUGHT to cost him here…except I suppose Fox and Sinclair just don’t let those things show.
    Really I want to get the hell out of this country as it doesn’t seem possible to fix it anymore and the near future is looking frightening. But I understand now why my unknown Jewish ancestors didn’t get the hell out of Europe in the 1930s, why they said, “We’re too old; everything and everyone we know is here; where would we go?” For one thing, countries then refused Jews because of antisemitism;countries now refuse Americans because our disastrous COVID policies have made us typhoid Marys.