Chris Hedges on the Roots of Rage in Tinderbox America

Former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges went on the Jimmy Dore Show this week to discuss the roots of rage in Tinderbox America.

“The reaction by CNN and the mainstream media was quite frightening,” Hedges told Dore. “All they did was demonize the people in the crowd, which isn’t in any way to condone what they did. But unless we investigate the roots of this rage, the rupture of these social bonds, the deep betrayal, then these divisions and the rage that comes with it, is only going to grow.”

“We should not have deleted Trump from Twitter and other social media platforms,” Hedges said.  “Giving these tech companies that kind of ability to censor is very dangerous. And of course, we have to remember that the first organization they went after was WikiLeaks, blocking their ability to accept donations, using algorithms to essentially drive them off the internet. That’s the future.”

“These tech companies are utterly opaque. We know nothing about them. They know everything about us. And they are bonded at the hip to the Democratic Party estalishment.”

“I find the response of the Democratic Party frightening. Since 2006, they have refused to look at what the sociologist Emile Durkheim (in Suicide: A Study in Sociology) calls anomie, this malaise – the rupturing of social bonds that resulted from neoliberalism and austerity and offshoring.”

“Instead it is the demonstration. If you turned on CNN, that’s all you saw – it was thugs and this and that. That is widening the divide, exacerbating the anger and the rage and essentially renting the social fabric.” 

“I’m certainly no friend of the Christian fascists. I wrote a book in 2006 – American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. I find them frightening and they are dangerous. But until the ruling elites look at and grapple with the actual root causes of what it is that propels this kind of violence, it is only going to get worse. Everything they are doing is pouring gasoline on the fire.”

“(President-elect Joe) Biden used the events last week to talk about ratcheting up internal security laws,” Hedges said.  “This is a recipe for social disintegration. It has many echoes of Yugoslavia, which I covered for the New York Times.”

“There is a self-identified boutique left – which is all about identity politics and multiculturalism,” Hedges said. “These are ethical or societal issues, but they are not political issues. They are not rooted in the class struggle or economic justice or anything else. The self-identified left has a real anger towards people like you, towards people like Matt Taibbi, people like Glenn Greenwald. They have already used algorithms to marginalize us.”

“The Democratic Party has a particular anger towards the real left, because the real left calls them out for who they are.”

“We are just not examining what is happening within the country and why this rage is there. And it is a legitimate rage. It may be expressed in vulgar and horrible ways, but the rage is legitimate.”  

“And if we don’t go back and rebuild those social bonds – and that is not in the vocabulary of the ruling elite, nor is it in the vocabulary of the press, which has essentially stopped doing it’s job — we are finished.”

“The white working class was legitimately betrayed. There is real anger toward the media outlets that rendered them invisible and never told their story and when they speak about them, they demean them and insult them.”

“We have a political establishment that essentially wrote them off and assign them to immense misery. The chattering class of the self-identified liberal elites on each coast who largely profited from neoliberalism has no real understanding of the suffering that has taken place in these post-industrial towns. And that suffering is real and awful. You go to town after town with boarded up churches, closed supermarkets, people have retreated into the opioid epidemic, these self-destructive pathologies which you always see with societal breakdown.”

“Biden has always served corporate interests, going back to when he was Senator Credit Card in Delaware.” 

“In Biden’s cabinet, you will have a certain number of women, a certain number of – that’s just colonialism. I worked in the Congo. Finally when the Belgians and the French couldn’t put white faces up there, they put up Mobutu, and they killed Patrice Lumumba, who actually stood for social justice.” 

“It’s just another species of corporate colonialism, which Biden is going to do. So there will be more women and more people of color, but they will serve the machine. And if they don’t serve the machine, they are out.”

“As Richard Rorty says correctly – there is a wholesale revulsion toward these self-identified liberals, but more dangerously to the liberal democratic values that they supposedly promote. And that is what feeds these proto-fascist movements, which we saw last week.” 

“We should have walked out on the Democratic Party in 1994 after NAFTA and stood by the working class. And they know it. Much of my family comes out of that lower working class in Maine. And I have seen their communities and lives – where my grandparents house was in Maine, the bank is boarded up, there was a Methodist church that caught on fire and burned, the town doesn’t have enough money to raze it, so it’s charred embers. There are methamphetamine labs all over the place. That is what the Democratic Party and the self-identified liberal class has done. And that is why they hate (liberals).” 

“I totally get that hatred. They continue to speak out of both sides of their mouth. They continue to speak that traditional feel your pain language of liberalism while putting the knife in the back of these people. So the hatred for the Democratic Party is far fiercer because there was a time when organized labor mattered. It doesn’t matter anymore.”

“I live in Princeton. They are all mostly liberal Democrats. They have no relationships with people who have been victimized by this system. For them, it’s all an abstraction.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.