Awake But Asleep

Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges

Source: Legalized Murder and the Politics of Terror – News & Views – The Commons | Common Dreams

An excerpt from the above article by Chris Hedges follows:

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Those who live in these police states, or internal colonies, especially young men of color, endure constant fear and often terror. Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” calls those trapped in these enclaves members of a criminal “caste system.” This caste system dominates the lives of not only the 2.3 million who are incarcerated in the United States but also the 4.8 million on probation or parole. Millions more are forced into “permanent second-class citizenship” by their criminal records, which make employment, higher education and public assistance, including housing, difficult and usually impossible to obtain. This is by design.

The rhetoric of compassion, even outrage, by the political class over the police murders in Baton Rouge, La., and near St. Paul, Minn., will not be translated into change until the poor are granted full constitutional rights and police are accountable to the law. The corporate state, however, which is expanding the numbers of poor through austerity and deindustrialization, has no intention of instituting anything more than cosmetic reform.

Globalization has created a serious problem of “surplus” or “redundant” labor in deindustrialized countries. The corporate state has responded to the phenomenon of “surplus” labor with state terror and mass incarceration. It has built a physical and legal mechanism that lurks like a plague bacillus within the body politic to be imposed, should wider segments of society resist, on all of us…

Our political elites, rather than addressing the crisis, will make it worse. If we do not revolt, the savagery, including legalized murder, that is the daily reality for poor people of color will become our reality.
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My online response to the above article follows:

“Unless Jehovah builds the house, it is in vain that its builders work hard on it. Unless Jehovah guards the city, it is in vain that the guard stays awake.” – Psalm 127:1

Chris is right and wrong. He certainly doesn’t tip toe around the problems. Neither do I, but I lack his writer’s skills and his cred. I actually believe in a Creator God who has a plan of salvation for imperfect humankind and it isn’t us. It isn’t revolution. Chris might say he believes in God too, but…

I’ve read enough of his writing, including where he touches on his religion, but he’s trapped in Babylon The Great. His belief isn’t going to be useful, especially if he holds to the common view that humankind in fact is God. That’s worse than actually not believing. It results in his blocking from those who need it God’s light and the truth that will set them free, a grave sin. As the Christian Bible says, ‘Get out of her my people if you do not want to share in her sins and receive part of her plagues’, which include tormenting exposure. (Revelation 18:4) I’m not usually jumped all over for bringing up God (intelligibly and when appropriate, I hope), but I am not enthusiastically embraced either. I can live with that. As Jesus said, ‘He who acknowleges me before men, I will acknowledge before God in heaven. He who disowns me before men, I will disown before God in heaven.’ (Matthew 16:25) I would think that the author of “The Wages Of Rebellion” would understand that. I don’t need to beat people over the head with my religious beliefs – as if capitalism wasn’t a religion – but neither can I call them personal and never talk about them except in some church where instructors spouting mumbo jumbo talk at the churchgoers. (And besides, I fully believe in what I believe in and feel confident about those beliefs, rather than unsure and unwilling to express them.) I am assuming that churchgoers talk about their ‘spiritual’ food among themselves however, both in private when away from church and when the fancily dressed somebody has finished talking and before all have left church and gone ‘back’ into the world.

For the record, Chris doesn’t believe in violent revolution.

Here are some excerpts from Chris’s fine (but not perfect) book, “The Wages Of Rebellion”:

“There is nothing rational about rebellion. To rebel against insurmountable odds is an act of faith, without which the rebel is doomed. This faith is intrinsic to the rebel the way caution and prudence are intrinsic to those who seek to fit into existing power structures. The rebel, possessed by inner demons and angels, is driven by a vision. I do not know if the new revolutionary wave and the rebels produced by it will succeed. But I do know that without these rebels, we are doomed.” -pg 20

“Hunger and drought, especially in the poorer parts of the globe, will force populations to carry out armed raids and internecine wars to survive and lead many others to flee for more temperate zones. An estimated 200 million climate refugees, most from the equatorial regions of the globe, will descend by the middle of this century on Europe and other industrialized countries, according to figures cited in a study from Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network. The industrialized states, anxious to preserve dwindling resources and avoid being overrun by destitute hordes, will become ringed fortresses. Democratic rights and constitutional protections will most likely be obliterated. This may be the best we can hope for. The worst will be the complete collapse of our ecosystem and the extinction of our species. Neither scenario is pleasant.” -pg 27

“…As our lives become increasingly fragile, we will have to make hard decisions about how to ensure our own survival and yet remain moral beings… This is not the world most of us desire, but it is the world that will probably exist.” – pgs 27,28

“Our corporate hustlers are direct descendents of the whalers and sealers, of butchers such as George Armstrong Custer, of the gold speculators and railroad magnates who seized Indian land, killed off its inhabitants, and wiped out the buffalo herds, of the oil and mineral inhabitants that went abroad to exploit – under the protection of the American military – the resources of others. These hustlers carry on their demented wars and plundering throughout the Middle East, polluting the seas and water systems, fouling the air and soil, and gambling with commodity futures while the poor starve. The Book of Revelation defines the single-minded drive for profit as service to the “beast.”…

“Walter Benjamin argues that capitalism is not only a formation “conditioned by religion” but an “essentially religious phenomenon,” albeit one that no longer seeks to connect human with the mystery of life. And it is the religion of capitalism, the maniacal quest for wealth at the expense of others, that turns human beings into beasts of prey.”…

“The barbarism of our new Dark Age will hold out Faustian pacts at the expense of others; first the poor in the developing world will be sacrificed, and then the poor at home. Communities and communal organizations that manage to break free from the dominant culture will find a correlation between the amount of freedom they enjoy and the amount of independence they attain in a world where access to land, food, and water has become paramount. Such communities that share the burdens of a disintegrating society, such as the ad hoc one formed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, are our best hope for sustaining the intellectual and artistic traditions that define the heights of human culture and permit the common good. As those who build these communitarian structures discard the religion of capitalism, their acts of charity and resistance will merge – and they will be condemned by the corporate state.” – pgs 42,43

Indeed. But Chris, who views biological evolution as fact, appears to view God’s plan of salvation for imperfect humankind as fantasy, while claiming to be Christian. It’s nothing new. He possesses remarkable skills and admirable qualities, but he may lose God’s blessing if he truly pulls away from God. I’ll leave it to God to decide what Chris’s status is. The apostle Paul was there – in the world – once. If Paul was actually lost; that is to say, If he was a willing and knowing opposer of God, then God would not have been able to reach him as he did. Paul went from persecuting Christians to becoming one himself and then leading them, with guidance from God, which guidance, through holy spirit, won’t be there for those who are truly anti-God and antichristian.

Chris’s understanding of Revelation is no doubt different than mine. Does he view it as nonsense or not? He didn’t specifically refer to chapter 13 of the Bible book of Revelation, but I’m guessing that when he says Revelation is about the maniacal drive for profits of capitalists he is talking about chapter 13 and the compulsion that one beast puts on the world to get the mark of another (which it is a part of). The slave’s mark is 666. The compulsion involves preventing those who don’t comply from being able to buy or sell. Indeed. In this perverted money system, money means life, relatively speaking. Bread and shelter are not free. Therefore, If you want to command obedience, and you already dominate in society, then you can withhold the means of survival – money – from those who you want to obey you. The wild beast of corporatocracy (my formulation rather than the Bible’s, but it is in harmony with the Bible’s formulations) can therefore exert tremendous pressure upon people, as Chris so eloquently explains in all his writings, to get its slave’s mark and become a worshipper, namely a compliant supporter of the monstrous money system and those who own and run it. But pressure is not automatically effective. One can be under compulsion but resist it. Our lives, in fact, depend on that resistance.

Jehovah God does not expect us to accomplish the impossible. We are outgunned. He knows, and knew, that. We are all cogs in the system of things now called corporatocracy. Politicians and CEOs and Generals are indeed powerful, but none are as powerful as their invisible ruler. We are outgunned. Do we resist or are we okay with this godless, violent system of things? That’s the question. But the issue is of universal sovereignty. Understanding that then requires us to respond by either showing solidarity with God and an acceptance therefore of his will, and plan of salvation (which the faithful will have no problem doing), or rejecting his sovereignty and embracing darkness and Gog (whose name probably means darkness), aka Satan, aka the Devil. If we view man as saviour, then we thereby reject God and his chief representative as saviours. And we embrace God’s chief slanderer (Devil means slanderer) and resister (Satan means resister) who is also God’s, and our, longtime enemy.

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every creeping animal that is moving on the earth. And God went on to create the man in his image. In God’s image he created him. Male and female he created them. Further, God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fruitful and become many. Fill the earth and subdue it and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving on the earth.” -Genesis 2:26-28

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways, declares Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For just as the rain and the snow pour down from heaven and do not return until they saturate the earth, making it produce and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so my word that goes out of my mouth will be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight. And it will have sure success in what I send it to do.” -Isaiah 55:8-11

“And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army. And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who worship its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulfur. But the rest were killed off with the long sword that proceeded out of the mouth of the one seated on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.” -Revelation 19:19-21

The owners and rulers of this godless system of things simply prefer their own God, namely themselves. And they are aware of their choice and they are utterly perverted and vicious and enjoy calling to God to bring it, which they do by their evil acts in which innocents suffer. Nuclear war with Russia is what they have their sights fixed on right now. Were they to get away with that, the destruction would be greater than anything humankind has ever seen. Not just innocents, including God’s loyal worshippers, would die. ‘All’ innocents everywhere could be destroyed. They are always calling God to bring it. He doesn’t show and so the crazies ramp up the terror and destruction, because that’s their pathology. That’s their wrath toward God who they know can’t slap them on the back and say ‘Well done lads’. Maybe that wrath will work. Engaging in great violence and terrorism is something that the rebels have been doing for a long time and they will be doing that right up until the moment they finally get their wish (“while still alive”), which they also never really desired to have fulfilled. That contradiction is possible, for their darkened minds are divided and ruined. They ruined themselves.

“…But the nations became wrathful. And your own wrath came. And the appointed time came for the dead to be judged and to reward your slaves the prophets and the holy ones and those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” -Revelation 11:18

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