How did we even get to talking about a revolution? (Chris Hedges article on Salon)

The article:

We are in a revolutionary moment”: Chris Hedges explains why an uprising is coming — and soon

Let’s go back to 1999, 2000, 2001. 14 years ago. Was anybody talking like this? The only place you would have seen an article like this is literally in a Communist newsletter or something. Fringe stuff at best.

So you can take the question, “How did we get here?” two ways:

• How did we get to the point where people wanted to revolt?
• How did we get to the point where people openly talked about revolution?

And, moreover, how did we get there so quickly?

Feel free to answer either of those questions how you want.

I was in business school 1998-2000. My political consciousness was pretty unformed. I generally felt the system worked and was excited about the future with the Internet being new and exciting and all. I was a solid Liberal by 2003, however, what with the wars and the recession and seeing that things were not working out for the best. Then of course came the economic disaster of 2008.

So, I think the short answer is that we’re talking about revolution because things went to shit very, very quickly. The rich and corporations had gradually been gaining in wealth, but then that trend further accelerated and reached a tipping point where people became conscious of it. Meanwhile, our national politics has also very quickly devolved into total dysfunction, while the Hope and Change of Obama never materialized, leaving us even more cynical.

Are we going to have a revolution? I don’t think so. I think the military would side with the rich and powerful and put down anything that arose. I think America as we knew it is dead and the corporatocracy will reign supreme.

I lived in Japan for 8 years, and that country points at another possibility of “revolution”: people just totally giving up and retreating into their own worlds. In Japan, despite its wealth, 100% literacy rate, and low crime, has been in the economic shitter since the bubble burst in 1989. The birth rate has fallen so catastrophically that it is expected to lose 1/3 of its population by 2050. A significant percentage of young people called “freeters” don’t even bother looking for work and just live with their parents. It’s not active rebellion. It’s not social collapse. It’s long-term malaise and a loss of hope of anything changing or getting better. It basically shows where capitalism goes to die with a whimper when it doesn’t go out with a bang.

In the US, we have a new generation of young people who are basically being told, “Fuck you. No jobs or future for you. Enjoy your student debt.” Perhaps they will take the same route as Japan and decide it’s too expensive to have kids. Let’s just sit at home and play video games. Or perhaps they will get pissed and do something more.

In any case, I have no hope for the future of this country in its current vector.

I haven’t read the article yet, I’m just going to post the link you tried to:

Thanks! I posted a link to another one of my threads here. Doh.

Having read the article, I’m going to say at least part of the answer is “because the people talking about a revolution are willfully ignorant shitbags”.

The United States certainly has problems, but the would-be revolutionaries are too stupid to even try to solve them. I mean, if you want to combat police brutality (a cause we can all get behind), you should at least start by voting 87% in favour of somebody who doesn’t explicitly protect torturers from prosecution. These assholes haven’t tried democracy and found it wanting - they haven’t tried democracy and want to jump straight to violence.

The question, however, is what has changed. Shitbags weren’t talking about revolution in the year 2000.

In order to have a revolution, you have to get enough people to agree on who the enemy is. If the social order did break down, it would end up being more like what happened in El Salvador, with leftist and rightist militias duking it out. Given the culture of the left and right in this country, the right would win that war(we’ve got the guns and the military men and the money) and what you’d end up with would be something significantly worse than where we are now, from the leftist perspective: A Pinochet-style government.

It’s fair to say we are in the interregnum, but that doesn’t foretell a revolution an upheaval, just a transitional period. There’s always someone who wants to characterize every change as a revolution, but most changes are gradual don’t involve the active overthrow of the previous state.

I agree. We’d have the equivalent of Hitler taking over the country instead of anyone/thing on the Left.

I’m betting that most of you are fairly young–and didn’t grow up during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Remember them? Presidential Assisination, Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, Riots in the Cities, Kent State, King, RFK…oh, those were the fun times, I assure you.

And the 1890’s…anarchist bombings, strikers and pinkertons…another fine old time.

Sometimes I think the proliferation of news channels/internet/personal communications is a two-edged sword, because it tends to dramatize the hear and now without any perspective or nod to history.

IMHO as always. YMMV.

I doubt any of us grew up in the 1890s.

It wasn’t as easy to post silly opinions on the Internet and get lots and lots of people to read them.

To be honest I find the linked article almost jaw-droppingly stupid. Hedges’s case for America being headed towards revolution appears to be a cynical list of things he doesn’t like. He makes no solid case for their being the lines of demarcation needed for such a thing, for a collapse of the existing apparatus of state, or the failure of the society. Of course, this is a phone interview with Hedges about a book he wrote, not the book itself, so it may be he doesn’t do a great job over the phone making his case. But he doesn’t do a great job making his case.

The idea that police brutality against black people is going to start a revolution is so insultingly dumb I cannot believe an educated adult would make it, when one considers that there has been brutality against black Americans for centuries. One could quite plausibly argue there’s LESS police brutality against black Americans now than at any point before (though it’s now much more visible.) But revolution didn’t happen before. He rails, as people so often do, about corporate power, as if that was a new thing and the robber barons of the 19th century are fiction, but there was no revolution then.

An American who claims the USA is somehow a non-functioning state is either looking for attention or doesn’t have a passport, because the USA is not even in the same league as non-functioning states. It is an extremely well-functioning state and is nowhere near revolution. I’m not saying it doesn’t have problems 'cause it does, but it is absolutely nowhere near revolution. That’s head-up-your-own-ass campus blather bullshit.

Does 2002 count? When he testified in 2006, one of the Beltway snipers claimed that this was at least part of the motivation behind the attacks.

Well, you know, we’d all love to see the plan.

How did we even get to talking about a revolution? (Chris Hedges article on Salon)

My first question is to ask just who is the “we” that is doing this talking, and consider the source.

We ALL want to change the world.

Leftist idiots who want to feel special by killing millions of people are always talking about revolution. Evil people have always been around and will always be around. Luckily there is no possibility these people will ever have power in this country.

Good Lord. He really has no sense of US history, does he?

To a war-and-revolution journalist (did you know he was a war-and-revolution journalist? For twenty plus years? Covering all sorts of, you know, wars and revolutions? I think he alluded to it somewhere in this interview, kind of)…anyway, to a war-and-revolution journalist I suppose that everything looks like war-and-revolution.

Thing is that, from a perspective of someone that did go though that in El Salvador I have to tell you that it was the right the ones that decided that taking over economically was not enough, they had to start stealing elections, then they started to kill peasants, students, teachers, syndicate leaders, priests and even archbishops that only wanted more justice for that society. In reality the choice then for the left and moderates was to either remain like lambs to the slaughter or just tell the right “hell no!” and arm themselves.

In the end a negotiated peace was obtained and the truth commission found that indeed the right had caused almost all of the killings, and then the revolutionary groups now with a chance to peacefully and fairly use democracy they gained presidential power to make a few of the changes needed (still the right wing remains powerful enough that many reforms are not passed in the Salvadoran congress, but there is no interest now to kill one faction wholesale over the other.)

As for the USA, as in the El Salvador case I have the impression that it is the right the one that is encroaching more power, if one looks at what corporations are doing it is clear that their lobbies are preventing a lot of the changes what the people sees as needed from happening. In the past when the people did approve of big changes during the Roosevelt era there was indeed grumbling from the right in the USA to follow the footsteps of the extreme right in Europe.

Unfortunately for them they found that the military, while conservative, was not in the mood to be that extreme, so their plots and ideas (and they were mostly ideas) failed to gain traction.

Seems to me that with the acceptance of minorities, women and now gays the chances of finding a US military that will give more support to the right (they will not support the extreme left either) are not there IMHO; there are indeed a good number of supporters of extreme right ideas, but then they will have the same problem as the right had with the military in the past. Not all branches or groups will offer the support that they would expect.

I see someone (Hedges) trying to take advantage of the uncertainty of an interregnum to sow the seeds of Revolution; to put the thought into the minds of the ignorant and discontented, to get people talking about it, etc.
As for the OP’s how/why we got to this point, I’d like to point out that Right-winger fringers have been blathering about this nonsense for over two decades, maybe more (I first heard talk of “Revolution” after Ruby Ridge, and it increased considerably after Waco).

The differences now are numbers, internet, Occupy, “Hope-and-Change” that was more of the same (seriously, anyone who believes the promises of any politician deserves everything they get), and a mainstream media willing to cater to people like Hedges and give them a more visible platform for their views than any of the right-nutters ever got after RR & Waco.

Having read the article, it appears he is predicting a kind of revolution as envisioned by Occupy Wall Street - not quite sure what they will do or what they want to achieve, but by golly something is going to happen, pretty soon. And it is going to be big, because several other movements have started and then petered out, and black criminals keep getting shot. So look out for something or other.

I find it interesting that there was an anti-fluoridation ad on the same page. Fight the Power, and Protect the Purity of Essence of Our Precious Bodily Fluids, all on one website.