I finished reading some of Chris Hedges recent articles posted online. They are written like a love letter to someone dear to him. They captivate and draw me in with the passion, heart and accuracy of his words. Though he is a learned man, quite intellectual, his writing is such that this is not stale journalism- rather it pours out from the bones raising prickly hairs on my arms with such accuracy. This is resonance. Please see the following excerpts I find more than exceptional…

A glass tower filled with people carefully selected for the polish and self-assurance that come with having been formed in institutions of privilege, whose primary attributes are a lack of consciousness, a penchant for deception and an incapacity for empathy or remorse. The curious onlookers behind the windows and we, arms locked in a circle on the concrete outside, did not speak the same language. Profit. Globalization. War. National security. These are the words they use to justify the snuffing out of tiny lives, acts of radical evil. Goldman Sachs’ commodities index is the most heavily traded in the world. Those who trade it have, by buying up and hoarding commodities futures, doubled and tripled the costs of wheat, rice and corn. Hundreds of millions of poor across the globe are going hungry to feed this mania for profit. The technical jargon, learned in business schools and on trading floors, effectively masks the reality of what is happening—murder. These are words designed to make systems operate, even systems of death, with a cold neutrality. Peace, love and all sane affirmative speech in temples like Goldman Sachs are, as W.H. Auden understood, “soiled, profaned, debased to a horrid mechanical screech.”

We seemed to have lost, at least until the advent of the Occupy Wall Street movement, not only all personal responsibility but all capacity for personal judgment. Corporate culture absolves all of responsibility. This is part of its appeal. It relieves all from moral choice. There is an unequivocal acceptance of ruling principles such as unregulated capitalism and globalization as a kind of natural law. The steady march of corporate capitalism requires a passive acceptance of new laws and demolished regulations, of bailouts in the trillions of dollars and the systematic looting of public funds, of lies and deceit.The corporate culture, epitomized by Goldman Sachs, has seeped into our classrooms, our newsrooms, our entertainment systems and our consciousness. This corporate culture has stripped us of the right to express ourselves outside of the narrowly accepted confines of the established political order. It has turned us into compliant consumers. We are forced to surrender our voice. These corporate machines, like fraternities and sororities, also haze new recruits in company rituals, force them to adopt an unrelenting cheerfulness, a childish optimism and obsequiousness to authority. These corporate rituals, bolstered by retreats and training seminars, by grueling days that sometimes end with initiates curled up under their desks to sleep, ensure that only the most morally supine remain. The strong and independent are weeded out early so only the unquestioning advance upward. Corporate culture serves a faceless system. It is, as Hannah Arendt writes, “the rule of nobody and for this very reason perhaps the least human and most cruel form of rulership.”

Our political class, and its courtiers on the airwaves, insists that if we refuse to comply, if we step outside of the Democratic Party, if we rebel, we will make things worse. This game of accepting the lesser evil enables the steady erosion of justice and corporate plundering. It enables corporations to harvest the nation and finally the global economy, reconfiguring the world into neofeudalism, one of masters and serfs. This game goes on until there is hardly any action carried out by the power elite that is not a crime. It goes on until corporate predators, who long ago decided the nation and the planet were not worth salvaging, seize the last drops of wealth. It goes on until moral acts, such as calling for those inside the corporate headquarters of Goldman Sachs to be tried, see you jailed, and the crimes of financial fraud and perjury are upheld as lawful and rewarded by the courts, the U.S. Treasury and the Congress. And all this is done so a handful of rapacious, immoral plutocrats like Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs who sucks down about $250,000 a day and who lied to the U.S. Congress as well as his investors and the public, can use their dirty money to retreat into their own Forbidden City or Versailles while their underlings, basking in the arrogance of power, snap amusing photos of the rabble outside their gates being hauled away by the police and company goons.

Those who resist—the doubters, outcasts, renegades, skeptics and rebels—rarely come from the elite. They ask different questions. They seek something else—a life of meaning. They have grasped Immanuel Kant’s dictum, “If justice perishes, human life on Earth has lost its meaning.” And in their search they come to the conclusion that, as Socrates said, it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong. This conclusion is rational, yet cannot be rationally defended. It makes a leap into the moral, which is beyond rational thought. It refuses to place a monetary value on human life. It acknowledges human life, indeed all life, as sacred. And this is why, as Arendt points out, the only morally reliable people when the chips are down are not those who say “this is wrong,” or “this should not be done,” but those who say “I can’t.”

There are streaks in my lungs, traces of the tuberculosis that I picked up around hundreds of dying Sudanese during the famine I covered as a foreign correspondent. I was strong and privileged and fought off the disease. They were not and did not. The bodies, most of them children, were dumped into hastily dug mass graves. The scars I carry within me are the whispers of these dead. They are the faint marks of those who never had a chance to become men or women, to fall in love and have children of their own. I carried these scars to the doors of Goldman Sachs. I had returned to living. Those whose last breaths had marked my lungs had not. I placed myself at the feet of these commodity traders to call for justice because the dead, and those who are dying in slums and refugee camps across the planet, could not make this journey. I see their faces. They haunt me in the day and come to me in the dark. They force me to remember. They make me choose sides. As the metal handcuffs were fastened around my wrists I thought of them, as I often think of them, and I said to myself: “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, I am free at last.”

Read the full article: Finding Freedom in Handcuffs

Get back into your cages, they are telling us. Return to watching the lies, absurdities, trivia and celebrity gossip we feed you in 24-hour cycles on television. Invest your emotional energy in the vast system of popular entertainment. Run up your credit card debt. Pay your loans. Be thankful for the scraps we toss. Chant back to us our phrases about democracy, greatness and freedom. Vote in our rigged political theater. Send your young men and women to fight and die in useless, unwinnable wars that provide corporations with huge profits. Stand by mutely as our bipartisan congressional supercommittee, either through consensus or cynical dysfunction, plunges you into a society without basic social services including unemployment benefits. Pay for the crimes of Wall Street.

The process of defection among the ruling class and security forces is slow and often imperceptible. These defections are advanced through a rigid adherence to nonviolence, a refusal to respond to police provocation and a verbal respect for the blue-uniformed police, no matter how awful they can be while wading into a crowd and using batons as battering rams against human bodies. The resignations of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s deputy, Sharon Cornu, and the mayor’s legal adviser and longtime friend, Dan Siegel, in protest over the clearing of the Oakland encampment are some of the first cracks in the edifice. “Support Occupy Oakland, not the 1% and its government facilitators,” Siegel tweeted after his resignation. 

Read the full article: This Is What Revolution Looks Like

Thank You Chris for using your extensive and refined skills for the people of this planet, the earth herself and all the living creatures.

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#Occupy The Self

November 20, 2011

Our ego is the the 1% and the heart is the suppressed 99%.

What is the use of tearing down Bank of America when we ourselves have similar corruptions in our own minds, greedy and deceiving not only our friends and families but even our very selves? What are our self interests and what is the ‘self’ in which these interests claim to serve?

Numerous examples are there….

Without any solid evidence we blame others and even prosecute them in our minds, words or actions. We ourselves don’t want to be wrong or to take responsibility. ‘Who took my _____?’ Then we discover later that actually we misplaced ____ ourselves. Often even after recognizing our error, we won’t apologize because of pride.

We’ll interrupt others speaking because our ego feels it is more important. Observe how the television, advertisements, etc. talk to us, not with us. There is generally a one-way communication channel with the 1%.

The 1% hungers without satisfaction for more. We receive gifts, food, shelter, money, clean air to breathe and earth to walk on without any gratitude or recognition. We feel we deserve what we get that is good. What we have is never enough- there is a new this or a latest that which we are craving and consuming. We too are trapped in the mindset of exponential growth syndrome, insatiable hunger. The corporations are no different, increasing bonuses and profits without any sight of satisfaction or a sense of what is enough.

We give gifts not from our hearts with humbleness, we give gifts because we want something in return. Corporations give us a token, discount, or a ‘sign up for a free ____’, so they snatch us and our wallets to spend spend spend. Where has generosity gone? Where is genuine customer care?

Though we may acknowledge the fuel-burning jets are contributing to global warming and all it’s implications, we still can’t restrain ourselves at the grocery store from buying those out-of-season specialties that have come from those very jets. Often we are completely deluding ourselves when we think we’re better than anyone else because we shop locally or organically. Look in your pantry. Who among us doesn’t consume sugar, chocolate, coffee, tea, and countless other luxury commodities which have now become to us ‘essential’ commodities.

What about our healthcare? Do we take care of our own health or contract it out to others? Are we serving the 99% when we push our bodies to stay up late for a t.v. show, to over-exert ourselves, to consume take-out and too-good-to-resist junk food? Are we taking care of our ‘subordinates’ health like our children when we don’t have time to make their food and serve them processed foods?

Sometimes we keep our selves misinformed under the guise that ‘ignorance is bliss’. We are afraid of the Truth and what changes that may imply. If we acknowledge certain things are simply not working for us, we will be obligated to change those things. So really, our ____ isn’t so bad. If we really look, we know. Of course we know but we choose to ignore or we control the ‘media’ input to ourselves. Likewise, if the corporations acknowledge even a fraction of the Truths about themselves and their actions, they would be forced to change.

 

Let’s not be hypocrites. Ought we to ‘fight the good fight’ on both frontiers? Let us redefine the world we want to inhabit by redefining ourselves and leading by example. Look with scrutiny at the truth of our own state. Leave no stone unturned. If everyone led this movement by example of the very principles which we are asking for from others, there certainly would be a shift and that shift would be within the hearts of the people. Why not take this outrage as a great opportunity to practice. Practice generosity. Practice Truthfulness. Practice non violence in your thoughts. Practice all the noble qualities.

Ghandi’s wise advice: “We need to be the change we wish to see in the world”.

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