As I have been saying (see here), the demonstration in Washington today seems to have been systematically undermined by “progressive” websites (by non-promotion) and has lost all focus. Today I read on OpEdNews that “hundreds of civic organizations and activists are heading to the nation’s capital to demand (from) the White House and Congress the passage of an immigration reform that would allow millions to regularize their legal status.”
On the ANSWER homepage we find nary a mention of what I thought was the original purpose of the march, which I heard about in a direct mailing from IndictBushNow: “to denounce Bush-era criminal wars.” That would have been quite enough, especially since that issue segues seamlessly into the larger War on Terror, and also into the current Administration’s shameless continuation of that phony war.
Now that goal has been subordinated, and in fact erased, in favor of other issues, namely the “siege of Palestine,” the plight of “the people of Haiti” and “the people of Honduras,” the extradition of Luis Posada, the ending of the blockade of Cuba, and the aforesaid immigration reform. There are, it is true, two colorful banners saying “U.S. Out of Afghanistan and Iraq Now!” but they link to nowhere, i.e., to a page that is identical to the ANSWER homepage!
There is no mention of the lies that brought us the wars, no mention of the Mother of All Lies, 9/11, no mention of “preemptive warfare” or the subversion of the Constitution, no mention of the Patriot Acts, Military Commissions Acts, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, rendition, torture (except in reference to an FOIA request in a specific case), or election fraud. There is no mention of the bank bailouts or Wall Street thievery, and you have to read the fine print to find any mention of health care: “Students facing tuition hikes and cutbacks, workers who have been laid-off from their jobs, people without health care and facing foreclosure or eviction, or others feeling the domestic impact of the war are bringing some visual representation of their struggles.”
Now, I have a great deal of sympathy with all of these causes, but they are not the central issue and EVERYBODY KNOWS IT — except, apparently, the organizers of the march. The central issue is that our government has been “hijacked by a criminal cabal intent on using the hard-earned dollars of the American people for war, occupation, and empire,” as Cynthia McKinney put it succinctly at a peace rally in Munich.
If Cynthia McKinney, and millions of other Americans, have no trouble putting it that way, why couldn’t the organizers of the rally today in Washington do so?
Before you answer that question, here’s another one. Why does Chris Hedges, the son of a preacher and a product of Harvard Divinity School, tell us it’s all over but the praying? That’s his message: Don’t fight back because it’s too dangerous and futile, but keep praying and protesting anyway. We need to keep our spirits alive, “if not for ourselves, then at least for those who follow.” For Hedges, “this is the only victory possible.”
Gimme a friggin break. Maybe that’s what they teach people at the Harvard Divinity School, but it’s a far cry from the David Ray Griffin school of theology, as elaborated in Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 (2006), a book which taught me something that frankly had never occurred to me before — that Jesus was an anti-imperialist revolutionary! I strongly recommend this book to Hedges and also to the numerous readers who commented on his article and found it so consonant with their own views, and thus, I suspect, so comforting. Ah yes, what a pleasure it is to learn from such an eloquent man how futile it is to fight against oppression, to know there is nothing we can do but try to salve our consciences with “tiny acts” of defiance while the world crumbles around us.
This is not the lesson that Jesus taught, nor is it the message of David Griffin or Cynthia McKinney or, to take someone Hedges admires as much as we probably all do, Noam Chomsky. Neither Hedges nor Chomsky questions the official story of 9/11, so neither one of them really quite gets it, but Chomsky is a fighter, and compared to Hedges, a raving optimist. Chomsky thinks we can do what the Bolivians did, and that we can start just by reclaiming our own Constitution — which by now has become a revolutionary concept. None of us are advocating violence. Where did Hedges get this? From Glenn Beck?
Big Bro would like nothing better than for us to think there is nothing we can do to realistically oppose “the psychopathic forces in control of our power systems” except offer “often imperceptible acts of defiance.”
Hedges doesn’t like the way the internet is now, either. It’s too free. He calls it “The Information Super-Sewer” taken over “by corporate interests to accelerate our cultural, political and economic decline.” And the way to fix it is to monetize it, to make people pay for everything they get. That will further “creativity.” Cheezus friggin crispies.
I’ll you what it looks like to me. It looks like Big Brother has Chris Hedges by the balls. Give up the free internet, don’t fight back because we’re helpless, and keep on a-praying and a-protesting because it will make us feel better. (Always good to let off a little steam.) That is Chris Hedges’ message, and I can’t for the life of me see how Crass Sunstein could say it better.
I’ll tell you something else. It looks to me like Big Brother also has the “progressive” organizations by the balls. He knows how to infiltrate activist and progressive groups and steer them into relatively harmless directions — without the majority of the people in those organizations having a clue. He knows that when they tell us “March on Washington for Palestine” instead of “March on Washington to indict Bush, end the phony war on terror, etc.,” they might as well be telling us NOT to march on Washington, for all the impact it will have. He knows that with the help of the internet there could easily be not tens of thousands but millions of Americans at the barricades, and he knows that this must be avoided at all costs because it would mean real trouble for him and the Inner Party.
Big Brother, unlike Chris Hedges, knows that we can and must fight back, with peaceful and legal means, if we want democracy, that we can do it by organizing and demonstrating, and that the internet will help us do it, but he also knows that we cannot and will not do it as long as he, Big Bro, determines the agenda and keeps us convinced of our helplessness.