Tue Jan 17, 2012, 10:46 AM
ProSense (116,464 posts)
Chris Hedges: Ralph Nader Is Tired of Running for President
Ralph Nader Is Tired of Running for President
Posted on Jul 4, 2011
By Chris Hedges
The most important moral and intellectual voices within a disintegrating society are slowly discredited when their nonviolent protests and calls for justice cannot alter intransigent and corrupt systems of power. The repeated acts of peaceful civil disobedience, efforts at electoral and political reform and the fight to protect the rule of law are dismissed as useless by an embittered, dispossessed and betrayed public. The demagogues and hatemongers, the purveyors of violence, easily seduce enraged and bewildered masses in the final stages of collapse with false promises of vengeance, new glory and moral renewal. And in the spiral downward the good among us are reviled as naive and ineffectual fools.
There is no shortage of courageous dissidents in America. They seek to thwart the imperial disasters, looming financial insolvency and suicidal addiction to fossil fuel. They have stood in small knots on street corners week after week, month after month, year after year, to denounce the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have occupied banks, shut down coal-fired power plants, attempted to halt mountaintop removal, interfered with whaling ships and walked in blustery weather to the White House, where they were arrested. They are struggling to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza on a ship called the Audacity of Hope. But because the corporate state and the two major political parties are indifferent to principled calls for reform, and because the mass of the public still buys into the myths of globalization and the American dream, the plundering and destruction continue unimpeded.
When most Americans face the nightmare before us, when they realize the irreversible devastation unleashed on the ecosystem and the economic misery from which they cannot escape, violence will have a broad and terrifying appeal. Those of us who demand a return to the rule of law and remain steadfast to nonviolence will find ourselves cast aside—the useful idiots Lenin so despised. I watched this happen in the social and political implosions in El Salvador, Guatemala, the Palestinian territories, Algeria, Bosnia and Kosovo. I watched the same cocktail of despair, economic collapse and callousness from a corrupt power elite mix itself into potent brews of civil strife. I watched the same untiring efforts by those who detested the violence and cruelty of the state, and the nascent violence and intolerance of the radical opposition. I covered as a reporter the disintegration that tore these societies apart. Those who held fast to moral imperatives, including Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador and Ibrahim Rugova in Kosovo, were thrust aside and replaced with killers on both sides of the divide who embraced violence.
“Wait until October,” Ralph Nader said when we spoke this weekend. “That’s when the budget cuts will hit home. It is one thing to have the governors of Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida and the legislators saying we will cut this and that. We don’t know what will actually happen when the guillotines are put in place. You may have a different kind of surge of public resistance and protest.
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Nader Was Right: Liberals Are Going Nowhere With Obama
Posted on Aug 10, 2009
By Chris Hedges
The American empire has not altered under Barack Obama. It kills as brutally and indiscriminately in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as it did under George W. Bush. It steals from the U.S. treasury to enrich the corporate elite as rapaciously. It will not give us universal health care, abolish the Bush secrecy laws, end torture or “extraordinary rendition,” restore habeas corpus or halt the warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of citizens. It will not push through significant environmental reform, regulate Wall Street or end our relationship with private contractors that provide mercenary armies to fight our imperial wars and produce useless and costly weapons systems.
The sad reality is that all the well-meaning groups and individuals who challenge our permanent war economy and the doctrine of pre-emptive war, who care about sustainable energy, fight for civil liberties and want corporate malfeasance to end, were once again suckered by the Democratic Party. They were had. It is not a new story. The Democrats have been doing this to us since Bill Clinton. It is the same old merry-go-round, only with Obama branding. And if we have not learned by now that the system is broken, that as citizens we do not matter to our political elite, that we live in a corporate state where our welfare and our interests are irrelevant, we are in serious trouble. Our last hope is to step outside of the two-party system and build movements that defy the Democrats and the Republicans. If we fail to do this, we will continue to undergo a corporate coup d’etat in slow motion that will end in feudalism.
We owe Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party an apology. They were right. If a few million of us had had the temerity to stand behind our ideals rather than our illusions and the empty slogans peddled by the Obama campaign, we would have a platform. We forgot that social reform never comes from accommodating the power structure but from frightening it. The Liberty Party, which fought slavery, the suffragists who battled for women’s rights, the labor movement, and the civil rights movement knew that the question was not how do we get good people to rule—those attracted to power tend to be venal mediocrities—but how do we limit the damage the powerful do to us. These mass movements were the engines for social reform, the correctives to our democracy and the true protectors of the rights of citizens. We have surrendered this power. It is vital to reclaim it. Where is the foreclosure movement? Where is the robust universal health care or anti-war movement? Where is the militant movement for sustainable energy?
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ONLY NADER IS RIGHT ON THE ISSUES
by Chris Hedges
Tomorrow I will go to a polling station in Princeton, N.J., and vote for Ralph Nader. I know the tired arguments against a Nader vote. He can’t win. A vote for Nader is a vote for McCain. He threw the election to George W. Bush in 2000. He is an egomaniac.
There is little disagreement among liberals and progressives about the Nader and Obama campaign issues. Nader would win among us in a landslide if this was based on issues. Sen. Barack Obama’s vote to renew the Patriot Act, his votes to continue to fund the Iraq war, his backing of the FISA Reform Act, his craven courting of the Israeli lobby, his support of the death penalty, his refusal to champion universal, single-payer not-for-profit health care for all Americans, his call to increase troop levels and expand the war in Afghanistan, his failure to call for a reduction in the bloated and wasteful defense spending and his lobbying for the huge taxpayer swindle known as the bailout are repugnant to most of us on the left. Nader stands on the other side of all those issues.
So if the argument is not about issues what is it about?
Those on the left who back Obama, although they disagree with much of what he promotes, believe they are choosing the practical over the moral. They see themselves as political realists. They fear John McCain and the Republicans. They believe Obama is better for the country. They are right. Obama is better. He is not John McCain. There will be under Obama marginal improvements for some Americans although the corporate state, as Obama knows, will remain our shadow government and the working class will continue to descend into poverty. Democratic administrations have, at least until Bill Clinton, been more receptive to social programs that provide benefits, better working conditions and higher wages. An Obama presidency, however, will make no difference to those in the Middle East.
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I'm not a fan of people who are Nader voters.
9 replies, 1930 views
Chris Hedges: Ralph Nader Is Tired of Running for President (Original post)
|Liberal Veteran||Jan 2012||#4|
|Warren Stupidity||Jan 2012||#2|
Response to Enrique (Reply #3)
Tue Jan 17, 2012, 10:58 AM
ProSense (116,464 posts)
Last edited Tue Jan 17, 2012, 01:05 PM - Edit history (1)
"in other words Chris Hedges just named Obama in a lawsuit."
...that's actually pretty funny. In other words, Hedges does not support Democrats. His anti anything Democratic isn't unusual. Twisting the facts comes to portray Democrats as the same as Republicans comes natural to Nader's staunchest supporters. It's what they do.
Response to ProSense (Original post)
Tue Jan 17, 2012, 11:31 AM
stockholmer (3,751 posts)
7. I fully expect this to turn into a Nader/Hedges slap-a-round, without any of the core issues they
consistently bring up being addressed. Looking in from the outside (and from the inside when I lived in the US for several years) I see a broken 2-party system. The Democrats and the Republicans have bitter and vicious fights over hot button issues, yet, at the end of the day, for at least the last 40 to 50 years, imperial wars, a profound change in the wealth distribution, falling standards of living (when measured in real constant dollars), a horrid, for-profit health care system that neither extends the life of the citizens nor contains costs to any sane level, a growing police state (both in mentality and huge governmental apparatus), and an utter inability to reign in the systemic control of the banksters (in fact both parties pass legislation that increases their control) are the fruits of this system.
You can put 2 different flavours of frosting on a shite-filled cake, so that a cursory finger poke will seem to yield a profound difference in the type of cake, yet once it is cut open and feasted upon, all you have to sustain yourself on is shite indeed. Meanwhile, anyone who makes a sustained effort to point out this fact is vilified from a multi-dimensional series of schema and attack modalities.
Bottom line: nothing in terms of fundamental positive change will occur until the system collapses from its own weight and is rebuilt . If this collapse is managed by the global banking network (and all that they control- sovereign debt, military, money supply, energy, the MSM, the educational and health systems, etc etc) and the overwhelming weight of the strata in freefall is bourne upon the backs of the 99.99% (yes, 99.99, NOT 99, as a person making 500,000 dollars a year will be washed away in the tide as well) then a true combination of Brave New World and 1984 will rise up to snuff out all the mislead dreams and pied-piper calls that beckoned the country down the path of continuing the illusion of choice between the 2 parties.
The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy.
- Carrol Quigley, Tragedy and Hope (1966)