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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 05:15 AM

Chris Hedges Explains How Entire Regions Within the US Are Treated Like Exploited Colonies

http://www.alternet.org/economy/chris-hedges-explains-how-entire-regions-within-us-are-treated-exploited-colonies




Emanuele: In Chapter One of your new book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, you describe the horrendous conditions endured by the Native American population living in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. This population earns, on average, anywhere from $2,600-$3,500 a year, with 49% of the total population living in official poverty status. However in a broad sense, and to inject a historical context, you describe the systematic destruction of Native culture and society; namely, through the practices of physical termination and cultural genocide. Can you talk about why you began this journey in South Dakota and the importance of recognizing previous national injustices?

Hedges: Well, it's important because that's where the project of limitless expansion and exploitation, especially the plundering of natural resources, began. There you had the timber merchants and the railroad magnates, mine speculators, and land speculators seizing territory on the western plains and exterminated the native populations who resisted. Many of which did not even resist. Then, herding the remnants into what were originally prisoner of war camps, which then finally became tribal residencies and eventually reservations--breaking the natives capacity for self-sufficiency, while creating a culture of dependency. Remember, all of this is for profit. This became the template for which the American Empire expanded: the Philippines, Cuba and all throughout Latin America. And today, places like Iraq and Afghanistan. So that's why we wanted to examine where this ideology first took root; where it was first formed; and what happened to these peoples, because in an age of corporate capitalism, where there are no impediments left, what happened to them, is going to happen to us. In the end, we're all going to be herded on some form of a reservation.


This book is about these "sacrifice zones." Whether its in Pine Ridge, or southern West Virginia in the coal mines, or whether that be urban decay such as Camden, New Jersey, which is per capita the poorest city in the country, and on target this year to be the most dangerous, per capita in the country. As we've reconfigured American society, there's no longer any mechanisms to restrain these forces. And I think the other reason Pine Ridge is important, is because the native communities were structured very differently. People who hoarded and kept everything for themselves were disposed; everything was communal; there was an understanding that all forms of life, including the natural world, were sacred. This is unacceptable in a capitalist society where human and natural life are commodities that you exploit for money until exhaustion or collapse. We see the devastation visited on the western plains now being visited in places like the Arctic, where 40% of the summer sea-ice now melts, and the response is that it's a business opportunity, where people go and slam down half a billion dollar drill bits. It's insanity of course, because in the end, these forces will not only kill us off, but they'll kill themselves off as well. That is the awful logic behind it. I think Pine Ridge provides a window into how this ideology took root, and how it works.

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Reply Chris Hedges Explains How Entire Regions Within the US Are Treated Like Exploited Colonies (Original post)
xchrom Dec 2012 OP
snot Dec 2012 #1
reteachinwi Dec 2012 #2
woo me with science Dec 2012 #3
kworkman Dec 2012 #4
bemildred Dec 2012 #5
xchrom Dec 2012 #6
Blanks Dec 2012 #7
marmar Dec 2012 #8
eppur_se_muova Dec 2012 #9
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #10

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 06:59 AM

1. K&R'd.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:13 AM

2. Wisconsin

 

seems to have been designated a sacrifice zone.
http://wisair.wordpress.com/frac-sand-mining-in-wisconsin/
http://wnpj.org/penokeemine
http://wisconsinprospectors.com/
http://www.wnpj.org/sulfidemining
Mines are being proposed everywhere and an attempt to divert Great Lakes water from its watershed are being discussed.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:17 AM

3. This is an important lesson.

The banks and multinational corporations have already done this to entire countries elsewhere, but because it happened over there, to those people, we have been unable or unwilling to acknowledge it.

We are just beginning to get a taste of what they are willing to inflict in the name of profit.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:36 AM

4. West Virginia Exploited

I live here in good old Southern West Virginia. I cannot agree with you or anyone else more. We have been exploited, and all that that means for many years. Our streams polluted, our lands destroyed, our children dying at a young age. Poverty that makes us look and act as a third world country. Bought Politicians, Counties and Cities with no chance to upgrade to anything because of those in control of local politics. They ain't all Republicans either. However the Repubs down here are truly crazier than hell. I live here because I love this State. We live at the asshole of the world. Of course we could add Eastern Kentucky and South Eastern Ohio into this mix. Also I see no hope of any help from anyone in Washington. Not even our President. The next time you want to write a book just take a visit to your local Veteran's Hospital and take a look around. I'm not talking about the hospitals I'm talking about the Veteran's. What a truly screwed up world we live in. Hell we just elected some guy from New Jersey or somewhere as our Attorney General. Talk about money buying you anything. Now don't get me wrong Judge McGraw ain't no angel but holy hell why elect someone from out of state. Thank you for allowing me to rant about our wonderful State.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:02 AM

5. Not only that, they go out of their way to attract more exploiters. nt

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Response to bemildred (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:28 AM

6. +1

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:59 AM

7. They are only able to do this because...

We spend all of our time bickering. We fight over stupid shit like gun control and abortion; while they plot out demise behind the crowd of fighting peasants.

It doesn't look like we're ever gonna learn.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:50 AM

8. k/r

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:09 PM

9. A great book, thanks for posting this. nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:28 AM

10. +1

 

At one point, Camden was an industrial center: Campbell Soup was made there; RCA Victor was there; the ship yards there, by the middle of the century, employed over 36,000 people--it's all gone. There's nothing. Whole city blocks are abandoned.

And of course people are trapped within these internal colonies, by both the very visible, and not so visible walls of the Prison-Industrial-Complex. So people fall into a kind of despair: the abuse of narcotics and alcohol, in all of these places, was absolutely rampant. In southern West Virginia people would retreat into Oxycontin, or what they call "Hillbilly Heroin." In Camden, on the streets they use a drug called "Wet," which is a mixture of marijuana and PCP; Pine Ridge has an 80% rate of alcoholism. So all of this physical devastation brings with it a kind of human devastation. If they rest of us don't wake up, and begin to resist, the forces that carried out these assaults within these internal colonies, or these sacrifice zones, since they have now been unleashed on the rest of us, we will of course replicate what happened in Biblical terms to our "neighbor."

There has been a failure on the part of the Left in this country to stand up to the assault carried out by both the Democrats, and Republicans. Of course, Clinton was one of the worst: he destroyed the welfare system, which under the original welfare system, 70% of the recipients were children; NAFTA, of course, 1994, the greatest betrayal of working class people in this country since the Taft-Hartley Act of 1948, which makes it difficult to organize.

You know, the Left, or the Liberal-Class, sort of busied itself with the boutique activism of multiculturalism and gender politics--all of which I support--but forgot about the primacy of justice. And because of that, what's happened to our "under-classes," is now happening to the middle-class.

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