The Coming Climate Revolt?

24 09 2014

Chris Hedges, well known Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, was part of a panel on the Saturday before the 300,000+ march in New York at which the discussion titled “The Climate Crisis: Which Way Out?” occurred…  The other panelists were Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Kshama Sawant and Sen. Bernie Sanders. The event was taped, and some of what was said can be heard here:

“We have undergone a transformation during the last few decades—what John Ralston Saul calls a corporate coup d’état in slow motion. We are no longer a capitalist democracy endowed with a functioning liberal class that once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible” writes Hedges at TruthDig.

We are governed, rather, by a species of corporate totalitarianism, or what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin describes as “inverted totalitarianism.” By this Wolin means a system where corporate power, while it purports to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution, the three branches of government and a free press, along with the iconography and language of American patriotism, has in fact seized all the important levers of power to render the citizen impotent.

The old liberal class, the safety valve that addressed grievances and injustices in times of economic or political distress, has been neutered. There are self-identified liberals, including Barack Obama, who continue to speak in the old language of liberalism but serve corporate power.

Chris Hedges further states during the above mentioned panel discussion:

I think everybody on the panel supports them, including the Flood Wall Street event that I know Naomi and I will be at on Monday morning. We have to understand that the corporate state, including the Democratic elite, will react the way all calcified states react. They will use the security and surveillance apparatus, they will use military police forces and, under Section 1021 of the National Defence Authorization Act, the military itself, to violently shut down dissent by force. We saw it in Occupy, the legal and organizational mechanisms that are now in place to, with the flip of a switch, put this nation instantly under martial law. And when acts of mass civil disobedience begin on Monday, including with Flood Wall Street, and later Occupy the UN, I am almost certain that the face of the corporate state, as it did during the Occupy movement, will reveal itself. If the response of the corporate state is repression rather than reform, then our strategy and our tactics must be different. We will have to cease appealing to the system. We will have to view the state, including the Democratic establishment, as antagonistic to genuine reform, and we will have to speak in the language of overthrow and revolution.

Are the gloves finally coming off?  Will people revolt against the corporatacrocy?

I also found it interesting that whilst the panelists’ hears are all the right place, they still live in the ignorance of what the future holds.  Naomi Klein, whom I mostly admire, don’t get me wrong, spouts “how are we supposed to respond to a crisis that requires that we invest massively in the public sphere, when all we hear is that we have to cut back, when we need to invest massively in public transit? So we know what to do, but we are locked within an ideological system that tells us that we can’t.”  She wants austerity to end…….  Hello?  Austerity is the only thing the future holds.

McKibben says…..

“what really comes next for climate justice is an awful lot of pain and suffering for an awful lot of people. We’ve already raised the temperature one degree Celsius. We’re going to go to two degrees Celsius almost no matter what we do, it looks like. And on current trajectory, we’re going to raise the temperature of the planet four or five degrees Celsius, eight or nine degrees Fahrenheit, before this century is out. And if that happens, if we allow anything like that to happen, then we will have created not just the greatest crisis in human civilization–we may already be there–but the most profoundly unjust thing that has ever happened on this planet. The people who will suffer, are already suffering most and hardest, are those who did the least to cause this problem.”

But I wonder if he realises just what sort of pain is coming.  I doubt that he thinks a whole lot of people will end up starving and without solar panels to keep their lights on and the beer cold.  We certainly live in interesting times….



8 responses

24 09 2014

just when it appeared you and others may come to your senses??

24 09 2014

I’m not following you Bev… Can you elaborate on who and what senses you are referring to?

24 09 2014

i doubt if there will be any serious revolution in australia as most of us are still too comfortable, too unaware, and still addicted. sudden shocks are what will wake most people up – e.g. no electricity, no town water, and worst of all, no cappuccinos! no food will also cause a reaction.

24 09 2014

With Peak ALL Liquid fuels due to arrive at the end of this year, it might be sooner than later when people finally come to realise they’ve been conned…..

24 09 2014

I hope so. We need to kick the corps out.

24 09 2014

Mike, thanks for posting Chris Hedges’ comments on where the power lies, who controls the levers of power, and, as a result of the former two, how the corporate state reacts, and will continue to react, to threats to its power base. We need to understand that this is the situation existing in Australia and that it is right now being cemented in place, brick by brick, in the national parliament.

24 09 2014

Maybe I am wrong but watching these sorts of things give me so little hope. These feel to me to be fixes that might have helped 20 years ago. It’s all too little too late. Time to learn to do without the fridge and the coffee and the supermarket and the car and the pharmacist and eBay and and and…

26 09 2014

“But I wonder if he realises just what sort of pain is coming. I doubt that he thinks a whole lot of people will end up starving and without solar panels to keep their lights on and the beer cold.”

It does seem typical of the current progressive climate movement to worry about the fate of the 3rd world – those who have done the least to cause our current crisis. No doubt the thin margins of 3rd-world life have little built-in resilience and many in the 3rd-world are already suffering from climate disruption. But my guess is that many in the 3rd-world will do better than those in the 1st-world – who has chickens in the yard and who needs to go to the supermarket to get chickens from a refrigerated container? It’s bewildering why so many seem to think complexity engenders resilience when the opposite is true. 1st-worlder’s are far more fragile than many in the 3rd-world who have their physical hands on the levers of sustenance and production.

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