A conversation with Chris Hedges and Cornel West, 2 of our best current day thinkers, at the New School on Oct 14th to discuss Chris Hedges’ recent book, Wages of Rebellion, who has long described the demise of our society. Together they investigate the social/psychological factors that bring rise to revolution, rebellion and resistance.
Chris Hedges began by talking about some of his writings, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, and the “Great predatory campaign of corporate capitalism”. The “sacrifice zones” like “Camden, N.J. per capital, the poorest city in the United States” also Pine Ridge, South Dakota, “where the average life expectancy of a male is 48, the lowest in the western hemisphere outside of Haiti”. Hedges went on to talk about the produce fields in Florida where there is a “long History of slavery going all the way way to the terpentine camps and ‘convict leasing’ and you’re running into today, they will uncover, they’ve interviewed people who’ve been chained at night in trucks, undocumented workers primarily from Central America”.
“Most rebels in history do not succeed”, Hedges went on, “In moments when order breaks down, liberalism becomes too intellectual, too ineffectual, to weak a force to counter these totalitarian despotic forces that rise up, that those who rise up are endowed with this quality of sublime madness” referring to the book, the Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H Cone. “Accept the forces that are raid against us, not to be blind about their destructive fury and their danger and yet, Rise up and resist anyway”. A good way to commence the discussion.
“We live in catastrophic times”, Cornel West began after thanking Hedges and calling him one of the “most prophetic figures of our time, especially when everyone is for sale, everything is for sale, he refuses to sell his soul”. West brought up W.E.B. Du Bois who posed the questions; “How shall integrity face oppression? What does honesty do in the face of deception? What does decency do in the face of insult? How does virtue meet brute force?.”
“The fundamental question of anybody who’s concerned about the social misery and the social induced forms of suffering is, “What kind of a human being are you going to choose to be in your brief trip from your Mama’s womb to tomb?”.
“My father gave me the understanding that you’re not rewarded for virtue, virtue itself is it’s own reward, doing what’s right, making a moral choice has a cost and if it doesn’t have a cost it’s probably not much of a moral choice”.
Hedges went on to tell the audience about being given a formal written reprimanded for speaking out against the Iraq war while being the Middle East bureau chief at the NY Times for 15 years and being booed off stage during a commencement at Rockford College.
“My father gave me freedom, I didn’t need the NY Times to tell me who I was, I knew who I was, I was my father’s son”.
First video of the talk that will lead to the others,,
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