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Hedges, Nader and the Revolution in Narnia

July 5, 2011

On the article “Ralph Nader is Tired of Running for President” by Chris Hedges:

Philip Berrigan

While I generally like the article, here is Hedges once again hedging.

He mentions the Catholic Priest Phillip Berrigan, but he does not mention that Berrigan was one of the Catonsville 9, who ‘appropriated’ draft records from the Catonsville draft board and publicly burned them with home-made napalm. For this he was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.

Hedges laments “The death of liberal institutions (?) that once made incremental and piecemeal reform possible”, he decries the corruption of both parties, he paradoxically urges that  “We must follow the path Nader forged, attempting to sway enough people with conscience to sever themselves permanently and unequivocally from the mainstream and especially the Democratic Party” while not acknowledging that it is the system that corrupted the parties, not the other way around. Any third party will be as susceptible to corruption as the others. He wisely does not call for an overthrow of the system.

Hedges calls for radical actions with a reformist strategy.  He suggests “building a movement that offers an alternative ideology and vision to that of unfettered capitalism, consumerism, empire and globalization”, but what vanguard will build this movement and with what ideology and vision we do not know.  A vision is not defined by what it is not. According to Hedges, ‘we’ must engage in this strategy in order to preempt the radical “killers on both sides of the divide who embrace[d] violence.”

If only there were some hope of success with this naïve strategy. But there is no ideology (thankfully) and there is no vision. The Catholic heroes of Mr. Hedges (and my) past are long gone and their religious Catholic pacifism long gone with them. There is a great deal of difference between the non-violent strategy of recent regime changes in the Arab Spring and that of a pacifist revolution such as led by Ghandi. Ghandi’s was a revolution aimed at overthrowing the colonial  power. The Arab Spring was (is) an effort at regime change.

I like Mr. Hedges, but I think he needs to clear his head before urging others to risk theirs in pursuit of a goal that cannot be accomplished by the means he espouses.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Debra permalink
    October 23, 2011 1:12 pm

    The little I have read of Hedges leads me to believe that he is an ideologue.
    And that is NOT a compliment in my book…

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