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Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Best Among Us

The Best Among Us

By Chris Hedges
Truthdig.com
October 06, 2011

There are no excuses left.

Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the
financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand
on the wrong side of history.

Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil
disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street
and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the
human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil.

Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy.

Either you are a rebel or a slave.

To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means
nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor
and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger,
where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the
only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer
exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity
to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to
be complicit in this radical evil.

To stand on the sidelines and say “I am innocent” is to bear the
mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak,
the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet.

To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal. Ask Tim DeChristopher.

Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are
determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you.
They are terrified this will spread.

They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets.

They have their metal barricades set up on every single street
leading into the New York financial district, where the mandarins
in Brooks Brothers suits use your money, money they stole from
you, to gamble and speculate and gorge themselves while one in
four children outside those barricades depend on food stamps to eat.

Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today they run the state and the financial markets. They disseminate the lies that pollute our airwaves.

They know, even better than you, how pervasive the corruption and theft have become, how gamed the system is against you, how corporations have cemented into place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequious cadre of politicians, judges and journalists who live in their little gated Versailles while 6 million Americans are thrown out of their homes, a number soon to rise to 10 million, where a million people a year go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of proper care, where real joblessness is spiraling to over 20 percent, where the citizens, including students, spend lives toiling in debt peonage, working dead-end jobs, when they have jobs, a world devoid of hope, a world of masters and serfs.

The only word these corporations know is more.

They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves.

Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in
the street.

Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear.

Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs.

Let the prison system, the largest in the industrial world, expand to swallow up all potential dissenters.

Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, firefighters, postal employees and social workers join the ranks of the unemployed.

Let the roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail lines, subways, bus services, schools and libraries crumble or close.

Let the rising temperatures of the planet, the freak weather patterns, the hurricanes, the droughts, the flooding, the tornadoes, the melting polar ice caps, the poisoned water systems, the polluted air increase until the species dies.

Who the hell cares?

If the stocks of ExxonMobil or the coal industry or Goldman Sachs
are high, life is good. Profit. Profit. Profit. That is what they chant
behind those metal barricades.

They have their fangs deep into your necks. If you do not shake them off very, very soon they will kill you. And they will kill the ecosystem, dooming your children and your children’s children.

They are too stupid and too blind to see that they will perish with
the rest of us.

So either you rise up and supplant them, either you dismantle the corporate state, for a world of sanity, a world where we no longer kneel before the absurd idea that the demands of financial markets should govern human behavior, or we are frog-marched toward self-annihilation.

Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope.

They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith.

They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible.

They have tasted fear, been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded by
pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, laughed, sung, talked too
long in general assemblies, seen their chants drift upward to the
office towers above them, wondered if it is worth it, if anyone
cares, if they will win.

But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth.

This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.


Chris Hedges, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent
in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has
reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for National
Public Radio, The Christian Science Monitor, The Dallas Morning
News and The New York Times.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_best_among_us_20110
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