Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Not a "phantom movement", Mr Hedges, it's the crack "letting the light get in"!

I've had mixed feelings about Chris Hedges' writings in the past. My first post about him, in 2010, Chris Hedges, one of America's Rare True Leftists began:
I'm interested to see the natal chart of Chris Hedges, journalist, author, war correspondent, and peace activist. His writing alternately inspires and troubles me. In some of his articles at Truthdig, he comes over as potentially aggressive, paranoid, pessimistic and doom-ridden. Although, I have to say, what he writes aligns very closely to how I'm beginning feel - most of the time - that there is no longer any "proper" leftist thinking left in USA politics.
He comes up again in a 2013 post Rebel? How?

I gave up following Mr Hedges' weekly contributions at a while back, he had become so depressingly negative that I'd started to lose all respect, and felt bad about that. This week, though, I ventured into his latest piece:
Bernie Sanders' Phantom Movement.
Its title didn't bode well for this Bernie supporter! I read it and sighed heavily.

I now have lost remaining respect for this author. I shall refrain from posting the bitchiness (yes, bitchiness) Hedges embeds, however artfully in his piece. At time of writing there are more than 2,880 comments beneath Hedges' article. A fairly small, frequently offensive coterie of Hedges' dyed in the wool fans comment at length, pounce and counter even the mildest of pro-Bernie commentary. There are many comments echoing my own, buried and unloved one, but at least nobody thought mine important enough to jump in to argue and cause an unruly rise in my BP. I've seen observations around the net insisting that many of Senator Sanders' supporters can be abusive to people who disagree with them; I assure you that these Hedges' acolytes are worse - more adamant, rude and supercilious than the group known as "Bernie-bros".

I'm not going to quote any of Hedges' words, his piece is linked above. I will copy- paste a couple of very good comments from the multitude in that long thread. These commenters express my own feelings much better than I ever could:

From "SpecialAgentA"

Nietzsche observed that one should be vigilant about oneself when fighting monsters, as the fight itself can turn one into a monster. Chris Hedges here accuses Bernie Sanders of cowardice for trying to present an argument to the American people through what's left of the democratic system as best he can. This is a pretty remarkable charge, a "low blow" that would make Hillary Clinton proud.

Frankly, given the actual record of Sanders and his effectiveness thus far, Chris Hedges might want to take the beam out of his own eye before trying to take the splinter out of Bernie's. I mean, let's be honest, Sanders is risking his life in publicly taking on the billionaire class, the MIC, the legacy of Kissinger, the oil and gas industries, big pharma, the Iraq debacle, etc. Also, Hedges calls for "open confrontation" and overthrow, as the billionaire class cannot be tamed. Really? What happened in the 1930s? And why would one believe that open confrontation and overthrow would somehow result in a better world? (Ever read about the Russian revolution?)

Isn't the secret story of the last few decades partly that the ultra rich have come to believe that new technologies of media propaganda, surveillance and militarized policing and control make new excesses of greed and inequality possible and sustainable? And if they are right in that (i.e., see Egypt, Arab Spring, or Turkey, etc.), shouldn't America try to break the bonds of corporate control democratically, at the grass roots, instead of by, well, whatever it is that Chris Hedges is calling for?

From where I sit, Sanders has already impacted the larger political discourse, more than Hedges ever has. Presumably, this is a good thing. Of course, as Sanders keeps saying, no President can change things alone and millions would need to get involved to really change things for the better, but Hedges chooses to ignore that essential part of Sanders' argument. Anyway, I don't think he's a coward and I don't think he's wrong to be trying what he is trying, even if it conflicts with whatever vision Hedges has of how change should unfurl.


From "Ed59"

Chris Hedges is a brilliant and courageous advocate for the powerless of this country but sometimes adherence to a very principled analysis can keep someone from being able to take advantage of a timely opportunity to make significant PROGRESS in the right direction.

Sanders has people discussing why the middle class is being crippled and by whom. He is both using the Dem party and simultaneously attacking it by his challenge to the Clinton/DNC machine. I would not dismiss what can be achieved by a Sanders presidency since I also know that gradual progress can turn from quantitative change to a qualitative one - people can be educated and connected to support a real change if not pushed up against a wall. We've seen that from US Marxists that for decades have never contributed to ANY real movement from the 60's onward as they philosophized and "struggled" incestuously over petty squabbles and became unable to achieve anything, remaining disconnected from workers and average humans.

What does Chris suggest - that we should ignore this current possibility to open the eyes of millions to the "system" by not supporting a Sanders who is openly challenging the status quo ? Do we wait for the ideal 3rd party to somehow materialize out of the ether ? Sometimes the "principled" left effectively just circles back around in a circle and ends up achieving the same effect as the worst elements on the right wing or just nothing at all. How can Chris Hedges refuse to work with this opportunity.

Is Sanders a saint - is he a messiah - NO. He is a special man in a special time with a unique chance to contribute to making progressive change - or at least to making people consider that they CAN contribute to real change. Why dump on this movement Chris with nothing more than ultra-leftist exclusivity. Chris - come on - this kind of tear down of Bernie is not of service to the people. Don't let "perfect" be the enemy of good. Chris you know that movements evolve and then can erupt at some point but they have to evolve first. Tell me how you would get from your position to creating a movement that can make all the changes you mention are needed WITHOUT an evolution of the minds of millions people over time - people that at this time are very far from your ideally formed revolutionary self who has all these issues resolved?


mike said...

I find Hedges' essay ambiguous at best. He implies that we sorely need someone like Bernie, then counters his sentiment with the-impossible-dream of our political reality. Hedges' penultimate paragraph, "I am all for a revolution...", is essentially Bernie's platform, but as Hedges indicates, Hedges wants a return to the massive, social upheaval demonstrated in the mid and late 1960's Uranus-Pluto conjunction, or something along the lines of the Bolshevik revolution. We might finally obtain that type of revolution, should a Republican win the presidency! I'll take Bernie's more modest approach and Bernie will be given that opportunity by virtue of my vote, win or lose. I'm struck with Hedges' reductive, parsimonious approach: revolution is better than political discourse and integration.

Is Hedges' implying a vote for Hillary? Trump? Does he infer that we should all take weapons to the streets and cast our votes in blood? It shouldn't be foregone that Hedges is a member of the establishment, a one-percenter himself, and ran into plagiarism accusations a couple of years ago [ ] for a number of appropriated words without annotation in several publications.

I have no idea what Hedges does with his significant income and investments, but it's likely he would lose a larger portion under Bernie's proposals.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I'm disappointed in Hedges, and a little surprised that rather than saying nothing about Bernie's campaign and simply writing about his own ideas, he has to try to dampen down enthusiasm for a candidate who is, as one of the comments I've copied wrote, "risking his life" (and that is no exaggeration) in an effort to awaken the masses to what is, and has been, going on right under their noses for so long. I'd have thought Hedges by now would have realised the value of Senator Sanders' efforts, and tha fact that he is inspiring such a response.

Hedges' far left ideas, as set out in his penultimate paragraph, are not going to materialise - at least not in the USA in this century, if ever (as I said in my own comment). Talk about "phantoms"!

Looking at Hedges' natal chart (in my old post as linked) and Bernie's at,
it's surprising Hedges appears to have so little respect for Sanders. They have two Virgo planets in common at 25 or 26 degrees and 15 degrees (Sun, Jupiter, Neptune).

Don't's a mystery. Could there be some underlying religious antipathy? Sanders is not religious, though Jewish by birth, whereas Hedges is the son of a minister. From the link you provided Hedges doesn't sound like the guy I had him down to be - at all!

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, re idea at the end of your comment - there's that!

LB said...

Twilight ~ I don't know if you're aware or not (???), but according to Chris Hedges was born at 6:08 a.m.:

This places the ruler of his 3rd, Pluto (in Leo), in the 12th square his 3H Vesta-Saturn conjunction in Scorpio. His Saturn is also conjunct Bernie's Ascendant.

I may not agree with everything Chris Hedges says or with all of his methods (plagiarism, intellectual dismissiveness/bullying), but I *do* believe he tries to be a serious voice (Saturn-Vesta) for the oppressed. Interesting how he puts his 3H Saturn square 12H Pluto to work teaching folks in prison. Also as a war correspondent reporting on the devastating effects of our industrial war machine.

He understands and tries to share dark truths about our world ~ something many cheerier (more optimistic) souls would rather not hear. You're probably right, Twilight ~ "Hedges' far left ideas . . . are not going to materialize . . ." Maybe on some level, Chris Hedges knows it too and the truth of it weighs him down.

Twilight said...

LB ~ There's soem doubt about Bernie's time of birth - Astrodienst rated it as DD (dirty data) - but it still could be correct-ish I guess. they had 12 .27 on their site, then delteted it and went back to 12 noon (no time known).

Yes, Chris Hedges has done, and written, much that is admirable in the past. Your thought that it's the fact that he realises his ideals are unreachable in the USA could be propelling him into a kind of mild depressive state. His writings have been quite negative for a long time. For a guy with as much intellect as he obviously has, to not realise that if the kind of perfection he envisages just isn't going to be available, then taking, and supporting that best that is could help - well, I just don't understand.

mike (again) said...

I think Hedges is pissed that Bernie elected to run Democratic ticket rather than as an independent. Hedges highly supports the independent parties and used to write speeches for Ralph Nader. Hedges denigrates Bernie's run as a Democrat in the essay in your link. Hedges is anti-establishment and Bernie has gone to the dark side according to Hedges.

Ralph Nader interviewing Hedges:
"That was the question Ralph Nader asked Chris Hedges on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour.

'Bernie Sanders wants to break up the New York banks, he wants to impose a Wall Street transaction tax, he wants to regulate drug prices, he’s for full Medicare for all — everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital — he wants to get rid of these corporate tax havens, he’s pushing for a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, he wants to stronger labor unions. What’s not to like?' Nader asked Hedges.

'Because he did it within the Democratic establishment,” Hedges said. “He’s lending credibility to a party that is completely corporatized. He has agreed that he will endorse the candidate, which, unless there is some miracle, will probably be Hillary Clinton.'”

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Hmmm - thanks for that, and the link.
How obtuse can the guy get though? That would seem to be the reason for Hedges' dissing of Bernie's campaign, it's also a lesson in how to cut off one's nose to spite one's face, if it truly is the reason!

Had Bernie run as an Independent he'd have been even more thoroughly ignored than he has been - until a few weeks ago. He'd likely not have been on all 50 states' ballots (not on ours in OK for sure). He did consider both options (Indie and Dem)early on - I recall blogging about that.

I think we'd all like to see 3rd, 4th even 5th parties on offer, but it'd have to be in all 50 states. It ain't gonna happen is it? That could only have a chance of happening if the whole electoral system were to be reformed - and that's part of what Bernie hopes to do, or to try to do. Chris Hedges, though highly intelligent, has somehow blinded himself to the most simple facts.

mike (again) said...

Well, it could be astrology at work again! He just completed a Saturn return, with three hits to his natal Saturn in late Scorpio...that same natal Saturn will be hit again very soon, with transiting Mars retrograding, making for three hits. His natal MC, Mars, and Jupiter are currently involved in a transiting Saturn grand square that will be hit three times due to retrograde Saturn...then transiting Mars will do the same. His natal Mercury in first house Libra rules his Gemini MC (career in writing!) and has been involved in the Uranus-Pluto square (T-square for him) he has a natal yod formed with Mercury-Venus sextile and mid-point of Moon-Mars at the apex...the current Uranus-Pluto square sets-off that Mercury-Venus portion of the yod, as has transiting Neptune on his Moon. Much more that can be said about his natal vs transits, but I think he has been under astrological duress for the past several years and will be for the next couple, particularly as the Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune T-square occurs over 2016, which directly hits his natal Mars-Jupiter opposition...then Neptune advances toward his Mars and his natal yod.

It's interesting to note that the transiting Uranus-Pluto square of the past several years, with its inherent T-squares and grand-squares formed by transits, has occurred in his 1st, 4th (transiting Pluto), 7th (transiting Uranus), and 10th houses...the cardinal houses. I suspect his life has been up-ended more than we could know, career vs home and family...self vs relationships.

Chris Hedges may be unglued much like Kanye West...temper tantrums are easier than looking in a mirror.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Wow! that was a thorough run-down of his transits - thank you! He could have been experiencing a mild, constant depressive state for quite some time, I suppose, due to (as LB mentioned above) ideals being out of reach; and made harder to counter due to astrological transits, of which he'll know nothing. He seems not to even want to consider the good that could result from Senator Sanders' efforts, even if he's not the nominee, a lot of good will have come of it in my opinion. He has shown what can be done if someone tries, against all odds. It's as though Hedges simply wants the world to go to Hell in that clichéd hand-basket.