The Best Among Us

Posted on Sep 29, 2011

By Chris Hedges

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

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

About MZR

I am a middle aged man trying to be the best person I can become, make a positive difference in our world, while trying to make sense of my life's journey.
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