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Everyone,

The space for this Anticapitalist Meetup will be occupied by a review of Chris Hedges' newest book, Death of the Liberal Class.  Hedges is clearly a sympathizer with the Old Left, and thus he counts as someone who is open to alternatives to global capitalism.  The problem here, as with Hedges' other more recent writings, is that his narratives serve largely as explanations of the disappearance of left politics rather than as suggestions for the improvement of politics as it is.  Hedges clearly suggests a solution; yet its perceived improbability leads Hedges to predict disaster.

(photo copyright held by Chris Hedges)

It's easy to be a Chris Hedges fan.  Hedges covered the war in the '80s in El Salvador, as well as the '90s war in Bosnia.  He's not a defender of the capitalist system.  His column in Truthdig is one of the best things on the Internet.  Hedges' anticapitalist cred is established especially well HERE.

I first found this book displayed prominently in the "Current Issues" section of Vroman's Bookstore, a local bookstore in Pasadena, California.  Pasadena (along with its neighbor San Marino), is mentioned on the list of California's 200 highest income zip codes -- so it might be safe to say that a fair portion of the top of the wealth pyramid in California will at least have the chance to be exposed to Chris Hedges.  I view this as a good thing.  I went to school in Pasadena, with students most of whom were far wealthier than I, for a good portion of my life.  Most of my former classmates went on to careers in what Chris Hedges calls the "liberal class."

In "Death of the Liberal Class," Hedges declaims the "liberal class" as having been sold out to the political and economic powers-that-be -- and thus being incapable of resistance.  It's not exactly clear how the "liberal class" functions as a "class" with Hedges -- there's a sentence on page 10 where he refers to "the media, the church, the university, the Democratic Party, the arts, and labor unions -- the pillars of the liberal class -- have been bought off with corporate money".  Thus the "liberal class" is defined broadly, as the liberals, the progressives, the professionals, and the intelligentsia.  A word to the wise: the product description on the Amazon.com page for this book suggests that "The Death of the Liberal Class examines the failure of the liberal class to confront the rise of the corporate state".  If, however, the role of the "liberal class" is to build up this same corporate state, then it's hard to imagine what sort of confrontation the writers at Amazon were imagining.

Amidst all of Hedges' declaiming of the "liberal class" throughout this book, it's likely to be missed that Hedges sees a "function" in the "liberal class."  This is explained at the beginning of this book as follows:

In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve.  It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible.  It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality.  It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue.  It also serves as an attack dog that discredits radical social movements, making the liberal class a useful component within the power elite. (p. 9)

Hedges continues this description with what he sees as the fundamental problem of the liberal class in this era:

But the assault by the corporate state on the democratic state has claimed the liberal class as one of its victims.  Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite.  And reducing the liberal class to courtiers or mandarins, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, shuts off this safety valve and forces discontent to find other outlets that often end in violence.  (p. 9)

Thus the liberal class, for Hedges, no longer offers an alternative politics to that of corporate domination and rampant militarism.  Hedges' prose is of the pattern of historical exposition (of bad history) alternating with vignettes of individual personalities, mostly of those whom the author himself admires, individuals who have taken it upon themselves to stand up for the poor and downtrodden, individuals who have dissented from the ideology of the establishment and incurred its wrath as a result.  Thus throughout this book there are quotations from (and interviews with) various figures, revealing the depth of the sellout and the resultant catastrophe.  Chomsky is brought in for analysis (p. 33), and there are interviews with anonymous sources as to the catastrophe of Afghanistan. (pp. 44-54)  

In the historical interlude of Chapter III (p. 59 et seq.) Hedges tells his version of World War I (accentuating moments of social regression: Hedges sees the war hysteria which accompanied World War I as the beginning of the regime of propaganda and of opinion management on a mass, scientific scale, as well as of America's most distinctly fascist tendencies.).  After this, Hedges retells a discussion about history with playwright and director Karen Malpede (pp. 98-104).  The vignette about Malpede is about the Federal Theater Project of 1938-1939, followed by a discussion of Malpede's own career.  Malpede's own plays, like those of the Federal Theater Project, are deemed out-of-bounds for the liberal class, and so they do not receive much publicity.

Hedges continues his telling of American history beyond Chapter 3, alternating between quotes of historical figures and interviews of living individuals, through to the present moment.  A dramatic moment is in his retelling of when he was asked to deliver the 2003 commencement address at Rockford College, and then booed off of the stage by a slogan-chanting audience for having the temerity to question the war against Iraq.  (pp. 127-130)

Part of Hedges' complaint about the sellout of the "liberal class" has to do with his sense that the liberal class fails "to acknowledge its own powerlessness."  (p. 153)  For Hedges, the liberal class tends to do things which have no political power, like promote "postmodernism" in the universities, and then proclaim that things have been "politicized."  This underdeveloped argument in Hedges' book is actually one of his most powerful arguments -- one can see that political discussion in America today is itself endemically suffused with conversations about things which aren't really political.  Your decision to praise or not to praise Cenk Uygur or Barack Obama, for instance, is not political.  

Along Hedges' lines, I have an anecdote of my own to contribute.  Back in the day, in graduate school at The Ohio State University in the early 1990s, our professors used to beautify our quests (as graduate students) for degrees and eventual tenure-track positions as professors by telling us we were writing about the "politics of culture."  That, I suppose, was to help us feel that what we were doing was "political" while we took classes on a campus largely concerned either with the fortunes of the football team or with the anticipation of Spring Break.  Of course, when the politics of politics does not grant one very much real power as against what Theodor Adorno called the "administered society," or in contradiction of what Kees van der Pijl calls "capitalist discipline," it's hard to grant much authenticity to the idea of the "politics of culture."  I suppose it made a wonderful dissertation, though -- I know mine was approved, at any rate.

At any rate, Hedges' argument about the "liberal class" rests upon a rather controversial version of American history.  For Hedges, there was a "liberal era" of American history (what the historians call the "Progressive Era") which was abruptly terminated by America's entry into World War I, and finished off entirely by McCarthyism after World War II.  (If you'd like to dig deeper into this controversy, I can recommend Sheldon Stromquist's Reinventing "The People," or Gabriel Kolko's The Triumph of Conservatism.)  At any rate, when America failed to support those who imagined alternatives to capitalism, Hedges saw the demise of the liberal class.

Hedges doesn't seem to think anything of the "New Left" revolts of the '60s in this regard; he judges them as narcissistic.  Generally I find this depiction of history to be a bit too neat; yet its obvious moral power shines through quite brightly.  His verdict on 20th century American history is that it marks the sellout of the "liberal class" to the corporations and the US government which they completely dominate.  There is no hope in the system for Hedges anymore.  Real social change will come from outside.  Survivalist tactics may allow for survival: "If we build small, self-contained structures, ones that do as little harm as possible to the environment, we can perhaps weather the collapse" (p. 205).  Civilization is likely to cave in at some point, and everyone is sitting around like sheep just waiting for it to happen.

Once credit dries up for the average citizen, once massive joblessness creates a permanent and enraged underclass, once the cheap manufactured goods that are the opiates of our commodity culture vanish, once water and soil become too polluted or degraded to sustain pockets of human life, we will probably evolve into a system that closely resembles classical totalitarianism, characterized by despotic fiefdoms.  (p. 201)

Hedges also notes, in a rather apropos fashion, the enormous buildup of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere, and the predictions of climate disaster which have accompanied said gases.

In the second-to-last chapter of this book, titled "Liberal Defectors," Hedges lists a series of cultural heroes: Sydney Schanberg, Richard Goldstone, Norman Finkelstein, Dorothy Day, Daniel Berrigan, I.F. Stone, Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X.  These are people who fought (and fight) for average people, and against capitalism, racism, war, oppression.  Cultural heroes, of course, cannot save the culture; we run into trouble when we substitute heroes for genuine transformation because heroes are typically revered rather than being imitated.

Obviously what is redemptive about Hedges' discussions of history and of society is the reflection upon what a huge gap remains between notions of social progress and the state of society today.  The fact that it is accompanied by moral praise for the doing of good is helpful as well.  Thus while Hedges' book is recommended, and helpful (if it isn't just cherry-picked for the sake of a gratuitous swipe at "liberals,") its lopsided emphasis upon "problem" might lead us to seek "solution" in greater detail.

Originally posted to Cassiodorus on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:00 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My special guest had technical difficulties (27+ / 0-)

    so here I am!

    Also: who wants to do next week's meetup diary?

    "Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-my-own-grandpa." -- Professor Farnsworth, in Futurama

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:00:11 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this review (6+ / 0-)

    lots to thinkabout..

    this

    Sydney Schanberg, Richard Goldstone, Norman Finkelstein, Dorothy Day, Daniel Berrigan, I.F. Stone, Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X.  These are people who fought (and fight) for average people, and against capitalism, racism, war, oppression.  Cultural heroes, of course, cannot save the culture; we run into trouble when we substitute heroes for genuine transformation because heroes are typically revered rather than being imitated.

    of course some of these people lead social movements of amny people that did  contribute to some change -- mostly uncompleted, but certainly the return of mass action as opposed to football watching would help..

    ho do we get there??

    media debt over-work and the fear of something to lose stand in the way

    "....while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." Eugene V. Debs

    by soothsayer99 on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:18:43 PM PST

  •  Another Hedges' "defector" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus, lams712

    Hedges wrote a nice piece recently about someone else from the Buckeye State: Staughton and Alice Lynd--

    Heroes of the Beaten, the Foreclosed on, the Imprisoned

  •  We are looking for a diarist for next week. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus, lams712, soothsayer99

    Comment below or email me if available.

  •  What kind of "structures?" (4+ / 0-)

    Literal or figurative?

    Survivalist tactics may allow for survival: "If we build small, self-contained structures, ones that do as little harm as possible to the environment, we can perhaps weather the collapse" (p. 205).

    If literal, does Hedges have a particular hut design in mind?  ;)

    •  Probably not goinsouth. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, artisan, soothsayer99

      I think Hedges is just trying to dramatize the evident possibility of collapse there.

      "Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-my-own-grandpa." -- Professor Farnsworth, in Futurama

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:27:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I haven't read his book, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus, goinsouth, soothsayer99

        in fact I rarely read him at all. I find his narrative to be well nigh irrefutable and totally depressing. When I can pull myself out of the depression, I concentrate my efforts on doing what he suggests, building a small, self contained structure, insulated from the coming collapse as much as possible. I am throwing in with some friends working on a sustainable farm. I also have a business that caters, almost exclusively, to the filthy rich top 1%.

        •  It's important -- (6+ / 0-)

          that we recognize the depths to which we've fallen.  Just two years ago, progressives believed that they could elect someone who could fulfill promises of "hope" and "change" after twenty years of voting for neoliberals: Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry.  Hedges perhaps serves as a reminder to many that a history-free view of politics will, at best, stumble on the realities of corporate governance.

          "Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-my-own-grandpa." -- Professor Farnsworth, in Futurama

          by Cassiodorus on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:37:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a video interview of Hedges (10+ / 0-)

    from Gritt TV where he discusses Death of the Liberal Class

    Thanks much for the great review. I have always appreciated Hedge's work.

    The price of empire is America's soul, and that price is too high. ~JWF

    by cosmic debris on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:26:46 PM PST

  •  It's not a new revelation (5+ / 0-)

    that after a period in development when the liberal bourgeoisie plays a positive, progressive role, but once it assumes of enters into the hegemonic role, that progressive element of its social character ends.  Not to say I don't enjoy reading Hedges, I do, but this is Old Man in the British Museum 101.

    American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:38:02 PM PST

    •  I think Kees van der Pijl is good for this. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goinsouth, soothsayer99

      I've reviewed at least three of his books here -- the idea of the "intelligentsia" as a special "managerial" class, faithful both to some sort of adequate management of the world while at the same time dependent upon bourgeois paymasters, is well-discussed in Transnational Classes and International Relations...  The problem as seen from that perspective is that the intelligentsia have distinctly failed to do any real managing as against the current, neoliberal phase of the capitalist system, which perverts all of managerial life to its ends.

      "Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-my-own-grandpa." -- Professor Farnsworth, in Futurama

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:48:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  b/c managers aren't supposed to make decisions (4+ / 0-)

        They're white-collar enforcers; their job is to maintain compliance with behavioral codes and production procedures.  The true decision-makers are invisible to the average person: the "mind of its own" that the system appears to have that causes things to go on much as before even as the false decision-makers at the top of the managerial class come and go.

        Any strategy for socio-economic transformation that depends on the managerial class is doomed to failure.  The best they can do is thwart all change - positive or otherwise - until the system runs right off a cliff.  The decision-makers themselves of course don't want anything to change except to become a more efficient instrument of exploitation, which still knocks their weakest members down into the managerial class or lower, because they have nowhere to go but down.

        The real lesson here is change cannot come from above, except to make things worse, because any such change will invariably serve to advance the interests of the ruling class.  Likewise the system is by this point so brittle and hostile to our values and goals that any meaningful change can only destroy it outright.

  •  It is quite depressing to think how far..... (5+ / 0-)

    ..."liberalism" has drifted to the right. From our healthcare "reform", to the potential dismantling of Social Security and Medicare, what was once unheard of by conservatives and few decades ago are now accepetable by today's "libreals".

    "...if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine...." {-8.13;-5.59}

    by lams712 on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:51:48 PM PST

    •  Liberals haven't drifted, have they? (3+ / 0-)

      Sincerely, we've been kvetching about liberals-as-bourgeoisie (and rightly so, in my humble view) since just past the industrial revolution. Liberals have never upheld the kinds of values a good Democracy needs, in that the focus on personal over the social is ultimately a bit alarming. So much of that narcissism spills out into these increasingly "me and mine" oriented ideas. Still, we do need to work with Liberals -- I think. Although yes, it's scary (scary as it's ever been) to consider some of their ethics.

      I'm kind of in hardline Marxist mode today, but that's probably because these "liberals" are tedious. They're ready to give up on their own party, yet have no viable, better alternative to turn to. They're willing to move rightward -- intentionally or simply by default -- in the name, not of ideology it would seem, but of personal ire toward their own internecine turf wars and personal pissing matches. It's a serious failure to look at the big picture, and again, and increasingly level of motion away from large scale social good toward privileged positions of "what do I really want?"

      "Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted." -- MLK Jr.

      by mahakali overdrive on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:04:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In agreement. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive, soothsayer99

        My rule of thumb from way back has been, work with the liberals (even post on their blogs!) but don't cry when they turn on you (troll-rate you, OMG!) because they will, it's who they are - something the Hedges of this world have a hard time figuring out.  But it's important to help your friends and allies to draw the distinction, so that they vote with their eyes open, and with their backs watched - it avoids disappointment at midterm.

        As to your point about selfishness and internecine squabbles, I'll pass on that, since Marxist groups aren't exactly precisely immune to that. Interesting that Hedges should mention Dwight MacDonald in the interview, who wrote some great stuff about internecine fights on the Left.

         

        Must. Crush. Capitalism. Grrr.

        by Quill Mike Eat Brains on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:28:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is the European definition of 'liberal' (4+ / 0-)

        In Europe, the people called "liberals" are the free-market crowd - the bourgeoisie, or burghers in German, both otherwise known as townspeople - who did not fit into the old feudal agrarian economy and chafed against the subservient role that was allowed them. Historically they did indeed support the fundamental freedoms, equality before the law, and Enlightenment rationalism, but the roots of their modern-day free market ideology is found in their opposition to the guilds.  When they succeeded in their goals, half of them become modern-day conservatives (historical "throne and altar" conservatism is effectively dead), while the other half wanted to keep going and eventually became socialists.

        The United States was founded about this time, so historical European-style liberalism is the conservative position here.  We were never monarchists on this side of the pond, and anyways the free marketeers eventually took control of Britain and built its empire as a source of raw materials and captive consumers.  The people that Americans call "liberals" have never been members of the bourgeoisie, except if they are its college-age children. In Europe, they're called "social democrats" or before the collapse of the USSR were orthodox socialists and communists.

        •  Uh? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassiodorus, mahakali overdrive

          The people that Americans call "liberals" have never been members of the bourgeoisie...

          Put it another way, the bourgeoisie, by definition (okay, it's Alexandre Kojève’s, so that means it's widely adopted in European left thought, and it has a solid philosophical foundation going back to Kant and Hegel) is that class which is inwardly split in terms of its political allegiance and its class and culture interests - as they say of French voters, their hearts are on the left but their wallets are on the right, and there's plenty of room to navigate within that paradigm. As Marx put it (at the beginning of Eighteenth Brumaire, which is very much about the practical problem of working-class alliances with the bourgeoisie, just as Hedges is), they hide from themselves the meaning of their own struggles.

          Must. Crush. Capitalism. Grrr.

          by Quill Mike Eat Brains on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:58:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If this is how you define "bourgeois" (3+ / 0-)

            then how do you define the owning class?  I've always taken "bourgeois" to mean owning class and vice versa.

            "Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-my-own-grandpa." -- Professor Farnsworth, in Futurama

            by Cassiodorus on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:10:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Does "ownership" (3+ / 0-)

              assign a person to a class? That's where you get into the question, "ownership" of what? Or maybe Marx would have answered that this is already thinking backwards from Locke's mystification of "property" as some kind of unalterable essence. Ownership is not control for purposes of production, which is where the rubber hits the road.

              Not to sound too theoretical, I would suggest that the question of control of the productive forces helps to define what a "liberal" is(or a bourgeois, who cares)in all of Hedge's senses, cultural, political, economic. Rather, it's the loss of control of certain specific productive forces at this particular point in time that defines Hedges' liberal class.

              Must. Crush. Capitalism. Grrr.

              by Quill Mike Eat Brains on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:23:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Rather -- (2+ / 0-)

                it's the General Formula for Capital as defined in Chapter 4 of Volume 1 of Capital which offers the ultimate distinction between the classes.  The owning classes "make a living" by moving money around whereas the working classes make a living off of the wages received for their labor-power.

                Any other definition would confuse the issue of exploitation.  "Ownership" doesn't have to be control by this notion as long as it offers the benefits of exploitation.

                When Hedges writes of the "liberal class," he seems to be reaching at the idea of the managerial class, which is well established in the literature.

                "Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-my-own-grandpa." -- Professor Farnsworth, in Futurama

                by Cassiodorus on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:39:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  My point is that what was once considered..... (2+ / 0-)

        ....acceptable or "on the table" a few decades ago have shifted to the point where the "liberal" position today is more conservative than the original conservative position. Health care reform is a good example. Look at Nixon's plan in the early 1970s and compare with what Bill Clinton propsed in 1994 and compare that to what was passed this past year.

        It seems like no matter what issue is named, the "liberal" position of today is more right-wing than it was years ago.

        "...if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine...." {-8.13;-5.59}

        by lams712 on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:50:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have a bit of food to deliver now (4+ / 0-)

    Will be back later!

    "Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-my-own-grandpa." -- Professor Farnsworth, in Futurama

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:54:28 PM PST

  •  This just in. (5+ / 0-)

    And it's quite relevant to this diary. Athens today (as well as Thessaloniki) had the largest demonstrations against the Government austerity measures since May: 50,000 or so in Athens, perhaps considerably more.

    The odd thing is, the marchers forcibly ejected the social-democrat groups from the march - there's a curious picture of a long row of security forces for the march facing away from the police and facing down interlopers of all stripes. It's as if somebody held a march on Washington and told the liberals and Democrats to stay away.

    Must. Crush. Capitalism. Grrr.

    by Quill Mike Eat Brains on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 04:40:55 PM PST

  •  Hi there, love this topic. Wonder if we can have (4+ / 0-)

    a series like Inequality KOS, or LGBT KOS.

    I rarely am online when this topic is up and pleasantly surprised today to be in here. I am waiting for this book in the queue and am way down in the list at my library system. However, I read an essay by Hedges under the same topic. I posted this as a comment in one of Badabing's classy rant diary quoting Hedges article :

    Liberalism is dead because liberals have essentially surrendered by letting themselves co-opted by conservatives. National security? check. Education Deform? check. Deficit hysteria? check and so the list goes on and on. When liberalism embraces conservtism/neo-liberalism it sure becomes irrelevant.

    I am not sure if the Dem party can be reformed. We need a revolution. Check this out :
    http://www.masspartyoflabor.org/

    I attended a handful of meetings in my neck of the woods. It was fascinating to learn about the Farmer-Labor party of MN which was then co-opted by the Dems (today Dem party is called DFL in MN, though there is hardly any FL element visible).

  •  Awesome diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus, soothsayer99

    Handily tipped and wholeheartedly rec'd.

    "Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted." -- MLK Jr.

    by mahakali overdrive on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 04:54:33 PM PST

  •  Thanks for Diary & Link To "Why I am a Socialist" (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the post and for the link to Hedges'"Why I am a Socialist".  His two page essay is a well-written summary of the evils of capitalism.  But, based on your review, I think I would be less satisfied by his "Death of the Liberal Class".

    I'm positively confounded by your report on his definition of "liberal class":

    there's a sentence on page 10 where he refers to "the media, the church, the university, the Democratic Party, the arts, and labor unions -- the pillars of the liberal class

    There have been liberal intellectuals connected with all those groups, but none seem to me to even approximate a separate "class", and none held anything like real political and economic power at all.

    Traditionally, the labor unions represented the working class, a term which has virtually disappeared in the U.S. Now, all the workers, blue and white collar, are referred to as Middle Class.  Maybe its because most of our factory jobs have been sent to China and parts East, but I rather think its because the capitalist class, which has always had the real political power (and who own all the media) think that by burying the term "working class" they are also burying from consciousness the class struggle.

    The Middle Class used to be the small shop owners (and where have all the small shops gone? Now working at Walmart and Target?), the technicians (all our computer programmers and low level techs have seen their jobs fly East too), and college and university professors (whose jobs have been down-sourced to poorly paid teaching assistants), while the journalists who are not internet-sabe, are now advertising copy-writers or lobbyists'assistants leaving only a handful at the formerly "liberal" New York Times.

    So with the de-employment of both the factory workers and the traditional middle class, we are left with the Walmart, Target and McDonald's class, along with the still resilient bar and restaurant workers whose jobs are safe from out-sourcing. Virtually all the above workers are now, however, comprising the vast impoverished class.

    Perhaps Hedges was really mourning the demise of the liberal intelligentsia. Lord knows there are few of them left. (And today we learn of the death of Chalmers Johnson, a major, major loss.)

    Production capitalism has eaten all its prime consumers in the U.S., so now it looking East for replacements for them too. Finance capitalists are at their zenith of fraudulent depravity, but it is unsustainable. Following the dialectic of history, we must look for change, not from a liberal class un-connected with the real economy, but from those who are most directly affected by the current capitalist crisis, the impoverished.  It is from that class that the new ideas will come.  

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

    by Justina on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:36:57 PM PST

    •  Really well stated (3+ / 0-)

      IMHO. I agree about the point regarding a liberal intelligentsia, and the shifting class structure, and think this is what I was trying to articulate somewhere above.

      Even University Professors are often poorly paid these days, particularly in any non-capitalist-oriented field; my husband and I are both academics and we could only be called truly working class. With the shift in the production of capital at the Universities, moreover, based on the whole notion and move toward consumer-driven produce, ie. "excellence," rather than "education," we've structurally been reoriented into a very different class as we no longer have any true affiliation -- let alone production -- over that product which the University is most interested in producing: degrees, not educated students.

      I'm less articulate than usual due to a horrible head cold and being overworked, so I apologize and hope this made some sense.

      "Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted." -- MLK Jr.

      by mahakali overdrive on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 10:15:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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