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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 The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper's coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. The Los Angeles Press Club honored Hedges' original columns in Truthdig by naming the author the Online Journalist of the Year in 2009, and granted him the Best Online Column award in 2010 for his Truthdig essay "One Day We'll All Be Terrorists."
Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City and has taught at Columbia University, New York University and Princeton University. He currently teaches inmates at a correctional facility in New Jersey.
Hedges began his career reporting the war in El Salvador. Following six years in Latin America, he took time off to study Arabic and then went to Jerusalem and later Cairo. He spent seven years in the Middle East, most of them as the bureau chief there for The New York Times. He left the Middle East in 1995 for Sarajevo to cover the war in Bosnia and later reported the war in Kosovo. Afterward, he joined the Times' investigative team and was based in Paris to cover al-Qaida. He left the Times after being issued a formal reprimand for denouncing the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq.
He has written nine books, including "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle" (2009), "I Don't Believe in Atheists" (2008) and the best-selling "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" (2008). His book "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. His latest book is "Death of the Liberal Class" (2010)
Hedges holds a B.A. in English literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif. Hedges speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and knows ancient Greek and Latin. In addition to writing a weekly original column for Truthdig, he has written for Harper's Magazine, The New Statesman, The New York Review of Books, Adbusters, Granta, Foreign Affairs and other publications.
Israel Is Captive to Its 'Destructive Process'
There will never be transports or extermination camps for the Palestinians, but amid increasing violence against Palestinians larger and larger numbers of them will die, in airstrikes, targeted assassinations and other armed attacks. Hunger and misery will expand. Israeli demands for "transfer"--the forced expulsion of Palestinians from occupied territory to neighboring countries--will grow.
Saturday, October 13, 2018(4 comments)
It is 8 a.m. I am in the small offices of Street Roots, a weekly newspaper that prints 10,000 copies per edition. Those who sell the newspaper on the streets--all of them victims of extreme poverty and half of them homeless--have gathered before heading out with their bundles to spend hours in the cold and rain.
Sunday, July 15, 2018(3 comments)
The War on Assange Is a War on Press Freedom
It is up to us to mobilize to protect Assange. His life is in jeopardy. The Ecuadorean government, violating his fundamental rights, has transformed his asylum into a form of incarceration. By cutting off his access to the internet, it has deprived him of the ability to communicate and follow world events. If we fail to protect Assange, we fail to protect ourselves.
Sunday, July 8, 2018(12 comments)
The Con of Diversity
Diversity in the hands of the white power elites -- political and corporate -- is an advertising gimmick. A new face, a brand, gets pushed out front, accompanied by the lavish financial rewards that come with serving the white power structure, as long as the game is played.
Monday, July 2, 2018(23 comments)
America the Failed State
The two political parties are one party -- the corporate party. They do not debate substantive issues. They each support the expansion of imperial wars, the bloated military budget, the dictates of global capitalism, the bailing out of Wall Street, punishing austerity measures, assaulting basic civil liberties through wholesale government surveillance and the abolition of due process.
Sunday, June 24, 2018(5 comments)
The Soldier's Tale
Spenser Rapone, a second lieutenant, was given an "other than honorable" discharge June 18 for engaging in "conduct unbecoming an officer." He said, "I was blindly following orders. I was inflicting violence on the poorest people on earth. How is there any morality in that?"
Sunday, June 17, 2018(20 comments)
Et Tu, Bernie?
The Democratic Party elites have been refining the mechanisms and exclusionary rules since the presidential election, along with purging the party of progressives, to ensure that an insurgent candidate like Sanders will never get close to the nomination. Sanders, no doubt, thinks he can overcome these obstacles by being obedient to the party hierarchy. This is a terrible miscalculation.
Sunday, June 10, 2018(5 comments)
The warmongers have no more of a plan for "regime change" in Iran than they had in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria. European allies, whom Trump alienated when he walked away from the Iranian nuclear agreement, are in no mood to cooperate with Washington.
Sunday, June 3, 2018(2 comments)
The Second Sight of W.E.B. Du Bois
Du Bois knew that the market economy was designed to make the weak weaker and the strong stronger. The idea that a class of black capitalists and entrepreneurs, or black politicians such as Barack Obama, would somehow rectify social and racial inequality within capitalism was absurd. By silencing the voices of the oppressed, we ensure our own oppression.
Sunday, May 27, 2018(1 comments)
Teaching "Les Misérables" in Prison
Hugo was aware that there are some who cannot be redeemed. They are incapable of empathy or remorse. They are driven by greed and ambition. They take a perverse joy in inflicting suffering on others. They are capable only of deceit. These people must be kept at bay.
Sunday, May 20, 2018(28 comments)
The Coming Collapse
Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny.
Sunday, May 13, 2018(18 comments)
Israel's blockade of Gaza -- where trapped Palestinians for the past seven weeks have held nonviolent protests along the border fence with Israel, resulting in more than 50 killed and 700 wounded by Israeli troops -- is one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters.
Monday, May 7, 2018(6 comments)
The Danger of Leadership Cults
The building of consciousness and mass organizations will not be quick. But these mass movements cannot become public until they are strong enough to carry out sustained actions, including civil disobedience and campaigns of noncooperation. The response by the state will be vicious. Without a dedicated and organized base we will not succeed.
Monday, April 30, 2018(3 comments)
The Crime of Being Poor and Black
Mountainview staff, students, professors and families gathered Friday at Rutgers' Newark campus to speak of the struggles and hardships endured by students such as Mervilus and Pierce. Those at the two-hour meeting spent much of the time weeping or fighting back tears. If you are black and poor you are always one step away from being arbitrarily shot or arrested or tossed into jail.
Sunday, April 22, 2018(11 comments)
Chaco Canyon, Chaco Earth
The Chaco ruin, 6,200 feet above sea level, is one of the largest and most spectacular archaeological sites in North America. It is an impressive array of 15 interconnected complexes, each of which once had four-to-five-story stone buildings with hundreds of rooms each. Seven-hundred-pound wooden beams, many 16 feet long, were used in the roofs.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018(20 comments)
The Cult of Violence Always Kills the Left
The thing about nonviolence is that it works. But it only works if it's total. The cops put the burden of violence on protesters. Our job is to do the opposite. Our job is to make it crystal clear it's the government and the system that engages violence. We muddy the water when we use violence.
Sunday, April 8, 2018(12 comments)
The Campaign to Exterminate Muslims
The Israeli massacre of Palestinians is a prelude to a dystopian, neocolonial world where global elites, hoarding wealth and controlling the mechanisms of power, increasingly resort to widespread bloodshed to keep the oppressed at bay. What Israel is doing to Palestinians -- impoverished and trapped without adequate food, water and medicine in the open-air prison that is Gaza.
Sunday, April 1, 2018(26 comments)
The Oligarchs' "Guaranteed Basic Income" Scam
Corporations used their wealth and power to make this ideology the reigning doctrine. They established well-funded centers of propaganda such as The Heritage Foundation, took over university economic departments and amplified the voices of their courtiers in the media. Those who questioned the doctrine were cast out like medieval heretics, their careers blocked and their voices muted or silenced.
Monday, March 26, 2018(7 comments)
"The Gig Economy" Is the New Term for Serfdom
The corporate architects of the new economy have no intention of halting the assault. They intend to turn everyone into temp workers trapped in demeaning, low-paying, part-time, service-sector jobs without job security or benefits, a reality they plaster over by inventing hip terms like "the gig economy."
Sunday, March 18, 2018(13 comments)
Building the Iron Wall
The iron wall is rising. It will cement into place a global system of corporate totalitarianism, one in which the old vocabulary of human rights and democracy is empty and where any form of defiance means you are an enemy of the state. This totalitarianism is being formed incrementally. It begins by silencing the demonized. It ends by silencing everyone.
Monday, March 12, 2018(11 comments)
The Empty Piety of the American Press
If the press sided with citizens and exposed the corporate systems of power that hold them captive, its advertising income would dwindle and it would be treated as an enemy of the state. Since corporations own the airwaves and declining city newspapers, this will not happen. Journalism will remain burlesque.
Monday, March 5, 2018(8 comments)
Corporations have taken over larger and larger segments of prison life, from food service to money transfers, commissaries and phone communications. A million prisoners work for corporations in prison and are often paid under a dollar an hour. Prisoners and their families are exploited for billions in corporate profits. Corporate lobbyists sponsor legislation to make sure this captive population remains captive.
Sunday, February 25, 2018(21 comments)
Guns and Liberty
Gun ownership in the United States, largely criminalized for poor people of color, is a potent tool of oppression. It does not protect us from tyranny. It is an instrument of tyranny. The gun culture permits a dispossessed public, sheared of economic and political power, to buy a firearm and revel in feelings of omnipotence.
Sunday, February 18, 2018(6 comments)
How We Fight Fascism
Demoralized workers, who also find no defense of their interests by establishment intellectuals, the press and academics, lose faith in the political process. Realizing the liberal elites have lied to them, they are open to bizarre and fantastic conspiracy theories. Fascists direct this rage and yearning for revenge against an array of phantom enemies, most of them scapegoated minorities.
Sunday, February 11, 2018(22 comments)
The Deadly Rule of the Oligarchs
Oligarchs, though they speak of deconstructing the administrative state, actually increase deficits and the size and power of law enforcement and the military to protect their global business interests and ensure domestic social control.
Monday, February 5, 2018(12 comments)
The Bankruptcy of the American Left
The left offers no broad critique of the political economy of capitalism. It's largely an identity-politics party. It focuses on reforms for blacks and women and so forth. But it doesn't offer a contextual analysis within capitalism."
Sunday, January 28, 2018(16 comments)
The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump
Trump's bizarre ramblings and behavior also serve a useful purpose. They are a colorful diversion from the razing of democratic institutions. As cable news networks feed us stories of his trysts with a porn actress and outlandish tweets, the real work of the elites is being carried out largely away from public view.
Sunday, January 21, 2018(30 comments)
Thought Police for the 21st Century
In the name of combating "fake news," Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are censoring left-wing, progressive and anti-war sites. The 150 most popular search terms that brought readers to the World Socialist Web Site, including "socialism," "Russian Revolution" and "inequality," today elicit little or no traffic.
Sunday, January 14, 2018(3 comments)
Turning King's Dream Into a Nightmare
The fact that prison and urban ghettos are populated primarily with people of color is not an accident. It is a calculated decision by those who wield economic and political control. For the bottom third of African-Americans, many of whom live in these segregated enclaves of misery and deprivation, little has changed over the past few decades; indeed, life has often gotten worse.
Sunday, January 14, 2018(23 comments)
You Don't Need a Telescope to Find a "Shithole Country"
The Salvadoran officers who oversaw these massacres, and countless others, had been selected and trained in the shithole country's U.S. Army School of the Americas. The war would destroy much of the infrastructure. El Salvador never recovered. Let the blood flow, the leaders of the shithole country said. The blood of brown and black people does not matter. A shithole country depends on your perspective.
Sunday, January 7, 2018(30 comments)
Corpses of Souls
Liberty and freedom in the corporate state mean the liberty and freedom of corporations and the rich to exploit and pillage without government interference or regulatory oversight. And the single most important characteristic of government is its willingness to use force, at home and abroad, to protect the interests of the property classes.
Monday, January 1, 2018(12 comments)
Hedges interviews Nader: RIP American Democracy
The two major political parties lack a coherent vision. They are subservient to corporate power. They have abandoned the common good. They have turned politics into burlesque. They have rendered the citizenry impotent. The press, especially the electronic press, has transformed news into a grotesque reality show filled with trivia, gossip and conjecture.
Sunday, December 24, 2017(31 comments)
What Christmas Means
Undocumented parents living in mortal fear of being seized by immigration agents and being separated from their children, African-Americans living in the hellish violence of south Chicago, know the true meaning of Christmas. They feel what Mary and Joseph felt. Fear, even terror, is the foundation of Christmas.
Monday, December 18, 2017(19 comments)
The Permanent Lie, Our Deadliest Threat
The most ominous danger we face comes from the marginalization and destruction of institutions, including the courts, academia, legislative bodies, cultural organizations and the press, that once ensured that civil discourse was rooted in reality and fact, helped us distinguish lies from truth and facilitated justice.
Sunday, December 10, 2017(8 comments)
Looking Back on 40 Years of Occupation
It is not in Israel's interest -- or our own -- to continue to fuel increased Palestinian strife and rising militancy. Economic sanctions and an arms ban against Israel are our last hope. A new regional conflict with Israel could spell the end of the Zionist experiment in the Middle East. It may be quixotic, perhaps even impossible, but it is the last measure left to save Israel from itself.
Thursday, December 7, 2017(4 comments)
Zero Hour in Palestine
The United States is the only nation, with the exception of Israel, to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Trump's decision will enrage Muslims throughout the world. Palestinians in Gaza City, Bethlehem and Rafah have already marched through the streets chanting "Death to America," "Death to Israel" and "Down with Trump." They burned American and Israeli flags and photos of Trump.
Sunday, December 3, 2017(8 comments)
A Women's Revolt That Targets Far More Than Sexual Abuse
This women's revolt is not solely about sexual abuse. It is about fighting a corporate power structure that institutionalizes and enables misogyny, racism and bigotry. It is about wealth and power give elites the right to engage in social and sexual sadism. It challenges the twisted ethic that those who are crushed and humiliated by the rich, the famous and the powerful have no rights and no voice.
Sunday, November 26, 2017(7 comments)
The world is not bifurcated into good and evil. The United States too is guilty for the killings at Srebrenica. We should have learned the central lesson of the Holocaust a long time ago: When you have the capacity to stop genocide and you do not, you are culpable.
Sunday, November 19, 2017(9 comments)
Behind the Mask of the "Moderates"
It does not matter, as illustrated by the Republican tax plan now before the U.S. Senate, what is just or what the public supports. There are no institutions left in the United States that can authentically be called democratic. The end result of this elaborate charade is embodied in the rise of the grotesque spectacle of the Trump administration.
Monday, November 13, 2017(54 comments)
RT America Torched in Witch Hunt '17
Wall Street is run by a criminal class. Our debt is unsustainable, especially once the dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency, and like all decaying empires we are headed for collapse. The DNI report clarifies what the ruling elites fear -- not fake news but the truth. And the truth is that the elites have destroyed the country and are traitors to democracy.
Sunday, November 12, 2017(9 comments)
Fight the Disease, Not the Symptoms
If we can build counter-capitalist movements that include the working class we have a chance. If we can, like the water protectors at Standing Rock, mount sustained acts of defiance in the face of severe state repression, we have a chance. We cannot be distracted by the symptoms. We must cure the disease.
Monday, November 6, 2017(4 comments)
The Cost of Resistance
Those who resist are free not because they have attained many things or high positions, but because they have so few needs. They sever the shackles used to keep most people enslaved. And this is why the elites fear them. The elites can crush them physically, but they cannot buy them off.
Sunday, October 29, 2017(24 comments)
Reality is under assault. Verbal confusion reigns. Truth and illusion have merged. Mental chaos makes it hard to fathom what is happening. We feel trapped in a hall of mirrors. Exposed lies are answered with other lies. The rational is countered with the irrational. We are entering a period of national psychological trauma.
Sunday, October 22, 2017(2 comments)
Our Ever-Deadlier Police State
Police officers have become rogue predators in impoverished communities. Under U.S. forfeiture laws, police indiscriminately seize money, real estate, automobiles and other assets. In many cities, traffic, parking and other fines are little more than legalized extortion that funds local government and turns jails into debtor prisons.
Monday, October 16, 2017(5 comments)
Only Nonviolent Resistance Will Destroy the Corporate State
While refusing to be baited into violent confrontations with the radical right, we must also be vigorous in using militant, nonviolent tactics to block hate speech. All propaganda and all organizations based on ideas or theories of racial or ethnic superiority should be illegal.
Sunday, October 8, 2017(3 comments)
Faces of Pain, Faces of Hope
The vast disparity between the glittering world that people watch and the bleak world they inhabit creates a collective schizophrenia that manifests itself in our diseases of despair -- suicides, addictions, mass shootings, hate crimes and depression. Our oppressors have skillfully acculturated us to blame ourselves for our oppression.
Monday, October 2, 2017(23 comments)
The End of Empire
The deep disillusionment and anger that led to Donald Trump's election -- a reaction to the corporate coup d'etat and the poverty afflicting at least half of the country -- have destroyed the myth of a functioning democracy. The empire will collapse and the nation will consume itself within our lifetimes if we do not wrest power from those who rule the corporate state.
Sunday, September 24, 2017(4 comments)
The Abuses of History
The political squabbles that dominate public discourse almost never question the sanctity of private property, individualism, capitalism or imperialism. They hold as sacrosanct American "virtues." They insist that Americans are a "good" people steadily overcoming any prejudices and injustices that may have occurred in the past.
Sunday, September 17, 2017(6 comments)
The Silencing of Dissent
The establishment politicians in the two leading parties, each in service to corporate power and responsible for the assault on civil liberties and impoverishment of the country, are no longer able to use identity politics and the culture wars to whip up support, leading in the last presidential election campaign to an insurgency by Bernie Sanders, which the Democratic Party crushed, and the election of Donald Trump.
Sunday, September 10, 2017(19 comments)
The Great Flood
Droughts, floods, famines and disease will eventually see the collapse of social cohesion in large parts of the globe, including U.S. coastal areas. The insecurity, hunger and desperation among the dispossessed of the earth will give rise to ad hoc militias, crime and increased acts of terrorism. It is the beginning of the end. Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.
Sunday, September 3, 2017(14 comments)
Diseases of Despair
A decline in status and power, an inability to advance, a lack of education and health care and a loss of hope are crippling forms of humiliation. This humiliation fuels loneliness, frustration, anger and feelings of worthlessness. In short, when you are marginalized and rejected by society, life often has little meaning.
Monday, August 28, 2017(7 comments)
How "Antifa" Mirrors the "Alt-Right"
There is no moral equivalency between antifa and the alt-right. But by brawling in the streets antifa allows the corporate state, which is terrified of a popular anti-capitalist uprising, to use the false argument of moral equivalency to criminalize the work of all anti-capitalists.
Sunday, August 20, 2017(7 comments)
The Corruption of the Law
Stone understood a seminal fact that eludes our day's Federalist Society and the Republican and Democratic party leaderships: Corporations cannot be trusted with social and political power. Stone knew that the law must be a barrier to the insatiable corporate lust for profit. If the law failed in this task, then corporate despotism was certain.
Monday, July 24, 2017(19 comments)
Trump and the Christian Fascists
Let us give all Americans a reality-based hope for the future. Time is running out. If we do not act, American fascists, clutching Christian crosses, waving American flags and orchestrating mass recitations of the pledge of allegiance, united behind the ludicrous figure of Donald Trump, will ride this rage to power.
Sunday, July 16, 2017(5 comments)
Eugene Debs and the Kingdom of Evil
We have to begin all over again. And we must do so understanding, as Debs did, that any accommodation with members of the capitalist class is futile and self-defeating. They are the enemy. They will degrade and destroy everything, including the ecosystem, to get richer. They are not capable of reform.
Monday, July 10, 2017(31 comments)
Eating Our Way to Disease
The animal agriculture industry knows its products are harming us, but it, along with the medical and drug industries, is making billions from illnesses caused by our diet.
Sunday, July 2, 2017(6 comments)
The Battle Over What It Means to Be Female
How, in an age in which some born with male bodies self-identify as women, can those born female define their unique oppression based on their experience? As laws in Europe, Canada and the United States are rewritten to broaden the definition of what it means to be female or male, how will such change affect the struggle for equality by those born as females?
Monday, June 19, 2017(29 comments)
We Can't Fight Climate Change if We Keep Lying to Ourselves
The inability to see what is in front of our eyes replicates the blindness of all past civilizations that celebrated their eternal glory at moments of precipitous decline. The difference is that life across the whole planet will go down this time. These illusions only tranquilize us at a moment when we should be rising in collective fury against those who are orchestrating our doom.
Sunday, June 11, 2017(13 comments)
The Age of Anger
With the rise of Trump, it is clear the "cord of consciousness" has also been severed in the twilight days of the American empire. Once we no longer acknowledge or understand our own capacity for evil, once we no longer know ourselves, we become monsters who devour others and finally devour ourselves.