America has slid into a form of "corporate totalitarianism" where basic rights and freedoms outlined in our Constitution have been wiped away.
The only thing that will restore our rights will be a mass movement, similar to the labor movement and civil-rights movements of years past, where people defy the government and engage in acts of civil disobedience.
That's the view of one of America's leading intellectuals, Chris Hedges, the author of numerous books on America's social condition and a former reporter for The New York Times. Speaking at a recent conference on civil liberties at Central Connecticut State University, Hedges said the establishment of a mass surveillance system, repressive new laws and corporate power have made democracy in the United States "a fiction." There is only one way to turn it around.
"Reform will only come through building mass movements and alternative centers of power that can overthrow -- let me repeat that word for Homeland Security -- overthrow the corporate state," he said.
Hedges was the keynote speaker at the conference sponsored by the Connecticut Coalition to Stop Indefinite Detention. The gathering also featured workshops and panel discussions on issues related to prisoners, discrimination against Muslims, deportations, drones, unlawful detentions, and other civil-liberties subjects.
A 20-year foreign correspondent who reported in East Germany and Czechoslovakia under communist rule, as well as in El Salvador and Guatemala during the civil wars in the 1980s, Hedges said the United States is taking on many of the characteristics of the dictatorial regimes he once covered.