MAKING TOPIARIES OUT OF HEDGES; #TRIMHEDGES
(ed. Originally published Feb. 9, 2012 – here!)
Fascifists like Tina Dupuy from Crooks & Liars (and others immersed in the careerist, “liberal establishment”) have been falling over themselves to denounce, defame, and perhaps worst of all – propagate rumors and plain untruths – about the defensive tactics used by our comrades in Oakland to protect themselves from the militarized assault they endured on “Move In” Day. These tactics (e.g. protective shields, hiding behind corrugated metal barriers, throwing canisters back (and, yes, sometimes other objects at heavily protected riot police) were deployed in response to the continued, exhaustively-documented and violent attacks deployed by the same thuggish brute squad that felled Scott Olsen. Remember, this is a department so devoid of legitimacy as a peacekeeping organization that they are likely to be place in Federal receivership.
This shit is not happening in a historical fucking vacuum. Likewise, Oakland isn’t the first place where a window was ever broken. When you see someone next to you nearly killed by a canister to the head, you’re probably going to wear a fucking helmet next time you go to a march. So let Oakland be Oakland, Occupy. And if #OO calls for mutual aid next time they try to provide social services their city either can’t or won’t provide, let’s hope the aid the liberals provide won’t be in the form of liberal-talking-head handwringing…
Of course, none of that matters to fascifists and other liberals. This is a PR war, they remind us. All that matters is how the movement plays out on their televisions and livestreams. Not the struggle – that’s secondary – we have to sublimate everything else, even our own bodily defense, to the so called “media narrative” this movement has never once had control over.
After all, don’t we have to appeal to the mythical “99%” to generate change? No? Oh, then we should just use the tried and true “fear” tactic of neoliberals to control this movement, amirite?
It doesn’t seem to bother these privileged liberal elites that “anarchists,” “black bloc,” and “violence” are not interchangeable terms, nor is the definition of “violence” in social movements completely theirs to dictate from their comfortable positions in center-left media circles. Furthermore, this debate is not new – and it’s absurd to think it will be resolved by Occupy at all. Which is precisely why “autonomy,” “horizontalism,” and “diversity of tactics” are so crucial to its survival.
So, if you haven’t heard, current disaffected-yet-still-staunchly-liberal superhero and retired Sprockets dancer Chris Hedges decided to add his own dehumanizing, lie-riddled rant to the mix. Tina Dupuy had already tried to force her liberal hogwash on others, and not a single fuck was given that day.
The do-nothings had to go for bigger, rhetorical guns: Chris Hegemony. Fortunately, occupiers actually on the ground in Oakland had already been discussing this topic before Hedges deigned to come down from his high horse and completely dehumanize anyone who wears black clothing at a protest:
What Lies Beneath the “Violence” Discourse | Hyphenated-Republic
But it didn’t matter to Hedges, who gave up any notion of journalistic integrity for his own sense of moral superiority and the commitment to the “catastrophe of public self-deception” long ago (ed. Hate Sam Harris, but…) He didn’t read, study, or contact anyone on the ground in Oakland before he launched his assault. Instead, he “did listen to several hours of Anarchy Radio before [he] wrote this.” We’re all so thankful for your prodigious effort, sir!
But yeah, white dudebro, blame the victim – how fucking novel! Those protesters shouldn’t have dressed so provocatively (comrades say there actually wasn’t technically even a “black bloc” on Move-In Day – per se – oh fucking well) if they didn’t want to incur police state violence. Hedges basically says, “they got what they deserved, and it besmirches his movement”:
Letters and Politics – February 8, 2012 at 10:00am | KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley: Listener Sponsored Free Speech Radio
Thankfully, the internet has a long memory. And the hive mind can be a beautiful thing – especially when it witnesses frauds being frauds. Hedges is one such fraud.
For example, as we all know by now, Hedges recently wrote “The Greeks Get It.” Yet in an interview published today, Hedges says he wasn’t commenting on the tactics employed in Greece. And he goes into some pretty amazing acrobatics to dismiss what he actually did say:
CH: The article and the column lauded the Greeks for responding. It was not an article about tactics.
I: You use the word “insinuate.”
CH: That’s correct. You would have to insinuate that I supported rioting, but I don’t know how you can in the long history of everything that I’ve written.
Sorry, Hedges. You said, quite explicitly: “They know what to do when they are told their pensions, benefits and jobs have to be cut to pay corporate banks, which screwed them in the first place. Call a general strike. Riot.”
Excise the standardized, progressive platitudes about pensions and jobs from that sentence and what you’re left with is: “They know what to do… call a general strike. Riot.” Oakland has only done one of those. And it’s not the one Hedges explicitly lauded as “what to do” when you get “screwed.”
When one of our comrades at OLAASM discovered this – we tried to explain what it seemed Hedges was up to ourselves. But there are so many others in the world who have their own unique take on what Hedges’ article means, why it should be denounced, and even why it could promote the very violence it assumedly intended to pacify. Let’s take a look at some of them:
I respectfully disagree, Chris | The Bat Country Word
I am the cancer. I am not a human being, I am the beast. | Birds Before The Storm
What Progressive Criticisms of Anarchists in Occupy Don’t Understand: A Response to Chris Hedges | Occupy Wall Street
The Folly of Christopher Hedges | Nihilo Zero
Against Hedges on the Black Bloc | pink scare
How not to block the black bloc | Waging Nonviolence
Concerning the Violent Peace-Police: An Open Letter to Chris Hedges | The New Inquiry
To Be Fair, He Is a Journalist: A Short Response to Chris Hedges | Facing Reality
Hedging Our Bets on the Black Bloc: The Impotence of Mere Liberalism | UK Indymedia
A Bustle in Hedges’ Row | Counterpunch
Will Occupy Choose Super-PAC Funding Over Radical Action? | NEWS JUNKIE POST
The Surgeons of Occupy | Counterpunch
Fighting Chris Hedges with Chris Hedges: Why He’s So Wrong | qcmississippimud.com
Do we really need more?
A topiary out of the Hedges? We think so.