(ed. Originally published November 8, 2013 – here!)
“I believe in strategy. And so did many anarchists, including [Alexander] Berkman…”
– Chris Hedges, Our Invisible Revolution (Oct. 28, 2013)
While we weren’t startled to see Chris Hedges admit he’d “prefer the piecemeal and incremental reforms of a functioning democracy” to the anti-capitalist revolution many in “his” Occupy movement sought – there was still a ghostly specter haunting Hedges’ recent article that may spook anyone familiar with his odious oeuvre: Hedges’ ‘Cancerous,’ ‘Ⓐbsolutist Movement of Ⓐlways-and-Only-Black-Clad, Ⓐnarchist Bogey[persons]’ are apparently back! Eek!
Our Invisible Revolution, however, published just in time for Halloween, is more than merely another tired reprise of the endless demagoguing Hedges usually levies against his hallmark, hobgoblins of Occupy – “BLACK BLOC ANARCHISTS!” It’s also a case study in the hackneyed, historical cherry-picking that so often distinguishes his pretentious prose.
In his latest sermon, Hedges conspicuously manipulates history to exalt rather than impugn anarchists. The choice of Alexander Berkman for this first foray into anarchist hagiography, however, may ultimately serve only to exacerbate Hedges’ assuredly near-enfeebling dissonance. Berkman, after all, is probably best known to most as a failed assassin.
A quick bit of history for our old pal, Chris Hegemony:
In 1892, Berkman and Emma Goldman – actualizing the ‘propaganda of the deed’ strategy popularized by notorious firebrand Johann Most – traveled together to Homestead, PA. They went to avenge the 9 workers who had been martyred by strikebreaking Pinkertons on orders from Henry Clay Frick. Tragically, Berkman was unable to consummate the assassination plot and so the glorious revolution his strategy suggested a murder might ignite… regrettably never did.
Of course, Hedges doesn’t say a word about Frick in his anarchist-icon-appropriation yarn. He just says “strategy” is important to him. And that Berkman had a strategy. Isn’t that just like our slippery “Colonizer,” though?
[Thought Experiment: In a New Global Hedgemony, Chris Hedges – Imperial Eeyore, whines about absolute nonviolence then sighs, “I believe in mustaches. And so did many fascists, including Hitler.” Does this, then, mean that the Imperial Eeyore likes Hitler? Or even Hitler’s mustache? Does this mean anything at fucking all?]
Just as other self-styled “intellectuals” obscure the militancy in Tahrir, the bloodshed between Muslims and Hindus that ushered the Brits from Gandhi’s India or the crucial counterbalance black militancy gave to every liberals’ pacifist King – Hedges dignifies Berkman and Goldman’s strategy without revealing the details of their half-baked murder-plot topped with a heaping of their own, wild hope!
Could it be that if inconvenient facts can’t be made to fit into his narrative, Hedges just erases or ignores them? Or maybe he’d rather see assassinations than a broken window? Any other reason (aside from ‘recuperation’ or ‘shoddy research’) that I’m missing that’d compel a nonviolence-dogmatist like Hedges to pen a paean to a militant revolutionist?
We have to ask: bro, do you even Alexander Berkman?
With the revolutionary, Russian émigré invoked reverently in his lede and lionized repeatedly throughout, Hedges’ latest Truthdig post appears to be an olive branch to all the hardworking, anarchist organizers he pilloried (“stupid”), dehumanized (“cancer,” “beast”), misgendered (“hypermasculine”), racially-erased (“most are white”), infantilized (“adolescentization”), victim-blamed (“justify draconian forms of control”), outsidered (“many are not from the city”) and began shoveling under the bus (“criminal”) in February, 2012. Yet the chimera Hedges created in his “Cancer of Occupy” libel – the so-called “Black Block anarchists” of his own, inchoate inquiry and analysis – remain his favorite, talkshow topic today. [ed. a comrade recently reminded us of the oft-overlooked but inherent ableism also manifest in equating disease w/ inclusion/exclusion. Thanks, comrade.]
If an anarchist rapprochement was actually behind this otherwise unreadable bilge, as far as we at OLAASM are concerned – it’s far too little, too late – for that smug, snitch-jacketing, ineffectual, fascifist fucking opportunist! There must be a better place for his quasi-religious-zealotry, preferably somewhere far, far away from revolutionaries – where he can “stand with the right wing” and get frothily apoplectic about the sex lives of others?
Should this denunciation seem severe to some of you, or even crass, perhaps you’re missing some important context (or maybe you’re just a tone-policing fuckstick?) In the frenzy that followed his “Cancer” screed – a wildly speculative hatchet job that employed almost all of the maddeningly-familiar arguments of the ruling class itself – Hedges couldn’t resist the coup de grâce. His next post baselessly smeared OLAASM, suggesting we “infiltrate(d) the movement to foster internal divisions and rivalries.” In the end, the debilitating paranoia Hedges normalized in his “Cancer” piece was just as responsible as any other single factor for the downfall of “Occupy.” And worse that all of this, of course – Hedges didn’t even have the common courtesy to link back to our blog itself when he did!
Back to being a topiary, fuckwit!