Perspectives On Hedge’s “Cancer in Occupy”

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There’s one thing they tell you when you start a cancer treatment schedule, sitting there in wide-eyed horror and shock. “I know this all seems unthinkable right now, but believe it or not, it will soon just become your routine.  Your new normal.”  Anyone who has lived through childhood abuse, or been in an abusive relationship will tell you the same. “Well, most of the time he was nice,” they will say, “its just sometimes it got really scary or bad.”  There has been reams written about co-dependent behaviours already, both personal and societal.  Me?  I think mostly its a matter of acclimation. Its the conversation you have about TV on your way to chemo, and the new meals that become routine; creating food the cancer-stricken might possibly eat.  It kids playing soccer among the rubble where the bombs just fell. It learning your new wheel chair. Or learning to read in Braille.  I say it a lot.  “It is what it is.

Photobucket There’s a flip side to this too. As my husbands 6’1″ frame dwindled to 130 or less pounds, as his hair fell out?  He avoided mirrors like the plague.  Its like the restaurant you no longer frequent because its where your ex-girlfriend and her new man hang out.  Its like changing the channel every time that commercial comes on, with Sara McLoughlin singing and all the abused animals cover your screen.  Its refusing to look at the reality of what homelessness, starvation, or what the ravages of War truly are.  Its the pictures of children struck by depleted uranium you never really look at for long. Put even more basically?  Its blocking someone on Facebook who has been cruel to you. You compartmentalize the bad away, and let normalcy be created by routine – and you  just avoid the damned mirrors.

You see?  Mirrors tell the truth.  Mirrors belie the little boxes in our psyche that say everything is normal. So we veil them.

I like Chris Hedges.  He is what he is. I’m not even remotely insulted he used the cancer analogy as a fresh cancer widow.  

What I find particularly offensive after giving it a night of thought?  Is Hedged opining how a few kids in black pajamas breaking a window has become an unthinkable Cancer to bringing the Public Sway on board to the “treatment” that Occupy is trying to apply to the REAL CANCERS of our Society.  The Cancers that have become both our “normal” and our “mirror avoidance.”

Where to begin to open your eyes? Do I crunch the numbers for you?  The new reality of the true Cancer on Society has so many metastasized cells…  

There are millions of people dying from our use of Depleted Uranium in Iraq, and that the gene pool in Afghanistan is so compromised by its use, that not having a birth defect is now the rarity in infants, and birds are literally melting on tree branches.

“But people won’t support OWS if you break a window!”

How about the new reality in which its “normal” for the world to spend a TRILLION dollars annually on the Business of State-Sponsored Murder (Military Spending) while the UN says that a $40 billion increase in funding could feed, clothe, and educate the entire globe. Or the new reality that one half of Americans are living in Poverty or are low income, and that 25% of our children are born into extreme poverty.

“It is the way it is. Its the “economy” and we have to live with less.  We are powerless.”

I suppose I should mention that it has become our new normal to be wiretapped, to be detained indefinitely without charge, that our Military is now allowed to be used against us, that they are running exercises over Oakland with armed helicopters, or that Congress is calling for more Drone use in US airspace, presumably against us.  I mean, its already become our new normal that our drones are targeting civilian rescue workers and mourners in Pakistan, a country we are presumably NOT at War with. I know Mr. Hedges speaks out against our violence, and our Empire. But most Americans don’t hear it, because the mirror of our actions has been veiled by a co-opted and complicit press.  

“Don’t look in the mirror, you will see the pain and fear and damage being done our bodies, the body humana.”

I could talk endlessly about Class war, economic disparity, the loss of worker’s rights, hell the loss of women’s rights over their own body.  I could talk about privatizing profits and publicizing losses, the very fabric of the Kleptocracy that is the REAL cancer upon our land. I could talk about the US’s prison population, or its endemic racism. I could preach to the real cancers of society.

We deal with every aspect of the above like victims always do.  Normalize.  Avoid.

We will until we no longer can.    

But most of my intended audience already knows all these things. Yet, really in perspective, his objection to vandalism pales to what has been done to us and to others in our name.

What this is about, sirs and madams, is the very idea that while we are expected to, and DO, endure all the heinousness that in actuality a War upon humanity; that the American public is so enured to the abuse we suffer that we must NEVER strike back at those killing us.

That we must endure inhuman abuses as all these, yet denounce VANDALISM!  Egads!!!

Other than ONE window and one Flag, which mind you, is property damage not violence per se; not one act of violence has been recorded by Occupy or the Black Bloc he wishes to malign that has not been the result of DEFENSIVE maneuvers.  When attacked?  They have thrown a few stones, have tossed back a few tear gas canisters; mostly what these young men and women have done is offer their bodies up as a defense line, and taken the hits so that the weaker are saved: the women, children, old people may run to safety while they defend them with meager trash can shields.

The injuries and unfair arrests, the abuses of law by the Police however, have been widespread, vast, recorded, and yet barely spoken to by the MSM.

Yet?  To Hedges?  These few acts of defiance by angry young men are enough to bring the movement itself to ruination.  Let us not forget that since the beginning of time it is always the elders who cool the heated blood of the youth and try and direct their tactics to a more effective use of their energies.  Old warriors know when to wait.  In some ways, though?  It is good for the powers that be to know, via a small warning shot of a broken window or burned flag, that we are deadly serious.  There has been no wide-scale violence except that done by the Police.  There have been no riots or burning cities.  No 1%er or defender of the 1% have been killed.

What Hedges has done here, presumably without intent, is work to divide Occupy.  

The real Cancer in Occupy is DIVISION.  People of Color dividing off from young white Liberals.  Anarchists being rejected by Socialists.  Native People dividing from Occupy in order to have their colonization addressed. COINTELPRO plants, paid by the CIA and FBI to create discord between the People. It is Move-on trying to make this about Democrats. It is Unionists trying to wake workers versus student worried about laons. The MSM’s choice to cover only negative aspects; and not the very functional COMMUNITY-LEVEL co-operation that has successfully fed, clothed, housed, and gave medical care to a once diverse population.

Hedges opines that “Anarchists” do not believe in organization; this is patently false.  What they do not believe in is giving personal power away in some subservient form to another human being to be held as superior to you.  I am a neophyte in learning about anarchism, yet even I understand this very basic tenet.  It was anarchist ideals that created the General Assembly – a true form of Democracy in which EVERY person has equal rights to speak, voice their concerns, give their opinions, and that consensus must be made.

Hedges denounces the group, by calling their actions Criminal, this breaking of Windows, seeks to make it the unthinkable evil… and the fact that a broken window pales in light of all the horrors wrought daily here and abroad sickens me. This is grossly out of perspective.

Considering the amount of very Righteous anger we SHOULD be feeling against our Oligarchs and Abusers, Occupy has done a tremendous job in reining in what could have already become extremely volatile and violent.  

Hedges missed the chance to acknowledge that, and missed the opportunity to try and Unite Occupy by talking about the very real Cancer of division.  Divide and Conquer is what always kills a movement.  

“This is my issue, deal with MY issue, or I’ll quit you!”

Instead?  He went to the very core-fear of the psyche Americana.  The moment you step around that corner, and find your husband mouth agape on your couch, and realize that there is no way out of the inevitability of Death.  The moment you realize that there will be violence waged against you no matter what if you continue to oppose the 1%.  The Pacifist Achilles most of us on the Left carry.  We don’t want to employ the tactics of those we oppose for fear of becoming them.  We fear the reality of Death.

I am not fond of violence.  I am not calling for more violence.  I am not Pollyanna enough to think that we shall overcome this inherently corrupt system by entirely peaceful resistance, either. The Government that is now merely the Enforcer for the 1% has declared War upon us and will use any means necessary to protect the Rich who feeds them.  There will be a time when we will beg for the young and the brave to protect us.


But timing is everything, and the ONLY redeeming thought that could be garnered from Hedges article is that we have not reached that tipping point yet, with enough support so that fighting back could be an option. He could have begged them patience.  He could have cited when and why fighting back WORKS.  He could have explained the differences in Popular Support that may have made the Greek Riots or the Arab spring more successful. He could have spoken of resistance movements in Cuba, Chile, Venezuela and how they had to Unite the workers together to be successful.  He missed the chance to speak of adapting, changing tactics, and how to work for unity to ultimately make Occupy live on. He could have been the voice of the Elders telling the young, “Patience Grasshopper.”

He didn’t.  He damned them instead.

What is killing Occupy is Division and Bad Press.  

And, woooosh, with his pen, Hedges cut a weeping gash in the body Occupy that did not excise a Cancer, but ultimately bled the body and made it weaker, feeding the Cancer by providing division and bad press.

Chris helped the Cancer grow yesterday.

And helped “Failure” be our new normal.


    • Diane G on February 7, 2012 at 15:38
  1. you can’t have one without the other.

    You can’t have non violent resistors, wo the more violent types.

    Then, there are the idiots that still think the dEMOCRATIC pARTY will solve all the ills.

    Really, I only care about the last group, because those are the ones that are really totally against changing things, and therefore fOR making things get much worse.  

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