I am sure I have come across Chris Hedges’ name before, and perhaps read some of his material, but never has the connection been so strong as now. With the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement becoming more and more prominent, Chris Hedges’ writing and observations on power and control by the corporate class has come to the fore. As if suddenly (though probably not truly so suddenly, it’s just that I’ve missed it) his writing is featured in many alternate news web sites and interviews on various topics are up front and center in many of these sites.
In order to become even more familiar with his ideas, I spent a week reading three of his most recent works: American Fascists (Free Press, 2006); The World As It Is (Nation Books, 2010); and Death of the Liberal Class (Vintage Canada, 2010). My short summary is that he is right on target with all his commentaries. His war correspondence experience, his take on the manipulations of the corporate world, his views on global warming, and his questions on 9/11 combine with an easily accessible writing style readily accessible to all readers.
And reading the written word, from one of his comments during an OWS interview, is of prime importance; reading allows the participant time to think, compare, analyze, and judge situations much more thoroughly than with any of contemporary media, from television through to all the more modern cell phone gadgets, that can churn out endless streams of immediate response commentary without the thought needed for context and background.
Chris Hedges’ modesty and humanity during an interview on Occupy TVNY is real and obvious (available on Youtube or at Axis of Logic). He supports the movement, saying in effect that while they reflect his writings they are doing something … something brilliant. That brilliance comes from the movement’s openness, honesty, clarity, lack of a centralized leadership, and its nonviolent approach to their actions, refusing to be instigated into violent reactions that the police and corporate powers understand.
Chris Hedges’ work is now in my pantheon of knowledgeable powerful voices who speak truth to power—Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, and Robert Fisk among the best known. I would urge all readers to pick up one of his books, (The World As It Is is most appropriate for the OWS movement) and search him out on Youtube. A brilliant, down to earth writer and humanist.