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lingering thoughts on Chris Hedges.

You come to law school, understanding things are rotten to the core, and you are fortunate enough to shack up in the womb of academia for a few more years so you can really understand the master’s tools, with the hopes of being able to use them to take some much needed stabs at all the madness its built up.

There are moments during the course of learning the secrets of the ruling class where you see a glimmer of possibility.  That the tools of oppression do not have to always point down, but can be just as sharp pointed up in the hands of those who are long overdue for power.

But there will be many times where you will be reminded again and again that law is created out of an agenda tied to the values of those in power.

The question is, what are we as people learning and who know the system suppose to do about it?  This is the first year, learning the basics, but even at a progressive law school, I find myself craving strategy, role models, and examples of what I can do with this knowledge.

My frustration is better this semester, or I have become better about managing it.  I hold on to the hope that I will come out of here with the knowledge and resources to do great things with the tools.  Im told to be patient.

Im still pissed at Chris Hedges.  I have been mulling over my lingering feelings left from his visit here a few weeks ago.  I found his message informed but without vision.  He warned us that he was no lawyer, but he seemed unwilling to consider our intentions to rip apart what he has spent his career critiquing.

Although its nice to hear my everyday thoughts spoken by someone else, it also wasn’t a newsflash to me that “the walls are closing in.”  It may have been news to the privileged few, but for the most part, the man was speaking to the choir, a choir that wanted more than a reminder that our efforts will prove fruitless in the end.  In that regard, we paid a lot of money for him to read his summary of all that is wrong, thrilled by his celebrity, one of the evils he touched on in his speech.

Everyone has something they can contribute to change.  For Hedges, it has been documenting the effects of imperialism across the world, of communicating the horrors of war to the people who continue to vote for the government that perpetuates it.  That is the role of journalists.  But, tell us Hedges, of the people you saw organizing and resisting, the ones who were fighting back!  This is something Naomi Klein has done that is just as, if not more, valuable than documenting the terrible.  Just as much as we know how bad things are, we need to know what steps are being taken now to stop it.  Certainly he, with the help of his Harvard law school grad friend Ralph Nader, could have pulled something of greater value for us.  Maybe he thought it wasn’t worth his time, or thought we would not have appreciated it, if he did have some insight on the subject.

I am also still wondering what he meant for us to think when he said, at the dinner after the speech, that he thought anarchists had the best analysis of the issues, but that they were wrong in that they “glorified violence.”  My question to that is, if he thinks its impossible to make change within the system as lawyers, and he said that we should “use our bodies” to stop the problems of our government and society, then how does that not include violence of some form?  He admits that we are beyond marches and peaceful protests, and are we to not fight back in order to keep some prescribed moral high ground? Should a woman about to be raped not fight back because its wrong to physically hurt someone (except when you are a soldier or the police)?  Why should violence point only in one direction?  He should acknowledge that anarchists may be a bit more willing to reckon with violence, both as a tool of the oppressor but also a means of self preservation and resistance.  Chris Hedges dismisses anarchists as a whole because of his disagreement on the use of violence, which I guess is largely because he was raised Christian.  Jesus knew how corrupt things were within his community and the world, and he died for it, hoping that his message wouldn’t get lost in the spin-machine.  Its never too late to re-assess our tactics.  In fact, the planet is dieing for us to do it.  All of Hedge’s years of reporting and research point towards fighting back if we are going to save this world.  But, at least when he spoke to us, he seem thin with ideas on what that means.  When you have ruled out all your options, including dismissing all tools available to you (the master’s AND stones), what is left?  Waiting for your body to be sacrificed, while many others go before you?

I know I am in the womb, playing the game.  We all are at this point.  But when we get ready to move, I want to know what we are going to do.  We can not afford to drop out, and we can’t afford to be complacent, but we especially can’t afford to give up fighting.


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