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Wages of Rebellion by Chris Hedges
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Wages of Rebellion

by Chris Hedges

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This is the second Chris Hedges book I've read. I looked back at my review of [b:Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle|6577631|Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle|Chris Hedges|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328751405s/6577631.jpg|6771033] and find that, word-for-word, I could just substitute that review for this one. In the intervening six years between the books, Hedges has been thinking more about how to rise up against the injustices of the 'corporate state' that America (and most of the rest of the world) has become. This book could have been titled 'how to behave in a revolution'.

Things that will stay with me from this one: the history-blindness of Confederate supporters in the South; the shocking treatment of suspects with a dissenting worldview by the US legal system; the loneliness of the true rebel (Thomas Paine's difficult life after the American Revolution was one example Hedges used); the use of the prison system in the US to generate income for corporations and the widespread use of solitary confinement in US prisons (a practice identified as torture by the international community).

Hedges' books make me worry about living so close to the US: I foresee a day when there will be refugees arriving in Canada again, like they did during the time of the Underground Railroad. ( )
  AJBraithwaite | Aug 14, 2017 |
This was an enlightening view of how the current state of capitalism effects us all, and will likely effect us all in even more horrific ways in the near future. I disagree with Hedges stance against violence though. I think this book is a good argument FOR defensive violence, when appropriate. Capitalism must be ended if the living world, as well as us humans, are to survive. ( )
  SonoranDreamer | Apr 24, 2017 |
Wages of Rebellion - prophetic or paranoid?

Even though Chris Hedges published the Wages of Rebellion, The Moral Imperative of Revolt in 2015 it was likely finished and at the publishers long before the rise of Donald Trump. That's why the candidate running for the Republican Party nomination isn't mentioned specifically, though Hedges has identified him. Trump is the epitome of the demagogue the beleaguered white middle class battered by a stagnant and flagging economy, either unemployed and poor, or crippled with debt will turn to as American society begins to unravel.

According to Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize winning foreign correspondent who has covered wars in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Iraq, he's seen it all before and it won't be pretty.

In this meticulously documented book he reveals the rot in the system showing how all levels government are controlled by multinational corporations and the mega rich whose main purpose is to amass more wealth and power by subjugation of the masses.

America is about to boil over according to Hedges, but it won't be the poor who will initiate a revolution, but rather the middle class upon realizing their expectations cannot be achieved.

On one hand Hedges appears to encourage revolt while cautioning it can only be successful if it is non-violent even in the face of violence perpetrated by the state and it's tacit approval of vigilante groups.

On the other hand he lays out a bloody scenario of chaos and death that leads to fascism and beyond - the collapse of American civilization, which he predicts not in the distant future, but maybe tomorrow.

Hedges' heroes are Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, Chelsea Manning who released the video "Collateral Murder" as well as other classified documents to Wikileaks, and Jeremy Hammond who hacked the private security agency Stratfor and released five million emails exposing the monitoring, infiltration and surveillance of dissidents and protestors on behalf of the National Security Agency.

Those he vilifies include President Obama, Bill Clinton, the American judiciary and large corporations.

Hedges is also caustically critical of the wealthy. He attributes some of his insight to the fact that as a boy he was "thrown into the embrace of the upper crust" as a scholarship student at a New England boarding school. He spent time in the "mansions of the ultra rich and powerful" and this is where his "hatred of authority, along with my loathing for the pretensions, heartlessness and sense of entitlement of the rich comes from...". He calls living among the rich "a deeply unpleasant experience".

Poor guy.

He says the rich view the lower classes "as uncouth parasites, annoyances to be endured, sometimes placated, but always controlled in the quest to amass more power and money." Yet his portrayal of the working class is hardly better suggesting most white Americans are ignorant, gun-toting, racists prepared to use Muslims, Blacks and Latinos as scapegoats for all their unfulfilled expectations.

That, of course, does not include him.

Hedges makes convincing arguments by carefully choosing incidents past and present that prove his thesis, indeed, maybe even advance his agenda. Though his arguments are compelling and persuasive this reader had to wonder if another writer, as skilled as Hedges who did not have a " hatred of authority..." along with a "loathing for the pretensions, heartlessness and sense of entitlement of the rich...", but rather an opposite point of view could make the case for a very different America?

In the last chapter of Wages of Rebellion, Hedges gives examples of rebels who have defied the forces of injustice and repression including Martin Luther King. He says they were imbued by "sublime madness", a term coined by American theologist. Rheinbold Niebuhr. Hedges maintains that to fight "radical evil" this quality is essential and it demands "self sacrifice and entails the very real possibility of death".

Depending on your cause and your faith might others call "sublime madness" by another name?

Is Hedges a prophet or just a clever guy with a giant chip on his shoulder?

Time will tell and that time may actually have a date, July 18-21, 2016 - the 41st Republican National Convention. ( )
  RodRaglin | Apr 25, 2016 |
I don't know anymore, and that might be the totality of my review. Chris Hedges is starting to become akin to a kind of food I have had far too much of, and while I still like it, and rather not eat any more of it. It isn't fair to say that I didn't like this book, but it felt a little too similar everything else he has written. And at this point, Mr. Hedges needs to give us a solution to all the problems we have in the world.
Maybe I am just tired. ( )
  M.Campanella | Aug 23, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345807863, Hardcover)

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER

For bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges, we are once again riding the crest of a revolutionary epic, much like 1848 or 1917, from the Arab Spring to movements against austerity in Greece to the Occupy movement. From the vantage point of a world on the edge, Wages of Rebellion investigates what social and psychological factors cause revolution, rebellion and resistance.

     Drawing on an ambitious overview of prominent philosophers, historians and literary figures, Chris Hedges shows not only the harbingers of a coming crisis but also the nascent seeds of rebellion. His message is clear: popular uprisings across the globe are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization.
     Focusing on the stories of rebels from around the world and throughout history, Hedges investigates what it takes to be a rebel in modern times. Utilizing the work of Reinhold Niebuhr, he describes the motivation that guides the actions of rebels as "sublime madness"--the state of passion that causes the rebel to engage in an unavailing fight against overwhelmingly powerful and oppressive forces. For Hedges, resistance is carried out not for its success, but as a moral imperative that affirms life. Those who rise up against the odds will be those endowed with this "sublime madness." From South African activists who dedicated their lives to ending apartheid, to contemporary anti-fracking protests in Alberta, to whistleblowers in pursuit of transparency, Wages of Rebellion shows the cost of a life committed to speaking the truth and demanding justice.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:02:40 -0400)

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