One Nation. March to Nowhere

Chris Hedges on One Nation

We can hold One Nation marches every week. It will not make any difference until we revolt against the formal structures of power.

The liberal preoccupation with positive forms of propaganda ignores the root of our problem. The tea party and hate mongers on Fox such as Glenn Beck, however repugnant, are the manifestation of the crisis, not its cause. The forces assaulting the remnants of American democracy will not be cowed or discredited with rallies, such as the one in Washington on Saturday. We will blunt these rising anti-democratic forces only when we organize outside conventional systems of power.

The problem is that both parties are co-opted by and beholden to corporate power, especially the banks. I helped organize multiple anti-Iraq war protests. Some were huge. At times it was exhilarating, with hundreds of thousands in the streets.

But the wars continued. Bush left office and it was obvious many protesters were more anti-Bush than anti-war, the hidden agendas of the groups behind the mass organizations became apparent to me, and things have mostly fizzled now.

The targets of mass protests have been symbolic. Have a demo at a federal building. Real protest means that, say, massive non-violent protest simply shuts down DC with millions blocking the streets until the desired change comes. We have an oligarchy that doesn’t much care what citizens think, except for how they can be manipulated. Big protests in DC are so common that they are mostly ignored.

Chris Hedges is correct, we need new tactics and new ideas.


  • We have to organise at community level to attempt to short circuit the system, become less reliant on the system, by-pass the system by more self-help, mutual aid groups working in federation with other communities. Think and act outside the system, direct involvement by all those in the community. Seeking a “good” leader and a “better” party to put nice new smiles in power will only give you more of the same. Marching from A to B waving your flags and shouting your slogans accompanied by a police escort will achieve nothing. It’s the system that stinks, giving it fresh make-up and a new face still leaves you with a stinking system.

  • I really don’t think we need to invent any sort of new tactics. You’re right in that civil disobedience needs to be taken farther than it is right now, I think, but we don’t need to invent anything new. We need more energy, more persistence, and just everyone doing their own small part. But we don’t live in unprecedented times – protest, civil disobedience, being unafraid to be radical, winning elections, and things like that will all contribute to positive change, just as the have in the past.

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