Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 5 Share on Facebook 7 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 13 (25 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   59 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Elites Will Make Gazans of Us All

      (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 20   Well Said 18   Valuable 10  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H4 11/19/12

Author 28678
Become a Fan
  (399 fans)
- Advertisement -
Cross-posted from Truthdig

Illustration by Mr. Fish

Gaza is a window on our coming dystopia. The growing divide between the world's elite and its miserable masses of humanity is maintained through spiraling violence. Many impoverished regions of the world, which have fallen off the economic cliff, are beginning to resemble Gaza, where 1.6 million Palestinians live in the planet's largest internment camp. These sacrifice zones, filled with seas of pitifully poor people trapped in squalid slums or mud-walled villages, are increasingly hemmed in by electronic fences, monitored by surveillance cameras and drones and surrounded by border guards or military units that shoot to kill. These nightmarish dystopias extend from sub-Saharan Africa to Pakistan to China. They are places where targeted assassinations are carried out, where brutal military assaults are pressed against peoples left defenseless, without an army, navy or air force. All attempts at resistance, however ineffective, are met with the indiscriminate slaughter that characterizes modern industrial warfare.

In the new global landscape, as in Israel's occupied territories and the United States' own imperial projects in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan, massacres of thousands of defenseless innocents are labeled wars. Resistance is called a provocation, terrorism or a crime against humanity. The rule of law, as well as respect for the most basic civil liberties and the right of self-determination, is a public relations fiction used to placate the consciences of those who live in the zones of privilege. Prisoners are routinely tortured and "disappeared." The severance of food and medical supplies is an accepted tactic of control. Lies permeate the airwaves. Religious, racial and ethnic groups are demonized. Missiles rain down on concrete hovels, mechanized units fire on unarmed villagers, gunboats pound refugee camps with heavy shells, and the dead, including children, line the corridors of hospitals that lack electricity and medicine.

The impending collapse of the international economy, the assaults on the climate, the resulting droughts, flooding, precipitous decline in crop yields and rising food prices are creating a universe where power is divided between the narrow elites, who hold in their hands sophisticated instruments of death, and the enraged masses. The crises are fostering a class war that will dwarf anything imagined by Karl Marx. They are establishing a world where most will be hungry and live in fear, while a few will gorge themselves on delicacies in protected compounds. And more and more people will have to be sacrificed to keep this imbalance in place.

Because it has the power to do so, Israel -- as does the United States -- flouts international law to keep a subject population in misery. The continued presence of Israeli occupation forces defies nearly a hundred U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for them to withdraw. The Israeli blockade of Gaza, established in June 2007, is a brutal form of collective punishment that violates Article 33 of the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention, which set up rules for the "Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War." The blockade has turned Gaza into a sliver of hell, an Israeli-administered ghetto where thousands have died, including the 1,400 civilians killed in the Israeli incursion of 2008. 

With 95 percent of factories shut down, Palestinian industry has virtually ceased functioning. The remaining 5 percent operate at 25 to 50 percent capacity. Even the fishing industry is moribund. Israel refuses to let fishermen travel more than three miles from the coastline, and within the fishing zone boats frequently come under Israeli fire. The Israeli border patrols have seized 35 percent of the agricultural land in Gaza for a buffer zone. The collapsing infrastructure and Israeli seizure of aquifers mean that in many refugee camps, such as Khan Yunis, there is no running water. UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) estimates that 80 percent of all Gazans now rely on food aid. 

And the claim of Israeli self-defense belies the fact that it is Israel that maintains an illegal occupation and violates international law by carrying out collective punishment of Palestinians. It is Israel that chose to escalate the violence when during an incursion into Gaza earlier this month its forces fatally shot a 13-year-old boy. As the world breaks down, this becomes the new paradigm -- modern warlords awash in terrifying technologies and weapons murdering whole peoples. We do the same in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Market forces and the military mechanisms that protect these forces are the sole ideology that governs industrial states and humans' relationship to the natural world. It is an ideology that results in millions of dead and millions more displaced from their homes in the developing world. And the awful algebra of this ideology means that these forces will eventually be unleashed on us, too. Those who cannot be of use to market forces are considered expendable. They have no rights and legitimacy. Their existence, whether in Gaza or blighted post-industrial cities such as Camden, N.J., is considered a drain on efficiency and progress. They are viewed as refuse. And as refuse they not only have no voice and no freedom; they can be and are extinguished or imprisoned at will. This is a world where only corporate power and profit are sacred. It is a world of barbarism.

- Advertisement -

"In disposing of man's labor power the system would, incidentally, dispose of the physical, psychological, and moral entity 'man' attached to that tag," Karl Polanyi wrote in "The Great Transformation." ...

"Robbed of the protective covering of cultural institutions, human beings would perish from the effects of social exposure; they would die as the victims of acute social dislocation through vice, crime, and starvation. Nature would be reduced to its elements, neighborhoods and landscapes defiled, rivers polluted, military safety jeopardized, the power to produce food and raw materials destroyed. Finally, the market administration of purchasing power would periodically liquidate business enterprise, for shortages and surfeits of money would prove as disastrous to business as floods and droughts in primitive society. Undoubtedly, labor, land, and money markets are essential to a market economy. But no society could stand the effects of such a system of crude fictions even for the shortest stretch of time unless its human and natural substance as well as its business organization was protected against the ravages of this satanic mill."

There are 47.1 million Americans who depend on food stamps to eat. The elites are plotting to take these food stamps away, along with other "entitlement" programs that keep the poor from destitution. The slashing of trillions of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs, given the political impasse in Washington and the looming "fiscal cliff," now seems certain. There are 50 million people considered to be living below the poverty line, but because the poverty line is so low -- $22,350 for a family of four -- this figure means nothing. Add the tens of millions of Americans who live in a category called "near poverty," including all those families attempting to live on less than $45,000 a year, and you have at least 30 percent of the country living in poverty. 

Once these people figure out that there is no economic recovery, that their standard of living is going to continue to drop, that they are trapped, that hope in the future is an illusion, they will become as angry as protesters in Greece and Spain or the militants in Gaza or Afghanistan. Banks and other financial corporations, handed trillions in interest-free money from the Federal Reserve, meanwhile hoard $5 trillion, much of it looted from the U.S. Treasury. The longer this worldwide disparity and inequality is perpetuated, the more the masses will revolt and the faster we will internally replicate the Israeli model of domestic control -- drones overhead, all dissent criminalized, SWAT teams busting through doors, deadly force as an acceptable form of subjugation, food used as a weapon, and constant surveillance.

In Gaza and other blighted parts of the globe we see this new configuration of power. What is happening in Gaza, like what is happening to people of color in marginal communities in the United States, is the model. The techniques of control, whether carried out by the Israelis or militarized police units in our inner-city drug wars, whether employed by military special forces or mercenaries in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iraq, are tested first and perfected on the weak and the powerless. Our callous indifference to the plight of the Palestinians, and the hundreds of millions of poor packed into urban slums in Asia or Africa, as well as our own underclass, means that the injustices visited on them will be visited on us. In failing them we fail ourselves.

As the U.S. empire implodes, the harsher forms of violence employed on the outer reaches of empire are steadily migrating back to the homeland. At the same time, the internal systems of democratic governance have calcified. Centralized authority has devolved into the hands of an executive branch that slavishly serves global corporate interests. The press and the government's judiciary and legislative branches have become toothless and decorative. The specter of terrorism, as in Israel, is used by the state to divert gargantuan expenditures to homeland security, the military and internal surveillance. Privacy is abolished. Dissent is treason. 

- Advertisement -

The military with its mantra of blind obedience and force characterizes the dark ethic of the wider culture. Beauty and truth are abolished. Culture is degraded into kitsch. The emotional and intellectual life of the citizenry is ravaged by spectacle, the tawdry and salacious, as well as by handfulls of painkillers and narcotics. Blind ambition, a lust for power and a grotesque personal vanity -- exemplified by David Petraeus and his former mistress -- are the engines of advancement. The concept of the common good is no longer part of the lexicon of power. 

This, as the novelist J.M. Coetzee writes, is "the black flower of civilization." It is Rome under Diocletian. It is us. Empires, in the end, decay into despotic, murderous and corrupt regimes that finally consume themselves. And we, like Israel, are now coughing up blood.


Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags
- Advertisement -
Google Content Matches:

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System

The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government

This Is What Resistance Looks Like

Rise Up or Die

Hope, from now on, will look like this. Chris Hedges Speech Before Joining Anti War Vets in DC Civil Disobedience Action

The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
19 people are discussing this page, with 59 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

If we figured out what each taxpayer owes per day ... by Steven G. Erickson on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 10:19:50 AM
I agree that the fascist state has risen to the po... by Deborah Dills on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 11:10:21 AM
According to  a reported published by US Camp... by Sister Begonia on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 12:57:30 PM
And Up becomes down........The truth will appear a... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 11:24:45 AM
From the way OWS protesters have been brutally bea... by Sister Begonia on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 12:35:22 PM
But stupid too:" Centralized authority has devolve... by BFalcon on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 2:13:36 PM
Hey there, unthink, what's worth repeating from th... by Don Caldarazzo on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 3:28:32 PM
Every time I point out just a little rhetorical ov... by Robert S. Becker on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 7:56:09 PM
And half truth is a whole lie.I don't deny the hal... by BFalcon on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 8:31:42 PM
line from Lawrence of Arabia, spoken by the deviou... by Robert S. Becker on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 11:07:39 PM
just because the mass media don't tell the truth d... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 3:56:42 AM
If Hedges does not offer a single solution, it may... by Jack Flanders on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 1:23:23 PM
First, I don't believe that, in general, the US go... by BFalcon on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 2:50:12 PM
I agree that big money has won most of the battles... by Jack Flanders on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 7:39:00 AM
Around and after WWII which brought more people in... by BFalcon on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 9:01:12 AM
These are very sensible, practical, pragmatic and ... by Jack Flanders on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 10:20:19 AM
Thanks, guys, for showing what lucid, helpful comm... by Robert S. Becker on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 11:54:50 AM
 Two encouraging examples;This time money cle... by BFalcon on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 4:07:18 PM
@BFalconAccording to a friend of mine who is very ... by Jack Flanders on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 6:24:55 AM
You are very right that I am among very few modera... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 9:39:13 AM
Becker, go live in one of these "Sacrifice Zones" ... by Don Caldarazzo on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 9:50:46 AM
If you believe that Fascism is present in America,... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 10:42:21 AM
Strange.  I'm pretty sure we've already had t... by Don Caldarazzo on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 11:41:03 AM
Mostly speaks for itself so I will let everybody j... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 1:57:56 PM
Everyone's undeniable claim against you with incre... by Don Caldarazzo on Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012 at 8:29:54 AM
 Thought that it was unjust that they should ... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012 at 9:26:52 AM
An interesting expression.Do you believe that we s... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012 at 9:36:11 AM
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, e... by Don Caldarazzo on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 12:48:00 PM
Good on you, mate... by Samuel Scharff on Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012 at 1:32:02 AM
but most brainwashed Americans won't believe any o... by Lois Gagnon on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 3:00:13 PM
So how does a site like opednews start an intellig... by Kevin Tully on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 7:42:59 PM
Well, when people wake up to the fact that, while ... by Don Caldarazzo on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 10:15:07 AM
Well said. I don't think the article is hy... by Kevin Tully on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 3:12:15 PM
Another Chavez would be veeeeery helpful.... by Don Caldarazzo on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 4:51:16 PM
Kevin, I really appreciate your steady, sincere li... by Jack Flanders on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 2:42:05 PM
We're going to have to figure out a way to work to... by Kevin Tully on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 3:49:23 PM
However, with respect, I suggest you made an error... by Paul Repstock on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 7:58:40 PM
Paul.  No one will supply us with the means f... by Don Caldarazzo on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 10:30:29 AM
DHS won't explain its order of 450 million hollow... by Deborah Dills on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 10:17:14 PM
Great article.   Great comments.   '... by Ned Lud on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 5:09:35 AM
I just figured out your code.  Solutions my f... by Kevin Tully on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 6:56:37 AM
under the banner of  Honest and Qualified For... by Mark Sashine on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 7:45:05 AM
Didn't quite get your point -- remember I'm a Texa... by Kevin Tully on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 8:26:32 AM
is the new movement I propose,  under the mot... by Mark Sashine on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 9:10:55 AM
let's go for it.... by Kevin Tully on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 9:54:29 AM
is the new movement I propose,  under the mot... by Mark Sashine on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 9:11:49 AM
I love you Ned.... by Elizabeth Hanson on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 8:51:32 AM
@Tully:   No, you didn't.   Sashine'... by Ned Lud on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 8:20:36 AM
NED! NED! NED!... by Don Caldarazzo on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 10:23:56 AM
@Elizabeth Hanson:   I love you too, dear. ... by Ned Lud on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 9:05:07 AM
wlawlor, I r... by Alan MacDonald on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 9:36:09 AM
Of course it is EMPIRE - What you call Empire I ca... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 9:47:56 AM
PODF, thanks for acknowledging that, as you say, "... by Alan MacDonald on Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012 at 11:34:03 AM
The discourse, discussions,  and informed deb... by Alan MacDonald on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 9:54:50 AM
Anyone who has read the progressive websites with ... by Gary Corseri on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 2:40:46 PM
are genocidal for the purpose of extracting land a... by Lois Gagnon on Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 4:20:32 PM
... and to the point.Well said, Gary. Well said, A... by Jack Flanders on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 8:43:08 AM
Honestly Chris, the moment I read about your paral... by Ashutosh Samal on Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012 at 6:11:07 AM