Wages of Rebellion

Wages of Rebellion

Book - 2015
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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.
Publisher: Toronto : Knopf Canada, 2015.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780345807861
Branch Call Number: 320.019 HEDGE
Characteristics: vii, 286 pages ; 25 cm


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Jun 06, 2018

Chris Hedges is currently, in my opinion, one of the United States' most important social commentators. Citing examples from history, literature, and his own 20 years of experience as a New York Times war correspondent, Hedges lays bare the crimes of empire, our complicity as citizens in the rotting of our culture and discourse, and the ways in which global corporations have become all-powerful throughout society. Hedges doesn't offer many clear-cut solutions, but he offers a path of non-violent dissidence that many have walked before, to varying degrees of success, as well as failure. This is a writer who speaks truth to power, and I only hope that the future we are heading for doesn't match the darkness of some of his predictions.

Oct 06, 2016

Necessary, thought provoking, informative and well written. This is another book that explains how and why we have lost our way. Greed has given us the multinational corporation and now that they've sucked out all the wealth of the earth and left a hollowed out shell, all that's left is to deprive humanity of its freedom. This book gives some insight on how this has happened. Well worth reading.

Apr 25, 2016

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.

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.

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.

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.

Oct 21, 2015

I just finished this book and I have to say that even though most of what the author talked about was not new to me, it was refreshing to read a book that seemed to flow from the author's veins. It's a call to live full and truthful lives, which might actually mean becoming a "rebel" as the State, hijacked by oligarchic interests, sees it. The author is very clear about the fact that non-violence is a much better approach than violence but also warns that sacrifice and sometimes suffering mark the life of a rebel. It's also a call to be critical thinkers as things are very rarely black and white. The author's passion though sometimes got the better of him and I couldn't help thinking that in the hands of a Malcolm Gladwell, the contents could have been better arranged. Good book though. Highly recommended.

Oct 04, 2015

The author falls to new lows in journalism with this violent call to arms.

May 23, 2015

Another emotionally evocative and powerful book from Chris Hedges, who resigned from the NY Times during the Bush years rather than write the fiction they demanded. From Mumia Abu-Jamal, to Julian Assange and Jeremy Hammond and on to Cornel West, and many others, the whys of the necessity to overthrow the Corporate Fascist State become readily apparent! Especially telling are the crimes uncovered about Stratefor, yet Judge Loretta Preska sentenced Hammond to jail for 10 years?????? Truly, the guilty are in charge in this sorry country, and there are no leaders, only lackeys of the predatory capitalists.

May 22, 2015

I just finished the book and am both deflated and excited by its contents. I'm excited that it's still possible to be able to write a book like this and deflated by the truths it tells. We are at the cusp of a revolution and it won't be pretty.
Rather than give away its contents I'll leave it to the eager readers of this book to read the book carefully and take it to heart. There's one quote in the book, ascribed to Socrates, who was killed for speaking the truth to the state, that I think summarizes the whole book: "It is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong."

redban Mar 30, 2015

This should be exceptional, much anticipated just like David Graeber's new book!

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