A call for a new American revolution.
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Hedges (The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress, 2011, etc.) continues his exhortation for nonviolent rebellion in eight feisty essays drawn from or expanding upon his weekly column for Truthdig. Without a revolution, he claims, we face a dire future, “the culmination of a 500-year global rampage of conquering, plundering, and polluting the earth” by economic and military elites. Among many incendiary claims, he asserts that climate change will lead to famine, the spread of deadly diseases, and “levels of human mortality that will dwarf those of the Black Death,” a plague, the author warns, that could re-emerge. As a scholarship student at an exclusive boarding school, Hedges confesses that he developed a virulent “hatred of authority [and] loathing for the pretensions, heartlessness, and sense of entitlement of the rich,” whom he sees as democracy’s enemies. He decries the nation’s history of violence not only in wars, slavery, and persecution of indigenous peoples, but also in an astonishingly high rate of incarceration, especially of black men; its refusal to enact gun control laws, even after tragic school shootings; and its vengeance against protestors, such as members of the Occupy movement, whom he repeatedly cites as models of moral courage. He celebrates whistleblowers Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden for raising awareness of the government’s duplicity and “wholesale surveillance,” which the author believes inevitably will be used to quash dissent: “This information waits like a dormant virus inside government vaults to be released against us.” Despite his ominous predictions, Hedges sees a popular revolt imminent because “ideas used to prop up ruling elites” are being discredited, and “the vision of a new society” is taking hold in the popular imagination.
Like early-20th-century muckraking journalists and, more recently, I.F. Stone, Hedges makes a boisterous, outspoken contribution to revolutionizing the national conversation.