This is an incredibly moving speech. Forget all those commencement speeches you have had or will have! Listen to THIS!
(Note: if the video to which this article links gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Chris Hedges Gives a Heartbreaking Speech on Wages of Rebellion”)
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who spent much of his life as a war correspondent until he could no longer bear the horror. He is also very astute in matters of social injustice and the falling apart of societies, things he saw in countries descending into civil war and which he now sees happening in America. For telling us about them, he lost his job at the New York Times, and is now one of those truth telling journalists who can only communicate with us through books and speeches, since the corporate mainstream media blacklist people who tell us the naked truth. In this speech he describes how he came to conclude that real journalism is about giving voice to those who have none and describes the decline of America and America’s new form of slavery which holds millions of our most disenfranchised unjustly locked up and ruthlessly exploited unbeknownst to the rest of us.
Here are some passages I typed down (I ran out of time for some which I would really have liked to include, for example about the grave injustice of our prison-industrial complex):
“In an age of unfettered capitalism … it is incumbent on us to look at what is being done to the powerless among us, because these corporate forces intend to do it to all of us. And this creeping, corporate totalitarianism … is destroying everything in our society which has the capacity to transform: including education, journalism, the arts, the humanities. [They hate the humanities] because education is subversive when it’s right… [True] education is about equipping you to challenge assumptions and structures and stand up for justice and make the world a better place. … Everything, incl. human beings, have been turned into commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. And that’s why the environmental crisis is twinned with the economic crisis. We are witnessing the death throws of the planet. [The corporations] are attempting to profit off the destruction of the system which gives us life. And in that sense… these corporate forces are systems of death. And to defy them – our leaders will not defy them – only we in the streets will defy them. … When you are watched 24 h a day by the state, you cannot use the word liberty. That is the relationship between a master and a slave.”
And, boy, what he reveals about our prisons!
In the spirit of Chris Hedges I must ask: What is right about neutrality in journalism if you are neutral about justice? (or maybe he said it… I don’t remember. My days in the treadmill are so packed.)