Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Quote for Day: Chris Hedges on the "Sacrifice Zones" Required by Unfettered Capitalism (with Application to Ferguson)

The video at the head of the posting is an interview that Chris Hedges did with Bill Moyers back in 2012. In the video, Chris Hedges talks about how unfettered capitalism requires "sacrifice zones." He states that in working with Joe Sacco on his book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, he came to the  following conclusion:

It's absolutely imperative that we begin to understand what unfettered, unregulated capitalism does, the violence of that system, which is portrayed in all of the places that we visited. 
These are sacrifice zones, areas that have been destroyed for quarterly profit. And we're talking about environmentally destroyed, communities destroyed, human beings destroyed, families destroyed. And because there are no impediments left, these sacrifice zones are just going to spread outward.

Moyers then asks Hedges to explain further what he means by "sacrifice zones" and how unfettered capitalism requires them. Hedges replies,

Well, they have the individuals who live within those areas have no power. The political system is bought off, the judicial system is bought off, the law enforcement system services the interests of power, they have been rendered powerless. 

And if this is not a precise description of the many Fergusons that dot the American landscape, and which have grown ever more numerous (and ever more powerless) as economic disparity has grown by leaps and bounds in this nation in the last half century, then I don't know what is. Some people are powerless because the system requires that they be powerless in order to function — to enrich a few at the expense of the many. 

And the same system requires relentless repetitions of the lesson of the powerlessness of its victims, lest they begin to think they have the right to rebel against it and refashion it as a more humane, inclusive society. What we're seeing with the Michael Brown verdict today is just such a demonstration.

No comments: