Chris Hedges has again issued a call to conversion, a call to leave behind the moral inertia that the global system of corporate domination instills in its subjects, a call to rise up for the sake of life. He says, “It is time to build radical mass movements that defy all formal centers of power and make concessions to none.” He goes so far as to say, “Resistance to tyranny saves our souls.” Read the article here: We, the Vast Underclass, Must Rise Up Against Global Mafia – or Die.
In this article, Hedges likens the global system of unrestrained free-market capitalism to the doomed ship Pequod in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. He writes, “We are sailing on a maniacal voyage of self-destruction, and no one in a position of authority, even if he or she sees what lies ahead, is willing or able to stop it. Those on the Pequod who had a conscience, including Starbuck, did not have the courage to defy Ahab. The ship and its crew were doomed by habit, cowardice and hubris. Melville’s warning must become ours. Rise up or die.”
This is a call to conversion because Chris Hedges warns not only of the economic, social, and environmental results of corporate domination, but also of the spiritual effects: “habit, cowardice and hubris.” He also points a way forward: “Rebel. Even if you fail, even if we all fail, we will have asserted against the corporate forces of exploitation and death our ultimate dignity as human beings. We will have defended what is sacred.”
I, too, issue this call in Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization. In the excerpt below, “The Spiritual Effects of the Powers: A Paralyzed Conscience,” I address the inner, spiritual effects of the Powers, the political, economic, and military institutions that make up the system of global capitalism, and I point to resistance as a way to respond as fully human beings:
“The negative external effects of the Powers at work in the world today are not too difficult to see: environmental destruction, growing inequity, violence, and so on. But the internal effects are what prevent most people from effectively engaging the Powers. These internal effects are apathy and moral confusion.
“At some level we all know that if we do not take responsibility, our children or grandchildren will have to deal with the consequences of our inaction. For instance, at some level everyone must know that society’s addiction to fossil fuels is unsustainable. But people feel powerless to stop, hopeless about significantly changing what seems to be the inevitable course of events.
“The demons of anxiety, apathy, denial, despair, rage, helplessness, and hopelessness are pervasive in our culture. They are the other side of the colorful media images of seemingly endless choices of products and entertainment opportunities. People try to lock out the reality that threatens the future, and the Powers are quite willing to help. In fact, that is what they require of human beings: to become less than fully human and to leave the Powers in control.
“How can we live humanly, enmeshed as we are in a global system that is creating misery, destroying life, and threatening the future? In times when social sin and institutional evil are pervasive, the only way to remain human is to resist.
“Resistance can take many forms. Resistance grounded in faith begins with spiritual struggle. In the words of Jim Douglass, from his book Resistance and Contemplation, ‘In solitude, in the depth of aloneness, lie the resources for resistance to injustice. Resistance arises first from a perception of suffering and from the assumption of one’s own responsibility to seek the transformation of a murderous system into a human society. . . . In the age of genocide, to be human is to resist.’”