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Dusty Hinz and Ron Whyte interview Chris Hedges on violence, the environment, the sustainable future, and Occupy

On Sunday, March 18th, 2012, my friend Ron Whyte (activist/journalist) and I caught up with Chris Hedges in a Starbucks after his keynote speech at Left Forum in New York. We spoke about violence, the environmental crisis and what is actually sustainable, and the possibilities of the Occupy movement.

Chris Hedges keynote speech at Left Forum closing plenary in NYC – Sunday, March 18th

On Sunday March 18th, Chris Hedges gave one of the four keynote speeches at the closing plenary of Left Forum in New York at Pace University. I took this video from where I was sitting. He was concise and to the point, and the audience was focused in. He addresses his controversial article and views on the Black Bloc tactic of protest.

Dusty Hinz Calling Out Our Generation — I wrote this my senior year of college in the final issue of the school newspaper that year

I flew from President Obama’s inauguration in DC to Venezuela to study abroad for my final semester at Augsburg in January of 2009. I wrote this when I was down in Venezuela and had it published in the year’s final issue of Augsburg’s school newspaper, the Echo.

 

Dusty Hinz Calling Out Our Generation

Fellow professors, staff, students, and friends, I write this to you all as my final message to a community that has most certainly changed me as a person. I think most of us know it already, but if you will allow me the opportunity, I am going to try to put our current situation into words: massive corporations and mega banks – the bourgeoisie class of our society – have our country (and have had our country) at the throat, and as they suffocate us, this incredible power force has an unending amount of reaches into our public wallet in the name of catastrophic systemic risk. But if systemic risk simply refers to the risk that our current system – which has literally just dug its own grave – will collapse, should not we the people be rooting for this?

We see the destruction and injustice of our current system all over the United States and the world, as too often the incredible benefits of a few are owed to the exploitation and unnecessary hardship of so many others:

  • Wal Mart moves into rural area, pays their workers as if they are less than human, and runs mom and pop out of business.
  • The privatization of our prison system and the private mercenaries over seas.
  • Massive agribusiness corporations that receive government subsidies as they simultaneously drive small farms out of business inside the US and out.
  • The entire corporate mainstream media that sold us our beloved Iraq War.
  • Slave labor in China and other countries that allow us to buy our precious cheap stuff.
  • IMF and World Bank policies that trade debt relief for privatization and leave countries vulnerable to the volatile world market as they are forced to open their domestic markets to transnational corporations.
  • The current economic crisis which is a result of deregulation, which is a result of the lobbying power of corporations and the financial dependency that our politicians have on these massive corporations and mega banks.

In our society there are three power sectors: corporations, government, and the people. Fascism, a concept that has many different characteristics, is when corporations and government merge. With the presence of the corporate-government revolving door (ex: Dick Cheney, Henry Paulson, so many more) in this country, it is apparent that this problem has already arrived here. It is just that our corporations, as opposed to Hitler´s, are jacked up on steroids.

I write this to you because I truly believe that the defining challenge of our generation will be our fight against these corporate powers that be. I am sorry, but if you think it is all over just because we elected Obama, think again. True progressives were trapped in the locker room for the past eight years and the election of Obama has simply allowed us to get onto the field; WE HAVE NOT STARTED PLAYING THE GAME.

Our current system of international neoliberal capitalism is unsustainable and puts the well being of millions and millions at risk.

This is our future. I choose to fight.

Video clip I took at Occupy Times Square in NYC Saturday, October 15th, 2011

I took this at Occupy Times Square during the big October 15th day of action in New York. It was a wild day. We started off in the financial district, marched to Washington Square Park, and eventually made our way to Times Square, which culminated in stand-off with the police. It got intense. This is video from when we were in Times Square.

My response to Bill Moyers’ interview with Heather McGhee on Millennial Generation

On his new show, Moyers and Company, Bill Moyers interviewed Heather McGhee, of the research and advocacy organization Demos, on the current state of our generation and the country. The interview was posted on February 10th, 2012. Follow this link to watch it:

http://billmoyers.com/segment/heather-mcghee-on-the-millennial-generation/

Here is my response to it that I posted on the comments:

Hey Bill, I appreciated the interview. Nice to see you back in the game. I suppose your plan was to take the interview exactly where it went, which is cool, no doubt, I enjoyed the discussion and I thought Mrs. McGhee was very insightful. However, I feel like most of the people in this country that will actually watch the interview are aware of most of the things you guys just spoke about. These are certainly the defining issues of our time and should be brought up and discussed constantly, no beef there. But my critique is this: after talking at length about the problems we are facing and how we got to this sad state of affairs, it is only at the very end that Mrs. McGhee brought up her truly radical, forward-thinking, and concrete idea for some kind of modern day new deal jobs plan. Take that conversation further! This is exactly what we need to be talking about in the here and now. Myself and just about everyone that I have spoken with at Occupy Minnesota, Occupy Philly, Occupy Wall Street, and Occupy DC are completely aware of how messed up things are and why. We need big ideas and a bold vision for where this country and the world are going, and it is my view that this discussion requires a deeper nuance.

I would have asked her at end: What exactly would this modern new deal look like? Specifically, what kind of jobs are we talking about here? Would this plan try to conform to the dictates of the current globalized economic paradigm? Or might it try to blaze some kind of new, resilient, localized, and truly environmentally sustainable path? We currently devote a huge share of our national resources to maintaining the American Empire and all of its manifestations: with the scope of the plan you have in mind, how does the American Empire fit in?

It is apparent to me that some kind of big visionary plan is needed for the entire world, and now is the time to start discussing these imperative ideas.

Lastly, I caution this whole axiom about “how we are the first generation in American history to not do better than our parents.” Civilization and capitalism are similar in that they each boom and bust. So if our generation were doing better than our parents did, would we be making $100,000 a year and have even bigger houses and cars than they do? The question then becomes not only what defines “better,” but should the notion of ever increasing generational growth even be desirable (or is it even possible)? There is an inverse relationship between what conventional wisdom defines as progress and the health and sustainability of the environment. I will gladly take a cut in the standard of living if it means my decedents will actually be able to inhabit the planet.

Interview with Khaled Abou el Naga on the film, “Microphone” set in Alexandria, Egypt

Khaled Abou el Naga was on tour in the United States with the award winning film, “Microphone”, which he directed, produced, and was the lead actor in. He came to Minneapolis for the International Film Festival at St. Anthony Main Theater, and Lydia Howell and I had the chance to sit down and talk with him on KFAI Radio in Minneapolis. I found the film very compelling. It is set in the emerging underground cultural haven of Alexandria, Egypt, with characters that are NOT professional actors and were actually doing the things they do in the film in their daily lives.

Cornel West on “Niggerization” at Mumia Rally in Philly 12/11/11