A U.S. Radical Hero And Bold Brave Anna Maria Tremonte (CBC)
Written by Robin Mathews
It was Wednesday Morning, May 13. Anna Maria Tremonte interviewed U.S. radical/political analyst Chris Hedges. Hedges attacks U.S. government, U.S. corporations, the U.S. police, the U.S. courts, U.S. foreign (imperial) policy – saying things that no person who lives from U.S. conventional press and media work would say.
Chris Hedges is bold. The members of the Anna Maria Tremonte team are bold to interview him. Or are they?
Because … truckloads of gold bricks could not persuade Ms. Tremonte and her team to interview a Canadian who might fairly be said to be doing work that is parallel to that of Chris Hedges … in Canada … about Canada and its relations with the world.
Strange…. But not so strange. Chris Hedges is safe.
Colonial managers (like the Anna Maria Tremonte team) make heroes of the ‘resistance’ fighters in the imperial centre. They scorn as ridiculous their own radical critics: laugh at them, exclude them – actively. You might say “as a rule”.
A peculiar moment occurred in the Chris Hedges/Anna Maria Tremonte interview. Unasked, Hedges quoted Canadian John Ralston Saul.
That moment reveals a great deal about the imperial-colonial communications track. A talented, humane, thoughtful man in his own right – and husband of a former Governor General – Saul has been admitted – for those reasons – to a few U.S. publications where Chris Hedges might have read him. Saul is NOT what one might call a “parallel” Canadian to Hedges. Saul is excellent, deserves publication. But he is not ever quoted as a cutting-edge, serious, informed, dagger-sharp Canadian critic deeply involved in Canadian realities.
People who are those things are smothered. They are hated by the conventional press and media. They are ignored by the CBC. And so they are rarely noticed in the U.S.A., to be read by the likes of Chris Hedges.
That is what happens in colonial countries – and always has happened. Raise up imperial voices; smother native ones. As a U.S. person Chris Hedges did, in the interview, what Imperials do: he talked passionately about his country – to him, the most important country in the world. Naturally. In doing so he was teaching Canadian listeners to reinforce their colonial-mindedness, their belief that Hedges’ country is much, much more important than Canada – for everyone.
He was teaching Canadians to respond as colonials. He is, listeners believe, (obviously) important. And so … if any Canadians were as important, they would be interviewed. And they never are. The excellent Canadians Anna Maria Tremonte will never, ever interview, that would teach Canadians to respond as self-respecting Canadians demanding change in their own country. Tremonte and her team don’t want that.
So how does Chris Hedges do it – radical, vituperative, truth-telling Chris Hedges? How does he get onto the Canadian media, into Canadian publications? Because we raise up imperial voices and smother the voices of our own people. And … because Chris Hedges is safe. Chris Hedges is Entertainment. Chris Hedges is “Show Business”. The last thing Chris Hedges wants to be, I am sure, is an emissary of U.S. imperialism. But history makes him that – like it or not. And history also prepares a platform for him in Canada. It is a colonial platform that, by policy and history, rejects Canadians fighting colonialism in Canada.
Most U.S. radicals are ‘safe’. Think of Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, and even the wonderful Edward Snowden. They come out of U.S. Individualism, and they are shaped by it. That means (to Canadians) they respond strangely, though we are taught to think they are the measure of normal. Edward Snowden wants to get back and live in the U.S.A. Chomsky and Hedges are happy there … at home … in the brutal cesspool of corruption they describe.
Not one of them says – has said – in my observation - “There are two rotten Parties in the United States, and we must build a new party. Don’t demonstrate – yet. Don’t ‘occupy’ – yet. Meet. Organize for permanent growth. Hammer out a new Party to sweep the U.S.A. – a Party with a whole new concept of the U.S.A. I will help you; I will work with you. In fact, I am calling a meeting to begin, on this date and at this place. Come to it. Start the new era.”
U.S. people – like the ones I mention – belong to the great tradition of U.S. Individualists. They say: “I will be president of the United States”. They say: “I will be a great corporate baron”. They say: “ I have an inalienable right to be heard”. They do not say “It is my task as an informed U.S. person, widely publicly known, to call upon all my fellow people in the U.S.A. – starting now – to meet, to organize for the permanent growth of a new Party with a whole new concept of the U.S.A.”
Chris Hedges masterfully describes the corruption of the U.S.A. He masterfully shows the hopelessness (?) of the world situation. He hopes (led by angels?) for a wonderful peaceful rising of U.S. people. He fears (led by devils?) a brutal and destructive rising of the U.S. people. He fears … and hopes … and talks… and then stops hoping. His interview in Vancouver’s (May) Common Ground is called, you might predict: “Beyond Hope”.
[In that same edition, Canadian Anthony Hall has a spell-binding article on Barrick Gold, its odious politics, its odious practices at home and beyond, its odious connections to U. of T., to Brian Mulroney, George H. W. Bush, John Manley, John Baird, Nigel Wright, Andrew Coyne … and much more. It’s called “Neoconning the public” and is by one of the invisible, the ignored, the rarely noticed … the smothered ... the kind who truckloads of gold bricks could not get on The Current with Anna Maria Tremonte.]
In wretched, corrupt, manipulated Greece (cradle of democracy we say) only three or four years ago brilliant reform-minded young men and women met and organized and built a party – Syriza. It is now the government of Greece. Fighting the most ruthless bankers in history and the Reactionary European Union bosses – Syriza is fighting for the Greek people and a future for Greece. Syriza got there by meeting, by organizing a Party, by hammering out a winning platform, by genuinely working to serve the Greek people.
U.S. radical leaders don’t say, “I’m going to join with others in the U.S.A. to build the best, the fairest, the most just Party the country has ever seen”. They say: “What a pit of vipers I live in. What corruption! What injustice! Let me describe it to you. It’s hopeless.”
That’s why it’s super-safe for Anna Maria Tremonte to have Chris Hedges on her show. He’s dramatic. He’s eloquent. He’s informed. He’s passionate. He’s “Show Business”. He sees a revolution on the horizon. But it won’t come about by the foundation of a new Party – a revolution in thought, practice, and democratic renewal. And so he isn’t really political. He’s Show Businesss. Entertainment. He’s safe.
And … guess what? If Anna Maria Tremonte had the forbidden Canadians on her show, they would say: “Build a new Party. Help the people of Canada take Canada back. Re-write what (ownership) means in Canada. Re-write the way we mine in Canada and outside of Canada. Rewrite the way we organize, extract, and use fossil fuel wealth. Rewrite our laws about water and the oceans that surround us. Re-write what the environment is and how it must be lived. Return to the credit power of the Bank of Canada and recast the banking system. Rebuild our mode of raising grain and selling it in the world. Rediscover free universal education and universal, full-coverage health care. Construct a transparent way of owning and funding and using and profiting from transportation, energy, and knowledge in Canada. And finally…finally, embrace and liberate our First Nations people. “
The forbidden Canadians would finger the gangsters in Canadian life – and name them for Anna Maria Tremonte: the gangsters in the corporations; in government; in policing; in Intelligence ….
Plainly, the Anna Maria Tremonte team wants nothing to do with people like those ones!! What decent colonial would? But Chris Hedges … ah yes, wonderful Chris Hedges ….
Written by Robin Mathews
The Straight Goods
Cheers Eyes Wide Open