Chris Hedges vs Crimethinc

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Joined: 21-02-12
Sep 13 2012 14:15
Chris Hedges vs Crimethinc

Chris Hedges and Crimethinc did a livestream debate last night, which I didn't actually watch but I did tune in for a few minutes, got vaguely irritated and threw a few jokes about it with someone on twitter. At this point I was inundated by folk leaping to defend Chris Hedges' honour, no-one who follows me, people must have been dredging the internet to find people to champion Hedges against. They're tenacious little scamps, although it was a bit like being savaged by kittens and the bulk of the arguments weren't much above the level of all anarchists are smelly, so there!
Anyway, my point is did anyone actually watch this and have an opinion? Did I miss the internet event of the century, or was it as lame as I imagined it to be? Just wondered, because something I didn't bother watching seemed to take up a ludicrous amount of my time. On the other hand, my tv cable was down yesterday, so there was literally nothing on the telly.

Joined: 13-09-12
Sep 13 2012 17:16

Perhaps I will make a new post on the subject, but for now, since I watched the whole thing at one of the six livestream events at various infoshops, I will offer a little light recap.

On the whole, it was an embarrassing loss for Hedges. Of course, I am a partisan of the crimethinc position here, so perhaps I was hearing my preferred argument more clearly, but I can't imagine even the most devoted "peace police" hearing better than a stalemate.

Neither of them were addressing the other, for the most part, but B. Traven of Crimethinc was at least consistently answering the questions offered, and even occasionally giving some conversational body language toward Hedges, and saying that he shared with him some vision of liberation (even if this is perhaps more polite and tactical than true). Hedges mostly sweated and reminded the audience that he is an important war correspondent (~10x) and that he has led a lawsuit against the Obama administration (~5x).

Hedges has apparently decided that masking is now acceptable, and that he would work alongside black bloc members without reporting them to police. But these are not why it seems that the diversity of tactics position won. Team black won because Hedges continues to refuse to correct any of his glaring historical inaccuracies. For instance, one of the audience questions asked on what grounds Hedges had called the Black Panther movement a "parasite," and Hedges just claimed that he did not remember ever having written that. Fortunately, B. Traven not only remembered, but could cite and quote the article. Hedges, cornered, muttered and hedged, conceded some ground, but did not explain what he meant at all, except by informing the audience that the Weather Underground had been "rather White." Similarly, Hedges claimed that "classical" Anarchists of the 19th century would have supported his position on "non-violence" during the debate, but had no response when B. Traven gave a short litany of the Anarchists Hedges was presumably referencing, all of whose names still echo with their support of direct actions far more daring than those of Oakland's May Day.

But Hedges, finally, lost because he was haunted by the spectre of something called "the mainstream." I don't know why B. Traven did not address this phrase directly. Perhaps he didn't have to. Maybe it doesn't need to be dignified with a rebuttal. But it should be examined. The strangest moment was when B. of Crimethinc accused Hedges of delivering a narrative that the police are using to imprison activists (which Traven supported with a concrete instance). To this the Pulitzer prize winning journalist claimed that he was as "shut out" of the "mainstream" as were the black bloc participants. It sounded like a persecution complex, honestly, and that neurosis is just not a luxury those of us working to confront actual persecution (and actually being persecuted) can afford. But I don't think the issue was that Hedges somehow forgot that he is widely read and well published, nor that he was being simply dishonest. I think the notion of a "mainstream" is so theoretically impoverished that it can only manifest as nonsense. Hedges' mainstream, the one that apparently supported the Occupy movement, did not have any characteristics at all, except perhaps fear of dramatic confrontation. It was non-hyper-masculine, but it was not characterized by the presence of women, nor concerted action against patriarchy. It had no bodies, it had no faces. Hedges lost because he was being pursued not by a black bloc, but by an imagined white bloc of bourgeois supporters, waiting for him to open a revolutionary space mild enough for them.

flaneur's picture
Joined: 25-02-09
Sep 13 2012 17:25
acephale00 wrote:
B. Traven of Crimethinc


Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Joined: 5-10-07
Sep 13 2012 20:35

Ah, Flaneur, we find out your real identity black bloc

Joined: 2-08-12
Sep 13 2012 21:27

Was good to see Brian still knocking about, the whole debate was pretty meaningless though.

Joined: 28-10-09
Sep 16 2012 21:29

A rather annoying piece by Louis Proyect on the debate. Video includedn and with a lot of heated comments as well. Enjoy tongue

klas batalo's picture
klas batalo
Joined: 5-07-09
Sep 18 2012 00:32