Chris Hedges Organizes for Building a Left-Right Coalition Against War
Feb. 14, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—In a Feb. 12 column from ScheerPost, Chris Hedges takes on the small-minded political divisions surrounding the Feb. 19 “Rage Against the War Machine” rally in Washington, and calls for people to unite to stop the drive toward World War III. Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for the New York Times. He is now also the host of a weekly TV program on his Substack site, “The Chris Hedges Report.”
Hedges’ article is ironically titled, “There Are No Permanent Allies, Only Permanent Power,” making use of Lord Palmerston’s adage that the British Empire has no permanent allies, only permanent interests, to argue that the left and right must ally, at least temporarily, to end the permanent power of the warmongers.
Hedges, listed as a speaker on Feb. 19, then identifies the unifying point: “To those who suffer directly from U.S. and NATO aggression, the demands of the Feb. 19 Rage Against the War Machine rally in Washington are not theoretical issues. For them, it is a matter of life or death. They welcome any ally.”
He then refers to some of the political bickering between so-called right and left, citing the case of CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, who was pressured by her board not to speak, because of other speakers who were from the so-called “right.” Benjamin has so far said that she will speak. She told Hedges that her reasons are that she “fears that this war could lead us into World War III or a nuclear confrontation,” and stressing that “the future of our world stands in the balance.”
Hedges also mentions Nick Brana, chair of The People’s Party, which he identifies as having organized the Feb. 19 rally with libertarians. Hedges quotes Brana as saying that “the left has become largely irrelevant in the U.S. because it is incapable of working with the right.... It clings to identity politics over jobs, health care, wages and war, and condemns half the country as deplorables.”
Hedges then asserts:
“We will not topple corporate power and the war machine alone. There has to be a left-right coalition, which will include people whose opinions are not only unpalatable but even repugnant, or we will remain marginalized and ineffectual. This is a fact of political life. Alliances are built around particular issues, in this case permanent war, which often fall apart when confronting other concerns.
“My father, a Presbyterian minister who was an army sergeant in North Africa during World War II, was a member of Concerned Clergy and Laity About Vietnam, an anti-war group that included the radical Catholic priests Philip and Daniel Berrigan. He took me with other clergy, almost all veterans, to anti-war rallies.... He and the other clergy disliked the widespread drug use and propensity of some protestors to insult and bait the police. They had little in common with the Maoists, Stalinists, Leninists and Trotskyites within the movement.... These clergy understood that the masters of war were their real enemies. They understood that the success of the anti-war movement meant forming alliances with people whose ideologies and beliefs were far removed from their pacifism, abstemious lifestyles and Christian faith. When I was about 12, my father told me that if the war was still going on when I turned 18 and I was drafted, he would go to prison with me. The jolt of that promise has remained with me my entire life.”