Chris Hedges on the Occupy Wall Street Movement

Speaking on CBC's the Lang and O'Leary Exchange, Chris Hedges (author of The World As It Is) fended off O'Leary's ham-fisted personal attack to clearly enunciate the root of the Occupy Wall Street movement's grievance, and where he fits on the political spectrum:
"Those who are protesting the rise of the corporate state are in fact, on the political spectrum, the true conservatives because they are calling for the restoration of the rule of law.

"The radicals have seized power, and they have trashed all regulations and legal impediments to achieve a reconfiguration of American society into a form of neofeudalism."

See how consistent this sentiment is with the Tea Party Patriots' mission statement, which includes the following on Free Markets:
A free market is the economic consequence of personal liberty. The founders believed that personal and economic freedom were indivisible, as do we. Our current government's interference distorts the free market and inhibits the pursuit of individual and economic liberty. Therefore, we support a return to the free market principles on which this nation was founded and oppose government intervention into the operations of private business.
The anti-corporatist agenda is fuelling both of these movements because both the state and the market have betrayed the trust of the people they serve. Where the Tea Party movement diverges from Occupy Wall Street is in how it regards the role of the state and the virtue of markets.

My own view is that market systems are the most efficient means of allocating resources. But a free, unregulated market produces outcomes that are harmful to the commonwealth. The state is entrusted with serving the interest of the commonwealth by structuring protections against exploitative or harmful practices: safeguarding the air we breathe and water we drink; protecting workers from hazardous workplaces; protecting consumers from fraud; protecting our commerce from foreign ownership; and so on. The state sets and enforces the rules of the market, then allows the market to operate.

The state should not pick the winners by direct investment in the marketplace; it should invest in infrastructure that enables the market to function. The state should not encumber development with inefficient regulatory review; it should have the organizational capacity to expedite reviews such as environmental and foreign ownership assessments. The state should not bolster industries that the market has consigned to the trash heap; it should enable the retraining and redeployment of labour when the market changes tack.

What is clear from the outrage on the streets is the despair that Americans increasingly harbour for their future as a nation. Implicit in these movements is the pledge that never again shall American taxpayers be asked to shoulder the burden for the malfeasance of the market and the abandonment of the state. Americans should celebrate the sentiment that unites these movements instead of what divides them, and exert their full force in the political arena.

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