Hedges, Knopf and Single Payer

Chris Hedges lives from paycheck to paycheck.

Make that – book advance to book advance.

His most recent book advance came from Knopf.

“Knopf – which of course, like all of these large publishing houses is owned by a large transnational corporation – asked me to write a book on the press,” Hedges told the Sanctuary for Independent Media last month in Troy, New York.

“The advance was pretty low – I said no. But after giving a talk at the Ford Foundation, they said they would kick in the money. And I agreed to do it.”

“It was a bad idea. I learned never to write about somebody else’s idea.”

But Hedges produced the manuscript anyway – and turned it in on time.

“When Knopf got it they were horrified,” Hedges reports. “Because it exposed the rot within the commercial media, the complicity of the commercial media with the power elite – and all of the things they won’t write about, the things they won’t tell you.”

“The editor called me up and said they didn’t like it. But that’s all right – they would help me take out all the negativity. All the negativity would be removed and then Knopf would happily publish it.”

“What they wanted was a mythic version of the press – without fear or favor, America’s great investigative and truth telling enterprise of journalism – is collapsing under the onslaught of declining circulation and declining ad revenues. And American democracy will be irrevocably damaged.”

Hedges shared with Knopf the feeling that the loss of a print based media “will be deeply damaging.”

“But I was not about to mythologize an institution that I know intimately and know far better than any editor at Knopf,” Hedges said. “So, I called Nation Books and asked them to buy out the advance which they did.”

“I then reconfigured the entire book. I had written about one pillar of the liberal establishment and its collapse. What I realized in the process of writing it was that all of the pillars of the liberal establishment had collapsed. The liberal church, the universities, the press, labor, culture and the Democratic party have all failed.”

“They continue to speak in the rhetoric of liberal values, but the alliances they have made and what they do have removed them from traditional liberalism and turned them into collaborators with the corporate state and with the forces that have made war with liberal values.”

The resulting book is red hot.

It puts to shame anyone who supported Barack Obama for President.

Or anyone who still clings to the Democratic Party for “hope we can believe in.”

Hedges says the liberal class was always compromised by its embrace of the power elite.

And its hostility to radicals who questioned the foundations of American society – including the liberal class itself.

But the liberal class did provide an institutional check on corporate power.

And with the liberal class dead and gone – bought off and buried by corporate power – the anger among working and middle class Americans is being expressed by ideologues of the right who redirect that anger toward public institutions.

Hedges calls it a recipe for fascism.

What to do?

Hedges calls for resistance.

But how?

Here’s one answer:

Single payer.

Single payer is the perfect organizing issue of our time.

It gives us an immediate opportunity to create a new language of resistance.

Forget about regulating the corporate institutions – in this case, the giant the health insurance companies.

They are deserving of the death penalty.

Put the health insurance corporations to death.

And then start a pro-life movement for the American people.

Put every American into one public insurance pool.

Cover everyone – cradle to grave.

Significantly reduce costs.

And pull the country out of it’s death spiral.

Liberal class – gone.

Health insurance corporations – gone.

Long live the American people.

Onward to single payer.