What does inequality in the United States look like? What does the empirical data mean for people on the ground? Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco answer these questions and put a human face to the suffering in Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, just out from Nation Books.
In it, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and American Book Award-winning cartoonist Joe Sacco show how places such as Camden, New Jersey, the poster child of post-industrial decay, stand as a warning of what huge pockets of the United States will turn into if we cement in place a permanent underclass. In addition to Camden, Hedges and Sacco report from the coal fields of West Virginia, Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and undocumented farm worker colonies in California. Hedges and Sacco warn of a bleak near future — where cities and states fall easily into bankruptcy, neofeudalism reigns, and the nation's working and middle classes are decimated. As of this writing, the book is #16 on Amazon's Best Seller list, and #3 for Politics & Social Sciences.
Hedges, who is also a Senior Fellow at The Nation Institute, was recently on Bill Moyers' show, Moyers & Company, to discuss the new book and the reality of our destructive economy and corporate-owned political system. In the video, which you can watch here, Bill Moyers and Chris Hedges discuss the vast swaths of America "that have been destroyed for quarterly profit." Hedges stresses the importance of understanding what the violence of unregulated capitalism does to the places that he and Sacco visited. He also describes, in striking detail, the "internal colonies" throughout the United States that have been reduced to "sacrifice zones," as their populations are treated as superfluous by corporate power.
Joe Sacco, an accomplished comics artists and journalist, is the co-author of the book. He achieved international fame with his powerful work, Palestine. In his interview on Moyers & Company last week, Sacco shares his insights on artistic expression, journalism, and truth. He says, "I am interested in telling people's stories as well as possible, who are oppressed… You can read about poverty, you can read about despair, or you can read about resignation, but to see it is really eye-opening."
Check out Hedges' most recent Truthdig piece, in which he takes aim at the people who make "the greatest crimes of human history" possible: the careerists, the bureaucrats, and the cynics:
These armies of bureaucrats serve a corporate system that will quite literally kill us. They are as cold and disconnected as Mengele. They carry out minute tasks. They are docile. Compliant. They obey. They find their self-worth in the prestige and power of the corporation, in the status of their positions and in their career promotions. They assure themselves of their own goodness through their private acts as husbands, wives, mothers and fathers. They sit on school boards. They go to Rotary. They attend church. It is moral schizophrenia. They erect walls to create an isolated consciousness. They make the lethal goals of ExxonMobil or Goldman Sachs or Raytheon or insurance companies possible. They destroy the ecosystem, the economy and the body politic and turn workingmen and -women into impoverished serfs. They feel nothing.
In addition, Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco will participate in a live chat with Bill Moyers on Wednesday, July 25 at 2 p.m. EST. For more information, and to submit your questions online, click here.