Chris Hedges: Building a Left-Right Coalition Against War

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.

Give Enough Rope – by Mr. Fish.

By Chris Hedges

On Sunday, Feb. 19, I will be at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington at noon to speak at the anti-war rally, Rage Against the War Machine. There, I will be joined by Jimmy DoreDennis KucinichAnn WrightJill SteinMax BlumenthalCynthia McKinneyAnya ParampilDavid Swanson and other left-wing, anti-war activists I have shared platforms with for many years.

I will also be joined by Ron PaulScott Horton and right-libertarian, anti-war figures whose political and cultural opinions I often disagree with. The inclusion of the right-wing has seen anti-war groups I respect, such as Veterans for Peace (VFP), refuse to join the rally.

VFP issued a statement sent to me on Friday saying that “to endorse this event would have caused a huge disruption in VFP and had little effect on the outcome of the demonstration.” The board of Code Pink asked its co-founder, Medea Benjamin, one of the nation’s most important and effective left-wing and anti-war activists, to cancel her scheduled talk at the rally. 

“The left has become largely irrelevant in the U.S. because it is incapable of working with the right,” said Nick Brana, chair of The People’s Party, which organized the rally with libertarians. “It clings to identity politics over jobs, health care, wages and war, and condemns half the country as deplorables.”

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.

If I had organized the rally, there are some speakers I would not have invited. But I didn’t. This does not mean that there are no red lines: I would not join a protest that included neo-Nazi groups such as Aryan Nations or militias such as The Proud Boys or Oath Keepers. 

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.

Temporary Allies

There was much in the anti-war movement that he and other members of the religious group opposed, from the Yippies — who put forward a 145-pound pig named Pigasus the Immortal as a presidential candidate in 1968 — to groups such as the Weather Underground that embraced violence.

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.

Dan Berrigan speaking at the first Meal of Reconciliation, St Mark’s on the Bowery Church, Manhattan, on Oct. 4, 1966. (Jim Forest, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Daniel Berrigan, one of the most important anti-war activists in American history who was constantly in and out of jail and spent two years in federal prison, opposed abortion — a stance that today would probably see him deplatformed by many on the left.

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.

Support CN’s  
Winter Fund Drive!

The demands of the Rage Against the War Machine rally are ones I share. They include Not One More Penny for War in Ukraine; Negotiate Peace; Stop the War Inflation; Disband NATO; Global Nuclear De-Escalation; Slash the Pentagon Budget; Abolish the CIA and Military Industrial Deep State; Abolish War and Empire; Restore Civil Liberties; and Free Julian Assange.

I know war. I spent two decades reporting on conflicts all over the globe, including many months in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison, containing 2 million people including over a million children.

I saw thousands of lives destroyed by United States military adventurism in Central America, Africa and the Middle East. Dozens of people I knew and worked with, including Kurt Schork, a Reuters reporter, and the Spanish cameraman Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora, died violent deaths.  

We must halt the decades of rampant and futile industrial killing. This includes ending the proxy war in Ukraine. It includes drastic cuts to the funding of the U.S. war machine, a state within a state.

It includes disbanding NATO, which was established to prevent Soviet expansion into Eastern and Central Europe, not wage war around the globe. If Western promises to Moscow not to expand NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany had been kept, I expect the Ukrainian war would have never happened.

To those who suffer directly from U.S. aggression, these demands are not academic and theoretical issues. The victims of this militarism do not have the luxury of virtue-signaling. They want the rule of law to be reinstated and the slaughter stopped. So do I. They welcome any ally who opposes endless war. For them, it is a matter of life or death.

If some of those on the right are anti-war, if they also want to free Julian Assange, it makes no sense to ignore them. These are urgent existential issues that, if we do not mobilize soon, could see us slip into a direct confrontation with Russia, and perhaps China, which could lead to nuclear war. 

The Democratic Party, along with most of the Republican Party, is captive to the militarists. Each year, Congress increases the budget for the war industry, including for fiscal year 2023.

It approved $847 billion for the military — a total that is boosted to $858 billion when accounts that don’t fall under the Armed Services committees’ jurisdiction are included. The Democrats, including nearly all 100 members of the House Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Republicans slavishly hand the Pentagon everything it demands.

President Joe Biden delivering “stand with Ukraine” remarks on May 3, 2022, at the Lockheed Martin facility in Troy, Alabama. (White House, Adam Schultz)

The rally on Feb. 19 is not about eliminating Social Security and Medicare or abolishing the minimum wage, which many libertarians propose. It is not a rally to denounce the rights of the LGBTQ community, which have been attacked by at least one of the speakers.

It is a rally to end permanent war. Should these right-wing participants organize around those other issues, I will be on the other side of the barricades.

“I supported the Rage Against the War Machine Rally from the time of its conception and I support it today, even though I will not be one of the speakers because the organization I have been associated with for 20 years, CODEPINK, urged me not to speak,” Medea Benjamin told me in an email:

“The CODEPINK staff felt that my participation would hurt the group’s standing with other coalitions committed to gay rights, women’s rights and anti-racism. They felt that Jackson Hinkle has taken stands that are anti-gay, anti-trans, anti-feminist and Islamophobic, and they were concerned about the sponsorship of the Libertarian Party’s Mises Caucus which, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, has ties to white nationalists.”

“So why do I support the rally?” she asked.

“Because I am heartbroken by a war that is causing such death and destruction in Ukraine. Because I have real fears that this war could lead us into World War III or a nuclear confrontation. Because both political parties are complicit in giving over $100 billion to Ukraine to keep this war going. Because the Biden administration is pushing this war to weaken Russia instead of promoting solutions. Because we urgently need as many voices as possible, from a broad variety of perspectives, to speak out so we can be much more effective at pressuring Congress and the White House to move this conflict from the bloody battlefield to the negotiating table. The future of our world stands in the balance.”

Benjamin said although she will not speak, she will be at the rally “cheering on the speakers” and is planning a lobby day two days later, on Feb. 21, for those who want to take their anti-war message directly to the offices of Congress. You can register for the lobby day here.

Ralph Nader, who has just founded Capitol Hill Citizen, a newspaper focused on Congress, has long advocated a left-right coalition as the only effective mechanism to push back against corporate power. He argues that those on the left who refuse to join left-right alliances are engaging in “self-immolation.”

This refusal, he says, fosters political paralysis, not unlike the paralysis in the face of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunts in the 1950s against supposed Communists. Although many loathed McCarthy, the Republican establishment refused to join forces with the liberals and Democrats to end the smearing, blacklisting and imprisonment of dissidents.

The left-right coalition is especially important if we are to rebuild labor unions, Nader points out, the only mechanism capable of crippling the ruling oligarchy. If we cannot reach across ideological divides, we will slit our own throats.  

“A left-right alliance on issue after issue, whether it’s on a living wage, ending endless wars of aggression by the United States; whether it’s striking down hard on corporate crime, fraud and abuse; whether it’s universal health insurance is an unbeatable movement,” Nader told me when I reached him by phone. He said:

“Just think of a senator receiving 10 constituents from back home and five are liberals and five are conservatives. How is a senator going to game them? How is a senator going to sugarcoat them? It’s very difficult. Any time there is a left-right alliance, as in the enactment over 30 years ago of the Federal False Claims Act to go after corporate fraud in government programs and contracts, it’s an unbeatable combination.”

Sponsored by leading Republicans and Democrats, the False Claims Act amendments of 1986 have been used by the federal government to recover more than $62 billion of fraud and mismanagement funds stolen by corporations with government contracts.

“If you want to prevail on Congress to fulfill its duties under the Constitution and never engage in wars or become co-belligerents without a declaration of war by Congress — the last war that was declared by Congress was World War II, and we’ve engaged in many wars since then and are continuing to do so — you must have a left-right coalition,” Nader said.

“Because there is no coalition in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats are war parties. They support a Pentagon budget that gives the generals more than they ask for. They have done this for almost eight years, most recently giving the Pentagon $48 billion more than the generals and President Biden requested, instead of giving that money for public health to prevent pandemics, death, injury and disease.”

Those who will pay the steepest price for this paralysis are those killed, wounded and displaced by the war machine, including the over 900,000 civilians killed directly, and millions more indirectly, as a result in the post-9/11 U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Pakistan.

But the left, mesmerized by a self-defeating boutique activism, also pays a price. As the empire unravels, the woke left, demanding moral absolutism, marginalizes and discredits itself at a moment of crisis. This myopia is a gift to the oligarchs, militarists and Christian fascists we must defeat.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor and NPR.  He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”

Author’s Note to Readers: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waiver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at so I can continue to post my Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, “The Chris Hedges Report.”

This column is from Scheerpost, for which Chris Hedges writes a regular columnClick here to sign up for email alerts.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Support CN’s  
Winter Fund Drive!

Donate securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button:


63 comments for “Chris Hedges: Building a Left-Right Coalition Against War

  1. robert e williamson jr
    February 16, 2023 at 13:43

    The evil doers have us right where they want us, fighting amongst ourselves, which in my judgement should come as no surprise.

    Americans are an extremely spoiled lot, even may who live in our streets. If you don’t think take a good look at the human condition of those who live on this beleaguered rock called earth, especially those living on very little to nothing.

    When Reagan was office things started change, change it turned for the absolute worst for our country. Greatly facilitated by an increased swing to the right.

    The social fabric appears to me to have become more and more fractured and fragmented as time wore on.

    One trend stayed it’s course with business and government, courts especially, continually drifting right.

    This uproar over the gathering to happen February 19, 2023 could be doomed to failure simply because those attending represent a much more diverse, as in fractured and fragmented, body of protestors.

    Americans are angry and the mixing of gas and fire is extremely dangerous. And that is the way I see this. Not so much a physical danger to attendees but an event resulting in a very bad look for all involved.

    I see this in my observations and believe it emphasized strongly in much of what Mr. Hedges writes in his first five or six paragraphs above.

    The right seems more tightly bound than the left in this country. The left so fragmented as to dysfunctional at this point in time. I hope I’m wrong, but I fear I’m not.

    Please, I would to direct everyone to the fourth and fifth paragraphs of Mr. Hedges article here.

    See the fourth paragraph, in it’s entirety it is a quote by Nick Brana Chair of the People Party. Read it and let it soak in. I see trouble, while he is pretty spot on with his assessment of what is left of the left, he chose to organize with them.

    Mr. Hedges then continues, in his fifth paragraph to “nail down” reality.

    My fear is that the possibility of the “other”, including state actors, turn this event into a threat to public safety. I the business they call them interveners.

    The government wants nothing better than to have an excuse for prohibiting this gathering or others like it.

    I know some “libertarians” and many are hiding behind the title and are not very nice individuals. Smart, self serving, self righteous lot they are in my opinion. It’s that bogus liberty thing that curdles my milk. Phony comes to mind, there is nothing left leaning about them.

    Thanks CN

  2. Dienne
    February 15, 2023 at 12:17

    So, Chris, when you and the other leftist speakers give your speeches, will you be encouraging your brethren on the right to set aside their sexism, racism, homo/transphobia, Islamophobia, able-ism, etc. in the name of unity, or will you just keep mum in order not to stir up conflict? Is there any responsibility on the part of the right-wing attendees to modify their opposition to women’s rights, gay/trans rights, Black rights, etc. in the name of unity, or is the burden of unity solely on female, Black, LGBTQ+, etc. people to politely keep quiet and suck it up?

    • Sharon
      February 15, 2023 at 19:38

      My guess is Chris Hedges will talk about stopping the war in Ukraine to avoid nuclear Armageddon, freeing Julian Assange and on other topics listed at the Rage Against the War Machine’s website. You can look up those topics if you are truly interested.

    • robert e williamson jr
      February 16, 2023 at 12:07

      My hope is that you and your friends find healing in the future. Appearances seem to indicate to me you are suffering at a level much higher than many of the rest of us.

      We all must require peace in our futures, the first step is to start looking for it.

      PEACE be with you!

    • Daniel Fry
      February 16, 2023 at 15:13

      No one a this rally is dealing with issues that they mutually disagree with. The mantra is to deal with topics that all parties in this rally have in common first, and hash out their differences later. Why is that a problem?

  3. Realist
    February 15, 2023 at 02:09

    This upcoming war, World War III, which the present bipartisan War Party composed of essentially ALL Democratic AND Republican members of Congress, and also infesting the White House from top to bottom, comprises lunatics from every segment of the American political spectrum–from Nazis and fascists to Bolsheviks in all but name. Lord Biden is not at all reluctant to cultivate the deplorable presence of the most oppressive and obnoxious Neo-cons responsible for most of this malignant hatred and violence unleashed fully in the form of America’s many ongoing forever, proxy, economic, hybrid and kinetic wars all across the globe. It’s why genuine progressives who are anti-war, like Tulsi Gabbard, Jimmy Dore, Matt Taibi, and Glenn Greenwald cannot appear on the phony “liberal” media outlets like MSNBC or CNN and must find their only media presence with Tucker Carlson or Redacted. It is absurd that Americans cannot unite even on the one issue that seems certain to not only rattle some political cages but end all life, not just human life, everywhere and forever on what is otherwise just a desolate rock floating aimlessly through the vastness of space with no purpose or possibility of transcending the mere universal uniform physico-chemistry and subatomic physics pervading all that seems to be real. As a dead rock, the Earth will have no more relevance to emergent wonders than the sum of all the inert fragments orbiting the Sun in the so-called asteroid belt. No dramas or moral epics are played out there or ever will be. So too will the post-war Earth be forever trapped in meaningless stasis, as the terminal choice of its late foolhardy sentient population. Apparently, both sides of the American political spectrum are so terminally inflexible that they will refuse to cooperate in the great challenge thought to ultimately confront all technologically advanced species: successfully pass through the great filter or succumb to extinction of the species by our own hand. So far, the species rants like it vehemently insists upon the self-annihilation it has chosen.

    • DisinfectantSunlight
      February 15, 2023 at 15:22

      Thanks for a very Realistic elaboration of the most pressing issue faced by humanity, but not at all discussed by the MSM.
      Money and Power make humans irredeemably sick, without any internal controls. Without outside input from rest of the humanity, it appears Doomsday can not be avoided.

  4. Hoodiewoman
    February 15, 2023 at 01:38

    Thanks, Medea, for the explanation. In my mind, Jackson Hinkle is a blow-dried news reporter wanna-be. He copies others’ styles/behaviors that have been successful but is as phony as the GI Joe doll (with the Kung fu grip). Damn shame to let that piece of plastic turd hold y’all back, but I understand. Some lines do need to be drawn.

  5. DisinfectantSunlight
    February 14, 2023 at 20:08

    We are at the Precipice of total destruction with unstoppable March toward War with both Russia and China, vastly more dangerous than the Cold War against Soviet Union. Collapse of Soviet Union gave false and dangerous conclusion that Russia can be beaten and dismembered. If the Strategic stability of Russia is threatened, they will most likely unleash Nuclear weapons delivered by Hypersonic Missiles such as Avangard, New Sarmat ICBMs, Poseidon under water drones etc, as the Leadership of Russia had enunciated clearly many times before. All this information is carefully concealed from the Public at large.
    Irrespective of Party affiliation and opinions about other issues, all Americans have duty to stop the Never ending and Unstoppable (without active involvement of all) Wars and likely resultant total destruction of Life on Earth.
    It’s an Existential issue.

  6. Lois Gagnon
    February 14, 2023 at 19:31

    It is worth remembering that the late Black Panther organizer of the working class Fred Hampton sought out right wing working class Americans to join the black working class to form a mass workers movement. That’s why the authorities had him murdered in his sleep. There is nothing the ruling class fears more than a united population targeting them for their criminal behavior. He had the right idea.

    If the left doesn’t join this rally, they concede leadership to the right. Want to have a say in where it goes from here? Better show up.

    • Dienne
      February 15, 2023 at 12:19

      Everyone brings up this comparison, but somehow it slips their mind to point out that the Panthers later repudiated the right-wingers they had previously worked with and the reasons therefor.

    • Sharon
      February 15, 2023 at 19:51

      I believe the authorities were ok with MLKjr doing the black civil rights thing, but once he started talking about uniting workers and poor folks, which obviously included white people, they assassinated him.
      MalcolmX realized at Mecca that there were blue-eyed Muslims and he started re-thinking the artificial divisions between the races….and they assassinated him.
      Divided we fall has been shown to be very true.

    • Roosevelt Jenkins
      February 16, 2023 at 10:15

      That is literally not true at all and I don’t know how this lie has spread so far. The Panthers in Chicago partnered with the Young Patriots in the Rainbow Coalition. This was a group of white Appalachian transplants who faced poverty, joblessness and police violence. They were a revolutionary who understood that the exploitation they faced under capitalism was connected to the white supremacy faced by their comrades of color. They used the Confederate flag as a symbol but even this was controversial within the group. Fred Hampton did not seek out right wing working class Americans. That is absurd.

      For anyone interested in the real history of the Patriots and the original Rainbow Coalition I strongly recommend the book ‘Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power – Updated and Revised: Interracial Solidarity in 1960s-70s New Left Organizing.’

      Stop rewriting history to justify organizing with reactionaries!

  7. Packard
    February 14, 2023 at 16:29

    The first 2024 POTUS candidate from either party, who has the courage to campaign on stopping this insane Ukrainian proxy war with Russia is going to win.

    Washington, D.C., Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the MSM, and Hollywood may all love this madness for their own self serving interests. The American people, however, are done with it.

    Who will be the first to cry, BS on Ukraine.

    • Realist
      February 15, 2023 at 02:39

      Tulsi Gabbard has been pounding away on that issue on her own video channel (I think net based), but I think the Democrats have mostly “excommunicated” her specifically for taking such a stand. Ukraine will fight to the last Ukrainian and Lord Biden will tenaciously fight for his right to make extra-constitutional war on any foreign country he damned well pleases. No one in the Congress complains. Nicky Haley just threw her bonnet into the ring, but she was always a war hawk even under Trump who could not control her–or any of his cabinet picks. Trump will call himself the peace candidate because he failed to start a new war during his four years in office, first prez who can say that since ?? Carter? Coolidge?

      • J Anthony
        February 15, 2023 at 12:14

        It wasn’t for lack of trying…let’s not be deluded into thinking Trump cares one way or the other. That aside left/right coalitions are essential.

      • Mike
        February 15, 2023 at 14:31

        Trump did send arms to Ukraine and then threatened to cut it off if they didn’t provide dirt on the Bidens.

      • DisinfectantSunlight
        February 15, 2023 at 20:45

        Trump was dumb and lucky than thoughtful that he did not start a War.
        Iran showed restraint and did not retaliate strongly when he assassinated General Soleimani, which would have started a major War in the Middle East involving U.S. and her Allies there.
        Unilaterally nullifying JCPOA was a disastrous decision with immense consequences where no body in the right mind will sign a Treaty in foreseeable future with Uncle Sam.

        • Realist
          February 16, 2023 at 00:55

          I agree. His assassination of Soleimani should negate any claims to being a peacemaker. He ordered the death of the would-be peacemaker. But Biden’s inexorable ramping up to WWIII levels of hostilities looks just awful compared to an expansive field of warmongers from both major parties.

  8. Cara
    February 14, 2023 at 15:53

    Building a large and strong anti-war coalition across political and ideological divides is also one way those divides may eventually be narrowed. I’m beyond disgusted with the way identify politics are cynically twisted and used to undermine any genuine confrontation with power. When feminists, people of color, and those who identify as LGBT weaponize their identifies and ideologies to destroy any genuine radical confrontation with and challenge to power, then they are serving the powerful. They are part of the problem.

    • Dienne
      February 15, 2023 at 12:21

      Um hm. And you expect “feminists, people of color, and those who identify as LGBT” to unify with you with that attitude? You don’t think maybe there’s some responsibility on the part of anti-“feminists, people of color, and those who identify as LGBT” to set aside their negative attitudes towards those groups in the name of unity?

      • Cara
        February 15, 2023 at 21:53

        I expect people not to bludgeon each other with petty identity politics and to set aside differences, even significant ones, over something as important as preventing nuclear war. Coalition building is critical and is one way of bridging divides and I don’t appreciate the way people on the so-called left have sabotaged an important anti-war rally to uphold their own personal agendas and ideological purity. Speaking as a feminist myself.

          February 15, 2023 at 22:42

          If you see it from the perspective of Black people, who, with Native Americans, have suffered more than any group in the U.S., it would be insensitive to call this “petty identity politics.”

          • Rafael
            February 16, 2023 at 03:04

            That’s correct, and to say that women and people of colour “weaponize their identities” is even more insensitive.

            Personally I support this demonstration 100%, but I understand the concerns of those who think differently.
            You can argue against them in a respectful manner. I would ask them if they would refuse to attend a rally where a Democratic politician spoke, that party being a far more effective evil (in Glen Ford’s phrase) than the “Mises caucus”.

            I remember an antiwar rally in Chicago where the gay-rights group “Act Up” was prominent. At the same rally Obama (then a state senator or something) spoke, pretending to oppose the invasion of Iraq. It actually was useful to hear Obama’s speech, because he openly revealed his hypocrisy and opportunism.

            • Cara
              February 16, 2023 at 11:51

              You may be right. I may be insensitive. But when identity politics are used to censor someone, to shut them down and shut them up as Code Pink did to Medea Benjamin so that others will not be able to hear her speak, that is when identity and identity politics have been weaponized, which is destructive and, I would argue, petty.

        • Rafael
          February 16, 2023 at 22:12

          To your most recent comment (to which I couldn’t find a “Reply” button):

          I agree with you that it’s destructive. But I don’t see it as petty. I see instead people who have legitimate misgivings but who have forgotten the lessons we should all have learned about how to coalesce around important actions based on clearly stated points of agreement.

          As for Medea Benjamin, I doubt that anyone is able to shut her down or shut her up against her will, especially members of her own organization. I think I read somewhere that some people in Code Pink felt that her appearance would harm their relations with their supporters, and they therefore asked her to cancel. If that’s what happened (and I don’t know whether it is) then she might have decided she wanted to honor the request.

  9. Daniel Dujardin
    February 14, 2023 at 15:07

    I’m with Nadar on this. There are people on the so called “right” who are intelligent and more politically aware than many of our fellow citizens.
    Regarding the “Yippies”; they brought a sense of humor to this grimness. When your choice is between Nixon, Humphrey, and a pig, who would you choose?
    And how about the levitation of the Pentagon? Nobody in today’s anti-war movement ever comes up with such catchy and newsworthy ways of protesting the madness of war any better than they did

  10. LeoSun
    February 14, 2023 at 14:45

    The “Bucket List” is impressive. Imo, Numero Uno, FREE, Julian Assange. FREE, Seymour Hersch. FREE, The PRESSES!!! AND, IF, one can’t be present, $upport Consortium News, et al.

    WHO needs ‘em?!? The Veterans For Peace & Code PINK. .They “got” their reasons for not rallying their base to do the right thing. Imo, “We, the People” prefer hearing from RALPH NADER, WILL LEHMAN, and/or DR. WEST.

    Besides, The Rally’s, “GOT” DENNIS KUCINICH, The Man Who Should Be President; AND, DR. JILL STEIN, the Woman Who Should Be President!!!

    It’s f/“Code Blue” times. The faux progressives’s opportunity to rally w/the hearts & bones of forward thinking people who f/know WHY “RAGE” Is The Appropriate Attitude; and, those that choose NOT to Fly, imo, Fugg ‘Em!!!

    They “got” other places to land, i.e., 1) Hang w/ the “progressives” @ any AOC & Jamaal Bowman FundRai$er. AOC & J.Bowman doin the yappin, leading the clappin’ when the Constituent in the room asks, “WHY are you funding Nuclear War?” AND is escorted out! He, GONE! All one’s left w/is cheerin’, clappin’, & yappin’, “We ain’t gonna wake -up!!!” “Hahahaha.” A basket of deplorable progressives. “It is difficult to wake up someone who is sleeping.”

    “Help Wanted with Rope. Certain Restrictions Apply.” Mr. Fish

    The f/Corporations’ & their Corporatists, The Big Man on Campus, like yankin’ our chain. Onward & upwards w/“Building a Left-Right Coalition Against War,” is f/crucial!!!

    Imo, an invitation oughta be extended to WILL LEHMAN. “Build the Assange defence campaign in the working class!” 18 November 2022

    1. The Socialist Equality Party resolves to redouble its fight for the freedom of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, held prisoner in London’s Belmarsh maximum security prison.

    2. Assange’s life is in danger.

    3. The US, UK and other imperialist powers are punishing Assange for revealing their war crimes, use of torture and abuse of democratic rights.

    4. Britain has played the frontline role in the persecution of Assange. Its courts have trampled on his legal and democratic rights while he is held in intolerable conditions.

    5. Assange’s fate is the result of an historically unprecedented gang-up by what passes for the left in official politics, turning the WikiLeaks founder from TIME readers’ “Person of the Year” in 2010 into an international pariah.

    6. This has allowed popular support for WikiLeaks and its founder to be suppressed by relentless media smear campaigns and blackouts, backed by the liberal media and the pseudo-left groups.

    7. Assange’s fate cannot be entrusted to Labour “lefts” such as Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Both now make personal appearances at rallies in defence of Assange, but they did nothing when they led the Labour Party to mobilise the mass support which they commanded.

    8. The international working class must take the lead in the fight to free Assange. It is the sole constituency for the defence of democratic rights, and it alone has the power to wrest the WikiLeaks founder from his captors.

    9. The SEP will inscribe the call for Assange’s freedom on the banners of the struggles now emerging. We will explain that the attack on Assange is directed against the social and democratic rights of the working class and that his defence is critical to the formation of a mass anti-war movement against capitalism and for socialism amid the rising danger of a nuclear conflict and World War III. hxxps://

    “KEEP IT LIT.”

  11. Janet Contursi
    February 14, 2023 at 13:29

    Of course, the irony of Hedges pretending that the Left must be tolerant towards the “repugnant” Right is that it’s the Right who has been opposed to this war, and in Congress, it’s a few Republicans — not supported by any Democrats — who are pushing to cut funding for Ukraine and force both sides to the negotiating table. Furthermore, if you want to talk about “repugnant” viewpoints, what’s more repugnant that supporting a party whose leader has been exposed in a case of international terrorism by blowing up a civilian pipeline? What’s more repugnant than a party that exacerbates social division with lies about race and gender, and pushes victimhood instead of empowerment and responsibility? And what’s more repugnant than liberals who have targeted children as their front line combat soldiers in the culture war, subjecting them to surgeries and drugs that will debilitate them for decades? Hedges is correct that there has to be a Right-Left coalition, but what he doesn’t see is that it’s the intolerant and totalitarian Left that has supported this war and is blocking protests, and it’s the Right who is trying to bring it to an end.

    • LeoSun
      February 15, 2023 at 12:24

      The “RAGE” is Against “The Machine.” The Rally is about, the collective wisdom, “We, the People” ‘GOT.’ AND, “We, the People” are still looking for a LEADER! Imo, he/she will be present, @ the mic! Like, Chris Hedges, “living” the proverb, “With yourself, use your head; With others use your heart.” The heart that truly loves has no room for grudges.

      “We should build a symphony of human civilization.” (VLADIMIR PUTIN)

      “A COURSE CHANGE is a painful but natural and inevitable process. The future world order is taking shape before our eyes. And in this world order, we must listen to everyone, consider all points of view, all nations, all societies, all cultures, all systems of worldviews, ideas and of religious beliefs, without imposing a single truth on anyone, and only on that basis, understanding our responsibility to fate – the fate of peoples, of the planet – to build a symphony of human civilization.” VLADIMIR PUTIN @ the Valdai Club Forum, OCTOBER 30, 2022

      “Everybody, knows, Peace NOT War, Rocks! Ciao.

  12. Anne Boylon
    February 14, 2023 at 13:24

    Thank you, Chris, for this article which I think will help people understand the solid reasoning behind this rally than includes people with whom we do not agree on all things but do agree on the need to end this dangerous horror that empire is creating and continuing.

    I was quite relieved to read Media Benjamin’s statements. Thanks for that, too.

    Anne Boylon
    Subscriber to CN

    • ray Peterson
      February 15, 2023 at 07:13

      Anne, if Medea is true to the cause of antiwar, wouldn’t it be
      truthful to deny Code Pink’s command for silence and her
      speak openly at this event? Or is such compromise with
      the evil of war, an evil itself?

  13. Kauai John
    February 14, 2023 at 12:54

    Why was Scott Ritter disinvited.

    The web is full of people talking about how they’ll be there to support anti-war, but they don’t explain why certain folks were censored. I feel like any support I might offer will be disemboweled just as my support for Sanders was.

      February 14, 2023 at 15:03

      The organizers said it was for security reasons. Ritter was then re-invited after pressure from other speakers and has bowed out now for he says is personal reasons.

  14. shmutzoid
    February 14, 2023 at 12:36

    ‘Boutique activism” —–> an excellent description of liberal campaigns. We’ve heard how various causes are “siloed” and separate from each other. Save the Whales!…, Save the Redwoods!…….no, Save the Polar Bears1 …… ad infinitum. This all diffuses energy from what should be a unified anti-capitalist movement. Instead there are myriad ‘campaigns’ competing for money and attention. It is a sort of ‘Identity Politics’ for environmental causes. Stop Asian Hate! ……….. no, Black Lives Matter!……….. no, Gay Pride! ——> all these various campaigns inhibit the emergence of a unified class consciousness to fight for social/economic justice FOR ALL

    An anti-war MOVEMENT is the most encompassing activity (short of a global anti-capitalist movement) to address the many-tentacled consequences of global capitalism.

  15. David McGlinnen
    February 14, 2023 at 12:21

    I hope I can make it to the rally. Time and money, time or money

  16. JonnyJames
    February 14, 2023 at 11:59

    Point taken. The only quibble I have is that the word “libertarian” has been hijacked by right-wing libertarians. I will define libertarian as primarily anti-authoritarian, anti-war. However. what about LEFT libertarians? (sometimes called anarcho-socialists)

    If one takes the test on Political Compass dot org, for example, we can see that many on the “left” are libertarians as well. My results are hard left, hard libertarian. (anarcho-socialist)
    It is a pity that the “oh so white” anti-war movement is not joined by Black Alliance for Peace and the folks at BAR. (Ajamu Baraka). The “left” has been divided (and ruled). Cynthia McKinney has something to say…

    I suggest another event be organized by BAR , Margaret Kimberley, Ajamu Baraka… and the “oh so white” folks can join YOU. Instead of complaining about the paleness of the anti-war movement, DO something. Desperate times call for…

    Otherwise, let’s just form a “circular firing squad” and watch the Oligarchy sniff coke, drink Champagne and laugh at us all the way to the bank.

  17. Imagine No Nations
    February 14, 2023 at 11:53

    Divide and Conquer has long been a tactic used by The Establishment as a method of ruling.

    The question come down to, do people want to unify and stand together with enough power to actually change things? Or do they prefer to stand in a small group of people who agree with them and be powerless at changing anything?

    Besides, going to a protest is almost always better than not going. I’ve been to lots of protests organized by people I did not agree with and really did not even like. That has been my status with the right-wing Democratic Party for decades now. Does not mean one can not both enjoy one’s self and usually learn and have some interesting conversations while at a protest.

  18. Bill Todd
    February 14, 2023 at 11:49

    Never in my seven-decade memory have people who consider themselves ‘the Left’ (or at least ‘the near Left’) in this country demonstrated their incompetence as vividly as in their demands for full-spectrum ideological purity, thus ensuring that their efforts will be as ineffective as possible (they seem to be utterly ignorant of the principle ‘divide and conquer’).

    The Rage Against The War Machine rally has very specific stated goals, none of which seem at all incompatible with anyone who considers themselves progressive (and it turns out do not seem incompatible with a significant percentage of people who don’t consider themselves particularly progressive at all). While I am no general war enthusiast I am not ‘anti-war’ in any absolute sense since I wish Russia success in defeating the West’s efforts in Ukraine (which in my opinion is very conducive to the rally’s goal of eliminating the most destructive, both to the world at large and to domestic tranquility, activities that the U.S. has engaged in since WWII and which Eisenhower warned us about at the end of his presidency by highlighting the dangerous power of the military-industrial complex). When negotiations and ineffective world arbiters like the U.N. fail to prevent behavior like that war can become necessary.

    So the rally’s goal, rather than being ‘anti-war’ in an absolute sense, is to prevent such behavior here at home rather than depend upon others to deter it by force after decades of frustration, which strikes me as a very worthwhile goal for any progressive. Neither does it include other unrelated areas.


  19. Imagine No Nations
    February 14, 2023 at 11:35

    Bring back the Peace Sign!

    OK, I’d guess some of you probably need to look that up, since it has been consigned to The Memory Hole. But, it is the same gesture as the right-wing war-monger Churchill’s “V for Victory” gesture.

    Within meyself, when I flashed a Peace Sign to someone else, long ago, in a time that seems like it was in another galaxy, I knew in my soul that I was wishing Peace towards another person. It was not just a gesture, it was sending a wish of Peace to someone else. And, my soul knew that. It was a gesture that almost always came with a smile, because for me at least, my soul could not keep from smiling as I wished “Peace” to another person.

    Besides, its cool to live in a place where other people flash Peace Signs at you, and of course are smiling themselves.

    Bring back The Peace Sign.

    • JonnyJames
      February 14, 2023 at 13:24

      Yes! I flash the “peace” sign as well as the “shaka” sign every day. “E Aloha A’ina!”

  20. Susan
    February 14, 2023 at 11:28

    Wow thank you for this fine article, once again Hedges speaks for many of us.
    Having been active against our war mongering all my life, I have watched group after group fall into the left right hate fest just how the oligarchs want. Trump I think was their biggest success in securing D hate. 3 years after he is out of office, it always comes back to being Trumps fault. Trump was never the issue he is just another money changer but he managed to turn the liberal activist world into a place of hate rather than hope. Code Pink seems to have fallen into to that camp as they tip toe on the Ukraine issue and rarely if ever talk about the Whole china issue. The huge wto protests in Seattle relied on the left and the right to function. The powers that be will do anything to stop us from coming together, they have clearly infiltrated several large organizations who now are dysfunctional because if you don’t agree with the liberal think on every issue, and make those issues front and center of every meeting, then you are a right winger. I don’t work in that kind of environment because you can’t work and get things done that way. Just look at X R American. Or 350. They started out with great intentions but got side swiped with issues that had no baring on their goals. I think X R was infiltrated as soon as it came to the states. I wonder if 350 was a false organization from the get go. I worked with them but they where never really part of the pipeline fights on native lands they were always playing safe so I wonder. Thank you Chris

  21. Rick D
    February 14, 2023 at 11:24

    In this era of right wing extremism and the adoration of the Republican Party to its wealthiest and most corporate donors it seems an impossibility for both Left and Right to come together.

    • Bill Todd
      February 14, 2023 at 13:34

      Perhaps you need to cut some holes in the box your thoughts seem to be trapped in. For starters, you might use the holes to consider just how much your aversion to the Republican Party is nearly equally applicable to the Democratic Party (when you take a hard look the two party establishments’ behaviors – regardless of their choices of propaganda – have remarkable similarities beyond largely cosmetic ones).

  22. Imagine No Nations
    February 14, 2023 at 11:23

    Today, I am trying to think of ways to use the Pentagon’s “Balloon War” to make a point.

    For example, citizens of America, or the rest of the world, could launch “Peace Balloons”.

    These could be just ordinary balloons, with messages of Peace written upon them, or perhaps simply just the word “PEACE” or the equivalent in other languages. Filled with hot air or helium, and will spread the messages of Peace.

    Would it not be cool to be walking along and find laying on the ground a Peace balloon?

    Larger balloons probably take the help of a government. By larger balloons I mean one’s designed to go to high altitude, above commercial air corridors. Which is why launching them probably needs some sort of government permission to pass through those altitudes, so check, don’t break any laws. But, if you find a friendly government that supports Peace, and perhaps they’d be willing to arrange it?

    — Same general idea. A balloon with the word “PEACE” on it. Or the words for “PEACE” in all the worlds languages. Or maybe “Please Do Not Blow Up The World”. Or …. well, get creative.

    This latter would cost some money. But I’d guess fund raising could be done? Of course, they may not last long. We all know by now that the one thing the Pentagon can not abide is a message of Peace. But at least that point could be made rather publicly and graphically, as an F-22, costing 10’s of thousands of dollars an hour to fly, fires an expensive missile to make sure that no one can see the word “PEACE” floating in the sky above them.

    Oh well, at least it was fun to think up over coffee. More fun than reading the corporate news. Please don’t get arrested doing anything like this, so consult lawyers before listening to someone who still has John Lennon’s dream. Imagine there’s no countries. Its easy if you try. And a fun thing to do over a cup of homemade coffee.

  23. Blessthebeasts
    February 14, 2023 at 11:14

    “Left” and “Right” are meaningless terms in this Brave New World. Most of the people I know who consider themselves “on the left” support the Ukraine madness and Joe Biden’s dystopian agenda. People who consider themselves “conservative” on most issues have more common sense and can see what’s happening in front of our eyes. We definitely must unite!

  24. Kauai John
    February 14, 2023 at 11:08

    Why was Scott Ritter disinvited.

    The web is full of people talking about how they’ll be there to support anti-war, but they don’t explain why certain folks were censored. I feel like any support I might offer will be disemboweled just as my support for Sanders was.

      February 14, 2023 at 12:58

      He was re-invited but says on his Substack that he is not going for personal reasons.

  25. DHFabian
    February 14, 2023 at 10:59

    Doing another 1990s’ style “bipartisanship” thing? I think much (most?) of the country opposes the Democrats’ push for nuclear world war, but it does not indicate some kind of “left-right coalition.” That concept, in itself, defies logic.

  26. firstpersoninfinite
    February 14, 2023 at 10:53

    I read Consortium News for the moral clarity which writers like Chris Hedges bring to contemporary events and crises. None of the writers here are ever less than excellent in this pursuit. I find myself wondering how it will all turn out, this slow decay of democracy. No one can say that the clarity needed to understand the crisis we find ourselves in was missing, nor that decades of rational warnings were impossible to find. This isn’t Nazi Germany, where such means of dissent were shut down or harshly criminalized. And yet the question remains: will we come out of this crisis a more open society, having overcome the sterilization promised by global capitalism and the military-industrial complex, or will we become merely the silent docents to our own, internal Holocaust, starting with intellectuals and ending with anyone who dares to question the empire’s narrative, leaving not even a residuum of demarcation? It’s obvious that both political parties are moving in tandem toward the last possibility. They call it “American Exceptionalism.” I call it gold-plated Puritanism. Dead to all living possibilities, their dead eyes see only the light of gold.

  27. Robert Emmett
    February 14, 2023 at 10:33

    Not to mention a chance to practice the breaking of Manichean ties that bind, the us v. them, the you’re either with us or with the enemy bullshit that has been leveled against dissidents in every conflict that leads to war.

    Thanks for the reference to a powerful song.

    “How much do I know/To talk out of turn/You might say that I’m young/You might say I’m unlearned/But there’s one thing I know/Though I’m younger that you/ Even Jesus would never forgive what you do.”

    (from “Masters of War”, B. Dylan, c. 1963) Eddie Vedder does a superb version, by the way.

  28. Drew Hunkins
    February 14, 2023 at 10:11

    A brown red alliance on certain issues should have taken place many years ago. Screw the sensitivities of high-strung purists, let’s end this militarist-empire building madness, period!

  29. Mary Caldwell
    February 14, 2023 at 09:51

    Anti-War Solidarity !

  30. James
    February 14, 2023 at 09:14

    An article on the wsws notes that:

    “On Thursday, February 9, the US House of Representatives, in a unanimous 419-0 bipartisan vote, approved a warmongering resolution condemning the Chinese Communist Party for its alleged ‘violation of United States sovereignty’ via a supposed ‘high-altitude surveillance balloon’.”

    This latest action by the two war-making political parties makes it imperative that the anti-war movement awaken from its slumber and take to the streets before war erupts against China and Russia. Counting upon the Democrats and the Republicans not to engage in hawkish rhetoric is surely an exercise in self-delusion.

    “The refuge of the morally, intellectually, artistically, and economically bankrupt is war.”-Martin H. Fischer [Nov. 10, 1979-Jan. 19, 1962], German-born American physician and author

  31. February 14, 2023 at 08:42

    It’s not an anti-war rally. The featured speakers include warmonger and transphobe Tulsi Gabbard, Larouche cultists, COVIDiots promoting anti-China propaganda designed to stoke fear and paranoia designed to alienate and weaken that nation by blaming it for COVID19…imagine inviting J.K. Rowling to a trans rights rally. Who’s going to show up knowing that degenerate bigot is going to be there vomiting hate at them? It’ll be likewise for this joke rally.

    There is no allying with the extreme right. It ALWAYS results in whatever leftist agenda is present being crushed in favor of that of the far right. Over twenty years of wasted effort should have taught the left this lesson, but people refuse to learn.

    • firstpersoninfinite
      February 14, 2023 at 14:08

      There’s no such thing as a “leftist” agenda. It no longer exists as a force in this society, so you have nothing to defend from either the benighted right wing or the war-mongering, corporatist, amoral Democratic party. They’ve both hitched their wagons to the same star and are just waiting to see who they’ll need to leave behind to starve in the darkness. Unless you can support human rights without party affiliation, what’s the point in arguing left or right?

    • Sharon
      February 15, 2023 at 20:22

      It’s the Democratic Party where social movements (are co-opted) and die.
      OR if they’re a real threat to the PTB, such as Occupy Wallstreet (that, you know, was leaderless and covered the spectrum of people “types”), it’ll get squashed by the militarized police and the FBI, on orders from the president (in OWS’ case it was O’Bomba).

  32. Rebecca Turner
    February 14, 2023 at 03:04

    This anti-war rally, like vast numbers of others in the USA, here in the UK and around the world over the last few decades, will have no effect whatsoever on the accelerating preparations for open war against Russia and China being made by our governments. For those on the Left to ally with the Right is to betray our principles for no good reason. Count me out. We need to take power for a workers’ state, not go to poorly-attended rallies that are ignored by the media, governments and the public.

    • JonnyJames
      February 14, 2023 at 13:38

      Sure, but the movement to take power for a workers’ state is even less attended. Besides the superficial, bourgeois-liberal Mass Media Cartel narrative have many thinking that poor and working-class whites are all evil, ignorant, racist thugs. (Deplorables).

      No class struggle without class consciousness…we are divided by gender, race, religion, color, sexual identity etc. but Never by class or class interests. The closest thing to that in recent memory was the Occupy movement (and that was also criticized as too white)

      Both the D and R factions of Oligarchy play this game very skillfully.

      Rhetorical Q: Will there be any working-class people to organize after a thermo-nuclear war? Or is the working-class immune to explosions and radiation poisoning?

      • Rebecca Turner
        February 15, 2023 at 04:11

        What evidence do you have that this rally, out of the long list of others over the last few decades, will make even the tiniest difference to ending the Ukraine war? I’ve had enough of marches and rallies by self-righteous liberals. I want power to be taken by the working class. The Russian Bolshevik Revolution was not a rally – and one of the first actions the new government took was to take Russia out of the war.

        • Bill Todd
          February 15, 2023 at 11:04

          Ever wonder why people with attitudes like yours have so much difficulty attracting more adherents?

        • JonnyJames
          February 15, 2023 at 11:11

          Might as well roll over and give up then, great strategy

  33. Rudy Haugeneder
    February 14, 2023 at 01:46

    Almost everybody I know supports expansion of the Ukraine war against what they deem evil Russians — almost everybody, including those who previously opposed war and demonstrated against it but now want more spent on this European border war that America wants to expand and expand. It seems these people I know don’t understand the risks involved and if they do, are willing to sacrifice the lives of those they claim to love, but, when pushed further, do sort of draw a line if it means they to will die — a very thin line they sometimes suggest they are willing to risk crossing. I am not among them and openly oppose the Ukraine war and other wars fought without media publicity around the world, especially in Africa. This opposition causes people to laugh at my my perceived ignorance of what they think is freedom and democracy even though they often openly understand that it does not truly exist in Western nations or anyplace else for that matter, etc., etc. etc. etc. Eeek. PS: I am a retired journalist who never believed the craft as we generally know it stood for truth, not locally, nationally or internationally, especially when it came to the great and overwhelming majority of reporters who shamelessly wrote for, and continue to write for other reporters and not the general public.

Comments are closed.