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Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  927 ratings  ·  124 reviews
Revolutions come in waves and cycles. We are again riding the crest of a revolutionary epic, much like 1848 or 1917, from the Arab Spring to movements against austerity in Greece to the Occupy movement. In Wages of Rebellion, Chris Hedges—who has chronicled the malaise and sickness of a society in terminal moral decline in his books Empire of Illusion and Death of the Libe ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Nation Books (first published March 31st 2015)
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Timothy Volpert
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists. And this is a fight that in the face of the overwhelming forces against us requires that we follow those possessed by sublime madness, that we become stone catchers and find in acts of rebellion, the sparks of life, an intrinsic meaning that lies outside the possibility of success. We must grasp the harshness of reality at the same time as we refuse to allow this reality to paralyze us. People of all creeds ...more
Chris Dietzel
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's only February but I'd be shocked if I read a more worthwhile and powerful book all year. Hedges starts with the premise that revolutions occur when the point between people's expectations for their government and the actual reality of what they get instead reaches a tipping point. He then goes into detail on all of the areas where the U.S. is rapidly trending in the wrong direction. He concludes by going into detail on all of the ways governments that fear a revolt manage to maintain contro ...more
Adam Ross
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This might end up being one of the most influential books in my thinking for the entire year of 2015. Hedges lays it all bare in this manifesto on standing up against the status quo, no matter the cost. The book is about the social, political, economic, and personal costs of being a reformer and a dissenter. The book is hopefully realistic; no doctrine of inevitable social progress here. For Hedges, changing the world is besides the point - the point is to stand up to oppressive power wherever i ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa, politics
14th book for 2018.

In this book Hedges essentially argues that US society is a corrupt oligarchy that will collapse under the weight of it's oppression of blacks and other minorities; it's misuse or ignorance of the courts; it's attacks on the free press; whose democratic structures are so corrupted as to be useless; and whose only hope is full scale revolution.

And this was what he thought of the Obama presidency!

He has a number of interesting interviews of various revolutionaries throughout t
Jason Jauron
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
No writer has been attacked more in the last few years (don't his editors know about Turn It
But no academic is easier to read than Hedges.
Give me a full cup of Jet Fuel, wrap me in my favorite comforter, turn on the fireplace, and hand me some Hedges!
The man can do no wrong.
P.S. Carrillo
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Chris Hedges has undertaken he daunting task of inspiring the lay reader to think progressively and to act decisively in the face of impending doom. Whether it be economic, ecological, or political, we are faced with resolving within ourselves if we have the moral courage to be revolutionary in our thinking and finally in our actions. Hedges cites great literary figures, the standouts for me were Melville and Thomas Paine. Both radical idealists that were castigated during their lifetimes and on ...more
Ann Douglas
Not a particularly easy book to read (both in terms of the way that it's written and what it has to say), but a critically important book nonetheless. Hedges argues that America is living in "a revolutionary moment" that is being fuelled by frustrated expectations ("the gap between what people want, and indeed expect, and what they get"). He pinpoints the key ingredients in the recipe for revolution: "The revolutionary ideal, the vision of a better world, the belief that resistance is a moral ac ...more
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it
This book could have been good if it wasn't so hyperbolic. When you call POTUS a house slave, you lose me. I think the point is a good one--the pendulum has swung way too far away from the people. And perhaps books like this are necessary as radical calls on the left, but it's not careful so it loses some of its power. The prose is beautiful though and I love the weaving in of literature. It was just a tough read because I kept rolling my eyes at straight up exaggerations.
Wages of Rebellion is Chris Hedges's meditation on the contexts that surround resistance against power. Hedges's analysis is part genealogical, part historical, part original reporting, and part theological. He blends these methods of analysis to show the moral imperative of revolt, what precedes it, and what it looks like when it happens.

Ultimately, Hedges concludes that in order to survive, humanity must rebel against corporate capitalism and the militarized police/surveillance state. He ackn
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Timely, heartfelt, and cogently written. Hedges' finest work to date.
Charles T. Wallace
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read several books by Hedges, most notably "War Is A Force That Gives Meaning To Our Lives". He is an exceptional writer and he makes compelling cases with his arguments.

In "Wages of Rebellion", Hedges paints a bleak, dystopian picture not only of the current geopolitical climate, but of the future, in which climate changes and the failures of neoliberalism combine to paint frightening images of the future. Written before the election of Trump, Hedges observations of a disaffected white wor
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This is the second Chris Hedges book I've read. I looked back at my review of Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and find that, word-for-word, I could just substitute that review for this one. In the intervening six years between the books, Hedges has been thinking more about how to rise up against the injustices of the 'corporate state' that America (and most of the rest of the world) has become. This book could have been titled 'how to behave in a revolution'. ...more
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
I've had some mixed feelings about Chris Hedges for a while. Similar to Naomi Klein he says enough good that you assume he must get it. Every time you hear him he sounds a little more radical, pushing for more urgency, drastic changes, even "militancy." Unfortunately he's still kind of missing the mark. He really just sounds confused at this point, having spent so long buying into relatively mainstream liberal and progressive ideas and a strict adherence to non-violence, including respect for pr ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A powerful book. Maybe not as methodical as, say, a Noam Chomsky, but full marks for passion.

"No act of rebellion can be effective, much less moral, unless it first takes into account reality, no matter how bleak that reality. As our lives become increasingly fragile, we will have to make hard decisions about how to ensure our own survival and yet remain moral beings. We will be called to fight battles, some of which we will have no hope of winning, if only to keep alive the possibility of compa
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Well, that was relentlessly depressing. It was good but I felt the polemic sometimes edged into hyperbole.

Excellent line though: I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: political
This book is an impassioned plea to the American public to revolt against the American Government and Corporate capitalism. Hedges declares America a Fascist state run by a puppet government controlled by Corporate capitalism instead of one dictator. His vision of our future is bleak. He even states he has no idea if we will make it. But Hedges declares we have a moral duty to civil disobedience and supports his case with well researched stories of historical rebellions/revolutions and their agi ...more
Book #42 for 2016
Read Harder Challenge Task: Read a book about politics, in your country or another
OFB Summer Bingo Square: A book you heard about on the radio

I had been planning to review this after the election, but the more I think about it, the more important I feel it is to state my opinions before it's too late. Not that anybody really cares about my opinions on economics and politics, but still, there are big changes on the horizon, and I don't want to be one of those who stand silently b
Nino Pagliccia
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I highly recommend. It is definitely a book that must be read by all US Americans – activists and non-activists alike, and indeed by everyone. Rebellion, the way Chris Hedges presents it, should be a tool of resistance to be embraced by all because, as he starts out saying, “We live in a revolutionary moment.” I for one don’t want to be left out.

Chris Hedges uses the terms “rebellion” and “revolt” as a “moral imperative”, and gives many examples of “rebels” who have accepted
The book paints a bleak picture of the western world. Chris Hedges masterfully paints the the vanity of rich people who abuse the ones they have impoverished, the militarized police state that violently oppresses any dissent, imprisons whistleblowers, and demonizes those who oppose it; the corporate oligarchs who buy politicians, and shamelessly destroy the environment. All these vile things done under the "holy" guise of free market capitalism, all the while we are being told that there is no a ...more
H Wesselius
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not a well organized book but one that's still easily enjoyed. A tendency to moralize has been Hedged trademark and he doesn't waver from it in his latest work. But beyond the moralizing, he easily makes his point -- rebellions occur due to wealth disparity and environmental decline but even more important decreased and unmet expectations. An enjoyable read sometimes just to see what name he will drop next.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Very one sided, I missed a good clear argumentation based on facts rather than assumptions. The author do not challenge his own way of thinking. It is an ode to revolutionaries and not a scientific search for truth and better understanding of the world.
Edward Sullivan
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The necessity of nonviolent resistance past, present, and future. Hedges at his prophetic and polemical best.
Harlan Wolff
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read it and weep. A vade mecum of global politics that confirms our worst fears. Everybody should read this book.
Bradley Chasse
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a really amazing book. It really inspired me.
Robert Raymond
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wages of Rebellion (Chris Hedges) Book Review

In Wages of Rebellion, journalist, activist, and author Chris Hedges discusses the history of many successful and unsuccessful revolutions, revolts, uprisings, and insurrections. Drawing from Marx and other historians, Hedges concludes that revolutions are never made by the poor. Most successful revolutions have almost always been comprised of not only the poor and disenfranchised, but the professional and middle classes as well. In fact, Hedges revea
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Chris Hedges' books are extremely valuable in examining the inconvenient yet existential truths of our time with a no-bullshit gravity that few authors are audacious enough to attempt. However, the experience of reading them is highly variable. I loved Empire of Illusion and was greatly looking forward to Wages of Rebellion, but unfortunately WoR reminded me more of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, in that rather than seeming like a coherent whole, it felt an incompletely assembled and roug ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I find Hedges is adept at telling us what systems to oppose, but inept at telling us what systems to champion. Do we struggle against? Or do we struggle for? His thesis to me seems to be that it is noble and just to struggle against corporate tyranny for the simple sake of doing just that; to struggle. “I fight fascists because they are fascists”. But what comes next? What do you build after you raze it all away? It is here that his argument lacks persuasion.

All revolutions are sick with the me
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
In its details this book well written and richly annotated with literary and historical examples, but it is fundamentally flawed by it overwhelming negativity.

What is the message of this book? That state security operations are a threat to our liberty? That would have raised interesting questions of morality and policy. The book however starts from the premiss that we have no liberty. Yet the literature and history that it cites is replete with examples of contests that illustrate the ongoing s
Ron Stoop
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
3.4 stars.

Above all, this book is an emotional plea of the author to resist the establishment. I can clearly feel the Christian undertones in this book, both by its hyperbolic style and the frequent use of 'hell', 'sacred duty', 'the evil state' and 'capitalist totalitarian state'.

In short he claims the US currently is a corrupt oligarchic capitalist state that thrives on the exploitation of its minorities and poor people and aims to divide them in order to further their evil agenda of exploita
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
The breakdown of American society will trigger a popular backlash which we glimpsed in the Occupy movement, but it will energize the traditional armed vigilante groups that embrace a version of American fascism that fuses Christian and national symbols. The longer we remain in a state of political paralysis, dominated by a corporate elite that refuses to respond to the growing misery and governed by an ineffectual liberal elite, the more the rage of the white male underclass...will find expressi
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Reading Along Wit...: Chris Hedges, "Wages of Rebellion" 1 12 May 11, 2015 05:41AM  

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Christopher Lynn Hedges is an American journalist, author, and war correspondent, specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and societies.

Hedges is known as the best-selling author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

Chris Hedges is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York Ci

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“I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.” 45 likes
“Those of us who are condemned as radicals, idealists, and dreamers call for basic reforms that, if enacted, would make peaceful reform possible. But corporate capitalists, now unchecked by state power and dismissive of the popular will, do not see the fires they are igniting.” 8 likes
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