America: The Farewell Tour by Chris Hedges.

By Thomas Van Essen.

One of the great progressive American voices left in journalism is back, and with arguably his most bleak and urgent call for action yet.

 “That the end is coming is hard now to dispute, although one would be foolish to predict when.”

 America: The Farewell Tour is the latest book from Chris Hedges, Harvard divinity school graduate, war correspondent and reporter for Truth Dig. Named The Farewell Tour in anticipation of imminent socio/economic/political collapse, it is fitting that it’s also one of his most comprehensive works, spanning a vast array of subjects and interviews: unemployment and deindustrialisation, evangelist entrepreneurialism, the opioid epidemic, suicide, sexual sadism, hate groups, doomsday preppers, the gambling industry, police brutality and the corporate prison-industrial complex.

Hedges leaves no stone unturned when it comes to diagnosing the ailments which afflict the modern late-capitalist American empire; a sickness that has many of us foreigners gawking from the afar, spellbound, blissfully unaware of the repercussions this disease carries for all of us. Hedges captures the insanity of the age we are living in, as we willingly let the ruling neoliberal elites plunge us into a new dark age of neofeudalism, or worse, face mass extinction of life as we know it.

Like the old cartoon of the guy rowing a boat with holes in it; despite already being half-submerged we continue to row on into oblivion. Such is the nature of the ‘electric hallucinations’, Hedges says, we collectively inhabit which have replaced reality.

Donald Trump’s 2016 election was smoke and mirrors. We are encouraged to watch the spectacle of his megalomaniac reality-TV-esque shambles in the White House, all whilst ignoring his ministry deconstruct the institutions of the nation state and privatise and deindustrialise everything, destroying the livelihood of the working class and minorities, whilst widening the ever-marginalising gap between the 99% and the small minority of power concentrated within the world’s bankers, corporate CEOs, hedge fund managers, bureaucrats, politicians and media moguls.

Business as usual.

One of Hedges’ greatest assets is his astute ability to relate the current decadence and decline of the United States to the collapse and ruination of past societies and civilisations , from Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.

With the failure of democracy and economic decline we see the rise of fascism, symptoms we are already seeing in flux with the birth of the Alt-right, All Lives Matter and other similarly racist ideologues. He writes, “this is what happened in fascist Germany and Italy. It is what happened with the election of Trump.”

He argues that the puritanism of the left has failed us, namely due to its abandonment of the working class in the rustbelt states.

It’s no surprise that the impoverished, desperate people of the mid-west would elect somebody who, albeit falsely, promised to give them back their jobs. The likes of which were lost due to NAFTA instigated by Bill Clinton, and other bipartisan supported globalist trade legislation. Yet, the supposed moral paragons of the mainstream left would brand them racist, backwards and rednecks for voting against their beloved Hillary.

Despite his melancholy,he maintains that we must remain hopeful in the face of this malaise, if we are to hold any serious chance of resistance. We must not let divisions overcome us. As Siddique Hassan, interviewed by Hedges, says ‘divisions among the oppressed, are gifts to the oppressor