Journalist, author, pastor, and activist Chris Hedges will run for U.S. Congress and has received the endorsement of the Green Party.
Hedges, who lives in Princeton with his family and is an associate pastor at the Second Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, is challenging U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a Democrat who lives in Ewing.
“We must step outside the system, to pit power against power,” Hedges said in a news release about his candidacy. “This will not be easy. It will not happen quickly or in one election cycle. It is a process, but one, especially given the ecocide and corporate serfdom that confronts us, we must embrace as a moral imperative. Voting is a small part of this process, but it sends an important signal to the ruling elites that their time is up, or soon to be up. We must stop fearing them. They must start fearing us.”
Hedges said that Donald Trump, “along with the corporate oligarchs, nativists, conspiracy theorists, Christian fascists and racists who support him” is the symptom, not the disease, and is the product of a failed democracy. “Demagogues are always vomited up in societies beset with political and economic decay. I witnessed this in the former Yugoslavia. They manipulate a legitimate rage among a betrayed working class and the working poor to set neighbor against neighbor,” he said. “Trump supporters are not, however, our enemies. Our enemy is the tiny cabal of corporate oligarchs that have seized control of the two ruling parties, the three branches of government, the media, academia, our health services, and the economy. They have usurped our rights to exclusively serve corporate profit. The consent of the governed has become a cruel joke. The politicians and leaders of the two ruling parties are selected and anointed by our corporate masters. They are corporate puppets. Without corporate money and support, they would not be in power. They do not work for us. And they know it. This is especially true in New Jersey, which has one of the most corrupt Democratic Party machines in the nation.”
The author of twelve books, including “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America,” and “America, The Farewell Tour,” Hedges worked as a speechwriter for Ralph Nader during his last presidential campaign and took part in Occupy Wall Street in New York City. He spent two decades as a foreign correspondent covering armed conflicts in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Gaza, Yemen, Algeria, India, Sudan, and the first Gulf War, where he entered Kuwait with the US Marine Corps. He spent three years covering the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo and was the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for The New York Times, where he was part of a team of reporters that won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on global terrorism.
He earned his master’s of divinity degree at Harvard University and his bachelor’s degree in English from Colgate University. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, and the University of Toronto. He has also taught in the college degree program offered by Rutgers University to incarcerated men and women through NJ-STEP since 2013.
Priorities for Hedges include slashing the military budget, ending the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, promoting a “Green New Deal,” battling climate change, and stopping the destruction of the environment. He also believes in getting big money out of politics, opposing the continued creation of charter schools, and promoting the need for a single-payer health insurance program.
“Real political change will come only through sustained acts of mass civil disobedience,” Hedges said in his campaign announcement. “We must stand with those carrying out rent strikes and the front line workers whose health and safety are being sacrificed by corporations such as Amazon, which paid no federal taxes last year and is owned by the richest man in the world. Political power must be an organic expression of these movements. That expression will never come from the Democratic or Republican parties. The mantra of the least worst is a ruse, used to intimidate us. The oligarchs, especially those that fund the Democratic Party, made it very clear in a series of public statements that should Bernie Sanders become the party nominee they would vote for Trump. They prefer Biden over Trump, who is inept and an embarrassment to the empire, just as they preferred Hillary Clinton, but they know that Trump and Biden will slavishly serve corporate power.”
The 12th Congressional District in New Jersey includes the Mercer County municipalities of East Windsor Township, Ewing, Hightstown, Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township, Lawrence. Pennington, Princeton, Trenton, and West Windsor; the Middlesex County municipalities of Cranbury, Dunellen, East Brunswick, Helmetta, Jamesburg, Middlesex, Milltown, Monroe Township, North Brunswick Township, Old Bridge Township (part, also 6th), Plainsboro Township, South Brunswick Township, South River Borough, and Spotswood Borough; the Somerset municipalities of Bound Brook, Franklin Township, Manville and South Bound Brook; and the Union County municipalities of Fanwood, Plainfield, and Scotch Plains (also part of the 7th district).