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News :: Human Rights
"Time for Outrage" or Indignez-vous! vs "The Coming Insurrection"
05 Feb 2011
Modified: 03:45:36 PM
A Tale of Two Books: From France, 2 little books with big impact! One little book, "Time for Outrage" or "Indignez-vous!", believes violence is bad and not what wins out in the end. The other little book, "The Coming Insurrection", claims we must tear everything up and start all over again, because the first way hasn't worked for a long time.
"Indignez-vous!" just released in English as "Time for Outrage."

Both little books are about winning individual rights for oneself and others.

"Time for Outrage" or Indignez-vous! vs "The Coming Insurrection"

"Indignez-vous!” sold a million copies (!) in four months around the holidays. And that's just in France. The UK edition, “Time for Outrage”, just came out around February 1, 2011. Really, this book, once translated into many languages, could become the best-selling nonreligious (I didn't say “antireligious” and it isn't) book in history.

"Time for Outrage" or Indignez-vous! vs "The Coming Insurrection"

THEN THERE'S “THE COMING INSURRECTION” by the “Invisible Committee” in France. Some claim those persons are the authors and a commune, and a violent one. They, on the other hand, stubbornly claim they are not authors but scribes (copying down the discourse of others) and are not a commune but “accomplices.” They want to tear down human institutions that have failed us, even communes. They see that the only equilibrium possible in human arrangements (as in physics) is at a nearly molecular level, the level of individual persons. And they steadfastly deny being accomplices in a sabotage of the French TGV (Very Fast Train) line some of them were jailed for.


Stephane Hessel's little book “Indignez-vous!” (“Get Indignant!” or “Get Outraged”), or “Time for Outrage,” says history is a story of human progress, step by step, toward individual rights for all. Mr. Hessel quotes the UN Declaration on Universal Human Rights in saying "everyone has the right to a nationality" (even, he says, undocumented immigrants everywhere and displaced Palestinians in the Middle East). Also "everyone has a right to social security" (with little S's, meaning Freedom from Want for all) and to “rights indispensable for his [and her] dignity and the free development of his personality.”

You have to read all of this in either version of Hessel's book to get the power of this. Get a hard copy – much better for thumbing through and waving around and even throwing around.

Stephane Hessel thinks humanity will get there (achievement of universal rights) but that he, like Martin Luther King, might not make it to that mountaintop. He is 94 years old as of this writing in February 2011. And like MLK he thinks nonviolence is the way. There are exceptions, "when people are occupied by forces immensely superior to their own." Such was the case of the French Resistance he was part of, and activities he almost was hanged for, when facing the superior violence of the Nazi War Machine in World War II.

Before you read further, I tell you that I am siding with “The Coming Insurrection.” Of course I'll tell you why. (You can scroll down to the TCI text or go here.)

However, before getting to that, Mr. Hessel's book is as if he wrote the script for the protests in Egypt and nearby countries, which is why you need to buy a copy of “Indignez-vous!” or “The Coming Outrage” right now.

In 2009, already in his nineties, he came with his wife to the Occupied Territories, he saw the aftermath of Israel's “Operation Cast Lead” violence in Gaza, and he got outraged – 1400 civilians killed and only 50 Israeli soldiers only injured. The plight of the Occupied Territories is today the main sources of Mr. Hessel's long-running moral indignation.

Along with Richard Goldstone, Mr. Hessel compares the operation to “crimes against humanity.” Thats a pretty strong accusation considering he had a Jewish father, condemns specific terrorist acts against Jews, and himself nearly was murdered in a Nazi concentration camp.

It is “unbearable,” he says, how Israel has fallen short of the noble ideas of its heritage. “Alas,” he says, “history does not give enough examples of people who draw lessons from their own history.”

Inidignez-Vous! / Time for Outrage discusses two views of history, one optimistic and one pessimistic. Hessel, the wise old philosopher, takes this view: "But my natural optimism, which wants all that is desirable to be possible, carried me rather towards Hegel. Hegelism interprets the long history of humanity as having a meaning: It is the freedom of man progressing step by step. History is made of successive shocks, and the taking into account of challenges. The history of societies thus advances; and in the end, man having attained his full freedom, we have the democratic state in its ideal form."

And then there is the other view, which led a friend of his father to commit suicide, and it's illustrated by a painting by Paul Klee. "It says progress is made by freedom of competition, striving for "always more"; it can be as if living in a devastating hurricane." The friend interpreted the painting as showing the angel opening its arms as if to hold back a tempest, which is identified with incessant progress. This is the "Life is just one damn thing after another" view of life. (A friend of Rockeller is said to have made this comment on learning the Oil Trust was being busted. Perhaps this is why Rockefeller suffered clinical depression for most of life despite his wealth.)

"The Coming Insurrection" (Semiotext(e) Books / MIT Press) treats this view history -- why life might not seem worth living and how to remedy that -- in 132 small pages ($12 at Border's and Barnes & Noble).

After 30 Years of US One-Party Rule (Vichy-Nazi) ...

In the long history of man, institutions (states like Israel and the US, other “social” forms) have often failed mankind. In fact, "The Coming Insurrection" expounds in seven chapters (“Circles” 1-7) on interest areas in which breakdowns have occurred and in which the cures are worse than the disease.

Circles include: The Self subsumed by marketing (Circle 1), education to make a "good citizen," work as all there is, metropolis / NETropolis (Circle 4), economy (Is it discredited, or is it making life itself “virtual”?), environment as excuse for control.

In America there is no such thing as loyal opposition, no Republican versus Democrat. For at least 30 years, there has been, effectively, ONE party in the USA with two wings, Republican plus Democrat, "Republicrats." Neither wing is loyal to the nation, the people, human rights -- to anyone or any thing. I call them the "Vichy-Nazis" because the Obama Administration reminds me of the French collaborationist government in the Second World War and the Republicans remind me of the Nazis and all fascists -- believers in corporate control of the state and everything else. They are loyal to the organizations and lobbyists that bribe them the most. Rich people like the Koch Brothers of Kansas tend to win out.

Lobbyists buy out politicians of both sides until politicians become rich enough to retire in ease and luxury from public "service." This form of government became totally dominant about 30 years ago.

Obviously there is no way of escaping this long-endured trap other than by the methods described by the French book "The Coming Insurrection" (since translated and available at Border's and Barnes and Noble for $12) and resistance illustrated by the Resistances in Egypt and Tunisia.

Now is the "Time for Outrage" and, soon, in the US as in Egypt, "The Coming Insurrection."
Related Link:

"The Coming Insurrection" is another French challenge to Indignez-vous!
See also:

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