Review and Applied Thoughts from the book “Indignez Vous!”

Stéphane Frédéric Hessel is a 94 year old man who wrote a book called, “Indignez Vous!”  First a little background on Stéphane Hessel’s life that gives him the credentials and creditability of what he writes in his book.

Stéphane Hessel was a German Jew whose family immigrated to France in 1924, when he was 7 years old.  He served in the French Army during the Battle of France and became a prisoner of war.  Following his escape from the POW camp, he joined General de Gaulle in England and the Free French Resistance.  Stéphane Hessel was asked to parachute into occupied France in advance of the Allied invasion of 1944 to organize Resistance networks.  The Gestapo captured him and subjected him to the form of torture that we call “Waterboarding” today.  (Of course Dick Cheney says that “Waterboarding” is not torture today even though the U.S. hung Japanese solders after WWII as a War Crime for doing this exact same thing to American Prisoners of War)  He was sent to the concentrations camps,Buchenwaldand Dora but avoided the gallows only by switching identities with an inmate who had died.  While being transferred to Bergen-Belsen, he escaped yet once again.  After the war Hessel became a diplomat and involved himself in politics to have a say in the reformation and rebuilding of France.

Stéphane Hessel’s book became a best seller by selling more than 600,000 copies even before it had gone viral world wide as it speaks to the truth for the economic and political conditions of today.  This book has been given much credit for the popular movement’s world wide much like Thomas Paine’s book, “Common Sense,” started the revolution forming the Colonial United States.

Stéphane Hessel had joined de Gaulle in March 1941, when I learned that the council had put the finishing touches on its program and adopted it on March 15, 1944: a collection of principles and values for Free France that still provides the foundation of France’s modern democracy.

My suggestion is that it should be reviewed by all of us here in theUnited States to remind ourselves from “Whence We Came” as I see we too have lost our core values and lost our way by the influence of large economics lobbies.

Stéphane Hessel is quoted saying, “We need these principles and values more than ever today.  It is up to us, to all of us together, to ensure that our society remains one to be proud of: not this society of undocumented workers and deportations, of being suspicious of immigrants; not this society where our retirement and the other gains of social security are being called into question; not this society where the media are in the hands of the rich. These are all things that we would refuse to countenance if we were the true heirs of the “National Council of the Resistance.”

Let’s review the time Stéphane Hessel and his fellow resistance fighters reassembled a country after WWII’s total devastation.  An excerpt for the book states, “After 1945, after that horrific tragedy, the forces in the “National Council of the Resistance” achieved an ambitious resurrection for France.  Let us remember that this was when the social safety net that the Resistance called for was created: “A comprehensive “Social Security” plan, to guarantee all citizens a means of livelihood in every case where they are unable to get it by working”; and “retirement that allows older workers to end their lives with dignity.”

Comment Comparison:

The Social Security plan had been instituted by Franklin D. Roosevelt more than a decade before France’s reconstruction.  It worked very well for decades and had over a Trillion Dollars in surplus in the 1980’s until drastic cuts in collecting taxes and was extremely cut in 2000 by the G.W. Bush administration.  Instead of collecting the revenues to operate the Government, the legislators dipped their hands into the Social Security retirement programs all the way up to their elbows stealing the future of the Middle Class of this country.  Then you now have the ultra-conservative Republican legislators trying to lay the blame of their theft calling the Social Security program a “Ponzi Scheme.”

Stéphane Hessel:

Sources of energy such as electricity, gas, and coal were nationalized, along with the large banks, in accordance again with what the program advocated: “returning to the nation the major means of production that have been monopolized, the fruits of common labor, the sources of energy, mineral riches, insurance companies, and big banks”; and “establishing a true economic and social democracy, which entails removing large scale economic and financial feudalism from the management of the economy.”  The general interest had to be given precedence over particular special interests, and a fair division of the wealth created by the world of labor over the power of money.  The Resistance proposed “a rational organization of the economy to guarantee that individual interests be subordinated to the public interest, one free of a dictatorship of established professionals in the image of the fascist state.”

Comment Comparison:

It should be noted that our current event and depression was brought about globally by the greed of international banking authorities who purchased influence in our U.S. legislating bodies getting laws changed and passed that made practices that were made illegal in the 1930’s, now legal bring about the same results that they did in the 1920’s causing that Great Depression.  How soon we forgot.

We also need to take a reflective time to note our latest wars were for the purpose of making sure the oil flow without restrictions into the U.S. as we are an oil based industry driving the economic engine of the United States.

Stéphane Hessel:

Genuine democracy needs a free press. The Resistance knew this, and it demanded “the freedom and honor of the press and its independence from the state and the forces of money and foreign influence.” Again, these goals were carried forward, but they are at risk today.

Comment Comparison:

Not GE (or Comcast). Not Disney. Not Murdoch or Time Warner. We are a wholly owned subsidiary of our own conscience.

I personally view that the blog writers independence like those who contribute to this blog are the highest form of patriotism by demanding to know exactly what Government’s doing in our name.

Stéphane Hessel:

Another platform Stephen Hessel and his fellow countrymen at this time called for was “the practical opportunity for every French child to have access to the most advanced education,” without discrimination, but the reforms proposed in 2008 run counter to this plan. Young teachers have refused to implement these reforms up to now, and I support their actions. They have seen their salaries reduced in retaliation. They got angry, they “disobeyed,” they decided that these reforms diverged too far from the ideal of education in a democratic republic, were too deeply beholden to a society of money and failed to develop the creative and critical spirit sufficiently.

Comment Comparison:

This is not just happening in France but all of these social rights at the core we here in the United States once valued so much are today under attack.  Children of Latino immigrants are being refused advance education because of their parent’s questionable legal status.  Science teachers in Pennsylvania were threatened with firing if they did not teach the religious viewpoint and inaccurate “Intelligent Design.”  It was the Teachers Union that protected these Science Teachers from the religious fanaticism that had obtained power.  Of course we have seen the Ultra Conservative “Koch Brother’s funding” of Republican Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio trying to destroy these Unions.

Stéphane Hessel speaks out on “Outrage Inspires Resistance:”

They have the nerve to tell us that the state can no longer cover the costs of these social programs. Yet how can the money needed to continue and extend these achievements be lacking today, when the creation of wealth has grown so enormously since the Liberation, a time when Europe lay in ruins? It can only be because the power of money, which the Resistance fought against so hard, has never been as great and selfish and shameless as it is now, with its servants in the very highest circles of government. The banks, now privatized, seem to care primarily about their dividends, and about the enormous salaries of their executives, not about the general good. The gap between richest and poorest has never been so large, competition and the circulation of capital never so encouraged.

The motivation that underlay the Resistance was outrage. We, the veterans of the Resistance movements and fighting forces of Free France, call on the younger generations to revive and carry forward the tradition of the Resistance and its ideas.

We say to you: take over, keep going, get angry! Those in positions of political responsibility, economic power and intellectual authority, in fact our whole society, must not give up or let ourselves be overwhelmed by the current international dictatorship of the financial markets, which is such a threat to peace and democracy.

I want you, each and every one of you, to have a reason to be outraged. This is precious. When something outrages you, as Nazism did me, that is when you become a militant, strong and engaged. You join the movement of history, and the great current of history continues to flow only thanks to each and every one of us. History’s direction is toward more justice and more freedom though not the unbridled freedom of the fox in a henhouse. The rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 are indeed universal. When you encounter someone who lacks those rights, have sympathy and help him or her to achieve them.

Engineer of Knowledge Comment Comparison:



41 thoughts on “Review and Applied Thoughts from the book “Indignez Vous!”

  1. thank you for writing about Stephane Hessel. He is a personal hero of mine who I have been writing about in many forums. Thank you, Mr. Engineer. If you have ever seen this 94 year old man speak…and he does speak well in English, you will be amazed with the youthful vitality he exudes, the positive and infectious irresistible force of his energy.
    His life is pretty amazing beyond the history of his heroic resistance in WW2, his parents were the inspiration for the classic Truffaut film, Jules and Jim. He grew up in a very eclectic open salon house hold. The icing on the cake for me is that his adolescent chess instructor was one of my other personal heroes, Marcel Duchamp, who of course transformed chess into a metaphor that forever changed the course of how we think about art today.

  2. the book, Indignez-vous has recently been released in English. A slender volume, that topped the best seller list here for over a year, it is called in English, Time For Outrage and is pretty inexpensive, but you can read it on line.
    He has a new pamphlet out that addresses ecological concerns and the need for action and how to become positively involved. Perhaps it will be released in English very soon.
    BTW, Hessel’s book has been cited as one of the driving forces behind OWS in the states. Here in Europe, the new name for people participating in the protests in America, Greece, Spain and France has become Les Indignes…

  3. Engineer- thank you for bringing us the story of Stephane Hessel and how his ideas apply ever-so strongly to the current state of affairs here in the U.S. as well as to the world at large. Ah, yes, the wisdom of the aged and especially so of those who suffered and survived terribly repressive regimes.

    Imagine, if your stomach can tolerate this comparison, a chat with Stephane Hessel followed by a chat with Herman Cain, Rick Perry or Mitt Romney!

    Microdot- I quite enjoy that the Europeans have adopted, Les Indignes, as their rallying call. The movement over there ought to unite with the OWS people here in a common, world-wide declaration of outrage which lists 10 principles of common outcomes for The People of both the US as well as the EU [and the world!]

    1. “…a chat with Stephane Hessel followed by a chat with Herman Cain, Rick Perry or Mitt Romney!”

      Let’s see, Cain would parrot “9-9-9”, Perry would parrot “The Bible”, and Romney…..let me check what day it is.

  4. I think in the last week, the American OWS created a Solidarity with the Egyptians. The Occupy Marines in particular have done a lot to forge a link. I have seen a lot of tips on OWS web sites from the Egyptians on how to deal with police violence, they have the experience we need to learn from as the repression in America grows and the media tries to normalize it.

  5. Muddy and Microdot,
    Yes this man’s critical and well thought-out ideas are a great rule and guide for us all. I would love to see a debate between with Stephane Hessel and the current group of “Bozo Clowns” (my apologies to Bozo) vying for the Republican nomination for President including Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney….what a profound “BITCH SLAPPING” the 94 year old would give them…..the (“BEST?!?”) that the Republican Party can come up with today.

  6. EOK- I’ve thought of the Social Security = Ponzi scheme statement alot. I live in a community that has alot of senior citizens. Alot of these great people depend on Social Security. It is their only income.

    But when I look at social security and the Rick Perry statement, I start thinking Perry was correct. Social Security being the retirement that so many hard working Americans put into. The government being Bernie Madoff, who stuck it right up those retiree’s A##es.

    Do you think that’s what Perry means? Me neither.

  7. Hello J.O.B.
    No Rich Perry is the “bought and paid for” funded voice within the Republican Party that wants to dismantle and destroy the Social Security Program system. The Republican Party has wanted this gone since Franklin D. Roosevelt established this “Safety Net” as a result when the “Private Sector” pillaged the retirement funds of those in the late 1920’s.

    Social Security was set up as a more stable system Safety Net to protect the aged in their late years.

    You give the good example of Bernie Madoff but I would also include the raping and pillaging of the Middle Class’s 401Ks by the likes of the companies they were working for such as Enron with its employs as just one example. There were too many more just like them.

    See, the problem is that the Republicans representing the “Robber Barons” did not have easy access to this large Social Security savings until they voted and decided to take from the Social Security Program in the 1980’s to fund Government programs once they cut the taxes so much that it no longer collected enough to support the Government. The mantle for their reasons were, “Well would you rather pay for it now when there is a surplus of money in the system or later when the “Baby Boomer” retires need to start withdrawing these funds?” The problem was that right from the start the G.W. Bush administration cut Government Revenue taxes once again to “Apoplectically Devastating” levels but increased the spending of Government with the non-funding of two wars along with “No Bid Contracts” to their major contributors which stole from the future of those coming of age in the short term years.

    Now Social Security is being called a “Ponzi Scheme” by the very legislators who legalized the theft of the Baby Boomers Social Security funds. I see this much like a “Serial Rapist” calling his victim a “SLUT” for letting him screw her.

    Yes LIES and DAMN LIES from this Conservative Republican group!!!

    1. The worst part is that seniors and people getting to be seniors don’t realize how it affects them. On the road to Mount Rushmore there is a site dedicated to adding Reagan. My younger brother got really mad when I suggested that this might be the dumbest idea ever.

      (Note about Reagan: After some research and personal experience, I am totally convinced Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer’s while in office. The onset possibly was as early as 1984.)

      1. Ever see Spitting Images’ “The President’s Brain is missing”?

        I have to agree with you that Ronnie didn’t have all his marbles.

        At least not the ones he would use for thinking.

        1. Netflix doesn’t have it. Maybe I’ll try the library. Thanks for the reference.

  8. Engineer, thanks for the great post and comments. Just so every one is on
    the same page with Social Security, we need to remember that FDR did not
    look open Social Security as the main retirement vehicle for Americans. He
    saw it as floor upon which to build a sound individual retirement. He and
    Eleanor saw Americans retire on nothing, living in poverty with no food, no
    housing and no clothing. It was envisaged as a meager base for retirement
    planning. Unfortunately, many Americans have come to rely solely on
    their social security and did not save during their working years.

    One other response to your last comment, Bush ” increased the spending of Government with the non-funding of two wars along with “No Bid Contracts”…”
    Lets add his medicare prescription plan which was another non-funded

    1. I was wondering if the majority of people living on retirement income are relying on Social Security. I’ve seen so many people’s retirement savings wiped out late in life (usually for medical reasons and/or expenses).

      “Lets add his medicare prescription plan which was another non-funded
      program.” Which is a very large part of the current deficit being blamed on our current President. My own mother would be dead without it, but it should have been funded.

  9. MR comments: “Engineer- thank you for bringing us the story of Stephane Hessel and how his ideas apply ever-so strongly to the current state of affairs here in the U.S.”

    Indeed, MR, and you can’t support a movement to replace Congresswoman
    Kaptur and the other Members of Congress who have put this country on the
    brink of financial ruin and devastation?

    1. You keep saying that but offering no remedy. Stop and thing about all the screw-ups that get elected just because people want the incumbent replaced.

      Here in Ohio I can think of one from each party: DeWine and Fisher

      1. “screw-ups that get elected ” Thanks for making my point, NON! They are
        all “screw-ups”, my fellow commentator. Our only recourse is to change
        the people, and in this case throw all the betrayers out. They have betrayed
        the American Dream. I believe Congresswoman Kaptur is your Member of
        Congress, ar at least she was before re-apportionment, and she has been there betraying the American Dream and enabling income inequality for
        24 years. Do we know what the defination of insanity is?

      2. NON, “changing the people” is already happening. Low and behold, a long
        entrenched betrayer, Barney Frank, announced his resignation today. Heavens sake! He can’t move on. We will only get a “screw-up”! ROFL!!!
        Members of Congress retire, die in office, quit over malfeasance, and get
        voted out of office. That’s the way it works!

    1. “Armchair activist”, eh? Well, I will be in NYC over the holidays and will
      be down on the square with the OWS group, that is, if they are still
      there. I am putting my money, my safety, and my time in offering my
      support. Tell you what, MR, how about you and MRS. meeting us that
      week in NYC, and we can have a good meeting at the General Assembly You recently traveled to Europe and dropped your money over there, so
      spend a little in this country and NYC to be specific. You can even bunk
      in with us at the hotel. Any time, 12/21 thru 12/27. We are flying from
      Jackson to Dallas(go West to go East, lol)to NYC LaGuardia for $360
      round trip. I may only be able to offer them support, but it beats sitting
      here in Jackson and do nothing. UMMM, Christmas Eve at St. Patrick’s?

      1. Do they have an OWS operation in Jackson? If so, were you down there holding a sign? Or did you ‘luck out’ and there was none of that in your deep red neck of the woods?

  10. Hello Uptheflag,
    You are very correct with the statement that FDR did not look open Social Security as the main retirement vehicle for Americans. It was meant to be a supplemental safety net for those older people who lost their retirement savings in the 1929 Crash and company retirement funds lost from closings in the private sector. It was supposed to keep going as an extra addition to a person’s retirement savings. Not the main source.

    Very good and well stated point of Bush’s Medicare prescription plan which was another non-funded program.

    As always, very good dialogue.

    1. And, Engineer, I heard Joe Scarborough say this morning that Bush’s unpaid
      prescription plan has meant $7 TRILLION in debt. Yes, $7 TRILLION! I wonder how many Reps. and Dems voted for that bill?

  11. Uptheflag, $7 TRILLION!?!?! I’m sure we could do better than that. I say let’s shoot for $10 TRILLION. :-) That way we’ll be NUMBER 1.

    Not only that but the “Prescription Plan Bill” passed OUTLAWING the government to try to negotiate collective bargaining purchasing quantity discounts. So much for the free enterprise system. This bill was actually written by the Pharmaceutical Industry’s Lobbies then handed to Congressmen to bring it up and voted on. The rest is history.

    1. “Well I don’t care if Bush was President, I’m still going to blame Obama!” (Do these people know how government budgets, spending and accounting work? Uh, do they also vote? Oh my!)


      TGP writes “…science is THEORY, which means unproven” (ya think he knows the definition of the word science?)

      Sgt. Price (aka CS) writes “… I try very hard to tell the truth every time.
      “, (then he continues) “The bones to support human evolution wouldn’t fill the bed a pickup truck …” (and he finishes with) “…Global Warming as we all know now they have manufactured evidence to support their crack-pot theory.” (Oh my, is this the sort of history their teaching in Washington state? And is he calling his masters, the Koch brothers, crack-pots?)

      1. (Before CS gets his panties in a bunch, I know I used the wrong “their”. It should read “they’re”. You know he’s all educated and gets so easily offended.)

    2. “. This bill was actually written by the Pharmaceutical Industry’s Lobbies…”

      Exactly, Engineer. And, where was the meeting held to decide that in
      favor of BIG PHARMA? It was decided at the White House with a Democratic President Obama supporting it. Our friend, MR, doesn’t
      agree with the following statement that there is not a dimes worth of
      difference between Dems and Reps, but here it is. Big Pharma who
      sticks it to the 99% negotiates this deal with Obama , Obama tells
      his Democratic Congress this is the deal, and they vote for it. It is
      a bill that totally protects the pharmaceutical industry in every major
      issue that they wanted. Wonder how Toledo Congresswoman Kaptur
      voted on the bill.

        1. Score one for Kaptur. As I said, M_R, and as you know, many of the
          votes are cherry picked for at home consumption. To be sure, she has
          a some 95% voting record as a “progressive”. That’s not the point, and
          you know it or else you would have categorically refuted every vote that
          I have listed as being against the middleclass and the 99%. Your silence
          is defening! Oh, I have a few more to list, lol!

      1. Miss Kaptur surprises me a lot with her votes. At first I wonder why she voted a certain way, then after looking further into the issue, I really am impressed. As long as I have been aware of Miss Kaptur, she has had the support of both Democrats and Republicans in Northwest Ohio. Now that’s a hard act to pull off.

        CASE IN POINT: She went around Ohio in a bus trying to get support for rejection of NAFTA. At the time I thought she’s out of her mind. Turns out, everything she warned would happen has happened.

  12. You people are lucky today….

    On 11/28/11 at 5:25 pm. TGP posted “By the way, Mud, General Thomas Gage was only in charge of the British army in the colonies until 1777. Just in case you were worried about being factual.”

    Later on the same day at 9:48 pm. TGP posted “Apparently Mud is not aware that Gage was relieved before the Declaration of Independence was even rough drafted. ”

    Oh my goodness, have we been celebrating the 4th of July on the wrong day all these years? Boy, Mr. Mud, we could sure use somebody who majored in history in college to help us figure this out……hey, what about CS?

    (And I don’t want any of you complaining about revisionist history writers! Don’t ya know they don’t exist?)

  13. I’ve got another question and it actually is on topic with this post:

    The type of government I read being pushed on “some” blogs seems to suggest a theocracy enforced by the military. Would that be a accurate conclusion?

  14. a theocracy enforced by the military

    Sounds to me like any number of Arab countrie. Are you sure that these proponents were ‘American’ or were they only AINOS?

    1. OK, I’ll bite….what’s a “AINOS”? And it they are posse blogs.

      1. AINO’s- Americans in name only. Like the RINO’s. Remember- there are no better, more genuine American Republicans than the Posse.

  15. AND!!! In their TEM (theocracy enforced by the military) form of government, disgracing the American Flag in ANY way would be against the law. And women’s subservience would be reinforced by laws forbidding females in the military. Women would have to behave like they’re told including wearing appropriate clothing.

    (Guess who read your post on TGP/TGI’s blog.)

    1. Do you refer to Tenth Generation Patriot’s newest post, where he gives this ‘great’ link:

      Nice link, especially the babe wearing the American flag bikini with her hands down her pants. I referenced that one to Tenth, but he redirected my attention to the ‘Obama pig.’ Why would I want to look at some idiotic, juvenile cartoon when I could look at the sexy woman? Perhaps it’s his [c]hristian morality directing me away from the semi-nude, orgasmic photo???

      1. LOL – Remember how they howled when George Bush was portrayed with monkey ears?

        (Although in George’s case, the type of animal referenced may be more accurate for that individual.)

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