Noam Chomsky on Anarchism, Internationalism, Mutual Aid, No More Deaths, and Anti-War Protests

Noam Chomsky on Anarchism, Internationalism, Mutual Aid, No More Deaths, and Anti-War Protests

From Time Talks: History, Politics, Music, and Art

Jan 18, 2020

Noam Chomsky on anarchism and its influence, Palestine and internationalism, mutual aid, No More Deaths, the Pentagon Papers, and anti-war protests.

" "">There's Always A Class War Going On" Noam Chomsky interviewed by Chris Steele from the book Occupy: Reflections on Class War, Rebellion and Solidarity

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Why, oh why, must we be regaled yet again by this goof who hasn’t read about or discussed anarchism after 1945? Everything he says and does shows him to be a social democrat. As retrograde as George Woodcock was, he pegged Chomsky as a Marxist back in the late-60s/early-70s. The discussion/debate with Foucault where Chomsky was clearly out of his depth concerning some important post-68 radical discourse should have been the last time any anarchists took the linguist seriously. It’s long past time to put the old man out to pasture...

how is he not already out in the academic pasture? or do you mean you never want to have to hear his name? good luck with that.

as a retired professor, yes, he's out to academic pasture. but that doesn't stop people from wanting to hear him pontificate (and i choose the word deliberately) on all manner of current events. he's been wagging his finger at the US government for fifty years, and has had no discernible effect on radical contestation in that entire time. his personal practice is fully social democratic, as is his version of anarchism. he's done more to stultify people's understanding of anarchism than just about anyone else in the second half of the 20th century.
the only time i want to hear his name in public again is for his obituary.

"has had no discernible effect on radical contestation in that entire time."

Soft disagree. In the late '90s as a baby anarchist, his analysis of US foreign policy and the media was incredibly important for me understanding how the world works. His philosophy has never been interesting, but his ability to take big world issues and distill them down into something people can understand without spending all their days analyzing news sources has definitely had a discernible effect on radicals. Assuredly less so now, but the pre-internet days were more difficult as far as that goes.

i said no discernible effect on radical contestation, not radical analysis. and even then, the only thing Chomsky has done differently from Marxists like Tariq Ali or Toni Negri is that he uses imminent critique of US policies. in order to do that, he has to take US policy rhetoric as somehow true, or at least reflecting a certain official mythology of good intentions. that's certainly a powerful method to sway baby anarchists to see a bigger picture, but again, it has had zero effect on active refusals and other means of checking the smooth operations of capitalism and statecraft, up to and including sustained ruptures of the social fabric. his objections to US foreign (and some domestic) policies have always been moral, based on the disconnect between official rhetoric and the actual consequences of those policies. in other words, there's been no way to weaponize his analysis to help make total destroy.

"his analysis of US foreign policy and the media was incredibly important for me understanding how the world work"

An analysis for anal-stage babies, indeed! And then you grew to realize that the world wasn't that simple, that other agencies were involved in imperialism and that your fav prof has also been supporting Holocaust deniers as well as important research at MIT for the DoD.

If there's one major influence he had over the decades, it's over the two-faced hypocrisy of the radical (sic) Left.

Who are preventing Daniel Everette from any contact with the Piraha, a culture that completely blows up Chomsky's nonsensical universal grammar. The stuff that's going on in Brasilia university on the part of his followers is down right authoritarian. That is a FAR more glaring issue then him simply not being an anarchist. Unless he's unaware of the the academic authoritarianism going on down there against Daniel Everette, he is complicity in outright academic authoritarian thuggery.

I don't know if good faith is your thing or not, but acknowledging that you don't know if he's aware of that situation, the good faith act would be to presume he doesn't know until shown otherwise.

who are preventing daniel everette from talking to the piraha?? I'm a huge fan of don't sleep there are snakes, so much that i gave it away to someone who was studying linguistics in a university...

Perhaps the old duffer is unmotivated to discuss anarchism from the 1960's onwards because most of it isn't worth talking about. Who knows, there may be some correlation between that and the decline of anarchy in the same era.

he's unmotivated to discuss anarchism that isn't from the 1930s, and he's said so. the last book on anarchism he read was something by Rudolph Rocker. nothing against Rocker, but a few things have happened in radical politics in the intervening 90 years. things like anarcha-feminism, green anarchism, the Situationists -- things that most contemporary anarchists take for granted, but which were quite scandalous when they were first articulated. add to those gender nihilism, a revisiting of the non-anglophone anti-capitalist individualist tradition, insurrectionist stuff, post-left anarchy, decolonization, intersectionality... Chomsky is like those in the Church hierarchy who refused to look into Galileo's telescope because they already knew they wouldn't see anything interesting.

"if it isn't the state, then it didn't happen", the corrosive influence of an academic bias

and a sharply conservative, determinist one at that. In full paradox with his "progressive" claims.

But Chomsky an historian? As much as any ideologue was.

I'd rather be having dumb liberal fans of Rawls without radical pretense than those stupid annoying anar-chumpskyists trolling us for a few more decades.

he wrote lot's of books on geo-politics, my friends were big fans of his in high school because he points out US hegemony

US hegemony has worked well in the hands of second or third-world fascist regimes too, as narrative bogeymen to support their own propaganda. (i.e Islamist regimes/groups, Bolivarians, Neofascists, etc). Chomsky's fine with them as long as they aren't Jews or on the side of the US... equally it's suddenly okay to be a Jewish supporter of US imperialism like himself, when you're part of the academic elite!

Academia, patricians of the US State.

"Academia, patricians of the US State."

so, you mean like half the people here?

Hes a linguist in academia and a historian in that its part of his personal interests. Dude can spit out facts about the US military/imperialism around the world. As much as I dont consider him an anarchist, its kinda cool to see in person.

In other words, he would be good to have on your side during a vehement argument with a capitalist?

I will say this, he's a bigger bore than I am myself, which is pretty freakin huge. I bored a sturgeon out of its caviar once!

Anews is this really... a thing? All these people on the internet all the time... what happened to hanging out together at friends houses etc. Why so much internet relationships? Holy shit.

I live in the USA :-)

Barcelona is a really fun city in Minnesota. You take the plane from the West Coast or Wisconsin or something and then you're there. Many Mexicans live in this town, also Native American Roma people... Kewl crust punk venues all year long!

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