On Avoiding Cubby Hole Thinking, Chomsky Discussion as Case in Point

Borba100 at SPAMaol.com Borba100 at SPAMaol.com
Sat Oct 14 19:36:58 MDT 2000


Dear Mine, and others,

In a message dated 10/14/2000 11:42:14 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxx.xxx writes:

<< n other words, what Chomsky actually says
 and writes about the domestic politics of  Yugoslavia is perfectly
*consistent*
 with the anarchist tradition he is a part of--left libertarianism,
anti-statism,
 communitarian individualism,  anarcho-syndicalism, denial of  political
authority,
 lack of confidence in socialism, etc..  >>

Maybe he likes to present himself in this way, but the tradition he is really
in is: lying about victims of US attack, repeating Western media slanders of
leaders of target countries while giving said slanders a "left look" by
combining them with off-the-mark criticisms of NATO, misrepresenting facts to
give them a rosy hue (e.g., the presentation of what is obviously, from the
Western press, gangsterism, as "workers power") and so on) .

Chomsky is trying to have an effect.  He is a barnacle to which other "left"
apologists for US intervention cling.  I think the most useful thing for
those on the left to do is to show HOW HE IS WRONG in a very specific way.
The focus on a priori categorization allows other people to reject your
critique as proceeding from dogma and creates sympathy for CHomsky.  Better
to stay home and sleep.

Nobody is going to believe Chomsky is wrong about what is happening in
Yugoslavia because you tell them he is "part of--left libertarianism,
anti-statism,
 communitarian individualism,  anarcho-syndicalism, denial of  political
authority,
 lack of confidence in socialism" and so on.  They may or may not be more
sympathetic to your views about how society should be run IF you succeed in
proving HE IS WRONG in the SPECIFCS what he says - and even better yet, if
you expose the ways in which he distorts.  And they may be better armed to
see through other apologists.

I am making a big point of this for a reason: I want people to be more
effective mobilizing others against the US attempt to destabilize the world.
Potentially one of if not THE  most effective groups who could do this is
those on the left.  I think the left is often not only ineffective BUT
COUNTER - effective because it throws jargon at its opponents and "refutes by
categorizing".  This has the following most harmful effects:

1) It allows those who support the US/German onslaught to dismiss the
leftists' SPECIFIC exposure of conditions (e.g., the FACT that the people who
are taking over government stores in Yugoslavia immediately do away with
price controls so that the price of cooking oil has shot up 300%) by
attributing these points to ideology.  "He is only saying that shit cause he
is a leftist."

2) It gives too much credit to leading apologists for the US.  This is not
1848.  Intellectuals are bought in a variety of ways, today.  Some receive
money directly. Some are more subtly corrupt. They discover that they "only
get a hearing" (get invited to lecture, get on radio or TV, get in
newspapers, get their books sold, etc.) if they push certain views.  Howard
Zinn who I am told has sold huge numbers of books this past decade said at a
teachin that "if you make the points you are making nobody will take you
seriously."

If you ASSUME that Chomsky says what he says "because he is an anarchist"
then you create sympathy for him among my anarchist friends "WHO ARE SAYING
THE OPPOSITE THINGS FROM CHOMSKY ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN YUGOSLAVIA.  Why
should you concede these people to your enemy by creating a sympathy for him
based on a category?  Perhaps all anarchists "have lack of confidence in
socialism" or perhaps some are extremely untidy thinkers and DO NOT have
extreme lack of confidence in socialism - but being an anarchist does not BY
DEFINITION make one a liar - and Chomsky lies. If you expose his lies you
will increase the numbers of people who reject what the US is doing.  And
they may take more seriously your OTHER thoughts.  If you simply define him
and put him neatly in a cubby hole you will strengthen him.

I did not originate this approach.  It has been put forward by much smarter
people, in the middle of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th.

Best regards,
Jared

Jared





More information about the Marxism mailing list