Chomsky on C-Span2

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon May 5 11:50:34 MDT 2003

Michael Perelman wrote:
> attacking NC would not make sense.  on the whole, he is excellent.
> attacking him would just make the left look silly.  there are better fora
> to support cuba.

It is my distinct impression that had Chomsky really thought through the
  implications of the Landy petition and had carefully scrutinized the
case made against the "dissidents", which really never attained critical
mass in the radical milieu until after the sentences were handed down
(Landau correctly points to this as a PR weakness), he never would have
signed it. The fact that he, Michael Albert, the President of his fan
club, and the Solidarity PC have all signed the Mexico petition about
"destabilization" effectively contradicts their support for Landy's
petition. My guess is that Chomsky tends to sign anything that comes his
way, as was the case with the notorious Faurisson incident. This
petition comes shortly on the heels of another petition Landy circulated
on the eve of the war, a typical "Curse on both your houses" affair that
dissociates itself from both Bush and Saddam Hussein. This was a
narcissistic gesture meant to put a distance between those on the side
of the angels and the buccaneers on Marxmail, Ramsey Clark, James Petras
and the rest of the gang. Chomsky signed that one as well, so when Landy
wrote him an email to sign another along the lines of "neither Castro
nor Bush", he probably said okay.

What we are dealing with here is "petty bourgeois impressionism", to use
a term from my youth. It was rife in the late 1930s when the USSR signed
a nonaggression pact with the Nazis, to the horror of people like James
Burnham and everybody else who would end up as a "New York intellectual".

I may flesh this out when I get a chance, but I feel we are witnessing
the congealing of a new "New York intellectual" from within the
maelstrom of the post-Soviet epoch of humanitarian interventions.
Instead of devoting an Orwellian 2 minutes of hate to Stalin or
Brezhnev, you get pieties in the NY Review of Books or the Nation
Magazine against a new set of enemies. I would include Paul Berman,
Susan Sontag (despite her rather keen insights into 9/11), Eric
Alterman, Ellen Willis and Stanley Aronowitz (our Norman Podhoretz and
Midge Decter) into this group.


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