[Marxism] RE: Chomsky's Anti-Authoritarian Bias

Calvin Broadbent calvinbroadbent at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 25 10:11:58 MDT 2004


This is not quite true. Although I do take Lou's point that Chomsky tends to 
disparage any and every 'State' around, I think he has a lot more respect 
and support for socialist 'movements' than the statement below gives him 
credit for.
For example, Chomsky supported the Sandinista struggle from day one. He 
supported the mass popular democractic movement which brough J-B Aristide to 
power in Haiti in 1991. Chomsky has supported the Palestinian struggle for 
many decades and has critically supported its leadership for as long. He got 
into a lot of trouble with ideologues for his and Edward Herman's book 
'After the Cataclysm' which made statements prasing the educational and 
redistributive work of the Khmer Rouge in the Cambodian countryside before 
1975. He supported the NLF in Vietnam which he, along with the CIA, 
understood as supported by the vast mass of Vietnamese people. I am sure 
there is many more examples of Chomsky actively supporting anti-imperialist 
Personally, my own political ideas were initially catalysed at a quite young 
age by a friend advising me to read Noam Chomsky. I have enormous respect 
and admiration for the man's scholarhip and personal dedication to the 
cause. I do not think his anti-authoritarian ideology to be very 
constructive at times- I think it stands in the way of objective analysis of 
'actually existing socialism(s)', and, indeed has sometimes lead him to take 
very stupid political positions (his initial support and call for sanctions 
on Iraq is a case in point, as was the u-turn in his analysis of the civil 
war in Yugoslavia). Nevetheless, I genuinely believe that reading Noam 
Chomsky is one of the most serious means by which a person can demythologise 
their thinking. Fuck the US Govt.

Lou Paulsen Wrote:

Chomsky is very good - indispensible, really, I certainly buy
his books - about telling you what imperialism is doing and what lying
hypocritical beasts the imperialists and their lackeys and media and
academic flunkeys are.  But his extreme anti-authoritarianism prevents him
from having any respect for any state, movement, formation, movement, etc.,
that is attempting to resist imperialism (much less advance the socialist
cause).  So if you read nothing but Chomsky, you come away with the idea
that imperialism is evil but nobody else is any good, and no particular idea
of what to do about it.

I don't know offhand where there's anything more extensive...

Lou Paulsen

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