[Marxism] Palestine Think Tank: Jeff Blankfort – Chomsky and Palestine: Asset or Liability?

C. G. Estabrook galliher at illinois.edu
Wed Jul 21 08:49:28 MDT 2010


Many of us who lived through them had "great reservations about the form that 
the 1968 student uprisings ultimately took" (I voted against occupying a 
university building in the spring of 1969) while being firmly opposed to the war 
- and, if it matters, we were correct.

Giving all that he's written about the responsibilities of intellectuals (and by 
extension, universities) it's absurd to see Chomsky's support for teaching and 
research as pro-war. It was always a fantasy that shutting down universities 
would substantially affect American war-making, except as part of a growing 
popular revulsion at the war.

Your 2002 article seems to me a remarkably just estimate of Chomsky's views, 
from a fraught time. (But is Chomsky really "infuriatingly superficial on the 
major questions of our epoch, including the nature of the USSR"?)

On 7/21/10 9:04 AM, Louis Proyect wrote:
> In Chapter Four of Barsky's study, we learn that Chomsky views the
> university as some kind of refuge from politics and the class
> struggle. As Chomsky put it in 1996, "Nothing should be done to
> impede people from teaching and doing their research even if at
> that very moment it was being used to massacre and destroy."
>
> During the time Chomsky was involved with protests against the war
> in Vietnam, he was always hostile--like Theodor Adorno--to
> on-campus protests that got in the way of pursuing the Truth. It
> was one thing to march against the war; it was another thing
> entirely to occupy a building that was dedicated to
> counter-insurgency research. According to Barsky, Chomsky admired
> "the challenge to the universities" but thought their rebellions
> were "largely misguided," and he "criticized [them] as they were
> in progress at Berkeley (1966) and Columbia (1968) particularly.
> This is corroborated by Norman Mailer, who spent time with Chomsky
> in a jail cell after being arrested at the Pentagon protest in
> 1969: "He had, in fact, great reservations about the form that the
> 1968 student uprisings ultimately took."
>
> full: http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/fascism_and_war/chomsky.htm




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