Noam Chomsky on Getting Rid of Elites and Much, Much More
Activism / Culture / News / Politics
“When elites fail, what should we do about it?” Noam Chomsky asked a crowd of Portlanders on Friday. “Simple answer: get rid of them,”
The crowd attending his lecture at The First Unitarian Church downtown loved that opening statement and much of his hourlong lecture, followed by a Q & A – giving him a standing ovation.
At 80 years old, Chomsky is soft-spoken and eager to educate his audience -which ranged from people in their early 20s to people in their 80s.
Chomsky is long-winded and humorously self-aware of it. He spoke about the gap between public opinion and politics. “All of you are dedicated to trying to build democracy from below, but the elites are trying to build it from above,” he said. He reminded the audience that President Obama’s campaign was the most successful marketing campaign on 2008. “They market candidates like they market toothpaste,” he said.
The lecture spanned a variety of topics including foreign policy, the war on drugs, and nuclear arms. On health care reform, Chomsky said a universal or national health insurance system is “not on the agenda” and Obama is making deals with pharmaceutical companies to not touch their drug prices.
His outlook isn’t the most optimistic: the government is big business, with its own bottom line, and runs itself that way. He criticizes the Obama administration on how the economic crisis is being handled, saying that Obama’s funds come from the financial institutions.
Chomsky donated his time to be a keynote speaker for the weekend long EcoNvergence, a conference focusing on the inter-connectivity of the economic and ecological problems facing the world today. His reflections on the current state of the U.S. are grim. But he seems to inspire people, at least momentarily, to feel like they can participate in changing the way the world operates by standing up for what they think is right.(photo taken by Anvi Bui)
· What's Ahead for the World?. Your Call Radio. October 1, 2009.
Especially at around, or a little before, half-past the hour, a caller called in with a question about how a large number of so-called "leading leftist" academics, journalists and pundits supported Obama (yeah, where's the, "*Change* you [we] can *believe* in!"?), and where Chomsky stands in relationship to an alternative political development/movement in the Unites States -- where CHOMSKY, "THE ANARCHIST", POLITICALLY EXPOSED HIMSELF AS REALLY NOTHING MORE THAN JUST (EFFECTIVELY) A *_LIBERAL_*!
What's ahead for the U.S. in the world? [10.01.09]
Oh Chomsky *talks* a good game, criticizing U.S. foreign policy, and while he says that the U.S. is effectively a 1-party system -- thus implicitly or explicitly admitting that Obama is just, more or less, carrying out and, in substance and materially, continuing Bush's and Republican military (imperialist) and economic (neoliberal and corporatist) foreign and domestic policy -- but then he says to keep voting for those supposedly "lesser evilism", at least right-of-center, DemoPublican presidents! He then, in true Chomsky fashion, rambles on in political platitudes from place to place in often situationally unrelated circumstances, that the listener almost forgets the specific question and analysis for which Chomsky was asked. (That's called *smoke & mirrors* in the white community -- when they can see it -- and *shuckin' an' jivin'* in the Black community.)
--Just like Chomsky (and Finkelstein) *talks* 'a good game' criticizing Israel, while *OPPOSING* any anti-apartheid style boycotts, divestments or sanctions against Israel, or any other *practical*, *material*, and *effective* grassroots international efforts to provide even nonviolent aid to the Palestinian people -- an historically *proven* means. Chomsky *claims* to be "anti-capitalist" and "anti-imperialist" (while repeatedly voting for blatantly imperialist, neoliberal, corporate presidential candidates), but he is *NOT* *ANTI-ZIONIST* -- so he claims to be against *some* forms of oppression, but, fundamentally, not against another form! (Hmmm, what an ironic and ethnically/tribalistically self-serving coincidence!)
That's *NOT* a real Marxist or, as Chomksy inexplicably calls himself, *"Anarchist"*, or otherwise true leftist, position and argument. That's a *LIBERAL* DemoPublican argument.
If progressives and leftists are never willing -- *unlike right-wingers* -- to actually issue any *demands* for their votes, beforehand, or any *consequences* and political and electoral threats for violating those demands, afterwards, if they are *never* willing to go outside the 1-party framework of merely ratifying the real/"viable" corporate candidates set up for us, in the illusion of voter "choice", then we will continually and eternally be **TRAPPED** in RepubliCrat, lesser evilism politics. If progressives and leftists -- and especially their leadership and pundits -- never actually politically threaten the presidential "lesser evilism" DemoPublicans, then why should those candidates and presidents ever change!?
If progressives and leftists don't ever actually *demand* anything -- and the left is the only 'lobby' that *doesn't* -- for which they are willing to draw a line in the sand -- unlike the right-wing grassroots and their street action -- you see Chomsky doesn't have to rhetorically go alll the way to *Bolivia* for his example -- of their presidential candidates, then why are progressives and leftists surprised that they DON'T *GET* anything (meaningful)?
Now these are *not* new positions for Chomsky, while otherwise 'talking a good leftist game', but *I WONDER* _*HOW MANY TIMES*_ progressives and leftists have to *HEAR* it before they stop calling Chomsky "AMERICA'S FOREMOST LEFTIST INTELLECTUAL"!? ...Is *this* all we leftists have to offer as AMERICA'S *FOREMOST* LEFTIST EXAMPLE???
This is a major part of the reason -- along with other leftist RepubliCrats -- why the only __"**mmasss mmilllitant dirrect grrassrroots acction in the strreets**"__ (btw, how's that going, all you leftist organizations that were going to hold Obama's feet to the fire from day 2 of his presidency: you 'got his *ear*' yet, now that you're "on the inside"?) that we, so far since his presidency, see in this country (especially in and around those town hall meetings or in D.C.) is from *THE RIGHT-WING MASSES* (who obviously want their demands met more than the left wants its)!!
THURS, Oct 1st: Noam Chomsky, KALW, 91.7fm, 11:AM-Noon, Your Call show (also archived)
by Joseph Anderson, Berkeley, CA
Thursday Oct 1st, 2009 11:23 AM
Chomsky Supports Gov't Lies on 9/11 Inside Job & JFK Assassination
Friday Oct 2nd, 2009 7:07 PM
Noam Chomsky opposes the 9/11 Truth Movement and supports the government's lie of the lone assassin in the JFK assassination when in fact it was the US military that perpetrated the 9/11 Inside Job and it has been proven in a court of law that the CIA murdered JFK, not Lee Oswald, although that was obvious as it happened. Oswald said he did not murder anyone on November 22, 1963 and he was just a patsy and that was correct. As to the 9/11 Reichstag Fire, no air defense means it was an inside job, and if you need more, the controlled demolition of the Twin Towers and Building 7, which was not hit by a plane, should do it. Chomsky also opposes the Bolshevik Revolution, which had nothing to do with Stalin's counter-revolution, and everything to do with eliminating the capitalist profit motive, the only hope for humanity and the planet. Noam Chomsky is REACTIONARY.
Saturday Oct 3rd, 2009 2:53 PM
What's with all this name-calling? There are a lot of more constructive ways of of making arguments. Let's quit worrying about whether Chomsky is so and so or this and that. He has views like anybody else. It's peoples actions that we should be worrying about...you can find plenty of examples direct your energies of criticism towards.
Whoever is the author(s?) of this thread, what do you propose? It would be nice to hear an actual proposal or argument.
And in terms of Chomsky inability to provide "new conceptualizations" or "novel ways" of thinking, there are plenty of theorists/technocrats all throughout history who have dressed up their ideas in polysyllables and jargon, and you can coop yourself up in a library reading all about them. Flowery theories have the tendency to discourage people and make it seem like the issues and problems of the world are beyond the average person's understanding.
Enough sectarianism. We're human beings.
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