Having received, according to him, “a flood of letters” from mostly young readers “confused” by his rejection of violence in responding to a resurgent far right, Chomsky has been required to send out what he refers to as a “form letter.” The text below is being circulated with his permission:
Wrong in principle, and tactically self-destructive. When we move to the arena of violence, the most brutal guys win – that’s the worst outcome (and, incidentally, it’s not us). The right response is to use the opportunity for education and exposure, not to give a gift to the hard right while attacking fundamental principles of freedom of speech.
We’ve been through all of this before, for example, with Weathermen. The Vietnamese pleaded with them to stop actions like these, understanding very well that each such act simply increased support for the war. In this case, the motive is far less significant, but the consequences are very likely to be the same, and we can see that they already are. That’s quite apart from the question of principle. There could be a constructive response that would not simply be a welcome gift to the far right and those elements in the state yearning for a pretext for repression: to use the opportunity for education and organizing.
See the previous post for an expression of my views which I take to be consistent with Chomsky’s.