Here’s a suggestion for admirers of Noam Chomsky.
The best way to celebrate his 92nd birthday would be to pay attention to what he has to say.
A case in point came up a couple of days ago with Barack Obama’s criticism of the slogan “Defund the police.” Those promoting it are, according to Obama, often more concerned with “feel(ing) good among the people (they) already agree with.” What they should be concerned with is “get(ting) something done.”
The left was universal in its disdain, denunciations flowing from Jacobin, Current Affairs as well as AOC and all of the members of the squad.
Chomsky’s reaction? “He’s basically right.”
Racing to the Abyss Continue reading On Feeling Good and Doing Good: Chomsky Turns 92
(Revised and extended version of a talk delivered to Staten Island Peace Action on Sept. 29, 2018. Many thanks to Dan Falcone, Delfina Vannucci, and Richard Singer for inviting Brittany de Barros and me to address the group, and to the members of Peace Action for an excellent discussion.)
As most of us know, the history of left politics has had its share of sharp, even profound disagreements.
Sometimes these have been about the kind of society we want to achieve. But often the arguments have been between allies who share the same goals but who are divided about strategy and tactics. What follows will be in the latter category and I will issue a warning that I’m going to take a side and try to show why I believe the other side is wrong. I anticipate some pushback. If I get it, that’s good thing in that people caring enough to argue is an indication (one of many) that the movement is reaching critical mass which I believe it is-something I’ll briefly discuss at the end. It’s also a good thing because, the glib one liner aside, we usually get into arguments not because the stakes are low but because they’re high as they surely are in this instance.
Continue reading On Activism, Voting and Responsibility