New Civilization News: Noam Chomsky blogging    
 Noam Chomsky blogging22 comments
picture 26 Mar 2004 @ 10:31, by Flemming Funch

Noam Chomsky has a blog now, called "Turning the Tide". And, as always, he speaks hard-hitting words about things he knows well about. Here's one sample:
What can we do about it? Just about everything.

The IMF is hardly more than a branch of the Treasury Department. Economist Jagdish Bhagwati, no radical, refers to the IMF- Treasury-Wall St complex that is a core part of de facto world government. The Treasury Department is part of the US government. If we had anything remotely resembling a democratic culture, actions of the government would be under the control of citizens, which would mean that citizens have to at the very least know something about them. And beyond that, we would have mechanisms to engage in political action. And in a more democratic society the third component, Wall St., would not exist in anything remotely like its present form, and what would exist would be under popular democratic control.

But any of this requires constructing the basis for democratic participation, which has been very badly eroded in the US, creating what's often called a "democratic deficit" when we refer to others -- in our own case, a huge democratic deficit.

People in the more civilized sectors of the world (what we call "the third world," or the "developing countries") often burst out laughing when they witness an election in which the choices are two men from very wealthy families with plenty of clout in the very narrow political system, who went to the same elite university and even joined the same secret society to be socialized into the manners and attitudes of the rulers, and who are able to participate in the election because they have massive funding from highly concentrated sectors of unaccountable power that cast over society the shadow called "politics," as John Dewey put it.

But it's up to us whether we want to tolerate this, and if we could begin to approach the level of democracy of, say, Brazil, we could do quite a lot about IMF conditionalities. And it doesn't happen by just showing up once every four years to participate in an "election".



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22 comments

26 Mar 2004 @ 12:30 by Pat Beatty @209.52.173.76 : Democracy in the NWT.
The North West Territory of Canada have an interesting form of democracy. They have no political parties at all. Everybody runs as an independent and the winners chose a leader from among themselves.  


27 Mar 2004 @ 01:50 by Paul Hughes @209.179.232.60 : But what do we actually do Noam?
Noam is of course spot on as usual, but he still doesn't tell us what we can do to change it. Noam has been intrumental in showing me the man behind the green curtain.. but he stops short of actually showing how we can actually dethrone the devil.

I can wax poetic all days long about how much better Brazil has instituted more democratic process, but I simply can't see how that will ever happen here. He says that if the ohter hald the country showed up to vote it would change everything. I know that, but it ain't gonna happen. If so, I'd like to know how, and start doing what I can to make it happen.  



27 Mar 2004 @ 02:13 by vaxen : does'nt happen...
by 'voting' on rigged machines (Diebold et al) either! It will happen when so called 'Americans' turn off the boob tube, reclaim freedom of speech as well as some kind of 'journalistic morality' vis a vis taking back the 'media' and...

that's all rot! it will happen when Americans arm themselves and fight a real, maybe bloody (oh god forbid we should get our hands dirty and our noses bloody!), revolution and kick the hell out of the god damned 'power elite!'

you and i both know that this will not happen for there is no 'spirit' left in 'America.' this is a fascist oligarchy and a police state! the politicoes keep mouthing 'democracy this and democracy that' somehow conveniently forgetting that America was never meant to be a 'Democracy!' Divide and conquer!

The division happened long ago. America was founded as a Republic! Does anyone know what that means? Does anyone even faintly suspect that there is a real, and hardcore, difference between a 'Democracy' (no one seems to know anymore that that 'term' means more than just 'popular form of government!) and a 'Republic?'

Rhetoric and emotionalism are wonderful tools of 'mind-control' which is what you are witnessing in Fascist America. This did not happen overnight. The 14th Amendment was never ratified and America is dead.

Turning the other cheek just will not get it. It is better to die standing on ones own two feet then to live on ones' knees! None of this crap means anything anymore anyway. None of it. Not the Chompsky's of this blighted world, not the Bush's. What will be will be...

Thanks, anyhow, for the article. I doubt very seriously that it will make people think and even if it did so what? Thought is only half the equation. Action is the other half. Think/Act...  



27 Mar 2004 @ 06:16 by george dafermos @195.97.43.174 : not a real blog though...
as there's no comments box, no trackback, and i'm 99% certain he doesn't know what technorati is. blogging isn't about posting short essays on a daily basis - it's about engaging in conversations, and i don't see that happenning there. also agree with paul that while he criticises the current situation and he's an oft-quoted revolutionary, he never gets down to prescribing fixes.  


27 Mar 2004 @ 06:53 by ming : Solutions
Yeah, some solutions would be nice. I doubt that he'll ever provide any, but still interesting to read him.

Oh, I don't know if I'd not call it a blog just because there are no comments or trackback. My definition of a blog is a little more basic, I guess. He writes it in a real voice; it is in reverse cronological order; posts are archived.  



28 Mar 2004 @ 19:54 by ov : In Chomsky's Defense
but he has consistently given us the solution, which is that the people need to reclaim their government through participation. The problem is that nobody wants to hear that answer, because everybody wants a leader to step forward and take care of it for them.  


29 Mar 2004 @ 02:46 by george dafermos @195.97.43.130 : definitions...
Ming,

i wasn't trying to formulate a definition of what a blog is; just saying my mind that i like bloggers who aren't afraid to invite feedback.

Ov,

you' re right. we are all aware of what is wrong and what we should do to fix some of it, but we've either lost our nerve, descending to complete apathy, or we just rather have someone do it for us.  



29 Mar 2004 @ 09:09 by lugon @80.58.19.44 : wtf!?
Ming, this is perhaps an offtopic, but maybe not.

You seem to have attended wtf!? [link]
Do you think openspace can do anything in this regard?

I too wonder what would be the dynamics of a real from-each-person "revolution".  



29 Mar 2004 @ 11:38 by ming : wtf
No, I actually didn't attend wtf. I might go to the next one in London.

I've been in many open space sessions. And I think it is great. It is good at engaging a bunch of people, and making sure most people have stimulating conversations on what they're interested in. But it doesn't really produce any coherent outcome or set of solutions.

But I think it would be very valuable if we could figure out how to turn self-organizing, loose, open activities into something that also adds up, and scales, so as to make good solutions and proposals float to the top, and be known and acted upon by many people. I still don't know how.  



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