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Response to Cha (Reply #26)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 03:13 PM

34. I think I understand your LOL: Chomsky, at his worst, seems to me entirely unhelpful

with respect to practical politics

His advice for progressives for the 2012 elections was “spend five or ten minutes on it -- seeing if there’s a point in taking part in the carefully orchestrated electoral extravaganza," and he indicated he himself intended to vote for Jill Stein

That view seems to spring from Chomsky's utopian anarchist prejudices: to my thinking, it shows no real grasp of practical politics and is simply unsupportable, to the point of seeming even downright moronic to me

But I do think Chomsky can be an astute observer of institutions, which (as Reinhold Niebuhr pointed out long ago) we should not expect to behave according to the moral standards of individuals, and which (therefore) must constantly be brought under control by struggle and conflict. And, unfortunately, it is too easy to become lazy or complacent in such matters, accepting misleading interpretations of institutional behavior, that mask the underlying issues and interests. Chomsky, at his best, has examined the mechanisms that produce "mainstream" interpretations of institutional behavior and has sometimes rather carefully provided (with evidence) informative non-"mainstream" interpretations of the issues and interests underlying institutional behavior, making clear how far from the actual facts "mainstream" interpretations can be. And in my view, that can be valuable, not just as an intellectual exercise, but as a practical aid to those who engage in the struggles and conflicts that are always required to limit the amoral behavior of institutions

A genuine underlying problem here, in my view, is that our way forward requires both practical politics (together with all its tactical half-steps or compromises) and also a more urgent (and less morally-compromising grassroots pressure) for the changes we want. And, unfortunately, because the political professionals and the community activists barely speak the same language, communication and coordination between the different groups is difficult. Unlike Chomsky, I conclude that community activists must involve themselves in electoral politics in order to further their own aims by building relationships with competent candidates and helping elect suitable officials

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
kpete Nov 2013 OP
SidDithers Nov 2013 #1
tina tron Nov 2013 #2
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #3
BelgianMadCow Nov 2013 #6
tina tron Nov 2013 #7
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #33
Cha Nov 2013 #26
LineLineLineLineNew Reply I think I understand your LOL: Chomsky, at his worst, seems to me entirely unhelpful
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #34
blkmusclmachine Nov 2013 #4
BelgianMadCow Nov 2013 #5
Blanks Nov 2013 #8
Pharaoh Nov 2013 #11
Blanks Nov 2013 #20
BelgianMadCow Nov 2013 #30
zeemike Nov 2013 #17
hack89 Nov 2013 #23
BelgianMadCow Nov 2013 #25
me b zola Nov 2013 #27
hack89 Nov 2013 #31
TBF Nov 2013 #9
Kurska Nov 2013 #10
L0oniX Nov 2013 #12
lofty1 Nov 2013 #13
BootinUp Nov 2013 #14
KoKo Nov 2013 #15
nikto Nov 2013 #16
KoKo Nov 2013 #18
RoccoR5955 Nov 2013 #19
Skip Intro Nov 2013 #21
morningfog Nov 2013 #32
stupidicus Nov 2013 #22
MisterP Nov 2013 #24
jakeXT Nov 2013 #28
Democracyinkind Nov 2013 #29
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