By Noam Chomsky, written following his trip to the Gaza Strip on October 25-30, 2012.
(Ashraf Amra / APA Images)
Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2006
An Evolutionary Theory of Right and Wrong, review of Marc Hauser's Moral Minds (HarperCollins, 2006), by Nicholas Wade, The New York Times (October 31, 2006). An excerpt:
Dr. Hauser argues that the moral grammar operates in much the same way as the universal grammar proposed by the linguist Noam Chomsky as the innate neural machinery for language. The universal grammar is a system of rules for generating syntax and vocabulary but does not specify any particular language. That is supplied by the culture in which a child grows up.
On the Middle East Crisis, interview with Michael Shank and Courtney Erwin, The Citizen Diplomat (August 15, 2006). An excerpt:
There are three crises going on involving the US, Israel and the Arab world. The central one, which is barely discussed, is the US-Israeli programs of essentially driving the last nail into the coffin of Palestinian national rights. That is going on both in Gaza and the West Bank. Gaza and the West Bank are a unit, everyone agrees to that. In the West Bank the program is called convergence. And in the US media it's described as withdrawal. These are all euphemisms. In fact, it's a program of annexation and cantonization.
'The problem lies in the unwillingness to recognize that your own terrorism is terrorism', interview with Saad Sayeed, Excalibur Online (October 25, 2006). An excerpt:
I have been writing on terrorism for 25 years, ever since the Reagan administration came in 1981 and declared that the leading focus of its foreign policy was going to be a war on terror. A war against state directed terrorism which they called the plague of the modern world because of their barbarism and so on. That was the centre of their foreign policy and ever since I have been writing about terrorism.
Chomsky's Political Critique, by Alison Edgley, Contemporary Political Theory, 4 (2005), pp. 129–153. An excerpt:
This article challenges conventional views of Chomsky's critique of American foreign policy as political extremism. It argues that it is necessary to begin with an understanding of the theoretical and philosophical framework he employs in all of his political writings. Chomsky has a political theory. Although it is underpinned by an essentialist view of human nature, it is neither reductionist nor conservative. The core of that view is a hopeful (and unverifiable) view of human need, and celebration of freedom. In this respect, he is in the company of many of those in power, who claim to pursue policies that are consistent with these same value orientations. Chomsky's methodology does not lead him to question the authenticity of beliefs about human nature. Rather, he probes the policies, testing for consistency and with reference to what he believes is good for humans. His politically 'extreme' conclusions are derived from his use of evidence created and supplied by those in power. It is the systematic maintenance of the logical connection in his theory between his hopeful view of human need, his view of the good society, and his critique of existing social organization that accounts for Chomsky's resolutely subjective, yet consistent and assertive analysis of events. Recognition of the nature of Chomsky's thought is a proper prerequisite for the kind of discussion about the quality and value of his political analysis that the issues deserve, but at present is sadly lacking.
On the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia, video interview with Danilo Mandic, RTS Online (April 25, 2006). An excerpt:
At the same time the Western intellectuals were praising themselves for their magnificent humanitarianism, much worse atrocities were going on right across the border, in Turkey. That's inside NATO, not at the borders of NATO... "how can we allow this on the borders of NATO,"... but how about inside NATO where Turkey was carrying, had driven probably several million Kurds out of their homes, destroyed about 3500 villages laid waste the whole place, every conceivable form of torture and massacre you can imagine, killed nobody knows how many people, we don't count our victims, tens of thousands of people, how they were able to do that? The reason is because they were getting 80% of their arms from Clinton and as the atrocities increased, the arms flow increased. In fact in one single year, 1997, Clinton sent more arms to Turkey than the entire Cold War period combined! Up until the counter-insurgency. That was not reported in the West. You do not report your own crimes, that's critical.A transcript of the interview is also available. (Thanks to Federico Stafforini for invaluable technical assistance.)
Team behind Chomsky book on trial under Article 301, The New Anatolian (October 19, 2006). An excerpt:
Under controversial Article 301, court hearings began yesterday against a trio responsible for the Turkish edition of a book by Noam Chomsky. The case against the publisher, editors and translator of "Manufacturing Consent," written by U.S. leftist intellectual Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, were present for the hearing.
Chavez, Chomsky and State Terrorism, by Frederick H. Gareau, Media Monitors Network (October 18, 2006). An excerpt:
I first discovered that Noam Chomsky was one of the foremost experts on state terrorism, if not terrorism in general, when supervising a Ph D dissertation on the former subject. The doctoral candidate could not find anyone else in the department to assume the job. After several revisions in which, among other changes, the candidate was required to abandon a harsh leftist presentation in favor of softer academic discourse, his dissertation was accepted. I left this experience intrigued by the subject and impressed by Chomsky's bravery in accusing Republican and Democratic administrations in Washington of supporting state terrorism.
Who is Noam Chomsky?, By Laray Polk, Baltimore Chronicle (September 26, 2006).
The Future of Democracy, interview with John Titlow, dragonfire (July 5, 2005). An excerpt:
A few years ago, after the Reagan years, polls showed that about 80 percent of the public thought that the government works for the few and the special interests, not for the people. Well, if that's true, then we're not very free. We don't have anything to do with our government. If you take a look at the last election, 2004, I don't think that particular question was asked, but if you compare public attitudes, which are very heavily studied, and the positions of the two candidates, they are poles apart. Both of the political parties are far to the right of the public on a host of general issues. In fact, people had to make guesses about the positions of the parties, because they weren't really articulated in any comprehensible form. Most people, it turns out, seriously misunderstood the positions of the candidates.
4 Turks tried for 'insulting Turkishness' by publishing Chomsky book appear in court, International Herald Tribune (October 17, 2006). An excerpt:
The trial of a publisher, translator and two editors charged with crimes for producing a Turkish version of Noam Chomsky's book, "Manufacturing Consent," was adjourned to a later date on Tuesday to give the defense more time to prepare. [...] A previous case for publishing another book by Chomsky in Turkish was dropped after the author flew to Turkey to attend the trial.
Chomsky in Chile, The Santiago Times (October 17, 2006). An excerpt:
Celebrated linguist, philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky appeared at Frontera University in Temuco Sunday, speaking at the First International Congress for Indo-American Language and Literature. He discussed a variety of controversial topics, from Chile's copper industry to the situation in North Korea.
Silenced by the Drums of War, by Jeff Cohen, GregPalast.com (October 3, 2006). Relevant excerpt:
I thought about proposing Noam Chomsky as a guest, but our stage couldn't accommodate the 23 right-wingers we would have needed for balance.
On America's Foreign Policy, audio interview, PBS (September 29, 2006). An excerpt:
It's an interesting situation in American political history. It's no big secret that for the last year just about every week the Republican administration has been shooting itself in the foot on one thing or another, whether it's Katrina, or Iraq, and a long list. And it's kind of interesting that the Democrats have basically not gained from this. The only gains they made is that support for the Republicans has dropped. Well, what this illustrates is that there is no functioning opposition party.
Latin America Declares Independence, International Herald Tribune (October 3, 2006). An excerpt:
Five centuries after the European conquests, Latin America is reasserting its independence. In the southern cone especially, from Venezuela to Argentina, the region is rising to overthrow the legacy of external domination of the past centuries and the cruel and destructive social forms that they have helped to establish. The mechanisms of imperial control--violence and economic warfare, hardly a distant memory in Latin America--are losing their effectiveness, a sign of the shift toward independence. Washington is now compelled to tolerate governments that in the past would have drawn intervention or reprisal.
"The other Davos", Attac (January 26, 2001). An excerpt:
I am sorry I can't be with you on this important occasion. In fact, I can do little more than express enthusiastic support for what you're doing and hope for success in this endeavor and many others like it throughout the world. The challenge faced is enormous as there is an increasing willingness to undertake it, which is very heartening for people who look forward to a more decent world. In the few moments that I have, I would like to recall some basic facts about what is called globalization, highlighting this misleading term which is used to refer to a very specific form of international integration designed by the powerful states, imposed on the rest, in the interests of private concentrations of power, and with the interests of people only incidental.
The Chomsky Interview, audio interview with Tom Ashbrook, On Point (October 3, 2006).
Hegemony or Survival is #5 on the New York Times bestseller list for Paperback Nonfiction for October 22, 2006, after debuting at #16 on October 15.
On October 3 Noam had an hour-long interview on NPR ("On Point") with Tom Ashbrook. The program was broadcast at 11 AM, and replayed in Boston at 8 PM. Unfortunately, the interview doesn't seem to be online, but we might be able to make it available if we can get hold of a copy of the program. If you happen to have a copy of this program, could you please send me an e-mail? Thanks. UPDATE: Please ignore the earlier request. The interview is available online, as listed two posts above.
Review of Hegemony or Survival, by Peter Lackowski, Toward Freedom (October 4, 2006).
Noam Chomsky's Failed States, review by Charles Marowitz, Swans Commentary (October 9, 2006).