Noam Chomsky


Noam Chomsky

Three biggest crises

“We’re at an astonishing confluence of very severe crises. The extent of them was illustrated by the last setting of the famous Doomsday Clock. It’s been set every year since the atomic bombing, the minute hand has moved forward and back. But last January, they abandoned minutes and moved to seconds to midnight, which means termination. And that was before the scale of the pandemic. This shift reflected the growing threat of nuclear war, which is probably more severe than what it was during the Cold War. The growing threat of environmental catastrophe, and the third thing is the sharp deterioration of democracy, which sounds at first as if it doesn’t belong but it actually does, because the only hope for dealing with the two existential crises, which do threaten extinction, is to deal with them through a vibrant democracy with engaged, informed citizens who are participating in developing programmes to deal with these crises.”

Trump is dangerous

“[Donald] Trump has accomplished something quite impressive: he’s succeeded in increasing the threat of each of the three dangers. On nuclear weapons, he’s moved to continue, and essentially bring to an end, the dismantling of the arms control regime, which has offered some protection against terminal disaster. He’s greatly increased the development of new, dangerous, more threatening weapons, which means others do so too, which is increasing the threat to all of us. On environmental catastrophe, he’s escalated his effort to maximise the use of fossil fuels and to terminate the regulations that somewhat mitigate the effect of the coming disaster, if we proceed on our present course.”

American Democracy

“[I]t’s become a joke. The executive branch of [the US] government has been completely purged of any dissident voice. Now it’s left with a group of sycophants.”

Trump’s Belligerence on Election

“He’s already announced repeatedly that if he doesn’t like the outcome of the election he won’t leave. … The military has a duty in that case, [especially] the 82nd Airborne Division, to remove him by force. There’s a transition integrity project, high-level people from the Republicans and the Democrats; they’ve been running war games asking what would happen if Trump refuses to leave office—every one of them leads to civil war, every scenario that they can think of except a Trump victory leads to civil war. This is not a joke—nothing like this has happened in the history of parliamentary democracy.

Advice to US Left

“What the left should do is what it always should do: it should recognise that real politics is constant activism, in one form or another. Every couple of years something comes along called an election, you should take off a few minutes to decide if it’s worth voting against somebody, rarely for somebody … take off a few minutes, go to the voting booth, push a lever, vote against Trump, which in a two-party system means you have to push the vote for the other candidate … keep the pressure on to move them towards progressive programmes.”

‘Reactionary International’

Trump is the figurehead of a new “reactionary international” consisting of Brazil, India, the UK, Egypt, Israel and Hungary. In the western hemisphere, the leading candidate is Bolsonaro’s Brazil, kind of a small-time clone of President Trump. In the Middle East, it will be based on the family dictatorships, the most reactionary states in the world. Sisi’s Egypt is the worst dictatorship that Egypt has ever had. Israel has moved so far to the right that you need a telescope to see it; it’s about the only country in the world where young people are even more reactionary than adults … Modi is destroying Indian secular democracy, severely repressing the Muslim population, he’s just vastly extended the terrible Indian occupation of Kashmir. In Europe, the leading candidate is Orbán in Hungary, who is creating a proto-fascist state. There are other figures, like Salvini in Italy, who gets his kicks out of watching refugees drown in the Mediterranean.”

The compiler is a member of staff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.