This clip sums up our current state pretty well. It’s nothing new to anyone who has been paying attention, but ideology can blind people. Even people watching this clip who have “trump derangement” symptoms might miss what Chomsky is saying. This is corporate power stealing as much as they can and killing with impunity. Listen to every word and sentence. If you don’t truly understand, a word, concept, or expression of an idea, research it.
For example, Chomsky mentions Greg Palast. Greg has a new book out detailing how trump will steal the 2020 election. What most people don’t know is that Greg has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that trump stole the 2016 election. Is it new that a u.s. election has been stolen? No. But most people are unaware of that fact, and for the strangest of reasons, even most on the left have discussed the trump win as legitimate. Discussing voting and elections is fine, but assuming any aspect of the voting and elections process is not corrupt and at the bare minimum broken (which Chomsky does briefly mention of course) will get us nowhere. In fact, discussion untied to action will get us nowhere. The inextricably connected issue of corporate power run amok, using the state as its play toy and free money machine, killing and decimating the systems we need to live, was here before trump and it will be with us long after he is dead and gone, so it is far from simply an issue of voting the monster out so “everything can get back to normal.”
While the republicans are as dangerous and horrific as Chomsky states, just blaming the republican party for this is disingenuous, or misguided to say the least. Chomsky does mention that we De facto have one party rule: the business party, but then he singles out republicans. It is good and right to point out how unhinged they are, but the Dems should be mentioned in the same breath.
As some might know, Chomsky has angered some on the left for always advocating for the lesser of two evils vote when it comes to the presidential election. He has doubled down on this with biden. It’s hard to take issue with Chomsky personally because he has been consistent in this view his entire life. He holds this view because he doesn’t ascribe all politics to voting. He identifies as an anarchist after all. His assumption is that people who do more politically than just walk into a booth for a couple of minutes every two years will just vote and then get back to being actually politically active. A problem with this message is that people misinterpret it to mean voting is all they have to do. Another issue is that it assumes a “free and fair” voting and elections system and tacitly promotes that idea. Yet another and possibly most obvious flaw in this logic is that when you vote for the lesser of two evils, things keep getting worse.
While it’s true that trump is in unprecedented territory, it is also true that he could not have gotten there or done as well for himself and capitalists without the last 40 years of the Dems enthusiastically implementing the neoliberal project, which is essentially class war by the rich on almost everyone else on the planet. Just in the last four years, the Dems have given this administration essentially everything it wanted, from keeping children in concentration camps, to war, from packing the courts with the federalist society judges Chomsky mentions in the clip, to more money for the military – the list goes on and on…They have not simply acquiesced to republican power, they largely agree with them when it comes to the implementation of u.s. power and because they have largely been purchased and directed by corporate power, they serve the same master: capital.
It’s important to understand everything Chomsky mentions here and it’s important to understand that voting will not “save us.” We are too far gone for that. I address the “what is to be done” question in many posts here. Essentially, in the last 50 years, the left has crumbled from within while being crushed from without. Not only has it been unable to mount a challenge to capital, it has been unable to re-win the fights it won in the past that, for the most part, the bipartisan implementation of the neoliberal project has reversed.
There has been a weak resurgence of the left since around 2011 and it has gained some steam over the years as material circumstances have continued to worsen for the majority of people, but it hasn’t been enough and in many cases it has been on the wrong path. As moribund and weak as the left is, it is our only hope to survive long term. The left has been unable to (and often refused to) organize itself, unify, and internationalize. Without everyday people (as Cornel West calls us) getting involved on the left, joining and forming organizations, and then unifying those organizations (eventually internationally), the corporate assault on everything we hold dear, including the means for life itself, will continue. If people want to see the changes they say they believe in they will have to become radical. Radical just means change at the root. We have to uproot the system of capitalism. The good news is that it will take a relatively small portion of the population to do it. The bad news is that the left has to be turned in to something new and is resisting it in many ways. It’s bleak. It’s up to us no matter what. It’s almost a cliche at this point, but Gramsci said, “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” And as Chomsky just said again, time is running out.
Good luck to us all.