[Critique] “A life of activism”: Chomsky against conscious collective suicide


Hypocrisy, a profound political evil, Noam Chomsky, born in Philadelphia in 1928, spends his life denouncing it. In 2021, he declared: “In the 1970s, the Democratic Party of the United States [qui ne représente en rien “la gauche”] essentially abandoned the working class to its fate. And he hasn’t reconnected with her since. “His success, he says, he says, to” voters in wealthy suburbs, disgusted with the antics of Trump “, the Republican.

This passage sets the tone for the American social thinker in A life of activism, interviews he grants to Charles Derber, Suren Moodliar and Paul Shannon. Translated by Nicolas Calvé, Chomsky’s outspokenness is combined with a humor that is as scathing as it is demystifying.

About the former American president, in principle climatosceptic, the author says: “Trump himself firmly believes in global warming. He made this known when he asked the Government of Ireland to erect a seawall to protect his golf course from rising waters. »

Trump’s irrationality is, according to Chomsky, shared by the « barons of finance and industry ». If the thinker and polemicist isolates himself from most analysts, it is because he is not unaware, unlike them, of the existence of words conformity and flatness.

Thus, he dares to affirm that the financier and « CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, is an intelligent and cultured man who surely knows the facts, which did not prevent him » from investing in combustibles. fossils. « This mentality is generalized throughout the economic system, which, Chomsky concludes with his frightening phlegm, is designed for collective suicide »!

Heal society

Chomsky felt contempt for democracy and collective survival very early on. At age ten, he reveals, « the first article I remember writing, in February 1939, was about the fall of Barcelona to Franco. » The overthrow by the Fascists of a republican government, democratically elected, upset him.

Especially since “the United States, he specifies, tacitly supported Franco during the civil war” in Spain and that many “Western countries imposed an embargo” which harmed the democratic advances of the Spanish Republicans. Other attitudes will distress him.

Prior to 1966, opposition to the Vietnam War remained weak. Chomsky recalls that the so-called « progressives » wanted « to prevent the North Vietnamese from entering the South to support the guerrillas fought by Washington ». As for Lula, the left-wing former Brazilian president, he sees him as « a political prisoner » whose desired fall favored the advent of his far-right opponent: Jair Bolsonaro.

For Chomsky, detecting the pervasiveness of duplicity remains the only way to heal society.

A life of activism


Noam Chomsky, with Charles Derber, Suren Moodliar, Paul Shannon, Ecosociety, Montreal, 2022, 208 pages

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