The Chomsky/Vltchek Worldview

19 Oct

imagesUnknown-1

            Recently I read On Western Terrorism: from Hiroshima to Drone Warfare, published in 2013 by Pluto Press here in London, and consisting of a series of conversations between Chomsky and the Czech filmmaker, journalist, and author, Andre Vltchek, who is now a naturalized American citizen. Vltchek in an illuminating Preface describes his long and close friendship with Chomsky, and explains that these fascinating conversations took place over the course of two days, and was filmed with the intention of producing a documentary. The book is engaging throughout, with my only big complaint being about the misdirection of the title—there is virtually nothing said about either Hiroshima or drone warfare, but almost everything else politically imaginable!

 

            Vltchek, previously unknown to me, consistently and calmly held his own during the conversations, speaking with comparable authority and knowledge about an extraordinary assortment of topics that embraced the entire global scene, something few of us would have the nerve to attempt, much less manage with such verve, insight, and empathy. After finishing the book my immediate reaction was that ‘Chomsky knows everything’ and ‘Vltchek has been everywhere and done everything.’ Omniscience and omnipresence are not often encountered, being primary attributes commonly attributed by theologians to a monotheistic god! Leaving aside this hyperbole, one is stunned throughout by the quality of the deep knowledge and compassion exhibited by these two public intellectuals, and even more by their deeply felt sympathy for all those being victimized as a result of the way in which the world is organized and Western hard power has been and is being deployed.

 

            The book left me with a sense of how much that even those of us who try to be progressive and informed leave untouched, huge happenings taking place in domains beyond the borders of our consciousness. It suggests that almost all of us are ignoring massive injustices because they receive such scant attention from mainstream media and our access to alternative sources is too restricted. And, maybe also, are capacity for the intake of severe injustice is limited for most of us. The book is well worth reading just to grasp this gap between what we care about and what is actually worth caring about.  Somehow, part of what is so amazing about this exposure to the range of concerns that preoccupy Chomsky and Vltchek is the degree to which their knowledge and ethical sensitivity seems so comprehensive without ever appearing to be superficial. How do they find the time, perseverance, and energy? Of course, it helps to be blessed with high intelligence, clarity of spirit, astonishing retentive gifts, and a seeming refusal to sleep, rest, and recreate (which was among the traits I found so intimidating long ago in Noam’s Vietnam writing, my first encounters with his political thought, having earlier been awed by his revolutionary linguistics approach).

 

 

            While appearing to be on an equal footing throughout this dialogic text, Vltchek does acknowledge his reverential admiration for Chomsky, this extraordinary iconic American intellectual who has remained situated on the front lines of global critical debate for the past half century. In Vltchek’s words: “”The way I saw it, we were fighting for the same cause, for the right of self-determination and real freedom for all people around the world. And we were fighting against colonialism and fascism, in whichever form it came.” “For Noam, fighting injustice seemed to be as natural as breathing. For me, it became both a great honor and great adventure to work with him.” (ix) Vltchek believes that the lines of inspiration beneath a photo of the great English scholar/seer/activitst, Betrand Russell, which hangs ion the wall in Chomsky’s MIT office are also descriptive of what drives Chomsky to such heights: “”Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.” (vi, xv).

 

 images-1

             Vltchek shares with Chomsky an outlook that interprets the world on the basis of a deep structure of moral and political indictment directed at Western imperialism. Vltchek expresses this shared understanding clearly: “After witnessing and analyzing numerous atrocious conflicts, invasions and wars on all continents, I became convinced that almost all of them were orchestrated or provoked by Western geopolitical and economic interests.” (ix). The extent and gravity of the accusations is expressed statistically by Vltchek: “Along with the 55 million or so people killed as the direct result of wars initiated by the West, pro-Western coups and other conflicts, hundreds of millions have died indirectly in absolute misery, and silently.” (1) Chomsky agrees, wondering about which is the worst crime that should be attributed to the West, positing the destruction of the 80-100 indigenous people living in the Western Hemisphere before the European settlers arrived, as one option. In reflecting upon this, he abruptly shifts direction by observing, “..we are moving toward what may in fact be the ultimate genocide—the destruction of the environment.”(2) Chomsky laments that despite the overwhelming evidence of this self-destructive momentum, the challenge continues to be largely ignored by the public and the government, even in the face of dire warnings from the scientific community.  The capitalist obsession with profits and capital accumulation, combined with psycho-political control over the dissemination of knowledge in even the most democratic of societies, makes it almost impossible to ‘see’ these threatening dimensions of social, economic, and political reality.

 

            In a sense these conversations are an extended intellectual journey through the cartography of victimization brought about by Western colonial and post-colonial undertakings. Vltchek says early on “Colonialism continues but it appears that it is much more difficult for local people to point the finger and say exactly what is happening and who their enemies are.” (6) Chomsky responds “Some of the worst atrocities in the world have been committed over the last few years in the Eastern Congo. Three to five million people have been killed.” Aside from the magnitude of such a catastrophe what is so startling is its relative invisibility. This process of horrifying violence and unawareness is deeply troubling to both Chomsky and Vltchek. Chomsky repeatedly, and tellingly, refers to such victims as ‘un-people,’ those in non-Western realms whose death and suffering barely register on Western consciousness unless there are self-interested geopolitical reasons in a particular context to take non-Western suffering seriously. Both of these authors also view such tragedies as outcomes of global corporate greed, the struggle for control of Africa’s abundant natural resources leading these private sector actors to fund factions and militias that are out front, doing the fighting and killing. The true culprits hide behind curtains of evasion to remain invisible to the public. The media is shockingly complicit by reporting only on what is in view, avoiding critical investigative journalism.  Chomsky and Vltchek help us to realize that an array of powerful forces are using their wealth and influence to prevent us from seeing. We are allowed to see only as much as the gatekeepers of the public mind want us to see, and yet we are not relieved from using our capacities for sight. Reading Chomsky and Vltchek removes the scales from our eyes, at least temporarily, as they have managed to elude these gatekeepers, but at considerable risk, with a display of moral courage, civic responsibility, and extraordinary intellectual energy. I learn a lesson in civics from their vigilance: as citizens of constitutional democracies we retain the freedom, and hence possess a heavy responsibility to see for ourselves what is being done in our name, and not being content by becoming informed about distant victimizations, but learning to heed above all those that are proximate, and once we see what is nearby, we have a responsibility to act.

 

            Without venturing onto the terrain of ‘Orientalism’ the conversations are sensitive to what Chomsky refers to as “intellectual and moral colonization” that reinforces patterns of “political and economic colonization.” In this regard, he goes on to observe that “The main achievement of hierarchy and oppression is to get the un-people to accept that it’s natural.”(17), that is, to induce passivity and resignation among the ranks of the victimized.  The moral consciousness of the perpetrators is also deliberately neutralized. When Chomsky inquires as to whether Europeans have “any consciousness of colonial history” Vltchek responds: “No, grotesquely there is very little consciousness.” He adds that such ignorance is “shameful and revealing”: “Europeans make sure that they remain ignorant of their horrid crimes, about the genocides they committed and are still involved in. What do they know about what their governments and companies were and are doing in DR Congo?” (20)

 

            But just as the devil resides in the details, so too do angels of perceptions many of whom inhabit the pages of this book, and a few can be briefly mentioned here. The conversations weave a fabric of awareness that shifts back and forth between lamenting inattention and denial to the exposure of occurrences and realities that are unfamiliar yet crucially revealing. Without extending this commentary too much further, let me note some of the areas of agreement between Chomsky and Vltchek that corrected or collided with my own understanding. First, the comparison between China and India in which China is praised almost without reservation and India is condemned almost without qualification, surprisingly close to the approach taken by that arch consevative V.S. Naipaul [See Naipaul’s India, A Wounded Civilization(1977)] Their essential argument is that India is exceptionally cruel in its cultural practices, and has done relatively little to alleviate poverty, while China has made extraordinary progress that is spread widely throughout the country. Both confirm, contrary to Western propaganda and consistent with what I also experienced during a visit a year ago, that young university students in China seem fearless, raising sensitive controversial issues in public venues. In effect, India gets too much credit in the West because it possesses the trappings of liberal democracy, while China’s achievements are downplayed because socialist values are mixed with predatory capitalist practices. My own love of India has blinded, or at least numbed me, to the worst of India, and has consistently thrilled me with its cultural vibrancy and rich heritage, which included Gandhi and his incredible mobilization of a militant nonviolent challenge to the then still mighty British Empire.

 

            The two conversationalists agree that the most encouraging political moves in the world from a progressive perspective have been made in Latin America. There are political experiments, as in Bolivia and Venezuela, that express the energies of a socialist populism with original regional and national features, and there is an encouraging set of hemispheric moves to repudiate the main signs of a crippling past dependency on the United States. Chomsky and Vltchek point out that in Latin America, and Asia, the United States has supported vicious and repressive political forces so as to secure the wealth generating interests of corporate America, personified by what might be called ‘the United Fruit Syndrome,’ or more popularly, the perpetuation of ‘banana republics.’ A telling argument made in the book is that the military dictatorships in Latin America that the U.S. helped install and sustain in the 1970s and 1980s were far more oppressive and exploitative of their populations than were the Stalinist governments in control of East Europe during the Cold War decades.

 

            There is agreement among the authors that the heroes of the liberal establishment should be recast as villains. Two such exemplary individuals are Winston Churchill, reviled here for his criminal outlook toward African colonial peoples, and George Kennan, who is portrayed as a leading architect of the American global domination project put into operational form during the period of American ascendancy soon after World War II. Part of this exercise of demonization by Chomsky and Vltchek is to illustrate the mind games of liberal hegemonic ideology that treat such political luminaries as paragons of moral virtue. It continues the tradition of critical perception of the ruling elites that Chomsky so brilliantly set forth in American Power and The New Mandarins back in 1969.

 

            Chomsky and Vltchek both persuasively accord great significance to the almost forgotten Indonesian massacre of 1965 in which more than a million people were sacrificed in a massive bloodbath designed to clear the way for a neoliberal takeover of the wealth producing capacity of the country. The governments of the United States and Australia have much blood on their hands in encouraging this atrocity, and its aftermath that included genocidal incidents in East Timor.  The authors are negative about Asia other than China, supposing that it has swallowed a huge dose of poisonous cool aid called ‘neoliberalism.’

 

            Such illustrative discussion just scratches the surface of these exceptionally perceptive conversations. It would be misleading to suggest that these two progressive interpreters of the whole world were in complete agreement. Chomsky is somewhat more tentative about developments in Turkey or in writing the obituary of the Arab Spring than is Vltchek who seems less nuanced in some of his commentary. Chomsky welcomes improvements and positive trends, while Vltchek believes that only structural change can make a sufficient difference to bring real hope to oppressed peoples.  

 

            In a similar vein, Chomsky seems more convinced than in the past that keeping hope alive is almost a duty expressive of solidarity with those currently victimized. More than before Chomsky is articulate about his belief that without the belief that positive change is possible, there will be no challenge mounted against an intolerable status quo.

Unknown 

            The book ends with Chomsky depicting two trajectories for the human future: either a continuation of ecological sleep leading to species suicide or an awakening to the ecological challenge, with accompanying improvements. (173) As Chomsky has aged, although far more gradually than is normal, he has somewhat mellowed, and seems less pessimistic and assured overall than when I first came to know him in the late 1960s. I would say that Chomsky’s maturity has endowed him wisdom that acts as a complement to his astonishing command over the specifics of the whole spectrum of political concerns. This substantive authoritativeness set him apart long ago as our foremost intellectual and most beloved commentator on the passing scene of world events, but now he has also become a ‘wise elder,’ and whose views of the world deserves the greatest respect from all of us.

 

 

 

About these ads

30 Responses to “The Chomsky/Vltchek Worldview”

  1. Norma J F Harrison October 19, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    “And, maybe also, are capacity for the intake of severe injustice is limited for most of us. ”  our

    >________________________________ > From: WordPress.com >To: normaha@pacbell.net >Sent: Saturday, October 19, 2013 7:40 AM >Subject: [New post] The Chomsky/Vltchek Worldview > > WordPress.com >Richard Falk posted: ”              Recently I read On Western Terrorism: from Hiroshima to Drone Warfare, published in 2013 by Pluto Press here in London, and consisting of a series of conversations between Chomsky and the Czech filmmaker, journalist, and author, Andre Vlt” >

  2. Norma J F Harrison October 19, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    Everyone has ‘high intelligence’ – except of course, genetically deformed people. The concern of our times is to allow that to manifest. Our system of production cuts us off from being able to enjoy our intelligence, our genius.  We are slaves to our Owners’ construct, the capitalist confinement to service to them – includes our minds as well as our bodies.  Norma

    >________________________________ > From: WordPress.com >To: normaha@pacbell.net >Sent: Saturday, October 19, 2013 7:40 AM >Subject: [New post] The Chomsky/Vltchek Worldview > > WordPress.com >Richard Falk posted: ”              Recently I read On Western Terrorism: from Hiroshima to Drone Warfare, published in 2013 by Pluto Press here in London, and consisting of a series of conversations between Chomsky and the Czech filmmaker, journalist, and author, Andre Vlt” >

  3. Norma J F Harrison October 19, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Everyone has ‘high intelligence’ – except of course, genetically deformed people. The concern of our times is to allow that to manifest. Our system of production cuts us off from being able to enjoy our intelligence, our genius. We are slaves to our Owners’ construct, the capitalist confinement to service to them – includes our minds as well as our bodies. Norma

    • Kata Fisher October 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

      Norma, hi.
      I heard that young adults with permanent disability, here in US go often without care that is valid.
      Genetically deformed children/adults have a high level of inelegance which humans have no ability/intelligence to tap into…unless they communicate their world to us – we stay confused about their experiences and abilities. — I was just thinking on that.
      When I was very young child I fell into the water, which made me stay cognitively impaired for the most of my childhood age, but I was resilient, and did well. It is not that I lacked intelligence, but rather I was not able to apply it.
      When I see disable people, I fell compassion to lay hands on them for healing, but I always get restriction by Spirit because I lack understanding about that.

  4. Allyson October 19, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    “Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.” Chomsky. Thanks for the share. Been way too long since I’ve visited the heartfelt wisdom of Chomsky.

  5. ray032 October 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Richard, such a glowing Book review coming from you, impels me to buy it and see for myself. I already share the values and purposes Chomsky articulates so well.

    I would not hesitate to include you in that exclusive group of Intellectuals like Chomsky and Vltchek, devoting so much of your Time, Energy and Thought seeking Justice and Freedom in this world in your own personal commitment.

    Confirming it’s invisibility to the world, I was not aware there have been up to 5 million deaths in the Congo.

    There were 20 million killed in the brutal 8 year proxy war the US and the West financed Saddam to start and wage against Iran in 1980 to nip the ’79 Revolution in the bud.

    There was no outrage when the the Western financed proxy army used chemical weapons against Iranians. There was not much publicity in the Western media and it remained invisible

    At least Iran is standing up to Western duplicity and hypocrisy and won’t back down. Somebody’s got to do it!

    “Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.”

    I see the very same ideas in this view from 1 Corinthians 13;
    For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
    And NOW abides Faith, Hope, Love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.

    The following words from the book are also significant to me. They are different words describing the essence of what is written in Revelation 18 even Christian leaders leave invisible to their flocks because of it’s implications for economic activity as in the commonly used expression, ‘It’s the economy, Stupid!’

    This NT description of Babylon in Revelation 18 is carried over from the OT ‘Writing on the Wall’ recorded by Daniel during the Captivity of Babylon 2600 years ago. The whole world saw it for the 1st TIME at the same TIME with the Global Financial Meltdown-Economic Pearl Habbour-Tsunami of 2008, but still don’t recognize it for what it was/is.

    “Both of these authors also view such tragedies as outcomes of global corporate greed, the struggle for control of Africa’s abundant natural resources leading these private sector actors to fund factions and militias that are out front, doing the fighting and killing. The true culprits hide behind curtains of evasion to remain invisible to the public. The media is shockingly complicit by reporting only on what is in view, avoiding critical investigative journalism. Chomsky and Vltchek help us to realize that an array of powerful forces are using their wealth and influence to prevent us from seeing. We are allowed to see only as much as the gatekeepers of the public mind want us to see, and yet we are not relieved from using our capacities for sight.

    Revelation 18 ends with this view Chomsky and Vltchek touch upon;
    “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of ALL that were slain upon the earth.”

    I touch on these things here:
    THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST: From 19/11 to 9/11
    August 28, 2011
    http://ray032.com/2011/08/28/the-revelation-of-jesus-christ-from-1911-to-911/

  6. Kata Fisher October 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    I have a reflection about oldcoloradoguy:

    This morning I woke up, and I felt remorse in Spirit, as sadness about oldcoloradoguy…
    I almost felt conviction by Spirit for days that I may have violated that delicate balance between love of truth. and anger :).
    Since Mr Cormier you pointed to Paul’s writing I really feel that I have something to worry about: I believe that I have overcorrected a sensitive spirit…I do apologies for that.
    Because of this I am reflecting about writing of Paul….and I feel terrible, and in need to do penance.

  7. Albert October 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Dear Dr. Falk,
    Thank you for this most interesting analysis of this book.
    “ even the most democratic of societies”, I read. Please define ‘democratic’ as used here and tell me, which country in the west really does qualify for this honorable title today? This beautiful word has been used and mainly abused so much in the last few decades by the propaganda machine, that few may really know the true definition anymore. Does it still mean ‘for the people by the people’?
    “ I learn a lesson in civics from their vigilance” you say. I am thankful for sharing your dissective analysis on this and many other topics, so we can all learn from it. Thanks for letting me tap into your rich experience and insights.
    “…once we see what is nearby, we have a responsibility to act” and I wholeheartedly agree, because to me it seems, that remaining silent, while being aware of evils, is the same as agreeing with those, who are guilty of causing or creating that evil. That is the very reason I always speak out on this and other fora, to make sure my hands and soul do not get stained by the blood of the innocent victims, who all have the same human rights as we do, even though some may see them as ‘unpeople’.
    On the topic of change for the oppressed, I side with the view of Vitchek, because Chomsky`s approach has been proven to fail because of being too idealistic so many times already, that spontaneous cooperation of the powerful without forcefully applied pressure from the unpeople with our help will end the same. Turkey is a bit of an enigma in that there is too much ambiguity in its dealings in international politics. It seems to have been sucked into a tight orbit around the US, or could it be the same kind of dreams some European countries still fondly cherish?
    Chomsky is right with his view on positivism and solidarity with the victimized. I agree; the humanist in me demands that too.
    Maybe age has mellowed Chomsky too much. And even though I am an octogenarian myself, I tend to go with Vitchek on this. We seem to be well past the point of the Gandhi way unfortunately, because there are other forces at play now.

    • Gene Schulman October 20, 2013 at 1:08 am #

      @ Albert

      As another octogenarian, I tend to agree with you. I do not know Vitchek (I will have to read this book), but I feel that Chomsky has softened up. Reading Richard’s excellent review reminded me of two books that are relevant here: Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature”, which flies in the face of Chomsky’s description of the DR Congo, and Tzvetan Todorov’s “The Conquest of America” which shows that nothing much has changed since the discovery of America. Chomsky has been on the forefront of criticizing Western (US) imperialism but hasn’t had much effect because, for some reason, no one listens to him. Perhaps Richard’s review will call more attention to Chomsky’s views. One would hope so.

    • Norma J F Harrison October 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

      Has N. Chomsky advocated a position? Other than the implication that I should know the information he compiles and relays, done in his tone of stark anguish, I haven’t known he’s done so.
      Other than him signing on support for one and another – many – of people’s actions opposinng/resisting the ceaseless travesties, has he advocated actions, positions – for socialism, against capitalism, etc.? other than by audiences’ inferences? Again, I think not.
      There is no such thing as too idealistic. There’s utopian and then there’s wrong views – compromise with capitalism, with any part of the present system – those are wrong and useless.

  8. Jack Ucci October 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    As I read this book report by one of my intellectual heroes about another of them, I kept thinking of the below letter, recently made public, by Sir Hopkins to “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston.

    Thank you for the book report Professor Falk and the (auto) biographically insights it contains.

    For what it is worth, from my perspective down here in Ortega-dominated Nicaragua, it is hard to hold out too much hope in the heirs of Chavismo. I don’t think that any of Nicaragua’s political institutions could be aptly labeled “democratic” – though I don’t think that notion matters to most people as long as their short term economic expectations are increasing.

    Dear Mister Cranston,

    I’ve just finished a marathon of watching ‘BREAKING BAD’ – from episode one of the First Season – to the last eight episodes of the Sixth Season. A total of two weeks (addictive) viewing. I have never watched anything like it. Brilliant! Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen – ever.

    I know there is so much smoke blowing and sickening bullshit in this business, and I’ve sort of lost belief in anything really. But this work of yours is spectacular – absolutely stunning. What is extraordinary, is the sheer power of everyone in the entire production. What was it? Five or six years in the making? How the producers (yourself being one of them), the writers, directors, cinematographers… every department – casting etc… managed to keep the discipline and control from beginning to the end is awesome.

    From what started as a black comedy, descended into a labyrinth of blood, destruction and hell. It was like a great Jacobean, Shakespearian or Greek Tragedy.

    If you ever get a chance to – would you pass on my admiration to everyone – Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Aaron Paul, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Steven Michael Quezada – everyone – everyone gave master classes of performance… The list is endless.

    Thank you. That kind of work/artistry is rare, and when, once in a while, it occurs, as in this epic work, it restores confidence. You and all the cast are the best actors I’ve ever seen. That may sound like a good lung full of smoke blowing. But it is not. It’s almost midnight out here in Malibu, and I felt compelled to write this email.

    Congratulations and my deepest respect. You are truly a great, great actor.

    Best regards,
    Tony Hopkins

    • Richard Falk October 20, 2013 at 1:53 am #

      Thanks, Jack, for these comments, and for the text of the Hopkins’ letter on Breaking
      Bad; I share his admiration for the series, in part because I regard it as a subtle critique of ‘normal’ capitalism as exposed in its essential nature by the drug world and its interactions with the enforcement activities of the state.
      Yes, short-term economic priorities usually take precedence for most people, most of the
      time, but there are important exceptions, sometimes not sustained as seems to be the case
      with the Egyptian uprising of Jan. 2011.

      With greetings

      • Norma J F Harrison October 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

        I’ve tried to watch ‘Breaking Bad’ several times – couldn’t – like ‘The Wire’ – like ‘Sopranos’ – like is it Cormac McCarthy? – some writer Brown – these explanations of the world to us, and of elements – mafia, organized crime – street crime as opposed to boardroom crime – which pabelmont references – Explaining the organzation of our lives by these dramatizations of the crimes, their organizers, the places they’re done, how they’re done, …. Am I missing something? finding them merely horribly intrusive – kind of like watching football-paid sports including the Olympics, diversions, captivating actually, harshly grating, cutting into my already tortured understanding of people on Earth, abused tormented Earth.
        I’m not saying don’t engage, or that those productions shouldn’t be done – except for paid sports – a damning ruination of thinking about how to live!.
        It’s only that I can’t tolerate watching them but don’t want to miss something. Am I missing something?

  9. pabelmont October 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    My own take is that the GRAND IMPERIALISM is that of the large corporations — acting generally together and cooperatively — to manipulate most national governments (most notably that of the USA) by whatever financial corruption works, whether lobbying and campaign contributing and revolving-door-ism in the USA or direct (sometimes illegal) bribery in USA and elsewhere.

    The USA’s armed imperialism is thus exercised in the service of the corporate masters and not in the interests of the american people (any more than the inroads of gold mining and Monsanto and NAFTA on the MAYAN peoples of Guatemala and Chiapas in Mexico are carried out, with government sponsorship, in the interests of the Mayan people themselves. Ditto OIL in Nigeria. etc.).

    I much doubt the world can turn around CLIMATE CHANGE until the power of the great corporations (and of the very wealthy individuals) is broken; and, when it is, the human-rights tragedies of Meso-America and Palestine and so many other places will have a chance to be rectified.

    • Norma J F Harrison October 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

      as they say, ‘nailed it!’ You got it all – except that this is capitalism. It’s irreformable. This is it. Making us all socialists communists, a good thing, as we pull ourselves-us all together. normaha@pacbell.net 510-526-3968

      • pabelmont October 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

        Norma, Hi! Yes, indeedy, that’s capitalism, or we might say, capitalism-as-practiced. (As, for example, Israel exhibits not the multi-possibility Zionism so much as a single Zionism-as-practiced.

        Capitalism as a middle-school child might imagine it is people inveseting in means of production, producing, selling, selling a bit higher than the costys of materials and labor, and thereby making a profit. Tout court.

        But capitalism-as-practiced-by-the-BIGs also includes interference with government: hands-on manipulation of the regulatory process (called “regu;atory capture” at my law school) and hands-on manipulation of the electoral process (which might as well be called “electoral capture”). THIS COULD ALL BE OUTLAWED, making the child’s-eye-view of capitalism an actually accurate view. BUT TO DO THAT we’d need to fight our way past the very manipulative system we’d be trying to reform. (Fat chance.)

      • Norma J F Harrison January 1, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

        If capitalism were nice – fair – it’d be socialism. Capitalism only has the choice to do what it does. That’s how it’s made. Until we understand that we keep being ensnared in its brutal logic.
        Thanks, p

      • Kata Fisher October 22, 2013 at 11:29 am #

        @pabelmont

        I like to add something to what you said; yet, not as a point of disagreement…

        About relationship between business and state:

        I was at study of Andragogy, and came across a paper that Lily Zamir wrote from David Yelling Collage of Education, in Israel during 2010.

        She explained condition for youth in Israel to be very difficult—as multi cultural society; it lacks choice for youth development. Education, in essence is in nature similar with that what England has applied in India—that which served the interest of the state, and not an individual (their approach was to tear down the entire culture, just in order to rob on resources, and secure privileges to a certain state). Colonialism was and is evil.

        Individual development and education is severely suppressed in Israel. They apply punitive system for youth that is unable to allow themselves for their full-term education (in the case that they drop out, and then there is no possibility for kids to re-engage).

        I think that in Israel they do not allow for sufficient self development/gift-empowerment trough learning/exploring at childhood age. Likewise, adolescents are unable to make decisions that are fitting for their life-time. Especially, the youth that is traumatized. They cannot concentrate, and they cannot learn at consistent patterns for consistent accomplishments, as there is just too much going on for them at that age, and age prior to that. Based on situation in Israel, I think that kids experience trauma, after trauma, on a consistent pattern—this impacts their educational/learning patterns.

        Then, education of diversity (within the state itself is just insufficient). Toward the youth (both Israeli and/or returning exiles, as well as Arab) they are in “spirit of hindering,” in total.
        Israel, as state is far beyond valid updates when comes to the education—they are still (mentally) in colonial spirit of England’s oppression, and all things that are applicable to that.

        According to that which Lily wrote it is clear that in Israel they should (and have to) lift all punitive restrictions that are applicable to education in Israeli state. Especially so, as enduring violation of conscience of the youth is never-ending (external conflicts with the state/region). Also, punitive restrictions disallow for an individual’s self-determination. When comes to education of adolescents that is not effective for prosperity within the state. It is not consistent with natural laws and principles, and is also unethical.

        You can read the whole paper if you enter electronic college library (since you at a collage location). This is the complete reference to that which she wrote:

        Zamir, L. (2010). Andragogy and the Culture of Mediation. International Journal Of Diversity In Organisations, Communities & Nations, 10(4), 75-84.

        Lack of educational administration here in US is not applicable; however, you will find that curriculum, too, is manipulated to fit the needs of the state (not the human, as individual). They curriculums are economy at its business! (The more, the better; the foolish is, the steadier remains.

        Again, all up-side down… They like the way it is. They know all research and effective strategy appropriate, and know very well how to manipulate that. They are not dumb, but at their best are intelligently evil.

        When you look at structure of US education; it is structured “to empower” (outside influence), and it is not humanistic, in essence—not consistent with natural laws and principles. However, the empowerment itself is based on that what economy needs (it is between business and state). In order for empowerment to remain legal/ethical, it will have to be consistent with natural laws and principle. When it is not consistent with natural laws and principle, then it is abnormal toward an individual, and it is abusive (abuse of conscience/spirit). There are psychological implications to that.

        The more drop outs from high-school they have (which they really work hard attaining that in a society), the more cheap laborer will be available. Restaurant industry is doing well from robbery), and military is at their business, as usual. Outside empowerment will either make one neurotic, and insane –or unable to be neurotic, and have their way.

        Further, if you look at US economy, you will see it almost totally shifted from production to leisure, entertainment, and warfare.
        When I was at LU; I was at Christian college, (I was there by a random chance). I had to take a required THEO course, and I took it about two years after I was there, and I felt that I was obligated to switch the area of my study. (I originally went to study Psychology, as I felt that council I was receiving was not consistent with me).

        I felt obligated, as I saw evil in my sight and was in a spiritual state betwixt cry and laugh, at that sucking study of Theology course. It also was funny, I was equipped to read that—and I was all puffed up with knowledge…and, I was thinking: Is this what you have to do for college? I was empowered to pick leisure and entertainment; meaning, for me LEARNING WAS IRRELEVANT!

        Did you know that LU has a Law School (on campus)?

        K.F.

      • Norma J F Harrison October 22, 2013 at 11:56 am #

        http://normaharrisonforschoolboard.info/ I’m preparing a book – trying to figure out how first to blog it – ‘School Is The Opposite of Education’. Human differences are less about age than experience. Let us live together and do our things together and these processes fade into a noisey background. Many people escape the noise just getting on with their lives – people for example, who’ve had enormous success with little or no ‘schooling’ – except what they’ve chosen to inculcate relative to how they’ve found to live refusing school.
        normaha@pacbell.net 510-526-3968

  10. Norma J F Harrison October 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Actually, no – re “Capitalism as a middle-school child might imagine it…” No. Capitalism is as containing as say, a ladder. You’re climbing a ladder rung by rung – you can’t find at some point up in the climb that you’d like to step right or left; there’s no way.
    Nice capitalism – controlled capitalism is socialism communism. Until it can be understood – Marx is a good way to do that – that this is what capitalism is, a binding structure, we will not escape its bonds.
    No one is going to step aside and say, ok, I’ve gotten enough expropriation, profit, etc off of this project. Now I’ll let others do well. No. The competition will crush the successful – so they make the rules that protect continuation of their holdings.
    A major element of that is to crush us the working class – as we all are – we who go/went to work in order to get along.
    Socialism communism can only work totalitarian – that is, prohibiting blockage of the effort; called dissent, but really turning into terrorists, like the people in charge of the U.S. today, and the past 200+ years who protect the capitalist process or have your head – mind+body.
    Zionism got redefined long ago by these structures. Pluralism – socialist Israel-Palestine, one entity, for all its people with the right of return – this last as provided for and signed onto by many nations, in the U.N. Charter. The U.N. charters are treaties. The U.S. won’t sign on to some and ignores others that it has. Treaties become the law of a land that signs onto them.
    normaha@pacbell.net Berkeley, Ca.

  11. Norma J F Harrison October 22, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    I’d like this site to have an edit option – to correct or delete an input one’s done. ….
    Human differences are less about age than experience. Let us live together and do our things together and these processes, the inordinately complex processes you’ve described, fade …

    • Kata Fisher October 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      Dear Norma,
      Professor Falk can do that (editing-or deleting) if you ask him what you like to correct. Likewise, you can restructure your statement…according to new insights that you may have. (Our perceptions are limited, and no one is perfect–or equipped to do all things errorless). So, I hope that you are in no concerns about that, Norma.
      K.F.

      • Norma J F Harrison October 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

        well, if you know how to ask him to remove the repeats I somehow did at the beginning of these responses – somehow I posted the same message 3 times – it’d be neat if he could take off two of those – or even, see the correction I made – our vs are – and take that off , too, that’d be nice. I can’t find a connection to ask by way of.

      • Norma J F Harrison January 1, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

        your long moan on school in Israel – substitute the proper nouns with U.S. ones and you’re describing school – actually anywhere. School is the wrong institution for human beings.http://normajfharrison.wordpress.com/author/njfhar/page/3/

  12. Norma J F Harrison October 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Many people write to describe the damage that ‘public education’ is. The solution to the problem is only able to be inferred, never stated, because, as for capitalism, school is ir-reformable. It’s doing its job, as described by – oh- I’d thought it was from pablemont – it’s from that unfortunate Fisher –
    Once she escapes all the terribly confounding nonsense she’s had to put up with – same for almost everyone, they’ll be able to formulate life as we need to know it, rather than how it’s infused into us from our earliest years.
    School, like capitalism, like Democrats/Republicans, like most structures with/in which we live hates us.

  13. NotSamanthaPower October 23, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    It’s disheartening to know there are intellectuals like Chosmky, Vltchek, and Falk who can see through our psycho-political propaganda. Here’s hoping that Breaking Bad goes into syndication soon! On the bright side: it’s almost shopping season! Never to early to shop, amirite?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. #Palestine News | Oct 19, 2013 | Occupied Palestine | فلسطين - October 20, 2013

    […] The Chomsky/Vltchek Worldview ~ by Richard Falk http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/the-chomskyvltchek-worldview/ […]

  2. Richard Falk gives glowing review of Chomksy & Vltchek’s ‘On Western Terrorism’ | Pluto Press - Independent Progressive Publishing - October 22, 2013

    […] We’ve reproduced it below. You can also read it on Richard Falk’s blog by clicking here. […]

  3. André Vltchek: West manufactures “opposition” movements! _ on Kevin Barrett’s Truth Jihad Radio | NO LIES RADIO - February 8, 2014

    […] Vltchek is the author (with Noam Chomsky) of On Western Terrorism. A novelist, filmmaker, journalist, photographer and playwright, he has reported for Truth Jihad […]

  4. The Loneliness of Anti-Imperialist Fighters, by Andre Vltchek | Collapse of Industrial Civilization - July 3, 2014

    […] Falk has said of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,424 other followers

%d bloggers like this: