Category: Noam Chomsky
From Lenin to Davos: A stark warning on Capitalism’s excesses

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/374207-lenin-davos-eight-billionaires/

John Wight
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1
From Lenin to Davos: A stark warning on Capitalism's excesses
The surprise over Oxfam’s recent report on global poverty is that anyone is surprised. The revelation that eight people own more wealth than the poorest half of humanity merely confirms that neoliberalism is working precisely as intended.

When the Russian Revolution occurred a hundred years ago in 1917, it did so in response to an economic order that had been responsible for the most devastating global conflict the world had seen, one that left 17 million killed and millions more wounded and maimed.

The First World War was fought over the colonial carve up of the undeveloped world, specifically Africa and the Middle East, in the interests of the wealth and power of European ruling classes whose greed for more wealth and power knew no bounds.

The very same level of greed, the complete lack of concern for working people and the poor on the part of the super-rich and elite, is the ideological driving force of neoliberalism in our time, regardless of what its proponents and apologists argue. The eight multi-billionaires, named in the Oxfam report, who own more wealth than 3.6 billion human beings in 2017, are as follows: Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim Helu, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg. The striking though perhaps not surprising statistic about this group is that all but two of them are American.

Eight men could not amass such vast and obscene wealth without an obliging global political and economic order to make it possible. Neoliberalism – in other words, unfettered global capitalism – is that very order and the very antithesis of national sovereignty. It has ensured that while governments around the world may speak the language of power, in truth they are mere courtiers at the feet of global corporations and those who own them.

As Noam Chomsky said, “The very design of neoliberal principles is a direct attack on democracy.”

So the surprise, given the nature of neoliberalism, is not that such an obscene level of inequality exists in our time. The surprise instead is that such an obscene level of inequality, and the foundations of mass poverty on which it rests, has not sparked a social revolution of a similar impact as the Russian Revolution. Here we must take account of the role of ideology in conditioning us to accept the status quo as normal, indeed natural, and in doing so ensuring that we toe the line, regardless of the glaring evidence of the irrational and unjust nature of that status quo.

According to the French political philosopher, Louis Althusser, “The ideology of the ruling class does not become the ruling ideology by the grace of God, nor even by virtue of the seizure of state power alone.” He also observes, “Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence.”

The point is that we live our lives within social, political, and economic parameters we have not chosen for ourselves. And even though we may be among the ever-increasing number of who find themselves struggling or living in poverty, we are conditioned to believe that the problem lies with us rather than the system. Stepping back from this dynamic for a moment: are we really saying that the aforementioned eight multi-billionaires deserve to enjoy so much wealth, while the 3.6 billion human beings who own so little deserve their poverty?

Surely this is a question that answers itself.
In the same week that wider members of the economic and political elite enjoy their annual Davos jamboree, otherwise known as the World Economic Forum, 154,000 children will die due to extreme poverty. You can bet that the children of the rich and powerful cavorting around this exclusive and luxurious Swiss resort are not among them.

It is a disgusting and despicable state of affairs, not to mention a withering indictment of what many have the temerity to describe Western civilization.

Such statistics should have all of us – all people of conscience and consciousness – spitting nails at the level of injustice they reveal. Yet the truth is that we’ve become so accustomed to this reality that we have become desensitized and do not, or no longer believe, that an alternate reality possible.

Which brings us back to Lenin and the Bolsheviks in 1917. They refused to ignore reality or to become desensitized to it. Instead, they rode a the tidal wave of anger that had built up at the scale of the suffering and injustice being endured by masses in Russia, with the end result a revolution that not only succeeded in overthrowing the existing order in their own country, but which also succeeded in threatening to do likewise throughout Europe. The end result, history reveals, was cataclysmic societal collapse of a kind that no-one should make the mistake of believing could never happen again. It could.

Indeed perhaps the only failing of the Bolsheviks is that they came too soon. However that their like will come again grows increasingly certain with each passing year in which the world remains hell for the many and heaven for the few.

Our eight multibillionaires and members of the Davos elite should take note.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Noam Chomsky discusses Trump victory he predicted 6 years ago

https://www.rt.com/usa/366946-noam-chomsky-trump-victory/

Noam Chomsky. © PeoplePowerTelevision
Donald Trump’s victory came as a shock to many, but not to renowned scholar and activist Noam Chomsky, who foresaw a similar outcome in 2010. Now Chomsky sees “one hopeful prospect” of a Trump presidency.

Speaking in 2010, Chomsky, an MIT professor, described the situation in the US as being similar to that of late Weimar Germany.

“The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared,” he said.

“If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response,” he said. “What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks.”

Chomsky’s prediction was eerily accurate. Now, six years later, he spoke to TruthOut about the current US political landscape.

Describing the Democratic establishment as the equivalent of “moderate Republicans” of the past, Chomsky pointed to the Republicans’ “dedication to the wealthy and the corporate sector” as rendering them unable to gain support for their programs without mobilizing “evangelicals, nativists, racists and the victims of the forms of globalization.”

“The angry and disaffected are victims of the neoliberal policies of the past generation,” Chomsky said. “These groups share the anger throughout the West at the centrist establishment.”

These voters believe Trump will bring change, “though the merest look at his fiscal and other proposals demonstrates the opposite,” he said.

Chomsky described Trump’s campaign as being “remarkable in its avoidance of issues,” which the media generally complied with.

The president-elect’s unpredictability makes it difficult to tell what a Trump leadership will look like, Chomsky said, but he highlighted Trump’s placing a climate change denier in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition as an indication.

“The Supreme Court will be in the hands of reactionaries for many years, with predictable consequences,” he said.

“One hopeful prospect is that there might be a reduction of the very dangerous and mounting tensions at the Russian border,” he added.

Chomsky described a possible outcome could see Europe aim to “defuse the tensions,” and even “move toward something like Mikhail Gorbachev’s vision of an integrated Eurasian security system without military alliances.”

Hillary Clinton and the Big (Neoliberal) Lie

 

election-2016-US

This election season has brought to the surface an issue that, until recently, seemed to have become a neoliberal sacred cow, the holy writ of the lords of capital: free trade. And while this cornerstone of US economic hegemony has come under fire from a deeply reactionary, and to varying degrees racist and xenophobic, perspective, as expressed by Donald Trump, it has nevertheless sparked a much needed conversation about free trade and its destructive impact on both the American working class, and the Global South as well.

But free trade having become a campaign issue has also spotlighted for the umpteenth time the breathtaking hypocrisy of Hillary Clinton who I have previously referred to as the high priestess of the Church of Free Trade and Neoliberalism. For it is, in fact, Hillary Clinton who has for more than two decades been one of the loudest and most resolute voices championing neoliberalism and free trade. And still, despite her record, Clinton today presents herself as a friend of the working class. The same working class that has been all but eviscerated by the policies she herself has supported.

This is, of course, not to say that Trump is somehow the great defender of workers and the poor – his long track record as a predatory, racist real estate developer illustrates his complete lack of concern for oppressed communities and workers. Still, like a sadistic dentist, Trump has deliberately struck a nerve in the body politic of the US. For Trump has managed to eschew the typical right wing cultural wedge issues of gay marriage, abortion, and the like in favor of the core economic concerns of the working class.

hillary-clinton

Whatever one’s opinion of Trump, one can say with certainty that his reintroduction of the free trade into the national conversation has forced Hillary Clinton onto the back foot.

Hillary Clinton, NAFTA, and the Attack on American Workers

“I think that everybody is in favor of free and fair trade, and I think that NAFTA is proving its worth.” Or so Hillary Clinton said in 1996, more than two years after the North American Free Trade Agreement was enacted under her husband’s administration. At the time one could still labor under the illusion – or perhaps it was delusion? – that NAFTA was going to benefit workers in the US, Canada, and Mexico by allowing for the free flow of goods (and capital) leading to decreased prices for many consumer goods. Indeed, that was precisely the mythology that was peddled at the time.

While it’s true that many experts and workers alike, especially those on the Left, were deeply suspicious about the inflated claims of the glorious benefits of the NAFTA utopia of the future, the concept was made into policy, and the policy translated into a grim reality for US workers. As the Economic Policy Institute noted in 2013:

By establishing the principle that U.S. corporations could relocate production elsewhere and sell back into the United States, NAFTA undercut the bargaining power of American workers, which had driven the expansion of the middle class since the end of World War II. The result has been 20 years of stagnant wages and the upward redistribution of income, wealth and political power.

Without question, NAFTA was a direct assault on the US working class. Its repercussions are still being felt today. As the Economic Policy Institute further explained, NAFTA had four major negative impacts:

  1. The loss of at least 700,000 jobs due to production moving to Mexico. Some of the heaviest losses were felt in California, Texas, Michigan and other manufacturing-dependent states, particularly those in the Rust Belt.
  2. Allowed employers to drive down wages, slash benefits, and undermine and destroy unions. Because capital could always threaten to simply close up shop and move to Mexico, workers had little recourse but to accept the assault on their standards of living.
  3. It devastated the Mexican agricultural and small business sectors which led to the dislocation of millions of Mexican workers and small farmers, many of whom were forced to migrate to the US in search of work, thereby creating the immigration “problem” that Trump and his reactionary base have seized upon.
  4. It was the model free trade agreement, the blueprint upon which others were based. It laid the foundation for the neoliberal trade model wherein capital reaps the benefits while labor shoulders the costs.

Obviously, one could point out myriad other negative effects of NAFTA. But perhaps even better than that, one could simply take a drive down Interstates 80 and 90 – crossing through New Jersey, upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, etc. – and get off almost anywhere and see the impacts for one’s self. Countless shuttered factories, depressed and often nearly abandoned towns and cities, and populations blighted by unemployment and the social breakdown that goes with it. The bleakness of the post-NAFTA industrial landscape is difficult to articulate, and is often completely hidden from view, especially for many working people in the population centers on the East and West coasts.

And this depression, both economic and psychological, is what Donald Trump has rather cynically exploited. The scapegoating of Mexican immigrants as economic parasites feasting on the blood of the American worker is a fairly predictable, though highly effective, means of marshaling support from the working class, in particular the white working class.

However, the political opportunism notwithstanding, it was not Donald Trump, but rather Hillary Clinton, who consistently was the unyielding supporter of NAFTA. As White House documents from the Clinton administration revealed, Hillary was one of the principal salespeople for NAFTA, going so far as to speak at a confidential White House briefing on NAFTA in November 1993, just a few days before it was approved by Congress. The documents also prove the fact that Hillary was, as John Nichols wrote in The Nation in 2008, “the featured speaker at a closed-door session where 120 women opinion leaders were hectored to pressure their congressional representatives to approve NAFTA.”

Clinton lobbied for NAFTA all throughout the halls of power in Washington, but also before the American people on television and in the major media. In short, NAFTA can be seen as one of Hillary’s crowning achievements; heavy is the head that wears such a crown.

Hillary the Hypocrite

Today Hillary Clinton shamelessly presents herself as a friend of working people. She trots out the elites of organized labor, concerned primarily with their own positions atop demoralized and fragmented unions, and trumpets their endorsements of her. And even these working class backstabbers have to grit their teeth and smile as they kneel before the high priestess herself in hopes of eight more years of privileged relations and fine dining.

But behind closed doors, everyone in America who even casually follows politics knows the truth: Hillary Clinton is a crusader for free trade and neoliberalism.

And that’s precisely why Hillary’s anti-free trade posture at election time is so deeply cynical, to say nothing of the insult to working people. In 2007-2008, in the midst of a hotly contested primary campaign against then Senator Barack Obama, Clinton repeatedly claimed that she was anti-free trade, and critical of NAFTA. In a debate in late 2007, Clinton admitted that NAFTA had been a mistake “to the extent that it did not deliver on what we had hoped it would.”

Of course, these were just the populist sentiments that Clinton knew she needed to utilize in order to deceive organized labor, and the working class in general, that she was an ally, rather than a devout worshiper at the altar of the god of neoliberalism.

After Obama became president and appointed Clinton Secretary of State she immediately reverted to being the great champion of free trade. Indeed, in her position as America’s top diplomat Clinton traveled the world preaching the gospel of free trade. And by this point she had a new holy scripture to tout: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Clinton unabashedly lied during Democratic national debates on the issue of the TPP, saying that she now opposes it, despite having been in favor of it as late as 2012 when she said the TPP “sets the gold standard in trade agreements.” While she now masquerades as a protectionist opposing a deal that would be bad for working people, she has demonstrated her unflagging support for this type of so called free trade in the past.

To get a sense of just how insidious the TPP is for American workers, and in fact citizens of every country involved in the deal, consider the words of the Grand Poobah of the American Left, Noam Chomsky, who correctly explained that the TPP is “designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity.” In his characteristically soft-spoken manner, Chomsky manages to encapsulate the overarching danger that the TPP represents. And in so doing, he further implies that Hillary Clinton represents a serious threat to American workers.

Similarly, as Secretary of State, Clinton vocally backed the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), hailing it as an “economic NATO”. Leaving aside the terrifyingly ironic turn of phrase, Hillary’s support of TTIP represents support for yet another massive free trade deal that would have serious negative effects on workers, and indeed the majority of citizens, in the US and Europe. As Politico noted, “TTIP covers around a third of global trade. It would create an open market of 829 million consumers and expand a trade relationship that’s already worth €2 billion every day.”

And, just as with the TPP, TTIP is as much a political and geopolitical weapon as it is an economic arrangement. While TPP is aimed at economically isolating China (despite the raving lunacy of Donald Trump who argues just the opposite, that TPP will unfairly benefit China), TTIP is directed against Russia in hopes of depriving Moscow the chance at deepening economic ties with Europe.

And this is precisely why Clinton is the darling of both Wall Street and the neoconservative establishment. From the right wing financier Koch Brothers’ admission of support for Hillary, to the obvious backing of George Soros,Warren Buffett, and countless other liberal (and some conservative) Wall Street ghouls, Clinton has the near unanimous endorsements of the One Percent. It should be added that she is also being supported by arch-neocons such as Max Boot, who described Clinton as “vastly preferable,” Robert Kagan who sees Hillary as “saving the country,” and Eliot Cohen who described Clinton as “the lesser evil by a large margin.”

The reason for the near unanimous support is simple: Clinton will deliver all the economic policies, including TPP and free trade, that the Masters of Wall Street demand. And she’ll do it all while coldly smiling at every worker she meets on the campaign trail. She will also pursue just the sort of aggressive and belligerent foreign policy that makes neocons salivate at the prospect of more and bigger wars.

Ultimately, Clinton represents the very worst of the American political class – a cynical manipulator whose thirst for blood and war is matched only by her thirst for power. Lies flow from her mouth into the US political scene like water into a vast ocean. And, like water, she erodes the once sturdy rock of the working class in the United States.

Noam Chomsky on the exoneration of Ethel Rosenberg
| July 17, 2016 | 8:56 pm | Noam Chomsky, political struggle | No comments

“I would like to join in the appeal to President Obama to formally exonerate Ethel Rosenberg before leaving office. By now it is overwhelmingly obvious that there was no case at all, and that the government manufactured the case in order to pressure her husband to cooperate with the prosecution. The case was a gross miscarriage of justice, an ugly stain on American legal history. It is long past time for official recognition of the magnitude of this crime, and exoneration of the tragic victim.” – Noam Chomsky

Chomsky: US Republicans ‘Most Dangerous’ Threat in ‘Human History’
Noam Chomsky, the American linguist and political dissident, arrives at the State Security Court of Istanbul, Turkey, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2002, as a Turkish policemen , right, shows him the entrance. A Turkish court cleared the publisher of a book by Noam Chomsky which slams Turkey's human rights record and its treatment of the Kurdish minority.

Chomsky: US Republicans ‘Most Dangerous’ Threat in ‘Human History’

© AP Photo/ Murad Sezer
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Political dissident and noted US scholar Noam Chomsky is warning that the Republican Party may be “the most dangerous organization in human history.”

The world-renowned author, philosopher, and social critic told DemocracyNow’s Amy Goodman about his concerns on the state of the American right wing and the 2016 election.

“If we were honest, we would say something that sounds utterly shocking and no doubt will be taken out of context and lead to hysteria on the part of the usual suspects,” Chomsky stated, “but the fact of the matter is that today’s Republican Party qualify as candidates for the most dangerous organization in human history. Literally.”

When Goodman asked Chomsky about the rapid rise of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, Chomsky explained that, traditionally, when a very extreme candidate has appeared on the scene, the establishment would beat them back down and install their own candidate—which they have failed to do during this election.

“Every time a candidate came up from the base—Bachmann, McCain, Santorum, Huckabee, one crazier than the other—every time one rose from the base, the Republican establishment sought to beat them down and get their own—get their own man—you know, Romney,” he explained. “And they succeeded, until this year. This year the same thing happened, and they didn’t succeed. The pressure from the base was too great for them to beat it back.”

Chomsky noted that both parties have shifted so far to the right that the current Democratic Party is essentially indistinguishable from what moderate Republicans used to be.

“This has been going on for a generation. And while this has been happening, there’s a kind of a vicious cycle. You have more concentration of wealth, concentration of political power, legislation to increase concentration of wealth and power, and so on,” he remarked. “[T]he parties have shifted so far to the right that the—today’s mainstream Democrats are pretty much what used to be called moderate Republicans. Now, the Republicans are just off the spectrum.”

“[T]he fact of the matter is that today’s Republican Party qualify as candidates for the most dangerous organization in human history,” Chomsky said. “Just take their position on the two major issues that face us: climate change, nuclear war. On climate change, it’s not even debatable. They’re saying, ‘Let’s race to the precipice. Let’s make sure that our grandchildren have the worst possible life.’”

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20160518/1039781653/chomsky-gop-biggest-threat-history.html#ixzz48yDRCkvS

Noam Chomsky Blames Anti-Sanders Sentiment on US Politics’ Rightward Shift

Professor Noam Chomsky speaking to Radio Sputnik's Brian Becker

Noam Chomsky Blames Anti-Sanders Sentiment on US Politics’ Rightward Shift

© Sputnik/

Speaking to Radio Sputnik’s Brian Becker, Noam Chomsky, arguably America’s most famous public intellectual, explained how the rightward swing in the US political spectrum has turned the modern Democratic Party into the ‘moderate Republicans’ of a few decades back, and thrown the Republican Party off the spectrum altogether.

In the Democratic primaries for this year’s US presidential election, the party’s establishment has pushed strongly for self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders’ opponent, Hillary Clinton, but despite lacking her connections and arsenal of financial support, Senator Sanders has found a wellspring of support among younger American voters. Becker asked Professor Chomsky about the significance of Sanders’ campaign, and of his talk about the need for a ‘political revolution’ in the United States.

Chomsky suggested that it’s necessary to qualify Sanders’ use of the phrase.

“What he’s actually calling for is what was pretty well understood and accepted in the 1950s. In fact President Eisenhower wouldn’t have been much surprised by his proposals. He’s fundamentally…a traditional New Deal Democrat,” the academic noted.

Furthermore, there’s no question, Chomsky said, that Sanders’ “positions have been supported by a considerable part of the population, often large majorities, for decades…Take say health care: right now, about 60% of the population supports it, which is pretty remarkable when you think that nobody publically advocates it. Every time it’s brought up, it’s denounced, but still, a considerable majority supports it.”In fact, “if you go back a little further, to the Reagan years, about 80% of the population thought [health care] ought to be guaranteed by the Constitution; in fact 40% thought it was guaranteed by the Constitution.”

As for the Sanders campaign promises of free post-secondary education, “that’s how it was in the 1950s, virtually. The GI Bill gave not only free education but even subsidies to huge numbers of people – veterans, who would [otherwise have] never have gone to college. It was very good for them, very good for the country. It’s part of the reason for the very high and relatively equitable growth rate in the 50s and 60s, before the neoliberal reaction set in. It was common in other countries – rich countries like Germany, poor countries like Mexico.”

The Rightward Swing in the US Political Spectrum

“These are hardly surprising positions,” Chomsky said. “But the fact that they’re regarded as extremist, or that it calls for a revolution, is actually a comment on how the spectrum within the mainstream has shifted to the right during the neoliberal years,” the academic noted.Chomsky noted that even Sanders’ tame (by 1950s standards) positions have given many in the US leadership cause for alarm, even among the Democratic Party establishment. However, when asked whether he himself believed a real revolution is necessary, Chomsky proposed that “a return” would be the more appropriate phraseology.

“I don’t think it takes a political revolution – I think it takes a return to a situation which was far from radical. To illustrate: back in the 1950s, a common quip about the political system (and not inaccurate) was that the United States was a one party state – ‘the Business Party’ which has two factions, the Democrats and Republicans, which differ somewhat. If you take the situation today, it’s still a one party state (the Business Party), but it only has one faction, and it’s not the Democrats – it’s moderate Republicans, who call themselves Democrats. If you look at today’s Democratic Party, it’s pretty much what used to be called moderate Republicans.”

“Meanwhile,” the academic noted, “the Republicans have simply drifted off the political spectrum –they’re not a political party in any recognizable form.”

And Donald Trump, Chomsky said, is not even the worst of it.”When you speak about the Republican Party, [it’s actually about] the Republican establishment being off the spectrum, not Trump. [Trump himself] is an interesting phenomenon, but a different one. Take somebody like Mitch McConnell, who’s considered a Republican moderate. What was his reaction to Obama’s election? It was very clear: he said ‘we have to have one policy: No!’ ‘Anything that the government proposes, we say no and we block it, because we want to take power.’ That’s not parliamentary politics.”

“And in fact this is recognized by some of the most respected conservative analysts – Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann of the American Enterprise Institute –a right-wing think tank. They describe not Trump, but the mainstream. They [speak about] today’s Republican Party as, in their words, ‘a radical insurgency’, which has abandoned parliamentary politics.”

“And I think the reason is pretty clear,” Chomsky noted. “In the United States, and in Europe – in fact everywhere where neoliberal programs have been imposed, there’s an undermining of democracy – that’s one of their aspects…It’s almost automatic, and you can see it happening. One consequence of that is the mainstream center begins to collapse, and you get uprisings at (what are called) both extremes –one is a far right extreme, the other is called left, but is actually center left social democratic like Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn – nothing particularly radical about it.”

Brian Becker speaking to Professor Noam Chomsky in his exclusive interview for Radio Sputnik.
© Sputnik/
Brian Becker speaking to Professor Noam Chomsky in his exclusive interview for Radio Sputnik.

“And as the parties have shifted to the right, the Republicans [have become] so dedicated to the interests of extreme wealth and power that they simply cannot get votes on their own programs, and therefore had to mobilize sectors of the population that have always been there but hadn’t been mobilized as a political force. So a substantial plurality or even a majority of Republicans are evangelical Christians – extremist, fundamentalist Christians – people who think the world was created a couple of thousand years ago.”

Trump’s Presidency Would Be a Death Knell for the Species

Asked to give his thoughts on the idea of a Donald Trump presidency, Chomsky said that “if he means what he says…it’s virtually a death knell for the species. Every Republican candidate in the primaries, and Trump specifically, deny that global warming is taking place, or at least that we should do anything about it…And they’re acting to try and undermine anything that might deal with it even moderately.”

“Take for example the Paris [climate change] meetings last December – they weren’t marvelous, but they achieved something minimal. They were hoping to achieve a treaty [on emissions] with commitments that would be fixed and verifiable. But they couldn’t, and it was very clear why they couldn’t, and this was even recognized in the mainstream press: Republican Congress wouldn’t permit it. They will not permit a verifiable treaty.”Providing another example, Chomsky recalled that “the right wing justices of the Supreme Court, a couple weeks ago…violated long-standing precedent and went out of their way to effectively block efforts to reduce emissions from coal plants. I mean they gave arguments, but the fundamental reason is just the unwillingness of today’s Republican organization…to address this question. This is critical to the survival of the species. Support for torture is bad enough – so is the idea of getting Mexico to build a wall, but this is lethal.”

Trump’s Supporters the Same People Hurt by Neoliberal Policies

“Why is it happening?” the academic asked. “I think we have to ask where the support for Trump is coming from. There isn’t careful data, but it seems to be substantially lower middle class, relatively uneducated white males mostly.”

“These are the same sectors of the population that are suffering something unprecedented in modern history: an increase in mortality. That’s an astonishing fact…These are sectors of the population who see no hope. The neoliberal programs have led, as elsewhere, to stagnation or even decline for large parts of the population, alongside the accumulation of spectacular wealth in a tiny sector which has become a kind of a different society – separated from mainstream society.”

“Hope for the future has declined, for the first time perhaps in [American] history,” Chomsky noted.

“I’m old enough to remember the Depression, which was objectively worse than today, but it was a hopeful period. My relatives, [who were] unemployed, factory workers and so on lived much worse than anything today, but they expected that the future would be better – things were happening. CIO [union] organizing was taking place; there was a relatively sympathetic administration; moderate social democratic programs were being instituted. It looked as if somehow we would get out of this. That’s not the attitude today. The people who are coming to the Trump rallies are people who, to a large extent, who feel that everything has been taken away from them.”

As for Donald Trump’s stance on immigration, Chomsky noted that it’s not really anything new in American history, with Italians, Jews and the Irish facing similar kinds of exclusion and persecution for much of the first half of the 20th century. “This goes way back: ‘We’re here, we don’t want you’ [is the mentality].””This is real, and is part of the cheering for Trump when he says ‘build a wall’. [But] if you think about it, what is that wall supposed to do? In fact what is Obama doing? Obama has been pressuring Mexico to keep the Central Americans away from our border. Why are people fleeing Central America? Because the US destroyed Central America, especially under the Reagan years,” Chomsky concluded.

You can listen to the first part of Sputnik’s exclusive two-part interview with Dr. Chomsky here. The second part will be broadcast Tuesday.

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