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ChomskyRequiemforAmericanDream2016LUMPENPROLETARIAT—One of the most influential and widely cited intellectuals on the Left is linguist, activist, and political analyst Dr. Noam Chomsky.  In a 2015 documentary film, Dr. Chomsky’s radical analysis has been focused on the various adverse effects of capitalist modes of production upon contemporary life, namely the increasing concentration of wealth and power and the vicious punishment inflicted upon the working classes.

The film is entitled Requiem for the American Dream: Noam Chomsky and the Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.  Its filmmakers invested some four years researching the voluminous archives of Chomsky writings and audio recordings in order to bring this film to fruition.

From a Marxian perspective, among others, we observe how inequality of power and income distribution is fundamentally built into capitalistic social relations.  Dr. Chomsky’s arguments do not approach concentration of wealth and power from a formal Marxian perspective, but the conclusions at which he arrives are nevertheless very similar.  And, indeed, a number of the arguments Dr. Chomsky makes have largely come down to us from Dr. Marx (and Marxian analysis) beforehand, for example, the reserve army of the unemployed.  In Requiem for the American Dream, we find a composite narrative comprised of arguments made by Chomsky over the years, which the filmmakers have woven together, for the public record, into a compelling indictment of capitalist modes of production.

Free speech radio KPFA is in the midst of its 2016 Spring Fund Drive.  And it has broadcast excerpts of this documentary, which it is offering as one of the many thank-you gifts offered to incentivise listener support for free speech radio.  For example, this broadcast:  Listen (and/or download) here. [1]

UPDATE—[Summer 2016]  Requiem for the American Dream has now been added to the films available on Netflix and other video streaming services.  (Also see new notes added below.)

Messina

***

[Transcripts of excerpts from Requiem for the American Dream by Messina for Lumpenproletariat and free speech radio KPFA]

*

[Excerpts broadcast on UpFront for Friday, 13 MAY 2016, 07:00 PDT]  [2]

DR. NOAM CHOMSKY:  (c. 0:17)  “Each time, the taxpayer is called on to bail out the crisis, increasingly the major finance institutions.  If you had a capitalist economy, you wouldn’t do that.  In a capitalist system, that would wipe out the investors, who made risky investments.  But the rich and powerful, they don’t want a capitalist system.  They want to be able to run to the nanny state, as soon as they are in trouble and get bailed out by the taxpayer.  That’s called too big to fail.”

[SNIP]

[From the film’s introduction]

DR. NOAM CHOMSKY: “During the Great Depression, which I’m old enough to remember—and most of my family were unemployed, working class—it was bad, much worse, subjectively, than today.  But there was an expectation that things were going to get better, that there was a real sense of hopefulness.  There isn’t today.

“The inequality is really unprecedented.  I mean, if you look at total inequality, it’s like the worst periods of American history.  But, if you refine it more closely, the inequality comes from the extreme wealth in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of one percent.  There were periods, like the Gilded Age in the ’20s and and the roaring ’90s and so on, when a situation developed rather similar to this.

“Now, this period is extreme ‘cos, if you look at the wealth distribution, the inequality mostly comes from super wealth.  Literally, the top one-tenth of a percent are just super wealthy.  Not only is it extremely unjust in itself, inequality has highly negative consequences on the society as a whole because the very fact of inequality has a corrosive, very harmful, effect on democracy.

“You opened by talking about the American Dream.  Part of the American Dream is class mobility.  You’re born poor; you work hard; you get rich.  It was possible for a worker to get a decent job, buy a home, get a car, help his children go to school.  It’s all collapsed.

[PRINCIPLE #1: REDUCE DEMOCRACY]

“Imagine yourself in an outside position, looking from Mars.  What do you see?  In the United States, there are professed values, like democracy.  In a democracy, public opinion is gonna have some influence on policy.  And, then, the government carries out actions determined by the population.  That’s what democracy means.

“It’s important to understand that privileged and powerful sectors have never liked democracy, and for very good reasons.  Democracy puts power into the hands of the general population and takes it away from them.  Now, it’s kind of a principle of concentration of wealth and powerConcentration of wealth yields concentration of power, particularly so as the cost of elections skyrockets, which kind of forces the political parties into the pockets of major corporations.

“And this political power quickly translates into legislation, that increases the concentration of wealth.  So, fiscal policy, like tax policy, deregulation, rules for corporate governance, a whole variety of measures, political measures designed to increase the concentration of wealth and power, which in turn yields more political power do the same thing.  And that’s what we’ve been seeing.

“So, we have this kind of vicious cycle in progress.  You know; actually, it was so traditional that it was described by Adam Smith in 1776.  You read the famous Wealth of Nations.  He says, in England the principle architects of policy are the people who own the society—in his day, the merchants and manufacturers.  And they make sure that their interests are very well cared for, however grievous the impact on the people of England or others.  Now, it’s not merchants and manufacturers.  It’s financial institutions and multinational corporations—the people who Adam Smith called the masters of mankind.  And they are following the vile maxim:  All for ourselves and nothing for anyone else.  They’re just gonna pursue policies, that benefit them and harm everyone else.  And, in the absence of a general, popular reaction, that’s pretty much what you’d expect.

“Right though American history, there’s been an ongoing clash between pressure for more freedom and democracy coming from below and efforts at elite control and domination coming from above.  It goes back to the founding of the country.  James Madison, the main framer, was as much a believer in democracy as anybody in the world.  But they, nevertheless, felt that the United States system should be designed and, indeed, his initiative was designed so that power should be in the hands of the wealthy because the wealthy are the more responsible set of men.  And, therefore, the structure of the formal Constitutional system placed most power in the hands of the Senate.  Remember the Senate was not elected in those days.  It was selected from the wealthy—men, [who], as Madison put it, had sympathy for the property owners and their rights.

If you read the debates at the Constitutional Convention, Madison said:  The major concern of the society has to be to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.  And he had arguments.  Suppose everyone had a vote freely.  He said:  Well, the majority of the poor would get together and they would organise to take away the property of the rich.  And he said:  That would, obviously, be unjust.  So, you can’t have that.  So, therefore, the Constitutional system has to be set up to prevent democracy.

That’s just of some interest that this debate has a hoary tradition, that goes back to the first major book on political systems—Aristotle‘s Politics.  He says:  Of all of them, the best is democracy.  But, then, he points out exactly the flaw, that Madison pointed out.  If the essence were democracy for free men, the poor would get together and take away the property of the rich.  Well, same dilemma, they had opposite solutions.  Aristotle proposed what we would now call a welfare state.  He said:  Try to reduce inequality.

“So, the same problem, opposite solutions.  One is:  Reduce inequality, you won’t have this problem.  The other is:  Reduce democracy.

“If you look at the history of the United States, it’s a constant struggle between these two tendencies—that democratising tendency, that’s mostly coming from the population and pressure from below.  And you get this constant battle going on—periods of regression and periods of progress.  The 1960s, for example, were a period of significant democratisation.  Sectors of the population, that were usually passive and apathetic, they become organised, active, and started pressing their demands.  And they became more and more involved in decision-making, activism, and so on.  They just changed consciousness in a lot of ways:

“Minority rights:  ‘If democracy means freedom, then why are our people not free?  If democracy means justice, why don’t we have justice?  If democracy means equality, why don’t we have equality?’ [Malcolm X film clip]

“Women’s rights:  This inhuman system of exploitation will change, but only if we force it to change and force it together. [Gloria Steinem film clip]

“Concern for the environment:  (c. 19:45) [Walter Cronkite audio clip]

“Opposition to aggression:  [SNIP] [Dr. Benjamin Spock film clip]

“Concern for other people:  [SNIP]  [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. audio clip]

“These were all civilising effects.  Now, that caused great fear.  [SNIP]

[SNIP]  (c. 59:59)

Learn more at UPFRONT.

[This transcript will be expanded as time constraints, and/or demand or resources, allow.]

***

ROGER EBERT—[29 JAN 2016]  “Requiem for the American Dream,” a film by Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott, might be subtitled “Professor Chomsky Explains It All for you.” As Errol Morris did with Robert McNamara in “The Fog of War,” the directors here point their cameras in close-up at Noam Chomsky for a feature-length disquisition that’s interspersed with snazzy graphics and illustrative archival footage. In large part because Chomsky is a very good speaker with a wealth of incisive ideas to share, the result is a film that feels less like a lecture than a provocative X-ray of current American political realities.

It couldn’t be more timely, not only because the idea that it is its heart—the impact of the concentration of wealth and power on our politics—has received so much attention of late, but more specifically because its animating concerns are central to the current year’s presidential election. For that reason, its appeal could be more ecumenical than might be assumed. How many Americans currently would agree that the American dream is in big trouble? A good percentage, recent polls suggest. That’s why Chomsky’s leftist analysis, as a starting point for discussion at the very least, could offer as much food for thought for the supporters of Donald J. Trump as it will sustenance for Bernie Sanders’ legions.

The film’s title aptly pinpoints its area of interest. Though Chomsky, a veteran MIT professor who first gained renown for his groundbreaking work in linguistics, comments frequently on global conflicts and America’s involvement therein, we hear almost nothing on those subjects here (which even the film’s admirers might consider a weakness). The upside to this decision, though, is that the discussion has a tight, logical focus that aids its clarity and organization.

In essense, Chomsky asks why America seemed to reach the zenith of its economic and civic vibrancy in the 1950s and ‘60s and then go into a decline that has left few except the top tenth of a percent of Americans truly fulfilled or satisfied. To answer the question, he constructs a narrative that entwines ideas and events, both harkening back to 1776. In that year, British moral philosopher Adam Smith published “The Wealth of Nations,” in which he argued that merchants and manufacturers dominate government in defense of their own interests regardless of how it affects the rest of society. In examining the government that resulted from the American Revolution, begun in the same year, Chomsky finds that even James Madison, whom he calls as a great a believer in democracy as anyone then, wanted U.S. society controlled by “the wealthy”—property owners might be a better term—which he thought was the most “responsible” element of the citizenry. Thus was launched a never-ending battle between those desiring more democracy from below against those seeking more elite control from above.

Learn more at ROGER EBERT.

***

Late August, 2016

Messina’s Notes on REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM: THE 10 PRINCIPLES OF CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH AND POWER

INTRODUCTION

Requiem for the American Dream opens with a pair of subtitles providing some context for Dr. Chomsky’s expertise in socioeconomic and sociopolitical critical analysis:

“NOAM CHOMSKY is widely regarded as the most influential intellectual of our time.  Filmed over four years, these are his final long-form documentary interviews.”

Those two statements are valid.  However, the first statement must be qualified by serious and valid complaints levelled against Dr. Chomsky in his role as celebrated public intellectual. [3]  Nevertheless, Dr. Chomsky speaks poignantly against socioeconomic injustice:

“Part of the American Dream is class mobility.  You’re born poor; you work hard; you get rich.  It was possible for a worker to get a decent job, buy a home, get a car, help his children go to school.  It’s all collapsed.”

Dr. Chomsky reminds us, very simply:

“In a democracy, public opinion is going to have some influence on policy.  And, then, the government carries out actions determined by the population.  That’s what democracy means.

“It’s important to understand that important and privileged sectors have never liked democracy, and for very good reasons.  Democracy puts power into the hands of the general population and takes it away from them. [4]  It’s kind of a principle of concentration of wealth and power.”  (c. 4:46)

[On money and wealth influencing government]

[Citing Adam Smith (1776) on ‘the masters of mankind’, back in the olden days it was the merchants, today it’s corporations and their rules for corporate governance in the absence of popular resistance.]

In Requiem for the American Dream, Dr. Chomsky opens by emphasising the widening inequality currently plaguing the United States and the contrast between the post-Great Depression sense of hopefulness among Americans for better living standards and the socioeconomic bleakness of the post-Global Financial Crisis.

“Not only is it extremely unjust in itself, inequality has highly negative consequences on the society as a whole because the very fact of inequality has a corrosive, very harmful, effect on democracy.”

Dr. Chomsky notes that he is old enough to remember the post-Great Depression years when most Americans still believed in the American way, which would provide prosperity for all, even those in blue collar jobs, as long as you were willing to work hard.  These days many are forced to work beyond their retirement years at minimal wage scales with paltry social services.  We see elderly and hobbled people working in our retail stores, unable to retire because of the high cost of living.

Today, nobody really thinks a blue collar job can provide prosperity or even sustain a single-income household, nor that they may even find a blue collar job.  Today, everyone must have an intellectual type of job to avoid poverty, or live in a multiple-income household, sacrifice parenting time, both parents must find jobs, or find some kind of hustle, flipping houses, stock trading, selling retail merchandise online, or starting some kind of small business, which hopefully can become a big business, which can capture market share from competitors and, ultimately, drive them out of business.  In capitalism, of course, big fish eat little fish.

It would have been nice to see Dr. Chomsky’s arguments, in their critique of widening inequality, include a Marxian perspective and a clear understanding and explication of capital.  Here, Dr. David Harvey or Dr. Richard Wolff, or any other scholar of Marxian political economy, could have explained that the extraction of surplus value in capitalist employer-employee relations depends always upon the exploitation of the worker.  Since capitalist social relations begin with uneven relations of power, the working classes are doomed from the start to be at the mercy of the owning, or capitalist, classes, which employ them, and which can only desire to drive wages down or to engage in a global race to the bottom in terms of finding the lowest wages on Earth in order to undercut their competition.

As a student of economics, Marxian political economy has provided your author with the clearest analysis of how capital functions in circuits and how capitalist modes of production shape our societies.  But, admittedly, Marxian political economy and heterodox economics, generally, is still not unanimously embraced by all academics and universities and colleges.  And the debate rages on about the true dynamics of capitalist modes of production, or capitalist economies, which endure largely mystified to the general public.  Unfortunately, as Dr. Michael Hudson has often lamented, many economists, and other intellectuals, may have Dr. Marx’s political economy texts on their bookshelves.  But when you open them up, you notice that they have no margin notes.  You notice few have actually read Dr. Marx, despite the tremendously influential legacy of his writings.  Dr. Chomsky’s introduction provides a compelling critique of inequality and its “corrosive, very harmful, effect on democracy”.  But, unfortunately, it doesn’t give the audience an opportunity to question the nature of capital, which drives inequality.

PRINCIPLE #1:  REDUCE DEMOCRACY (c. 7:00)

“Right through American history, [SNIP]  ”  [4]

[On the struggle in American history between the competing interests of the ruling classes versus the working classes]

[On Madison arguing to protect the opulent minority against the impoverished working classes.  So, the Constitution must prevent the poor from organising against the rich a democratic struggle.]

[On Aristotle’s Politics, which celebrates democracy as the best political form of organisation, so long as it included means for reducing inequality.]

[Periods of democratisation, animated by pressure from below, are cyclically countered by periods of antidemocratic governance.  For example, the 1960s and ’70s show popular uprisings for democracy, or socioeconomic justice is followed by COINTEL-PRO, assassinations, and police state repression, and so forth buttressed by equally repressive laws.]

PRINCIPLE #2: SHAPE IDEOLOGY  (c. 12:59)

“There has been an enormous, concentrated, coordinated business offensive beginning in the ’70s to try to beat back the egalitarian efforts, that went right through the Nixon years.”

[On the Powell Memorandum, as an expression of right-wing, or conservative, reaction to the ‘democratising wave’ represented by the Civil Rights movement and subsequent identity politics single-issue campaigns.  Also see the documentary film Heist: Who Stole the American Dream on the Powell Memo…]

[On the Trilateral Commission and the book entitled The Crisis of Democracy, which bemoaned “an excess of democracy”, as a similar expression of liberal internationalist, or center-left, reaction to the ‘democratising wave’ of the ’60s and ’70s.  Many of these liberal internationalists staffed the Carter administration: Brown, Vance, Blumenthal, Mondale, and Young.  Also see Dr. Laurence Schoup on the Council On Foreign Relations.]

[On the Carter administration and the anti-intellectual reaction against egalitarian-minded students]

[The ruling elites conclude the people are becoming too educated, so the schools must be brought under control.  Academic autonomy for schools and academic freedom for educators come under increasing attack.  As the ’70s give way to the ’80s, flower power gives way to investment power.  The American national culture largely shifts from a more egalitarian worldview to a more individualistic, or depoliticised and/or apathetic, consumerist worldview.]

PRINCIPLE #3: REDESIGN THE ECONOMY  (c. 16:35)

“Since the 1970s, there’s been a concerted effort on the part of the masters of mankind, the owners of society, to shift the economy in two crucial respects.”

[If one studies the history of economic thought, or, more pointedly, the history of economic theory, from the earliest ancient texts through today, we find that there has been a perpetual ideological struggle over how societies should design their economies, whether it respects the contributions of the working classes through prosperous wages, or whether it seeks to exploit and devalue them.  Admittedly, we humans often didn’t understand capital, money, credit, international trade, the democratising potential of labour relations, and so on.  But, wherever economic theory and policy has helped reduce income inequality, the ruling classes have responded furiously through think tanks, which work to increase the influence of money in political processes by which they can then increase the power of the wealthy over the working classes.  For example, as Ilan Ziv’s Capital, A Six-Part Series, demonstrates Keynesian policy, which helped capitalist economies get out of the Great Depression, were soon rolled back by the neoclassical economics and their top-down policies favoring the owning classes over the working classes.]

[Chomsky discusses the financialisation of the American economy, as manufacturing declines as major source of employment for Americans.  See Hyman Minsky, et al, on financialisation.  See Boom Bust Boom!]

[Bureau of Economic Analysis graph:  Value of Sector % to GDP, 1950:  Manufacturing 28%, Finance 11%]

[On the decline of the manufacturing sector in the USA and the rise of the financial sector.  Banks, which once were intermediaries serving a useful function in society, lending for productive activity, increasingly become speculative institutions, who dominate society through financial trickery, complex financial instruments, and such.  (Enter David Harvey on fictitious capital.)]

[On financial deregulation.]

[Bureau of Economic Analysis graph:  Value of Sector % to GDP, 2010:  Manufacturing 11%, Finance 21%]

[By the 1970s, corporations, such as General Electric, “could make more profit playing games with money, than you could by producing in the United States.”]

(c. 20:14)  “You have to remember that General Electric is substantially a financial institution today.  It makes half its profits just by moving money around in complicated ways.  And it’s very unclear that they’re doing anything that’s of value to the economy.  So, that’s one phenomena, what’s called financialisation of the economy.”

[On offshoring of production, or the global race to the bottom of the labour barrel, which pits workers to compete against one another to lower wages.  “Meanwhile, highly paid professionals are protected.”]

“And, of course, the capital is free to move.  Workers aren’t free to move, labor can’t move, but capital can.”

Enter immigration debates, which are devoid of any foundation or basis in economic reality.  Yet, the classics, reminds Dr. Chomsky, such as Adam Smith have long argued that “free circulation of labour is the foundation of any free trade system; but workers are pretty much stuck.”

[Images of a document dated February 26, 1997 with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System seal, entitled Monetary Policy Report to the Congress, Pursuant to the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978, and signed by Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the Board.]

“Policy is designed to increase insecurity.”

[Alan Greenspan argued in official testimony that “greater worker insecurity” had helped keep wages down in the late 1990s.]

[The two forces of financialisation and off-shoring have helped fuel the concentration of wealth and power, argues Dr. Chomsky.]

[(c. 23:22)  On Chomsky’s history of anti-war activism and association with the New Left]

[On the totalitarian notion of ‘anti-Americanism’, a subtle survey of Dr. Chomsky’s anarchist tendencies, or anarcho-syndicalist perspectives.]

PRINCIPLE #4: SHIFT THE BURDEN  (c. 27:03)

[On the egalitarian nature of the economic growth of the 1950s and 1960s in the United States, when the manufacturing sector was at its peak.]

[On the plutonomy.]

[On the precariat, or the precarious proletariat, the working people, or working classes.  Notably, either, Dr. Chomsky or the filmmakers avoid the language of class analysis, preferring for the more nebulous terms of plutonomy and precariat or middle class.]

[(c. 30:23)  On the shifting tax burdens in American society.  Tax Foundation statistics graph on Tax Rates.  The marginal tax rate for the highest earners has steadily declined since the 1960s.]

[On regressive tax policies, such as shifting taxes to wages and consumption and away from dividends and capital gains.  For example, General Electric pays zero taxes.]i 

(c. 31:34) “So, in fact, General Electric, are paying zero taxes and they have enormous profits.  Let’s them take the profit somewhere else, or defer it, but not pay taxes.  And this is common.

“The major American corporations shifted the burden of sustaining the society onto the rest of the population.”

PRINCIPLE #5: ATTACK SOLIDARITY  (c. 32:14)

“Solidarity is quite dangerous.  From the point of view of the masters, you’re only supposed to care about yourself, not about other people.”

[On the distortion of Adam Smith and classical notions of capitalism, missing Adam Smith’s foundation of sympathy and empathy for others, as articulated in his Theory of Moral Sentiments.]

[On public schools being based on the principle of solidarity.  Privatisation of public education represents a clear attack on the principle of solidarity.  Free and affordable education was a central element of the American economic growth of the 1950s and 1960s.]

[On the burdens of student loan debt, which also diminish civic engagement and the capacity for political consciousness.]

PRINCIPLE #6: RUN THE REGULATORS  (c. 37:12)

***

[1]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  UpFront, hosted by Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Friday, 13 MAY 2016, 07:00 PDT.

Also see these broadcasts, which feature Requiem for the American Dream:

[2]  For example, consider the archives at Media Roots:

  • “Ralph Nader & Abby Martin on US Rigged Corporate Elections” by Media Roots, 21 DEC 2015.
  • “MR Original – The Two-Party Dictatorship Post-OWS” by Felipe Messina, Media Roots, 17 OCT 2011.
  • “Ralph Nader Audience Q & A at Berkeley’s Hillside Club” video by Media Roots with transcript by Messina, 17 OCT 2011.
  • “Media Roots Interview with Ralph Nader” by Abby Martin, 6 OCT 2011.

[3]  One complaint many of us on the Left have long held against Dr. Chomsky is his tepid critique of the Democratic Party and the anti-democratic nature of the two-party system, or two-party dictatorship.  Few people on the Left would deny that the Democratic Party, since at least the 1990s, has worked against the interests of progressives and the working classes, for example, with Bill Clinton’s ‘Reinventing Government’ initiatives, which Law & Economics expert Dr. William K. Black has long demonstrated provided drastic deregulation of financial institutions, which laid the foundation for the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/2008.  Yet, few people on the Left have been willing to openly critique or challenge electorally the Democratic Party, particularly during presidential elections.  They myth of the so-called spoiler vote has only been challenged courageously, on a national level, by a few public figures, of which Ralph Nader is an early pioneer. [2]  Your author has followed Noam Chomsky’s speeches, articles, and publications somewhat closely.  But Dr. Chomsky’s public statements in broadcast media have rarely, if ever, mounted an open challenge to the anti-democratic nature of the Democratic Party’s collusion with the Republican Party to obstruct alternative political parties from their full political expression on a national stage, particularly regarding the presidential debates.  In this regard, Dr. Chomsky has failed to live up to his reputation as an intellectual champion of the people, of the working classes.

Another valid complaint many on the Left have also long held against Dr. Chomsky is his wilful refusal to display any meaningful curiosity about the origins, causes, and perpetrators of the crimes of 9/11.  Your author must admit to having held a similar aversion to the 9/11 Truth Movement, initially perceiving it as a hobby of comfortable suburbanite liberals, which was of secondary order importance to the issues plaguing front-line communities, such as police state terrorism, gentrification, the school-to-prison pipeline, racial residential segregation, and so forth.  But during your author’s time working with Media Roots (circa 2011-2013), the importance of critically analysing the crimes of 9/11 became increasingly obvious.  In a recent Seattle town hall, entitled “Why Do Bill Moyers and Robert Parry Accept Miracles?“, Dr. David Ray Griffin, a leading scholar on the crimes of 9/11, called out public intellectuals and media figures, such as Dr. Noam Chomsky and the Rolling Stone’s Matt TaibbiDr. David Ray Griffin argued:

(c. 5:48)  “A few people, from the beginning, started saying that the official account of the attacks, according to which they were carried out by foreign Muslims in other countries was false and that 9/11 was an inside job carried out by people and agencies in our own government.  An emerging movement to make this case came to be called the 9/11 Truth Movement.  This movement argued from the beginning that 9/11 was a false flag attack designed to allow the Bush-Cheney administration and its Pentagon to attack Afghanistan and then Iraq.

But most of the traditional anti-war journalists, such as Noam Chomsky, George Monbiot, Norman Solomon, and Matt Taibbi, along with the writers at CounterPunch, In These Times, The Nation, Mother Jones, The Progressive, and Democracy Now! did not endorse the 9/11 Truth Movement.  Most of them, in fact, attacked it.

“In the first years, to be sure, we did not have a very impressive membership.  The movement had few professionals in the relevant disciplines, such as physics, architecture, and engineering.  But, in 2005, physics professor Steven Jones started explaining why the World Trade Center buildings could not have come down without explosives.  Due to some books and coverage by C-SPAN, professional organisations began to form, including Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.  By now we have a dozen professional organisations, including Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, Intelligence Officers for 9/11 Truth, Journalists for 9/11 Truth, Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth, Military Officers for 9/11 Truth, Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth, Religious Leaders for 9/11 TruthScientists for 9/11 Truth, and Veterans for 9/11 Truth.”

“The 9/11 Truth Movement is now very impressive in, both, size and professional membership.  Nevertheless, the traditional anti-war leadership has continued to distance itself from the 9/11 Movement.  There have been a few notable exceptions, including Richard Falk and former CIA analyst Bill Christison and Ray McGovern.

“Most of the anti-war leaders have maintained the stance, that they took in the first years after 9/11, in spite of all the changes in the 9/11 Truth Movement in the intervening years.

“For example, when I was interviewed on Democracy Now! in 2004, the main argument against my position was that I could not name one structural engineering expert, who said it is not feasible that the planes caused the towers to come down.  The movement’s lack of architects and engineers at that stage constituted a persuasive argument.  But, now, there are 1,500 members of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, who say it is not feasible that the planes caused the towers to go down.  So, one would suppose that Democracy Now! would have reassessed its position.  But it has not.

Progressive journalists, in general, have not availed themselves of the evidence provided by the 9/11 Truth Movement to argue against the legitimacy of the so-called War On Terror.  If any major journalist could have been expected to do so, it would have been Bill Moyers.  (c. 9:55)  [SNIP]

[SNIP]

Dr. David Ray Griffin went on to make his case for the intellectual dishonesty perpetrated by the so-called ‘Left Gatekeepers’, whose stamp of approval or disapproval of a particular cause or issue can, either, elevate or suppress that issue.  Although Dr. Griffin focuses on Bill Moyers and Robert Parry as his two case studies, Dr. Noam Chomsky is one such ‘Left Gatekeeper’, who can be celebrated for taking courageous stances on U.S. imperialism and domestic socioeconomic justice, but must also be very seriously criticised for his avoidance of key issues, such as the two-party dictatorship and 9/11.  Granted, had Dr. Chomsky held nothing back (assuming he is willfully censoring himself), his fate may have gone the way of Gary Webb or Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X or Fred Hampton or any public figure who dares to take a fearless and principled stand against tyrannies of the state.  But, political assassinations aside, intellectual honesty or dishonesty is a choice one makes, which ultimately defines one’s public legacy.

[4]  This is what one finds when one undertakes a critical study of the history of economic theory, a more or less bifurcated academic discipline with contending theories and contending interests.  In modern academia, we’ll find mostly neoclassical economics departments throughout the nation, with a few alternative, or heterodox, economics departments.  The heterodox economics departments usually provide superior economics training because of their pluralistic approach, which allows them to study the dominant neoclassical perspectives alongside heterodox, or Post-Keynesian, Institutional, or Marxian perspectives.

***

[13 MAY 2016]

[Last modified  12:11 PDT  13 DEC 2016]

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