This is a very useful commentary and critique of a recent discussion by Chomsky. There is almost too much to discuss in one post and it gets complicated to discuss a discussion of an original article, with quotes withing quotes.
The basic issue seems to be that Chomsky can’t break out of a stalled activism and Street tries to bring out the discussion of revolutionary action. I will agree with Street save to note that we have taken this a step further and cast the revolutionary issue in a post-Marxism context in a critique of Marxism, a critique that is not the usual bourgeois propaganda but itself a schematic of revolutionary activism, our The Last Revolution.
The_Last_Revolution_Postcapitalist Futures_ ED3_10_29_22
Street has an important critique of Chomsky’s anemic ‘What is to be Done’ paralysis, which we will cite, and leave at that for this post:
Street: Thumbs up to “other popular movements” and mobilizing agaist terminal war, but the call for “reviving” a past US labor movement is distressing. With all due respect for the Molly Maguires, the Haymarket Martyrs, the Industrial Workers of the World, Sacco and Vanzetti (all brutally crushed), and the leftish labor offshoots that NC fondly recalls from the US mass production and New Deal eras, the dominant trend in US-American labor history by far and away has been what the onetime University of Wisconsin economist Selig Perlman called “job conscious” and “pure and simple” trade unionism. Organized U.S. labor – now down to less than 1 in 10 US employees – has long been mainly about the economistic pursuit of a better wage and benefit deal within the capitalist-imperialist system for workers with strategic marketplace and workplace bargaining power. It’s been mainly about getting a slightly bigger if small slice of the imperialist pie for a fraction of the nation’s wage-earners. This has reflected and encouraged imperial and nationalist chauvinism on the part of its bureaucratic officials and much of union membership. Labor misleaders have long worked to marginalize and purge those working-class activists who wanted the labor movement to be about social justice, anti-imperialism, democracy, and environmental sanity, not to mention revolution. The US labor movement has never been about seriously challenging the underlying unelected and interrelated dictatorships of capital and empire, the leading oppression structures that create the four horseman the Barsamian-NC discussion started with.
Recently The Nation published an interview with the great left intellectual Noam Chomsky by David Barsamian that first appeared on TomDispatch.com. Below
Source: Revolutionary Marxism vs. Chomsky: Reflections on a Recent Interview – CounterPunch.org