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Filipowicz writes: "Professor Chomsky said he will probably vote for Jill Stein for president in effort to push a genuine electoral alternative."

Noam Chomsky has been awarded the Sydney Peace Prize. (photo: Ben Rusk/flickr)
Noam Chomsky has been awarded the Sydney Peace Prize. (photo: Ben Rusk/flickr)

Noam Chomsky On How Progressives Should Approach Election 2012

By Matthew Filipowicz, AlterNet

01 October 12


ecently, on the Matthew Filipowicz Show, I had the privilege of speaking to Professor Noam Chomsky at his MIT office. We discussed many aspects of activism including how he felt activists and progressives should approach two party politics and specifically the 2012 election.

Chomsky stated "I think they should spend five or ten minutes on it. Seeing if there's a point in taking part in the carefully orchestrated electoral extravaganza. And my own judgment, for what it's worth, is, yes, there's a point to taking a part."

Professor Chomsky said he will probably vote for Jill Stein for president in effort to push a genuine electoral alternative, but that if he lived in a swing state he would vote "against Romney-Ryan, which means voting for Obama."

We also discussed the relationship between tactics and action. Speaking about Occupy Wall Street's public encampments, Professor Chomsky, who supported OWS and authored a book on the subject, said such tactics have a half-life and that when one tactic stops working, activists have a responsibility to try something else.

You can listen to the audio of the complete interview below. your social media marketing partner


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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

-185 # orwell, by george 2012-10-01 16:20
chomsky is losing it.
he wants war criminal obama, killer-in-chief obama to be re-elected!!!
i believe we are morally and legally constrained from voting for war criminals and murderers.
obama is actually, through his duplicity, more insidious than romney.
vote 3rd party.
+56 # lcotler 2012-10-01 22:07
Prof Chomsky said noting about "wanting" Obummer to be reelected. Please read what he said again. Maybe this time you'll understand what he meant.

If he lived in a swing state he'd take a deep breath, hold his nose, and vote AGAINST Romney-Ryan.

With friends like you, progressives spin off into space.
+36 # Kauai John 2012-10-01 22:09
Duh! That's what Chomsky said to do!
At the same time, he recognizes that Obama is the lessor of 2 evils.

So, now what are you going to do about it? Encourage people in the swing states to vote for Jill Stein so that Romney will win the Presidency?

Your failure to live in the real world is rather disconcerting.
+3 # Innocent Victim 2012-10-04 11:34
If you were a victim of war crimes, your conception of what is the real world would be very different.

Re-electing Obama would make clear that the US voter supports aggression, absolute power, defiling our Constitution and treaties, and lying by the US head of state.
+29 # brux 2012-10-01 22:21
at least he has a coherent outlook and argument for his position, not just the nonsense you are spouting.
+29 # cassandrapt 2012-10-01 22:31
How would you feel about a right wing supreme court in a Romney administration? Do you really think there's no difference between the Ds and the Rs?
Check out Rebecca Solnit's article in RSN:
+34 # dkonstruction 2012-10-02 07:42
orewell, by george,

so, let's say progressive's/l eftists/ whatever vote for the greens (or some other third party candidate) in swing states and say this causes obama to lose and we get romney and a republican house and senate. are you saying it doesn't matter either way when to just take a couple of examples, the repubs would have cut of unemployment benefits to millions? would have prevented women from getting basic reproductive health care covered by their insurance? would have stepped up oil drilling in the artic and gone ahead with the keystone pipeline? i agree with everything you have said about Obama but i don't understand how ensuring a romney victory helps "the cause." It may "feel good" to seem "pure" by voting ones conscience (and if were in NY i would vote green but as i will be voting in ct i will vote dem just to hopefully keep the senate out of repub control). so, while you are right about Obama and right about the dems overall to real people (millions) there are real differences (though i would agree not substantive game changing ones) that will either increse or decrease (even modestly) their daily misery.
+14 # Kootenay Coyote 2012-10-02 08:31
i.e.,never vote for something else because you won't get it, right? What a healthily stagnant, rotting system....
+6 # orwell, by george 2012-10-02 14:36
what i am saying is murder and betrayal of troops trumps domestic concerns and is an absolute.
think of the grief. my head shakes with wonder that this is not obvious to everyone.
an odd form of stockholm syndrome.
yawn at the murder of foreigners.
+12 # dkonstruction 2012-10-02 14:48
Orwell, by george,

i for one don't condone or make excuses or aplogogies for Obama (am am certainly not yawing at the murder of foreigners and in fact have opposed all of Obama's military escapades abroad including our role in the overthrow of the democratically elected president of honduras and our role in keeping Aristide's party out of the elections in Haiti) but to say that what he has done abroad "trumps" the effects of a republican administration on the working class and poor at home just doesn't make sense to me if only becuase had we had a republican in the white house now i don't think that things would be better abroad. I respect (and suspect we agree) your take on Obama but given that the choice is between him or romney and the impact on millions here will be far worse under a repub pres (and even worse if the they get back both houses of congress) it doesn't make sense to me to make the poor and the working class here suffer even more because of what Obama has done abroad.
+1 # orwell, by george 2012-10-02 14:58
can't vote for murder, and betrayal of troops. morally, legally constrained. of course it trumps other issues. of course. at the same time, obama is a servant of wealth. he's proven that. mandatory insurance profits, the opposite of single payer. etc etc etc.
0 # Michael Lee Bugg 2012-10-03 09:41
Orwell, get a grip! Bush betrayed the troops, and family members of the 9-11 victims, infinitely worse when he delayed taking decisive action with our Special Forces troops against Usama Bin Laden at Tora Bora because he was saving them for the totally unjustified invasion of Iraq! In the process of Bush's lies and duplicity he got us into a ten plus year quagmire in Afghanistan and an unjustified occupation of Iraq that has cost the lives of over 6,000 of our soldiers in combat, hundreds more because of suicide, and several thousand cases of PTSD and several hundred thousand cases of permanent brain injury from IED blasts that otherwise did not wound our soldiers. Obama had and has no choice but to prolong Bush's mess in order to try to extract some kind of lasting gain on behalf of the soldiers who have been needlessly killed, maimed, or traumatized over there. I am opposed to the drone strikes as well because they are expensive and counter productive in the long run, but if Obama did not order them the Republicans would be screeching endlessly that Obama is soft on terrorists which in this country, with the multitude of nonthinking pseudo patriots, would be political suicide. Have you not noticed that the Republicans have not mentioned their beloved "war on terror"? Mutt Robme's secret economic plan is another war, probably against Iran. How will that benefit us or our over used troops? Get a grip on reality!
+9 # Eliza D 2012-10-03 15:57
What??? Did you really say that the US needs to condemn more soldiers to death to make the sacrifice by other soldiers worthwhile???? And we need to kill innocent women and children to deter Republicans from calling us wimps? Think about what you are saying, please. Murder of innocent people, (like the families of alleged terrorists) is never justifiable.
-4 # Michael Lee Bugg 2012-10-04 14:50
Eliza you are absolutely right, but Bush got us into this mess and if you have been paying attention, those sick Republican sadists have and will say anything to win in November including that Obama and Democrats are wimps! Do you not remember how they conned us into a totally unjustified war in Iraq? I participated in several public anti war protests in 2003 and was called everything but an American. What did you do back then? If Romney wins and starts another war with Iran the carnage will blow your mind! If you have a better way of preventing a Romney victory and another costly war let's hear it.
+7 # Eliza D 2012-10-06 15:20
Michael I agree that the Republicans are more selfish, greedy, disingenuous, and downright evil than ever. But it is an argumentum propter hoc to claim that, in order to defeat them, we need to replace them with others not quite as evil. We cannot continue down this road of killing "targets" without charges or trial, as well as their innocent companion. This policy will eventually bring carnage that will blow all our minds, as well as our bodies. Do you really think the families and friends of the murdered will not plot the demise of innocent Americans? 48 countries are now working on developing unmanned drones. This is an icy and dangerous slippery slope we have begun to descend. I don't want any part of it and it must stop before we find ourselves in a world of unimaginable chaos and terror. I sure don't want Romney, but I don't see that Obama has the fortitude to stand against the forces that are pushing him in this direction. By the way, I have been called names for writing letters, participating in marches,etc. I don't let that deter me from doing what I think is right. It's nice to find as many allies as possible, though.
+14 # enough_already 2012-10-02 07:42
Well said. I'm done with the corporate controlled one-party duopoly and their fear-mongering. Voting for Obama or Romney is voting for the continuation of current policies. Both parties brought us to this point, and neither party should be rewarded with our votes--come what may. If we don't start voting third party now, it will only get harder and harder to stop the destruction of the middle class.

I'm voting for Rocky Anderson because he shares my vision of America--ground ed in justice and governed by the rule of law--a vision neither the GOP or Dems share as borne out by their actions.
+11 # Eliza D 2012-10-03 15:51
Me too! Our planet is on the verge of environmental collapse. No one in high office seems inclined to do anything about it. We need to sweep out all these corrupt, bloated old boys. Enough already, indeed!
-2 # James Smith 2012-10-02 08:46
You make serious charges. What is your proof?

Without proof, you're just another Obama-hater that will tell any lie, no matter how ludicrous, to spew your vitriol.

I don't think it's Chomsky who is losing it.
+21 # engelbach 2012-10-02 14:08
You don't see the proof that Obama is a war criminal? Are you serious?

The wars are illegal, violations of both U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions.

Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan, killing thousands of innocent people there. His drones have killed hundreds of innocents in Pakistan.

Obama has publicly stated that anyone of military age in the vicinity of a "militant" is considered a target -- i.e., whether innocent or not. He has targeted U.S. citizens for assassination by drone, solely on his say-so.

These are not opinions, but facts. What more proof do you need?
+6 # Phlippinout 2012-10-02 08:55
Hey Orwell, read the article again and then maybe you'll understand, maybe.
+12 # tahoevalleylines 2012-10-02 09:29
Anyone really interested in strepping back from the current system lubricated and moving on Middle East conventional oil should think about rebuilding the US railway matrix as seen circa 1965.

Of course, expect the same level of understannding as existed in 1965 when branch line rail demolition was getting in full swing and oil flow thru the strait of Malacca was reason for America's big war therabouts.

Note US Navy buildup in vicinity of South China Sea. Its about the oil as usual, boys & girls. Japan is considering rethinking the "Pacifist" policy, and may go nuclear this decade. Rubber tire transport uses 2 times or more oil as rail transport economic model..

Does Doc Prof Chomsky have any rail savvy?
-1 # orwell, by george 2012-10-02 13:51
if you vote for a murdering fascist, you are not a progressive, you are a fascist.
stop murdering foreigners, democrats.
stop betraying troops, democrats.
that ought be our priority. simple
+10 # engelbach 2012-10-02 14:27
Well, George, it seems that very few people have principles.

I'm reminded of Germany before Hitler took power. The Communist Party aligned themselves with the Nazis in order to keep out the middle-of-the-r oad Social Democrats.

A vote for Obama may be a vote against Romney, but it's not a vote against illegal wars, indefinite detention, the Patriot Act, NDAA, and the control of American politics by the plutocracy.

For progressives to ally with Obama, even against Romney, is as rotten as what happened in germany.

Okay, lesser-evilists , bring on your silly thumbs-down votes.
+6 # James Smith 2012-10-02 14:52
I agree, the biggest failing of Obama is that he has been unable or unwilling to try to repeal the "Patriot" Act, and pull out of two counter-product ive wars. Then there is the TSA debacle.

Ask yourself, will Romney improve anything and what is the other choice to Obama?

Bring on some better ideas.
+7 # dkonstruction 2012-10-02 14:54
Your Germany analogy i think undermines your whole arguement. It was not that the German Communists "aligned" themselves with the Nazis but rather that they believed that fascism was the last gasp of a dying system and that it couldn't last so they took the disasterous position better fascism than social democracy. Hitler and the Nazis never got a majority of votes and had the communists and the socialists gotten together (and the socialists too are also responsible here) Hitler would never have come to power.

And, to say that anyone that votes for Obama is a fascist is to neither understand fascism or the realities of american politics (which doesn't mean that i am a dem, which i'm not, or an Obama supporter but the prospect of a republican WH and a republican congress should be enough for all progressives/ra dicals/revoluti onaries to understand what the immediate battle has to be.
+5 # orwell, by george 2012-10-02 16:33
well said, my brotha
the commenters on commondreams.or g are true progressives. many of these commenters are into party loyalty and are inured to murder.
i must say, chomsky surprised me a bit.
+3 # Bill Clements 2012-10-03 08:36
You're a good example, perhaps, of what I'd call moral absolutism, which the Bible teaches "in spirit," if not specifically. Be that as it may, from my perspective, it's an extreme black and white over-simplified way of viewing morality.

The other thing of note is your anger which is a "mental distortion" that precludes clarity of thought, if not wisdom.

Finally, whatever you think of Obama (obviously not much), with everything we know about Romney, to say that he's less insidious than Obama is frankly laughable.
+9 # carpepax 2012-10-03 15:42
He acknowledges that, in swing states, people are somewhat locked into voting D or R. Until a third party gets enough support to affect the process, he would vote for Obama if he lived in those states. I am reading that he believes Obama is the lesser of two evils but, if you don't live in a swing state, vote third party.

Sounds like Noam is more "with it" than ever. His statement is sound and can be taken as advice.

By not voting, you let the system win. Vote to change the system, or at least to not make it much, much worse.
+4 # Innocent Victim 2012-10-04 11:30
orwell, by george, you've got it! To judge from the negative score, -174 at this point, your message is most certainly correct! As proof, the message by Icotler, with a +52, makes clear how wrong majorities are on critical questions.
-129 # orwell, by george 2012-10-01 16:37
"progressives"! !!!!!! voting for a war criminal????????
sorry, noam. progressives don't vote for war criminals. period.
think about it. and take it back, please.
+23 # Kauai John 2012-10-01 22:07
You did not listen to what Chomsky said.
Wake up!
-10 # lcotler 2012-10-01 22:09
Please address him as Prof. Chomsky out of respect if nothing else.
-4 # Alexis Fecteau 2012-10-01 22:56
Idiots...he is voting against Romney, despite Obama's status as a full unmitigated war criminal.

Then again, I suppose there is something to letting the republitards just burn it all to the ground...
+24 # pietheyn07 2012-10-02 00:37
Quoting orwell, by george:
"progressives"!!!!!!! voting for a war criminal????????
sorry, noam. progressives don't vote for war criminals. period.
think about it. and take it back, please.

Many progressives will vote for Obama, especially in the swing states. I live in California where the election outcome is not in doubt, thus my protest vote will be for Stein. If my residence was in Florida I would vote and work for Obama, expressing my reservations about the man and some of his domestic and foreign policies that I find intolerable to any Democrat that would listen. I do not want a repeat of the 2000 election. Gore, not my favorite candidate, would have had a clear victory in Florida in a two party race. Instead we got W and his neocon, chicken hawk entourage. Now it's a pair of new faces singing the same old song, on steroids. Best that we send the GOP a message in November, Then, rather than sit back as we did in 2000,reorganize and clamor for Progressive "change we can believe in". The opinion polls seem to indicate that on key Progressive issues the majority of Americans respond favorably. If reelected, giving Obama the politician a free pass, is a disservice to the moral and ethical that we as Progressives proclaim. "Organize" was a start. Let it not be an end.
-4 # priond49 2012-10-02 04:59
I agree with orwell. Classical American relativism. If so many Germans in the 70s hadn't rebuked the three established parties (CDU/CSU, SPD, Free Democrats)there still would be a much weaker environmental movement. The Green Party brought in a critical fourth voice and made a huge impact. Surely, Germans don't have a winner-take-all parlamentarian system, it just doesn't make sense to continue voting for spent forces lying and coercing people into forgoing true alternatives. The 'liberal', non-progressive Left represented quite obviously of the 60 something disproving votes above is braindead and soulless,
+10 # dkonstruction 2012-10-02 10:53
Comparing the US system to the US parliamentary system is simply not a fair comparison or analogy. As you state, Germany did not have a winner take all system and so it is much easier to create new parties and with even a small minority (say 5%) have some real influence. It should also be noted, that the Greens, while continuing to push for environmental reforms adopted some of the same austerity measures as other european socialists demanding either cuts in pay, benefits or a lengthening of the work day. Don't get me wrong, i would much prefer a German style green party in this country that had some real influence (and have followed the work of Daniel Cohn Bendit since his days as a student leader in May '68 in France) but that does not speak to the question of how to build such a third party in the US and the dangers of voting third party in key swing states.
+3 # David Heizer 2012-10-03 20:46
Quoting priond49:
If so many Germans in the 70s hadn't rebuked the three established parties (CDU/CSU, SPD, Free Democrats)...

That's the problem! Americans to date have NOT rebuked the two major parties.

We can hope that, with continuing rot, Americans will finally wake up and abandon the festering Big Two the way they abandoned the Whigs, but so far that hasn't happened. Until it happens, no third-party candidate can do more than play spoiler.

Step 1: Build a party...
+14 # soularddave 2012-10-02 06:01
So, you're suggesting voting for an outcome that will empower the party that started a war - 2 wars, that is responsible for nearly a million deaths and the displacement of 3 million souls?

YOU should consider the advice and choose the option that is LEAST likely to start a war with Iran (for instance).
+4 # WolfTotem 2012-10-02 06:02
Quoting orwell, by george:
"progressives"!!!!!!! voting for a war criminal????????

Why so obscenely judgmental? Leave that to the Vyshinskys and Freislers of the world.

Seems to be the fashion nowadays, especially in America: to pick out the blackest cloud in the sky, even an otherwise pure blue sky, and dwell only on that. Everyone's doing it, from fascists to those who like to call themselves progressives.

Apart from Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, is there a any US president from the past 80 years who can get off on that count? Protecting one's people is an honorable but hard and dirty job. I don't care one bit for some of Obama's actions, but I'd hate to be in his place. It takes guts and awareness to fill that post, knowing the vast and terrible responsibilitie s it entails. (Easier for those who are aware of nothing...)

Once I entered a vegetarian restaurant and found a group of "women for peace" at the next table. Angelic motivation, but they cut my appetite! Your kind of comment is far far worse than that.

Europe owes its freedom to Winston S. Churchill and we owe much to the monster Stalin for the defeat of the Nazis. My dad and countless Americans owed their lives to Harry Truman's dreadful decision. Enough said.
0 # dkonstruction 2012-10-03 08:57
Quoting orwell, by george:
"progressives"!!!!!!! voting for a war criminal????????
sorry, noam. progressives don't vote for war criminals. period.
think about it. and take it back, please.

Orwell by george, would you have supported progrssives voting for FDR?
-3 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-10-03 21:39
Troll alert!
Don't react. Vote him down.
-9 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-10-01 20:57
I looked at this post and thought Norm Chomsky stole my blog post until I actually listened to what he said,

Chomsky while agreeing with me totally of voting Obama in a swing state but not elsewhere differs with me in that he thinks this is not important activism, but worth the few minutes it takes to push or press the vote buttons.

I disagree I see an amazing opportunity. Gary Johnson and especially Virgil Goode are taking votes from Romney, while Jill Stein is bringing out otherwise non voters and stay home this time to the polls. The NRA has a knack to getting their true believers to the polls and bring a not very politically interested friend to go vote as well. Some pot smokers who otherwise aren't interested in politics are coming to vote for Gary.
Many others who are too disgusted with politics to vote can be inspired by Jill and poor people tired of Obama only talking about the middle class can be inspired by Cheri Honkala to participate in politic.
For once I agree with Paul Ryan,

Norm Chomski your yawning about the importance bothers me I hope I can get you to read my new post “Vote No, Vote No, then Vote Yes to 3rd Party Hope” when it appears on Reader Supported News
+7 # MidwestTom 2012-10-01 21:52
I may follow Noam's suggestion. I certainly cannot vote for Romney, he will definitely lead is to war with Iran; and I will have a hard time voting for OBama due to his destruction of our liberty with the NDAA, and his many all-powerful Czars. These are actions of a dictator, not a President.
+7 # Thomas Martin 2012-10-01 21:54
No, Orwell, Chomsky said "if we don't live in swing states" vote for real change - but if we don't live in swing states, vote for the lesser of two evils.
-1 # Charlie Peters 2012-10-01 21:59
California, Obama / Mitt, November contest would likely give the California winner prize to Obama but how would a 3 way Obama, Mitt & Ron write in vote count end up? RP votes in 2008 were counted.

The Goldman Sacs / Fed reserve / GMO food-fuel twins might create a fun contest with the Texas Dr. Ron Paul

Audit the Federal Reserve, Support HR 459 Paul & S 202 Paul

Is this game about D R or other? maybe it is about saving the republic. Maybe Obama and Mitt are the underdogs.
+16 # irvingwood 2012-10-01 22:23
I would advise to consider carefully what Chomsky is saying. The dilemma of how to vote is virtually permanent for a progressive. BtW progressives vote for war criminals all the time. His choice between voting with his values for a progressive candidate who has no chance of forming a government is a good long-term strategy for building support for the future. But if he can be most effective by holding his nose, voting for Obama, and keep out the crazy people, it is virtually an obligation to do so. The problem with tactical voting is that it preserves the two-party system and does noting for progressive candidates. Most recently I have begun to take the long view, and vote with my values and conscience. But it is certainly a dilemma, George, which you should respect. To ignore the complexity of the voting challenge for the progressive is rather infantile. The world is not that simple.
-2 # orwell, by george 2012-10-02 17:45
people who vote for war criminals are not crazy people?
americans are inured to killing and murder. it's sad.
sad. bizarre...orwellian...
stop taking innocent lives and causing grief, democrats.
-1 # David Heizer 2012-10-03 21:17
Quoting orwell, by george:
people who vote for war criminals are not crazy people?
americans are inured to killing and murder. it's sad.
sad. bizarre...orwellian...
stop taking innocent lives and causing grief, democrats.

So... Between the current war criminal and the other guy who wants to become his replacement, which one would you rather be sworn in January 21st? It's going to be one or the other; do you go with Romney, then ('cause he hasn't had the chance to start any wars yet)?
+8 # brux 2012-10-01 22:28
If we really want to have a responsible democracy the main thing we need to do is to educate people, to teach them to think. If they do not understand some engineering, math, history, biology they will have no idea what is happening to them until they get very old ... ie. senior citizen age when it is too late and no young people will listen to them as bitter losers. They need to understand the technical actions the Republicans are taking in knocking people off the voter roles. This is all statistics, and scaling, game theory, network theory, techniques of propaganda. Chomsky has written about this, but he is not hitting it deep or hard enough.
+6 # marjb 2012-10-01 22:40
Okay, orwell, by george. Let's elect Mitt Romney and see what kind of a country we'll get from a man who only tells the truth to his "own kind." The folks with solid gold spoons in their mouths. I think that's a great idea.
+13 # SOF 2012-10-01 23:01
I heard his statement to be he'd vote against Romney if he lived in a swing state. So what! I won't vote Obama, but I know all my state's electoral college votes are going to Romney. There is no doubt in my mind that Romney's election will make everything worse for the People who are victims of his handlers. I hope he doesn't win. And like Chomsky, I'm glad I have the freedom to vote for a guaranteed loser. Anyway, VOTE! Vote good people into your local and State offices, vote the best person into Congress. Not voting is YOU saying you don't matter.
+19 # brianf 2012-10-01 23:15
Chomsky has the same strategy I thought of. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because he has a sharp mind and can put things into perspective.

Vote for the best candidate if you are not in a swing state. That way you are not throwing your vote away. If you live in a swing state, then vote for the better of the two who have any chance of winning. That way you are not helping the worst man win. As I've said before, vote intelligently.

Believe me, I have been tempted to think of Obama as being no different from Romney, and in some ways he is exactly the same. He's way too much of a corporate whore for my tastes. And he really doesn't understand global warming and climate change, the issue that is most important to me. But at least he has done several things that will slow global warming down more than if a Republican had been in office. At least he doesn't pretend the problem doesn't even exist! That may make the difference between survival and a mass extinction. It's terrible that these are the only two people who could get elected this year, but they are.

Don't be a denier about this. Look at the situation objectively and think about what you can do to make the best of it. Meanwhile, do everything you can to change the situation so we have a real choice in the future.
+16 # Corazone 2012-10-01 23:16
Nobody with even half a brain should be contemplating NOT voting for Obama. What you're really doing is voting for a reasonably sane Supreme Court. Not voting, voting for a third party candidate or voting for Romney only increases the likelihood of the Supreme Court becoming the Kangaroo Konservative Kourt (initials intended).

Yes, I am thoroughly disgusted by a great many of Obama's decisions and in his attitude toward the left in general. However, no way anyone votes in this election is going to end the war machine or restore civil liberties or fight climate change.
-3 # 4Justice 2012-10-01 23:23
Rocky Anderson has the executive experience and platform that represents progressives, other people, and the planet. Why in the world would Chomsky suggest that people vote for Obama policies in swing states when doing so means failing to use our votes as political expression? Rocky's campaign is a campaign for justice; environmental, social and economic. Minor parties can help break up the corrupt two party system, but are barred from equal participation in debates, on media, and because they're not pulling down the big bucks offered by the biggest corporations. Mr. Chomsky, I will not be wasting my vote on Obama, I'm voting for somebody who stands up for the rule of law, against illegal war, torture and financial crimes.
+1 # Salus Populi 2012-10-01 23:24
As Chomsky himself has pointed out, under the Nuremberg laws, every U.S. president since the Tribunals has committed the same type of crimes for the commission of which we hanged the Nazi leadership.

Nevertheless, there is a serious case to be made -- or at any rate, there used to be -- for the cliched old nostrum of supporting the less reactionary, less compromised candidate on the grounds that it would make a serious difference to the victims of American imperialism which crime lord was at the helm of the ship.

(That is, for example, while Carter's support for the butchers of East Timor, or his plotting with Brzezinski to draw the Russians into "their own Vietnam" in Afghanistan were supremely criminal and cynical acts, his human rights rep, Patricia Derian, actually made a serious difference for the better in Argentina's gulags and torture chambers.)

Personally, I haven't supported a major party candidate since ever, as the only one I considered supporting was McGovern, whom I ended up throwing over for Dick Gregory of the Peace and Freedom Party. But that in no wise is a superior stance to principle progressives who adopted the stance of attempting to minimize harm to the unfranchised millions who suffered from U.S. hegemonism and imperial hauteur.

The problem with Obama vs. Romney, though, is that Obama is literally a continuation of the Bush camorra, so the strategy no longer applies.
+5 # bmiluski 2012-10-02 08:18
I'm sorry, which country has President Obama invaded. What prescription drug bill did he pass without the $$ to pay for it, and what war contracts did he award his buddies?
+11 # engelbach 2012-10-02 14:16
Obama continued Bush's war in Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan.

He signed the Patriot Act and NDAA. He favors indefinite detention without charge or trial.

He targets American citizens for assassination purely on his say-so. He broke his promise to leave medical marijuana alone.

These are just a few. How many do you need?
-5 # James Smith 2012-10-02 14:55
I want to hear how he is a "war criminal" You made that charge and have evaded giving proof.

How do any of those things, although true, make him a war criminal?

I need you to stop evading a direct question and give some proof of your charges, if you actually have any.
+6 # Salus Populi 2012-10-02 19:04
The war against Afghanistan is, under international law, a war of aggression.

The Taliban, who came to power with American support, offered to turn Osama over to an independent third country for trial, or to extradite him to the United States if the U.S. could present any evidence at all of his guilt. The U.S. spurned these offers and attacked
Afghanistan, a country that as an entity had in no wise threatened the United States, any more than Iraq had.

Attacking a country that has not threatened you in order to resolve political differences is forbidden by Article II of the United Nations Charter, and is considered aggression, the "supreme crime" according to U.S. Supreme Court Robert Jackson, the chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg Tribunals.

Moreover, the drone attacks against the Pakistani population, which according to the most recent and exhaustive study kill 50 civilians for each misnamed "militant" ["resistance fighter" is more accurate] targeted, are clearly war crimes, due both to their indiscriminate slaughter and to their usage against civilians far from the battlefield, residing in a country with which we are not at war.

Obama, like every other U.S. president, is a war criminal. The fact that Romney undoubtedly would also be does not detract from that fact.
+1 # David Heizer 2012-10-03 22:20
It's a real stretch to call it a "war against Afghanistan," given that, at best, the ruling junta was barely recognized by anyone (by the start of bombing, it was down to Pakistan alone), while a good deal of the country was either under the control of or sympathetic to the Northern Alliance. What it was was taking sides in a civil war, and while the way it was done was clearly in violation of the U.N. Charter, if you will recall, that was the Bush Administration' s doing.

By the time of Obama's inauguration, the country was under the internationally recognized governance of the National Assembly under Hamid Karzai, who to this day hasn't been able to bring himself to actually ask us to leave.

I agree with you on the drone strikes, however. Shades of Cambodia.
+18 # DorothyK 2012-10-01 23:29
+3 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-10-01 23:29
I don't like Noam Chomsky's casual attitude (2nd attempt to post this)

I totally agree that I would vote for Obama in a battleground state, but disagree that other peace activities are for more important,

Vote No, Vote No, Vote No, Vote yea to new Party Hope.

Vote like our lives depend on it, which I think it do,
-15 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-10-01 23:34
Dear Orwell want to be, Dan Ellesberg was a war criminal,
-6 # tomo 2012-10-01 23:54
Something really strange just happened. The Orwell comment had apparently earned 25 negative votes. I saw some good moral reasons for never voting for a man who sends assassin drones into other countries so I thought I'd give "Orwell" a thumbs up. To my amazement, my thumbs up added EIGHT THUMBS DOWN to each of Orwell's comments. Sorry, Orwell, I did what I could!
+6 # engelbach 2012-10-02 14:19
What happened is that other people simultaneously added negatives at the same time you added your positive.

Other people's new votes don't show up on your screen until you either refresh the page or cast your own vote.

I gave him a positive also, and the total didn't change, for the same reason.
-3 # EternalTruth 2012-10-02 00:08
In Chomsky's defense, he did not say that he wants Obama to be re-elected. He said he doesn't want Romney-Ryan. And while I understand the sentiment, I have to say that I am utterly amazed at the number of supposed progressives who throw their support behind Obama based on the "lesser of two evils" theory. Yes, it's fascism, and it's destroying your freedom and your planet, but it's a kinder, gentler fascism which is destroying it at only half the pace. It's dime to stop voting for the choices given to you by your corporate masters.
+12 # grandma lynn 2012-10-02 00:52
One discouraged 2008 supporter of non-Republicans , here. Then it was a vote to keep McCain/Palin out of the power seat. Now it's a vote to keep Romney/Ryan out, in my "swing state." I'm 67 and I've always voted. Sometime I hope to do a positive vote, but with corporations holding the puppet strings and being unaccountable - will that ever be the case? Maybe we really are stuck in a "swing set"? Like a little kid set on the seat and pushed back and forth - but I want something else!!!! I protest. Someone is keeping me here against my will and doing this pushing at me! I'm not having any fun. I want to go home. Corporations, bullies - let me get off now.
-15 # seeuingoa 2012-10-02 01:19
Come on Noam Chomsky !

If you have a principle - stick to it.
Don´t ask people living in swing states
to chicken out and vote for Obama.

Vote Green Party/Jill Stein in whatever
state you live in.

Politicians and diapers should be
changed frequently, for all the same reasons.
+13 # tishado 2012-10-02 01:28
I think criticism of Chomsky on electoral grounds is highly suspect. He is a long-time anarchist and libertarian socialist so voting is not a big part of his program. As enunciated in the piece (and as he has continued to state over the years elsewhere):
1. Actvists should focus on their activism.
2. They should devote a little time (5-10 minutes) considering their response to an election.
3. If they decide to vote, they should make a judgment of how they can make the most impact-in this presidential election, he judges that a vote for Jill Stein (or other progressive on the ballot) is the best choice unless you are in a state where a vote for a third party might help elect Romney/Ryan.
He assumes that expanding the electoral system is the primary objective (although a minor and marginal one coming after a progressive's actual activism).
He does not advocate andy position. He recommends that activists take some time to figure it out for themselves.
-1 # Oracorf 2012-10-02 02:28
Don't be a fool, Orwell...
+2 # punch 2012-10-02 03:28
I agree that voting for Obama does not help the US or the world; it just solidifies the status quo, which we all know is killing us.

To all the down-thumbers here, who I assume support the "lesser of two evils" argument, I'll state a parable. I've said it a couple of times before, but nobody's ever replied to it:

Let's say criminals handed you a gun and threatened to kill your kids if you yourself didn't kill your spouse. In that situation I would refuse to do it, and let any killing be on the shoulders of the criminals. I would take no part in it, even if I was 100% sure that they would do as they said. The only moral thing to do would be to fight, even if I had no chance of overpowering the criminals. So would you kill your spouse in that situation, to spare the lives of your kids?
+8 # alan17b0 2012-10-02 04:51
Professor Chomsky is right on the
mark. He lives in MA, a Safe State,
so he has a Free Vote(TM). People
in CA, NY, CT, IL, MD -- also in
TX,UT, OK, MS -- can vote for whom
they like It is only people in Ohio,
Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania,
who must wrestle with the arcane
question of who is worse, Obama or

Let's build an alternative to the
Duopoly! This year is the ideal time
to do that.

Best wishes,

Alan McConnell, in Silver Spring MD
+1 # dkonstruction 2012-10-02 13:04
Quoting alan17b0:
Professor Chomsky is right on the
mark. He lives in MA, a Safe State,
so he has a Free Vote(TM). People
in CA, NY, CT, IL, MD -- also in
TX,UT, OK, MS -- can vote for whom
they like It is only people in Ohio,
Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania,
who must wrestle with the arcane
question of who is worse, Obama or

Let's build an alternative to the
Duopoly! This year is the ideal time
to do that.

Best wishes,

Alan McConnell, in Silver Spring MD

I'm not sure about some of the other states but in CT. it is not necessarily about the presidential race but the senate race is definitely important as the true nightmare scenario would be for the repubs to take back not only the WH but also both houses of congress. So, i agree with the strategic voting strategy (and will vote for the Greens if i vote in NY but if i wind up registering and voting in Ct. will vote for the dems).
+4 # cherylpetro 2012-10-02 05:12
We need EVERY vote for Obama! The Republicans are out there rigging voting machines, so we have their dirty tricks to fight too! I know Chomsky said he would vote Obama in a swing state, but that isn't good enough!I am all for more parties, but we are in the fight of our lives! These EXTREMEIST Republicans are attacking nearly facet of our lives! No none self-hating middle class person, should even consider voting for a third party candidate! Mr. Chomsky is making a point, but he is most likely well off enough that having his Medicare and Social Security attacked, won't hurt him, but it will hurt most of the rest of the country! People need to weigh out what issues are most important to their lives. We also need to be hyper-vigilant about our environment! Republicans are Hell bent on allowing people like the Kochs to pollute away! We cannot allow that! They want to take away our healthcare, yet expose us to contaminates that could require expensive medical treatments! We must make certain the woman hating, the 47% hating (actually 99%) safety hating, woman hating, eduacation hating, environment hating, Republicans, do NOT get into office! They care about THEMSELVES and their BENEFACTORS, NOT the PEOPLE of the USA!
-5 # 666 2012-10-02 07:22
no, that's every reason to vote 3rd party. if the gops are rigging the election, more obama votes won't make a difference. if they're going to rig it, they're not going to do a half-assed job of it.
0 # Swamib 2012-10-02 05:21
The only way to "overgrow" the current corporate state is a transpartisan movement of awakening Americans bringing left and right front and center. Progressive green / conservative libertarian coalitions are developing on three fronts -- GMO food labeling, stopping war on Iran and legalizing marijuana and hemp. This movement is growing, but not close to "ripe." Until it is, it's this or that, Democratic or Republican. I'm also putting on a black armband and voting for Obama. If you fail to choose the lesser of two evils, guess what you end up with? The greater evil.
+2 # engelbach 2012-10-02 14:34
Progressives and Libertarians have nothing in common.

The latter would give even more free rein to corporate control of the both the economy and the political process.
+4 # Smokey 2012-10-02 06:48
Vote for the Green Party in the national election? I did that back in the year 2000.... Supposedly, a new Green Party was going to rise up that would do all sorts of wonderful things.... Well, the Greens got a few votes and nothing much happened. When the Occupy movement developed in my area, the Greens were almost invisible.... If the Greens can't gain much attention at an Occupy rally, it's time for them to exit from the national political stage.
+7 # bmiluski 2012-10-02 08:12
Unless you start at the grass roots and get your green party candidate elected to local and state seats and then actually do something for the people, you'll never get anyone green elected as president. Plus, you better have the $$$$
+7 # Kathymoi 2012-10-02 07:06
I go right along with Chomsky. I do not
WANT Obama, but I don't want Romney even more. I live in a swing state. My vote actually matters and a vote for someone who has good values and is not going to win a majority of the votes is a vote for Romney.God help us if he is elected!
+2 # Penelope Jencks 2012-10-02 07:10
There is a BIG difference between the
democrats & republicans. Have you forgotten how Bush II got elected?
If Nader had not allowed "progressives" to "vote their conscience" and feel good about themselves, we would not likely have had to deal with any of these wars, and feel bad about just about everything. Obama is better than Romney-Ryan, even aside from the supreme court's future...
+7 # Kathymoi 2012-10-02 07:14
Thinking more about the 2012 election, I want to say this. I read a lot of articles in this paper by Naom Chomsky and by Chris Hedges, but very little mention of Jill Stein or any other third party candidate. Jill Stein does not have strong popular support at this time, only a few weeks before the election. Even OWS facebook pages have not mentioned her much if at all. There's a lot of reference to "a third party candidate" but no rallying of support behind a specific candidate to represent the 99%. It is something to work on over the next four years, if free speech and political freedom are not too curtailed to make it possible.
-27 # Doctoretty 2012-10-02 07:54
Chomsky is a leader of the extreme left, which I dislike almost as much as the extreme right!
+14 # Phlippinout 2012-10-02 09:08
Tell me one extreme leftist and their beliefs. If you think Professor Chomsky is far left than I am too! But AI do not spout extreme garbage like the rightwing. I never vote to force women to lose their reproductive rights, I never vote to force the stpping of funds to family planning , I never vote to hurt or oppress others so please, tell me an extreme left argument that is meant to manipulate and isolate people. This country has no far left, I wish it did.
+8 # engelbach 2012-10-02 14:36
You are correct. There's no voice in America with any power for the working class, much less for socialism.
+7 # dkonstruction 2012-10-03 07:16
Chomsky is perhaps the leading progressive intellectual in this country on the history of US foreign policy. Unlike most others he is also principled and consistant and has one standard that he applies to all and is just as critical of those he "supports" (e.g., his cricicisms of some of Chavez's anti-democratic actions) as those who he does not support. Unlike most dems, liberals, progressives he does not make excuses for the dems but unlike "the extreme left" as you call it (which is no better than Obama slamming the "professional left"). In this piece tha man is saying that though he does not like Obama he is recommending that progressives vote for him yet you dis him for being part of "the extreme left".

How is your intolerance any better than those on this board who say there is no difference at all between the two parties or those that slam so-called progressives for voting for Obama not because they like or support him but because they understand what a repub WH and congress could do?

Have you even read any of Chomsky's major works? Define "extreme left" and how Chomsky is a part of it? Because he condemns US military escapes abroad? Because he slams the dems for not increasing the minimum wage or guaranteeing jobs for all? Because he condemns US torture of prisoners and the crackdown on domestic civil liberties?
0 # Hey There 2012-10-04 12:30
i'd give you a 100+ but only one is allowed.
Well said.
-1 # cesar 2012-10-02 08:08
i'm curious why some on these post are accusing President Obama of being a war criminal? i feel the previous administration started 2 wars, one under false pretenses and technically illegally, the other, one could argue, also a witch hunt. the President has removed troops from Iraq and in the process of removing all forces from Afghanistan. thanks for your input.
+5 # engelbach 2012-10-02 14:39
Obama deserves no credit for removing troops from Iraq: he followed Bush's timetable, not one day earlier.

He escalated the war in Afghanistan and drone attacks on Pakistan. He is responsible for thousands of innocent civilian deaths.

Both wars are in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. Pre-emptive war is criminal. And so is Obama.
0 # bmiluski 2012-10-02 08:09
For all you people who are going to be voting for Jill Stein. Just exactly what has she done to deserve your vote?
-7 # bmiluski 2012-10-02 08:19
Since the republicans are going to steal the election anyway, it really doesn't matter who you vote for.
+1 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-10-02 08:39
Kathymoi we don't need specifics on Jill. The question should now be, do the Greens and Libertarians work together and help each other on peace and civil liberties issues or do Ge's, Lib's and Constitutionali sts do what they can to destroy the two party system.

Vote No, Vote No, vote Yes to change could excite more than 1/4 of the electorate, the reactions and counter reactions to an incinerator movie belong under the topic of road rage and how to deal with it, not under whether the West is the reason we don't live in an ideal world,
0 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-10-02 08:59
Alan, you are out of date, the election is close in Colo, Fla, Iowa, N.C, & Va., so unless the debates change things the comments above from those who don't live in these states get over it. Obama tends to be a push over, violating even what his history shows he believes in, in pursuit of swing votes in elections and legislation as well. Since Obama is one of the most persistent swingers, some on this blog want to go to war against the concept of swinging

Personally I have been swinging since 1965 when I was overjoyed with my brand new drivers license to drive a sound truck for Montgomery County, Maryland Republican Peace Candidate Bill Martin.
+2 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-10-02 09:07
Martin Doctoretty, concerning Chomsky's impeccably pure leftist credentials, I am overjoyed that Pat Robertson is part of the stop criminalizing pot movement.
+1 # fredboy 2012-10-02 09:25
We need to vote straight Democrat, and work hard to get our Congressional Dem candidates to work harder. Don't give up! This is your opportunity.
+13 # reiverpacific 2012-10-02 09:55
As a foreign resident taxpayer, thereby not allowed to vote, it seems to me that the very term "Progressive" is hardly applicable to current and recent past US elections.
What you have is a choice between center-right and far right by the standards of the rest of the industrialized world, both seemingly blinded by entrenched and creeping broad-brush conservatism to true progressivism, from taxation to infrastructure, to Universal health care; it's just a matter of degree.
However, those of you who mentioned the consequences of a reactionary (far-right) victory on the future of the Supreme Court have hit the bullseye and are entitled to a coconut. Check out http//www.democ Amy Goodman hosted a detailed piece on this just yesterday and it's a frightening prospect. Ruth Bader Ginsberg has spoken of stepping down when she reaches a certain age (quite soon) and Gawd knows what the fruits of a Twit nominee would be, especially if you want even shot at overturning "Citizens United", given the lily-livered nature of many Dem's, especially the "Blue Doggie" types.
To all of you true progressives, I wish you luck; it's a real wrench.
+3 # engelbach 2012-10-02 14:41
Good post.

Supreme Court nominees must be approved by the Senate, so a Democratic Senate could block an appointee by a GOP president.
+8 # dkonstruction 2012-10-02 09:58
Anyone who believes that Chomsky is saying "support" Obama (or any other democrat for that matter) knows nothing about who he is or what he has been fighting for for the past 1/2 century. Unlike virtually all "liberals", Chomsky has one standard and has been as harsh in his criticisms of democrats as he has been about republican. he also understands that, ultimately, it is not about who is in office but about the nature of the system that truly governs. At the same time, unlike some on this board (and outside) Chomsky lives in the real world and understands the real costs to real people (mostly those at the bottom of the economic ladder as well as racial/ethnic minorities) should this ultra-right fanatical republican party come to power. His position is far more principled than those saying vote third party no matter where you live (as i will be doing in NY but wouldn't if were voting in Ct. for example) for he also understands what Sarte understood and addressed in his play "dirty hands"...there is no such thing as purity and we all to one degree or another have "dirty hands" so it is always about choices which often are not "pure" or the best but it is still the reality in which we live. Keeping "pure" but enabling the repubs to capture the WH and the congress is either noble nor an effective protest. It is merely self-serving in a society in which "feeling good" (appearance) is more important than substance and the real life consequences of our actions.
+3 # George D 2012-10-02 23:21
It's great to have unwaivering principles; Or is it?

There is a subtle genius to being able to make deals of any kind. Sometimes, the "long game" is to settle for a small advancement, until you are set up for the big move.

I may be wrong but I suspect that Obama is the type that waits for the right moment before pouncing. A second term for Obama is likely to be a very good four years for America.

Ted Kennedy always regretted not making a Health Care deal with Nixon. To understand Obama, one needs to understand that lost opportunity well.

As for the military drone usage, Americans authorized two wars. Like it or not, we are all equal in the eyes of radical Islamists, because they (like us) don't parse out the good guys and the bad guys of a society. And in a war, nothing but destruction and death takes place. That's why they call it war and not the "away game". Sadly, too many Americans can't seem to process the idea of that and have never experienced it themselves, so it is the "away game" to them and the only thing that matters is "what's the score" and "are we winning?" The idea that there is no "winning" only "stopping" is too much for them to handle.
"Leave Afghanistan and Iraq before we won? The shame; Ahhhh the shame of it all".
-2 # davejette 2012-10-02 10:07
This is just the lesser-of-evils mentality that forever keeps us bound to the two-party system, supporting unadulterated evil. Some people never learn, after decades of such experience! I'll be voting for Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, but voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party would also be fine. If you live in a swing state, it's especially important to vote for a progressive third party, as a concrete step toward rejection of the two-party system and building a progressive electoral alternative.
+10 # dkonstruction 2012-10-02 10:59
Quoting davejette:
This is just the lesser-of-evils mentality that forever keeps us bound to the two-party system, supporting unadulterated evil. Some people never learn, after decades of such experience! I'll be voting for Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, but voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party would also be fine. If you live in a swing state, it's especially important to vote for a progressive third party, as a concrete step toward rejection of the two-party system and building a progressive electoral alternative.

I agree we need to build a viabele third party in this country. But this work takes place in between elections or else it is just all BS. How would the election of Mitt Romney (let's say that this is the result of your having people vote for a third party in "swing states" a "concrete step toward rejection of the two-party system and building a progressive alternative?" All this does is elect one of the two parties. It doesn't build anything. This has to happen in between elections with a lot of thankless, hard work starting at the local level. Simply running a third party candidate every 4 years and believing that this is building anything is pure fantasy.
+4 # engelbach 2012-10-02 14:45
When Obama is elected, any momentum to build a third party will be lost.

Supporters will go back to the "wait and see" attitude they had in 2009, when Obama began to sell out to the GOP on one issue after another. They'll regard any effort to build a third party as "betraying" Obama.

The big problem is that while it's obvious how bad the GOP is, supporters of the Democrats refuse to see how bad their party is as well.

Labor Party 2016.
+3 # natalierosen 2012-10-02 11:11
I am SO sick of left of center continuing to say that the two parties are the same. THEY ARE NOT. They are not if one merely thinks of a Supreme Court choice which will last for possibly decades and overturn Roe, and other issues monumentally important to progressives and ones which we spent blood.

We tried doing that in 2000 and got Bush elected. NEVER not in my lifetime will a third party EVER in this huge lumbering country be a viable option. We are simply too HUGE for that. As bad as they are the two parties DO present a difference and if progressives are too obtuse to see it then they will pay the price with their lives as climate change does not discriminate.

NO nation is infallible, no nation is perfect. We choose every single day of our lives for the lesser of the evils. To do so now and elect Obama is INFINITELY better than a horrific President Romney (God forbid!) The sooner left of center liberals get it the better we will be. VOTE BARACK OBAMA 2012 and if in Mass. Elizabeth Warren for US Senate from Mass.
+10 # dkonstruction 2012-10-03 08:40
Not all of the "left of center" say that both parties are the same. I, for one, never have. At the same time, i am "so sick" of those "centrists", "liberals", "progressives" that wind up being essentially apologists for and are completely uncritical of the democrats which i think is just what is done by simply saying "well, no nation is perfect or infallible." It is hardly asking for "perfection" to expect a democratic president not to diminish domestic civil liberties, not to engage in a horrific "drone war" against countries that never attacked or even threatened to attack us; not to be complicit in the illegal overthrow of democratically elected gov'ts (honduras) or prevent the most democratic and most popular party in haiti from even taking part in the election; and there are many others of course.

So, yes, we should never make the mistake of thinking that both parties are "the same" but we should also never make the mistake in believing the dems are any less the party of the 1% or have ever represented anything other than the interests of capital as a whole or making excuses for heinous policies.

So, just because we may say that in the immediate term we have no choice other than choosing between the lesser of two evils we need to call out "evil" wherever and whenever we see it no matter from which party it comes.
+5 # Activista 2012-10-02 12:35
Chomsky is right - relationship between tactics and action -
if you live in a swing state - vote "against Romney-Ryan, which means voting for Obama."
else vote for anybody except Obama/Romney-Ryan.
The American Spring/emergenc e will come from present chaos - believe in power of powerless = 99%.
+7 # frankscott 2012-10-02 13:14
given the choice between cancer and polio, "progressives" will - intelligently, thoughtfully and with compassion - choose potentially crippling polio, since potentially terminal cancer would be so much worse...

and the crippling disease will continue and become terminal until and unless progressives - without quotes - demand , work for, vote for , and finally get social change beyond putting a national, allegedly multi-cultural minority-divide d commercially profitable individualistic face on the massive loss to humanity in a social and global disaster...
+11 # beamamyl 2012-10-02 13:33
I think the two-party system in the US is broken and will remain broken as long as voters still pretend it works. I voted for Obama, but was betrayed in his first month of office when he named Larry Summers as his chief economic advisor. Life-long Democrats are suffering from cognitive dissonance: an unwillingness to believe the astonishing truth on their plate because it disturbs their beliefs. The corporations that took over America were clever to send a Democrat to front for them, knowing the country was fed up with Republicans and yearned for change.Is Obama the lesser of two evils? He crossed a line. Guatanamo is STILL open for business. We now have a Presidential kill list. Bradley Manning still sits in a military prison. The US's biggest export is perpetual war, now turning into drone warfare which will make the US hated by the entire world. We now have indefinite detention for American citizens. Those accused of crimes cannot obtain the evidence because it would divulge "State Secrets". Our phone calls and emails are secretly captured by the government without cause or court order. Obama and Attorney General Holder continue their witch hunt against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. The US now has the Border Crossing Exemption to the Fourth Amendment, violating our rights to unreasonable search and seizure upon entering the US. Countless computers and mobile phones have been confiscated and not returned. Will I be next? I miss my country. Hobson's Choice: this or nothing.
+7 # engelbach 2012-10-02 14:47
Bravo for this post.
+9 # Activista 2012-10-02 16:22
"The US's biggest export is perpetual war" reading Amy post makes me optimistic.
America is waking up in spite of the continuous censorship and propaganda. It seems that Clinton and his foundation led by ex AIPAC chair made Obama the puppet = "were clever to send a Democrat to front for them .."
+2 # joe4sky 2012-10-02 15:37
Does any body know that New World Order bankers (Rothschilds) and super rich OWN BOTH guys running for President. Reading forums like this remind me why, I stopped voting after Reagan got Re-elected for his economic policy, which damaged our Banking system, the Economy,and the Dollar. Most voters are clueless, thinking that the Republicans or Democrats are going to save the Country from it's problems, when they are the corrupt greedy guys, that are the problem. Reaganomics was the start of NWO (using the Federal Reserve) taking control of our government and its poicies and big deficit budgets, that led to the problems we have now. Wake UP, read more Chomsky, or any body else that writes about the reality of the world, not just the the little Republican/Demo crat fantasy and lies fishbowl, you think about. Obama is bad and Romney is most likly worse for the American people, but the whole corupt system controled by the super rich, is the problem. -- Try to save the constitution and improve on it, not let it be distroyed by NWO Bankers and the corupt politicans they own.
+7 # Activista 2012-10-02 16:24
yes - hope that 99% will wake up to the reality - hope for America Spring.
+3 # NotSure 2012-10-02 15:43
This is really sad. Voting for Obama is voting for empire. NDAA, hello.
0 # Vicky Trippe 2012-10-02 16:17
I don't recognize the world represented in these comments. President Obama and the Democrats increased the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years, passed bills on equality in wages and in serving in the military, put two left-of-center justices on the Supreme Court, passed many bills (Cash for Clunkers, tax credits for energy efficient windows and appliances, tax credits that have doubled wind and solar power, signed agreements that will double the gas mileage of cars, etc.) that have improved energy efficiency, created jobs and decreased America's dependence on foreign oil, passed a health care law that will give 50 million uninsured Americans access to health care, signed agreements to decrease nuclear weapons worldwide, saved America's auto industry, and many more things of which I am very proud. I will vote for President Obama, and I will cast that vote with pride.
-4 # angelfish 2012-10-02 18:45
You should KNOW that a vote for ANYONE but President Obama is a vote FOR Romney/Ryan! I thought you were smarter than that Mr. Chomsky! DON'T throw your vote away on a Third Party Candidate that CAN'T win!
-1 # wleming 2012-10-02 20:04
hold your nose, vote obama, and hope the romney ryan cabal don't get it. if they do.. you can write off so much of your future... honest folks
+3 # George D 2012-10-02 23:05
I was a bit disappointed in the Chomsky interview, but a couple of thoughts rang true; The idea that there is a diminishing return on tactics used to gain awareness of an idea. Also, that people need to view the folks they are trying to reach, through the eyes of THEIR world view, and try to pursuade them that there might be another perspective to consider.

To the latter point, I think it's important for people to have a good understanding of where their ideas are, in history and who is most likely to help make the changes they want to occur. Then "walk softly, but carry a big stick".

Too often, setbacks occur because of timing. I feel that, had Al Gore become president, gays and minorities would have been better off. But because they fed into the culture war, before an important election, with parades and demonstrations, they only incited the people on the other side of their cause to rally against them. Had they been more "grass roots" in their organization and helped the right people get into office "quietly" they (and all Progressives) would have done better.

That's exactly the formula being used by the Conservative Right, at this very moment. No anti-abortion marches. No anti-gay rallies. Just a quiet takeover of the Congress, one "Tea Party Candidate" at a time.

Progressives need better tactics and a better sense of when to be publicly vocal and when to hold back.
-6 # nettiemich 2012-10-02 23:34
Intellectuals like Chomsky and his boot lickers are stupid! You are no better the the right wing nuts. Obama a war criminal well everyone here is to! You did no protesting like we did during Vietnam. We closed down universities but you are all well heel pampered useless pieces of you Shiite because you are all on you high horse. Obama is the Jackie Robinson of Politics and you all are useless. Chomsky is irrelevant! He is just as destructive because he is a belief worshipper. This empire has fallen from the weight of it's own corruption and rightly so and millions will suffer. Not even God would believe in man's limited ideas about God. Mankind is suffering from delusions of grandeur and this constitution is crumbling. We are ALL RESPONSIBLE WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY? DON'T WORRY ABOUT OBAMA'S AND THE SHIITE PILE YOU LEFT THE HOUSE N TO CLEAN UP! I HAVE NO MORE RESPECT OR LESS RESPECT FOR CHOMSKY HE WILL BE A GONE SOON AND SOON A FOOTNOTE LEAVING NO WORTHWHILE CONTRIBUTION TO THE RESTORATION OF MANKIND. AND YOU ARE ALL CONSUMERS AND YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR RAPING OUR EARTH. I KNOW I LIVED ON THE OLDEST CONTINUOUS ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITY AND THE OWS WAS A JOKE AT LEAST THE TEABAGGER/TALIB AN GOT PEOPLE ELECTED TO THE HOUSE OF REPUGNICAN'T AND BLOCKED OBAMA WHAT DID THE STUPID OWS DO OTHER THEN ACT LIKE MEDIA WHORES!?
+4 # dkonstruction 2012-10-03 07:25
Truly amazing how you were able to trash both Noam Chomsky (probably the leading US public intellectual on US foreign policy and someone who has been fighting against US capitalism since Vietnam) and Jackie Robinson in the same piece. Now that's creative wiritng.

The only one suffering form delusions of grandeur (not to mention just a bit of holier than thouness) is the writer of such nonsense.

have you even read any of Chomsky's major writing and if so what is your problem with them or any of the completely principled and consistant positions he has taken for more than half a century?
+8 # sschnapp 2012-10-03 07:37
What is sad to me about the majority of the comments is the dichotomous nature of the arguments. Vote for the lesser of two evils vs. don't vote for evil. Lost is Chomsky's key point that the electoral show is worth 5-10 minutes of progressives' time. It's the rest of what we do that's important. We need to build a movement -- broad-based, multi-racial, multi-class, democratic. If we cannot learn to work with folks with different strategies, struggling in a principled AND comradely way, we doom ourselves to being in the vast majority of people who want profound change yet splintered into a thousand ultimately ineffectual groups, treating each other with disdain and allowing the 1% to dominate our lives. When will we learn to struggle AND build unity?
+2 # George D 2012-10-03 11:41
Well stated.
As Chris Matthews has also stated. most Americans will not raise their hand and say they are a Liberal or a Progressive, but they generally are fine with most Progressive causes.

As I see it, the key to building a third party that has broad ranging support, and a shot at the White House, and Congress, is by mixing a little "old" with some new, and not so "radical" ideas.

The candidate I think Americans would vote for would be a mix of Obama and Ron Paul (of all people). The "Ron Paul" side would be anti-war and talk about personal freedoms being restored/protec ted, with the government staying out of people's bedrooms and churches. He would say "those things are best kept in your own bedrooms and in your own churches and don't belong in the policy discussion of government".

The Obama side would say, "we have the strongest military in the world and, for defense purposes, we'll keep it modern and well maintained; But we will not charge off to every war or opportunity for war in the world.

His "Socialist" side would talk about government intervention in a very few limited markets; The "necessities of life" like energy, agriculture, and environment. He would say "we the people, own these resources and we deserve the right to control them. The public's right to life necessities trumps corporate mega-profits." Maybe oil drilling and refineries should be government entities?
0 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-10-06 14:29
Quoting Thomas Martin:
No, Orwell, Chomsky said "if we don't live in swing states" vote for real change - but if we don't live in swing states, vote for the lesser of two evils.

At first I was disappointed that Chomsky said he didn't think voting was important but worth the few moments it takes to press a lever.

But for the first time I saw a fiber debate then a real world discussion as well.

Chomsky statement is overwhelmingly important equal to Pat Robertson opposing harsh drug laws,
0 # Idonthavealabel 2012-10-08 11:07
I believe that in order to affect REAL change in this country, we have to start at the local level and work our way up the ladder. Vote for and support the progressives running for local town councils, county executives/comm issioners and state legislatures. One city, one county, one state at a time. It's going to take us years to do this, but I for one think it's worth the effort.
0 # humesbastard 2012-10-11 04:27
Quoting Idonthavealabel:
I believe that in order to affect REAL change in this country, we have to start at the local level and work our way up the ladder. Vote for and support the progressives running for local town councils, county executives/commissioners and state legislatures. One city, one county, one state at a time. It's going to take us years to do this, but I for one think it's worth the effort.

I agree. It seems the damage to the political process is two-fold. The American First Past The Post electoral system and limp campaign finance laws are only half the story. The other half is how organizations like ALEC have targeted state and local government.

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