Tag Archives: democracy

Pablo Giussani

Con [su] compañía y las conductas que de ella derivaban, el candidato peronista [adormeció] los reflejos antigolpistas de la población. El mayor de los cargos formulables hoy contra Menem es precisamente el de haber quebrado, por ambición de poder, aquella línea divisoria tan claramente trazada todavía en abril de 1987 entre una civilidad uniformemente democrática y el autoritarismo castrense.

Pablo Giussani, Menem, su lógica secreta, Buenos Aires, 1990, p. 85

Noam Chomsky

One of the issues which has devastated a substantial portion of the left in recent years, and caused enormous triumphalism elsewhere, is the alleged fact that there’s been this great battle between socialism and capitalism in the twentieth century, and in the end capitalism won and socialism lost—and the reason we know that socialism lost is because the Soviet Union disintegrated. So you have big cover stories in The Nation about “The End of Socialism,” and you have socialists who all their lives considered themselves anti-Stalinist saying, “Yes, it’s true, socialism has lost because Russia failed.” I mean, even to raise questions about this is something you’re not supposed to do in our culture, but let’s try it. Suppose you ask a simple question: namely, why do people like the editors at The Nation say that “socialism” failed, why don’t they say that “democracy” failed?—and the proof that “democracy” failed is, look what happened to Eastern Europe. After all, those countries also called themselves “democratic”—in fact, they called themselves “People’s Democracies,” real advanced forms of democracy. So why don’t we conclude that “democracy” failed, not just that “socialism” failed? Well, I haven’t seen any articles anywhere saying, “Look, democracy failed, let’s forget about democracy.” And it’s obvious why: the fact that they called themselves democratic doesn’t mean that they were democratic. Pretty obvious, right?

Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power, New York, 2002, p. 145

Noam Chomsky

I’m in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions in the society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism we can’t have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level—there’s a little bargaining, a little give and take, but the line of authority is perfectly straightforward. Just as I’m opposed to political fascism, I’m opposed to economic fascism. I think that until major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it’s pointless to talk about democracy. In this sense, I would describe myself as a libertarian socialist—I’d love to see centralized power eliminated, whether it’s the state or the economy, and have it diffused and ultimately under direct control of the participants. Moreover, I think that’s entirely realistic. Every bit of evidence that exists (there isn’t much) seems to show, for example, that workers’ control increases efficiency. Nevertheless, capitalists don’t want it, naturally; what they’re worried about is control, not the loss of productivity or efficiency.

Noam Chomsky, ‘One man’s view: Noam Chomsky. Are universities too conservative? Do they collude with corporations to obscure the way power works in our society? Noam Chomsky thinks so and explains why’, Business Today, May, 1973