Noam Chomsky is a lightning rod for right wing criticism, which means this website risks permanent guilt-by-association by embedding an eight minute video of nothing but Noam Chomsky speaking. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. In this video, shot in Boulder, CO in April of 2011, Mr. Chomsky pins the blame for corporate personhood on progressives (including Woodrow Wilson), calls out Bill Clinton for backstabbing Mexico (with NAFTA) and militarizing the border (as a result), and reminds us that the ACLU is in lock-step with the unethical doctrines of corporate personhood and money as speech.
It won’t be easy for some progressives to accept and digest his observations. And while some conservatives will probably be positively giddy to hear him lambaste the Slick one, others will simply dismiss him for who he is. But this is what a non-partisan view of the state of American civics looks like. In answer to a question from the crowd, Mr. Chomsky offers a brief history lesson and an academic view on how we got to this point in America. The reason it’s worthy of republishing here is because he reminds us that principled conservatives of a century ago were opposed to this expansion of corporate constitutional rights via the Fourteenth Amendment, just like principled conservatives should be today. Ironically, people who self-identify as conservative, who also support and defend the Citizens United ruling, are at least partly defending a progressive policy. Could be a useful tidbit to bring up in debates with friends and relatives.
Corporate progressives gave us corporate personhood — or, at least, according to Chomsky, they helped set the conditions for its acceptance — and corporate conservatives gave us money as speech (Lewis Powell and company). Combined, they have fueled what has almost undeniably become a new gilded age in American history. And the biggest beneficiaries are neither progressive nor conservative, but corporate opportunists who owe no allegiance to any party, philosophy or, indeed, any nation. Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon are not conservatives any more than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are progressives. All are suckling at the teat of corporate corruption and none have the best economic interest of ordinary American citizens at heart.
This is what this movement is about — erasing the artificial ideological lines between American citizens that have only served to empower and enrich an elite few. We are the real “no labels” movement, not that corporate front group that goes by the same name and seems to be ticking everyone, meaning everyone, really everyone, off. And we’re not alone anymore. Meaningful solutions start with a meaningful movement. And that’s right here, and here and here.