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Becoming Universal Soldiers of Resistance to Fascist Thinking: Chomsky on Extinction

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Universal Soldiers of Resistance to Fascist Thinking

by John Kendall Hawkins

"Earth abides."

- toilet stall graffiti, occupied West Bank

I reckon, after all is said and said about the man, he'll end up being considered the closest we modern political movement types have had to a real life Socrates. In more recent photos, Noam Chomsky, with his glasses off, even resembles the ancient dialectician. Check it out. And what a world class Gadfly he is. A neigh sayer, a hoarse whisperer, if there ever was one. Along with Ralph Nader, I'm gonna miss him when he's gone. And if the recent photos of him looking grizzled and unkempt are any indication, he ain't gone yet, as Dylan would say, but he's getting' there.

Gaud help me. All those years of education in Boston -- telling the Young Republicans on campus to go f*ck themselves, as a work-study cub reporter, at the student newspaper; watching the tie-dyed t-shirt clad women dance at the Nelson Mandela release festival held at the Hatch Shell on the Charles; writing napkin poetry at the Wursthaus (Black Forest steaks marinated in German folklore, at least 48 hours) in Harvard Square; even letting a love interest drag me over to the MIT student pub (empty, summer) where a beer and boredom soon settled in and I caved to male gazing at my would-be girlfriend across the table, who was dating an anarchist with a skateboard. Hmph. And Chomsky giving lectures everywhere in Cambridge at the time, and me never attending one. Not one. On the other hand, I wasn't one of those types that trotskies him out to prop up slurring proclamations about every five f*cking minutes either, like the skateboarder.

I don't know why I didn't attend any of his lectures, until the Internet was up and running for a few years. Maybe his emotionless delivery did nothing for me, maybe it was the intellectual intimidation factor. I found Hegel more accessible at that time. (Aced the course, too.) But now -- come to think of it, that new dishevelled look reminds me of some other image in my memory buried like a manufactured consent egg -- I am beginning to Woke to Noam's clarion call. He's been described as our beloved "Public Intellectual," and I get that now; it's an apt and meet description. And at least he's not bitter, like Socrates was in the end, knocking back the hemlock brewsky.

Reading through his latest book, Internationalism or Extinction (Universalizing Resistance), I came across a passage toward the end, in The Third Threat section, where Chomsky discusses how democracy is under the pressure of collapse everywhere -- historical dialectical energy sapped, us reaching not Absolute Spirit (as Hegel promised us, if we were good), but Absolute Neurasthenia, which is to say, going down not with a Bang but a Whimper.

Chomsky, whose surname sounds like food-for-thought, references 1939, the Spanish Civil War, Franco's Fascists, the fall of Barthelona, and the flight of anarchists to foreign shores. He remembers:

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

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