Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/685/12769

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 September 2011

Book review

Power and terror

Matt Dobson reviews: Power and Terror: Conflict, Hegemony, and the Rule of Force, by Noam Chomsky

In response to the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the Bush neo-con administration unleashed a military onslaught on Afghanistan and Iraq that seemed to display invincible power.

Writers churned out articles and books predicting the dawn of a "new world order". Commentators claimed the US ruling elite was building a Roman-like empire that would exert hegemony for decades across the world. What a different world we live in today!

This collection of Chomsky's essays, interviews and lectures shows how much can change in ten years. Chomsky highlights the change in the balance of power in terms of inter-imperialist relations. The US empire is now in decline. US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are besieged garrisons. But he never fully explains the changed world situation and the change in the imperialist policy of the US ruling class.

Throughout the last decade the Socialist Party and the international organisation to which it is affiliated, the CWI, pointed out that the US ruling class would not be able to dominate world relations indefinitely.

We also said that it would face resistance, highlighting the example of the Vietnam conflict, and would come up against the contradictions its policies had created.

Chomsky eloquently exposes the brutal nature of imperialism. For him, imperialism is the moral hypocrisy of powerful regimes using "power and terror and the rule of force" to further their political and economic aims. This cannot be disputed but for socialists there is more to it.

As Lenin explained, the capitalist class also turns to imperialist policies under pressure from the contradictions of their own system and as a way out of the limitations of the nation state. They are compelled by the threat from their rivals to seek out new markets and maintain dominance over areas.

The US ruling class, while loudly proclaiming their unchallenged authority and satisfying their hunger for prestige, was also compelled by unsustainable economic problems that came to the surface in 2007-8, to embark on imperial adventures.

A commendable thrust of Chomsky's arguments is against the hypocrisy of liberal intellectuals who critically supported the neo-cons' imperialist strategy. As a consequence he has suffered isolation from mainstream debate in the US.

Chomsky reacts to US imperialism's brutality and uses 'moral authority' to condemn but never provides a solution or a strategy for defeating imperialism. His limitations are exposed. A discussion on "how should we respond?" solely focuses on what citizens in the west can do to restrain the imperialist policies of 'their' governments. The only idea discussed is individual boycotts of arms companies.

The recent revolutions in the Arab world have seen mass movements developing where workers and the poor decisively entered into struggle and toppled or weakened seemingly all powerful dictatorships propped up by imperialist powers. In the light of those developments, Chomsky's ideas appear out of tune and out of date.

This is an interesting read but Chomsky's analysis and reliance on individual moral solutions is limited. Those coming into struggle against imperialism and capitalism today will require a collective strategy based on mass action.

Power and Terror: Conflict, Hegemony, and the Rule of Force, essays, interviews and lectures in the ten years since 9/11, Noam Chomsky, Pluto Press, 2011

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 14 September 2011:


Socialist Party features

We need a programme of action to fight back!

Austerity policies strangle growth


Socialist Party youth and students

Pampered politicians plan education massacre... STOP THEM!

Low pay and the housing crisis

Youth must join pensions struggle

EMA cuts: doors close on our future

Cuts hit young people hard in Hastings


Stop attacks on pensions

Hands off our pensions!

NHS pensions - Pay more, work longer and get less!


Socialist Party workplace news

Bombardier

Support Wyndeham workers

No to pay cuts in Carmarthenshire

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

How can the national rights of Palestinians be achieved?


Socialist Party news and analysis

NSSN calls on TUC to open the floodgates of mass action

Nationalise the banking system!

Childcare costs push parents into hardship

Save our NHS

Fast news


Socialist Party review

Power and terror


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save Surrey libraries!

Bristol: Labour's short-lived valour

Hundreds march against Dale Farm evictions

May Day protest case goes to Strasbourg


 

Home   |   The Socialist 14 September 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Terror:

triangleReading workers' movement responds to knife attack

triangleReading Socialist Party: Unite against terror, racism & war

triangleGermany: Right-wing terror attacks - fight racism, fight capitalism!

triangleStreatham attack: Johnson's bill can't stop terror

triangleProtesting is not terrorism

US:

triangleAnniversary of nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

triangleCuba: Covid-19 and the 60-year-old embargo

triangleSocialist Party placards at a protest of healthcare workers in London demanding a pay rise, photo by Isai

triangleCapitalism's 'vaccine war' shows need for socialist cooperation

Imperialism:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Fire Next Time

triangleYemen's desperate civil war fuelled by imperialism and regional powers

Iraq:

triangleIraq - a brutal legacy of imperialist intervention

triangleSuleimani's assassination - Middle East thrown into turmoil

Afghanistan:

triangleAssange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

22/7/20

Cuba

Exciting Cuban spy thriller exposes US-sponsored terrorism

22/7/20

Letters

The Socialist inbox

22/7/20

Socialist Party

I joined the Socialist Party to fight back

15/7/20

Housing

TV: Ross Kemp - Living with Forced Out Families

15/7/20

Bolsheviks

Books that inspired me: The Mother

15/7/20

Black Lives Matter

How the FBI and Chicago police murdered a Black Panther

8/7/20

School

TV: The school that tried to end racism

8/7/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

8/7/20

Racism

Books that inspired me: The Fire Next Time

1/7/20

TV

From slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed

1/7/20

US

Readers' opinion

1/7/20

Socialist Party

I left Labour and want to end capitalism - join us in Socialist Party

24/6/20

Letters

The Socialist inbox

24/6/20

Covid

A timely read about a pandemic that overwhelms society

17/6/20

Windrush

Tears and anger over the treatment of the Windrush generation

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999