FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn Plan to Vote for Ralph Nader

by GREG BATES

Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn have stated many times that they favor ousting Bush this election, even if John Kerry is “Bush-lite.” And that stand has been repeatedly used by progressives opposed to Ralph Nader’s campaign.

However, Chomsky and Zinn, both residents of John Kerry’s home state of Massachusetts, say they plan to vote for Ralph Nader.

This may come as a surprise to those who have trotted out Chomsky in an effort to blunt Nader. One example is Jeff Cohen, the founder of the media watch group FAIR (and by way of disclosure, is an author along with both Chomsky and Zinn at Common Courage Press at which this reporter is Publisher). As Cohen stated on Commondreams.org May 7, “Progressives need to be a bridge forward, not an obstruction. Noam Chomsky has described the choice we face: ‘Help elect Bush, or do something to try to prevent it.’”

To cite another example, Doug Henwood, the Publisher of the Left Business Observer wrote in April, “…as Noam Chomsky puts it, to the distress of his many fans, given the magnitude of U.S. power, ‘small differences can translate into large outcomes.’”

But in response to an email query from this reporter, Chomsky wrote,
“Voting for Nader in a safe state is fine. That’s what I’ll do. I don’t see how anyone could read what I wrote and think otherwise, just from the elementary logic of it. Voting for Nader in a safe state is not a vote for Bush. The point I made had to do with (effectively) voting for Bush.”

Chomsky also made clear how he views the election in the context of other efforts for change: “Activist movements, if at all serious, pay virtually no attention to which faction of the business party is in office, but continue with their daily work, from which elections are a diversion — which we cannot ignore, any more than we can ignore the sun rising; they exist.”

In another email exchange, Howard Zinn stated, “I will vote for Nader because Mass. is a safe state. And voters in ‘safe states’ should not vote for Kerry.” He also notes, “I don’t have faith in Kerry changing, but with Kerry there is a possibility that a powerful social movement might change him. With Bush, no chance.”

The question of Kerry’s receptivity to social movements deserves serious consideration, discussed further in the book from which this article is adapted. But returning to the issue of voting for Kerry in safe states, the impact of the Electoral College is virtually absent in discussions about Nader’s run.

As BusinessWeek June 14 2004 points out, 75% of voters live in safe states. Voters casting a ballot for Kerry in those states, regardless of the message they intend to send, will be perceived by the Democratic National Committee as endorsing the Kerry platform of war and moving the Democrats to the right. Meanwhile, voters in safe states have the opportunity to send a message that Kerry’s platform is unacceptable, without risking throwing the election to Bush.

GREG BATES is the publisher of Common Courage Press and the author of Ralph’s Revolt: the Case for Joining Nader’s Rebellion, from which this essay has been excerpted. Bates can be reached at: gbates@commoncouragepress.com


More articles by:
Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
Thomas S. Harrington
What Nerve! In Catalonia They are Once Again Trying to Swear in the Coalition that Won the Most Votes
Pepe Escobar
Rome: A Eulogy
Robert Hunziker
Will Aliens Save Humanity?
Jonah Raskin
“Can’t Put the Pot Genie Back in the Bottle”: An Interview with CAL NORML’s Dale Gieringer
Stepan Hobza
Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump
Joseph Natoli
The ‘Worlding’ of the Party-less
Julia Stein
The Myths of Housing Policy
George Ochenski
Zinke’s Purge at Interior
Christopher Brauchli
How Trump Killed the Asterisk
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
Corporate Monopolies Will Accelerate the Globalisation of Bad Food, Poor Health and Environmental Catastrophe
Michael J. Sainato
U.S Prisons Are Ending In-Person Visits, Cutting Down On Reading Books
Michael Barker
Blame Game: Carillion or Capitalism?
Binoy Kampmark
The War on Plastic
Cindy Sheehan – Rick Sterling
Peace Should Be Integral to the Women’s March
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
No Foreign Bases!
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: Across the Boer Heartland to Pretoria
Joe Emersberger
What’s Going On in Ecuador? An Interview With Wladimir Iza
Clark T. Scott
1918, 1968, 2018: From Debs to Trump
Cesar Chelala
Women Pay a Grievous Price in Congo’s Conflict
Michael Welton
Secondly
Robert Koehler
The Wisdom of Mass Salvation
Seth Sandronsky
Misreading Edu-Reform 
Ann Garrison
Full-Spectrum Arrogance: US Bases Span the Globe
Louis Proyect
Morality Tales on the American Malaise: the Films of Rick Alverson
David Yearsley
Winston and Paddington: Marianelli’s Musical Bears
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail