Noam Chomsky, now 91, has been analyzing protest movements since the 1940s, and in an interview with Truthout, the left-wing author offered some scathing analysis of President Donald Trump’s response to the “Justice for George Floyd” protests.
Trump’s authoritarian outlook, Chomsky stressed during the interview, has been painfully obvious during his comments on the protests. According to Chomsky, Trump’s “reflex is his call for ‘the most vicious dogs and most ominous weapons I have ever seen’ when peaceful protestors appear near his abode. The phrase ‘vicious dogs’ evokes the country’s horror when images of vicious dogs attacking black demonstrators appeared on the front pages during the civil rights movement. Trump’s use of the phrase was either by intent, to stir up racist violence, or reflexive, arising from his innermost sentiments.”
Trump, Chomsky noted, is making a “call for domination” at the same time that he is promoting “corporate power.”
Chomsky told Truthout that Trump “must satisfy the demands of extreme wealth and corporate power, which tolerate his antics only in so far as he serves their interests abjectly, as he does with admirable consistency in his legislative programs and executive decisions — such as the recent Environmental Protection Agency decision to increase air pollution ‘in the midst of an unprecedented respiratory pandemic,’ risking tens of thousands of deaths, disproportionately black.”
The 91-year-old author also stressed that Trump still knows how to fire up his far-right base with his own brand of pseudo-populism. According to Chomsky, Trump is a corporatist, an authoritarian, a racist and a pseudo-populist all rolled into one.
“The con man in charge must control his voting base while he is stabbing most of them in the back with his actual programs — a difficult feat, which he has so far carried off with much skill,” Chomsky explains. “The voting base includes not only avid white supremacists, but others in the grip of the fear of ‘them’ that is a core part of the culture — and is, of course, not without foundation. One consequence of bitter repression is that ‘they’ often resort to crime — that is, the retail crime of the weak, not the wholesale crime of the powerful.”