Noam Chomsky on “What is Anarchism?”

Four thoughts:

  1. love “what is X” questions.
  2. “Widening the bars of the cage” is the most succinct way I can articulate my orientation to political questions.
  3. Claiming Dewey as a proto-anarchist would be a wonderful intellectual move
  4. It would also be a terrific rejoinder to the self-indulgent liberalism of Richard Rorty

3 Comments

  1. Great talk by Chomsky, and “Widening the bars of the cage” is a great phrase. I think though Chomsky said “Widening the floors of the cage,” remembering expression “expanding the floor space of the cage” said by a union organizer quoted in Biorn Maybury-Lewis’ “The Politics of the Possible: The Brazilian Rural Workers’ Trade Union.” http://bit.ly/VyAN10.

    The implications of the two metaphors are interesting. Widening the bars of a cage moves towards a threshhold when the gap becomes large enough to escape through. Widening the cage itself means expanding the shared space, pushing back the coercion of institutions but retaining their protection, against the wilderness without.

    1. Oh did he? I think I’d had the former phrase incorrectly lodged in my mind from when I first read it (probably a decade ago now) so perhaps misheard this. I actually like the second metaphor more on your reading of it…

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