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Childhood: 192845

Avram Noam Chomsky was born on December 7, 1928, in the affluent East Oak Lane neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[28][29] His father, Dr. William "Zev" Chomsky (18961977) had been born in Ukraine, then a part of the Russian Empire, and had fled to the United States in 1913 to avoid conscription into the army. Here, he began work in sweatshops in Baltimore, Maryland, before getting teaching work at the city's Hebrew elementary schools, using his money to fund his studies at Johns Hopkins University. He married Elsie Simonofsky a native of what is now Belarus who grew up in the United States and they moved to Philadelphia, where they both began teaching at the Mikveh Israel religious school. William eventually rose to the position of school principal. In 1924 he was appointed to the faculty at the country's oldest teacher training institution, Gratz College, where he became faculty president in 1932. In 1955, he also began teaching courses at Dropsie College. Independently, he was involved in researching Medieval Hebrew, eventually authoring a series of books on the language: How to Teach Hebrew in the Elementary Grades (1946), Hebrew, the Story of a Living Language (1947), Hebrew, the Eternal Language (1957) and Teaching and Learning (1959), as well as an edited version of David Kimhi's Hebrew Grammar (1952). Described as a "very warm, gentle, and engaging" individual, William Chomsky placed a great emphasis on educating people so that they would be "well integrated, free and independent in their thinking, and eager to participate in making life more meaningful and worthwhile for all", a view that would subsequently be adopted by his son. Noam was the Chomsky family's first child. His younger brother, David Eli Chomsky, was born five years later. The brothers remained close, although David was more easygoing while Noam could be very competitive. Chomsky's parents' first language was Yiddish, but Chomsky said it was "taboo" in his family to speak it. Unlike her husband, Elsie spoke "ordinary New York English". The brothers were raised in this Jewish environment, being taught Hebrew and regularly discussing the political theories of Zionism; the family were particularly influenced by the Left Zionist writings of Ahad Ha'am (18561927). Being Jewish, Noam Chomsky faced anti-semitism as a child, particularly from the Irish and German communities living in Philadelphia; he recalls German "beer parties" celebrating the fall of Paris to the Nazis. Noam described his parents as "normal Roosevelt Democrats", having a centre-left position on the political spectrum, but he was exposed to far left politics through other members of the family, a number of whom were socialists involved in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) trade union. He was influenced largely by his uncle who, having never passed 4th grade, owned a newspaper stand in New York City where local Jewish leftists came to debate the issues of the day. Whenever visiting his family in the city, Chomsky also frequented left-wing and anarchist bookstores, becoming a voracious reader of political literature. He would later describe his discovery of anarchism as a "lucky accident", allowing him to become critical of other radical leftwing ideologies, namely Marxism-Leninism, which held to the belief that the path to an egalitarian society lay in the control of the vanguard party.

Chomsky's primary education was at Oak Lane Country Day School, an independent institution that focused on allowing its pupils to pursue their own interests in a noncompetitive atmosphere. It was here that he wrote his first article, aged 10, on the spread of fascism, following the fall of Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War. From the age of 12 or 13, he identified more fully with anarchist politics. Aged 12, he moved on to secondary education at Central High School, where he joined various clubs and societies but was troubled by the hierarchical and regimented method of teaching that they employed.

University: 194555
A graduate of Central High School of Philadelphia, Chomsky began studying philosophy and linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1945, taking classes with philosophers such as C. West Churchman and Nelson Goodman and linguist Zellig Harris. Harris's teaching included his discovery of transformations as a mathematical analysis of language structure (mappings from one subset to another in the set of sentences). Chomsky referred to the morphophonemic rules in his 1951 master's thesis The Morphophonemics of Modern Hebrew as transformations in the sense of Carnap's 1938 notion of rules of transformation (vs. rules of formation), and subsequently reinterpreted the notion of grammatical transformations in a very different way from Harris, as operations on the productions of a context-free grammar (derived from Post production systems). Harris's political views were instrumental in shaping those of Chomsky. Chomsky earned a BA in 1949 and an MA in 1951. On visits to New York City, Chomsky frequented the office of the Yiddish-language anarchist journal Freie Arbeiter Stimme, becoming enamoured with the work of one of its contributors, the anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker (18731958). Chomsky would later note that it was Rocker's work that first introduced him to the link between anarchism and classical liberalism, a relationship that he would later go on to explore. Other political thinkers whose work was read by Chomsky at this time included the anarchist Diego Abad de Santilln, democratic socialists George Orwell, Bertrand Russell and Dwight Macdonald and works by non-Bolshevik Marxists like Karl Liebknecht, Karl Korsch and Rosa Luxemburg. His readings convinced him of the desirability of an anarchosyndicalist society, and he became fascinated by the anarcho-syndicalist communes that had been set up during the Spanish Civil War that were documented in Orwell's work Homage to Catalonia (1938). He became an avid reader of the leftist journal Politics, published by Macdonald from 1944 through to 1949. Although initially adhering to a Marxist viewpoint, in 1946 Macdonald abandoned this approach "to whore after the strange gods of anarchism and pacifism". Chomsky would later remark that Politics "answered to and developed" his interest in anarchism. In his late twenties, Chomsky became a reader of the periodical Living Marxism, which was published in Chicago by Marxist thinker Paul Mattick (19041981), a council communist. The magazine critically assessed the situation in Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union and the developments of the Second World War. Although he rejected its Marxist theoretical basis, Chomsky would become heavily influenced by

the council communist movement, voraciously reading the Living Marxism articles by Antonie Pannekoek and Karl Korsch. Chomsky came to know Mattick personally, but would later describe him as "too orthodox a Marxist for my taste". He also took a great interest in the political theories of the Marlenites, an obscure group of American antiStalinist Marxists led by George Spiro who had united under the Leninist League. The Marlenites argued that the Second World War was "phoney" because it had been orchestrated by Western capitalists and the "state capitalists" governing the Soviet Union in order to crush the European proletariat, a viewpoint Chomsky agreed with. He entered into a romantic relationship with a fellow pupil at the Mikveh Israel school, Carol Doris Schatz, whom he had known since they were toddlers. In 1949, he married her. They remained married for 59 years until her death from cancer in December 2008. The couple had two daughters, Aviva (b. 1957) and Diane (b. 1960), and a son, Harry (b. 1967). Chomsky and his wife lived for part of 1953 in HaZore'a, a kibbutz in Israel. Asked in an interview whether the stay was "a disappointment" Chomsky replied, "No, I loved it"; however, he "couldn't stand the ideological atmosphere" and "fervent nationalism" in the early 1950s at the kibbutz, with Stalin being defended by many of the left-leaning kibbutz members who chose to paint a rosy image of future possibilities and contemporary realities in the USSR. Chomsky notes seeing many positive elements in the commune-like living of the kibbutz, in which parents and children lived together in separate houses, and when asked whether there were "lessons that we have learned from the history of the kibbutz", responded, that in "some respects, the kibbutzim came closer to the anarchist ideal than any other attempt that lasted for more than a very brief moment before destruction, or that was on anything like a similar scale. In these respects, I think they were extremely attractive and successful; apart from personal accident, I probably would have lived there myself for how long, it's hard to guess." Chomsky received his PhD in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1955. He conducted part of his doctoral research during four years at Harvard University as a Harvard Junior Fellow. In his doctoral thesis, he began to develop some of his linguistic ideas, elaborating on them in his 1957 book Syntactic Structures, one of his best-known works in linguistics.

Chomsky joined the staff of MIT in 1955, and in 1961 was appointed full professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics (now the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy). From 1966 to 1976, he held the Ferrari P. Ward Professorship of Modern Languages and Linguistics, and in 1976 he was appointed Institute Professor. As of 2010, Chomsky has taught at MIT continuously for 55 years. In February 1967, Chomsky became one of the leading opponents of the Vietnam War with the publication of his essay, "The Responsibility of Intellectuals", in The New York Review of Books. This was followed by his 1969 book, American Power and the New Mandarins, a collection of essays that established him at the forefront of American dissent. His far-reaching criticisms of U.S. foreign policy and the legitimacy of U.S.

power have raised controversy, and he is frequently sought out for his views by publications and news outlets internationally. In 1977, he delivered the Huizinga Lecture in Leiden, the Netherlands, under the title: Intellectuals and the State. Chomsky has received death threats because of his criticisms of U.S. foreign policy. He has often received undercover police protection at MIT and when speaking on the Middle East, although he has refused uniformed police protection. Chomsky said he was "not surprised" when, in May 2013, it emerged that the Anti-Defamation League, according to the The Electronic Intifada website had observed Chomsky, or as the website put it, "spied" on him, while he gave speeches and passed "fantasy" material to Alan Dershowitz. Indeed, he found the revelations "kind of amusing, rather like FBI files I've seen", and "an interesting insight into the concept of 'anti-defamation.'" Chomsky resides in Lexington, Massachusetts, and travels often, giving lectures on politics.