Chomsky, the MIT professor, author and dissident intellectual, just turned eighty years old this past December. He has written over 100 books, but despite being called “the most important intellectual alive” by the New York Times, he is rarely heard in the corporate media. We spend the hour with Noam Chomsky. He spoke recently here in New York at an event sponsored by the Brecht Forum. More than 2,000 people packed into Riverside Church in Harlem to hear his address, titled “Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours.” In his talk, Chomsky discussed the global economic crisis, the environment, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, resistance to American empire and much more. [speaking at Riverside Church in Harlem on June 12, 2009; includes rush transcript]:...
"...Well, that’s only a fragment of what’s underway, and it highlights the importance of short- and long-term strategies to build—in part, resurrect—the foundations of a functioning democratic society. One short-term goal is to revive a strong independent labor movement. In its heyday, it was a critical base for advancing democracy and human and civil rights. It’s a primary reason why it’s been subjected to such unremitting attack in policy and propaganda. An immediate goal right now is to pressure Congress to permit organizing rights, the [Employee] Free Choice Act legislation. That was promised but now seems to be languishing. And a longer-term goal is to win the educational and cultural battle that’s been waged with such bitterness in the one-sided class war that the UAW president perceived far too late. That means tearing apart an enormous edifice of delusions about markets, free trade and democracy that’s been assiduously constructed over many years and to overcome the marginalization and atomization of the public.
Now, of all the crises that afflict us, I think my own feeling is that this growing democratic deficit may be the most severe. Unless it’s reversed, Arundhati Roy’s forecast might prove accurate, and not in the distant future. The conversion of democracy to a performance in which the public are only spectators might well lead to—inexorably to what she calls the “endgame for the human race.”
Friday, July 3, 2009
Chomsky on "“Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours.”
Via Democracy Now/Amy Goodman: