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Double Barrel Chomsky Pack

Program #CHON254-CHON252.

Neoliberalism: An Accounting

Neoliberalism is an odd term when you think about it. It is hardly new and it is not particularly liberal. It has been a great economic success story-for the 1%. The detritus of neoliberalism litters the landscape from smashed unions to shredded safety nets, and deregulation of everything from airlines to banking to telecommunications. And how does one measure the human costs of shattered dreams and broken lives? The consequence? A backlash. Many working people are angry. Keep squeezing them and they will be prey for charlatans and demagogues who exploit their vulnerability and fear with scapegoating and false promises. As The Nation magazine observes, “Alongside growing economic inequality, we have suffered growing political inequality, with a Princeton study declaring that the influence of ordinary citizens on policy is ‘negligible.’ The United States,” The Nation says, is becoming “an oligarchy.”

Utopia

In the darkest of times we have to imagine that a world of equality and environmental and social justice is possible. Are we dreamers? Not practical? Out of touch with reality? Perhaps. But throughout history it has been small groups of visionary activists who ignite the flame and light up the darkness and show us the way forward. Progressive change happens when people rise up and struggle for it. In Howard Zinn’s masterwork, A People’s History of the United States, he closes with these lines from the poet Shelley which were recited by women garment workers to one another in New York sweatshops a century ago:

“Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth, like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you—
Ye are many; they are few!”

Speaker(s):

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” He is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. At 90, he still gives lectures all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, including Propaganda & the Public Mind, How the World WorksPower Systems and Global Discontents with David Barsamian.

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