2012 Harvard Trade Union Program
Ever mischievous, when Chomsky saw me recording this session he said, “You’re like a bad penny. You keep showing up.” Ever since 1984 I’ve kept showing up to record him. In this presentation and exchange with trade union activists from around the world, Chomsky discusses a broad range of issues such as: why is the labor movement unable to capture the imagination of the working class; and how unions can get their narrative across in a “business-run society which conducts huge propaganda campaigns.” He talks about “the paranoia” of the ruling class “who believe they should own everything.” As with his other appearances at the Harvard Trade Union Program, this is Chomsky in an informal relaxed give and take setting.
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. His contributions to modern linguistics are legendary. 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.” The New Statesman calls him “the conscience of the American people.” He is 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 94, he is still active; writing and giving interviews to the media all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, his latest are Consequences of Capitalism, Chronicles of Dissent and Notes on Resistance.