2014 Harvard Trade Union Program
Since the early 1990s Noam Chomsky regularly lectures at the Harvard Trade Union Program. Annually it brings together union leaders and organizers from all over the world. He answers questions about such issues as the attack on working people and unions, education, the eco-crisis, etc. The session starts with his comments on the Mondragon cooperative in Spain. “The idea behind Mondragon is worker ownership of production, a core principle of classical liberalism. John Dewey, argued that unless we have what he called industrial democracy—that means working people owning and running their own workplaces, and then he extended it beyond production to commerce, media, financial institutions—unless those are owned and operated by the people who work within them, then, as he put it, ‘Politics is the shadow cast on society by big business.’ That is essentially what it is, dramatically, these days.”
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 Works, Power Systems and Global Discontents with David Barsamian.