Noam Chomsky – 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!”
Interview by David Barsamian.
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.