Chomsky 3-pack 2023
When Lunatics Run the Asylum
The future of humankind and the planet are in danger from the twin existential threats of terminal nuclear war and climate catastrophe. The response? The Biden administration is following through on Pentagon plans to “modernize” its nuclear arsenal. Instead of eliminating these weapons of mass destruction, we are upgrading them. And the clock is ticking louder and louder on the climate emergency. The response? A massive new oil drilling project in Alaska. Seem illogical? Not really. These are the kinds of outcomes you can expect when lunatics run the asylum. Interview by David Barsamian.
Racing to the Precipice
The warnings about the climate emergency are coming in fast and furious, yet public awareness and political action remain at a low level. The latest report is from the World Meteorological Organization, a UN agency. Its director said, “The impacts of climate change” are "often felt through water—more intense and frequent droughts, more extreme flooding, more erratic seasonal rainfall and accelerated melting of glaciers—with cascading effects on economies, ecosystems, and all aspects of our daily lives." There is an urgent need for collective action to avoid irreversible tipping points. Meanwhile, The Guardian reports, fossil fuel corporations “are making astronomical amounts of money.” Politically, the mitigation measures taken so far are woefully inadequate. People are distracted. They know more about the World Cup than the climate crisis. Interviewed by David Barsamian.
Notes on Resistance
Resistance. How does one move from a position of dissent to resistance, direct action? As a political tactic resistance requires careful thought and must be freely undertaken. Practitioners include most famously Gandhi and Dr. King. It can come with a price. Both Gandhi and King were assassinated. Dolores Huerta, a major organizer and leader of farmworkers was arrested more than 20 times. John Lewis, the civil rights icon was severely beaten. What forms should resistance take? There is no one size fits all answer. Take Thoreau. He was opposed to the U.S. war on Mexico. He refused to pay taxes and went to jail. During the Vietnam War resistance took the form of men refusing to fight. Today young people in Extinction Rebellion and the Sunrise Movement, engage in resistance defending our planet against destructive corporations and the states that enable them. 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.
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