We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, March 28, 2011

Noam Chomsky speaks to Saswat Pattanayak

A transcript of an interview from Kindle Magazine. (To make it more readable, I had to enter Cntrl ++. Also, you can access the article here.)

In the interview Chomsky takes a global perspective on the various uprisings across the world, many about which we hear very little. The evidence that he assembles confirms my own, oft-stated beliefs that present trends under capitalism suggest we are headed for a world dominated by the very rich who live on well guarded islands of gated communities surrounded by oceans of wage slaves scrambling to eke out an existence. And added to this dismal picture, one must include the environmental devastation and climate instability that is likely to increase. 

Here are a couple of excerpts from the interview:
[This is] what’s actually been happening in much of the world, this incidentally includes China and India too - is a global shift of power - away from working people and into the hands of owners, managers, investors, the elite elements, highly paid professionals, and so on. There is a very sharp class split. You see it everywhere.
...this Summer...I was in Southern Columbia visiting endangered villages subjected to severe repression. Actually, Columbia has the largest internally displaced population in the world after Sudan, mostly from attacks on the indigenous areas. ...one village I visited is trying to preserve nearby mountain and virgin forests from mining which will destroy their communities, destroy their lives, take away the water supplies. They are poor, but they have a functioning life. They want that life and they have every reason to have it. And that’s happening all over the world. Its happening in the United States. In Appalachia, mountain top removal happens to be a very cheap way of coal mining, but it destroys the valleys, destroys the rivers, destroys the ecology, destroys the communities and people resist. I presume that, what’s happening in the tribal areas (in India) is in substantial part an instance of this global phenomenon of the feverish surge for resources, whatever be the effect on environment and the people.