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The World Tomorrow - Noam Chomsky & Tariq Ali - Full Link
« on: June 26, 2012, 15:14:22 PM »
The Julian Assange Show: Noam Chomsky & Tariq Ali (E10)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iJjtEMamjc&feature=player_detailpage

26/june/2012 by RussiaToday

A surprise Arab drive for freedom, the West's structural crisis and new hope coming from Latin America. That's the modern world in the eyes of Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali, two prominent thinkers and this week's guests on Julian Assange's show on RT.

If you've missed the previous episodes, you can always watch them online at http://assange.RT.com

Noam Chomsky is a world-renowned linguist, and lifelong radical intellectual. As the progenitor of the theory of “generative grammar,” he played a central role in pushing forward a cognitive revolution in philosophy, linguistics, computer science, mathematics and psychology. As a public intellectual, Chomsky has, since the 1960s, been one of the most prolific and consistent critics of United States foreign policy. He opposed the Vietnam war, and along with Howard Zinn was part of the Boston circle targeted by investigations after the release of the Pentagon papers. Since then, Chomsky has produced a formidable body of work, earning him a reputation as the foremost dissident voice in the American intellectual establishment.

Tariq Ali is a British Pakistani military historian and public intellectual. During the 1960s, Ali earned a reputation as the original ‘street fighting man,’ acting as a political campaigner and activist while leading efforts against the Vietnam War in Britain. Over the years he has maintained a steady output as an anti-war commentator and staunch leftist. A spirited debater, Ali remains a strong critic of Western imperialism and neoliberal reform, bringing to bear a sweeping account of historical developments over the last century.  In recent work he has brought into focus the continuity between the Bush and Obama administrations, claiming that the Global War On Terror remains a pretext for escalating lawlessness in the international conduct of the United States and its allies.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 23:50:43 PM by anon1984 »

Offline Riney

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Re: The World Tomorrow - Noam Chomsky & Tariq Ali (E10) - Full Link
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2012, 18:04:10 PM »
    Really enjoyed this episode. I liked the fact pointed out that the Arab spring was able to advance as far as it has come due to the simple fact that it caught oppressors by surprise. Had some of the governments seen it coming they would have put mechanisms in place to either put a stop to it or hinder it in some way.
    Inequality among the population around the world was a subject brought up several times. In my opinion, humans have always wanted to hoard wealth since the beginning of the species. What seems to be so problematic about this now, is that now more than ever before - with globalization- the concentration of wealth among a few has the ability to advance to a much greater degree given the broader range from which it can draw from.       :( 
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" Anais Nin .. and yet we must arm ourselves with fear

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Re: The World Tomorrow - Noam Chomsky & Tariq Ali - Full Link
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 23:51:37 PM »
Full original transcript:

00.58
 Julian:
 Noam, Tariq – 2011/2012 has been a historic year for liberation movements in many places across the world. Did you see it coming?
 
Tariq:
 I didn’t see it coming. I don’t think most people saw it coming. But what’s interesting is that you have these Arab uprisings in a part of the world which commentators were saying ‘People aren’t interested in democracy, the Muslims are genetically hostile to democracy’…
 
Julian:
 Yeah.
 
Tariq:
 … and you have these upsurges and then they spread, because it’s the occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo that inspired activists all over the United States, even in Russia. Who would’ve expected these movements suddenly to come up in Russia and challenge authority? So the…the… Arab Spring has been very infectious and it’s still going on in different ways.
 
01.51
 Noam:
 No, I can’t say I predicted it. I assumed that sooner or later there would have to be a popular reaction to the bitter class war that’s been… been fought for the past generation, and a very conscious class war, which has… of the always quite class-conscious – business classes… but really felt they were on a roll. So in the United States, for example… well, we all know the facts, over the past generation there’s been wealth created but it’s gone into very few pockets. Now, the extreme inequality of the United States is weighted very heavily by literally a tenth of a per cent of the population, mostly the hedge fund managers, the CEOs of major corporations and so on. I’ve been talking about the United States. but the phenomena are basically worldwide. The… the movement that started off the Tahrir Square demonstrations a year ago is called the April 6th movement. There’s a reason. April 6th 2008 was the day of a large-scale labour protests at the major industrial installations in Egypt, supporting demonstrations and so on. The… there was a small group of tech-savvy professionals who tried to… who wanted to participate and help them out with social media and so on. It was crushed by the dictatorship but that group of professionals is the April 6th movement, they kept the name. That’s one indication of how deeply rooted these protests are – yes, the… there were people ready… a lot of people… for many it was just a moment of… an opening which we can somehow do something. But there were… there was plenty of preparation for it, and something similar in Tunisia. You asked if I predicted it, no I didn’t but it’s now happening worldwide in one form or another.
 
04.15
 Julian:
 Tariq?
 
04.19
 Tariq:
 I think Noam is right and I think essentially what we’ve been witnessing, together with the neoliberal economy, is a contraction of politics in the sense that I’ve been arguing now for some time, that what we have in Western politics is neither the extreme Left nor the extreme Right but an extreme centre. And this extreme centre encompasses both centre-Right and centre-Left, which agree on fundamentals – waging wars abroad, occupying countries and punishing the poor, pushing through austerity measures. It doesn’t matter which party’s in power either in the United States or in the Western world… things, you know, carry on like before. There’s continuity from one regime to the next, which affects the functioning of the media, which has become more and more narrow so there’s very little diversity, very few debates constructed within the mainstream media. And, that is a big characteristic now, it’s a form I… it’s a dictatorship of capital which is exercised through this extreme centre. The Arab countries had dictators backed by the West for some time, and the speed and scale of those uprisings certainly took everyone by surprise. None of us could have predicted it.
 
05.47
 Julian:
 Do… do you think that the lack of predictability in fact is part of why they were successful?
 
05.52
 Tariq:
 Without any doubt.
 
Julian:
 That if… that if they could have been predicted, mechanisms would have been put in place to stop it happening?
 
05.58
 Tariq:
 Yeah. And pretty extreme mechanisms – they would have tried to arrest people, crush people, torture people, lock activists up, but it went out of control very rapidly and the United States and the French in Tunisia and Egypt, for instance, couldn’t control it. I mean, they were taken by surprise too. I mean, they only got their act together to try and subvert the process when they had a six-month bombing of Libya by a NATO thing so they could exercise some control on the entire Arab world again. But it’s still incredibly volatile, and, you know, sometimes people say, um, ‘But nothing much has changed’. This is true. But one thing that’s changed is that the people, the masses, have realised that in order to bring about change they have to move and become active. And that is a big lesson from these uprisings.
 
06.53
 Julian:
 I want to consider how much choice there really is. Is the choice illusory, or do new regimes have to deal with the situation that is around them, the basic constraints in dealing with other nations? Would you, for example, knowing that Cuba was 90 miles away from Miami – 90 miles away from an aggressive superpower… that is broadcasting propaganda into Cuba – introduce censorship? Would you introduce State police as a way of preventing the removal of independence from Cuba? Because it seems to me that these are the questions that are going to have to be faced by nations that are struggling, not only to overthrow their rulers, but to be independent as a nation from Western powers afterwards.
 
07.50
 Noam:
 Well, Cuba’s a very special case. So I don’t… I mean, to some extent it has characteristics like other small countries but it is unique. For 50 years the United States has been dedicated to strangling and crushing Cuba. And, the Kennedy’s Latin American adviser, he said ‘The problem is the Castro idea of taking matters into your own hands, which might lead others in similar circumstances to try to follow that path and pretty soon the whole system of US control would erode.’ So, for those reasons, which persist, the United States has carried out, first of all, a massive terror campaign – Cuba’s been the victim of more terrorism than probably the whole world combined, international terrorism – and beyond that, economic strangulation, of an extraordinary sort.
 
08.53
 Julian:
 If you are a population that wants to be independent, that wants an independent state – we might talk about other forms of independence later – but an independent state in defiance of NATO or if you’re near China, in defiance of China, or Russia for some of the former Soviet States, then it comes at a cost. In the case of Cuba, perhaps that cost is that you’re in a state of war…being in a state of war.
 
09.21
 Noam:
 You look around the world, there are similar problems but not as dire as the one that Cuba faces. So go a little bit to the south – South America. Now, one of the most dramatic and important of developments of the past decade is that South America, for the first time since the European conquerors came, for the first time in 500 years, has made a very significant move towards independence, towards integration. There isn’t a single US military base left in South America, which is pretty remarkable.
 
Julian:
 What do you think, Tariq?
 
10.00
 Tariq:
 Well, I think that over the last decades the most significant changes we’ve seen have come from South America. I mean, I visited Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil… and the mood is just different, and many people say ‘It’s the first time ever we feel really independent’, that whatever the weaknesses might be of these regimes – and there are some – they are sovereign states and they act as such, and when Chavez, for instance, says something to the United States, he’s very blunt and open about it. And he told me once, he said: ‘You know, I gave a speech in the UN and a lot of other countries who can’t say this in public come and congratulate me and say “Thank you, you’re speaking for all of us”’, and he says: ‘I say to them “But you can speak too. No one can stop you”’, but, you know… The…
 
Julian:
 Well, they obviously think they can’t speak.
 
Tariq:
 They think they can’t. And… this is now a mould in most of South America, I mean, with the exception of Colombia, Mexico, and partially Chile. Elsewhere, people are feeling ‘We’re independent for the first time ever. I think this is going to be a huge problem for the United States. I mean, they are obsessed with the Arab world and China – and now Iran – but in South America for… for a decade, or a bit more, the United States is not in control.
 
11.26
 Noam:
 It worries them enormously. In fact, the National Security Council, a top planning organisation, warned that ‘If we cannot control Latin America, how are we going to impose a successful order on the rest of the world?’, meaning rule the rest of the world, ‘So, if we can’t control even our backyard, how are we going to control everything else?’ Now, there’s a deeper point. Now, moving over to the Middle East: the deep concern in the United States and the other traditional imperial powers – Britain and France, particularly – our concern is that now they may… the Middle East may get out of control. And that’s serious, much more serious than South America. Now…
 
12.10
 Tariq:
 I agree. That’s why they invaded Libya, Noam, I have no doubt about it. It was to re-establish control.
 
12.17
 Noam:
 I agree, but I think it’s all over. So, for example, if you take a look at what’s happened in the Arab Spring, the countries that are crucial to Western imperial power – the oil producers – they have been under a very tough hand. In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Emirates, the major oil producing regions, it never got off the ground. The intimidation of the security forces, backed by the West, was so enormous that people were literally afraid to go into the streets in Riyadh. The West – mainly France in Tunisia, the United States and Britain in Egypt – are following a very traditional pattern. There’s a playbook that you pursue… that gives you a kind of a game plan when some favourite dictators lose the capacity to rule. What you do is support them until the last possible minute, when it’s impossible any longer – maybe the army turns against them – you get your intellectual class to issue ringing declarations about democracy, and then you try to restore the old system, as much as possible – as was done with Samosa, Marcos, Duvalier, Mobutu, Suharto. I mean, it’s routine. It takes genius not to see it.
 
13.37
 Tariq:
 But I think the real problem to him is that democracy itself is in very serious trouble, because of the corporations. When you have two European countries, when you have Greece and Italy, the politicians abdicating and saying ‘Let bankers run it’…
 
Julian:
 yeah.
 
Tariq:
 … I mean, where is it going to go?… you know, so what we are witnessing is that democracy is becoming more and more denuded of content. It’s like an empty shell, and this is what is angering young people, who feel ‘Whatever we do, whatever we vote for, nothing changes’, hence all these protests.
 
14.15
 JA
 And… do you… do you think it’s… you know, this problem, is it the media, is it structural, is it … is it the increased ability of the centre to control the periphery as a result of more sophisticated telecommunications…?
 
Tariq:
 It is the…
 
Julian:
 What’s… what’s driving it?
 
14.36
 Tariq:
 What’s driving it is… a democracy that has become petrified. But the media has become a pillar, a central pillar, now of the Establishment – much more than it was during the Cold War. At that time, they were proving to the Russians and the Chinese ‘Our system is better than yours’…
 
Julian:
 Yep.
 
Tariq:
 … now they don’t feel the need to prove it, so they operate as they want, period.
 
14.58
 Julian:
 Or they were… they were using freedom of expression as a stick to beat the Soviet Union and now there’s no need for that. I think… you had this, like, alliance between liberals and the military and the elite in the West, all coming together for mutual interests to demonstrate the superiority of the West compared to the Soviets, and that… that sort of very unnatural alliance is now split apart.
 
15.23
 Tariq:
 a) it’s split apart, and b) within the Western world they have now got things controlled to such an extent that they literally get away with murder. I mean, Obama has now signed a law, according to which the American president has the right to authorise the killing of an American citizen without any recourse to law at all. No due process, which no other US president in history has done…
 Julian:
 Yeah.
 
Tariq:
 … Even during the Civil War, the people who tried to kill Lincoln – or who killed Lincoln – the conspirators were tried in a court, however faulty it was. No longer – you can order someone to be killed. And this attack on civil liberties is, of course, extremely disturbing because it really affects democracy.
 
16.13
 Julian:
 I mean, do you think these social movements that are happening in Latin America… If you look at the sort of… the technological adoption in Latin America, it’s somewhere like the US was in the 1970s… and is the… is the political and social interaction that is occurring in those states as a result of the technological interactions that are occurring? So… perhaps it is simply not possible for a more industrialised country to adopt the model of a less industrialised country? Would we… would we have to throw away the industrialisation to do it?
 
16.52
 Tariq:
 I don’t think so. I mean, most of these Western states have very happily become de-industrialised and made China into the dominant economic power in the world, like the British were in the 19th century. I mean, China is the workshop of the world…
 
Julian:
 Yes.
 
Tariq:
 … There’s been a huge increase… the actual… the workforce, while declining in the West, has trebled from one billion in the ’70s and ’80s to over three billion today, because of what’s happening in China, India, parts of South America. So I think the so-called advanced powers have a lot to learn from the good things that have been happening in South America, why not?
 
17.32
 Julian:
 Noam, is there a model, a practical functioning model?
 
17.37
 Noam:
 Well, I think the… I agree with Tariq – there’s many models – but the… I don’t think that popular forces concerned with changing their own societies should be looking for models, I think they should be creating the models. And that’s exactly what’s happening. So, models in South America – let’s say… Well, there’s been a lot of progress. They’re developing models in take, say Bolivia, which you mentioned a couple of times, one of the most striking things that’s happened there is that the most repressed part of the population in the hemisphere, the indigenous population, has moved into the political arena. Has, in fact, taken political power and is pursuing its own concerns. It’s also happening in Ecuador, and to an extent in Peru. Well, they’re developing new and significant models and some of the aspects of those models the West had better pick up pretty soon, or else fall and be over.
 
18.43
 Julian:
 We always had this claim that ‘Capitalism and democracy goes together’, and China seems to be the great example that it’s… it’s even more efficient at being a capitalist state than a democratic state.
 
18.55
 Tariq:
 Well, I never believed that capitalism and democracy go together. The Chinese demonstrate that today, that the most successful capitalist country in the world has not an ounce of democracy in the way it functions. But even historically, for hundreds of years of its existence capitalism functioned without democracy till the beginning of the 20th century. I mean, women were only given the vote after the First World War, so either no democracy or a truncated democracy suits capitalism perfectly, and this notion that capitalism and democracy go together was a Cold War construct designed to hammer the… the Russians and the Eastern Europeans and the Chinese. It has no basis in historical fact.
 
19.44
 Julian:
 Noam?
 
19.45
 Noam:
 Well, I… First of all, we don’t have capitalist societies, we have one or another variety of State capitalism, and that’s true wherever an industrial system functions. So, for example, in the United States the State role in the economy is enormous. I mean, let’s take what the three of us are doing right now – this is based on the IT revolution… computers, internet, satellites, micro-electronics and so on… now, most of this was developed in the State sector. In fact, exactly where I’m sitting at MIT was one of the places where these things were being developed in the ’50s and the ’60s, under Pentagon funding mostly. There was both funding, subsidy, invention, creation, also procurement – for decades, this was in the State sector before it was handed over to private capital for… commercialisation and profit. And if we go back…
 
20.48
 Julian:
 Julian:
 this technological progress… You know, in the 1930s you – from literature from that period – you often see the Soviets talking about how their system is simply more efficient, and therefore as an efficient system of industry it will dominate. You also saw the Nazis speaking in precisely the same terms – that this massive technological investment producing an efficient industry will simply dominate other forces around it. Isn’t this a basic ideological constraint – that, regardless of what system that you want, regardless of what people desire – maybe we all be nice to each other for a change, something very, very basic… simple human decency – if that system is not efficient compared to another system, the other system will simply grow in scale until it dominates?
 
21.43
 Tariq:
 Well, I’m… it will… but only if it grows militarily. You see, the United States is weak economically at the moment… you know, it’s hugely in debt, as Noam has pointed out. This is a real structural crisis, but it is very dominant militarily, and it uses its military strength to dominate other parts of the world, which might be doing well economically but don’t have that strength. That’s the problem we face.
 
22.09
 Julian:
 So, this conflict between… the desire to do something for ideological reasons and then a sort of practical reality that, say, totalitarian capitalism may simply be the most efficient system and therefore will dominate.
 
22.28
 Noam:
 It’s not an efficient system. In fact, take a look at China. China’s growth has been spectacular, but… China has grown largely as an assembly plant. It’s primarily the assembly plant for the advanced industrial countries on its periphery – Japan, Taiwan, South Korea. Now… so, for example take, say, Foxconn – this huge, hideous factory in China where working conditions are utterly grotesque. It’s a Taiwanese-owned factory, it produces Apple computers, iPods, Dell computers, and so on. What’s happened over the past years has been that China has been the assembly plant for the advanced industrial State capitalist countries on its periphery, and for Western multinationals. Now of course, sooner or later, China will begin to move up the technology ladder – in fact, in some respects it’s already happening. China has actually begun to innovate with solar cells that surpass those elsewhere. And that’ll begin to happen elsewhere, but it’s a long, slow process. China remains a…
 
23.39
 Julian:
 Tariq, both you and Noam have had a long, long life as activists. So, when you look at this generation of activists now in the West that is.. that is just starting to be politically radicalised – I think internet-radicalised youth is probably the best way that I would describe them – what… what do you want to tell them? What experience that you haveve had through these multiple battles over dozens of years can you give to them? Because it seems to me that there was a moment, perhaps during the ’80s and ’90s, that there was no continuity from this tradition of dissent in the West. Tariq?
 
24.30
 I try avoid giving advice to younger generations because generations are so different from each other, and given the world has changed so much, the only universal advice to be given is ‘Don’t give up’. You live through bad times and you feel, you know, that everything is lost, and many people become passive, but passivity, which is… is… usually leads to despair. And I think it’s extremely important to realise for young people growing up today that they need to be active. And active… activity is something that leads to hope, and that unless they’re active themselves no one is going to hand them anything on a plate. That’s the lesson of the last few years with this new radicalisation. Don’t give up. Have hope. Remain skeptical. Be critical of the system that dominates us all – and sooner or later, if not in this generation in generations to come, things will change.
 
Julian:
 Noam?
 
25.36
 Noam:
 Well, a lot of things have changed over the years. And they’ve changed often for the better, they’ve changed because lots of dedicated people committed themselves to it, and that… history hasn’t ended. There’s changes ahead and we can do something about them. And, in fact, there are very… very serious problems, So, for example, if the… if the species continues on its present course, we probably will be facing the destruction of the possibility for decent survival, simply because of things like fossil fuel use. Now, that’s an extremely serious issue and it’s kind of like, you know, the lemmings going over the cliff.
 
26.28
 END CREDITS
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