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Excerpt: "'Independent media ought to be telling the truth about things that matter. That's quite different from the task of the commercial media. They have a task. They're supposed to be objective, and objectivity has a meaning in the world of journalism. In fact, it's taught in journalism schools.' Noam Chomsky"

Noam Chomsky. (photo: MIT)
Noam Chomsky. (photo: MIT)


Noam Chomsky: America Is a Terrified Country

By Catherine Komp, AlterNet

21 November 13

 

atherine Komp: It's been twenty- five years since the publication of your and Edward Herman's acclaimed bookManufacturing Consent. How much do you think has changed with the propaganda model, and where do you see it playing out most prominently today?

Noam Chomsky:Well, ten years ago we had a re-edition and we talked about some of the changes. One change is that we were too narrow. There are a number of filters that determine the framework of reporting, and one of the filters was too narrow. Instead of "anti-communism," which was too narrow, it should have been "fear of the concocted enemy." So yes, it could be anti-communism-most of that is concocted. So take Cuba again. It's hard to believe, but for the Pentagon, Cuba was listed as one of the military threats to the United States until a couple of years ago. This is so ludicrous; you don't even know whether to laugh or cry. It's as if the Soviet Union had listed Luxembourg as a threat to its security. But here it kind of passes.

The United States is a very frightened country. And there are all kinds of things concocted for you to be frightened about. So that should have been the filter, and [there were] a few other things, but I think it's basically the same.

There is change. Free Speech Radio didn't exist when we wrote the book, and there are somethings on the Internet which break the bonds, as do independent work and things like the book I was just talking about when we came in, Jeremy Scahill'sDirty Wars, which is a fantastic piece of investigative reporting on the ground of what actually happens in the countries where we're carrying out these terror campaigns. And there's a lot of talk about drones, but not much about the fact that they are terror weapons.

If we were sitting here wondering if, all of a sudden, there's going to be a bomb in this room, because they maybe want to kill him or kill us or whatever, it's terrorizing. In fact, we just saw a dramatic example of this which got a couple lines in the paper. A few days after the Boston Marathon bombing, there was a drone attack on a village in Yemen, kind of an isolated village. Obama and his friends decided to murder some guy. So the villagers are sitting there, and suddenly this guy gets blown away and whoever else is around him. I don't think it was reported except for the fact that there was Senate testimony a week later by a person from the village who's quite respected by Jeremy and others who know him. The man, Farea al-Muslimi, who studied at a high school in the U.S., testified to the Senate and he described what happened to his village. He said that every- body knew the man that they murdered, and that they could have easily apprehended him, but it waseasier to kill him and terrify the village. He also said something else which is important. He said that his friends and neighbors used to know of the United States primarily through his stories of "the wonderful experiences" he had here.*He said the U.S. bombing has turned them into people who hate America and want revenge-that's all it takes. And, in fact, this whole terror system is creating enemies and threats faster than it's killing suspects, apart from how awful that is. These things are going on, and going back to Jeremy, his book exposes a lot of it and also the exploits of the secret executive army, JSOC, Joint Special Operations Command. It's dangerous, but it's the kind of thing an investigative reporter could do, and he's done it. There's more of it now, fortunately, in some respects, than there was then.

CK: So, some progress.

NC: Yes. On the other hand, the indoctrination system has gotten incredibly powerful. The examples that I mentioned, like the right-to-work laws-it is pretty shocking that that can succeed. So, I'd say it's about the same inequality entered the national dialogue with the Occupy movement, but the wealth gap for black and Latino families rarely generates debate or headlines. What role should the media-particularly independent media-play in ensuring critical public interest issues like these are at the forefront?

Independent media ought to be telling the truth about things that matter. That's quite different from the task of the commercial media. They have a task. They're supposed to be objective, and objectivity has a meaning in the world of journalism. In fact, it's taught in journalism schools. Objectivity means reporting honestly and accurately what's going on within the Beltway, inside the government. So that sets the bounds. There are Democrats and there are Republicans. Report honestly what they're saying-balance and so on-and then you're objective. If you go beyond that and you ask a question about the bounds, then you're biased, subjective, emotional, maybe anti-American, whatever the usual curse words are. So that's a task and, you know, you can understand it from the point of view of established power. It's a distorting prism with enormous impact. Even just the framework of what's looked at.

Take, for example, current domestic issues. We have "the sequester," which is harming the economy, and that's, in fact, conceded. But what's it about? Well, it's about the deficit. Who cares about the deficit? Banks, rich people and so on. What does the population care about? Jobs. In fact, this has even been studied. There are a couple of professional studies that tested this question. It turns out that concern about the deficit increases with wealth, and the reason is rich people are concerned that maybe someday in the future there might be a little bit of inflation, which is not good for lenders. It's fine for borrowers. So, therefore, we have to worry about the deficit, even if it destroys jobs.

The population has quite different views. They say, no, we want jobs. And they're right. Jobs mean stimulating demand, and government's got to do that. Corporations have money coming out of their ears, but they're not investing it because there's no demand. Consumers can't fill the gap because they're suffering from the impact of the crimes that the banks carried out. Of course, the corporations are richer than ever. That's the way it works, but it's not what's discussed within the Beltway. So you get some little comment on it around the fringes, but the focus has to be on the terrible problem of the deficit, which will maybe be a problem someday in the future, but not very serious.

In fact, professional political science has done a pretty good job on a specific topic relative to this. This is a very heavily polled country, so you get to know a lot about public attitudes, and there are quite good studies on the relation between public attitudes and public policy and differentiating attitudes. And it turns out that maybe 70 percent of the population, the lower 70 percent on the wealth income level, are disenfranchised. That is, their opinions have no influence on policy. Senators don't pay any attention to them.

As you move up in income level you get more influence. When you get to the very top, and here the Occupy movement was a little misleading- it's not one percent, it's a tenth of a percent. When you get to the top tenth of a percent, where there's a huge concentration of wealth, you can't even talk about influence. They get what they want. That's why the banks who created the crisis, often with criminal action, are not only scot-free, but richer, more powerful and bigger than ever. Reading the business press, you can see there's a criminal action here and there, and maybe a slap on the wrist or something there.

Because of that, what's within the Beltway reflects wealth and power. Elections are basically bought. We know the story. So "objectivity" in the commercial media means looking at the world from the point of view of the extremely rich and powerful in the corporate sector. Now, it's not 100 percent from their view. There are a lot of very honest reporters who do all kinds of things. I read the national press and learn from them and so on, but it's very much skewed in that direction. It's kind of like the filters inManufacturing Consent.And going back to your point, what the independent press ought to be doing is what the national press ought to be doing, looking at the world from the point of view of its population. This holds on issue after issue-you can almost pick it at random.

CK: The Occupy movement has had several pretty big successes: Occupy Sandy, Occupy Our Homes, Strike Debt and the Rolling Jubilee. But what do you think a post-Occupy movement looks like? What comes next?

NC: The Occupy tactic was a remarkably successful tactic. If I'd been asked a month before Zuccotti Park whether to do this, I would have said, you're crazy. But it worked extremely well. It just lighted a fire all over the place. People were just waiting for something to light the spark. And it was extremely successful, but it's a tactic, and tactics are not strategies. A tactic has a half-life; it has diminishing returns. And in particular, a tactic like this is going to arouse antagonism, because people don't want their lives disrupted and so on. It will be easy to fan it the way you do with public workers. So it's a tactic that had to be revised. Frankly, when the police broke the occupations up, it was harsh and brutal and didn't have to be done like that. But in some ways, it wasn't a bad thing, because it turned people to what they have to do next. And what they have to do next is bring it to the general population. Take up the topics that really bother people. Be there when you're needed like Sandy. Be there for the foreclosures. Focus on debt. Focus on a financial transaction tax, which ought to be instituted. Nobody else is bringing it up. That's what the Occupy movement ought to be doing, and not just as a national movement, but as an international movement.

It's actually striking that there are Occupy offshoots all over the world. I've talked at Occupy movements in Sydney, Australia, and England, all over. Everywhere you go there's something. And they link with other things that are happening, like the Indignados in Spain; the student actions in Chile, which are pretty remarkable; things in Greece, which are enormous; and even movements in the peripheral parts of Europe trying to struggle against the brutal austerity regimes, which are worse than here and which are just strangling the economies and destroying the European social contract. We look progressive in comparison with Europe.

So that's a future that can be looked forwardto, including things like we were talking about before, supporting and maybe even initiating things like worker-owned, worker-managed enterprises. It sounds reformist, but it's revolutionary. That's changing-at least giving the germs for changing-the basic structure of this society in a fundamental way. Why should banks own the enterprise in which people work? What business is it of theirs? Why should they decide whether you move it to Mexico or Bangladesh or where the next place will be? Why shouldn't the workers decide, or the communities? There's a lot to say about this.

Just consider, for example, the things that aren't being discussed in the immigration struggle. We're here in Boston, right? Right around Boston, there's a pretty large community of Mayan immigrants. They're still coming right now. They live right near here, but under the radar because they're undocumented. Why are Mayans coming here? They don't want to be here. Some of them I know pretty well, and when you talk to them, they say, "We'd rather be home." They don't want to be here.

Why are they coming? Well, because in the early 1980s, there was a virtually genocidal attack on the highlands in Guatemala that was supported by Ronald Reagan, backed by the United States. It practically wiped the place out, andthere are now actually trials going on in Guatemala of the perpetrators, but nobody here talks about it. So, you know, we destroy their country and people flee because they can't survive. In fact, there's an interesting book coming out by David Bacon, who is an immigration activist. It's calledThe Right to Stay Home.

It was obvious, for example, that NAFTA was going to destroy Mexican agriculture. The Mexican campesinos can be as efficient as they like, but they can't compete with highly subsidized U.S agribusiness, and that means people are going to flee. And, in fact, it's not just coincidental that the year NAFTA was passed, Clinton started militarizing the border. It was an open border before, and so, of course, people are going to come. Well, these topics aren't discussed.

If you're worried about immigration, let's take a look at why people are coming and what our responsibility is and what we can do about it. They don't want to be here. And the same is true about exporting factories. People ought to have jobs in Bangladesh, but we ought to be paying attention to the fact that they have decent working conditions. They want it, we should want it, and we should struggle to make sure they have it. And then decisions can be made about a workforce and where they want their enterprise to be. There are all kinds of topics like this that free, independent media can bring up and movements like Occupy can be dedicated to.

CK: You've talked about the effectiveness of sit-down strikes in which workers occupy a workplace as a precursor to taking it over. You've said, with enough popular support, sit-down strikes can work and be the basis for a real revolution. But how much popular support is needed and what should it look like?

NC: Well, it has to be extensive. Actually, it can work. I happen to have just come back from Ireland, and one of the things I did there was meet with a group of workers at a plant called Vita Cortex. I'd been supporting their strike. They had a long sit-down strike. The management wanted to sell the plant, a profitable plant, to some rich entrepreneur who would move it somewhere else. All the workers were just going to be fired. Some of them had long tenure. They got together, formed a community support group and sat in on the plant. And there was community support-people wanted to keep them there. People brought food and all kinds of help. And they won, after, I think, about six months. The owner agreed to keep it there, pay the workers and so on.

CK: And that was in Ireland?

NC: That was in Cork, southern Ireland. And it was doing okay, not hugely profitable. Ireland is in a big downturn, so this was serious. But they won. They didn't get everything, but a lot. It can be done. Much of the New Deal legislation, which was important, was motivated by employee concerns, and other concerns, when CIO organizing, which was new then, reached the point where it was leading to sit-down strikes-because sit-down strikes drive fear into management and everyone else. If we're sitting in and doing nothing, why shouldn't we? We're the ones who know how to run the place, so let's run it and kick out the bosses. That's only one step away.

CK: Why are they so rare in the United States?

NC: Strikes of any kind are very rare, especially since Reagan, who kind of broke the mandate against using scabs. That's outlawed everywhere in the world. I think maybe apartheid South Africa allowed it. But when Reagan broke the flight-controllers' strike, he set the tone, and maybe ten years later there was a strike at a major Caterpillar manufacturing plant. I think it was in Peoria, and management broke it by bringing in scabs. Now that's illegal everywhere in the world. As I said, apartheid South Africa I think allowed it, but it passed.

It's kind of interesting what happened.The Chicago Tribune, which is a conservative newspaper but covered labor affairs pretty well, had a lot of coverage about Peoria and the scandal of bringing in scabs. Well, that was maybe twenty years ago. When President Obama-who was in Chicago at the time, so he couldn't have missed it-decided to show his solidarity with workers, he went to that plant and nobody commented on it. It's effaced from memory. And the labor movement, as you know, has been decimated. It developed enormously in the 1930s and it's responsible for most of the progressive legislation that took place. There was an immediate backlash, even by the late 1930s. That's when management initiated what are now called scientific methods of strike breaking, sophisticated strike-breaking techniques.

CK: What are some of those?

NC: Some of them are called the Mohawk Valley formula. Say there is some town in Pennsylvania where there's a strike going on. The idea is to saturate the town with propaganda whose basic theme is Americanism: We're all Americans, we all work together, we all love each other. We're all helping the friendly boss who works to the bone eighty hours a day for the service of the workers, the banker who loves to give you money to buy a car, and the workman with his pail going to work and his wife who's making dinner at home. They're all one big happy family living in harmony. And then these outsiders come in, the union organizers, and there's a hint as well that they're probably communists, and they're trying to disrupt the harmony and prevent everyone from living the good American dream. That's basically the theme, and the idea is to saturate everything with propaganda: the schools, the churches, everything. And it sometimes has an effect. That's one technique. There are others.

These developed substantially under Reagan, who was very anti-labor. In fact, he hated poor people with a passion. So, for example, during the lettuce strike, Reagan was governor of California. He very ostentatiously appeared on television happily eating lettuce just to show what he thought about the striking workers, the poorest of the poor. If he can kick them in the face, great. He loved that. Just like his "welfare queen" business, which demonized welfare and portrayed rich black women being driven in their Cadillacs to the welfare offices and stealing your money, and that sort of thing. In fact, he made it very clear. You couldn't miss it.

Reagan opened his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, a little town which is probably unknown except for one thing: There was a massacre of civil rights workers there. And that's where he very ostentatiously opened his campaign-telling people: Don't worry, I'm a racist thug. And then came the strike. But his administration also informed the business world that the government essentially wasn't going to apply the laws. There are laws about illegal interference with union organizing and they're obviously supposed to implement them. But he made it quite clear that you can do what you like. Illegal measures, like firing of union organizers, went way up during the Reagan years. I think it might have tripled, and it continued.

Then came Clinton, who had a different technique for undermining unions. It was called NAFTA. There have been studies on the effect of NAFTA on strike breaking in the United States, and it's substantial. It's illegal, but if you have a criminal state, you can do what you like-you don't enforce the laws. So a standard technique would be, say, if there's an organizing campaign somewhere, for management to tell workers, "You guys can go and strike if you want, but if you win, it's all going to Mexico." That's a very effective technique. In the absence of solidarity, real solidarity, in fact international solidarity, it's a pretty effective technique of strike breaking, and the number of illegal strike-breaking efforts, I think, went up by about 50 percent after NAFTA.

All this started right after the Second World War with Taft-Hartley, the huge anti-labor campaigns and so on. Now there are companies which just do strike breaking. There are scientific and sophisticated techniques, and there's plenty of clout behind it, a huge amount of corporate money, and the government supports it. And there isn't much popular support. You could see it in the passage of the right-to-work law in Michigan, which was pretty shocking. That's a labor state, and it turned that out a lot of union members voted for it. If you look at the propaganda, you can see why. First of the all, the very phrase "right to work": It's actually not right to work; it's right to scrounge. What it means is a person can work in a factory and refuse to join the union so he doesn't have to pay dues, and he'll get all the protection that the union offers to others, the grievances and so on. He gets the protection, but doesn't pay. That's all that right-to-work means.

It's a technique for destroying labor. But the propaganda has been effective, and it's best against public workers, librarians, firefighters, teachers or even workers in a unionized plant. They have jobs, they get pensions, they get health care. You are unemployed, you can't a job. And if you get one, it's part-time and you don't get a pension. So they're stealing from you, especially the public service workers who are leaning on taxes. They're underpaid, relative to their skill level, and the reason they get pensions is because they take lower pay. It's a trade-off. They say, okay, we'll take lower wages, but you guarantee us our pension. But the propaganda works, and the administrations supported it.

When Obama declares a freeze on pay for federal workers, he's saying that we're not going to raise taxes on the rich but that we are going to raise taxes on you, because a freeze on public workers is identical to a tax increase. The whole technique of demonizing labor and "corrupt union leaders"-I mean, this goes way back.

In the early 1950s there were two movies that came out about the same time. One wasSalt of the Earth, a marvelous low-budget movie. It was about a strike that was eventually won. I think a Mexican woman was leading it. It was a very well-done movie, but nobody ever heard of it. There was another movie that came out at the same time calledOn the Waterfront, starring Marlon Brando, and it was about a corrupt union leader and the good, honest workman, you know, Joe with his pail and stuff. They finally got together. Marlon Brando kind of organized them, and the thing ends up with Marlon Brando throwing the union organizer into the ocean or something like that. Now that was a big hit. Incidentally, it was directed by Elia Kazan, who was supposedly a rather progressive director. But the point was to get people to hate the unions because they're all a bunch of corrupt gangsters and they're just stealing from you honest workmen and so on. And this is just one piece of an enormous campaign. By the time some of the scholarship came out on it, I was shocked by the scale. I had been following it, but had no idea. And it's had an effect.

CK: One solution, since labor has been weakened, is for workers to start their own worker-run and worker-managed businesses. A lot of people were inspired by the growth of worker-run collectives and businesses in Argentina following the 2001 economic collapse there. In the United States, there are about several hundred, including Free Speech Radio News, which has been worker-run and worker-managed since itwas founded thirteen years ago. Do you think this could grow and expand in the United States?

NC: It's quite significant. There's been very good work on this, which ought to be read, by Gar Alperovitz, who is both an activist and a writer, a very good historian. What I know of, it's mostly around northern Ohio and the Rust Belt, and what happened there is interesting and worth thinking about. The steelworkers union, which is one of the more progressive in some ways-not without plenty of problems-are working on some sort of an arrangement with Mondragón, which is this huge, worker-owned conglomerate in the Basque country in northern Spain.

CK: And that's been around since the 1950s, right?

NC: Goes back to the 1950s as church-initiated, what became liberation theology and so on. But there's also a strong workers' tradition there, going way back to the Spanish Revolution. And it's grown and developed. It's now a number of productive enterprises: banks, housing, schools, hospitals. It's quite an elaborate affair. And it seems to be with standing the financial crisis, while everything else in Spain is collapsing. I don't know the details, but that's what it looks like. It's not worker-managed. Workers select management, who then act on their own. And, of course, it's part of an international capitalist economy which means that you can argue the ethics of it, since they do things like exploit labor abroad and so on. They say that they have to do it to compete and survive-maybe-that you can't extricate yourself from the world you're in.

Of course, the more solidarity spreads, the more you can do things about that, but that's not easy. It's hard enough to reconstruct the labor movement internally. After all, every labor movement is called an international. That's an aspiration. It's a real problem in the United States. You could see it yesterday. Yesterday was May Day. I happened to get a letter in the morning. A ton of email comes in-one of them was from a friend in Brazil who told me that she wouldn't be going to work that day because it's a holiday, a labor holiday. In fact, it's a labor holiday all over the world, except in the United States where nobody knows what it is. I happened to be giving a talk at Harvard in the afternoon and this came up. I asked the big audience of Harvard graduate students, "What do you think May Day is?" And some people said, "You mean dance around the May pole," or something like that. It's not only a labor holiday. It's a labor holiday that was initiated in support of American workers who were struggling for an eight-hour day and who were among the most oppressed in the industrial world.

So here's this holiday-you know, big demonstrations everywhere, and all kinds of celebrations and so on, and here nobody knows what it is. That's a sign of extremely effective indoctrination. It's the kind of thing that we just have to work our way out of. Here there are some small celebrations. Maybe Occupy might have had a May Day march or something. And it's kind of interesting the way the press treated it. Usually they just ignore it. But if you take a look at theNew York Timesthe next day, it had an article that said demonstrations were in support of labor or something. But it was datelined "Havana," and there was a picture of a huge mob of Cubans marching and some commentary. It was clear what the implication is: This holiday is some kind of commie business; it's got nothing to do with us. I don't know if it's conscious or if it's just so internalized that the journalists don't even see what they're doing. But the message was, "Forget it, it's some alien thing."

It's like breaking up the harmony in your town when the union organizers come in; it's kind of that imagery. And here, strikingly, we do have a Labor Day, but notice what day it is. It's the day when you go back to work, not the day when you struggle for your rights. The success of indoctrination in the United States is really amazing.


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+29 # brux 2013-11-21 13:55
I have my differences with Chomsky, but on this he is right and in the lead - America is terrified. I think we are all petrified also just waiting for whatever is going to happen next. A large number of people are tired of being scared and just want what they call "the shit to hit the fan" so they can pull out their guns and live the movie reality of the end of the world, but many just want to get through their lives without more trauma. I don't really understand why people have to many children though - I think it is awfully deep programming to keep them docile and invested in society, even at the cost of that society.
 
 
+2 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-11-22 15:33
Good post. I like Chomsky. He did forget one idea. Reagan broke then Russia by bankrupting that country with U.S. massive military expenditures. Russia could not compete with America's expenditures. American Capitalists knew that Russian school children, before and during Reagan's time, were greatly excelling American school children in math and science. Math and science excellence was a threat to J. Edgar Hoover and his idea of the American model which definitely included Christianity. He thought that
children excelling in math and science was a threat to Christianity. Doubt this? Read his book "Master's Of Deceit." What evidence is there to support Russian excellence in math and science? I'm sure we remember "Sputnik." The conservative U.S. leaders decided rather than the U.S. compete with Russia in educational excellence, specifically math and science, which would have been very rewarding to the U.S., just destroy Russia and their culture. Meanwhile, the labor movement in the U.S. was becoming quite strong. Even some Conservatives then started giving lip service to a strong labor movement as Americans could buy Capitalism's products. With Russia out of the way, as a cultural threat, the Capitalists started breaking the labor movement. And they greatly succeeded. Now, we have Paul Ryan promoting a corruption of Christianity by saying, "workers don't need food stamps, they need Jesus." In so many ways, I liked Clinton. Clinton, as regards labor? A bastard? Think so.
 
 
+48 # tonenotvolume 2013-11-21 14:04
What can you say in reply to Noam Chomsky except "You're absolutely right but no one seems to be listening"?
 
 
+37 # fredboy 2013-11-21 14:21
Most Americans I know have been scared shitless their entire lives, and the 9/11 "attacks" pushed them over the edge. Now they are crazy. A sad nation indeed.
 
 
+36 # Johnny 2013-11-21 14:57
Of course. And that is exactly why our rulers staged the 9/11 attacks. Please, Mr. President, save us from the evil terrorists! Take our liberties! Tax the shit out of us to build the military and starve education!
 
 
+13 # soularddave 2013-11-22 02:20
That's why 9/11 still needs to be unraveled.
 
 
+1 # Cassandra2012 2013-11-25 13:57
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
 
 
+22 # EternalTruth 2013-11-21 15:39
Most Americans I know aren't even informed enough to be afraid of the bogus "enemy", much less the reality which is far scarier. They're scared they won't be able to afford the latest thneed (which everyone everyone everyone needs). I admit to being a bit baffled about who they think will be purchasing all the gadgets once we're all reduced to poverty, which seems to be the plan.
 
 
-6 # MidwesTom 2013-11-21 15:21
I can argue for and against several things in this article. Chomsky, who I respect may still be living in the US of 40 years ago. When Clinton signed NAFTA, and the US Government decided that The Pentagon could source material outside this country "the handwriting was on the wall" for American labors.

Back in the 50's and 60's the Japanese started importing cheap junk tools and cars that were cheaper than American made, and Americans bought them. Only American auto companies made decent cars. However, over time first the Japanese and then others learned our production techniques, made things equivalent to us and we bought the cheapest. Then cam Walmart, which saw this trend and amplified it to the point that almost everything in their stores is made elsewhere.

It is a nice concept to organize labor to raise wages, but what will they make to sell? our clothes come from all over, our shrimp from the far east, our tools from China, and many of our American branded products are made elsewhere. Even the cars assembled here are loaded with parts made elsewhere, because the company can get the same quality at lower prices.

I think that it is misleading to say that we can raise wages by unionizing. A recent study by MIT, projects that 1/3 of todays jobs will be replaced by automation over the next 20 years.

A more feasible plan is to target cutting the cost of living in this country.
 
 
+9 # ladypyrates 2013-11-21 16:24
The solution to the problem you laid out can be found by practicing "counter-veilin g tariffs". Before you disagree with that statement, find out how the system works...it's not a tax but rather a means of facilitating trade while protecting the economies of both trading nations. The globalists have been quite sucessful in getting it removed from the everyday agenda. The second part of your comment is addressed by what's called a "par economy". It is a mathematical formula that structured production so that it allowed the middle class to come into being. It was a truly American practice that advanced an old idea that the French came up with. The banks hate the concept because it is the chief weapon against their brutal tactics that always result in stripping the middle class and handing all wealth off to the 1 tenth of one percent of the population. Check it out...you'll be amazed.
 
 
+3 # RLF 2013-11-22 06:49
Ironic, isn't it, that the corporate state, in trying to create the global market, has created a market that only works if everyone has similar wealth and similar wages. The Kurt Vonnegut version of communism!
 
 
+3 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-11-22 15:46
You just outlined "cutting the cost of living" by the Capitalists. Outsourcing.
 
 
+3 # MidwesTom 2013-11-21 15:26
Cutting the cost of living by experiencing falling prices with flat wages would be good for workers, but bad for the 1 % whose assets would decrease in value. Obama and the Fed are doing everything that they can restart inflation to 'save' the rich by driving the stock market higher. Falling home prices were good for those seeking to buy.

Until our wage structure matches out industrialized countries, we are going to have problems.
 
 
+13 # brux 2013-11-21 16:57
> Falling home prices were good for those seeking to buy.

Nope, falling home prices is because no one can buy, mostly because there was no value there to begin with. Everything in America is overvalued, especially the stock market. There is no country here, and the rich are spending an awful lot of money try to scare people into pretending there still is.
 
 
+6 # RLF 2013-11-22 06:52
The fed keeps saying there is no inflation but I could swear my grocery bill is WAY higher. The stats that the gov. put out haven't been trust -ble since Raygun. The big inflation that they want to hold down is "wage inflation". That's the one I here all of the time since raygun.
 
 
+13 # Khidr 2013-11-21 15:29
We have been a scared nation forever. That is why we have the slogan " home of the brave and land of....." the banksters, corportacy, defence industry and the media would like for us to be a scared nation. communist threat, 9/11 terror threat. see who are making mega bucks. same people. banksters, corporation, defense and security industry. just manufacture terror operations and keep the fear active and keep raking in the $$$$$. americans are figuring out so the need to have all their communications sucked up by NSA, to keep an eye on them. we have some brave souls who sacrificed themselves to bring in transperency. eg. elesberg, manning, snowden and others. mr chomsky i have great respect for you and the information you put out for the alternate press.
Please Explain To Us How Can A Building Self Demolish Like Building No. 7 Did on Sept. 11, 2001?
Please tell us what are you terrified about?
 
 
+10 # ericlipps 2013-11-21 18:58
There's a good book out, "America Invulnerable," which chronicles the efforts (including wars and massacres) of the USA to achieve absolute security ever since the Revolution. The point is, a nation can never be perfectly safe, so there will always be those who exploit insecurity for political purposes.
 
 
+14 # cordleycoit 2013-11-21 15:46
The truth appears when we think and Americans are taught not to think but rather emote. That is part of the spectacles tools to enslave or at least confuse us. Confused and fearful we allow leaders to kill in our name. We have turn wealthy places into crime ridden plots of hell in Africa,Mexico and New Jersey. Then we blame the people whose livelihood has been stolen by the bankers for their poverty. The enemy is clear, capitalism. The answer is simple organize parallel institutions based on cooperation.
 
 
-2 # brux 2013-11-21 18:46
You think Americans want to cooperate? I'm not sure about that.
 
 
+11 # reiverpacific 2013-11-21 16:29
Isn't nationalistic fear and paranoia of external AND internal forces of progressive change and influence a symptom of all war-mongering Imperialist states at the end of the time of their ascendancy and the fact that they know but exist in a vacuum of denial, that they are in decline?
All these claims and statements of "American Exceptionalism" is a good symbol of that false mindset methinks.
This sate of fear could be good argument for all the wanton ignorance and lack of curiosity, circumscribed lives and lamentable acceptance of mediocre public education by much of the populace, the content-free and complacency-pro moting media and unfocused anger resulting the relatively recent rash of mass-shootings, which I don't remember from when I first came here in the 1970's, when there was a feeling of "can-do" and much opportunity, especially for individualists (unless you were in the American Indian Movement).
And one of my favorite tests of this is in fact (try it sometime). Unless you live in an intellectual compound or community (shudder the thought of anything so insular!) ask your neighbors, or at your local watering hole you have one, who have most likely been hypnotized for decades by sound bites and the simplistic "B" movie-shallow acting style of Regan, the vapid one-liners of Dimwits and their patsy owner-media, if they've ever heard of Noam Chomsky.
I'd be interested to hear the results from some RSN contributors.
 
 
+13 # tclose 2013-11-21 16:32
Prof. Chomsky as usual has good insight into the sad history of the union movement in the US, and as always speaks truth to power.

What ever happened to Home of the Brave??
 
 
+15 # brux 2013-11-21 16:58
> What ever happened to Home of the Brave??

It got foreclosed on.
 
 
-12 # tahoevalleylines 2013-11-21 17:08
It would be helpful for their rapt followers if Mssrs. Chomsky & Cole et al would list how US got terrified beginning, say the end of WWII FDR deal with the house of Saud: We supply security and promise to ignore Daniel's prophecy on reborn Israel in trade for (ARAMCO) unfettered access to Saudi oil.

Include Russian move into Iran in 1946, and Truman's famous atomic reminder..

Berlin Airlift June 1948-May 1949 and NK move into South Korea in June 1950.

The Rosenbergs helped Russia into the nuclear club, and Strategic Air Command came together.

Quemoy/Matsu 1958; Cuba 1962...

Oh, Israel round one in May 1948, Islam tries first of several (failed) knockout punches against the Jew on "Mohammed's turf". (Mohammed circa 700 AD; Israel circa 1300 BC...) Skipping over the small stuff, look at 2013-2014-

Terrified America? Seems more like Satchel Paige, who lived his motto: Keep Movin' and don't look back, somethin' might be gainin' on yez...

Now gun rights is again proven timely with new wave of random assault on passersby by teen thugs. Noam, we love you; you are a sincere peacemaker, and you will see God.

But, we wonder how many world troublemakers are encouraged by gadflies leading popular movements meddling in situations where true bad boys are at work?

Would pre-empting Iranian bomb program save lives over time? Does a passive Israel reacting to -inevitable- combined Arab attack prove more disastrous?

Back to N & J
 
 
-11 # brux 2013-11-21 19:01
Don't pay attention to the Nazis trying to minus your positive post on Israel, that's what you get here. I personally think it is fake, an attempt to tar Liberalism with Nazism and brand Progressives as terrorists. Let's not let that work!
 
 
+5 # jake909 2013-11-21 18:22
all of the above is "No action talk only" (NATO) I do not see anyone that has initiated any action.
I have stood in the picket lines in defiance of Taft-Hartley faced the guns of the police. With workers paroled to the steel mill who were still not afraid to defy those who would make them less than noble workers.
to my shame I stood by and watched the gains we made slip away. A weary worker with out the energy to carry on the fight.
"If voting changed anything they would make it illegal"
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2013-11-21 18:54
Quoting jake909:
all of the above is "No action talk only" (NATO) I do not see anyone that has initiated any action.
I have stood in the picket lines in defiance of Taft-Hartley faced the guns of the police. With workers paroled to the steel mill who were still not afraid to defy those who would make them less than noble workers.
to my shame I stood by and watched the gains we made slip away. A weary worker with out the energy to carry on the fight.
"If voting changed anything they would make it illegal"

Don't be so damn self-righteous and presumptuous.
I've stood in the front line most of my life -around the world too- and done some very dangerous activism in Fascist countries and have the scars to prove it.
Loosen up!
 
 
0 # jake909 2013-11-22 07:18
good for us that you took action
Thank you
I don't want to seem "self-righteous " just to point out that most of the articles do not come with a plan of action
 
 
+7 # reiverpacific 2013-11-21 18:52
[quote name="tahoevalleylines"]
You are a very confused person!
"Passive Israel" -gimme a break!
 
 
+8 # tomo 2013-11-22 00:08
There are so many good things in this interview. Manufactured Consent reminds me of Marcuse's "invented needs," and reminds me that Huxley's Brave New World predicted we would be willing accomplices in our seduction (in the year of Our Ford) by corporate rulers. Concocted Enemies reminds me of Rene Girard's thesis that inhumane states propel themselves into statehood by uniting the people against a scapegoat.
(That Cuba should continue as a favorite America scapegoat is as absurd as it is true.) That Chomsky names names and calls out Reagan and Clinton for their blatant appeals to what is dark and counter-product ive in the American psyche is refreshing and courageous. The way in which our terror on foreign soils becomes a subterranean threat to the American people ("Look what we do to bad guys!"), is an insight worthy of the likes of Freud, Jung, or Adler. The lament for the betrayal of American labor (and our connivance--inc luding that of American laborers--in it) is as sad as it is genuine. The Zinn-like hope that the tendrils of freedom may still lie buried in American soil is heartening. In fact, if someone wanted a short compendium of what Chomsky is about, I could not recommend anything better than this interview.
 
 
0 # barbaratodish 2013-11-22 00:39
Perhaps we all need to find an alternative for the necessarilly the OFF THE CHARTS HIGH ANXIETY level of union leaders like Eugene V. Debs: "I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind
that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then,
and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and
while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a
soul in prison, I am not free"
(Eugene Victor Debs)
How can ANYONE deal with the ultimate anxiety that awareness brings? Chomsky has obviously "burned out" and is in compassion fatigue, etc.
 
 
-7 # FDRva 2013-11-22 02:10
Since the advent of Bush II and Obama much evidence suggests British agencies call the shots in the 'Anglo-American intelligence community.' Which explains much about the unstable situation in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I eagerly await Dr. Chomsky's mea culpa--and/or the predictable MI-6 response.
 
 
-11 # FDRva 2013-11-22 02:29
Noam Chomsky has lived his life as an asset of the Anglo-American intelligence community. He has made a good living.

As appealing as his many, many words are--it would be unwise to trust them very much--unless you work for the same agencies.
 
 
-8 # FDRva 2013-11-22 02:45
I expect Noam will be awarded a medal from the Crown for keeping the pathetic US Left in check. Not a terribly difficult job.

God Save The Queen--and her $9 Trillion portfolio.
 
 
+2 # tomo 2013-11-22 14:36
The series of three negative comments on Chomsky makes me wonder what, if anything, of Chomsky's output the writer has read. The New American Mandarins, for instance, was an impassioned plea--at the time of the war in Viet Nam--that America not go down the road to empire that the Brits were at last receding from. True, Chomsky used the word "Mandarins" rather than "Vice-Roys," but the message was clear.
 
 
0 # FDRva 2013-12-05 01:22
Chomsky wrote that item about Viet Nam when British agencies were eager to make the world forget their many colonial crimes --and blame the Americans for everything.

The Soviets were happy to agree with him--but knew better.
 
 
0 # FDRva 2013-12-05 01:29
And who exactly told you that the British were "at last receding from Empire?"

If they worked for an intelligence agency--they were lying.
 
 
0 # FDRva 2013-12-05 01:33
Have they de-classified the Royal Family's multi-Trillion dollar portfolio, yet?

Oh, Lord, what fools these mortals be.
 
 
0 # EternalTruth 2013-11-22 21:57
I'd love to hear your arguments and see your sources for this assertion. Otherwise I must take assume it as the drivel it appears to be.
 
 
0 # FDRva 2014-04-21 00:47
A tendency towards voicing such intell community-provi ded drivel is something I share with Rachel Maddow.

If my fellow 1980s era Chicago community organizer--Bara ck H. "Barry" Obama--is not a Wall Street whore--he is dong a damn good imitation.
 
 
0 # FDRva 2014-04-21 03:50
Look at the FEC reports--duh?
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2013-11-23 23:20
Thanks Noam for distilling down a million factors to the American pastime of being "terrified". Terror reflects the agenda of the Finance-Media-M ilitary-Industr ial-Complex families who being driven by 'hates' are themselves paranoid schizophrenic psychopathic institutional killers who can't imagine a more positive role for their wealth. They control media so are able to indoctrinate the American mind to be terrified of supposed foreign terrorists.

Reality is that we all share one mind, one emotion. While its true that people worldwide are pissed off at our constant economic control & extractive polluting intervention around their homes, reality is that; we are the ones supplying arms, financing mercenaries, supplying Sarin Gas, dropping Uranium tipped missiles etc. The problem is institutional indoctrination of & by those who excel in dysfunctional systems. Marshall McLuhan identified the medium as being the message. Our educational & monetary-corpor ate system rewards those who are subservient to power, compete to exclude their fellows & deny the real world in front of their faces.

Noam's estimate for Occupy puts corporate controllers at .1% or 1/1000 or 300,000 people in the USA, who basically run the war machine worldwide. Noam & Occupy's solution is unions, worker owned co-ops & other forms of business, but these deny personal initiative, investment & entrepreneurial risk taking. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/relational-economy/8-economic-democracy
 
 
0 # FDRva 2014-04-21 04:02
Noam is considerably less brilliant--but better paid--than his resume suggests he ought to be.
 

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