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    May. 14 2009 - 11:41 am | 416 views | 1 recommendation | 0comments

    Chomsky on education, South America, andPakistanBy ALLISON KILKENNY

    Citizen Radio recently interviewed Noam Chomsky. You can

    listen to the full interview here.

    As promised, here is the full transcript. Feel free to repost and sample as

    desired, but please credit Citizen Radio for the interview.

    Citizen Radio opened the interview by discussing the tea-bagger

    phenomenon and popular anger at the government.
  • 8/8/2019 chomsky on


    Kilstein: [If Barack Obama is] neutral and doesnt do anything radical, so

    lets say by the next election, we dont have universal health care, or were not

    out of the slump. Do you think that this was kind of our chance, and do you

    think that if things are, lets say, the same stagnate that [Republicans will]

    just be able to use that and completely

    Chomsky: Well, I think if people are still feeling I mean they have a very

    good reason to feel that somethings wrong. Theres a reason why 80% of the

    country thinks its going the wrong way. Its been the worst period of economic


    Kilkenny: But its just misdirected.

    Chomsky: Well, its misdirected, but you could say the same thing about Nazi

    Germany. You know, it wasnt the Jewsand in this case, its even more

    plausible. If its the rich liberals who own Wall Street, and run the

    government, and run the media, give everything to the illegal immigrants,

    dont care about us sort of fly-by people, and that sort of thing.

    Kilkenny: But at the same time, its also Socialism, the fear of Socialism. So

    you have the fear of the rich-

    Chomsky: Its the rich. [laughter]

    Kilstein: Thats kind of a massive contradiction.

    Kilkenny: Sure

    Chomsky: Its no more crazy than the belief the very widespread belief on

    the left that the Republicans stand for free markets, which is totally

    ridiculous. Reagan was the most protectionist president in post-war American

    history. But its kind of drummed into your head over and over. I read it even

    in the left journals.

    Kilstein: Last time we talked a lot about religion and economics, and first of

    all, thanks for doing the show so soon again. We want to rename the show

    Chomsky and Friends [laughter]

    Kilkenny: Leach off your name

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    Kilstein: Every time youre not on just say, Hes not feeling well today. Ive

    heard you talk a lot about how a lot of the people you grew up with didnt have

    a high school education. Youve often said that they were just as educated as

    the people you went to Harvard with, or you met at Harvard, and these kind of

    higher institutions, and I wanted you to talk about the difference between self-education and formal education, and how a lot of the times formal education

    can lead to apathy.

    And the second part of the question is for someone whose new to politics,

    which a lot of our audience is because they were sort of disenfranchised the

    media, and what not, where a good place to start is because I think sometimes

    when you want to get into it, youre so overwhelmed, and you just feel like

    youre being lied to, and you just dont know where to begin.

    Chomsky: Its pretty much the same answer in both cases. It wasnt self-

    education. These were my unemployed, working class relatives. They were

    parts of organizations. A lot of them were in the Communist party. We

    misinterpret the Communist party as a result of decades of propaganda. For

    them, the Communist party didnt have that much to do with Russia. Yeah,

    okay, so they said some things about Russia, but they really didnt care. It had

    to do with unemployment, with civil rights. For my seamstress aunts, it was a

    place they had a social life. They could spend some place in the summer for a

    week. They had educational activities, cultural activities, so it was kind of a

    community. A community, bound together not by ethnicity, or having been

    through the Second World War, or something, but by common ideals. And

    they were progressive ideals. The unions were very intimately related to it.

    In that general milieu that these people grew up and became educated. But its

    not really self-education. Its mutual education in a culture of support and

    creativity. And remember too that in those days, unlike now, left intellectuals

    (many of them Communist party intellectuals, famous physicists and

    mathematicians, and so on) were involved in popular education. They were

    writing really good books worth reading today like Mathematics for the

    Millions, J.D. Bernals books on physics, and so on. It was just part of an

    interrelated culture that involved left intellectuals and working class people,

    some of whom had very little in the way of formal education. Some got

    through high school, but some didnt even get through elementary school.

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    Even there, it was self-education, but in a community a community of

    emigrants, left emigrants fleeing from Europe, who would hang around these

    groups. One of them was one of my uncles, who never did get past fourth

    grade. He had a newsstand. He was disabled, so under the New Deal

    programs, he was able to get a newsstand. But it just became a center formigr, educated migr life. Psychiatrists, doctors, professionals, they would

    hang around, and he was a bright guy, they liked him, and would have

    discussions. He ended up getting quite an education.

    Kilstein: Do you see anything similar to those groups today? Or do you think

    if you dont have a college education, if you dont have a high school education,

    do you think its possible to obtain that kind of knowledge by reading, or do

    you think there really is something to a support group and gathering?

    Chomsky: Doing these things alone is extremely hard. Theres been a huge

    effort I dont know if it can be called propaganda the whole doctrinal

    system is geared towards atomization. You know, be out for yourself, get as

    much as you can in the way of consumer goods, and forget about everything

    else. But it means theres very little in the way of community. You can see it in

    all kinds of ways. Say care for the elderly. In those days, it was just taken for

    granted. People get ol