The Current Crisis Viewed by Chomsky (II)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
In a September 16 interview, journalists from the Colombian newspaper El Espectador asked Chomsky what ordinary citizens who have work and a family can do to take care of this new world order? The great American intellectual responded by saying that they have to change and organize to achieve common goals, engage in committed activism and raise the issues that concern them.
When asked how Trump’s election was possible without a long period of promotion, Chomsky said that although Trump’s election was widely publicized, he thinks the most notable success was the Bernie Sanders campaign which has marked the sharpest disruption in the political history of the United States. Chomsky says that for more than a century, elections have been bought as strategies can be predicted if one knows the sources of funding of a campaign, whether these be corporations or private initiative. It is common knowledge that Sanders was unknown and had no private or corporate funding, so he was totally dismissed by the media and even worse when he used the word “socialism” which produces a great deal of fear in the US.
Chomsky says that Sanders would have won the Democratic Party nomination had it not been for the maneuvers of its then leaders (Obama and Clinton) to prevent a democratic election, and he could have been elected president because at that time he became the most popular political figure in the country by a wide margin.
Chomsky says that the success of Sanders and Trump reflects the current strong opposition to the main political institutions that have developed in the United States and in Europe as a reaction to the neoliberal assault against the general population. So it is not surprising that there is a popular reaction that sometimes takes unpleasant forms, especially when it is supported by the most reactionary elements of private power, as in the case of Trump. But in Europe there are similar and even worse cases.
Chomsky was asked if transnationals and financial emporiums are going to gain more global power during the Trump administration and his response was that they already have extraordinary power. According to the latest research, US-based companies own 50% of the world economy and dominate in almost all sectors, while Trump and Bannon are seeking to control news coverage and divert public attention with extravagant claims. Meanwhile, Republican Paul Ryan, who is the most evil and savage component of the current political system is dismantling those parts of government that still work in the popular interest, at the same time that policy is being reformed even more than in the past in order to serve private power and wealth.
When Chomsky was asked if the left could come to power in the next elections, he told them that this would be possible if the Democratic Party of the last 40 years which abandoned the working class could change course and adopt the programs proposed by Sanders. But there is no doubt that for now Sanders is the most popular political figure in the US, especially among young people and democratic-socialist policies have very strong public support.
They then asked Chomsky if Sanders represents a radical opportunity for a change in governance. He told them that the elites moved to the far right during the neoliberal period and the US is already a very different country from what it was in the 1950s and 1960s when there was more democracy and that radical change is very difficult.
When asked what will happen to a Latin America in crisis under Trump, Chomsky told them that Trump is likely to continue the traditional US posture towards independent governments, as happened during the Obama administration.
At the end of the interview he was asked what worried him most about the Trump administration and the Republican leadership and he replied that the most worrying thing for him is the threat of climate change because while the rest of the world is wavering somewhat in its actions to address this serious problem, the US is not doing anything about it, but is competing very stupidly to aggravate the problem with the intensive use of non-renewable energy sources.
Addendum: I think there is not much that can be added to Chomsky’s clear view of the world today. I just want to make it clear that the American media has not been allowed to interview this brilliant intellectual and so all information about him comes from the foreign press.