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(en) Ireland, Workers Solidarity #82 - Understanding Power

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 24 Sep 2004 09:02:31 +0200 (CEST)

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Mark Malone Reviews Understanding Power by Noam
Chomsky. Ed. Mitchell and Schoeffel, Published by Vintage 2003, E1
Understanding Power is a collection of edited interviews,
presentations and discussions that Noam Chomsky has had with
activists and community groups over the ten year period from
1989-99. Put together in question and answer format and covering
topics ranging from globalisation, activist strategies, and the media,
Understanding Power is an accessible, even essential, read for all
those concerned with how the very few use structures of power to
maintain their grip on the majority of people across the globe.

Chomsky has been the recipient of much gushing praise for his
analysis of power structures and their corroding impact on the
development of a truly democratic society. The New York Times
describes him as "arguably the most important intellectual alive."
Quite funny then that the NY Times has no less than 38 separate
entries in the book's index, which cite examples of deliberate
misreporting and convenient omissions, in its role of 'informing' the
public. It is Chomsky's demystifying of deliberately intellectualised
arguments, backed up with a serious amount of supporting facts and
plain common sense that makes this collection important and readily

Much of the discussions are based on the continuing oppression of
many of the world's peoples. The historical context of old style
imperialism, neoliberalism and the war industry are explored as is the
media's increasingly important role in maintaining the status quo.
American and European foreign policies are stripped to their
hypocritical core in great detail. The left does not escape Chomsky's
attention. He rejects the idea of an elitist Vanguard Party with the
"capacity to lead the stupid masses towards some future they're too
dumb to understand themselves...The same guys that were Stalinist
thugs of the former Soviet Union are now running banks and are
enthusiastic free marketeers, praising the US."

Marxism as an applicable theory is dismissed. "We don't discuss
Einsteinism or Plackism." They "had somethings to say, some right
and absorbed into science, some wrong and later improved on...if you
set up the idea of Marxism, youíve already abandoned rationality."
He describes the form of libertarian socialism practised in Barcelona
in the late 1930's as "about as high a level as human beings have
reached in trying to reach libertarian principles, which In my view are
the right ones"

Repeatedly Chomsky returns to the need for organised resistance to
all forms of undemocratic power, and provokes the reader to
empower themselves to help "build a movement that is truly
democratic, to provoke reform and ferment the opportunity for
revolution." By highlighting the achievements made by the sacrifice
and collective work of many, against seemingly overwhelming odds
this book may just get you to stop shouting at the tv, shift your ass
and get organised.
This page is from the print version of the Irish
Anarchist paper 'Workers Solidarity'.
We also provide PDF files of all our publications
http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/pdf.html for you
to print out and distribute locally
Print out the PDF file of this issue

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