“There are demagogues of the people who have the talent to hold one hand high with a banner telling working people “I love you well while the other hand is stabbing them in the back. That was, in fact, one of Trump’s main achievements. His one legislative achievement was a radical tax cut for the wealthy and corporations, the cost, transferred to the rest.” These were the scathing words of Noam Chomsky, Emeritus Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics at MIT and the Laureate Professor in Linguistic at the University of Arizona, in his pre-recorded opening remarks specially recorded for the 17-November FORSEA Public Event designed to sound a clarion call against the rise of what Chomsky terms “savage capitalist proto-Fascism (s)”.
The towering American public intellectual whose greatest honour includes being banned from ever appearing on the US National Public Radio – for his scathing characterization of the USA as “a rogue state”, among other things – described the politico-economic forces that have resulted in the creation of the conditions for the spread and resurgence of a new garden variety Far Right ideologies and ideological regimes all over the world.
He avoided the definitional debates – often futile and intellectually shallow – about what is and what is not Fascism, and went straight to exposing major ideological, institutional and political factors, since Reagan and Thatcher re-made democratic states and governments to serve the interests of the enormously – some would say criminally – rich class of capital owners and their collaborators, that is, the managerial class.
Drawing on Adam Smith’s work on the early English colonizing Capitalism, Chomsky drew a parallel with the late 18th century, industrializing England and its “masters of mankind” – the colonizing entrepreneurial class that destroyed the richest economy in the world at the time, namely India, and sucked its wealth out and transferred it to England’s emerging capital owning classes and landed gentry.
The opening address was Chomsky’s 3rd for FORSEA public events in 4 years – the first was his inaugural address for FORSEA Launch in 2018 and the second was on the FORSEA event warning the danger of genocide in India.
In his introduction to the keynote speaker who will turn 94 on 7 December, Maung Zarni of FORSEA characterized him as “a deeply rational mind with infinite quantity of compassion” for fellow humans in sufferings, pains and oppression.
Chomsky’s opening remarks were dedicated to two of his late friends – Howard Zinn and Edward Said – and Dr Maung Zarni’s teacher, the late Wisconsin historian Robert Koehl, who did one of the pioneering study of Himmler and SS at Harvard (Koehl was an US military interrogator of surrendered SS officers and wrote his PhD thesis on the subject based on the archival materials of the 2 chambers of the Nuremberg Trials).
Banner Image: Noam Chomsky speaking at a conference on the Freedom of the Press in the Middle East in November, 2015. Photo: orhan akkurt, Shutterstock