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Keeping The Rabble In Line: Interviews With David Barsamian
by Noam Chomsky And David Barsamian
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From Publishers Weekly
Barsamian, the founder of Alternative Radio, and Chomsky, allegedly the most quoted author in the modern era, have forged a symbiotic relationship that manages to distill Chomsky's political philosophies and make them accessible. Barsamian's historically grounded, well-informed and probing questions prompt Chomsky to deconstruct concepts of class, media and economics. Chomsky deftly addresses domestic and foreign conundrums including health care, the recent crime bill and NAFTA. While these interviews span a two-year period and end early in 1994, they remain provocative and timely, with Chomsky's insights on Haiti, Northern Ireland and the Middle East proving especially resonant. Ultimately, Rabble serves as a Chomsky primer that is without condescension, and the question-and-answer format shows him at his most concise and adroit. His criticism exposes democracies as business-run societies that render the general population isolated from politics, persuasively suggesting that we are on the verge of a social breakdown. What sets this work apart from other reluctant messiahs who simply intellectualize suffering, is that Barsamian and Chomsky discuss avenues for activism-strengthening unions, following grassroots organizations or simply reading between the lines. Together they act as a lens, enabling the reader to see what has been there, hidden in plain sight.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Together they act as a lens, enabling the reader to see what has been there, hidden in plain sight."
recent interviews (1992-1994) w/David Barsamian
About the Author
Excerpted from Keeping the Rabble in Line : Interviews With David Barsamian by Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian. Copyright © 1994. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved
KEEPING THE RABBLE IN LINE is a sequel as well as a departure from CHRONICLES OF DISSENT. In this latest collection Noam Chomsky focuses on economic trade issues and the emerging global economic order. While an increasingly spectacle-driven media wine and dine us on a menu of O.J. Simpson, Tonya Harding, or whatever the current diversion is, major shifts in the international scene are occurring. As Chomsky points out, nation-states are becoming increasingly challenged by the power and reach of transnational corporations. The latter may be the defining feature of the coming era. Our response will be crucial. Again and again in these interviews and elsewhere Chomsky suggests the need to organize and become active. Passive consumption of information is not enough. RABBLE will hopefully get people moving in a practical direction, be it direct action protests, getting involved with or establishing a community radio station, producing and distributing a video, starting a bookstore, publishing a newsletter or having discussions in your living room with a few friends.
I think Chomsky's contribution lies in the fact that he constantly stresses not just the need to be informed and act, but that we are all capable of doing so. His own commitment, involvement and accessibility is a concrete example. He is a cartographer. He provides a detailed road map to assist in figuring out where things are and in charting out routes. And in another sense he is a memory bank. So while the punditocracy engineer history, Chomsky is there as a constant corrective to remind us about the concerted U.S. effort to destroy popular organizations in post-war Europe or the monstrous crimes of the Indochina War or the real accomplishments of the Nixons, Kissingers, Clintons and other luminaries who direct the global pillage.
-David Barsamian, from the Introduction
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