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Chomsky Unplugged

Chomsky discusses the unpeople in Iraq, the U.S., and Latin America, clever uses of the internet and international solidarity, and the conversion of a liberal dove to a principled anti-warrior.


Discussing Michael Gordon’s New York Times piece on the options for Iraq, Chomsky notes, “There was one voice missing: Iraqis. Their choice is not rejected; it’s not mentioned.” Why? Because the Iraqis are just more “unpeople” (British historian Mark Curtis’s term for the victims of Empire). Likewise were the Panamanians unpeople when Bush I invaded in December, 1989, killing thousands, ignored by the press a decade on when they mourned their dead. This audio track lasts 4:10.

“Resistance in Latin America.”

In a ranging meditation, Chomsky discusses the role internet activism and international solidarity played in saving lives in Chiapas and Oaxaca, throwing Bechtel out of Bolivia (when the California company tried to privatize the local water supply), and—one of Chomsky’s favorites—the election of peasant Indian Evo Morales as Bolivian President. If not for this solidarity in our militarized world, says Chomsky, Nazism would “look gentle.” This audio track lasts 6:51.


Liberal doves during Vietnam and Iraq alike are critical not of the cost in dead local civilians, but of the cost in U.S. dollars, citing “blundering efforts to do good.” In 1969, “when the first polls were taken, about 70 percent of the American population described the war as not a mistake but fundamentally wrong and immoral. That’s the unpeople.” Chomsky goes on to cite how Arthur Schlesinger evolved, just before his death, from one of the liberal doves into one of the unpeople. This shift has clear implications for Afghanistan. This audio track lasts 5:57.


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5 comments for Chomsky Unplugged

  1. Comment by Henry Pelifian on May 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Increasingly the “unpeople” are the American people marginalized by their own government and by the mainstream media in both domestic and foreign policies, such as discussed in the Ten Enduring National Falsehoods and Fabrications on

    Even Mr. Chomsky is marginalized, for his views are seldom invited by the mainstream press. Ethnocentrism has pervaded the mainstream stream press which inflates itself to the notion of the U.S. as superpower skewing and distorting reality to conform to misguided and costly domestic and foreign policies which are increasingly ineffective.

  2. Comment by Estibalitz Ezkerra on May 7, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I think that it is a little bit pretentious to call USAmerican people “unpeople,” taking into account that this term was first used to name colonized people.

  3. Comment by David Backer on May 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Chomsky is our Bartholome de las Casas.

  4. Comment by Anonymous on May 26, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Sir, we are, somewhat deservedly, talked down to by politicians, media, and the government bureaucrats. Considered Guinea pigs by pharma-corp, and serfs by the rich. We are fed trivial vomit through the television as place markers between commercial ‘content’. We vote something down over and over again and it gets pushed through anyway. Militarized police squads break our doors down, and using flash bangs and tasers cart us off to prison for a nickel bag.

    I would call us un-people.

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