On March 6, the day after his death, I spent 11 hours waiting with friends to pay my respects as his body was slowly transported through the city. It took much longer than expected, as hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets and the giant stadium where the procession ended to get a glimpse of the passing casket. The crowds sang and clapped along with popular songs about “El Comandante”, shouting: "Chávez lives, the struggle continues!" "The people united will never be defeated!" “I am Chávez!” When the body finally arrived at night in the National Military Academy for viewing, the line of people waiting was more than two kilometers (one mile) long!
Why did so many people go? Why were they willing to wait so long? And instead of being a somber occasion with everyone dressed in black, why did so many wear bright red T-shirts, or headbands with the national colors, and why were they singing and shouting slogans? Read More
Dada Maheshvarananda:The viral growth of the Occupy Movement, and the public support of it, is testament to the tremendous dissatisfaction with the inequities and abuses of corporate capitalism. The slogan "We are the 99%" has resonated with many people. What is your view of the potential strength of this type of mass protest and its possibility to effect social change?
Noam Chomsky: Well the Occupy Movement already has had a number of significant successes. One of them, as you say, is to kind of change the national discourse. These concerns and fears and so on were, of course, prevalent for a long time for perfectly objective reasons, having to do with changes in the socio-economic system in the last 30 or 40 years. But they weren't crystallized very clearly until the Occupy Movement put them forward. And now they are kind of common coin. So the 99 percent and one percent, the radical inequality, the farcical character of purchased elections, the corporate shenanigans that led to the current crisis and have been crushing people for a long time, the overseas wars, and so on. That's one major contribution.
The other one is not discussed so much, but I think it' s pretty important. This is an extremely atomized society. People are alone. It's a very business-run society. The very explicit goal of the business world is to create a social order in which the basic social unit is you and your television set, in which you're watching ads and going out to purchase commodities. There are tremendous efforts made, that have been going on for a century and a half, to try to induce this kind of consciousness and social order. Read More