A Conversation With Chomsky

Isabelle Kumar of Euronews interviews Noam Chomsky on a range of topics. On the subject of Greece’s debt (and that of Portugal and Spain and others) this is what he said.

Who incurred this debt? And who is the debt owed to? In part, the debt was incurred by dictators. So in Greece it was the fascist dictatorship, which the US supported, that incurred a large part of the debt. The debt I think was more brutal than the dictatorship, and that’s what’s called in international law, “odious debt” which need not be paid, and that’s a principal introduced into international law by the United States, when it was in their interest to do so. Much of the rest of the debt, what is called payments to Greece are in fact payments to banks, German and French banks, which had decided to make extremely risky loans with not very high interest and are now being faced with the fact that they can’t be paid back.

Read the Transcript: Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist | euronews, the global conversation

Here’s the video.

A Reminder from Chomsky: It’s the Institutions that Matter

Tim Donovan has an interesting piece over on Salon encouraging the Left to keep our focus where it matters.

He includes this quote from Noam Chomsky.

When you look at a corporation, just like when you look at a slave owner, you want to distinguish between the institution and the individual. So slavery, for example, or other forms of tyranny, are inherently monstrous. The individuals participating in them may be the nicest guys you can imagine. Benevolent, friendly, nice to the children, even nice to their slaves. Caring about other people. I mean, as individuals they may be anything, but in their institutional role, they’re monsters, because the institution is monstrous.

Read the article: Noam Chomsky was right: Why the Koch brothers are obscuring the real enemy – Salon.com.

Sunday Morning Quote

During the 1960s, large groups of people who are normally passive and apathetic began to try to enter the political arena to press their demands. The naive might call that democracy, but that’s because they don’t understand. The sophisticated understand that that’s the crisis of democracy.

– Noam Chomsky

From a Lecture at the University of Wisconsin on 15 March 1989