Interview | Noam Chomsky on Libya, the Arab spring, the cuts and more

In an exclusive video interview, world-renowned linguist, philosopher and political analyst Noam Chomsky speaks to Hicham Yezza, editor-in-chief of Ceasefire, about the financial crisis, the cuts, the Middle East, Obama and more.

Editor's Desk, Interviews, New in Ceasefire - Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 9:00 - 22 Comments

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March 10, 2011, London – Pr. Noam Chomsky is interviewed by Hicham Yezza. Photograph: Nathanael Corre

By Hicham Yezza

Last week, Professor Noam Chomsky was back in the UK for a series of lectures and interviews. Having delivered an initial talk at the house of commons on Tuesday, he followed it up the day after by delivering the 2011 Rickman Godlee Lecture 2011 at University College London, titled “Contours of global order: Domination, stability, security in a changing world”.

We at Ceasefire were very fortunate to get an opportunity to catch up with professor Chomsky on Thursday before his scheduled trip to Wales, where he was due to deliver a further two, massively over-subscribed talks. He is now continuing his tour across mainland Europe: France, Belgium, Holland, to name a few. This (almost) literally incredible schedule would be exhausting for the sprightliest of 28 year olds, and yet, here he is, three times that age, unwilling to slow down, quite the opposite in fact.

A few days ago, Jeremy Paxman, in a BBC interview, asked Chomsky “Why, at 82, haven’t you mellowed”, and Chomsky’s reply, which began “Because I look at the world…”, ought to make any of us take notice. The world we live in, Chomsky points out, is simply too full of injustice, of victims wronged and truths buried, for any serious person to sink into comfort and lethargy.

With the dramatic events that have been unfolding across the Arab world, with the devastating effects of public sector cuts starting to be felt across huge swathes of the population here and beyond, it seems more apt than ever to reflect on how we are entering into an age of upheaval and dramatic turning of the tables.

The questions we covered with him ranged from the fairly abstract (the relevance of Gramsci) to the very urgent (Libya) but throughout, his tone, focused and urgent, conveyed his still undiminished desire to change the world for the better.

Click here for the latest Ceasefire article by Noam Chomsky.

Hicham Yezza is editor-in-chief of Ceasefire.

For updates, follow Ceasefire on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

A full transcript will be made available soon on this site. For our previous interviews with Professor Chomsky please click here.

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22 Comments

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Sebastian
Mar 15, 2011 1:45

I really like his comments about state structures in Europe and world. I wonder if he is a federalist.

hich
Mar 15, 2011 1:54

Chomsky has always maintained his belief in anarcho-syndicalism, the version of anarchism that’s based around workers’ movements. In that regard, he is clearly for the abolishion of states and replacing them with autonomous, self-managed communities.
Chomsky is a gradualist, he thinks if a move from A to C neceisstates B then so be it. As such, a federal system is clearly a step closer to an ideal system because it would put in place the mechanisms for devolutions without the cost of conflict and tension. This is at least the system in theory.

Of course, federalism can work in the opposite direction too, giving powerrs to regions but also concentrating others in central hands, which would be anathema to any anarchist.

Sebastian
Mar 15, 2011 2:08

That would explain it then. A global democratic federal system would be quite like what I would like to see as a solution to the differing economic and political positions people are in, just because of the nationality they were born with.

hich
Mar 15, 2011 2:16

True, this is not far off anarchist aspirations, considering some sort of supranational arrangement in terms of defence/management of natural resources etc is unavoidable.

Rizwaan Sabir
Mar 15, 2011 10:21

Chomsky is a true gem!

Well done to Ceasefire for doing this interview and getting it out!!

Ammar Al-Ghabban
Mar 15, 2011 14:42

A thoroughly engaging interview.

Guy C
Mar 15, 2011 17:03

Great interview.

AB
Mar 16, 2011 2:03

Great interview! That first question needs to be asked and I think its something Chomsky that, despite flirtations with heavier theory, has never and will probably never fully account for. But as always his answers to the broader international situation are fantastic and insightful.

Emma
Mar 25, 2011 18:15

Hi, would a transcript please. Thanks

Alex
Mar 26, 2011 0:54

Loved the interview. Love Chomsky. But it would give it so much more weight and respectability if we got the correct aspect ratio on this video. Come on guys, you stretched out Chomsky! 🙂

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Mar 26, 2011 9:08

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Harry Fear
Apr 23, 2011 9:39

Great interview!

roman
Apr 25, 2011 10:11

How unfortunate it is for all of us ,that Noam Chomsky’s opinions are not heared or represented in the main stream media.

Ejaz Ali Khan
Apr 27, 2011 17:34

Noam Chomsky is really is realist, his arguments are loaded with historic events in support. He is a big gun.

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reply to hich
Apr 29, 2011 6:37

In spite of his anarchist commitment Chomsky maintains that State power needs to be kept strong enough to constrain transnational corporate power which he sees as the most successful realisation of the ideal of totalitarianism.

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michail Azar
Jun 5, 2011 11:44

Noam Chomsky isn`t really talking about the issues of arab uprising, just philosophising his anti democratic views and defending his radical anti-american and anti western view point.

His and all his folks justification here is expressed that any regime that is anti-west is justified to kill and torture ! Call it whatever you want his philosophy this is a pro dictatorship philosophy of the failed communist and anarchist theories of the past 100 years

Rahat Zaman
Jun 24, 2011 22:21

Noam Chomsky’s not anti-democracy at all. He is loud against injustice, tyranny and total anti-people stance in the name of West’s govornance system that we refer in general as democracy. We accept the fact or not but governments in the west are pro-corporate than vast majority of people it represent. I wonder how many Americans support and justify the wars that US is involved in today but for the government (read corporate) has stake even if the act of this war is anti-people. Noam Chomsky’s is desideratum against embedded hypocrisy in West’s democracy. This very recent interview indicates his sonant portal would be high ever till finding his niche.

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Jan 24, 2012 10:18

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Abbas Al-Maliki
Sep 5, 2012 11:10

Great talk

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