Air Occupy Interview with Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky interviewed by Liz Myers

Air Occupy, December 11, 2012

Air Occupy radio show interviews Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus in the MIT Department of Linguistics & Philosophy. In addition to authoring groundbreaking work in the field of linguistics, Professor Chomsky is a prolific writer and speaker on many topics, including foreign policy, media, politics, and war. He has been a vocal supporter of the Occupy movement, and in May, he published a pamphlet of talks entitled “Occupy” through Zuccotti Park Press/Occupied Media Pamphlet Series.

Liz, Jerry, and Shannon talk with Professor Chomsky about Gaza, Palestine, and Israel; media and propaganda; Occupy 2.0 and the Labor movement.

Liz Myers [LM]: Hi, Professor Chomsky, this is Air Occupy and you’re on the air.

Professor Noam Chomsky: Okay.

LM: We want to thank you for coming on. We’re very excited to talk to you, and we have a whole host of questions. I think that we wanted to start in the Middle East, and talk about your recent trips to Gaza. Jerry had a question for you.

Jerry Bolkcom [JB]: You know I don’t think that we really get here as consumers of corporate media, generally the public here, gets a good impression of what it’s like for Palestinians living in Gaza. I think recently when you returned, you described Gaza as “the largest open air prison in the world,” and I wonder if you might share some reflections from your trip with our listeners.

Professor Chomsky: Well, actually that characterization of Gaza is not really mine. It is a very common one, and it’s correct. Gaza is under a tight siege: land, sea, and air. It’s possible for Gazans to get out, but extremely difficult and under great limitations. Most Gazans just have no way of getting out. They can’t. It’s a very, it’s a pretty small, it’s very densely populated. It’s one of the most densely populated places of the world. Gazans can’t even approach their borders. Israel has imposed a restriction, which takes somewhere between a third and a half of Gaza’s arable land near the borders, and any one who goes there gets shot. Also, Israel’s – when you stand on the sea coast, you can hear the machine guns firing as Israeli ship and navy vessels are driving fisherman toward the shore. Not for any security reasons, but so they won’t be able to fish. Of the area close to the shore, within a couple kilometers of the shoreline where they are allowed to be, is mostly highly polluted because the sewage and power systems have been bombed and destroyed, and there’s restrictions on bringing in construction materials that make it impossible to rebuild them. So people are just trapped.

You know, they are resilient. They continue their lives, but I think there’s nothing else like it except a prison camp. And its kept at a – there is some wealth… It is like a kind of third world country. You find pockets of considerable wealth, you know, like in stores and so on, but incredible misery. People living in, you can’t even call them barely huts. There are broken tin roofs, dirt floors, and children playing in the dirt outside. And that’s most of the country. You can’t really call it an undeveloped country. Scholars who work on it, Sara Roy in particular, have called it more accurately a de-developed country. If you go back to 1948 it was on its way to become a relatively flourishing Mediterranean society. It has beautiful beaches, agricultural land, agricultural production. It could have flourished, but its been, as she says, “de-developed” since then. So, now you can kind of survive but not much beyond that. When you go to the hospitals, there is a very serious shortage of simple medicines and simple surgical equipment. In fact, on the eve of this latest killing spree, the U.N. estimated about 50% of essential medicines were lacking. You can’t bring them in through Israel, and Egypt has allowed some things in, not as much as it should. It is living just above the level of survival for most people. And of course, it is separated from the West Bank – that is, the rest of Palestine. The Oslo Accords, twenty years ago, determined that the West Bank and Gaza are a single territorial entity which cannot be separated. The U.S. signed onto that, but by that time, already the U.S. and Israel were working to separate them from one another. By now, they are totally separated. A Gazan who needs medical aid that can’t be provided in Gaza would like to go to a Jerusalem hospital, at first will have to go through a ton a bureaucracy – Israeli bureaucracy – and then they’ll probably never be allowed to leave. They may die before they get there. People can’t visit families, so that they are totally separated from Palestine. They are cut off from anything else except for those who can struggle their way – with considerable difficulty – through the Egyptian border.

That’s Gaza. It has been punished quite harshly for a long time, but the punishment picked up severely in January 2006. What happened then is that there was a free election, carefully monitored, recognized to be free and fair. But the U.S. and Israel didn’t like the way it came out. Hamas won the election. Israel and the U.S. didn’t like that, so they immediately turned to quite heavy punishment of the population for voting the wrong way. The United States also initiated, at that time, standard operating procedure for when there is a government you don’t like: organize a military coup. So it began to organize a military coup using Fatah strong-man Muhammad Dahlan. The coup was preempted a year before it could take place, and Hamas took over Gaza. Beating back the military coup was considered an even greater crime than voting the wrong way in a free election, so the punishment increased severely. The punishment is first of all violence: a lot of killing. Israel is attacking all the time and killing people – thousands of people have been killed. And the siege, which is the way I described and also prevents almost anything from coming in except absolute essentials. Now there is a tunnel economy, tunnels going under the Egyptian border, which Israel tolerates because it sort of keeps the population alive. They don’t want everyone to starve to death; it wouldn’t look good. So the tunnel economy keeps people alive and does bring in some wealth for a small sector of the population. That’s what gives it this Third World look.

LM: Professor Chomsky, given the history and the siege and the fact that Palestine is divided into multiple parts, do you see any way to peace?

Professor Chomsky: There’s a lot of complicated problems in the world where you can barely think of the solution – you can run through them alphabetically. But this one happens to be very simple: there’s an overwhelming international consensus – there has been for decades – on how the problem should be settled, at least a short-term solution. Namely, there should be a two-state settlement on the internationally-recognized border with – the phrase is – “minor and mutual modifications.” The phrase is taken from official U.S. government policy from 1967 up ’til the mid-70s when the U.S. basically departed from the world on this issue. That option has been on the table for thirty-five years. In 1976, the major Arab states – Jordan, Syria, and Egypt – brought a proposal like that to the Security Council. Two states on the international border with guarantees for – I’m virtually quoting – guarantees for the right of each state to exist in peace and security within secure and recognized borders. That’s the core of the proposal. The U.S. vetoed it. There was a similar proposal in 1980; the U.S. vetoed it. And it continues like that until the present. The U.S.’s backing – participating and backing – the settlement programs which are: first of all, the separation of Gaza from the West Bank; the siege of Gaza and regular attacks on Gaza; and the cantonization of the West Bank.

In the West Bank, Israel has been, since 1967, systematically taking over parts of the West Bank that it wants: the parts that are valuable, the areas near its border. They are now fenced behind what’s called a “separation fence” – although it’s actually an annexation wall – which includes a good bit of the arable land, most of the water resources, the nice suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Then there’s the corridors cutting through the rest. One major one – first of all, what’s called “Jerusalem” is far bigger than it ever was. It was greatly expanded, and it was annexed by Israel in violation of Security Council orders. The corridors essentially break up the rest of the West Bank into cantons. Israel is, meanwhile, taking over the Jordan Valley, which kind of encloses, imprisons the rest. They are essentially taking over maybe forty to fifty percent of the West Bank. Incidentally, all of this is flatly illegal, not even any controversy about it. It’s in violation of specific Security Council orders; the International Court of Justice has declared it to be in violation of fundamental international law. I mean, even the Israeli government back in 1967, its leading legal experts, including its Attorney General, recognized this as illegal, but they can go ahead as long as the United States helps.

Right now, if you read today’s newspapers, right now you’d see that there’s controversy over what is called the “E1 Corridor.” Israel developed a big town, Ma’aleh Adumim, right in the middle of the West Bank. This was mostly built under Clinton with the clear purpose of bisecting the West Bank. It extends almost to Jericho, which is a town that is left under Palestinian control. The one place which is not connected is the corridor between Ma’aleh Adumim and greater Jerusalem – that’s E1. Israel has been trying to settle it for decades, but every U.S. president prior to Obama has prevented it. Now they said again they were going to do it, and Obama hasn’t said much except some mild criticisms about how its not helpful. If he allows them to do it, he’ll be the first one. That will finish the bisection of the West Bank, except for towns like Bethlehem, from Ramallah up to the north.

So what will be left is isolated cantons which will contain most of the Palestinians. So the areas that Israel is taking over either have very few Palestinians, or those who are there are being driving out. When this program is completed, what will ultimately be an accident, Israel won’t cause what they call a “demographic problem”: too many non-Jews in a Jewish state. So there won’t be any civil rights struggle, any anti-apartheid struggle, any of the things people talk about it. But it will leave the Palestinians essentially nothing and separated from Gaza. Even under the two-state proposal that virtually the entire world supports, Gaza would be the outlet to the outside world. What the West Bank has is contained within Israel and Jordan, so Gaza would be the outlet to the outside world, but that is blocked. That’s where there would be a seaport, an airport, and so on. Actually, there are seaports, but they can’t be used, and there was an airport, but it can’t be used because Israel won’t allow it – and that means that the U.S. and Israel won’t allow it. So that’s essentially the situation.

JB: I wonder if you might address the notion that we hear a lot about, that the U.S. should or could play a role in the peace process as some sort of arbiter, if that’s even possible given the history of bias towards one side.

Professor Chomsky: That’s what people say, but its a sign of the power of the propaganda system because it makes absolutely no sense. It’s like saying that if there are conflicts in Iraq – as there are – between Shiites and Sunnis, Iran should mediate them. If anybody proposed that, you would laugh. Iran is on the side of one of the two contending parties. The United States is a participant, not just on the side of Israel, but a direct participant with Israel in blocking a political settlement. If there were to be serious negotiations, they would have to be by some neutral party that has some degree of international credibility, maybe Brazil. On one side would be the U.S. and Israel, and on the other side would be the rest of the world. Those would be serious negotiations. But the power of propaganda and doctrine in the United States and Western Europe is so extreme that truisms like this cannot be understood.

Shannon McLeish [SM]: In [your book] Media Control, you said that, “Propaganda is to democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.” I know that is an oft-quoted passage, but I don’t think that, by and large, Americans really understand that we’re being fed propaganda.

Professor Chomsky: There’s various kinds of propaganda systems. There’s the kind that they had in Russia in the old days, which was overt. The government said here’s what your are supposed to believe. Okay, so maybe people would accept it, maybe not, but they had no doubt as to where it was coming from. A sophisticated propaganda system won’t do that. It won’t state the doctrines you are supposed to believe. It will just presuppose them, so they become kind of like the air your breath. That’s the basis for discussion, then we have debate within those limits. So we can debate the question you asked before: should the U.S. get more involved, shouldn’t it get more involved. We can debate that because both sides accept that it’s legitimate for the U.S. to run the negotiations. And that’s the propaganda line. Of course it’s not legitimate, but since it’s accepted on all sides, people don’t even see it as propaganda. This happens on issue after issue.

Take domestic issues: the big issue is the deficit. What do we do about the deficit? In the political system, in Washington, in the media – huge problem – what do we do about the deficit? And then you have various suggestions about what to do about the deficit. Take a look at public opinion. Public opinion does not regard the deficit as a major problem. The people regard joblessness as the problem, and they are right. The deficit is not a major problem, but the deficit is important to the banks and the other financial institutions. They are very powerful so therefore we only discuss the deficit.

Take another Middle East issue, a really critical one. If you listened to the last presidential debate, you are a masochist. [Laughs] You noticed that one issue came up over and over: the greatest threat to world peace is Iran’s nuclear programs. Okay now, that’s just repeated in the political system, in the press, its just taken for granted. It’s as obvious as the sun rises in the morning. Well, there are a couple of questions to ask about that, if you can extricate yourself from the doctrinal system. First of all, who thinks so? It turns out it’s a Western obsession. People in the Arab world don’t think so. In fact, they don’t regard Iran as much of a threat. They regard the U.S. and Israel as the main threats. The nonaligned countries – that’s most of the world – they don’t think so. The Indians and so on, they don’t regard Iran as a major threat. It’s the U.S. and its allies. Second question is, lets admit that it’s a threat: if you believe it is, how could you deal with it? Well, there’s a very simple way of dealing with it … you could move towards establishing a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region with inspections and so on. That’s quite feasible. In fact, that can be done at this moment. Right now, there’s supposed to be an international conference in Finland to carry forward this proposal, which is supported by almost the entire world.

Alright, here’s your recent events that took place in the last few weeks, which almost nobody knows about because they weren’t reported. In early November, Iran said it would attend the conference. Israel had already indicated it wouldn’t attend the conference. Immediately after Iran said it would attend the conference, Obama cancelled the conference. Immediately after that, the Arab states and the nonaligned movement pressed again to re-institute the conference. Nothing happening; it won’t happen. Shortly after that, the U.S. carried out a nuclear weapons test, which was protested. That’s what’s going on before our eyes, and that’s the simple way to deal with whatever anyone thinks the threat is. I don’t know if you would call that propaganda, but it is very effective subordination to power on the part of the educated community and the media system.

LM: I have a question for you… talking about media. In the past 10 years, we’ve moved a lot of media to social media and to online Twitter, Facebook, a lot of live streaming – Occupy does a lot of live streaming – and I was wondering: do you think this has democratized some of the media, so that it is available to more? Or do you think that it’s made it more disparate, or harder to get a clear picture because its coming from so many different sources?

Professor Chomsky: The social media have been very valuable. As you say, Occupy uses them. In Egypt, the protesters relied on them, and most activist movements use them for almost everything: information, annoucements, organization. And they do allow people to say things freely that they would have no way of saying. But on the other hand, they don’t compensate for lack of free, independent, major media. You and I could have a Twitter account, but we can’t have correspondents in the Middle East, and we can reach scattered and selected sectors of the population, but not most people. So it’s useful, and it has very many positive effects. It also has some very negative effects. I can just tell from mail I receive – I receive a ton of email, hundreds of letters a day, and I try to answer. But an assistant pointed out to me recently that a lot of the letters are getting very short. In fact, she pointed out to me that a lot of them are basically Twitter messages. Well, what does that mean? That means that some body is walking on the street, and a thought comes to your mind. Instead of thinking about it, you write a message to somebody and ask them to answer it. It becomes very superficial –

LM: – dumbed down, in a way –

Professor Chomsky: – I think a lot – personally, I don’t happen to use a lot of social media. I’m an old-fashioned and conservative. But the impression that I get is that it sort of has an effect of trivializing relationships among people. It keeps them pretty superficial. And it has to because of the nature of the medium. Now that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use them. In fact, I think that they are very valuable. We should recognize them for what they are. They don’t substitute for face-to-face contact, for a serious interaction, and for a major media. In fact, one of the main contributions of Occupy, I thought, was that it brought people together in face-to-face contact. People were actually working together to do something in common, with mutual support, with solidarity, and that’s something that’s pretty much missing in this society. In fact, very much missing. And there’s nothing like direct interaction to carry forward these central things. Community interaction, not just two individuals.

LM: You brought up Occupy, and I know you wrote a book that was published in May entitled Occupy, and it was published through the Zuccotti Park Press and the Occupied Media Pamphlet Series. Since your book was published, the Occupy movement has kind of gone under an evolution – its revolution under evolution – and we’ve had things like Occupy Sandy, the Debt Strike and Rolling Jubilee, and a lot of foreclosure actions in –

SM: – Occupy Our Homes –

LM: – Occupy Our Homes, especially in Atlanta and Minnesota, but also all over the United States, and there’s a lot of conversations that are going on on hubs like Interoccupy.net. It feels to me like its been an organic community action, and people talking to each other, and I was just wondering if you could speak to the newest developments?

Professor Chomsky: Actually, that book you mentioned is really a collection of talks and interviews. The Occupy movement began last September, September a year ago. It was a brilliant tactic. I was surprised; frankly, i would never have guessed that it would have worked. But I was wrong – it worked very well. But tactics are tactics. They have a kind of half-life. They don’t go on, and you can’t use them forever. They lose their efficacy. They just don’t achieve anything after a certain point. Even just the actual “occupy” tactic couldn’t really be carried on for very long. Like in most places, you couldn’t carry it on over the winter. It’s just impossible. So I think a move had to be made – and by last winter, it was beginning to be made – towards diversifying the activities, reaching out beyond the kind of people who were able to sit in Zuccotti Park, or Dewey Square, or where ever it is for day after day in tents. Not a lot of people can do that. Reach out to communities, to other sectors of the population, and try actually to engage the “ninety-nine percent” in these activities and these long-term programs. And the kind of things you’ve mentioned are steps in that direction, very healthy steps. I think that’s the way the movement ought to be developing.

You can never predict where a popular movement is going, and how it’s going to succeed. That’s never been possible. It’s not possible now, and you couldn’t have predicted that for the Civil Rights movement, the Antiwar movement, the Womens movement, anything. But this one has been pretty successful, I think. In fact, surprisingly so, to me. And it has a lot of potential, but I think it is going to have to go in the kinds of directions you mentioned. Also, spreading out into neighborhoods. There were these Occupy the Hoods efforts, which I don’t know how far they’ve gone, but I thought they were a very good idea. There was at one point an Occupy the Dream movement; that was an interesting one that brought together Occupy activists and activists from the old Civil Rights movement. The dream that they were talking about comes out of the Civil Rights movement. It’s not the dream that we hear about on Martin Luther King Day, his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, but his actual dream of the one that he worked on until the end of his life, and that he expressed again in a very eloquent speech just before he was assassinated. The dream that there would be a general movement of the poor – not a civil rights movement. He called it a human rights movement. A movement of the poor for the things that people have a need and a right to like housing, and food, and decent jobs, and so on. That’s the dream. And Occupy the Dream was a way of bringing together the Civil Rights movement, which achieved a lot, but then was aborted as soon as it began to turn to class issues. Revive that, and link it up with the Occupy movements and many others that have developed in recent years, and that could be a major popular movement. Occupy the Dream was a good slogan, but it has to be implemented. There are lots of other things that are very important, like the things you mentioned — foreclosure, the Sandy rehabilitation, and so on.

JB: I wonder if you might speak a little bit more about the need to build coalitions like that. I’ve always viewed Occupy as sort of a cathartic reaction to the financial circumstances and viewed it as sort of an umbrella of lots of different grievances that people in the park had, and how we’ve linked those up whether it be labor concerns, environmental concerns. I think there was some orthodoxies at some of the camps that people were afraid that OWS would be co-opted and the ideology of OWS – what ever that was at the time – was going to be spoiled somehow by including other groups, progressive groups.

Professor Chomsky: You know, this is not a membership movement, so I don’t know what it means exactly to include or exclude other groups. If people want to participate, great. They may participate with the same kind of general goals but specific interests. Like should you include foreclosure movements? Yeah, I think you should, even though they are not the same as the effort to institute a financial transaction tax, which would be very important for dealing with fiscal problems. But it doesn’t get anywhere because the banks don’t like it. Crucially – here I agree with you totally – it has to include the Labor movement. Unless the Labor movement is revitalized – and its under severe attack right now, I saw it again up in Michigan a couple days ago and today – the Labor movement is under severe attack. Unless it is revitalized the way it was in the 1930’s, it’s very unlikely that there will be a really mass popular movement that will be successful.

Actually, you see this elsewhere, too. In Egypt, for example, it is not talked about much, but a core participant in the Tahrir Square demonstrations, the other uprisings, a core participant is the Labor movement that has been a very militant force for a long time. And when it joined and began to participate, it really began a mass movement. That’s what’s happened in the past in our own history. It happened in the 1930’s, it happened in the late 1800’s. The United States happens to have a very violent and repressive labor history, much more so than other industrial counties. This is a business-run society to an unusual extent. There have been several, very large militant popular movements based on labor and in earlier years, on farmers. The biggest popular, democratic, radical movement in American history was the Populist movement based on the Farmers’ Alliance and the Knights of Labor, a huge labor movement. The Farmers Alliance was based in Texas, which was the center of radical, agrarian activism and pretty radical, incidentally. Shows you how the world has changed. That was crushed by force and by racial strategies to divide people. The Labor movement was virtually dead by the 1920’s, revived significantly in the 1930’s. That’s the main force that led behind the New Deal legislation and the fairly successful economic development period in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Greatest growth in American history, an egalitarian growth and so on. That was also the background for the achievements of the 1960’s. That’s been under severe attack and the Occupy movement ought to be working really hard to link up with it. Those are collaborations that I think are going to have to be crucial.

LM: I have a question for you, and this one comes from actually one of our listeners. It’s about the recent organization of “unskilled” labor, such as workers in the fast food industry and Walmart workers, and whether you see that as possibly the future and a way to revitalize the labor movement.

Professor Chomsky: Yeah, certainly is. Things like that have happened over and over. Remember the Farm Workers’ Union which developed in the early 70’s. These were poorest of the poor. That is happening right now in Florida with tomato workers; it’s happening with Walmart’s workers. These are sectors that want to be organized and have a right to be organized, have definite and legitimate demands, and they should be linked up with other popular movements. I mean, take something as simple as the minimum wage, which places a kind of a floor under survivable existence. It’s not so much, but at least you can survive on it. For years, after the New Deal right through the 50s and the 60s – this relative egalitarian period – the minimum wage was linked to productivity of labor. Which is just right. The more that people produce, the more the wage ought to go up. Not just into the pockets of rich bankers, but into the pockets of working people. That’s what the minimum wage does. Starting in the 70s, in particular under the Reagan backlash, this changed. By now the minimum wage is way below the productivity level. In fact, if those policies – the New Deal and post-New Deal policies – if they’d been continued to the present, the minimum wage now would be almost 25 dollars.

LM: Unbelievable.

Professor Chomsky: And that’s the minimum wage, the point of and level of survivability. Well, you know what wages are like now. These are very specific goals that ought to be achieved, and I think it can get mass support, including the kinds of people the questioner is asking about, who are in fact carrying out courageous and extensive activism now, like the farm workers did in the early 70’s. Of course, they were under plenty of attack. Those people who are old enough to remember will recall Ronald Reagan when he was the Governor of California, very ostentatiously eating lettuce in public at the time when there was a lettuce boycott to show his contempt for working people and his hatred of the poor. That was considered a great thing on the right.

SM: You talked about growing up in the 1930’s, and people working together, an overall sense of hope that we could get through it together, and that that’s lacking now. I presume because of the propaganda, the public dialogue that just demonized anyone who is not rich.

Professor Chomsky: has demonized? – sorry, demonized who?

SM: Anyone who is not rich, you are a failure…

Professor Chomsky: Oh, yeah – you know, if you can go back 150 years – this is an old story in the United States – go back 150 years to the origins of the Industrial Revolution, right around eastern Massachusetts, where I am. Working people bitterly opposed the way in which industrialization was being carried out. There were powerful working class forces then. They had a labor press, maybe the freest press in American history, which was very lively written by working people, a lot of it written by young women coming in from the farms to the then textile plants, the old factory girls, and it is very interesting to read. They were pretty radical. They thought that those who work in the mills should own them. They denounced the industrial system for taking away their rights, for turning them into machines, for depriving them of their culture. In fact, they had a high culture. But one of the things they denounced was what they called the “new spirit of the age”: gain wealth, forgetting all but self. That’s 150 years ago –

SM: Wow.

Professor Chomsky: It was an effort then to impose the “new spirit of the age,” just what you described: gain wealth, forget about anyone else. Well, it has been 150 years of massive efforts to drive that pathological concept into people’s heads, and it continually gets resisted because it’s totally inhuman. But it eats away, it has an effect.

By now you see it in various places, and it shows up in policy formation. So for example, there’s a major attack on social security and public schools. Okay, why? Well, I think that one of them is claimed to be an economic problem, but it isn’t. If you look closely, that’s a farce. But I think the main reason is just this: social security is based on the principle that you care about other people. So if there’s a disabled widow across town who doesn’t have any food, you care about her. Not if you accept the “new spirit of the age,” then you don’t care about her. And that concept of solidarity and concern for others, that has to be driven out of people’s heads. Public schools, it’s the same. I don’t have kids in school anymore. In fact, I don’t even have grandchildren in school anymore. So if I accept this doctrine, why should I pay taxes? What do I care if the kid across the street goes to school? Well, if you want a pathological society, yeah, that’s right. If you want a society that’s moderately humane and civilized, it’s outrageous. That struggle is going on constantly. It is a leading factor of deep-seeded American, right, conservative propaganda. You can’t even say its conservative because it’s pretty much across the board. I hear it from students at the University: why should I care about anyone else?

The attack on labor benefits from this. The attack on labor uses other propaganda techniques. Take what’s happening in Michigan where the right wing, which happens to control the state legislature, is trying to ram through what is called a “right to work law.” If you ask people on the streets, should there be a “right to work law,” they say sure, why shouldn’t people have a right to work? But that name is not what the law is about. What the law is about is the right of workers to get the benefits of unions, union protection, but not to pay for it. So it is the right to scrounge. That’s exactly what a right to work law is. If you have a state that has a right to work law, if you have a unionized factory, the workers have been able to get maybe decent contracts, decent wages, safety protections, pensions, and so on. If they get that through organized activity through the union, then if somebody says look I don’t want to pay my union dues, but I want those protections, that’s what the right to work law allows. Well, if it was described that way, it wouldn’t sound so attractive. In fact, quite the contrary. But the name is never questioned. In fact, you have to look hard to find this analysis, although it’s not profound, it’s right below the surface. In two minutes thought, you can see it, but fact that’s not what you are presented with.

JB: The right to work for less.

Professor Chomsky: Yeah, listen I’m sorry but I have to leave – I have another interview coming along.

JB: Great – well, we really appreciate your time and your insights.

Professor Chomsky: Good to talk to you – Bye.

LM & SM: Thank you.

JB: Take care – Bye.