Nearly ten years on from the 9/11 attacks Noam Chomsky reflects in a short video talk on Western governments ‘extreme contempt for democracy’, popular opinions in the Middle East and how to break the cycle of violence. Visit the Guardian Comment is Free site to watch it.
The video is part of the Histories of Violence project which will be officially launched on September 11th to explore the ‘theoretical, empirical and aesthetic dimensions to violence’. Noam has also just written an extensive article for Al-Akhbar, the Beirut-based publication which features opinion, analysis, and field stories as well as photo blogs chronicling the latest developments across the Middle East. He considers arguments about US ‘imperial decline’ and the growing corporate dominance over politics in the West:
The eminent American philosopher John Dewey once described politics as “the shadow cast on society by big business,” warning that “attenuation of the shadow will not change the substance.” Since the 1970s, the shadow has become a dark cloud enveloping society and the political system. Corporate power, by now largely financial capital, has reached the point that both political organizations, which now barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate.
For the public, the primary domestic concern, rightly, is the severe crisis of unemployment. Under current circumstances, that critical problem can be overcome only by a significant government stimulus, well beyond the recent one, which barely matched decline in state and local spending, though even that limited initiative did probably save millions of jobs. For financial institutions the primary concern is the deficit. Therefore, only the deficit is under discussion. A large majority of the population favor addressing the deficit by taxing the very rich (72% for, 21% opposed). Cutting health programs is opposed by overwhelming majorities (69% Medicaid, 79% Medicare). The likely outcome is therefore the opposite.
Visit Al-Akhbar to read the article in full. Pluto has a number of titles which we strongly recommend for anyone looking to cut through the media propaganda which will no doubt accompany the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Conflict, Hegemony, and the Rule of Force
Noam Chomsky analyses US foreign policy in the Middle East in the 10 years since 9/11. Includes 3 previously unpublished essays.
“Judged in terms of the power, range, novelty, and influence of his thought, Noam Chomsky is arguably the most important intellectual alive.” – The New York Times
“On the one hand we have the established media, the respectable community of foreign affairs analysts, the government – on the other, Noam Chomsky.” – The Nation
Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11
Syed Saleem Shahzad
A unique insight into the post-Osama bin Laden generation of Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders from a journalist who interviewed many of them.
“This is a disturbing book. … Shahzad considers the strategies of al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist movements in terms that are not often heard.” – The Times
“Buy Shahzad’s book. It tells us what the Pakistani government, whose corruption and brutality Shahzad died to expose, does not want us to know.” – Charles Glass
Changing War and Global Politics
Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou
Updated edition of the controversial book which argues that the only way to defeat Al Qaeda it is to engage with its arguments in a serious way.
“Mohamedou is a top-notch academic. In today’s world, you can’t afford to miss this book.” – Tim Sebastian, award-winning former BBC foreign correspondent and presenter of HARDtalk
“Mohammad Mohamedou has written a political analysis which provides a much-needed secular understanding of Al Qaeda as one among several organised forces in a rapidly changing international arena. Unlike most writers on the subject who tend to be mesmerised by Al Qaeda’s religious discourse, Mohamedou insists on understanding the changing significance of the discourse against a historical backdrop of actions and events.” – Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government, Columbia University
A Critical Reader
Edited by Uli Linke and Danielle Taana Smith
Chomsky, Zizek, Sontag and other world class scholars show how governments and other institutions exploit people’s fear for political gain.