Howard Zinn & Noam Chomsky on “Is There Hope in This Desperate Time?”


I know some of my readers won’t be particularly interested in this, but I thought I’d share it anyway. Recorded in September 2004 to raise funds for Spare Change, a street newspaper, the video brings together two of the top public intellectuals of our time, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, to discuss whether there is “hope in this desperate time.”

After all, when we look around and see the systematic invasion of our privacy, an imperialist foreign policy, and the Great Wall of Wealth Disparity — what is there to do? It’s enough to make one put away their clipboard, end their blog, and sulk (I’ve thought about it), but such indulgent self-pity does nothing to fix the problem. In fact, inaction simply continues it. It’s not nor has it ever been the elites who drive history; it’s been the grassroots. It’s the people — the organizers, the agitators, those willing to throw themselves down in defense of the human family.

There were, as Zinn states, whole generations of abolitionists who believed slavery would never end. But it did. The same can be said of the trials facing suffragists and union organizers, but these too were overcome. Chomsky extends Zinn’s argument by noting that along the way there were elites who declared the present The End of Ideology and, later, The End of History. Every time they have been wrong. The struggle is straining, but it certainly is not done in vain.

They both speak back-to-back, starting at ~6:00 – 40:00. The next hour is Q&A.

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