Keeping the Rabble in Line Copyright © 1994 by Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian
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Keeping the Rabble in Line is a sequel as well as a departure from Chronicles of Dissent. In this latest collection Noam Chomsky focuses on economic and trade issues and the emerging global economic order. While an increasingly spectacle-driven media wine and dine us on a menu of O.J. Simpson, Tonya Harding, or whatever the current diversion is, major shifts in the international scene are occurring. As Chomsky points out, nation-states are becoming increasingly challenged by the power and reach of transnational corporations. The latter may be the defining feature of the coming era. Our response will be crucial. Again and again in these interviews and elsewhere Chomsky suggests the need to organize and become active. Passive consumption of information is not enough. Rabble will hopefully get people moving in a practical direction, be it direct action protests, getting involved with or establishing a community radio station, producing and distributing a video, starting a bookstore, publishing a newsletter or having discussions in your living room with a few friends.
I think Chomsky's contribution lies in the fact that he constantly stresses not just the need to be informed and act but that we are all capable of doing so. His own commitment, involvement and accessibility is a concrete example. He is a cartographer. He provides a detailed road map to assist in figuring out where things are and in charting out routes. And in another sense he is a memory bank. So while the punditocracy engineer history Chomsky is there as a constant corrective to remind us about the concerted U.S. effort to destroy popular organizations in post-war Europe or the monstrous crimes of the Indochina War or the real accomplishments of the Nixons, Kissingers, Clintons and other luminaries who direct the global pillage.
The interviews in this collection were recorded in Chomsky's office at MIT or by phone. "Crime and Gun Control" was a live radio call-in on KGNU in Boulder. Titles reflect the core theme of the interviews but each discussion covers several topics. Many people from all over ask me to ask him certain questions. It would be impossible to acknowledge everyone's contribution but Carlos Otero in particular has been most helpful with his criticisms, suggestions and encouragement. My thanks to Sandy Adler for her transcriptions. Much appreciation to Noam Chomsky for his time and effort.
August 1, 1994
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