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Chomsky on Internationalism
by Threehegemons
04 November 2003 04:18 UTC
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Very eloquent statement from Chomsky on the New internationalism vs. the old.

from Counterpunch interview:

BD: Do you see popular movements taking the place of the organized Left in the 
major task of building a new society, as was mentioned several times during the 
conference, which commented that the Left is in disarray?

Noam Chomsky: Well, I have never really thought that the Left was much in 
"array" as far as political purposes were concerned. These are usually various 
power systems, maybe good things, maybe bad things. I don't think that these 
new popular movements are taking the place of anything, they're really new. 
There never was anything like the World Social Forum before.

The goal of the Left from its modern origins has been to create a real 
International. The Left has never been anti-globalization, that's why every 
union is called an International. You want to have international solidarity and 
support and so on. It never succeeded. Now the Internationals were very limited 
in their outreach and they fell apart, actually under internal authoritarian 
reasons in each case.

Now this is different. This is really international and it has participation 
from a vast range of components from society: peasant, working people, 
environmentalists, intellectuals, poets, all sorts of people. How far this will 
go, who knows. There are a lot of disruptive forces inside and a lot of 
pressures outside, a lot of difficulties, maybe this one will fail, but even if 
it fails, it succeeds. It lays the basis for something that can come next. You 
don't expect anything important to happen in a day--whether it's the 
elimination of slavery or women's rights or whatever it may be. These are 
things that take time.

One of the problems of organizing in the North, in the rich countries, is that 
people tend to think--even the activists--that instant gratification is 
required. You constantly hear: "Look I went to a demonstration and we didn't 
stop the war so what's the use of doing it again?" But people who live real 
lives know that that is not the way things work. If you want to achieve 
something, you build the basis for it.

If you want to achieve something like, say, an electoral victory that means 
something, you have to spend decades organizing the basis of the groups so all 
local communities can take part and so on and so forth. It's a lot easier in 
countries where there are more opportunities and wealth and less repression. 
It's still not going to happen in a few minutes, so the World Social Forum is 
not really replacing left parties. Its place is maybe establishing more 
authentic ones and I'm not even sure whether political parties are what we are 
looking for. Maybe what we are looking for are cooperatives and communities 
which interact and federate and just build a new society.

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