This very brief interview was obtained immediately after Noam Chomsky arrived in Columbia, Missouri to deliver a lecture on “The New World Order” on April 1, 1991. Unfortunately, when taping began in the middle of our conversation, Noam announced that he had to leave in 5 minutes, so any plans for a more organized and extensive interview had to be scrapped. Anarchy magazine staffers Lev Chernyi, Toni Otter, Avid Darkly and Noa participated in the discussion. This is what we talked about once the recording began – as Noam answered a question regarding his perception of North American anarchists.
Punk bands tour the world singing anthems that promote militant direct action & activism, putting out albums with flaming Molotovs emblazoned across their covers, with militant messages; but few of us ever truly put those words into action. Walter Bond on the other hand has spent decades working tirelessly, whether leafleting at shows and in the streets, tabling at Pride events, protesting, or volunteering at animal sanctuaries before finally turning to the more militant tactics of the Animal Liberation Front.
Perhaps the biggest challenge anarchists face is combating the masses of disinformation out there about anarchism, to educate the 99% and explain ourselves, and what anarchism means rather than what government and other propaganda tells us that it means. That’s part of the reason we set up Forest of Dean Anarchists. So here is the first in what we hope to be a series of asking prominent anarchists what it’s all about!
OT: What does anarchism offer in the way of a solution to these problems?
AM: With its inherent rejection of leaders and hierarchy, anarchy is antithetical to all imposed ideas of status. Neolithic hunter-gatherer societies would mock or ostracise those members of the tribe who seemed intent on engineering a more privileged position for themselves, a practice still maintained in some existing aboriginal communities, perhaps as an acknowledgement of the tremendous social instability that seems to follow at the heels of inequality.
The Chilean student movement is divided between high-school and college. There are two organizations that tie the high-school movement. One is the ACES (Coordinating Assembly of Secondary [high-school] Students), and the other is CONES (National Coordinator of Secondary [high-school] Students). These two organizations have their own models of representation and structure. At the university level, the movement is unified by CONFECH (Confederation of Students of Chile) which gathers student federations of different universities. Usually it gathers the more traditional universities, basically the ones that existed before 1981 which is when the dictatorship generates a new law for universities, and during last year, a series of private universities (that emerged after 1981 and did not have an official organization) have been incorporated.
OT: Having previously suggested that many of the problems humanity faces flow from a tiny number of “leaders” and the current political and economic system they maintain, what do you identify as the main problems in the political and commercial makeup of our society?
AM: I think that with the inevitable erosion of those false certainties which shored up the reality of previous generations, we have seen a subsequent collapse in our sense of societal significance and, not entirely unconnected, in our sense of personal identity. We are no longer certain what the social structures we inhabit mean, and therefore cannot gauge our own value or meaning in relation to those structures. Lacking previously-existing templates such as blind patriotism or religion, it would seem that many people mistake status for significance, building their sense of self on what they earn or on how many people know of their existence.
Infoshop News interviews Eric Laursen, independent journalist, activist, anarchist, and author of the new book The People's Pension. Laursen's book examines the history of the Social Security program in the United States, attacks on the program, and recent efforts to dismantle it. Laursen also looks at the origins of the program, which are rooted in radical social movements of a century ago. He was recently a guest on Democracy Now (link below)
DGP: the first question i wanna ask you guys is related to the consequences for continuing business as usual. A lot of people are still stuck on the symbolic protest model, and also as you know, with the election coming up, we can see how many people are still, unfortunately, caught up in this idea that the political system is somehow going to change things or save us from disaster. So my question for you is, if this state of affairs is allowed to continue, and if we continue on this current trajectory, where do you both see things heading in the near future?
When word broke of Ecuador offering asylum to WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, I checked in with my longtime friend and radical comrade, Mark Hand. As usual, our conversation covered a lot of ground. Mark Hand: Before recently taking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange had been detained by British authorities longer than Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator who ordered the killing of thousands of dissidents in Chile. Ultimately, British authorities decided to let Pinochet go free instead of sending him to Spain to face charges of crimes against humanity.