Rapid Reaction: Chomsky On Occupy, Where We're At and Where We Need to Go
Or, what I would have tweeted.
State Rep. Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington, hosted "A Conversation with Noam Chomsky" on Monday, Oct. 15, as a special installment of his award-winning Open House public policy forum.
Lexington Patch complied with Kaufman's request that all audience members turn off their phones, as the devices can interfere with LexMedia's recording equipment -- which meant no tweeting. Live tweeting, anyway.
The bulleted points below are an assortment of quick-hitting bursts from my notebook, all of them 140 characters or less, organized in chronological order.
- It's a full house and huge range in ages jam-packing the Lexington Depot. Standing-room only.
- Math lesson: Chomsky says more like 1/10 of 1 % control most of wealth. “There has been economic growth since the 70s, but it’s gone into very few pockets”
- Chomsky says PR and advertising agencies run elections, which have “stratospheric” costs.
- Chomsky: “When the same institutions turn to selling candidates, the goal is to undermine democracy by making uninformed consumers make irrational choices.”
- Kinda hard to hear from the back. Low volume on the mic, plus the prof’s a little sick w/ some kind of ‘itis–either bronch or laryng
- Chomsky: Occupy was like a lit match to the nation’s dried grassroots and had real effect. “For one thing, just spreading around the world”
- Chomsky on occupation as a tactic: Pre- Aug 2011 he thought it was crazy, “but it worked” in establishing networks and solidarity
- Not everyone abiding by Kaufman’s request to turn off all mobile devices. I hear someone typing away on an iPhone.
- Chomsky’s gone for about 20 minutes straight to start off. Not bad for a guy with some kind of ‘itis of the throat.
- It’s 7:25 and the floor’s opening to questions. Kaufman says for Occupy and change to be real going forward, “It’s going to be us”
- Always amazes me how little some people care about standing right in front of someone and blocking their view. Is crowd etiquette a thing?
- … Asks the guy with plucking away at the MacBook on his lap.
- Kaufman garners laughs and applause with the quip, “I know Mitt Romney, and I do not want to be like Mitt Romney.”
- Chomsky’s grim outlook planted Levon Helm’s voice in my head, specifically him, Charlie Manuel, and The Band doing “The Shape I’m In.”
- Holy meeting of the minds! Here’s Peter Diamond, who largely agrees but quibbles with Chomsky’s earlier Arab Spring-Occupy comparison
- Diamond gets hoots and applause mentioning Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Asked could Occupy have achieved more? Chomsky references Civil Rights Movement, MLK’s other “I Have a Dream” speech
- Two good lines: “Yes the standard of living has gone up, but has the decency of life?” And, “Growth, in itself, can’t be an adjective”
- Kaufman: Change won’t come from Beacon Hill “My colleagues need to be emboldened. Make demands of my colleagues and keep making them of me”