NOAM CHOMSKY,

Down to Earth - - Covid-19 / Column - Cour­tesy: PRESSENZA

AC­CORD­ING TO Chomsky, it is shock­ing that in this cru­cial mo­ment Don­ald Trump is in the lead, whom he de­scribes as a so­ciopath buf­foon. “The coro­n­avirus is se­ri­ous enough, but it’s worth re­call­ing that there are two much greater threats ap­proach­ing, far worse than any­thing that’s hap­pened in hu­man his­tory: One is the grow­ing threat of a nu­clear war and the other, of course, is the grow­ing threat of global warm­ing. Coro­n­avirus is hor­ri­ble and can have ter­ri­fy­ing con­se­quences, but there will be re­cov­ery. While the others won’t be re­cov­ered, it’s fin­ished.”

The US power is over­whelm­ing. It is the only coun­try that when im­pos­ing sanc­tions on other states like Iran and Cuba, ev­ery­one else has to fol­low along. Also Europe that fol­lows the mas­ter, Chomsky ar­gues. These coun­tries suf­fer from US sanc­tions, but nev­er­the­less “one of the most ironic el­e­ments of to­day’s virus cri­sis is that Cuba is help­ing Europe. Ger­many can’t help Greece, but Cuba can help the Euro­pean coun­tries.” Adding the deaths of thou­sands of im­mi­grants and refugees in the Mediter­ranean, Chomsky thinks that the civ­i­liza­tion’s cri­sis of the West at this point is dev­as­tat­ing.

To­day’s rhetoric that refers to war is of some sig­nif­i­cance, ac­cord­ing to Chomsky. If we want to deal with this cri­sis we have to move to some­thing like wartime mo­bi­liza­tion. For ex­am­ple, the fi­nan­cial mo­bi­liza­tion of the US for the Sec­ond World War, which led the coun­try into far greater debt and quadru­pled the US man­u­fac­tur­ing and led to growth. We need this men­tal­ity now in or­der to over­come this short­run cri­sis and which can be dealt by rich coun­tries. “In a civ­i­lized world, the rich coun­tries would be giv­ing as­sis­tance af­ter those in need,

re­con­struc­tion of so­ci­ety and more hu­mane terms, con­cerned with hu­man needs in­stead of pri­vate profit. “There is the pos­si­bil­ity that peo­ple will or­ga­nize, be­come en­gaged, as many are do­ing, and bring about a much bet­ter world, which will also con­front the enor­mous prob­lems, that we’re fac­ing right down the road, the prob­lems of nu­clear war, which is closer than it’s ever been and the prob­lems of en­vi­ron­men­tal catas­tro­phes from which there is no re­cov­ery once we’ve got­ten to that stage, that it’s not far in dis­tance, un­less we act de­ci­sively.”

“So it’s a crit­i­cal mo­ment of hu­man his­tory, not just be­cause of the coro­n­avirus, that should bring us to aware­ness of the pro­found flaws of the world, the deep, dys­func­tional char­ac­ter­is­tics of the whole so­cioe­co­nomic sys­tem, which has to change, if there’s go­ing to be a sur­viv­able fu­ture. So this could be a warn­ing sign and a les­son to deal with it to­day or pre­vent it from ex­plod­ing. But think­ing of its roots and how those roots are go­ing to lead to more crises, worse ones than this”.

About the quar­an­tine sit­u­a­tion that to­day more than 2 bil­lion peo­ple on the planet face, Chomsky points out that a form of so­cial iso­la­tion has ex­isted for years and is very dam­ag­ing.

“We are now in a sit­u­a­tion of real so­cial iso­la­tion. It has to be over­come by recre­at­ing so­cial bonds in what­ever way can be done, what­ever kind that can be help­ing peo­ple in need. Con­tact­ing them, de­vel­op­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions, ex­pand­ing an­a­lyza­tion. Like be­fore get­ting them to be func­tional and op­er­a­tive, making plans for the fu­ture, bring­ing peo­ple to­gether as we can in the in­ter­net age, to join, con­sult, de­lib­er­ate to fig­ure out an­swers to the prob­lems that they face and work on them, which can be done. It’s not face to­face com­mu­ni­ca­tion which for hu­man be­ings is es­sen­tial. But it’ll be de­prived of it for a while, you can put it on hold.”

Noam Chomsky con­cludes by say­ing: “Find other ways and con­tinue with, and in fact, ex­tend and deepen the ac­tiv­i­ties car­ried out. Can be done. It’s not go­ing to be easy, but hu­mans have faced prob­lems in the past”.

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