Keeping the Rabble in Line: Interviews with David Barsamian

Noam Chomsky, Et, Author, David Barsamian, Author Common Courage Press $17.95 (317p) ISBN 978-1-56751-032-4
Barsamian, the founder of Alternative Radio, and Chomsky, allegedly the most quoted author in the modern era, have forged a symbiotic relationship that manages to distill Chomsky's political philosophies and make them accessible. Barsamian's historically grounded, well-informed and probing questions prompt Chomsky to deconstruct concepts of class, media and economics. Chomsky deftly addresses domestic and foreign conundrums including health care, the recent crime bill and NAFTA. While these interviews span a two-year period and end early in 1994, they remain provocative and timely, with Chomsky's insights on Haiti, Northern Ireland and the Middle East proving especially resonant. Ultimately, Rabble serves as a Chomsky primer that is without condescension, and the question-and-answer format shows him at his most concise and adroit. His criticism exposes democracies as business-run societies that render the general population isolated from politics, persuasively suggesting that we are on the verge of a social breakdown. What sets this work apart from other reluctant messiahs who simply intellectualize suffering, is that Barsamian and Chomsky discuss avenues for activism-strengthening unions, following grassroots organizations or simply reading between the lines. Together they act as a lens, enabling the reader to see what has been there, hidden in plain sight. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
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