Chomsky After The Election Grassroots

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Watch the Chomsky After The Election Grassroots video, Noam Chomsky What Next The Elections the Economy and the World World renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky discussed the meaning of President Elect Barack Obamas victory and the possibilities ahead for real democratic change EXCERPT 2 4 The response for the election was interesting and instructive It kept pretty much to the soaring rhetoric to borrow the clich that was the major theme of the election The election was described as an extraordinary display of democracy a miracle that could only happen in America and on and on Much more extreme than Europe even than here Theres some accuracy in that if we keep to the West So if we keep to the West yes its probably true That couldnt have happened anywhere else Europe was much more racist than the United States and you wouldnt expect anything like that to happen On the other hand if you look at the world its not that remarkable So lets take the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere Haiti and Bolivia In Haiti there was an election in 1990 which really was an extraordinary display of democracy much more so than this In Haiti there were grassroots movements popular movements that developed in the slums and the hills which nobody was paying any attention to And they managed even without any resources to sweep into power their own candidate A populist priest Jean Bertrand Aristide Thats a victory for democracy when popular movements can organize and set programs and pick their candidate and put them into office which is not what happened here of course I mean Obama did organize a large number of people and many enthusiastic people in whats called in the press Obamas Army But the army is supposed to take instructions not to implement introduce develop programs and call on its own candidate to implement them Thats critical If the army keeps to that condition nothing much will change If it on the other hand goes away activists did in the sixties a lot can change Thats one of the choices that has to be made Thats Haiti Of course that didnt last very long A couple of months later there was military coup a period of terror we wont go through the whole record Up the present the traditional torturers of Haiti France and the United States have made sure that there wont be a victory for democracy there Its a miserable story Contrary to many illusions Take the second poorest country Bolivia They had an election in 2005 thats almost unimaginable in the West Certainly here anywhere The person elected into office was indigenous Thats the most oppressed population in the hemisphere those who survived Hes is a poor peasant How did he get in Well he got in because there were again a mass popular movement which elected their own representative And they are the source of the programs which are serious ones Theres real issues And people know them Control over resources cultural rights social justice and so on Furthermore the election was just an event that was particular stage in a long continuing struggle a lot before and a lot after There was day when people pushed the levers but thats just an event in ongoing popular struggles very serious ones A couple of years ago there was a major struggle over privatization of water An effort which it would in effect deprive a good part of the population of water to drink And it was a bitter struggle A lot of people were killed but they won it Through international solidarity in fact which helped And it continues Now thats a real election Again the plans the programs are being developed acted on constantly by mass popular movements which then select their own representatives from their own ranks to carry out their programs And thats quite different from what happened here What he had was an army that he organized of people who got out the vote for Obama For what the press calls Brand Obama They essentially agree with the advertisers its brand Obama That his army was mobilized to bring him to office They regard that as a good thing accepting the Lippman conception of democracy the ignorant and meddlesome outsiders are supposed to do what theyre told and then go home The Wall Street Journal at the opposite end of the spectrum also had an article about the same thing at roughly the same time Talked about the tremendous grassroots army that has been developed which is now waiting for instructions What should they do next to press forward Obamas agenda Whatever that is But whatever it is the armys supposed to be out there taking instructions and press work

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