Noam Chomsky: Coronavirus – What is at stake?

“A conversation with philosopher and co-founder of DiEM25, Srecko Horvat. The coronavirus crisis is revealing that the powers that be of the European Union have learned nothing from the Eurocrisis. They are currently betraying the interests of the majority of Europeans in the same way that they have done so in 2010 — by failing to mobilize existing money and public financial instruments in the interests of the many. With their current decisions, they are jeopardizing public health, public goods and the interests of Europeans. Every day at 19:00 CET switch on the television from the future! We call it TV because we like retro-futurism. But it’s much more than TV. In times of global pandemics, DiEM25 is launching a special online and completely free program to understand the current crisis and offer tools and hope to get out of it stronger and more united in building the World After Coronavirus. Everyone will be able to join and pose questions, suggest next topics and next guests!”

“Srecko Horvat: “Welcome to another ‘World After Corona Virus’. I am really happy and honoured for this special episode, because there is a special guest, joining us today. And that special guest is, not only mine but a hero of many generations. Both of us are unfortunately in self-isolation, so this is also very a special occasion, but without further introduction I think most of you, who are watching this know who is Noam Chomsky and I am so glad that Noam is joining us today. Hello Noam, could you just tell us, where are you, are you already in self-isolation and for how long?” Noam Chomsky: “Well, I am in Tucson, Arizona in self-isolation. [inaudible]” Srecko Horvat: “So, you wrote, you were born in 1928. And you wrote your first essay, as far as I know, when you were only ten years old, which was an essay on the Spanish civil war. Actually just after the fall of Barcelona and so that was 1938, which looks very far away, for my generation. You survived the second world war, Hiroshima, you were a witness to Hiroshima, you were a witness to many very big important political, historic events, from the Vietnam War, to the oil crisis, to the fall of the Berlin wall. Before that, you where a witness to Chernobyl, after that in the 90s, you where a witness to a historical moment which was leading to 9/11, which was also a global event and most recently, I mean I am trying to really shorten a long history of a lifetime of someone like you, but the most recent event was the financial crash of 2007 and 2008. So in this background, of such a rich life and being a witness and also an actor in this major historical processes, ‘how do you look at the current corona virus crisis? Is it an unprecedented historical event, is it something which surprised you? How do you look at it? That would be my question.” Noam Chomsky: “I should say that my earliest memories which are haunting me now, are from the 1930s, the article that you mentioned on the fall of Barcelona was acting mainly about the, apparently, inexorable spread of the fascist plague all over the, all over Europe and how it was gonna end. I later, did, much later discovered, when internal documents came out, that the analyst of the U.S government, at the time and the following years expected, that the war would end with, the end of the war was coming, that the war would end with, the world divided into U.S dominated air regions and a German dominated region. So my childhood fears were not entirely out of place. And these memories come back now. I can recall, when I was a child, a young child listening to Hitler’s Nuremberg rallies over the radio, I couldn’t understand the words but you could easily understand the mood and the threat and so on, and I have to say when I listen to Donald Trump’s rallies today, it resonates. It’s not that he’s a fascist, he doesn’t have that much of an ideology, he’s just a sociopath, but an individual concerned with himself, but the mood and the fears is similar and the idea that the fate of the country and the world is in the hands of a sociopathic buffoon, is shocking. The coronavirus is serious enough but it’s worth recalling that there is a much greater horror approaching, we are racing to the edge of disaster, far worse then anything that’s happened in human history. And Donald Trump and his minions are in the lead, in racing to the abyss. In fact there are two immense threats that we are facing. One is the growing threat of nuclear war, which has exacerbated it by the tearing what’s left of the arms control regime and the other of course is the growing threat of global warming. Both threats can be dealt, but there isn’t a lot of time and the corona virus is a horrible [inaudible] can have terrifying consequences But there will be recovery, while the others won’t be recovered, it’s finished. If we don’t deal with them, we’re done. And so the childhood memories are coming back to haunt me, but [in?] a different dimension. The threat of nuclear war didn’t get a sense of where the world really is, by looking to early, to this January, as may you know every year the doomsday clock is set, set with the minute-hand at certain distance from midnight, which means termination. But, ever since Trump was elected, the minute hand has been moving closer and closer to midnight. Last year it was two minutes to midnight. The highest, matching the highest it ever reached. This year the analysts dispensed with minutes, started moving to seconds, 100 seconds to midnight That’s the closest it’s ever been. Sighting three things: The threat of nuclear war, threat of global warming and the deterioration of democracy, which doesn’t quite belong into here but it does, because that’s the only, hope that we have, for overcoming the crisis and in for [inaudible] public taking control of their fate, if that doesn’t happen, we are doomed. If we are leaving our fate to sociopathic buffoons, we’re finished. And that’s coming close, Trump is the worst, that’s because of US Power, which is overwhelming. We are talking about U.S decline, but you just look at the world, you don’t see that when the U.S imposes sanctions, murderers, devastating sanctions, that’s the only country that can do that, but everyone has to follow. Europe may not like, in fact hate [sanctions / actions ???] on Iran, but they have to follow, they have to follow the master, or else they get kicked out of the international financial system. Thats not a law of nature it’s a decision in Europe to be subordinate to the master in Washington, other countries don’t even have a choice. And back to the Coronavirus, one of the most shocking, harsh aspects of it, is the use of sanctions, to maximize the pain, perfectly consciously, Iran is in a zone, enormous internal problems. [inaudible] By the stranglehold of tightening sanctions, which are consciously designed, openly, to make the suffer and suffer bitterly now. Cuba has been suffering from it, from the moment, where it gained independence, but it’s astonishing, that they have survived but they stayed resilient and one of the most ironic elements of today’s virus crisis, is that Cuba is helping Europe. I mean this is so shocking, that you don’t know how to describe it. That Germany can’t help Greece, but Cuba can help the European countries. If you stop to think about [inaudible] what that means, all the words fail, just as when you see thousands of people dying in the Mediterranean, fleeing from a region, that has been devastated for centuries and being sent to the deaths in the Mediterranean, you don’t know what words to use. The crisis, the civilizational crisis of the West at this point is devastating, to think of them and it does bring up childhood memories of listening to Hitler raving on the radio to raucous crowds [inaudible] at the nuremburg rallies it makes you wonder if this species is even viable.”

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