Noam Chomsky: Do We Have the Makings of a Real Revolution?
The Occupy movement has been an extremely exciting development. Unprecedented, in fact. There's never been anything like it that I can think of. If the bonds and associations it has established can be sustained through a long, dark period ahead, because victory won't come quickly, it could prove a significant moment in American history. The fact that the Occupy movement is unprecedented is quite appropriate. After all, it's an unprecedented era, and has been so since the 1970s, which marked a major turning point in American history. For centuries, since the country began, it had been a developing society, and not always in very pretty ways. That's another story, but the general progress was toward wealth, industrialization, development, and hope. There was a pretty constant expectation that it was going to go on like this. That was true even in very dark times. I'm just old enough to remember the Great Depression. After the first few years, by the mid-1930s, although the situation was objectively much harsher than it is today, nevertheless, the spirit was quite different. There was a sense that "we're gonna get out of it," even among unemployed people, including a lot of my relatives, a sense that "it will get better." There was a militant labor union organizing going on, especially from the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations). It was getting to the point of sit-down strikes, which are frightening to the business world, you see it in the business press at the time, because a sit-down strike is just a step before taking over the factory and running it yourself. The idea of worker takeovers is something which is, incidentally, very much on the agenda today, and we should keep it in mind.