PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Linguist and activist Noam Chomsky compared the excitement of the third World Social Forum to a darker climate “reported by media” in Davos this year.
“We see that the more the excitement grows here, the more it fades there” he said.
Chomsky was speaking at a conference on “How to Beat the Empire” with Indian writer Arundati Roy before a crowd of more than 18,000 at Gigantinho (“Little Giant”) Stadium here on January 27th.
Chomsky said that, if not averted, a war on Iraq will solidify an “empire” — a coalition between the United States and United Kingdom — working for the interests of the multinational corporations.
He said those governments would not accept competition and democratic regimes that diverged from their own interests.
“This … doctrine is not new, but it never was declared with such a blatant arrogance,” he said.
After visiting a Landless Movement settlement on the outskirts of the Porto Alegre metropolitan region, Chomsky praised it as part of the world’s most relevant social movement.
He compared the “feeling of hope” he found there to the fear and desperation he saw among rural communities in south Colombia and Kurdish Turkey.
In Colombia, he said, a U.S.-backed program of herbicide fumigation of coca crops also affected cassava, banana, corn and other staples, destroying productive lands and causing sickness and diarrhea in children.
Chomsky also noted that in 1997, Turkey — notorious for its military repression of Kurdish communities and independence movements — received more weapons from the U.S. under the Clinton administration than during the whole Cold War and Second World War combined.
In 1999, he said, Colombia became the top destination for U.S.-manufactured weapons.