Editor’s Note: Counterpunch just ran a terrific interview with Noam Chomsky conducted by the capable radio/TV host Laura Flanders (who happens to be kin to Alex Cockburn, a founding editor of that site.) The talk ranged over many issues, OWS, Anarchism, Labor, Racism, Corporate Power and the Class War. Since the years have not blunted Chomsky’s intellect one whit, the exchange was as usual highly illuminating. Below we reproduce some excerpts focusing on the race war and the role of the mainstream media as a huge hurdle to democratic progress. You can read the whole article here.—PG
LF: Trayvon Martin. Can you talk for a few minutes about the role of racism and racial violence in what we’ve been talking about? Some people think of fighting racism as separate from working on economic issues.
NC: Well you know, there clearly is a serious race problem in the country. Just take a look at what’s happening to African American communities. For example wealth, wealth in African American communities is almost zero. The history is striking. You take a look at the history of African Americans in the US. There’s been about thirty years of relative freedom. There was a decade after the Civil War and before north/south compact essentially recriminalized black life. During the Second World War there was a need for free labor so there was a freeing up of the labor force. Blacks benefitted from it. It lasted for about twenty years, the big growth period in the ‘50s and ‘60s, so a black man could get a job in an auto plant and buy a house and send his kids to college and kind of enter into the world but by the 70s it was over.