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Chomsky Blasts WEF From Brazil

by ROBERT E. SULLIVAN Sunday, Feb. 03, 2002 at 7:13 AM

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil - Noam Chomsky arrived here for the World Social Forum (WSF) and immediately blasted the World Economic Forum (WEF) in New York as power-hogging, anti-global, and linked to "crude and vulgar" exploitation of the September 11 attacks.

Chomsky, a linguistics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a perennial leftist thorn in the side of several US administrations, also told a partisan crowd of some 250 journalists that the WEF theme

"leadership in a fragile world" could be translated to mean "maintaining our leadership and domination even under conditions of any uncertainty that we happen to face."

Chomsky will deliver the keynote address Friday at the second WSF, a gathering of some 12,000 delegates and 60,000 activists from 150 countries aimed at countering the business-led WEF in New York.

Chomsky, admitted quoting liberally from his own Friday address and committing "self plagiarism," told reporters who cheered as he arrived in the municipal palace "One should be scrupulous in not defining the World Social Forum as anti-

globalization. There is no one who is anti-globalization. This is certainly true of the workers and the left who began their modern existence calling for an international movement."

"Every progressive movement, every popular movement has had this goal: to create an international solidarity and an interaction. And that is globalization, but in the interest of the population of the world. So, in my view, this is a globalization forum. There is an anti-globalization forum taking place in New York which is trying to prevent international popular movements which will develop a form of globalization which will help the population.

They are actively involved in an institution designed to preserve power. And they are

involved in class warfare, and part of the war is ideological warfare.

And one element of ideological warfare is stealing terminology and using it for your

own purposes.

They want globalization to mean their particular form of corporate anti-globalization. [Another element] is exploitation of crises in order to try to silence adversaries in this class warfare. September 11 has been exploited to that purpose.

So their message is 'we, the powerful will pursue our advantage more powerfully than before while you the people of the world are supposed to be quiet and obedient and don't make any noise."

He added "There is no reason to be intimidated by this crude and vulgar tactic. We can agree to be obedient and submissive and give the centers of

illegitimate power free reign to do whatever they want, or we can continue programs and policies that were valid before."

Chomsky labeled the September 11 attacks an atrocity, but, citing the European conquest of the Americas, said that the ruling powers were

"definitely familiar with atrocities of this nature."

"It is still an atrocity, but there are other atrocities, some under way right now," he said, "but the difference now is that for the first time the guns were pointed in the other direction."

"The rich and the powerful have tasted a small portion of what they have done to others for centuries," he said.

Among the atrocities he said were underway now was what he called the enslavement of 30 million people "and that is only if we use the technical

sense of slavery. If we use a more sensible measure, it would be in the hundreds of millions of people," he said.

Chomsky said "The World Social Forum is really the first and most promising realization of the traditional commitment of the left and the workers' movements to an international forum with the interests of the people in mind."

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