Noam Chomsky: The American working class is facing increasingly dire circumstances — here's why
Left-wing author Noam Chomsky continues to address class issues without apology, and in an interview that has been republished by the democratic socialist website Jacobin, Chomsky lays out some of the ways in which the American working class is facing very dire circumstances — from the COVID-19 pandemic to an increasingly right-wing U.S. Supreme Court.
During the interview, which was conducted by Alternative Radio on November 30 and published by Jacobin as a Q&A article on December 30, Chomsky stresses that the lack of universal health care in the U.S. has made the COVID-19 pandemic especially dangerous for Americans.
"The United States is unusual, almost unique in not having a general health system," Chomsky explains. "So, it's not clear that if a vaccine is available, it'll even be affordable — or if there'll be places where people can go to get it. That takes national coordination. The Trump Administration has, of course, refused to do this. And it remains to be seen whether a Biden Administration will carry out a plan. Trump has refused, until just a few days ago, to even share data with the incoming Biden Administration. That, of course, makes any reaction slower and more ineffective."
Chomsky adds that coronavirus denial has had deadly results in the U.S.
"We're living in a country where a large part of the population is in extreme denialism," Chomsky warns. "If you can believe the polls, over three-quarters of Republicans think the election was stolen; huge percentages think global warming is not a serious problem. That is an extraordinary problem, and the denial of the pandemic is also significant. In such an atmosphere, it's going to be very hard to deal with extremely serious problems. And that's just the beginning. If we manage to overcome this crisis, there are other ones coming."
During the interview, Chomsky also discusses the 2020 election results — stressing that although President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump, there were many disappointments for Democrats.
"The Democrats lost to an incredible degree," Chomsky argues. "They lost at every level, except for the presidency. And the presidency was a vote against Trump, even by many of the wealthy and the corporate sector who were tired of his antics. But at every other level — Congress, state legislatures, and local elections — they lost and lost badly."
Chomsky also discusses how far the U.S. Supreme Court has moved with the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's third High Court appointee.
"The Supreme Court has overwhelmingly been on the side of wealth and power — not totally, there were breaks — but that's been the strong tendency, as a conservative institution," Chomsky explains. "Actually, the Constitution does not say anything about the Supreme Court having the right of judicial review, having the authority to cancel legislation."
It was 40 years ago, in January 1981, that President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated — and Reagan's administration was a major departure from the liberal economics of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal and President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. Chomsky notes that the American working class has been losing ground ever since.
"There's been this massive robbery of the population for 40 years, and that has its effects on the way the government works," Chomsky explains. "That's why you end up with, say, 90% of the population being basically unrepresented. And these struggles go on constantly. They're going to go on in the post-pandemic world. It's a radical class struggle, but one element in the struggle is always fighting: the business world. They're dedicated, they never stop. They didn't stop during the New Deal — continued, continued afterward, always going on. Unless working people, the general population, take part in the class struggle, they're going to get it in the neck."
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