Watch the interview: Industrial Worker (IWW Newspaper) interviews Noam Chomsky
By Noam Chomsky
and Diane Krauthamer
Noam Chomsky’s ZSpace Page
Nov. 20, 2009
This interview was conducted on Oct. 9, 2009, at Professor Noam Chomsky’s office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
DK: I would like to start this interview with a discussion of the economic crisis and how workers can deal with the issues which we face. In your recent piece titled “Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours,” which was published in the Boston Review, you state that the “the financial crisis will presumably be patched up somehow, while leaving the institutions that created it pretty much in place.” Following on that, there has been a recent upsurge of militant industrial action in workplaces, primarily throughout Europe, and also in North America. As you know, the Republic Windows and Doors Factory in Chicago was the first factory occupation in the U.S. since the 1930s.
NC: No, not quite, because the 1979 strike against U.S. Steel in Youngstown, Ohio was an occupation—and actually, that’s a model that really should be pursued now. They went on from striking to trying to have the workforce and the communities take over the abandoned factories that U.S. Steel was dismantling. The legal effort that followed was led by the radical labor lawyer Staughton Lynd. They didn’t win in the courts, but they could have won, and they would have had enough support. It could have meant a lot.