I Wanna Be Literated! #121

I Wanna Be Literated! #121

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Friday, 26 August 2016
COLUMN

On Power and Ideology: The Managua Lectures
by Noam Chomsky

 

I have been fascinated with the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua ever since learning about it from the Clash and reading Stephen Kinzer’s book Blood of Brothers. Can I admit that I really enjoyed the book and saw the Sandinista revolution with mixed feelings? Sure I can. Then, I happened to Google the author and Noam Chomsky (because I couldn’t calm the doubting beast) and found out that Chomsky has been very critical of Kinzer’s reporting, saying “[The polls] show that all of the opposition parties in Nicaragua combined had the support of only 9 percent of the population, but they have 100 percent of Stephen Kinzer.”

…and my interest was peaked once again.

This is where the Managua Lectures come in.

I have grown fond of Chomsky’s interview books where his ideas are laid out a little more concisely, but these lectures might strike the perfect balance between short Q and A and his protracted single topic books. Conducted in Managua in 1986, these lectures focus on the US involvement in foreign affairs and Nicaragua in particular. Consistent over the years, Chomsky argues that the US is essentially only interested in protecting its freedom to rob and exploit. In doing so they protect their own interest (and those of the wealthy and privileged) at any cost, even if it means going as far as supporting fascism throughout the world. Any criticism is quickly brushed aside, or accused of being unpatriotic or unchristian. Funny how things haven’t changed much. As far as Nicaragua is concerned, they had made substantial progress in the social sector and improving the conditions of its citizens. Unable to accept that progress can happen independently of US involvement, a massive military campaign was launched to undermine the Nicaraguan government diverting their already low resources into fighting the Contras. As is often the case, Chomsky doesn’t pull any punches and delivers his points clearly in a pattern that’s easy to follow.

It’s hard to find writings by Chomsky that aren’t essential. This book is no different.

Get a copy here!

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