10 June 2013
CPT INTERNATIONAL: Interview with Noam Chomsky available on CPT website
A podcast interview with linguist, cognitive scientist,
philosopher, and radical truth-teller Noam Chomsky is now available from a link
on CPT’s website. CPT interim assistant
director Tim Nafziger and Herald Press’s Widening the Circle editor, Joanna
Shenk conduct the interview, which is followed by a discussion that includes
Nafziger, Shenk and editor of Jesusradicals.com Mark Van Steenwyck.
At the beginning of the interview, Chomsky and Nafziger discuss the 2005-2006 CPT hostage crisis. Chomsky was among the first internationally known personalities to sign a petition calling for the release of the Tom Fox, James Loney, Harmeet Singh Sooden and Norman Kember when Iraqi militants kidnapped them in 2005. He has said in the past that CPT’s work gives him hope.
Chomsky, Shenk, and Nafziger devote much of their discussion to how grassroots movements sustain themselves. All successful movements, Chomsky says, have in common ordinary people who knew their struggle would not succeed in the near future, but were committed to being a part of the struggle “for the long haul.” When asked about ways to empower leaders of movements he said he “shudders” when he hears the word “leader,” because where there are leaders, there must be followers, and what the world really needs are participants. He noted later in the interview that the principle of consensus can be co-opted by domineering people in grassroots organizations who, through the strength of their personality, assemble followers and take over the group.
Although Chomsky is not religious, he has often expressed
respect for religious people who put themselves at risk for the sake of
justice. In particular, he noted
evangelical church members who stayed on to partner with Christian base communities
in Central America during the 1980s when the U.S. State Department ordered U.S.
citizens to leave.
The podcast is part of the Iconocast series on the Jesus Radicals website and is available here.