On December 4th, three students from MSU Students for a Democratic Society traveled to SUNY New Paltz to hear Noam Chomsky speak in honor of the famous historian, Howard Zinn. Noam Chomsky is a famous linguist and political dissident, well known for his knowledge on US foreign policy and on how the media is a propaganda machine.
The SDS members learned about Chomsky’s friendship with Zinn and Zinn’s historical documentation, that is written from the people’s perspective, not the leaders’. According to Chomsky, Zinn believed movements are made up of unknown individuals and do not appear sporadically. If the movement appears to be spontaneous, it is because “that person did not do the organizing for it.”
According to Lisa Grab:
It was a great experience for SDS to come see one of our heroes (Chomsky) speak about another one of our heroes (Zinn). It’s also important to realize that movements toward change are organized by people who usually get absolutely no credit for it in history. By not learning about our predecessors in activism, people get distorted ideas about how to bring about change, thinking it randomly springs out of just one individual leader. But in reality, people are always organizing and always fighting for change. It’s just that many people don’t see activists struggling for change because the media ignores it or makes it look bad; and then people think there’s nothing going on and feel disempowered or cynical.
After Chomsky’s talk, the members from SDS approached Chomsky to talk to him and thank him. “Coming out here to see Noam Chomsky was definitely worth it!” said Esha Kallianpur, who has been involved with SDS from the beginning. The next step is to bring Chomsky to MSU!
Writtten by: Lisa Grab