Quotable: Noam Chomsky on the unspeakable c-word

“In the United States you’re not allowed to talk about class differences. In fact, only two groups are allowed to be class-conscious in the United States. One of them is the business community, which is rabidly class-conscious. When you read their literature, it’s all full of the danger of the masses and their rising power and how we have to defeat them. It’s kind of vulgar, inverted Marxism.

“The other group is the high planning sectors of the government. They talk the same way–how we have to worry about the rising aspirations of the common man and the impoverished masses who are seeking to improve standards and harming the business climate.

“So they can be class-conscious. They have a job to do. But it’s extremely important to make other people, the rest of the population, believe that there is no such thing as class. We’re all just equal, we’re all Americans, we live in harmony, we all work together, everything is great.”

–Noam Chomsky, interview with David Barsamian, in The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many (Odonian Press, 1994)

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