Name-checking Sole’s Latest Video, “I Think I’m Noam Chomsky”

Lost in the hoopla of Cinco de Mayo was independent hip-hop star Sole‘s video premiere for “I Think I’m Noam Chomsky:”

Sole (real name Tim Holland), a founder of hip-hop label Anticon, recorded the track for his upcoming mixtape Nuclear Winter 2. The track is filled with enough political references to make Zack De La Rocha want to tell this cat to take it easy.

It’s easy to get lost among them all so, after the jump, is a brief explanation of the people, events, etc. mentioned in the video:

NOAM CHOMSKY – Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He developed a theory of transformational/generative grammar in the 1950’s that cemented his status as a leading figure in the field of linguistics and analytic philosophy. Sole, however, refers to the other Chomsky in this track.

This Chomsky is famous for his strong criticism of U.S. policy born from his days as a political activist in opposition to the war in Vietnam. His first foray into activism on the page arrived in The New York Review of Books on Feb. 23 1967 with the publication of “The Responsibility of Intellectuals.”

Chomsky has, since then, published numerous articles and books on various topics on political science, philosophy, domestic and international policy, etc. specifically with regards to the United States.

AL-JAZEERAAl-Jazeera (Arabic for The Island) is an Arab news group based in Qatar that broadcasts in many languages. It built its reputation as a serious news entity by being the first Arab station to allow dissenting viewpoints (which earned it criticisms from sections of the Arab world as a pro-Zionist/CIA agent) and for its live reporting of events in the Middle East/Southeast Asia (which earned it criticisms from the US as a propaganda tool for terrorists).

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently applauded the work of the Al-Jazeera network earlier this year…

…while journalist/author Hugh Miles wrote a detailed account on the history and development of Al-Jazeera in Al-Jazeera: The Inside News Story of the Arab News Channel That is Challenging the West.

HOWARD ZINN – Zinn was a historian and political activist whose most famous work is A People’s History of the United States which chronicles the history of the U.S.A. as experienced by common people.

He flew as a bombardier in WWII with the 490th Bombardment Group. His role in the bombings of targets in Berlin, Czechoslovakia and Hungary forced him to face numerous ethical dilemmas that shaped his anti-war views.

BIKINI ATOLL – The Bikini Atoll is a small island which is part of the Republic of Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It was the site of numerous nuclear tests by the U.S. Army between July 1946 and August 1958. The U.S. detonated the first hydrogen bomb ever created on the island on October 1952:

The results of the H-bomb test spurred philosopher Bertrand Russell and theoretical physicist Albert Einstein to issue a manifesto denouncing war and nuclear weapons:

There's no need for modesty when the fate of the world is at stake.

NEOLIBERALISM – Neoliberalism is the belief that an unrestrained, privatized economy will lead to strong economic health and prosperity (not to be confused with the political ideology of liberalism). It is associated with supply-side economics and market globalization and was championed strongly by the administrations of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s which led to a period of deregulation that continues to this day.

Economist Milton Friedman is the most famous proponent of neoliberalism:

The interview below was conducted on December 2005:

To put it more bluntly...

The basic idea behind neoliberalism was very plainly stated by Susan George in March of 1999:

The great scholar Karl Polanyi published his masterwork, The Great Transformation in 1944, a fierce critique of 19th century industrial, market-based society. Over 50 years ago Polanyi made this amazingly prophetic and modern statement: “To allow the market mechanism to be sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment…would result in the demolition of society” [p.73]. However, Polanyi was convinced that such a demolition could no longer happen in the post-war world because, as he said [p.251], “Within the nations we are witnessing a development under which the economic system ceases to lay down the law to society and the primacy of society over that system is secured”.

Alas, Polanyi’s optimism was misplaced – the whole point of neo-liberalism is that the market mechanism should be allowed to direct the fate of human beings. The economy should dictate its rules to society, not the other way around. And just as Polanyi foresaw, this doctrine is leading us directly towards the “demolition of society”.

Below is an excerpt from the documentary film Encirclement: Neoliberalism Ensnares Democracy:

Featured below is a segment from Neoliberalism: The Orthodox View of Globalization:

See also: International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, NAFTA.

IVORY COAST, CHOCOLATEChocolate War Erupts in Ivory Coast

KURT VONNEGUT – Vonnegut was a writer and artist whose experiences in Europe as an infantryman in the U.S. Army shaped his anti-war/humanist views much like Zinn.

Private Vonnegut and other members of the 423rd Infantry Regiment, 106th Infantry Division was captured in the Battle of the Bulge and held as a P.O.W. in Dresden. He and others were held in an underground meat locker which shielded them from the firebombing of Dresden on February 1945.

The experience affected him deeply and influenced his literary/artistic work, most notably in his novel Slaughterhouse-Five.

THE PROJECT FOR THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY – The PNAC was a neoconservative think-tank that operated between 1997 – 2006 founded by William Kristol, founder and editor of the neoconservative opinion magazine The Weekly Standard. Its stated aim was “to make the case and rally support for American global leadership” by following “the essential elements of the Reagan Administration’s success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.”

Signers of the PNAC’s statement include Jeb Bush (former governor of Florida, younger brother of President George W. Bush), Dick Cheney (former Vice President under George W. Bush, former CEO of Halliburton, former Secretary of Defense under President George H.W. Bush and White House Chief of Staff under President Gerald Ford), Steve Forbes (President and Chief Executive Officer of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine, member of the Board of Directors of FreedomWorks Foundation), I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby (former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney), Norman Podhoretz (editor-at-large for Commentary magazine), Dan Quayle (former Vice President under George H.W. Bush), Donald Rumsfeld (former Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Gerald Ford, White House Chief of Staff under Gerald Ford) and Paul Wolfowitz (President of the World Bank Group, former Deputy Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, former ambassador to Indonesia under Ronald Reagan).

The PNAC set its sights on Iraq and the greater Middle East where they argued for a stronger military presence in the region. It got its wish on March 19, 2003 with the invasion of Iraq.

From “War Is A Drug: The Urge to Surge” by Tom Engelhardt:

This may, in fact, be the first example in history of a think tank coming to power and actually putting its blue-sky suggestions into operation as government policy, or perhaps it’s the only example so far of a government-in-waiting masquerading as an online think tank.  In either case, more than 13 years later, the success of that group can still take your breath away, as can both the narrowness — and scope — of their thinking, and of their seminal document, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,”published in September 2000, two months before George W. Bush took the presidency.

This crew of surgers extraordinaires was considering a global situation that, as they saw it, offered Americans an “unprecedented strategic opportunity.”  Facing a new century, their ambitions were caught by James Peck in his startling upcoming book, Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-opted Human Rights, in this way: “In the [Reagan] era, Washington organized half the planet; in the [Bush era] it sought to organize the whole.”

Members of the PNAC are now working under the Foreign Policy Initiative which shares similar objectives.

AMY GOODMAN – Goodman is an independent journalist and the host/founder of radio/TV global news program Democracy Now. A clip towards the end of the video at the 04:00 mark shows her arrest outside the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN during the 2008 election.

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