Radical political analysis, commentary and discussion in Wales
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Noam Chomsky to speak in Cardiff

On Saturday 12th March, Professor Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist, scholar and political analyst, will deliver a talk on 'The current crisis in the Middle East' at St David's Hall, Cardiff.

Widely regarded as one of the most influential intellectuals of our age, deemed one of the fathers of modern linguistics, it was his opposition to the Vietnam War that really brought him to public attention. As an outspoken critic of the global hegemony of the United States and neo-liberal capitalism, he has become hugely well known despite little mainstream media coverage.

I emailed Noam Chomsky on 27th April 2010 inviting him to speak at Cardiff University. I didn't in my wildest dreams expect that he would get back to me, but he did. It wasn't a response from his secretary or assistant, but from the Professor himself, only a few hours after I emailed him. I knew he was the most cited living author, but now I realised he's probably the most modest living author too.

The title of the talk was chosen by Chomsky himself from a list of several options I sent him. He chose it because as the issue has always been so important he has spoken on it before over the years and it never fails to be a pertinent title.

Blocked by Israel
This speech comes at a time of extreme tension in the Middle East. Israel is piling its tanks and infantry at the borders of Gaza and Lebanon, in preparation for imminent use; military aggression that political analysts expect to be more destructive and deadly than ever before. With the background of rising tension between the Iranian and the American government, Chomsky stressed that it is vital to bring in Iran when talking about Palestine and Israel.

As one of the Friends of Palestine here at Cardiff University, inviting Noam Chomsky to come and speak gained added resonance when he was denied entry to occupied Palestine by Israeli border control. Though the Israeli interior ministry attempted to publicly backtrack, Noam himself was typically matter of fact about the affair:
"the government of Israel doesn't like the kinds of things I say, which puts them into the same category as every other government in the world".
Brought up in a Zionist Jewish setting, he is highly critical of the policies of Israel towards Palestinians, in keeping with his wider world view. Chomsky not only highlights the US government's support for dictatorships and opposition to democratic governments. He goes further by analysing how self-acclaimed democratic regimes such as the USA and UK exploit popular media to control the public, the same end point for any classical dictatorship throughout history.

After inviting Noam Chomsky and getting his approval, I was keen (along with a group of friends who were aware of the correspondence) on getting the support of as many organisations in Wales that support the politics and views of Noam Chomsky to make this event as versatile and non-partisan as possible. This of course includes South Wales Anarchists; Chomsky himself labels his politics as Libertarian Socialism, specifically anarcho-syndicalism. He has repeatedly come under fire for his anarchism being incompatible with his tactical support for reformist measures, something he has robustly rebuked:
"One can, of course, take the position that we don't care about the problems people face today, and want to think about a possible tomorrow. OK, but then don't pretend to have any interest in human beings and their fate, and stay in the seminar room and intellectual coffee house with other privileged people. Or one can take a much more humane position: I want to work, today, to build a better society for tomorrow -- the classical anarchist position..."
Welcome in Wales
It took less than 24 hours for all 1645 seats in St David's Hall to sell out for this lecture, simply because the speaker is Noam Chomsky. Though unpopular with most governments and corporate interests, he stands alone with unparalleled popularity with the public as an intellectual. The overwhelming interest isn't merely because he is a renowned scholar, but because he is willing to take on uncomfortable issues as a political activist. The ban by Israel is a testament to his political integrity.

This talk was organised with the help and support of a wide platform of activist and anti-war groups in Cardiff, including The Friends of Palestine, Cardiff University Green Party, Stop the War Coalition in Cardiff, Cardiff University Islamic society, Cardiff Students Against War, South Wales Anarchists and last but not least, this very website, Radical Wales.

For those who were unable to secure a ticket, there are still a few hundred back of stage tickets available, we will make these available at different events and occasions, so keep an eye. You can always join our facebook overflow event.

Did you miss out on a ticket?
Radical Wales has two tickets to see Noam Chomsky speak in Cardiff on offer as prizes to two winners of the competition in our next email newsletter (sent out at the beginning of February). To be in with a chance of taking part, please join our email list:
 *update* closing date of 28th February