Sunday, 1 November 2009

Chomsky - Scargill speak at Belfast Venues

Trick or Treat?

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
(L-R) Moderator Professor Bill Rolston and Professor Noam Chomsky

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
Michael Doherty (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) welcomes Arthur Scargill to Belfast

If you consider yourself a supporter of the political 'Establishment' you might say it was 'Trick.' If you are of a more non-conformist, or a rebellious nature, you would definitely say 'Treat', to two events hosted in Belfast this Halloween weekend.

On Friday night, Professor Noam Chomsky, and former President of the National Union of Mineworkers, Arthur Scargill, addressed audiences at separate locations in Belfast.

Chomsky, a longtime critic of American foreign policy, was the speaker at the sold-out Amnesty International Annual Lecture at Queens University, as part of the Belfast Festival at Queens. The following day, he spoke gratis, at St. Mary's College West Belfast, hosted by Féile an Phobail's Festival of the People. Overflow seating for over 200 people had to be arranged in an upstairs room with video and audio facilities, as the main auditorium which holds over 300 people quickly filled to capacity.

Scargill, who led the NUM in the 1984-85 strike which ended in defeat for the union, spoke at the Belfast office of the UNITE union. He retired from the NUM Presidency in 2001, and was elected Honorary President in 2002. He is currently Leader of the Socialist Labour Party which he founded in 1996.

Noam Chomsky
'Alongside his career as a linguist, Chomsky has been active in left-wing politics. In 1965 he organized a citizen's committee to publicize tax refusal in protest to the war in Vietnam; four years later he published his first book on politics American Power and the New Mandarins. By the 1980's he had become both the most distinguished figure of American linguistics and one of the most influential left-wing critics of American foreign policy. He has been extremely prolific as a writer: his web-site in 2003 listed 33 book publications in linguistics (broadly construed), and although the individuation of his political books is complicated, their number definitely exceeds 40. According to a 1992 tabulation of sources from the previous 12 years in the Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Chomsky was the most frequently-cited person alive, and one of the eight most frequently-cited authors of all time.'
Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, 1860-1960, Bristol, 2004

'I don't say you're self-censoring - I'm sure you believe everything you're saying; but what I'm saying is, if you believed something different, you wouldn't be sitting where you're sitting.'
Chomsky interviewed by Andrew Marr on BBC2, February 14, 1996.

Arthur Scargill
'We need action not words. For the first time we are facing the prospect of seeing legislation introduced which denies the right of trade unionists to come to the assistance of other unionists and denies the right of trade unionists to seek the support of others in their disputes. There is only one response. Faced with this legislation we should say we will defy the law. It is the only action we can take and it is the only response this movement can give. If there is an attempt to use this legislation then you defy it not as an individual union but as a movement.'
Speech to the Trades Union Congress at Brighton on the Employment Act 1982. (7 September, 1982).

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