Writer and campaigner Noam Chomsky told an audience of over 1,000 that the new occupation movement has a “rare” level of mainstream support. He called the protests “mass popular demonstrations against capitalism”.
“These are extremely important events, not least because of the initiative and participation of a lot of young people,” he said.
“They’re really the force that organised this. It’s spread all over the country and it’s growing every day.”
Chomsky was speaking at the Rebellious Media Conference held in London last weekend. He commented on the occupiers’ tactics.
The Wall Street protesters say they are inspired by the Arab Spring and the US
sit-down strikes of the 1930s.
Chomsky compared the movement to those. “Take the sit-down strikes,” he said.
“They had a huge effect. They terrified owners and management, and there’s a very good reason for that.
“A sit-down strike is just one step before taking over the factory, kicking out the bosses and the managers and saying, ‘We’ll run it ourselves’.”
Chomsky went on to talk about the uprisings and revolutions that have swept across the Arab world.
“A critical fact about them is that they are taking place successfully where there is and has been for years a militant, active labour movement,” he noted.
“The main successes are Tunisia and Egypt, where there have been major labour struggles for years which have finally broken through.
“It’s when the labour movement began to seriously participate that the gains of these movements really became noticeable.
“That ought to be known if the occupy movements, spectacular as they are, are going to have real success.”