Adonis Diaries

“Research Stoppage, March 4, 1969”: Noam Chomsky reminisces

Posted on: March 4, 2011

“Research Stoppage, March 4, 1969”:  Chomsky reminisces

On March 4, 1969, students and professors at MIT organized a “Research Stoppage” demonstration.  They expressed their anxieties of the “dangerous usage of research and scientific technologies.”

Seminars were programmed with the collaboration of Concerned Scientists Union.  The themes were focused on: Intellectual responsibilities; Non-military opportunities for research; the relationship between university and government; and the disarmament policies.

The movement spread to other campuses and a text was published entitled: “March 4: Scientists, Students, and Society”, Boston, The MIT Press, 1970.

Noam Chomsky wrote in 1969, as a personal addendum to the Panel report:

“My feeling is that the American society is oriented toward a grave crisis.  A crisis implicit in the kinds of contradictions in current problems.  We are aggressive, imperialist, and becoming further militaristic in our political interventions in the affairs of the nations.  We are a military socialist community.

Internally, we exhibit a large latitude of spiritual openness:  Universities witness an open-door policy to criticism and to freedom of expression and research.

We benefit of a high standard of living:  Youth have the opportunity to think; youth don’t need to work full-time to earning a living.

Thus,  the power-to-be is devising a scheme to get students working full-time for their education in order to minimize their agitation and turbulent activities.

Making students work full-time  to earning education expenses is to render this young class apathetic and conformist Give people a breathing moment to think and people react to what is outrageous.

I realized that students (in 1969) are reacting against scientific knowledge.  For example, I read banners and slogans such as “Are you going to be dominated by science?”; and “Are you going to become a machine working for technologies?”.

This is a kind of revulsion for professional jobs that is taking roots.  This is a dangerous trend that sap rational thinking and cannot solve social difficulties or enhance intellectual comprehension.”

Note 1:  The current state of affairs in the US is the same in the militaristic mentality and policies, but it is aggravated in that universities are practically close-shut to freedom of expressions, alternative creative lines of thinking, and dwindling availability in fields of study that do not match multinationals needs.

Note 2:  The current mighty waves of protests in the Arab World is the work of educated youth who have no job opportunities and had plenty of time to think and ponder on outrageous realities around them.

Note 3: After the real estates fiasco in 2008, the US has to deal with the trillion dollars in student loans: Students cannot find “good jobs” after graduation in order to repay their exorbitant loans, at accumulated and compounded interest rates…

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March 2011
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