Chomsky Tells Tozen that Systems of Power Don’t Say Thank You


Tozen Activists Chat with Activist Noam Chomsky


Leaders and members of Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union (“Tozen Union”) met Saturday afternoon (March 8, 2014) with Professor Noam Chomsky at Café Lavandería in Shinjuku, Tokyo, at an event hosted by Tokyo Spring.


The activist and linguist expressed great interest in the activities of both Tozen Union and Tokyo Spring.  “I’d like to know what you guys are doing,” Chomsky said.


Several members of both organizations asked questions and related their experiences in activism and organizing.


Tozen member Matthew Allen discussed the dangers of union leaders becoming a “coordinator class” with unwarranted power.  Chomsky suggested that efforts to eliminate all division of labor have failed.


Sulejman Brkic, Tokyo Spring activist and member of Tozen Union, MCed the event, while Tozen Union General Secretary Louis Carlet interpreted between Japanese and English.  Tozen President Hifumi Okunuki presented Chomsky with a calligraphy-written haiku (see below).  Brkic gave him the black and red flag of anarcho-communism on behalf of Tokyo Spring.


Chomsky encouraged Tozen and Tokyo Spring activists to continue their efforts and said “Anything that you are achieving that undermines and threatens systems of power will meet with oppression.  Systems of power don’t say ‘thank you.’  What’s important is not to focus all your efforts on the oppression, but to continue the constructive work.”