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Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at MIT, held out the possibility that the American people's opposition to the war in Indochina can end it, but warned last night that economists from the U.S. and Japan are now making plans to transform Southeast Asia into a source of cheap goods for sale in the rich countries of the world.
Chomsky joined Cynthia Frederick, of the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars, and Ngo Vinh Long, graduate student in Far Eastern History and Languages in a panel discussion held at MIT last night on the subject "Which Way Viet Nam?"
Pointing to increasing investments abroad by American corporations. Chomsky said "imperialism has got to increase as a dominant force in foreign affairs" under these circumstances. He predicted that increasing dependence on inexpensive foreign labor would precipitate a crisis of unemployment in the U.S.
Frederick said that police techniques which have been tested in South Vietnam are being put to use within the U.S. She said that centralization of police information through the use of computers reflects the growth of "domestic counter insurgency" efforts within this country.
Long said that the U.S. press has kept Americans ignorant of the Vietnamese's hatred of the war. There have been four demonstrations in Saigon each involving about 10,000 students, in the last four months, he said. None of these were reported in the American press, he added.
Long said that Americans can no longer safely walk the streets in Vietnamese cities because of anti-American feeling there. "Even the upper middle class people in South Vietnam hate the U. S. so much that they will kill Americans walking in the street," he stated.
Chomsky said that the future course of the war depends largely on the extent to which the National Liberation Front-Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam is able to develop an opposition structure in the cities.
The other "critical" factor, Chomsky added, is the behavior of the American majority, which, according to public opinion polls, opposes the war. "The hopes of the Vietnamese, the Laotians, and the Cambodians for some kind of decent future" depend on whether antiwar "feeling is translated into action," he said
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