Noam Chomsky’s Memorial Day lecture (31 May 2010) at New York’s Left Forum. He began by discussing the case of Joseph Andrew Stack, who crashed his small plane into an office building in Austin, Texas, hitting an IRS office, committing suicide:
NOAM CHOMSKY: One month ago, Joseph Andrew Stack crashed his small plane into an office building in Austin, Texas, hitting an IRS office, committing suicide. He left a manifesto explaining his actions. It was mostly ridiculed, but I think it deserves a lot better than that. Stack’s manifesto traces the life history that led him to this final desperate act. The story begins when he was a teenage student living on a pittance in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, right near the heart of what was once a great industrial area. His neighbor—I’m mostly quoting now—his neighbor was a woman in her eighties, surviving on cat food, the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for the thirty years of his service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing, because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union, not to mention the government, raided the pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was Social Security to live on. And Stack could have added that are concerted and continuing efforts by the super-rich and their political allies to take even that away on spurious grounds . .