Naomi Klein

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The Battle for Paradise
Puerto Rico Takes On the Disaster Capitalists

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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
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The Game-Changing Promise of a Green New Deal

Published in The Intercept

Like so many others, I’ve been energized by the bold moral leadership coming from newly elected members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley in the face of the spiraling climate crisis and the outrageous attacks on unarmed migrants at the border. It has me thinking about the crucial difference between leadership that acts and leadership that talks about acting.

I’ll get to the Green New Deal and why we need to hold tight to that lifeline for all we’re worth. But before that, bear with me for a visit to the grandstanding of climate politics past.

It was March 2009 and capes were still fluttering in the White House after Barack Obama’s historic hope-and-change electoral victory. Todd Stern, the newly appointed chief climate envoy, told a gathering on Capitol Hill that he and his fellow negotiators needed to embrace their inner superheroes, saving the planet from existential danger in the nick of time.

Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, and the Rule of Pampered Princelings

Published in The Intercept

“Boring.” That was Donald Trump’s instant verdict on the New York Times’s blockbuster investigation into the rampant tax fraud and nepotism that undergirds his fortune. Sarah Huckabee Sanders heartily concurred, informing the White House press corps that she refused to “go through every line of a very boring, 14,000-word story.”

Welcome to a new political PR strategy premised on the shredding of the American mind — you don’t want to even try to read that interminable article; check out my Twitter feed instead, and this viral video of me saying rabid things.

There’s Nothing Natural About Puerto Rico’s Disaster

Published in The Intercept

I've been digging into disaster capitalism for a couple of decades now. For those of you who are new to the term, disaster capitalism is about how the already rich and powerful systematically exploit the pain and the trauma of collective shocks — like superstorms or economic crisis — in order to build an even more unequal and undemocratic society.

Long before Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico was a textbook example. Before those fierce winds came, the debt — illegitimate and much of it illegal — was the excuse used to ram through a brutal program of economic suffering, what the great Argentine author Rodolfo Walsh, writing about four decades earlier, famously called miseria planificada, planned misery.

This program systematically attacked the very glue that holds a society together: all levels of education, health care, the electricity and water systems, transit systems, communication networks, and more.

Capitalism Killed Our Climate Momentum, Not “Human Nature”

Published in The Intercept

This Sunday, the entire New York Times Magazine will be composed of just one article on a single subject: the failure to confront the global climate crisis in the 1980s, a time when the science was settled and the politics seemed to align. Written by Nathaniel Rich, this work of history is filled with insider revelations about roads not taken that, on several occasions, made me swear out loud. And lest there be any doubt that the implications of these decisions will be etched in geologic time, Rich’s words are punctuated with full-page aerial photographs by George Steinmetz that wrenchingly document the rapid unraveling of planetary systems, from the rushing water where Greenland ice used to be to massive algae blooms in China’s third largest lake.

The Battle for Paradise

Published in The Intercept

Like everywhere else in Puerto Rico, the small mountain city of Adjuntas was plunged into total darkness by Hurricane Maria. When residents left their homes to take stock of the damage, they found themselves not only without power and water, but also totally cut off from the rest of the island. Every single road was blocked, either by mounds of mud washed down from the surrounding peaks, or by fallen trees and branches. Yet amid this devastation, there was one bright spot.

A Solar Oasis

Just off the main square, a large, pink colonial-style house had light shining through every window. It glowed like a beacon in the terrifying darkness.

VIDEO: Naomi Klein and Jeremy Corbyn Discuss How to Get The World We Want

Published at The Intercept



Naomi Klein and Jeremy Corbyn discuss Trump, climate change, and the future of progressive politics.


VIDEO: How to Resist Trump's Shock Doctrine

Published at The Intercept



Shock. It’s a word that has come up a lot since November— for obvious reasons.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about shock. Ten years ago, I published “The Shock Doctrine,” an investigation that spanned four decades from Pinochet’s U.S.-backed coup in 1970s Chile to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

I noticed a brutal and recurring tactic by right wing governments. After a shocking event – a war, coup, terrorist attack, market crash or natural disaster – exploit the public’s disorientation. Suspend democracy. Push through radical “free market” policies that enrich the 1 percent at the expense of the poor and middle class.

The administration is creating chaos. Daily. Of course many of the scandals are the result of the president’s ignorance and blunders – not some nefarious strategy.

If It’s All About the Trump Brand, Let’s Jam It Up

Published in the Boston Globe

Well, that didn’t take long. On Monday, the Trump Organization announced plans to launch a chain of three-star hotels to target the millions of Americans who voted for Donald Trump but could never afford his gilded hotels, condos, or clubs.

Until now, Trump’s middle-class base had to settle for purchasing little chips off the Trump brand: a bottle of water, a steak, a made-in-China tie or, of course, a hat. But there is more gold in them thar voters, and it is positively un-Trumpian to leave it unmanned.

Will Trump's Slow-Mo Walkaway, World in Flames Behind Him, Finally Provoke Consequences For Planetary Arson?

Published at The Intercept

Now that it seems virtually certain that Donald Trump will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, and the climate movement is quite rightly mobilizing in the face of this latest dystopian lurch, it’s time to get real about something: Pretty much everything that is weak, disappointing, and inadequate about that deal is the result of U.S. lobbying since 2009.

The fact that the agreement only commits governments to keeping warming below an increase of 2 degrees, rather than a much safer firm target of 1.5 degrees, was lobbied for and won by the United States.

The fact that the agreement left it to individual nations to determine how much they were willing to do to reach that temperature target, allowing them to come to Paris with commitments that collectively put us on a disastrous course toward more than 3 degrees of warming, was lobbied for and won by the United States.

Economic Pressure Could Jolt Trump into Action on Climate Change

Published in the New York Daily News

Let’s just give up. That’s one way of responding to the reports that President Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord.

After all, without the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases onboard, what point is there in any of us doing our part to try to prevent catastrophic climate change? Time to focus on yoga and juicing and what the kids today call “self-care.” Or maybe there’s a recreational drug that will make serial disasters seem exciting. Oh, and if you are really rich, it’s time to join the movement of high-end preppers and invest in some land on higher ground.

No, wait a minute, that’s . . . monstrous. Monstrous to people in Sri Lanka, where hundreds were killed in recent days in the midst of deadly mudslides and flooding. Monstrous to people in India and Pakistan, where thousands have died in heat waves in recent years.

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