Naomi Klein

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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
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September 15: Toronto September 16: Montreal September 18: New York

Please note that Naomi is working on a new book and updating this site very infrequently.

Note to Journalists about False Quotation

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ABOUT FALSE QUOTATION: A September 26 AFP wire story incorrectly attributed a quote to Naomi Klein that should have been attributed to Arun Gupta. The error has been corrected by AFP but please note that the call-out below was NOT written by Naomi Klein and though she supported the original protest call, the statement is correctly attributed to Gupta, as stated in the corrected AFP article also posted below. We would greatly appreciate if this error was not repeated.

Call-Out by Arun Gupta

This week the White House is going to try to push through the biggest robbery in world history with nary a stitch of debate to bail out the Wall Street bastards who created this economic apocalypse in the first place.

This is the financial equivalent of September 11. They think, just like with the Patriot Act, they can use the shock to force through the “therapy,” and we’ll just roll over!

Think about it: They said providing healthcare for 9 million children, perhaps costing $6 billion a year, was too expensive, but there’s evidently no sum of money large enough that will sate the Wall Street pigs. If this passes, forget about any money for environmental protection, to counter global warming, for education, for national healthcare, to rebuild our decaying infrastructure, for alternative energy.

This is a historic moment. We need to act now while we can influence the debate. Let’s demonstrate this Thursday at 4pm in Wall Street (see below).

We know the congressional Democrats will peep meekly before caving in like they have on everything else, from FISA to the Iraq War.

With Bear Stearns, Fannie and Freddie, AIG, the money markets and now this omnibus bailout, well in excess of $1 trillion will be distributed from the poor, workers and middle class to the scum floating on top.

This whole mess gives lie to the free market. The Feds are propping up stock prices, directing buyouts, subsidizing crooks and swindlers who already made a killing off the mortgage bubble.

Worst of all, even before any details have been hashed out, The New York Times admits that “Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it,” and its chief financial correspondent writes that the Bush administration wants “Congress to give them a blank check to do whatever they want, whatever the cost, with no one able to watch them closely.”

It’s socialism for the rich and dog-eat-dog capitalism for the rest of us.

Let’s take it to the heart of the financial district! Gather at 4pm, this Thursday, Sept. 25 in the plaza at the southern end of Bowling Green Park, which is the small triangular park that has the Wall Street bull at the northern tip.

By having it later in the day we can show these thieves, as they leave work, we’re not their suckers. Plus, anyone who can’t get off work can still join us downtown as soon as they are able.

There is no agenda, no leaders, no organizing group, nothing to endorse other than we’re not going to pay! Let the bondholders pay, let the banks pay, let those who brought the “toxic” mortgage-backed securities pay!

On this list are many key organizers and activists. We have a huge amount of connections – we all know many other organizations, activists and community groups. We know P.R. folk who can quickly write up and distribute press releases, those who can contact legal observers, media activists who can spread the word, the videographers who can film the event, etc.

Do whatever you can – make and distribute your own flyers, contact all your groups and friends. This crime is without precedence and we can’t be silent! What’s the point of waiting for someone else to organize a protest two months from now, long after the crime has been perpetrated?

We have everything we need to create a large, peaceful, loud demonstration. Millions of others must feel the same way; they just don’t know what to do. Let’s take the lead and make this the start!

AGAIN:
When: 4pm – ? Thursday, September 25.
Where: Southern end of Bowling Green Park, in the plaza area
What to bring: Banners, noisemakers, signs, leaflets, etc.
Why: To say we won’t pay for the Wall Street bailout
Who: Everyone!

Clarification by Arun Gupta: Naomi Klein did not write the email encouraging protest against the bailout plan for Wall Street. All she did was post the call on her website and list serve. I was the sole author of the original email, sent to many people, including Naomi, and asked them to forward it.

Corrected: Popular Anger Puts Fat Cat CEOs on the Run


Agence France Presse
September 26, 2008

NEW YORK (AFP) — An angry US public and Congress are pushing to snip the rip cord on golden parachutes used by fat cat CEOs to escape Wall Street's mayhem.

Democrats in Congress -- set to resume emergency talks Friday with their Republican counterparts on a 700-billion-dollar (478-billion-euro) bailout for the financial industry -- insisted that any agreed package include restrictions on executive pay.

They caught the mood of a nation sickened at watching the titans of finance walk away from Wall Street disasters not only unscathed, but enriched. "The wealthiest people, those... in the best position to pay, are being asked for no sacrifice at all," read a petition to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, which by Thursday, after three days, had 32,600 signatures.

The petition, organized by independent Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, attacked what it described as the Treasury's attempt to let bungling executives "continue to make exorbitant salaries and bonuses."

Those gigantic pay checks, bonuses, and Midas-like farewells encapsulate what the public sees as Wall Street's greed-is-good philosophy.

For example, the CEO of bankrupt Lehman Brothers, Richard Fuld, received total compensation of 71.9 million dollars in 2007, including stock, bonuses and other pay, according to a survey published by Forbes magazine.

Martin Sullivan, the chief executive of AIG, who left the insurance giant before it was rescued this month by the federal government, received 14 million dollars, a survey in USA Today said. He also quit with a severance package worth 47 million dollars.

Even punishment for those at the center of the chaos comes with a gold lining.

When the government took over collapsed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, ousted bosses Daniel Mudd and Richard Syron were not allowed 12.59 million dollars worth in severance payments.

Yet they still got out the door with 9.43 million dollars in retirement benefits.

Public anger at such figures underlies skepticism about the entire government rescue.

"We'll never see that money again," said Mathew May, a 24-year-old economics student attending a small demonstration near the New York Stock Exchange. "They deregulated the markets and ran wild. Now we're bailing them out."

Arun Gupta, an editor of alternative New York newspaper The Indypendent, said there was "socialism for the rich and dog-eat-dog capitalism for the rest of us."

"Think about it," Gupta wrote in an email that quickly circulated to thousands of activists and inspired the New York street protest. "They said providing healthcare for nine million children, perhaps costing six billion dollars a year, was too expensive, but there's evidently no sum of money large enough that will sate the Wall Street pigs."

And left-wingers are not the only ones speaking out.

Newt Gingrich, the fiercely conservative former speaker in the House of Representatives, wrote in the National Review that the bailouts, likely to top a trillion dollars, smack of "crony capitalism."

"Doesn't that mean that we're using the taxpayers' money to hire people to save their friends with even more taxpayer money?" he asked.

Forbes, the magazine for and about the rich, also said enough was enough.

"The compensation schemes for Wall Street CEOs should be capped to a small fixed amount," wrote national editor Robert Lenzner.

"The rest should be dependent on performance in a way that does not reward taking greater risk than is prudent. If CEOs don't perform, they should get nothing."

One worker in the New York finance sector, who asked not to be named, said his colleagues were as angry as the general public.

"A lot of people are very upset that managers in their own companies and captains of industry in other areas made some really, really bad decisions," he said.

"The most insulting thing is the golden parachutes where these jackals from Fannie and Freddie, having destroyed the company, walked away with millions.... It all comes down to greed."


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