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Capitalism Vs. The Climate

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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

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Guest Post: Haiti and the Shock Doctrine

Posted at Open Democracy

"In the Western hemisphere, in Haiti and elsewhere, we live under the shadow of your great and prosperous country. Much patience and courage is needed to keep one´s head" -- Doctor Maigot to Mrs Smith in Graham Greene's The Comedians

In the middle of Port-au-Prince, along a dusty road and behind some imposing metal gates, sits the E-Power electricity plant. In a capital city where electricity blackouts are a nightly occurrence, E-Power is the kind of company the international financial institutions (IFIs) running Haiti believe will lead "reform" - by taking power away from the state-run company, and running it for profit. The company was founded in 2004 by a group of Haitian venture capitalists excited by the departure of social-democratic president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The aim, it said, was to "offer a solution to power generation in Haiti". Sure enough, two years later, in 2006, the new United States-backed president, René Préval, launched an open bid for a contract to provide electricity to Haiti's capital city. Seven companies took part: E-Power won.

Naomi Speaks Out Against Dirty Oil Pipelines

Naomi gave the following speech at the Save the Salish Sea Festival in North Vancouver on September 2, 2012.


Guest Post: Seven Year After Katrina, A Divided City

Published by The Louisiana Justice Institute

A version of this article originally appeared on TruthOut.org.

Seven years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has become a national laboratory for government reforms. But the process through which those experiments have been carried out rarely has been transparent or democratic. The results have been divisive, pitting new residents against those who grew up here, rich against poor, and white against Black.

Education, housing, criminal justice, health care, urban planning, even our media; systemic changes have touched every aspect life in New Orleans, often creating a template used in other cities. A few examples:

Guest Post: This Austerity Backlash Across Europe Could Transform Britain

Published in The Independent

When I first read Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine a few years ago, I had no idea how prescient the book was. It was a polemic about "disaster capitalism", arguing that sudden crises are intentionally manipulated to push through extreme free market policies that were otherwise not politically possible. But early 2008 was a completely different era: although Northern Rock had just suffered the first bank run for 150 years, it seemed like a bizarre blip. The US sub-prime crisis was rumbling away, but it was like sheet lightning from a distant storm. "The deficit" was not an everyday term of political debate. It was not at all clear that the world was about to be utterly transformed.

Why Now? What's Next? Naomi Klein and Yotam Marom in Conversation About OWS

Published in The Nation

The following conversation between Naomi and Yotam Marom was recently recorded in New York City. Yotam is a political organizer, educator, and writer based in New York. He has been active in the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and is a member of the Organization for a Free Society.

Naomi Klein: One of the things that’s most mysterious about this moment is “Why now?” People have been fighting austerity measures and calling out abuses by the banks for a couple of years, with basically the same analysis: “We won’t pay for your crisis.” But it just didn’t seem to take off, at least in the US. There were marches and there were political projects and there were protests like Bloombergville, but they were largely ignored. There really was not anything on a mass scale, nothing that really struck a nerve. And now suddenly, this group of people in a park set off something extraordinary. So how do you account for that, having been involved in Occupy Wall Street since the beginning, but also in earlier anti-austerity actions?

Naomi Klein’s Inconvenient Climate Conclusions

Published in The New York Times (Dot Earth blog)

Naomi Klein, the author of a string of provocative and popular books including “The Shock Doctrine,” recently took on global warming policy and campaigns in “Capitalism vs. the Climate,” a much-discussed cover story for The Nation that has been mentioned by readers here more than once in the last few weeks.

The piece begins with Klein’s conclusion, reached after she spent time at a conclave on climate sponsored by the libertarian Heartland Institute, that passionate corporate and conservative foes of curbs on greenhouse gases are right in asserting that a meaningful response to global warming would be a fatal blow to free markets and capitalism.

Watch Naomi, Michael Moore, and Others Discuss What's Next for OWS

On November 10, 2011, Naomi joined author and filmmaker Michael Moore, The Nation National Affairs correspondent William Greider, Colorlines Publisher Rinku Sen, and Occupy Wall Street Organizer Patrick Bruner at The New School in New York for a panel discussion called "Occupy Everywhere: On the New Politics and Possibilities of the Movement Against Corporate Power." Here is video of the discussion.


Capitalism vs. the Climate

Published in The Nation

There is a question from a gentleman in the fourth row.

He introduces himself as Richard Rothschild. He tells the crowd that he ran for county commissioner in Maryland’s Carroll County because he had come to the conclusion that policies to combat global warming were actually “an attack on middle-class American capitalism.” His question for the panelists, gathered in a Washington, DC, Marriott Hotel in late June, is this: “To what extent is this entire movement simply a green Trojan horse, whose belly is full with red Marxist socioeconomic doctrine?”

Here at the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, the premier gathering for those dedicated to denying the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet, this qualifies as a rhetorical question. Like asking a meeting of German central bankers if Greeks are untrustworthy. Still, the panelists aren’t going to pass up an opportunity to tell the questioner just how right he is.

Naomi's Q&A at Occupy Wall Street

Published in The Village Voice.

Naomi Klein, the Canadian journalist famous for her anti-corporatist books No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, spoke to the protesters at Occupy Wall Street yesterday evening, telling them their movement can follow through on the promises of the global trade protests she participated in a decade ago.

Speaking through cycles of call-and-response because the protesters have been denied a sound permit, Klein urged the protesters not to lapse into structureless disorganization.

"Being horizontal and deeply democratic is wonderful," she told them. "But these principles are compatible with the hard work of building structures and institutions that are sturdy enough to weather the storms ahead. I have great faith that this will happen."

The complete text of Klein's speech can be found here.

Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now

Published in The Nation.

I was honored to be invited to speak at Occupy Wall Street on Thursday night. Since amplification is (disgracefully) banned, and everything I said had to be repeated by hundreds of people so others could hear (a.k.a. “the human microphone”), what I actually said at Liberty Plaza had to be very short. With that in mind, here is the longer, uncut version of the speech.

I love you.

And I didn’t just say that so that hundreds of you would shout “I love you” back, though that is obviously a bonus feature of the human microphone. Say unto others what you would have them say unto you, only way louder.

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