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Capitalism Vs. The Climate

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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

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The Other Debt Crisis: Climate Debt

With melting glaciers dramatically threatening its water supply, it is no surprise that Bolivia is emerging as a leader of the global South in the fight against climate change. And its climate negotiators have become eloquent advocates for a new, big idea that is reinvigorating the climate justice movement: "climate debt." In this first, in-depth television segment on the idea of climate debt, Avi Lewis asks what the historical polluters of the global North owe the poor countries of the South -- and how such an honest reckoning could encourage the global, technological collaboration demanded by our climate crisis. Naomi Klein acted as a consultant for the piece, which also includes great coverage of the Cochabamba climate conference and a stunning view of Bolivia's epic and imperiled landscape. Watch the new edition of Fault Lines here.

A New Climate Movement in Bolivia

Published in The Nation

Cochabamba, Bolivia

It was 11 am and Evo Morales had turned a football stadium into a giant classroom, marshaling an array of props: paper plates, plastic cups, disposable raincoats, handcrafted gourds, wooden plates and multicolored ponchos. All came into play to make his main point: to fight climate change, "we need to recover the values of the indigenous people."

Yet wealthy countries have little interest in learning these lessons and are instead pushing through a plan that at its best would raise average global temperatures 2 degrees Celsius. "That would mean the melting of the Andean and Himalayan glaciers," Morales told the thousands gathered in the stadium, part of the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. What he didn't have to say is that the Bolivian people, no matter how sustainably they choose to live, have no power to save their glaciers.

Open Letter to Berkeley Students on their Historic Israeli Divestment Bill

On March 18, continuing a long tradition of pioneering human rights campaigns, the Senate of the Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeley (ASUC) passed "A Bill In Support of UC DIVESTMENT FROM WAR CRIMES." The historic bill resolves to divest ASUC's assets from two American companies, General Electric and United Technologies, that are "materially and militarily supporting the Israeli government's occupation of the Palestinian territories"—and to advocate that the UC, with about $135 million invested in companies that profit from Israel’s illegal actions in the Occupied Territories, follow suit.

Protecting Israel’s Lawlessness with Spying and Smear Campaign

A while ago, the Reut Institute, arguably Israel's most influential think tank, published a very controversial report about "hubs of delegitimization." It attempted to equate tactics of non-violent resistance—like the growing movement to use Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to force Israel to comply with international law—with a military campaign to destroy the state of Israel.

Most worrying, the report explicitly urged Israeli intelligence agencies like Mossad to take unspecified action against peace activists using entirely legal methods: "Neither changing policy nor improving public relations will suffice...Faced with a potentially existential threat, Israel must treat it as such by focusing its intelligence agencies on this challenge; allocating appropriate resources; developing new knowledge; designing a strategy, executing it.” The think tank also called on the Israeli government to “sabotage network catalysts” – defined as key players in the “delegitimization network.”

Chile's Socialist Rebar

Posted on The Huffington Post

Ever since deregulation caused a worldwide economic meltdown in September ’08 and everyone became a Keynesian again, it hasn’t been easy to be a fanatical fan of the late economist Milton Friedman. So widely discredited is his brand of free-market fundamentalism that his followers have become increasingly desperate to claim ideological victories, however far fetched.

Haiti: A Creditor, Not a Debtor

Published in The Nation

If we are to believe the G-7 finance ministers, Haiti is on its way to getting something it has deserved for a very long time: full "forgiveness" of its foreign debt. In Port-au-Prince, Haitian economist Camille Chalmers has been watching these developments with cautious optimism. Debt cancellation is a good start, he told Al Jazeera English, but "It's time to go much further. We have to talk about reparations and restitution for the devastating consequences of debt." In this telling, the whole idea that Haiti is a debtor needs to be abandoned. Haiti, he argues, is a creditor—and it is we, in the West, who are deeply in arrears.

Our debt to Haiti stems from four main sources: slavery, the US occupation, dictatorship and climate change. These claims are not fantastical, nor are they merely rhetorical. They rest on multiple violations of legal norms and agreements. Here, far too briefly, are highlights of the Haiti case.


Join the Climate Trial

[The following was co-written by Naomi Klein, author of the #1 international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, Terry Tempest Williams, world renowned wildlife author, Bill Mckibben, founder of 350.org and author of The End Of Nature, and Dr. James Hansen, author of Storms of my Grandchildren, and who is regarded as the world's leading climatologist. All recognize the trial of Tim DeChristopher to be a turning point in the climate movement. Included are links to resources for travel to Utah].

Dear Friends,

The epic fight to ward off global warming and transform the energy system that is at the core of our planet’s economy takes many forms: huge global days of action, giant international conferences like the one that just failed in Copenhagen, small gestures in the homes of countless people.


A Model for Haiti: An Excerpt from The Shock Doctrine

Posted on Newsweek.com

As if disasters aren't bad enough on their own, they often precede an even more chilling aftermath, argues Canadian journalist Naomi Klein. In The Shock Doctrine, published in 2007, Klein contends that disasters leave populations vulnerable to carefully calculated policy changes that would never pass muster under normal democratic circumstances. The following is an excerpt from the conclusion of The Shock Doctrine, outlining steps other groups have taken to prevent "disaster capitalism" from prevailing post-crisis.


A Small Victory for Shock Resistance

In response to the wave of criticism, the IMF has just issued a statement saying that they will try to turn the $100-million loan to Haiti into a grant. This is unprecedented in my experience and shows that public pressure in moments of disaster can seriously subvert shock doctrine tactics. They are also now saying that they will not put conditions on the emergency loan—another popular victory, since this is not what they were saying last week. Of course people have to keep up the pressure to make sure Haiti's debts really are cancelled as the IMF is now predicting they will be. Something to hold them to!

Here is the IMF's statement:

"IMF Chief Calls for 'Marshall Plan' for Shattered Haiti"
January 20, 2010

With Foreign Aid Still at a Trickle, Devastated Port-au-Prince General Hospital Struggles to Meet Overwhelming Need

Amy Goodman and the incredible team from Democracy Now! are in Haiti telling some very hard truths about the international response to the earthquake. Please take the time to watch today's enraging report on how the manufactured "security" threat is blocking desperately needed medical care.

Amy also conducts an illuminating interview about Washington's obsession with privatizing Haiti's national industries, from flour to phones to cement. This weak, privatized state has made the current crisis much more severe.

For a little more context on this issue, here is an interview I conducted with Jean Bertrand Aristide back in 2005.

Aristide in Exile
By Naomi Klein, The Nation, July 14, 2005

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