Naomi Klein

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Capitalism Vs. The Climate

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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

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Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert: Stop Them Before They Shock Again

Readers of the The Shock Doctrine know that the Heritage Foundation has been one of the leading advocates of exploiting disasters to push through their unpopular pro-corporate policies. From this document, they're at it again, not even waiting one day to use the devastating earthquake in Haiti to push for their so-called reforms. The following quote was hastily yanked by the Heritage Foundation and replaced with a more diplomatic quote, but their first instinct is revealing:

"In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region."

Remembering Lhasa’s Gifts

The year began with a blast of sadness: news that Lhasa de Sela, one of Canada’s finest musicians and a friend of ours, had died of breast cancer at 37.

Lhasa’s songs—performed in Spanish, French and English—have an utterly unique sound, like lullabies for a world in pain. But Lhasa also understood the power of music to transform, and she was quick to share her great gift with social movements that inspired her. "I know a song sung at the right moment can be such a very powerful thing," Lhasa wrote to us a few years ago.

For Obama, No Opportunity Too Big To Blow

Posted on EnviroNation

Contrary to countless reports, the debacle in Copenhagen was not everyone's fault. It did not happen because human beings are incapable of agreeing, or are inherently self-destructive. Nor was it all was China's fault, or the fault of the hapless UN.

There's plenty of blame to go around, but there was one country that possessed unique power to change the game. It didn't use it. If Barack Obama had come to Copenhagen with a transformative and inspiring commitment to getting the U.S. economy off fossil fuels, all the other major emitters would have stepped up. The EU, Japan, China and India had all indicated that they were willing to increase their levels of commitment, but only if the U.S. took the lead. Instead of leading, Obama arrived with embarrassingly low targets and the heavy emitters of the world took their cue from him.

Climate Structural Adjustment: We’ll Save Your Life On Our Terms

Posted on EnviroNation

It's the second to last day of the climate conference and I have the worst case of laryngitis of my life. I open my mouth and nothing comes out.

It's frustrating because I was just at Hillary Clinton's press conference and desperately wanted to ask her a question – or six. She said that the U.S. would contribute its "share" to a $100-billion financing package for developing countries by 2020 – but only if all countries agreed to the terms of the climate deal that the U.S. has slammed on the table here, which include killing Kyoto, replacing legally binding measures with the fuzzy concept of "transparency," and nixing universal emissions targets in favor of vague "national plans" that are mashed together. Oh, and abandoning the whole concept (which the U.S. agreed to by singing the UN climate convention) that the rich countries that created the climate crisis have to take the lead in solving it.

The Courage to Say No

Published in The Nation

On the ninth day of the Copenhagen climate summit, Africa was sacrificed. The position of the G-77 negotiating bloc, including African states, had been clear: a 2 degree Celsius increase in average global temperatures translates into a 3-3.5 degree increase in Africa.

That means, according to the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, "an additional 55 million people could be at risk from hunger" and "water stress could affect between 350 and 600 million more people." Archbishop Desmond Tutu puts the stakes like this: "We are facing impending disaster on a monstrous scale.... A global goal of about 2 degrees C is to condemn Africa to incineration and no modern development."

Ambassador Lumumba, What Do You Really Think?

Posted on EnviroNation

On Wednesday in Copenhagen, I interviewed Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the chief negotiator for the G77, the largest developing country bloc represented at the climate summit in Copenhagen. Over the course of the negotiations, Ambassador Lumumba has gained a reputation for candor, putting the stakes for Africa in stark, emotional terms.


Memo to Danes: Even You Cannot Control This Summit

On Saturday night, after a week of living off of conference center snack bars, a group of us were invited to a delicious home-cooked meal with a real live Danish family. After spending the evening gawking at their stylish furnishings, a few of us had a question: Why are Danes so good at design?

"We're control freaks," our hostess replied instantly. "It comes from being a small country with not much power. We have to control what we can."

When it comes to producing absurdly appealing light fixtures and shockingly comfortable desk chairs, that Danish form of displacement is clearly a very good thing. When it comes to hosting a world-changing summit, the Danish need for control is proving to be a serious problem.

The Danes have invested a huge amount of money co-branding their capitol city (now "Hopenhagen") with a summit that will supposedly save the world. That would be fine if this summit actually were on track to save the world. But since it isn't, the Danes are frantically trying to redesign us.


Fight Climate Change, Not Wars

Posted on EnviroNation

In the U.S. plenty of bloggers have pointed to the irony of Barack Obama collecting the Peace Prize while he launches a major escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

Here in Copenhagen, the Nobel – which was awarded in part because of Obama’s reengagement with the climate change negotiations -- carries a special set of ironies.

The figure U.S. negotiators are floating for how much Washington will contribute to an international climate change fund is a paltry $1.4-billion.Meanwhile, the cost of the “surge” in Afghanistan is estimated at $30-40-billion. Yesterday I interviewed Kumi Naidoo, the new director of Greenpeace International, and he made this point forcefully:


Copenhagen: Where Africa Took On Obama

Posted on EnviroNation

The highlight of my first day at COP15 was a conversation with the extraordinary Nigerian poet and activist Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International. We talked about the fact that some of the toughest activists here still pull their punches when it comes to Obama, even as his climate team works tirelessly to do away with the Kyoto Protocol, replacing it with much weaker piecemeal targets.

If George W. Bush had pulled some of the things Obama has done here, he would have been burned in effigy on the steps of the convention center. With Obama, however, even the most timid actions are greeted as historic breakthroughs, or at least a good start.

"Everyone says: 'give Obama time,'" Bassey told me. "But when it comes to climate change, there is no more time." The best analogy, he said, is a soccer game that has gone into overtime. "It's not even injury time, it's sudden death. It’s the nick of time, but there is no more extra time."


Revisiting No Logo, Ten Years Later

Posted on The Huffington Post

Almost ten years ago, on November 30, 1999, tens of thousands of protestors shut down a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle. The activists were not against trade or globalization, despite the many misleading claims in the mainstream media. They were against a system of deregulated capitalism that was spreading around the world.

At the time of the Seattle protests, my first book, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, was at the printer. The book looked at the war being waged on public space by a new breed of corporate "superbrands," as well as the first signs of a fight back against corporate power. It was good timing for an author-activist: I had the rare privilege of watching my book become useful to a movement I believed could change the world.

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