Posts Tagged ‘Naomi Klein’

Trade Unions and Climate Change: A Conversation with Naomi Klein and Jeremy Corbyn

December 8, 2015


Labour Party and the Trade Unions have always been backward when it comes to the environment and the climate.  We see this with Unite calling for massive expansion of Heathrow Airport.

It is therefore a refreshing change to see in Jeremy Corbyn a leader who recognises the need for action on climate change, who sees the need for all progressive groups to unite to fight for a better world.

Maybe This Changes Everything where Naomi Klein calls on everyone to work together to create a better world should be mandatory reading.

Two years ago, England saw massive flooding. This weekend, 341mm of rain in Cumbria in the north west of England in 24 hours, widespread flooding.

What we are now seeing in the West, is what has become the norm in the Third World, extreme weather events.  And we are ill-prepared to cope. Not helped by David Cameron using austerity as excuse for Shock Doctrine, cutting funding to the very agencies whose help we need, relaxing planning controls to fast track building on Green Belt and flood plains.

Lessons have still not been learnt.

Hard flood defences are very expensive and do not work. We have to have soft flood defences. We have to reafforest the hills, re-introduce wolves, the European beaver.

A warmer planet means more moister in the air, more energetic storms, more frequent, more violent.

It is the peak surge that causes the problem. Slow the rush of water off the hills, spread it over time.

We have to have community owned and controlled local area networks, into which feed renewables guaranteed a fair price, consumers pay a fair price, any surplus generation is fed to other local grids via a publicly owned National Grid, any surplus is ploughed back into the network or funds local community projects.

We know what needs to be done, and yet our corrupt politicians fiddle whilst the planet burns, dance and jig as puppets on a string to the tune of Big Business.

We know how much carbon we can release into the atmosphere to keep global temperature rises to below 1.5C.  What we release today, adds to what we released yesterday. Had we started in the 1990s, we could have reduced our carbon emission by 2% a year. To keep below 1.5C we have to drastically cut our carbon emissions, 80% of known carbon deposits have to remain in the ground.

The proposals brought to Paris for COP21 do not add up to this target, they far exceed.

UK has ground breaking legalisation setting in stone, the cuts that need to be made. Legislation that is ignored with ever single planning application. No development should be approved that adds to carbon emissions, no development should be approved that dos not lead to a reduction in carbon emissions.

12-12-12, at the twelfth hour of the twelfth day of the twelfth month, people will take to the streets of Paris in a mass demonstration on climate, ignoring the State of Emergency that prohibits political protest.

A Climate Marshal Plan is needed. Where will the money come from? End fossil fuel subsidies, levy a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies, a windfall tax on arms companies, a levy on the hot money sloshing around the world, deal with tax dodging. In the UK alone corporations are sitting on an estimated £700 billion cash mountain. Hit the 1%, introduce  a wealth tax.

One Million Climate Jobs, title of a report on the number of jobs that could be created in the UK in the renewable energy sector.

If the planet was a bank, it would already have been bailed out.

People Power works. It has blocked the Keystone XL pipeline, it has banned fracking in New York State, Shell pulled out of Arctic drilling, StatOil has also pulled out of Arctic drilling.

The Leap Manifesto calls for no new fossil fuel infrastructure.



This Changes Everything

August 5, 2015

As Naomi Klein describes in This Changes Everything, Paul Mason in PostCapitalism, Russell Brand in Revolution and Charles Eisenstein in Sacred Economics, the neo-liberal agenda has failed. If the system worked we would not have had to bail out the banks. If the system worked, we would not be seeing the collapse at the fringes, at Blockadia.

To address climate change, we cannot tinkle with the system, we cannot continue burning fossil fuels, with exponential growth on a finite planet.

To address climate change, we have to change everything. If we are going to change everything then we have an opportunity to move to a more equatable, fairer world.

This evening saw the premier of the film This Changes Everything.

Conférence de Naomi Klein à Paris

April 14, 2015
Conférence de Naomi Klein à Paris

Conférence de Naomi Klein à Paris

Le 30 mars dernier, Naomi Klein présentait son dernier ouvrage « Tout peut changer, capitalisme et changement climatique », publié par Actes Sud, à Paris. Une soirée organisée par, Attac, Actes Sud en partenariat avec Bastamag et Mediapart.

Naomi Klein v Richard Branson on Virgin climate pledge

December 1, 2014

A decade ago, Richard Branson promised to pay £3 billion from his airlines and transport companies into green solutions to combat CO2 emissions.

So what happened, er not a lot.

A lot of media publicity at the time, but nothing has happened.

The excuse of Richard Branson is that it has been a tough time for airlines, we have seen a global recession.

And yet over that period, rather than investing any money in combating CO2 emissions, he has ploughed it into massively expanding his airline businesses, such that their CO2 emission have risen by 40%.

His latest acquisition is the East Coast Mainline, which is running perfectly well in the public sector. He will have a 10% share, Stagecoach the other 90%.

Leaving climate solutions to billionaires, however well meaning, is not the answer.

But at least Richard Branson has pointed us in the right direction, the industries that are the heaviest CO2 polluters, airlines, coal, oil, car industry, should be heavily taxed on the Polluter Shall Pay principle, and the money raised going into green solutions.

We cannot rely on philanthropic billionaires, whose instinct is to accrue more money. It is like with the tax dodders, Starbucks, Google, Amazon, contribution cannot be like a charitable donation, voluntary.

Climate change and austerity with Naomi Klein

November 4, 2014

Austerity is a myth. It is being used as an excuse to force through Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, cuts in welfare benefits, cuts to education, library closures, privatisation of public health services.

Austerity is shifting money from the poor to the rich, creating a very unequal society.

Austerity is creating a growth in food banks.

Austerity is not applied equally to everyone.

Money was found to bail out the banks.

As we impose cuts under austerity we are less able to cope with the severity and frequency of intense weather events, as we found with the winter floods in England last winter, as New York found when Storm Sandy hit and New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit.

Under the long established principle of the polluter shall pay, should not the oil and coal companies pay for the cost of dealing with the damage of storms?

Naomi Klein in Oxford discussing This Changes Everything

October 19, 2014

Naomi Klein in Oxford discussing This Changes Everything.

Fast forward 15 minutes to bypass the preamble.

This Changes Everything

September 20, 2014

This Changes Everything, latest book from Naomi Klein.

Interesting This Changes Everything was piled high in Waterstone’s, which is good news.

WHSmith does not have, and talking to a helpful young lady, not even shown in stock. Once again a massive fail by WHSmith.

Is Greece in shock?

April 26, 2013

According to bestselling author Naomi Klein, the systemic use of shock and fear by the power elites to undermine vulnerable communities is very much evident in post-bailout Greece. From the rise of racism to the sell-off of the country’s oil and natural gas resources – much of what will shape Greece’s immediate future are, she argues, predictable consequences of the politics of austerity.



Naomi Klein is the author of controversial New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine, which has been referred to as “the master narrative of our time”. The book argues that business interests and powerful nations exploit shocks in the form of natural disasters, economic problems, or political turmoil, as an opportunity to aggressively restructure vulnerable countries’ economies. She posits that because ultra-capitalistic policies are harmful to the majority of citizens, they cannot be implemented without a shock, ranging from media-hyped anxiety to police torture, that squashes popular resistance. In this exclusive interview, Klein explains how she believes the Shock Doctrine relates to Greece today.

Shock Doctrine

The Shock Doctrine (2007) by Naomi Klein was an international bestseller and its Greek translation, Το δόγμα του σοκ (2010), remained a top-seller for many months

How do events in Greece relate to your arguments in The Shock Doctrine?

To me it is a classic example of the things I wrote about. It’s heartbreaking to see the same tricks and the same tactics being used so brutally. And there’s been enormous resistance in Greece. It’s particularly distressing to see the violent repression of the social movements that were resisting austerity. And it’s just been going on for so long now. People get worn down.

What I’ve been following recently is the sell-off of natural resources for mining and drilling. That’s the next frontier of how this is going to play out – the scramble for oil and gas in the Aegean. And it’s going to affect Cyprus as well. This is a whole other level of using austerity and debt to force countries to sell off their mining and drilling rights for fire sale prices.

When you add the climate crisis on top of that it is particularly culpable that you have an economic crisis being used as leverage to extract more fossil fuels, especially because Greece itself very climate vulnerable. And I think its possible that, as the scramble for oil and gas heats up, there will be more resistance because it’s a huge threat to Greece’s economy.

How much does climate change affect your argument?

Because I am working on a book and a film on climate change, that’s why I’ve been following the extractive side of the shock doctrine in Greece, which has gotten a lot less attention. Understandably, people are focused on having their pensions cut, and the layoffs – and those definitely are more immediate. Although in the case of the [Skouries] goldmine, there is an immediate threat to safety, to livelihood, and to economy, and so people are extremely vocal about that.

But the part of this that I find so culpable, and so deeply immoral, is that the rise of fascism in this context is entirely predictable. We know that this is what happens. And this is supposedly the lesson of the Second World War: If you impose punishing and humiliating sanctions on a country, it creates the right breeding grounds for fascism. That’s what Keynes warned about when he wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace, regarding the Treaty of Versailles. To me it’s so incredible that we continue to allow history to repeat in this way.

Greeks have this particular fear that’s being exploited, around the fear of becoming a developing country, becoming a third world country. And I think in Greece there’s always been this sense of hanging on to Europe by a thread. And the threat is having that thread cut. That fear plays out in two ways: One that you can’t leave the eurozone because that will be the end of your status as a developed country. And then on attacks on migrants and in the anti-immigrant backlash.

Just because something bad is happening doesn’t mean you’re going to go into shock. Shock is what happens when you lose your narrative, when you no longer understand where you are in time and space. You don’t know what your story is anymore.

In The Shock Doctrine you talk about how countries the IMF lent money to were said to have sick economies, and specifically, to have ‘cancer.’ But with Greece we talk about ‘contagion.’ What are the implications of this change in metaphor?

‘Cancer’ is already a violent discourse. When you diagnose a country with cancer whatever treatment you go with is justified, it’s necessarily lifesaving. That’s the whole point of the cancer metaphor. Once you have that diagnosis, you, as the doctor, are not culpable for the negative affects of the treatment.

But calling it a contagion of course means that this is about keeping it contained, and preventing whatever rebelliousness is being incubated from spreading, particularly to Cyprus, Portugal and Spain.

When you have these fears of a contagion, when investors are afraid of a whole region, it means that that region has power to come together as a block with a much stronger hand. This is what I wrote about in the book about Latin America in the 1980s, with the so-called debt-shock. Where it would have been next to impossible for individual countries to stand up to the power of the IMF. But if Latin America as a block had organised themselves and stood up to the IMF together, then they actually would have had the power to break them. And then you would have had a much more even negotiation. I’ve always thought that this is one of the answers to the idea of contagion. If that’s what your opponents are afraid of, organise into a negotiating block.

So the countries of southern Europe should come together negotiations with the troika?

I would think so, yes. It’s called a debtors’ cartel. But it never happens. As far as I know it hasn’t been tried.

There is a concerted attempt to create the false equivalency between an individual who went into a little bit of consumer debt, and a bank who leveraged themselves 33-1. It’s an outrageous comparison.

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein

Former deputy prime minister Theodoros Pangalos said, “We all gorged together” – as in every Greek was complicit to causing the crisis. In contrast, Alexis Tsipras, the head of main opposition party Syriza, has pointed the finger at Angela Merkel and her followers. How should the way that the crisis came about affect the way we try to solve it?

If you accept the premise that everybody created this crisis equally, then you have created the context where collective punishment is acceptable. That is the whole point of this false equivalency.

There is a concerted attempt to create the false equivalency between an individual who went into a little bit of consumer debt, and a bank who leveraged themselves 33-1. It’s an outrageous comparison. But unfortunately this is the way economics is discussed in our culture where you always have these equivalencies. Between family debt and the debt of a nation. ‘Would you run your house this way?’ It’s a ridiculous comparison because the way you run your house is not the way you run your country. We all gorged together … that means everyone has to starve. But of course we know everybody won’t starve.

The journalist who published the identity of the names on the Lagarde list, Kostas Vaxevanis, said in an interview with the Guardian that Greeks have to go to the foreign press to get news on their own country. What is the role of the press in either assisting or resisting the shock doctrine?

Information is shock resistance. The state of shock that is so easy to exploit is a state of confusion. It’s a loss of story, it’s that panic that sets in, this window that opens up, when things are changing very, very quickly. And those are the moments when we need our media more than ever. This is the collective way that we ‘renarrativise’ ourselves. We tell ourselves a story, we keep ourselves oriented – if we have a good media.

Information is shock resistance.

Just because something bad is happening doesn’t mean you’re going to go into shock. Shock is what happens when you lose your narrative, when you no longer understand where you are in time and space. You don’t know what your story is anymore. That’s when you are very vulnerable to somebody coming along and telling you, ‘This is the story.’

Greeks have this particular fear that’s being exploited, around the fear of becoming a developing country, becoming a third world country. And I think in Greece there’s always been this sense of hanging on to Europe by a thread. And the threat is having that thread cut.

None of this can happen without a complicit media, a media willing to work with the elites, and spread the fear. It’s the fear that’s fuelling this, the fear of falling, falling out of Europe, falling into the developing world. Politicians don’t have the ability to spread that fear on their own. They need the commentaries. They need the hysteria on the talk shows.

Journalists have to understand that none of this can happen without us. We are not just observers. In these moments when it’s all about fear and orientation and loss of story, we are actors in this and we have choice. Are we going to help people stay oriented, or are we going to be tools of the elites?

Whether it’s fear of immigrants, or this supposed calamity in the future that prevents people from looking at the calamity in the present. The calamity has come. This is a depression. But by constantly focusing people on the worst thing that could happen down the road that is always being put in front of you, then you are not focusing on the outrageous, masochistic attack that has been inflicted on this country.

The roots of this are the financial crisis in 2008. And it was the journalists who didn’t ask the questions in the first place, and fed all of this hype about a market boom that was going to last forever and didn’t ask those questions.

We are deep in this. Both in creating the context for the economic crash in the first place, and now being tools of the elites and how we respond to it.

Original article by Lynn Edmonds published by ENetEnglish.

The evil ConDem government in UK is using Shock Doctrine. A debt crisis is being used as an excuse for slash and burn of public services, to savagely cut benefits for the poor and disabled, with the mantra, we are all in it together. Coupled with a weak and spineless parliamentary opposition that competes to see who can hit the poor and disadvantaged the hardest.

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