Naomi Klein speaks at Common Hour on Climate Change and Capitalism

By Ruby Van Dyk || Contributing Writer

Photo courtesy of villagevoice.com

On Thursday, September 14, students gathered for Common Hour to listen Naomi Klein.

Klein is a Canadian author, journalist, and social activist who has become well known for her political analyses and criticism of corporate globalization and of capitalism. Klein has written multiple books including The Shock Doctrine, This Changes Everything and her most recent book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, which was nominated for The National Book Award this past week.

In No is Not Enough Naomi Klein discusses the shock tactics of the Trump administration and the dangers that come along with them. She gives a warning of the incredible toxic potential of The Trump Administration, and what it may become. She calls for not only outrage, but resistance. On Thursday, Klein discussed both of her most recent books, and many of the issues we tackle today.

Klein began her talk by discussing the current state of the world and the United States. She pointed out that there is not just one single crisis that we currently face, but many, and they all compete for our attention simultaneously.  She pointed out the difficulty of dealing with crisis, but also stated that crises are moments that we can learn from.

Klein said that there are no shortages of crisis and shocks within our country today, citing Hurricane Irma and Harvey, Forest Fires, White Supremacy, and violence, to name a few. What classifies a shock is that it doesn’t have narrative and it shakes society. “If we are looking for a wake up call, we don’t need to wait,” said Klein. She emphasized that this is the time that we as Americans need to come together and respond.

Although Klein says that we are currently living in a time of tremendous political engagement, she says that for progressive people, “when it comes to claiming the world we want, things get more hazy.” She went on to discuss the ideals and ideas that emerged after The Great Depression in The New Deal and said that “people have lost that optimistic ability to imagine a new future.” Klein said that this is because of the neo-liberal war on imagination, and the attempt to constrict idea and thought. But she also argued that “this spell is starting to break” and that we are “starting to see a liberation of the imagination,” especially in young people. She praised the mobilization of college students and young people, and their new found willingness to call for and demand a better future.

Klein then went on to discuss a topic that she is very well known for: climate change. Klein is one of the best known organizers and authors of Canada’s Leap Manifesto, which was a initiative written a few years ago by many prominent organizations and individuals in Canada in order to map out Climate Change initiatives.

“What we tried to map is less a list of policies – although there ar 15 policies that came out of this – and more a shift in story,” Klein said, “from a society based on endless taking to a society based on caring for one another and the environment.”

Klein continued on to discuss the backlash and difficulty that pro-environment initiatives often combat. “What we propose does not fit within the box of what is politically possible, we want to expand that box.”

What we need to do, Klein closed, is change what is politically possible. We need to resist shock. Because “Crises can transform us if we let them,” and according to Klein, we need to let them.

First year Ruby Van Dyk is a contributing writer. Her email is rvandyk@fandm.edu.

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