Journalism

An award winning journalist, Naomi Klein is currently Senior Correspondent at The Intercept and a Puffin Writing Fellow of the Type Media Center.

A Climate Dystopia in Northern California

May 7, 2021
By Naomi Klein

California’s divided and fire-scarred cities, reeling from climate disasters, need a Green New Deal.

IT’S A RITUAL that has been repeated many times over the coldest months of Northern California’s winter. The Chico police arrive between 9 a.m. and noon on a Thursday, perhaps in the hopes of catching people when they are home. Home, in this case, being flimsy tents, draped in tarps, many of them strung up between pine trees, secured to fences, or hidden beneath highway overpasses. The cops read out orders and sometimes hand out flyers: You have 72 hours to clear all of your belongings or they will be destroyed.

Before the deadline, volunteers usually show up with trailers and pickup trucks to help with the move. They load up bicycles, coolers, and cats, as well as clothing stuffed in suitcases, plastic laundry baskets, and garbage bags. Then they drive around this scrappy city in the Sacramento Valley looking for a new place to set up camp — only to have police show up a few days or weeks later and repeat the whole wrenching eviction again.

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India Targets Climate Activists With Help From Big Tech

February 27, 2021
By Naomi Klein

Tech giants like Google and Facebook appear to be aiding and abetting a vicious government campaign against Indian climate activists.

The bank of cameras that camped outside Delhi’s sprawling Tihar jail was the sort of media frenzy you would expect to await a prime minister caught in an embezzlement scandal, or perhaps a Bollywood star caught in the wrong bed. Instead, the cameras were waiting for Disha Ravi, a nature-loving 22-year-old vegan climate activist who against all odds has found herself ensnared in an Orwellian legal saga that includes accusations of sedition, incitement, and involvement in an international conspiracy whose elements include (but are not limited to): Indian farmers in revolt, the global pop star Rihanna, supposed plots against yoga and chai, Sikh separatism, and Greta Thunberg.

If you think that sounds far-fetched, well, so did the judge who released Ravi after nine days in jail under police interrogation. 

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Why Texas Republicans Fear the Green New Deal

February 21, 2021
By Naomi Klein

Small government is no match for a crisis born of the state’s twin addictions to market fixes and fossil fuels.

Since the power went out in Texas, the state’s most prominent Republicans have tried to pin the blame for the crisis on, of all things, a sweeping progressive mobilization to fight poverty, inequality and climate change.

“This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal,” Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said Wednesday on Fox News. Pointing to snow-covered solar panels, Rick Perry, a former governor who was later an energy secretary for the Trump administration, posted on Twitter a quotation from a Forbes article by Robert Bryce, who wrote that “if we humans want to keep surviving frigid winters, we are going to have to keep burning natural gas — and lots of it — for decades to come.”

The claims are outlandish. The Green New Deal is, among other things, a plan to tightly regulate and upgrade the energy system so the United States gets 100 percent of its electricity from renewables in a decade. 

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The Meaning of the Mittens: Five Possibilities

January 21, 2021
By Naomi Klein

The symbolic power of Bernie’s old pair of mittens was the work of the “us” in “not me, us.”

Pity the art directors, the stylists, and the stage managers. So much effort, taste, strategy, and money went into planning the semiotics of Joe Biden’s inauguration. The precise shade of Kamala Harris’s royal purple (screw you Vogue and your sloppy cover!). The selection of a smallish made-in-New-York brand to dress Jill Biden in ocean blue (way to support small businesses in a pandemic!). The sheer weight of Lady Gaga’s gold dove brooch (the “Hunger Games” fun of it!).

And yet it was all for naught. Because in a sea of exquisitely matching face masks, Bernie Sanders’s ratty old mittens upstaged them all, instantly becoming the most discussed, delighted-in, and deranged visual message of the historic occasion. What should we make of this? Why did so many millions connect to whatever language the mittens were speaking? Was it pandemic delirium — all of us projecting our social isolation onto the most isolated person in the crowd?  …

What is the meaning, the mittenology of it all?

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We were told Joe Biden was the ‘safe choice’. But it was risky to offer so little…

November 8, 2020
By Naomi Klein

This is an abridged transcript of remarks Klein delivered at Where Do We Go From Here? a Haymarket Books event on 6 November 2020

A great many people did not vote for Joe Biden, they voted against Trump. We have to recognize how narrow this win was.

These have been a harrowing few days. And these days have been more harrowing than they should have been. As we all know, Joe Biden won the Democratic primaries based on the claim that he was the safest bet to beat Donald Trump. But even if the Democratic party base was much more politically aligned with Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren, in their support for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, for racial justice, the party was sure that Bernie Sanders was too risky. And so, as we all remember, they banded together and gave us Biden.

But I think that after days of gnawing our fingers down to the quick, it’s fair to say that Biden was not safe at all, as we always knew. Not safe for the planet, not safe for the people on the front lines of police violence, not ...

‘Land Back’ is more than a slogan for a resurgent Indigenous movement

November 19, 2020
By Naomi Klein and Kanahus Manuel

Instead of negotiating land surrenders in exchange for one-off payments and promises, this movement aims to put unceded land back under Indigenous control

In Nova Scotia, it’s lobster. In Quebec, moose. In Ontario, a housing development. In British Columbia, pipelines.

In 2020, these have been the catalysts of fierce Indigenous uprisings from coast to coast and though they may seem disconnected from one another, they are not. All of these sites of struggle are united by a common philosophy and shared goal, one summed up in the short slogan that is rapidly gaining force in Indigenous movements across this continent.

Land Back.

Those two words lay out with stark clarity the goal of centuries of Indigenous struggle. The Land Back movement comes up from the most grassroots land defenders across the country, who now see their local battles as part of a larger mobilization to reassert Indigenous control over their traditional territories.

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The Great Reset Conspiracy Smoothie

December 8, 2020
By Naomi Klein

A viral conspiracy theory blends together legitimate critiques with truly dangerous anti-vaccination fantasies and outright coronavirus denialism.

WRITING ABOUT “The Great Reset” is not easy. It has turned into a viral conspiracy theory purporting to expose something no one ever attempted to hide, most of which is not really happening anyway, some of which actually should.

It’s extra confusing for me to unpick this particular knot because at the center of it all is a bastardization of a concept I know a little something about: the shock doctrine.

But here goes nothing.

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Now We Have to Fight Trump’s Tin-Pot Coup and Biden’s Worst Instincts

November 13, 2020
By Naomi Klein

Republicans keep finding new ways to tell us that they don’t believe in democracy, and we should believe them.

THE CHORUS OF Republican voices echoing manufactured claims of mass election fraud hasn’t petered out yet. So, is it:

  1. A grift to raise cash for Donald Trump?
  2. A ploy to goose aggrieved Republican turnout in Georgia’s high-stakes Senate runoffs?
  3. An elaborate scheme to flatter a nuclear-armed narcissist into gradually accepting the reality that he is what he most fears: a loser?
  4. An attempt to preemptively drain the Biden-Harris administration of perceived legitimacy, in an effort to clip its wings and then use its ineffectiveness to secure big Republican wins in the midterms?
  5. An actual, thought-through, coordinated plot for Republican-controlled state legislatures to use the pretext of public concerns over voter fraud — concerns methodically manufactured out of thin air through sheer force of repetition by Trump and his minions — to claim a constitutional “duty” to override their states’ certified election results and instead directly appoint Republican presidential electors? In short, is what we are witnessing the prelude to an Electoral College coup? As David Sirota first reported, a harrowing paper by Ohio State constitutional law ...

Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair

October 01, 2020
By Naomi Klein

Can we imagine a better future? If we stop talking about what winning actually looks like, isn’t that the same as giving up?

DO WE EVEN have a right to be hopeful? With political and ecological fires raging all around, is it irresponsible to imagine a future world radically better than our own? A world without prisons? Of beautiful, green public housing? Of buried border walls? Of healed ecosystems? A world where governments fear the people instead of the other way around?

These are questions we wrestled with as we conceived of a sequel to last year’s Emmy-nominated short, “A Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” The first film, co-written by the congresswoman and illustrated by Molly Crabapple, was set in a can-do, cli-fi future: one in which bold, progressive politicians joined with grassroots movements to launch the “Decade of the Green New Deal,” battling poverty, injustice, and climate disruption all at the same time. The film touched a nerve and ended up being viewed more than 12 million times, convincing our little team of the need for more art that departs from well-worn apocalyptic scripts.

Then Covid-19 hit.

About a month into ...

How Not to Lose the Lockdown Generation

August 06, 2020
By Naomi Klein

Lessons from the New Deal point the way forward in the era of Covid-19.

PICTURE THIS: You live in rural Arkansas and tragedy strikes. A family member has fallen ill with that contagious respiratory illness that has already killed so many — but you don’t have enough space in your small home to quarantine them in a room of their own. Your relative’s case doesn’t appear to be life-threatening, but you are terrified that their persistent cough will spread the illness to more vulnerable family members. You call the local public health authority to see if there is room in local hospitals, and they explain that they are all stretched too thin with emergency cases. There are private facilities, but you can’t afford those.

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