Journalism

An award-winning journalist of nine books, Naomi is a regular columnist for The Guardian.

Only outside pressure can stop Israel’s war crimes

January 10, 2024
By Naomi Klein 

In 2005, Palestinians called on the world to boycott Israel until it complied with international law. What if we had listened?

Exactly 15 years ago this week, I published an article in the Guardian. It began like this: Enough. It’s time for a boycott.

Back in January 2009, Israel had unleashed a shocking new stage of mass killing in the Gaza Strip, calling its ferocious bombing campaign Operation Cast Lead. It killed 1,400 Palestinians in 22 days; the number of casualties on the Israeli side was 13. That was the last straw for me, and after years of reticence I came out publicly in support of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights, known as BDS.

 
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In Gaza and Israel, side with the child

October 11, 2023
By Naomi Klein 

In Gaza and Israel, side with the child over the gun…True solidarity. Humanism that unites people across ethnic and religious lines. Fierce opposition to all forms of identity-based hatred, including antisemitism. An international left rooted in values that side with the child over the gun every single time, no matter whose gun and no matter whose child. A left that is unshakably morally consistent, and does not mistake that consistency with moral equivalency between occupier and occupied.

 
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To Know Yourself, Consider Your Doppelganger

September 13, 2023
By Naomi Klein 

This past July, Merriam-Webster announced on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that “‘doppelgänger’ is currently one of our top lookups.”

The doppelgänger — defined by Merriam-Webster as a “person who resembles someone else, or a ghostly counterpart of a living person” — is suddenly unavoidable. Social media platforms are crowded with videos of “that moment when” a pair of uncanny look-alikes come face-to-face at a friend’s wedding, or in a Las Vegas swimming pool or on a plane. A Taylor Swift doppelgänger has collected 1.6 million followers on TikTok, while the real Ms. Swift performs multiple alter-ego versions of herself in the “Anti-Hero” video

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Why was there no water to fight Maui’s fires?

August 17, 2023
By Naomi Klein and Kapua’ala Sproat

Big corporations, golf courses and hotels have been taking water from locals for years. Now the fire may result in even more devastating water theft

All over Maui, golf courses glisten emerald green, hotels manage to fill their pools and corporations stockpile water to sell to luxury estates. And yet, when it came time to fight the fires, some hoses ran dry. Why?

The reason is the long-running battle over west Maui’s most precious natural resource: water. That’s why, on Tuesday 8 August, when Tereariʻi Chandler-ʻĪao was fleeing the fires in Lahaina, she grabbed a bag of clothes, some food – and something a little unconventional: a box filled with water use permit applications.

Despite her personal calamity, Tereariʻi, a grassroots attorney, already knew that the fight for Maui’s future was about to intensify, and at its heart would not be fire, but another element entirely: water… As the flames approached, Tereariʻi feared that, under cover of emergency, those large players might finally get their chance to grab west Maui’s water…

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Ignoring Robert F Kennedy Jr is not an option

June 14, 2023
By Naomi Klein

Given the strengths that Kennedy possesses as a candidate, we should expect him to continue to build momentum. Ignoring him is not an option

When Robert F Kennedy Jr announced his plan to run for president in the Democratic party primaries this April, the dominant liberal strategy towards the once tough environmental lawyer – now spreader of all manner of dangerous, unsupported theories – seemed to be: ignore him and wait for him to go away. Don’t cover, don’t engage and don’t debate. Jim Kessler, a leader of the pro-Biden think tank Third Way, called him a “gadfly and a laughingstock”; Democratic consultant Sawyer Hackett brushed him off as “a gnat.”

Well, if recent developments in the Kennedy campaign have demonstrated anything, it’s that denial is not a viable political strategy. Kennedy honed his social media skills over years to spread his anti-vaccine message, so he has simply done an end-run around traditional media and party structures…

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AI machines aren’t ‘hallucinating’. But their makers are.

May 8, 2023
By Naomi Klein

Tech CEOs want us to believe that generative AI will benefit humanity. They are kidding themselves

Inside the many debates swirling around the rapid rollout of so-called artificial intelligence, there is a relatively obscure skirmish focused on the choice of the word “hallucinate”.

This is the term that architects and boosters of generative AI have settled on to characterize responses served up by chatbots that are wholly manufactured, or flat-out wrong. Like, for instance, when you ask a bot for a definition of something that doesn’t exist and it, rather convincingly, gives you one, complete with made-up footnotes. “No one in the field has yet solved the hallucination problems,” Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and Alphabet, told an interviewer recently.

That’s true – but why call the errors “hallucinations” at all? Why not algorithmic junk? Or glitches? 

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The Hunger Striker vs. The Dictator

November 14, 2022
By Naomi Klein and Mohammed Rafi Arefin

The hunger strike of Egypt’s Alaa Abd El Fattah overshadows Sisi’s attempt to whitewash his regime’s human rights record at COP27.

MANY OF THE tens of thousands of delegates attending the United Nations climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, go to these gatherings year after year on a kind of autopilot. They update their PowerPoint presentations, pack their organizational banners, and brush up their talking points. Next come the same warnings from the scientists and activists. The slightly tweaked technical solutions from the entrepreneurs. The same pledges and promises from the political leaders.  Every year, the expectations for what all of this can accomplish dip lower and lower.

So far, however, this year’s summit, known as COP27, has been anything but routine. That is less because of its content than its location. It is taking place under the most repressive regime in the history of the modern Egyptian state.

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From Blah, Blah, Blah to Blood, Blood, Blood

October 7, 2022
By Naomi Klein

Holding the COP 27 Summit in Egypt’s Police State Creates a Moral Crisis for the Climate Movement

No one knows what happened to the lost climate letter. All that is known is this: Alaa Abd El Fattah, arguably Egypt’s highest profile political prisoner, wrote it while on a hunger strike in his Cairo prison cell last month. It was, he explained later, “about global warming because of the news from Pakistan.” He was concerned about the epic floods that displaced 33 million people at their peak, and what that cataclysm foretold about climate hardships and paltry state responses to come.

A visionary technologist and searching intellectual, Abd El Fattah’s first name — along with the hashtag #FreeAlaa — have become synonymous with the 2011 pro-democracy revolution that turned Cairo’s Tahrir Square into a surging sea of young people that ended the three-decade rule of Egypt’s dictator Hosni Mubarak.

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The Supreme Court’s Shock-and-Awe Judicial Coup

June 30, 2022
By Naomi Klein

The rolling judicial coup coming from this court is by no means over.

THIS IS IT. The moment for President Joe Biden and Congress to challenge the underlying legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court and advance an aggressive climate action agenda. There will be no better moment to take this stand for a transformed court, nor a more fateful one. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is right: “We need to reform or do away with the whole thing, for the sake of the planet.”

Over the last few days, we have witnessed a shock-and-awe judicial coup, from stripping people of the right to terminate pregnancies (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization), to weakening the sovereign right of Indigenous tribes to enforce the law on their lands (Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta), to interfering with the rights of states to regulate the carrying of firearms (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen), to enabling a return to Christian prayer in public schools (Kennedy v. Bremerton School District).

 

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Toxic Nostalgia, from Putin to Trump to Trucker Convoys

March 1, 2022
By Naomi Klein

War is reshaping our world. Will we harness that urgency for climate action or succumb to a final, deadly oil and gas boom?

NOSTALGIA FOR EMPIRE is what seems to drive Vladimir Putin — that and a desire to overcome the shame of punishing economic shock therapy imposed on Russia at the end of the Cold War. Nostalgia for American “greatness” is part of what drives the movement Donald Trump still leads — that and a desire to overcome the shame of having to face the villainy of white supremacy that shaped the founding of the United States and mutilates it still. Nostalgia is also what animates the Canadian truckers who occupied Ottawa for the better part of a month, wielding their red-and-white flags like a conquering army, evoking a simpler time when their consciences were undisturbed by thoughts of the bodies of Indigenous children, whose remains are still being discovered on the grounds of those genocidal institutions that once dared to call themselves “schools.”  

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