June 9th, 2011
By Adam Hanieh
Although press coverage of events in Egypt may have dropped off the front pages, discussion of the post-Mubarak period continues to dominate the financial news. Over the past few weeks, the economic direction of the interim Egyptian government has been the object of intense debate in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). US President Obama’s 19 May speech on the Middle East and North Africa devoted much space to the question of Egypt’s economic future indeed, the sole concrete policy advanced in his talk concerned US economic relationships with Egypt. The G8 meeting in France held on 26 and 27 May continued this trend, announcing that up to US$20 billion would be offered to Egypt and Tunisia. When support from the Gulf Arab states is factored into these figures, Egypt alone appears to be on the verge of receiving around $15 billion in loans, investment and aid from governments and the key international financial institutions (IFI).
June 3rd, 2011
By MarÃa CarriÃ³n
MADRID, Spain — The crowd of three thousand sat patiently on the hard pavement of the plaza as the fourth hour of the popular assembly came and went. The issue was whether Camp Sol, a protest that had persevered for two weeks in Madrid’s main square known as Puerta del Sol, would dismantle or stay on. Protesters were exhausted from living on the streets; there had been a few cases of harassment and tensions between groups; the infrastructure of the camp was fragile; electricity was scarce. The camp’s legal team had kept police at bay but there were no guarantees that it would remain that way (a similar camp in Barcelona had been attacked by police the day before). And even if those problems were resolved, how much longer did it make sense to occupy this enormous public space? Had the movement consolidated enough to dismantle its most visible and symbolic gathering?
April 21st, 2011
By Naomi Klein
I recently spent an unforgettable day with the Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC), graciously hosted by the Ella Baker Center. And thanks to Emily Kirsch, lead organizer for the center’s Green-Collar Jobs Campaign, we packed a hell of a lot into a short time. We visited Laney College’s green jobs training program, met with housing rights activists at the Lake Merritt BART station, interviewed Sustainability Coordinator Garrett Fitzgerald at City Hall, got a tour of Oakland’s famous Mandela Market, and capped it off with a dinner hosted by the great folks from Movement Generation.
April 8th, 2011
By Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben
Not for forty years has there been such a stretch of bad news for environmentalists in Washington.
Last month in the House, the newly empowered GOP majority voted down a resolution stating simply that global warming was real: they’ve apparently decided to go with their own versions of physics and chemistry.
This week in the Senate, the biggest environmental groups were reduced to a noble, bare-knuckles fight merely to keep the body from gutting the Clean Air Act, the proudest achievement of the green movement. The outcome is still unclear; even several prominent Democrats are trying to keep the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
April 7th, 2011
By Naomi Klein
Today I joined the newly formed Board of Directors of 350.org, coinciding with a range of exciting new changes at the organization. I have been a supporter of 350.org since I first heard about the wacky plan to turn a wonky scientific target into a global people’s movement, and I’m thrilled and honored to be officially joining the team.
In the past three years, we have all watched the number “350” morph into a beautiful and urgent S.O.S., rising up from every corner of the globe, from Iceland to the Maldives, Ethiopia to Alaska. In the process, 350.org helped to decisively shift the climate conversation from polar bears to people the people whose island nations, cultures and livelihoods will disappear unless those of us who live in the high emitting countries embrace a different economic path.
What has always mattered most about that magic number is that we are already well past it. That means there is no time to waste on stalling tactics like action plans that only get serious in 2020 and shell games like cap-and-trade. Our single goal has to be radically cutting our emissions right here, right now ...
February 20th, 2011
By Naomi Klein
When I met George Awudi, a leader of Friends of the Earth Ghana, he was wearing a bright red T-shirt that said “Do Not Incinerate Africa.” We were both attending the World Social Forum, a sprawling gathering of tens of thousands of activists held earlier this month in Dakar, Senegal.
Amid that political free-for-all — with mini-protests breaking out against everything from Arab despots to education cuts — I assumed that Awudi’s T-shirt referred to some local environmental struggle I hadn’t heard of, perhaps a dirty incinerator in Ghana.
He set me straight: “No, it’s about climate change.” Specifically, the combative slogan refers to the refusal of industrialized nations to commit to deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Since the hottest and poorest countries on the planet are being hit first and hardest by rising temperatures, that refusal will mean, according to Awudi, that large parts of Africa “will be incinerated.”
February 13th, 2011
By Naomi Klein
The inspiring overthrow of Hosni Mubarak is only the first stage of the Egyptian struggle for full liberation. As earlier pro-democracy movements have learned the hard way, much can be lost in the key months and years of transition from one regime to another. In The Shock Doctrine, I investigated how, in the case of post-apartheid South Africa, key demands for economic justice were sacrificed in the name of a smooth transition. Here is that chapter.
Reconciliation means that those who have been on the
underside of history must see that there is a qualitative difference
between repression and freedom. And for them,
freedom translates into having a supply of clean water, having
electricity on tap; being able to live in a decent home and
have a good job; to be able to send your children to school and
to have accessible health care. I mean, what’s the point of
having made this transition if the quality of life of these people
is not enhanced and improved? If not, the vote is useless.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chair of South Africa’s Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, 20011
January 28th, 2011
By Naomi Klein
This essay is adapted from the introduction to The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict (Nation Books).
A sprawling crime scene. That is what Gaza felt like when I visited in the summer of 2009, six months after the Israeli attack. Evidence of criminality was everywherethe homes and schools that lay in rubble, the walls burned pitch black by white phosphorus, the children’s bodies still unhealed for lack of medical care. But where were the police? Who was documenting these crimes, interviewing the witnesses, protecting the evidence from tampering?
January 13th, 2011
By Naomi Klein
"Dolphins off the bow!"
I race to the front of the WeatherBird II, a research vessel owned by the University of South Florida. There they are, doing their sleek silvery thing, weaving between translucent waves, disappearing under the boat, reappearing in perfect formation on the other side.
After taking my fill of phone video (and very pleased not to have dropped the device into the Gulf of Mexico), I bump into Gregory Ellis, one of the junior scientists aboard.
"Did you see them?" I ask excitedly.
"You mean the charismatic megafauna?" he sneers. "I’ll pass."
December 8th, 2010
By Naomi Klein
I just did something I’ve never done before. I spent a week at sea on a research vessel. I’m not a scientist but I was accompanying a remarkable scientific team from the University of South Florida that has been tracking BP’s oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
The scientists I was with are not studying the effects of the oil and dispersants on the big stuff—birds, turtles, dolphins. They are looking at the really little stuff, which gets eaten by slightly less little stuff, which gets eaten by the big stuff. What they found is that water with even trace amounts of oil and dispersants can be highly toxic to phytoplankton—which is a serious problem because so much life depends on it. So contrary to those reports we heard back in August about how 75 per cent of the oil has sort of disappeared, this disaster is still unfolding, still working its way up the food chain.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Rachel Carson, the godmother of ...