Naomi Klein: How shocking events can spark positive change
Naomi Klein - Author, Activist
In her latest work, Naomi Klein wonders: What makes our culture so prone to the reckless high-stakes gamble, and why are women so frequently called upon to clean up the mess? Full bio
puzzling over and writing about
to change and evolve
I'm talking about are big --
that poisons on a massive scale.
can act like a collective alarm bell.
we get organized.
that was previously unimaginable.
walking, but leaping.
seems to be busted.
we often fall apart, regress
for antidemocratic forces
to become more unequal and more unstable.
about this backwards process
we navigate through crisis?
and find those strengths
a pressing question these days.
pretty shocking out there.
threatening to devour them,
disappearing beneath the waves.
there are torches in the streets.
of people who are sounding the alarm.
I don't think we can honestly say
with anything like the urgency
demand from us.
to catalyze a kind of evolutionary leap.
of this progressive power of crisis
of the sudden market collapse
thrown onto breadlines.
that the system itself was broken.
and they leapt into action.
governments began to weave a safety net
like social security to catch people.
of aggressive regulation
immigrants and women
of allied nations and economies
for complex societies
in the face of a collective threat.
of the 1929 Crash,
that it follows --
and it induced a wake-up call
to climate change.
complete recipe for deep transformation
on two key ingredients
of the history books.
the other with organization.
between the two
didn't happen just because suddenly
the brutalities of laissez-faire.
of tremendous ideological ferment,
about how to organize societies
in the public square.
along radically egalitarian lines.
of explosive imagining.
crushing poverty, widening inequality --
they knew what they were for.
and they had their "yes," too.
models of political organization
their membership bases,
and increasing their strength.
the Crash happened,
that was large and broad enough
that didn't just shut down factories,
were actually offered as compromises.
seemed to be revolution.
that equation from earlier.
of extraordinary political engagements.
and resisting with tremendous courage.
that "no" is not enough.
out there that are emerging.
a lot bolder quickly.
used to talk about changing light bulbs,
for 100 percent of our energy
by police violence against black bodies
to militarized police, mass incarceration
opposing tuition increases,
and debt cancellation.
and universalist vision
than our predecessors had.
we think about political change
inequality in another,
in a couple of other boxes,
of different groups and NGOs,
for credit, name recognition
a lot like corporate brands.
as the problem of silos.
into manageable chunks.
they also train our brains to tune out
needs our help and support.
glaring connections between our issues.
poverty and inequality
to extreme weather.
rarely talk about war and occupation.
that the thirst for fossil fuels
has gotten better at pointing out
hit hardest by climate change
by black and brown people.
are treated as disposable
when they emerge,
of demands that I was mentioning earlier,
of the world we're fighting for.
and most of all, what its core values are.
to leap somewhere safer,
on what that place is.
of conversations and experiments going on
that are holding us back.
by talking about one of them.
a group of us in Canada
in our various silos.
in a room for two days,
what bound us together.
who rarely get face to face.
with hipsters working on transit.
representing oil workers and loggers.
and feminist icons and many more.
a pretty ambitious assignment:
describing the world after we win.
made the transition to a clean economy
about what will happen if we don't act,
with what could happen if we did act.
in small increments.
be the enemy of the good.
and we called it "The Leap."
that agreeing on our common "yes"
of a lot of painful history
permission to dream,
much of our work became self-evident.
to work more than 50 hours a week,
this epidemic of despair
profits and endless growth
of our ecological crisis
a culture of care-taking.
and nowhere is thrown away.
and every ecosystem is foundational.
the whole thing to you out loud --
you can read it at theleap.org.
of what we came up with.
renewable economy in a hurry,
on a guaranteed annual income,
electoral reform and more.
is that a great many of us
less like brands and more like movements.
to spread far and wide.
that there is this hierarchy of crisis,
to prioritize one struggle over another
has been picked up around the world
in cities like Los Angeles,
that are traditionally very conservative,
the vast majority of people.
shocks and disasters for two decades.
and capacity that we never knew we had.
that fill us with dread today
transform the world for the better.
that we're fighting for.
is going off simultaneously.
About the speaker:Naomi Klein - Author, Activist
In her latest work, Naomi Klein wonders: What makes our culture so prone to the reckless high-stakes gamble, and why are women so frequently called upon to clean up the mess?
Why you should listen
In the January 31, 2011, edition of The Nation, Naomi Klein reports from one of the highest-profile failures of 2010: the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And what she finds is a cascade of unintended consequences arising from a massive corporate risk.
In her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein makes the case that corporations (and capitalism-friendly governments) not only profit from disaster and conflict, but actively work to exploit countries in crisis. The “shock doctrine,” as Klein defines it, falls into place after a terrorist attack, a killer hurricane, a regime change—when corporate interests swoop in on a disoriented people to rewrite the rules in favor of commerce and globalization. In her deeply historical, carefully sourced book, Klein shows the link between commerce and crisis. The Shock Doctrine was adapted into a feature-length documentary by Michael Winterbottom; it premiered at the Sundance in 2010.
Klein’s previous book, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, took on the creeping influence of megabrands on culture and government—with arguments so persuasive that the book earned a point-by-point rebuttal from Nike. She is a regular columnist for Nation and the Guardian, and is now working on a book on the idea of ecological debt. You can follow her on Twitter: @NaomiAKlein
Naomi Klein | Speaker | TED.com