Klein’s Call to Arms

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 12.16.14 pmNaomi Klein’s latest book This Changes Everything is subtitled Capitalism vs The Climate. She looks at what’s been achieved in climate activism, and the progress of global trade talks, and suggests that any chance of a gradualist approach is gone, squandered over the last few decades:

“Put a little more simply: for more than two decades, we kicked the can down the road. During that time, we also expanded the road from a two-lane carbon-spewing highway to a six-lane superhighway. That feat was accomplished in large part thanks to the radical and aggressive vision that called for the creation of a single global economy based on the rules of free market fundamentalism, the very rules incubated in the right-wing think tanks now at the forefront of climate change denial. There is a certain irony at work: it is the success of their own revolution that makes revolutionary levels of transformation to the market system now our best hope of avoiding climate chaos.”

(p114, the chapter entitled “Coddling conservatives”)

The attempt not to scare the consumers is misguided:

“ As for pitching climate action as a way to protect America’s

high-consumerist “way of life”—that is either dishonest or delusional

because a way of life based on the promise of infinite growth cannot be

protected, least of all exported to every corner of the globe.” (p119)

Klein clearly recognizes that the rise of global capitalism and the growth of trade has

risen with the growth in emissions, and suggests that a radical response must also tackle inequality and reclaim the global commons.

“there is a direct relationship between breaking fossilized free market

rules and making swift progress on climate change. Which is why, if we

are to collectively meet the enormous challenges of this crisis, a

robust social movement will need to demand (and create) political

leadership that is not only committed to making polluters pay for a

climate-ready public sphere, but willing to revive two lost arts:

long-term public planning, and saying no to powerful corporations.”

( p234, in a chapter titled “Public and paid For”)

This is a well argued, well-researched polemic arguing that we need to grasp the opportunity to demand what’s needed. The 800+ pages are full of useful information, densely footnoted for those wishing to chase up more details.

Highly recommended.