Citizen Action Monitor

No time for small steps — We need to “leap” to the next economy, says Naomi Klein

Klein proposes a series interlocking policies to make the transformative leap.

No 1448 Posted by fw, September 11, 2015

“I’ve been in rooms filled with incredible activists including here in Australia over the past ten days, brainstorming about if we all came together, if we stopped pitting our issues against each other, if we came out of our silos and started really to imagine a holistic solution, what would it look like? So brace yourself. I’m going to get specific and propose a series of interlocking policies. The change may be transformative, but it’s anything but vague. We actually know how to do this….

We need to change everything. But you know what? Everything isn’t working for us anyway. If the only problem with our current economic system was this slight matter of rising sea levels we’d have a real problem. This economic system is failing the vast majority of people on this planet with or without climate change. It is a moral crisis. Climate change supercharges this transformational imperative and tells us that we cannot afford to lose. It puts us on a firm, unyielding science-based deadline: tells us to get out of our silos and build the movements we know we need.”Naomi Klein

In my September 10 post, Standing ovation for Naomi Klein’s tour de force presentation in Australia — VIDEO, I singled out Mulcair for not offering Canadians a “bold, compelling vision…comparable to Klein’s ‘The task is clear.’ ” In fact, the same could probably be said of Harper and Trudeau.

In today’s post, I return to Klein’s presentation, to expand on her vision: To paraphrase, she says, “We need to stop pitting our issues against each other, come out of our silos and start to imagine a holistic solution.”

Is this not the problem with the leaders’ platforms? Are not Harper, Trudeau, and Mulcair locked in, as they are, to their silos of platform planks, failing to imagine a bold holistic solution for a set of interlocking crises?

Below is Naomi Klein’s set of ten [my count] interlocking policies, which form the foundation for her “holistic solution”. The text is excerpted from her Australian presentation, beginning at the 26:27-minute mark, ending at 35:13. The embedded video is at the bottom of the post. In her address, Klein did not clearly identify each of the interlocking policies, so the transcript reflects my best guesses as to what they are.

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Naomi Klein: Capitalism and the Climate, Festival of Dangerous Ideas 2015, Organized by the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Streamed live by Ideas at the House, September 5, 2015

[Start: 26:27]

I’ve been really lucky since This Changes Everything came out, one year ago almost exactly, to be part of these amazing conversations in different countries, particularly in my own country Canada and also in the US, a little bit in Europe, about what that leap to the next economy would look like.

I’ve been in rooms filled with incredible activists including here in Australia over the past ten days, brainstorming about if we all came together, if we stopped pitting our issues against each other, if we came out of our silos and started really to imagine a holistic solution, what would it look like?

So brace yourself. I’m going to get specific and propose a series of interlocking policies. The change may be transformative, but it’s anything but vague. We actually know how to do this.

[Respecting indigenous rights] — It starts with respecting the inherent rights and title of the original caretakers of our countries. Indigenous communities have been at the forefront of protecting rivers, coasts, forests, and lands from out of control industrial activity and they still are – from the Alberta tar sands in my country to the ill-fated Carmichael Mine in your country. We can all bolster this crucial role and begin to repair our relationship by fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People which requires that mining companies and any actors have prior and informed consent before any activity takes place on indigenous lands.

[A caring economy] — Caring for one another and caring for the planet could be the economy’s fastest growing sectors. Many more people could have higher wage jobs with fewer work hours leaving us ample time to enjoy our loved ones and flourish in our communities.

[100% renewable energy] — The latest research out of Stanford University shows us that it’s feasible for us to power our economies with 100 percent renewable energy in the next 20 to 30 years. We could have a 100 percent clean economy here in Australia and where I live in Canada by mid-century – not by the end of the century as our leaders our meaninglessly pledging.

If this is possible, if the technology is there, there’s no longer an excuse for building any new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future. That’s why the iron law needs to be when you’re in a hole, stop digging. No new coal mines.

But more than that, since we are capable of powering our lives without poisoning anyone, the idea, the very idea, that racist notion of the sacrifice zone belongs in the dustbin of history next to manifest destiny.

[Democratic control of energy] — This is not just about changing where we get our energy, it’s also about changing who profits from the generation of energy, how it is produced, changing our economic system. This is often called “energy democracy.” What it means is that wherever possible communities should collectively control the renewable energy that they are generating – control it democratically. Keep the profits in their community to pay for services. And this is what’s really been working in Germany, which is now getting 30 percent of its electricity from renewables, 80 percent on a sunny day. They have created 400,000 good jobs. Tell that to Tony Abbott who says that you have to choose between jobs and the environment. But they’ve done this by taking back control over their energy grids, voting in big cities like Hamburg to reverse the privatization of their energy systems because they believe that the profit motive is standing in their way.

[Public support for indigenous people to own energy projects] — And the other principle should be that indigenous people, particularly in countries like Australia, should be first to receive public support to own their own clean energy projects. So should communities currently dealing with the heavy health impacts of polluting industrial activities. Yesterday’s sacrifice zones need to be transformed into today’s super-empowerment zones.

If we generate power in this way it doesn’t merely light our homes, it redistributes wealth, it deepens our democracy, it strengthens our economy and it starts to heal the wounds in a very tangible way that date back to our country’s founding. This is what climate justice looks like.

[End of corporate trade deals] — It also means an end to corporate trade deals that give corporations the power to interfere with our attempt to rebuild our local economies, to regulate corporations, to stop damaging extractive projects. Under these trade rules provinces and states that have banned fracking are facing trade challenges. Germany is facing a huge trade challenge for its energy transition, being sued for 4.7 billion euros by a private company that says that this transition, which is the kind of transition that we all need embrace is standing in the way of their right to earn profits from coal and nuclear. We simply cannot afford to allow trade to trump the planet.

[Enlarge public sector economy] — A lot of people say we can’t afford it. But we can afford it. We live in a time of unprecedented prosperity and we just to release that money. We can do it, as Australia has in the past with carbon taxes, with higher royalty rates on extraction, with financial transaction taxes. We need to invest in the public sphere on a massive scale to protect ourselves from the heavy weather we’ve already locked in. But also because so much public sector work, and so much care-giving work – health care, teaching – this is already low carbon work. Artists are low carbon workers, not just the people who put up solar panels. We need to embrace this. We need to enlarge these parts of our economy. We need to redefine what a green job is.

[End austerity] — One thing is certain. It is long past time to declare that austerity which has systematically attacked these low carbon sectors, to declare that austerity is a fossilized form of thinking that has become a threat to life on earth. We can pay for this.

[Reduce corporate influence in politics and media] — So once you start talking about this it raises all kinds of other issues. The fact that corporations have way too much power over our political system. We need to be talking about campaign finance reform and why elections need to be 100 percent publicly financed. We need to shut that revolving door between business and government.

We need to change the media. You know, I was asked before I came here why it is that climate change denial is so strong in Australia and the US and the UK and I gave this elaborate answer about how it was the frontier mentality in countries with a strong colonial history, but then I was thinking about it – well, there’s also something else – those are all countries where Rupert Murdock owns a huge amount of the media here.

[We need to change everything]. But you know what? Everything isn’t working for us anyway. If the only problem with our current economic system was this slight matter of rising sea levels we’d have a real problem. This economic system is failing the vast majority of people on this planet with or without climate change. It is a moral crisis. Climate change supercharges this transformational imperative and tells us that we cannot afford to lose. It puts us on a firm, unyielding science-based deadline: tells us to get out of our silos and build the movements we know we need.

[End: 35:13]

Video: Is Capitalism now at war with our planet? (You Tube, 58:17 minutes)

 

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