Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Naomi Klein and The Left Took Aim at Globalization and a Warning from Pussy Riot

The Democratic party needs to be either decisively wrested from pro-corporate neoliberals, or it needs to be abandoned... Naomi Klein 
When there is no truth, invasions are “liberations” and internment camps are “relocation centers.” But, as Ms. Tolokonnikova [Pussy Riot] said, “There is always a way if you really want to tell the truth.” .... NY Times
I present here a somewhat optimistic (Naomi Klein) and a warning (Pussy Riot) about how Trumpism can morph America into Putinism - it can sneak up on you real fast. I heard on NPR last night that over a period of a few years, people are much more receptive to the removal of democratic protections like free speech and even more accepting of a military dictatorship.Take this bizarre path - Trump becomes so outrageous, Mad Dog Madigan and  Flynn lead a military coup. And America cheers. Hmmm, an idea for a novel - don't steal it in case I decide to write it.

Naomi Klein, http://www.naomiklein.org/main, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Klein, has been a leading voice in this movement against neo-liberalism since the late 90s.

Her 2007 book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, went viral beyond just the left. The day after the Trump win she wrote in The Guardian: It Was the Democrats' Embrace of Neoliberalism That Won it For Trump  - November 9th, 2016.
They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry.

But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism. That worldview – fully embodied by Hillary Clinton and her machine – is no match for Trump-style extremism. The decision to run one against the other is what sealed our fate. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake?
Donald Trump speaks directly to that pain. The Brexit campaign spoke to that pain. So do all of the rising far-right parties in Europe. They answer it with nostalgic nationalism and anger at remote economic bureaucracies – whether Washington, the North American free trade agreement the World Trade Organisation or the EU. And of course, they answer it by bashing immigrants and people of colour, vilifying Muslims, and degrading women. Elite neoliberalism has nothing to offer that pain, because neoliberalism unleashed the Davos class. People such as Hillary and Bill Clinton are the toast of the Davos party. In truth, they threw the party.
Trump’s message was: “All is hell.” Clinton answered: “All is well.” But it’s not well – far from it.
Nancy Pelosi feels all is OK and hasn't learned as per the NY Post- I don’t think Democrats want a new direction
Nancy Pelosi just gave Republicans another reason for celebration.
The newly elected House minority leader insisted Sunday that Dems aren’t looking for a “new direction” even after the bruising Election Day defeats and a GOP monopoly in Washington.
A defiant — and possibly delusional — Pelosi stood firm about her party’s future when pressed on what she’ll do differently to deal with Democratic discontent.
“I don’t think people want a new direction,” Pelosi told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Our values unify us and our values are about supporting America’s working families.”
Pelosi may have doomed the Democratic Party to extinction. I don't see them ever regaining power on almost any level other than the coasts.

She feels the only solution can come from the left, though I have little faith in the much divided left - whatever that is - we really need to define the various tendencies on the left -- and I consider myself as part of the left- at this point I line up with Bernie Sanders' social democrats - regulated capitalism - which obviously is not the Marxists who often mock the social democrats (Bolsheviks vs Menshiviks?)

Klein offers some choices between wresting the Dem Party away from the neo-liberals or going in a new direction.
People have a right to be angry, and a powerful, intersectional left agenda can direct that anger where it belongs, while fighting for holistic solutions that will bring a frayed society together. Such a coalition is possible. In Canada, we have begun to cobble it together under the banner of a people’s agenda called The Leap Manifesto, endorsed by more than 220 organisations from Greenpeace Canada to Black Lives Matter Toronto, and some of our largest trade unions.
Bernie Sanders’ amazing campaign went a long way towards building this sort of coalition, and demonstrated that the appetite for democratic socialism is out there. But early on, there was a failure in the campaign to connect with older black and Latino voters who are the demographic most abused by our current economic model. That failure prevented the campaign from reaching its full potential. Those mistakes can be corrected and a bold, transformative coalition is there to be built on.

That is the task ahead. The Democratic party needs to be either decisively wrested from pro-corporate neoliberals, or it needs to be abandoned. From Elizabeth Warren to Nina Turner, to the Occupy alumni who took the Bernie campaign supernova, there is a stronger field of coalition-inspiring progressive leaders out there than at any point in my lifetime. We are “leaderful”, as many in the Movement for Black Lives say.
I really don't have much hope that we can accomplish this and see another few election cycles and the possible loss of all rights to resist - see Putin's Russia as a blueprint for our future - and read this NY Times piece on Pussy Riot and Putin to see how institutions can be taken apart piece by piece and in just a few years you get arrested for publishing critical articles or demonstrating.
A Warning for Americans From a Member of Pussy Riot.
“It is a common phrase right now that ‘America has institutions,’” Ms. Tolokonnikova said. “It does. But a president has power to change institutions and a president moreover has power to change public perception of what is normal, which could lead to changing institutions.” As if to make her point, later that day the informal Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski declared that The New York Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, “should be in jail.” In October, The Times published an article about leaked pages from Mr. Trump’s 1995 state tax returns.
The last video they released, in late October, was called “Make America Great Again.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-bKFo30o2o) It showed fictional Trump agents in red armbands raping and torturing in a campaign against Muslims, Mexicans, women who have abortions, gays and lesbians.

Despite my pessimism, the battle will still go on.

Klein and others on the left were taking on this issue from the earliest days. Here is her No Logo movie, which is worth an investment in time even it you just flip through it.



  1. Democrats are doomed by their myopia. Pelosi's perception that a change of course is not required at this juncture is classic.

    Abigail Shure

    1. The problem is that if they are doomed aren't we all without an alternative - and don't say it's Jill Stein.

  2. Stein is wasting large sums of money avoiding the inevitable. It has garnered her more media exposure than she had during the entire campaign. How about Weingarten? She has experience sitting at the table.

    Abigail Shure


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