Disaster Capitalism In Reverse: How Sandy Could Be The Catalyst For Progressive Change

Naomi Klein on Moyers & Company

The video is 30 minutes long, but so worth your time. Naomi Klein, whose semimal book The Shock Doctrine identified a pervasive and insidious tendency for the ruling elites to exploit disasters--both natural and manmade-- to push through legislation that the general populace won't fight because they are shell-shocked, points out that we have a disaster right now with Sandy that could enable the general populace to demand from the ruling elites legislation to deal with climate change. The Shock Doctrine in reverse, if you will.
NAOMI KLEIN: Here you have a crisis that was created by a collision between heavy weather (which may or may not have been linked to climate change, but certainly it's what climate change looks like) colliding with weak infrastructure, because of years and years of neglect. And the free market solutions to this crisis are, "Let's just get rid of the public infrastructure altogether and drill for more oil, which is the root cause of climate change." So that's their shock doctrine. And I think it's time for a people's shock.

BILL MOYERS: People's shock?

NAOMI KLEIN: A people's shock, which actually we've had before, as you know, where, you know, if you think about 1929 and the market shock, and the way in which the public responded. They wanted to get at the root of the problem. And they wanted to get away from speculative finance and that's how we got some very good legislation passed in this country like Glass-Steagall, and much of the social safety net was born in that moment. Not by exploiting crisis to horde power for the few and to ram through policies that people don't want, but to build popular movements and to really deepen democracy.
We will never get consensus in Washington DC to enact legislation. The big dollar donations from oil and other energy industries make sure of that. But we can push now for them to make investments against the next Sandy, the next Katrina. We have the leverage and the moral high ground. It's time to move.

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