How Do We Build Movements That Can Win

Naomi Klein (2017)

In this presentation, Naomi Klein  outlines the strategy she feels grassroots activists need to pursue to resist the growing attacks on working people while building build a genuine alternative to post industrial capitalism. It’s very similar to the one Kali Akuna proposes (see Don’t Just Fight, Build).

While she begins by focusing on climate change, she heavily emphasizes that environmentalists alone can’t solve the crisis of catastrophic climate change – that it will require a large diverse coalition of activists organizing around a broad array of environmental and social justice issues. While she doesn’t state directly that it’s impossible to prevent climate change under capitalism, this is strongly implied.

Another concept Klein stresses is the importance of radical ideas in creating the conditions for major reform. She gives the example of the calls for socialist revolution following the 1929 Depression and during the Vietnam War – how serious discussion of revolution scared the corporate elite so much that they granted major economic reform (the New Deal) under Roosevelt and major environmental reform under Nixon (creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, etc.).

Klein also gives the example of the Leap Coalition in Canada, which is working for bold social and environmental justice reforms, as well as the development of community controlled energy systems (similar to Germany’s) – where the profits from energy production fund community services, such as teaching, daycare and senior care – rather than distant corporations.

Comments
  1. I wrote an essay about this in January 2014 titled “A Blueprint for the Left.”

  2. Without prejudice, when enough people are awake and educated to the facts that authority is vested in we, the people, they will hold referendums, form jural assemblies and call Truth & Reconciliation commissions into the banking and bar legal system; by, for and of the people; and, force key actors to the table; or face arrests by the peoples marshals and militias, if necessary; lawfully and peacefully;

    Unless the power of banking and of making laws, is back in the hands of the people, where it rightfully belongs, military/industrial/bank/bar/ complex status quo will maintain it’s oppressive and venal hold; a.r.r.; in peace

    • No argument with any of that, UZA. That’s exactly what the People’s Party tried to do in the 1890s (end the ability of private banks to create money). Sadly they didn’t have sufficient to capacity to organize urban workers at the time – and the robber barons pulverized them. It’s time to borrow their ideas and apply everything we’ve learned about organizing in the past 130 years.

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