Naomi Klein on 'The Shock Doctrine"
Klein speaks about Obama and the intellectual and political integrity of the progressive movement
Naomi Klein: "Corporations are built to be opportunistic. That’s their mission. If there’s an opportunity, they must take advantage of it, and it’s in the interests of their shareholders, and they shouldn’t be sentimental about it. So that’s what capitalism is supposed to do: take advantage of opportunities. What I’m talking about, and what I mean by disaster capitalism, is a political strategy."
Naomi Klein: "What I see is that China is becoming more like us, the West, in many ways, and we’re becoming more like China in many ways. And I wouldn’t say that we are the same society yet, but what we see are these sort of steady trends, and a kind of an odd sort of meeting in the middle, where they embrace the side of our society of extreme consumer capitalism, and our leaders start to embrace many of their tools of social control—indefinite detention, loss of civil liberties—that their leaders are embracing."
Naomi Klein: " if we look at when the government gets involved, it’s when there’s the threat of a tipping point. It’s such a large country, it’s such a populous country, that the fear is not a protest or a strike here or there—that can be handled. It is the fear of that tipping point when it turns into a mass movement, because in a country the size of China, when there is a mass movement, it will overwhelm the regime."
Naomi Klein: Iraq was the trough for awhile. The Department of Homeland Security has been a pretty good trough. Building Fortress Europe has been a good trough. And what I mean by public money that is just transferred to private corporations in the name of fighting an endless war on terror. And we see it in this feeding frenzy around the world. The Green Zone is sort of, maybe, the epicenter of this feeding frenzy. But China is the new trough, because basically what the government in Beijing has said is, "We will spend whatever it takes to secure our country, and we want the latest technology and the best toys."
Naomi Klein: "I think this is an incredibly efficient, actually, a scarily efficient way of organizing society that’s actually being celebrated here, which is a hybrid of some of the worst elements of authoritarian communism—mass surveillance of the population, total lack of civil liberties, lack of a free press, lack of democratic rights, authoritarian central planning, all harnessed not to advance the goals of social justice, even in name, although there may be some lip service still paid to that, but to advance the goals of global capitalism. So it is Stalinism meets global capitalism…. There are 100,000 security officers just on Olympic duty. And to put that into perspective, the stadium itself, the Bird’s Nest Stadium holds 90,000. So there’s 90,000 spectators and 100,000 secret police keeping control of things in Beijing. So this is an incredible operation. But when you hear people like Lou Dobbs and other commentators talking about the problems in China, it’s always red China, communist China, or the Chi-coms. And it’s really this blast from the past of—you know, it’s almost as if the Cold War never ended."