Naomi Klein

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Dec 5 07:45:41 MST 2002

Somebody wrote me privately:


What is your basic take the ideas of Naomi Klein? And, do you think the
anti-globalization movement has stagnated, or has potential to go
further, in a revolutionary direction.


I am not sure you were on the list when we had a big flame war over the
killing of Carlo Giuliani during the Genoa riots, which appeared to be
provoked by cop-provocateurs disguised as black block activists.

At the time I criticized much of the Marxist left for adapting to the
black block and white underwear, et al. My perspective was based on the
need for mass action, not "bold" confrontations with the cops. I should
add that it is sometimes necessary to fight the cops, even with guns and
clubs, but that you should think in terms of defensive formulations as
the Minneapolis Teamsters did in the 1930s.

I think the anti-globalalization movement has gone into a crisis for
obvious reasons: 9/11. With the war on terror, many of the NGO's and
anti-globalization ideologues such as Naomi Klein have been under
enormous pressure. In an April 25, 2002 Guardian article warning against
"anti-semitism", she wrote:

 >>It is equally possible to be pro-Palestinian independence without
adopting a simplistic "pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel" dichotomy, a mirror
image of the good-versus-evil equations so beloved of President Bush.<<

Can one imagine somebody warning against a simplistic
"pro-Vietnam/anti-USA" dichotomy in 1969? It seems to me that unless we
make such clear distinctions, we will be useless when the shit hits the
fan as it surely will in the coming months.

The other problem I have with the anti-globalization movement is that
the anti-capitalism, such as it is, seems utterly resistant to closing
the circle and embracing Marxism. The whole discourse is in terms of
greedy corporations, etc. If you are going to build an anti-capitalist
movement, you'd better be rooted in a sharp-eyed class analysis. Our
enemies certainly are.


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