Naomi Klein’s New Book Is a Manual for a Movement

Source: In These Times

This Changes Everything argues that only grassroots movements, not politicians or the 1%, can prevent climate disaster.

It is fitting that Naomi Klein’s latest work, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, was released this week in September. On Sunday, tens of thousands will pour into the streets of midtown Manhattan for the People’s Climate March. On the eve of yet another United Nations summit aimed at slashing global greenhouse gas emissions, the action could well be the single largest environmental demonstration in history.   

This Changes Everything is not just another “call to action” to stop runaway global warming before it’s too late. We have seen plenty such pleas in the past. They’re often aimed at elites, the political and business leaders who’ve brought the planet to the brink of ecological collapse and who can, the logic goes, just as easily pull us back from the edge.

This hasn’t worked yet, and Klein’s new book is a product of this spectacular inaction. In it, she argues that only collective action from below—movements like the mass of workers and students marching in New York this weekend—can solve the climate crisis in a humane way.

Her thesis is breathtakingly simple and radical: The structures of international capitalism, eternally committed to relentless economic growth, are not capable of addressing the climate crisis. Only a more redistributive economic model geared toward meeting human needs rather than churning out profits—call that system whatever you want—is up for the task.

She makes this an easy conclusion to reach. As in her two previous works, No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, Klein excels at making radical demands seem so effortlessly logical and palatable. 

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