1705895562 Naomi Klein Only a Biden resignation can stop Trump He

Naomi Klein: “Only a Biden resignation can stop Trump.” “He angered young people by supporting the genocide in Gaza”

The first took place in 2011 in a public toilet near the Occupy Wall Street encampment.

“Did you hear what Naomi Klein said?” one woman asked another, outraged by the criticism of that day's demonstration.

Klein, who heard her behind the door of one of the cubicles and hadn't said anything, corrected her as she left: “I think you're talking about Naomi Wolf.”

So the confusion still made some sense. Both were named Naomi and were left-wing authors of “books with great ideas”: feminism in the case of Wolf, author of the successful book The Myth of Beauty; the dissatisfaction with globalization, in Klein. They were both Jews with long dark hair. Even their partners had a common name: Avram. But later Wolf fell into the abyss of conspiracies, became an anti-vaxxer, an election denier and appeared for the first time in the program of Steve Bannon, the ideologist of Trumpism and leader of the national-populist International. Like Lewis Carroll's Alice, she fell down the rabbit hole, and the confusion went beyond mere annoyance and became inspiring a little poem that went viral: “When Naomi is small / everything is fine / when Naomi is wolf [pronúnciese Wulf] / uuuuf.”

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So during the pandemic, Klein (Montreal, 53 years old) decided to write a book based on The Other Naomi. It is entitled Doppelgänger, like a certain archetype of literature, not just fantastic, which arises from the combination of Doppel (double) and Ganger (walker) and which Freud describes as “that kind of fear that comes from what we once were knew well,” described. but that suddenly becomes strange.” It was published by Paidós and translated by Ana Pedrero and Ignacio Villoro and is hitting bookstores in Spanish.

Thanks to his successful essays No Logo (1999), a manifesto against corporate globalization, and The Shock Doctrine (2007) about Milton Friedman and his recipes for catastrophe (capitalism), Klein became one of the most influential voices of the alter-globalization generation at the turn of the century , which took to the streets in Seattle, Genoa and Porto Alegre and did so again a decade later, camping in squares from Madrid to New York. Klein devoted the following decade to fighting the denial of the future that climate change brought to the children of these protesters (and to the books This Changes Everything and Catching Fire, also in Paidós).

Doppelganger is something else: a personal and intellectual memoir of the pandemic, a cultural history of the idea of ​​the doppelganger (from Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde to Vertigo or Philip Roth's masterful novel Operation Shylock), and a treatise on misinformation and how the Internet is encourages us to create our own clones to promote a particular personal brand identity. It's about watching people you thought you knew return from the darkest corners of social media radically changed from one day to the next, and about being “speechless” in the face of conspiracy theories. The result is a brilliant artifact about the world we live in, with its spread of reality and its fertilizer for extremism, which is not without criticism of the left's frugality and the “us versus them” dialectic.

The real Naomi Klein waited shortly after dawn last Thursday in picturesque Sechelt Harbor for the arrival of the only passenger on the commercial seaplane making the trip from Vancouver. The interview was supposed to take place at the Canadian city's university, where he teaches a course on climate justice, but the meeting had to be postponed due to a snowstorm.

Klein moved with her husband and son from the United States to this remote corner of Canada's southern Pacific coast during the pandemic to “be close to her parents.” It was at this point that he began to become obsessed with his doppelganger and began taking writing lessons. “Doppelganger,” he explained from behind the wheel of his four-wheel drive as he drove along snowy roads, “came from a desire to write differently.” I was bored with traditional nonfiction and depressed by what it could accomplish. “I didn’t feel like I had the energy to write another warning book about how we only have five years left to prevent a climate catastrophe.”

QUESTIONS. From the creator of slogans like “No Logo” or “Disaster Capitalism” comes the “Mirror World”. How do you define it?

ANSWER. It has to do with the concept of the doppelganger. We have created a kind of division in society, a dividing line between “them and us”. The mirror world is not only the place where Bannon and Wolf live with their conspiracy theories, it is also a dynamic that has established itself between the center-left and the alt-right. They are like parallel realities, with media, editorials, networks and discussions that do not touch each other. They reflect each other, but do not overlap.

“Certain ideas from the anti-globalization movement have been adopted by the far right in order to distort them”

Q Like one of those police station mirrors to see without being seen?

R. In a way. Bannon and his people are watching the left, examining who they are leaving behind and what arguments should be taken up for their political project. It's similar to what Georgia Meloni does in Italy.

Q Or Vox in Spain.

R. They are all part of Bannon's international network. Coming from anti-globalization movements, I am very impressed by how certain of our ideas have been seized upon and twisted by the far right. They name globalists, banks or technology companies as their enemies, not out of anti-corporate criticism, but to attack migrants, the weak. They collect arguments that have been abandoned by the center and the left in order to adopt them in favor of the fascist agenda. Bannon interests me as a symptom of a seismic shift on the right involving Trump. As the mastermind of an international operation, he has overtaken the provincial American left. They don't know how to look beyond the borders.

The writer Naomi Klein in Vancouver in a picture from July 2023. Writer Naomi Klein in Vancouver, pictured in July 2023. Grant Harder

Q We all know someone who has fallen down the rabbit hole and comes back unrecognizable, full of conspiracy theories.

R. There is a certain arrogance on the left when it uses this image. They say: “No, we have not fallen down the rabbit hole, reality is on our side, we are committed to freedom and science.” Ultimately, believing that you are on the right side of the mirror is a distraction. That's why I talk in the book about the “shadow zones” that we prefer not to look at, but that show that we live in a world based on exploitation, pollution and colonialism and that no one is innocent. In the days of No Logo, it was all about drawing attention to something unnoticed. We can no longer pretend we don't have all the information.

Q And what the hell happened to reality?

R. I find the question of what reality is funny. I made it for Ojibwe author Jesse Wente. He told me, “Reality is a mountain.” Maybe we need to go back to basics because I'm no longer sure if Canada is real anymore or if the money is real. I don't know what reality is, but I know that mountains are real.

Q For his research he traveled into the catacombs of the Internet. He writes: “Conspiracy theorists get the facts wrong, but they get the emotions right.” Do you understand why people end up sucked into the hole? Were you tempted to let go?

R. Conspiracy theories satisfy the need to understand, even if the reasons are unclear. It's natural for people to look for answers. I look for them myself, I draw maps to explain the world based on systems like capitalism or colonialism, because these systems explain them much better than a conspiracy that says that the Jews, the Chinese or the members of the Bilderberg -clubs in Davos. to create a pandemic to enrich pharmaceutical companies. I wish it were Bill Gates' fault: it would be easier to solve the problems if we got rid of him. The more you engage with capitalism, the more resistant you become to conspiracies. The only way to counter conspiracy culture is to acknowledge that people have good reasons to be suspicious and feel betrayed. They need a scapegoat, and that is dangerous. In times of great collective disruption, like in the 1930s or today, people want explanations for why something went wrong. If they do not arrive at an analysis that invites them to find a solution together, conflicts arise. And it can get very ugly. It seems to me that we have reached this point.

“I wish it was all Bill Gates’ fault, as the conspiracy theorists say: it would be easier to solve the problems by getting rid of him.”

Q When someone like Wolf goes to the other side… is he trying to regain what he lost on that side? John Milton said, “It is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.”

R. There's something perverse about constantly knowing what you're selling works. We are all waiting for this immediate feedback on social networks. In Wolf's case, I think the opprobrium she faced following the publication of her 2019 book is essential. [Outrages, en el que interpretó erróneamente archivos sobre supuestas ejecuciones por sodomía en la Inglaterra victoriana]. It was clear to him that he would never publish an essay in traditional channels again. But the truth is that he wrote two more, plus one co-written with Bannon. Maybe you didn't find out because it happened in the mirror world. However, I don't think he does it for money. It must be because he thinks it's the right thing to do, even if it's part of an incredible delusion.

Q How did you react to Doppelganger's post?

R. She blamed a conspiracy to destroy her reputation, as if she hadn't destroyed it herself. The conspiracy is as follows: my husband [el cineasta y periodista Avi Lewis, que en 2021 se presentó a las elecciones federales en Canadá] works for pharmaceutical companies, when in reality he limited himself to speaking at events to expand universal health care in Canada, which isn't exactly what pharmaceutical companies want. He also found out that my father-in-law was the UN Ambassador for AIDS in Africa. This apparently makes him an agent for pharmaceutical companies. According to this theory, they both asked me to write this book to attack them. I don't pay much attention to her, although her husband worries me more: he has more guns.

Q Do you think banning people from social media is a good idea or that it will make them stronger? In X, Wolf introduces himself as “the one who was voted out eight times and is still right.”

R. It's not true that you can take away someone's platform. There is no power to expel them from all existing networks. The right has managed to turn these futile attempts into decorations.

Q In the book, he defines social networks as a “disgusting, overcrowded global bathroom.” In the case of Twitter, the toilet also belongs to Elon Musk.

R. Since he bought it, things have gotten much worse. Part of the problem is that we no longer trust the media. The more we rely on these corporate platforms to get information, the worse this problem becomes.

Q It seems that a part of the youth sees the extreme right as something exciting compared to the boring and prudish left. Like someone who enjoys a brutal Ricky Gervais monologue more than politically correct jokes.

R. It's true and it's dangerous. It has to do with the left's passion for censorship, with the policing of speech and the cruelty it displays when someone crosses the line. We could talk about cancel culture if the concept weren't so loaded. I have no doubt that there is sometimes a certain degree of violence in it, which tends to mislead anyone who steps out of line. I'm not the only one on the left who worries about this. For these young people, the left might be suffocating, a place where one mistake can cause your friends to turn against you, and they might believe that the right is an area where one can disagree, too if that's not true. . There is control on both sides of the mirror, but I think the right makes better use of this strategy to rally people to their cause. I wish the left would think more about fattening our ranks instead of purging them. That's part of the problem at universities, where canceling speeches from people you disagree with has become the norm. The discourse about Palestine is now severely restricted. And we have fought this fight for free speech with our hands tied because the same people who say not to censor this speech have tried to cancel it [el pensador conservador canadiense] Jordan Peterson a few months ago. Nowadays, it is enough for someone who sees themselves as a victim to feel guilty if something is no longer said. This politics of difference serves to censor songs like “From the river to the sea” or the display of Palestinian flags on university campuses.

Q In perspective, the start of the pandemic was an illusion for those who believed we would emerge better from it. Meanwhile, on the other side of the mirror, they were full of hatred for masks or vaccines. Overall: We came out worse.

R. There was something beautiful, and at the same time it revealed our contradictions: we applauded the toilets, but we hoarded toilet paper. The problem with capitalism is that it keeps us in a state of panic, scarcity and uncertainty and encourages our selfishness. That's why I believe in working to change this system. There is no future if we maintain the status quo; Things have to change, and they are changing. Unlike my previous books, Doppelganger is not so clear about its enemy; I could be myself. It is a more intimate essay. It poses as much or more of a threat than any of my other books, or even all of them combined. And it's a horror story.

“The problem with capitalism is that it keeps us in a state of panic, scarcity and uncertainty and encourages our selfishness.”

Q The pandemic was the final shock and at the same time the moment when the far right adopted its theories from the shock doctrine to claim that, like in Chile in the 70s or after Hurricane Katrina, power exploited our fears to bring about big changes …

R. It was like having an out-of-body experience. But the shock doctrine remains. In Mileis Argentina or after the fires in Maui this summer, which were used to boost the real estate market. And it is passing before our eyes in Israel.

Q Is genocide being committed in Gaza, as South Africa claims before the International Court of Justice?

R. It seems to me that they are dealing with a very robust case. The biggest argument is Israeli officials speaking publicly about the depopulation of Gaza and the need to relocate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Palestinians. If this isn't ethnic cleansing, I don't know what is. What Israel is doing is the clearest and most violent example of the shock doctrine imaginable: We have a far-right government with explicit plans and hopes to depopulate the West Bank and especially Gaza, which has always posed the greatest demographic threat to the idea of ​​one Jewish majority. They immediately used October 7th to advance their most radical dreams and ambitions. Be careful, I'm not saying it was a conspiracy, but rather an opportunity for a group of extremely opportunistic people. And yes, I think the entire operation meets the definition of genocide.

Q In Doppelgänger she talks about a visit to Gaza during which she was harassed by the Israeli army. Were you surprised by the October 7th attack?

R. It was a surprise for everyone, including Netanyahu. Because I was there and know the architecture [de la ocupación]I understood why some people equated it with escaping prison. Of course I was horrified by the extent of the Hamas massacre. As someone who has long been part of the Palestinian solidarity movement, I know how important it is for Palestine that international law means something; That is what the South African case is about. These conventions are only as powerful as the moral force that underlies them. That's why it was worrying for me at the time that some leftists spoke with indifference about violations of international law. [de Israel]. I wrote about it and they attacked me. It was not the first, but the first time that these attacks also came from the left.

Q Is anti-Semitism growing in North America?

R. All hate speech is increasing. The right uses real anti-Semitism as a weapon to justify itself. I hear older Jews convinced they have the mob on their doorstep. I think they have instilled this fear in them so that they uncritically support Israel.

Q Trump won a landslide victory early in the primaries. Is there anything that could block his path to the White House?

R. Honestly, just a resignation from Joe Biden. He has made young voters so angry by supporting the Israeli genocide in Gaza that I doubt he can win. Not to mention Arab voters in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.

“I don’t know anyone who isn’t frustrated by everything they have to do to get their image out there on the internet.”

Q Re-reading “No Logo” brings up ideas that now sound naive. Not so much because of the book, but because of the brutal development of turbo-capitalism. He wrote about the power of brands, but he didn't see that we would all become one.

R. It was something that started to happen to famous people. So it seemed ridiculous to think that we could all maintain our brand. As? Place ads in the newspaper? There was no Instagram or TikTok. And look at us now: I don't know anyone who isn't frustrated by what they have to do to feed their online image. This has profound implications for our understanding of what life is or what friendships are for.

Q What was unpredictable was the rise of films about brands, from Air to Tetris, and that one of them, Barbie, was thrust into the center of what appeared to be a profound cultural debate about feminism.

R. Barbie is like a sugar rush. We all like it while it's happening. But then you feel bad, you're ashamed and you have a Barbie hangover. All these movies Mattel wants to make… remind me of artificial intelligence, another expression of our age of doppelgängers: it's a machine of reproduction and imitation that remixes culture in ways that might seem innovative but aren't.

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