28 December 2007

Peace is anti-capitalist: Naomi Klein

“Peace is anti-capitalist,” Naomi Klein recently told a conference in Mexico that she attended with others such as John Berger and the Zapatista leader, Subcomandante Marcos. “It is capitalism which wants war”… the experience of the Latin American people offers a pointer. Here “resistance has not ceased”. The journalist spoke of another disaster, that of the “movement of movements” which touched the cities of the United States and Europe at the end of the last decade, from Seattle to Genoa. It seemed to raise a new anti-capitalist alternative from within the centre of power, but it was scattered and lost after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the “crisis point” in the hopes that another world is possible.

She thanked the Zapatistas for resisting and recognised that the movements of Latin America are the major source of inspiration for the world’s social activists. “It is not a coincidence that the indigenous people are the base of resistance to disaster.” Without dipping too deeply into the ink of Apocalypse, Klein pointed out, “never has there been a more important fight for the planet. Capitalism has led us to a suicidal route. It is not about dealing with another of its crisis. It can bring us to the end of life”.

In the world market, “the ultimate luxury on offer will be survival”. The “embedded journalist in social movements”, as she defined herself, questioned the sudden weakness of the anti-globalisation resistance which obliged activists in the United States to be “miners of inspiration” needing to look for it as their ancestors did with gold and silver in the lands of the South. The Zapatistas and the MST possess “the powerful force of resistance to the shock” of current capitalism. They have historical memory, mistrust the state and do not experience regression, that “other arm of shock”.

Far from what Gore Vidal called the “United States of Amnesia”, the people of Bolivia, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil and India certainly remember; it is not the first time they have suffered the brutal attack of the empires. “In Tabasco, many people do not believe the state will solve their problem”. She cited the popular response to the crisis in Argentina, the bombings in Madrid, the tsunami in Thailand. “Resistance started at once”.

Klein returned over and again to the concept of stories. The anti-globalisation movements told stories that the world could be changed and believed in them. Came the terrorist attacks and while they “lost faith in their stories”, power “told us new stories: clash of civilisations, war on Islam, terrorism”, that “spread like virus” in the United States, Canada and Europe. They sowed fear with torture, with Guantanamo, “and our coalition fell apart”. The writer expressed the need “almost to ask pardon” of the Zapatistas, “who did not stop resisting”. After identifying them as the initial inspiration of the anti-globalisation movement, Klein said the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) carried its message beyong the frontiers but “resistance is not exported”; it is constructed in each place.

“The current crisis of capitalism is not its last, only the vehicle to achieve the corporate advance. She described Baghdad’s Green Zone as a future model: the “paradise” for the chosen ones after the destruction. She noted the strong links among capitalism, imperialism and the major religions: they all sell the “flight of the chosen one” to the “paradise” of the “born agains” like the Christian George W. Bush. The indigenous people do not believe in these stories, “they know there is no escape”, and have the notion of their own place”.

Later in a Press conference with the alternative media, Klein said that with the Zapatistas, “you’re welcomed, but you don’t get a free ride”. She recognised them as one of the movements “most open in the world” and “one of the toughest” which “opened to us the idea of exchanging solidarity, of inter exchanges”.

Published in La Jornada, Mexico on December 18, 2007. Link:

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