Naomi Klein Interview: “A 3-Day Week Will Help to Save Life on Earth”

By Naomi Klein / bigissue.com

No Logo author Naomi Klein says we must revolutionise our working lives if we are to combat climate change and save the free world…

Imagine an ordinary, full-time working week, one that requires just 21 hours of hard graft. Imagine a less frantic existence – three days on, four days off. Imagine more time with the family, more time strolling round the park, more time listening to your favourite music while cooking at a leisurely pace. A lovely idea – but does it really stack up?

The phrase ‘three-day week’ might, for readers of a certain age, conjure up memories of the early 1970s: electricity blackouts and TV broadcasts stopping at 10.30pm. Yet a growing number of people are advocating a 21-hour working week as the solution to the 21st century’s most pressing problems.

Naomi Klein is the latest big thinker to back the idea of a shorter working week and sees it as part of a transition toward a low-carbon economy and a move away from “shitty” long-hour, low-paid jobs, as she outlines to The Big Issue…

When did you begin to think free-market economics are a threat to life on Earth?

When I started hanging around with climate change deniers, it became clear they understood the current economic system could not survive if climate change was real. You can’t hold on to ideas like freedom from regulation and liberating profit in the face of a crisis like climate change, which clearly demands collective action and strong regulation. We need to cut our emissions so deeply that it threatens the whole growth model of free-market capitalism.

Some economists are now talking about moving beyond the idea of growth and our obsession with GDP. Is that a good thing?

It’s exciting that people are talking about these things. We know chasing endless growth doesn’t deliver well-being or economic stability and is leading to widening inequality. So it’s much easier to challenge now. It’s really about having a strategic economy, focusing on parts of the economy we want to expand or extract.

You write about “selective degrowth” and ideas like a shorter working week and a universal basic income to discourage “shitty work”. Do you think people are ready for those ideas?

I think people know they’re overworked. And overworking is intimately tied to a particularly wasteful model of consumption – you have no time after work to do anything other than grab a takeaway, and less time for low-consumption activities like cooking.

Does the environment movement need to become more radical?

The environmental movement has a history of elitism. Not the entire movement – there have been grassroots outsiders engaging in confrontation tactics – but there’s a history of conservation and hunting clubs, bringing in royalty and so on. It’s not exactly been part of the left, which is why there’s been suspicion between progressive political movements and the environmental movement. There’s a lot of work to be done between natural allies.

So it’s time to stop pretending big companies are going to change everything?

There’s been a bias among many big environmental organisations to build coalitions with other elite groups. You’d be amazed by how much time green groups in the US spend thinking about how to get the Pentagon using green energy. Really? Is that the best we can hope for?

The idea we’re all guilty is demobilising because it prevents us directing our anger at the institutions most responsible

And it’s time to get angry?

Yes – I think people should be angry. A lot of environmentalist discourse has been about erasing responsibility: “We’re all in this together… We’re all equally responsible.” Well, no – you, me and Exxon (Mobil) are not all in this together.The idea we’re all guilty is demobilising because it prevents us directing our anger at the institutions most responsible.

Do you think working people will see the connection between climate change and their own pressing struggles?

Most people don’t have good choices. They use fossil fuels because they have to – not because they love Exxon or Shell. We’re seeing an important discussion around fuel poverty. Fossil fuels aren’t delivering energy people can afford easily, if about a quarter of people in this country are choosing not to turn the heat on at times because they can’t afford the bills. I think people will start to see that action on climate change can address pressing issues.

How do you stay optimistic when the picture looks so bleak?

I don’t think you can engage with this material without being on an emotional rollercoaster. Our elites have never treated climate change as a real crisis, they only pay lip service to it. But a wide social movement can change that. Pressure from below can force recalcitrant elites to respond.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, by Naomi Klein (£20, Allen Lane), is out now

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Amy on torture USA

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Jon Stewart Rips Dick Cheney on Torture : Is He ‘Righteous Warrior or a Psychopath?’

The Young Turks FULL SHOW Dec. 15, 2014

Hour 1: Cenk hosting. Hostage crisis in Sydney Australia. In Pennsburg PA Sgt. Bradley Stone kills 6 people in a mass shooting with warnings. Dick Cheney continued to defend the torture tactics on Meet the Press yesterday. Cheney’s communications people saw MTP as the best platform to get out their message, the way they want to. Video of Cheney claiming that what Americans went through on 9-11 was real torture, not what detainees went thru. Video of Cheney dismissing rectal rehydration techniques as torture since we did it. Video of Cheney outlining why he’s ok with torturing and killing some innocent detainees. He also sticks by his narrative that the torture tactics worked to stop future attacks, despite evidence that it didn’t work.

As more revelations come out, DC is circling the wagons to make sure no one is held responsible. Video of Cheney claiming that torture worked to capture bin Laden and other potential terrorists. The current head of the CIA has hinted this may happen again. Many of the pictures and video of the torture have been destroyed or redacted so that Americans can’t see the reality of what we did. Right after Cheney’s appearance on MTP, Democratic Sen Ron Wyden, who is against torture was shaky on whether or not the people responsible for it will be held accountable, including the head of the CIA, Brennan. Rep Peter King of NY told CNN that the biggest problem is that we aren’t supporting the CIA agents that carried out the torture program. John Yoo, the Justice Dept lawyer that wrote the legal justification for torture couldn’t even defend these tactics. Now that revelations of rectal feeding have become more and more widespread, defenders of the torture tactic have come forward, claiming that it was a medical procedure to feed the detainees unwilling to eat. Videos of Karl Rove and Michael Hayden defending the move. Despite the torture report that claimed Pres Bush wasn’t fully aware of all of the torture techniques, Rove and Cheney both dispute that he was in the dark. Cenk talks about how they are willing to throw Bush under the bus so that they won’t end up there.

Hour 2: Ana joins Cenk for SCS. After the Sydney hostage situation took place, citizens in the country are looking to protect innocent Muslims from potential retaliatory attacks. After noticing some Muslims in religious attire were afraid to ride alone, some other Australian citizens offered to ride with them and protect them. It has been organized under the hashtag #IllRideWIthYou via Twitter. This sparked Cenk’s sarcastic idea to ride with Right Wingers that feel threatened each time a fellow Conservative commits a mass murder. Uber’s system sparked a huge price surge to drive customers out of the attacked area in Sydney, 4 times more than normal rates. After a Cleveland Browns player wore a t-shirt in support of justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford, the police department released a statement bashing him for being ignorant. The Browns organization did not simply fold to the complaints of the police.

Bill Cosby told an interviewer that he expected the Black media to uphold standards of excellence, and go in with a neutral mind when discussing his rape story. When asked about his wife’s reaction to the allegations, he said its the love and strength of womanhood that has gotten them through it. A cop pulled over an elderly driver with expired stickers and proceeded to tackle him and tase him. At the end of it, the stickers turned out to be within the law. A charter pilot has been fired for letting two young starlets take control of the plane in mid flight. A instructional video from the South Dakota Highway Patrol has released a PSA called “Don’t Jerk & Drive” . A 17 year old high school student has made up to 72 million dollars in trading stocks.

 

Time to boycott Israel?

Author and activist Norman Finkelstein discusses whether the two-state solution can solve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

 SEE VIDEO HERE
“Prospects have never been better for settling the Israel-Palestine conflict,” argues Norman Finkelstein, the controversial scholar and author of The Holocaust Industry and Method and Madness.But after more violence, yet another round of failed talks and 20 years of Israeli land annexation, is the two-state solution really still an option?

If the two-state settlement … is ‘Wizard of Oz stuff’, then one-state is ‘Man on the Moon stuff’.

In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges Norman Finkelstein on his proposal for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict, and explores whether he has changed his tone on some of his more incendiary criticism of Israel.

Once described as an ‘American Radical’, Finkelstein has also been branded by some a liberal Zionist, for his opposition to the one-state solution and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which he vehemently describes as “a cult.”

But does the BDS movement violate international law, and does it really aim to dismantle the Israeli state?

Joining the discussion are Salma Karmi-Ayyoub, a leading Palestinian activist and human rights lawyer in London; Jeff Halper, the director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions in Jerusalem; and Oliver Kamm, a writer and journalist at The Times and The Jewish Chroniclenewspapers, and outspoken supporter of Israel.

Time to Boycott Israel?  with Norman Finkelstein will be broadcast on Friday, December 12 at 2000GMT and will be repeated on Saturday, November 15 at 1200GMT; Sunday, November 16 at 0100GMT; and Monday, November 17 at 0600GMT.

Join the conversation on Facebook and on Twitter

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Jon Stewart on the torture report

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Peter King defends torture as prisoners ‘in awkward positions’

Peter King
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., whose district includes Long Island, expresses his anger and disappointment during a cable TV interview, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Jan. 2, 2013.

 

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

12/10/14 04:54 PM
Even among House Republicans, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.)’ has never exactly been a meek wallflower. But just over the last few months, the New York Republican seems to have taken an alarming turn.
When Americans were concerned about Ebola, King suggested the public should no longer trustpublic-health officials. When Americans were concerned about ISIS, he made up a story about an attempted 2011 attack that didn’t exist. After the Ferguson grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, King complained that President Obama hadn’t shown enough support for Michael Brown’s killer. Last week, King blamed Eric Garner’s death, not on the chokehold, but on his weight.
And just when it seemed the Republican congressman couldn’t possibly make matters any worse, Andrew Kaczynski uncovers KIng’s most gut-wrenching comments to date.
Rep. Peter King says the 525-page Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention techniques does not detail torture, but instead just procedures which create what King described as “tremendous discomfort.”
Speaking with both local radio and NewsMaxTV’s America’s Forum Wednesday, the New York Republican added it would be a crime if we didn’t take these actions and that those who support the release of the Senate’s scathing report have an attitude of “hate America first,” “self-loathing,” and “self-hatred.”
In one of the interviews, King said of waterboarding and related abuses, “I don’t believe these are torture at all… We’re not talking about anyone being burned or stabbed or cut or anything like that. We’re talking about people being made to stand in awkward positions, have water put into their nose and into their mouth. Nobody suffered any lasting injuries from this.”
I’ve seen a lot of Republicans this week express support for torture. Pete King’s absurdities are arguably the most depressing.
If we were talking about forcing detainees to “stand in awkward positions,” it’d be a very different conversation than the discussion we’re actually having.
Rectal feeding and hydration were forced on detainees without medical need.
According to the CIA’s own records, the report found, one detainee’s lunch tray, “consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused.”
Now, either Peter King knows about this and doesn’t consider it torture, or Peter King is popping off from a position of profound ignorance. Either way, perhaps he can spare us the “hate America first” garbage.
As for whether or not detainees “suffered any lasting injuries” from U.S. policies, I’m reminded of a story Rachel highlighted on last night’s show:
“According from today’s report, in November 2002, CIA Officer One ordered that the prisoner be shackled to the wall of his cell in a position that required the detainee to rest on the bare concrete floor. The man was wearing only a sweatshirt as the CIA officer had ordered that the rest of his clothing be removed when he had been judged to be uncooperative during an earlier interrogation.
“The next day, the guards found the man’s dead body. An internal CIA review and autopsy assessed that he likely died from hyperthermia. They must found the dead body still shackled to the wall – still mostly naked.”
Peter King and I probably disagree on quite a bit, but I’m going to hope we can agree that death constitutes a “lasting injury.”
Given his recent antics, it’s probably too much to hope that Congressman King will take a long look in the mirror, coming to terms with his own standards of decency and morality, but given his reaction to the torture report, it would appear such reflection is both necessary and overdue.

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