This is an updated version of something I first posted in 2013, no long after the Federal election, a video (scroll down) interview with Naomi Klein. I am reposting it a) it is my go to piece that explains so much of what I am thinking and b) a lot has shifted in the previous two years. It was originally posted as a response to the election win by the Liberal National Coalition, now it is posted, with updates, as an example of moving forward towards the next election.
Naomi Klein, Canadian author of the books No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate is speaking in this 10-minute piece about the need to create a new, independent from political parties, Left.
Although this is in the US American context of left-wing groups becoming tied to the Democrat party, Klein talks about how the Right is dominating the conversation to create a rage, rage that is doing the Left no favours, by targeting their rage at the economically-invisible, instead of those who are creating the financial apocalypse.
Selected quotes from the interview:
“The problem is there’s rage across the board. The right has organised itself very effectively and with frighteningly deep pockets to provide a voice for right-wing, often racist rage. A lot of people at the center/liberal end of the spectrum spend a lot of time trying to managing rage, particularly around election time, and there really aren’t very many outlets to voice progressive rage – rage at the elites, rage at those millionaires and billionaires. And it’s a crisis – a crisis in this country that comes from the fact that there isn’t a real left. there are a lot of institutions that pretend to be an independent left and then turn into an arm of the Democratic Party around election time – and election time in this country seems to never end.
We have to build that independent left – and it has to be so strong, and so powerful, and so militant, and so radical that it becomes irresistible. Because when people speak truth like that, and then when they hear that rage, their rage, reflected in a constructive way, so that it isn’t channeled toward the most vulnerable people, but actually going up the ladder, as opposed to down the ladder, then that builds a movement, and it builds a movement that politicians can’t ignore, they can’t ignore that constituency. Because this model isn’t working at all.”
In the original post, people took except to the word “militant” perhaps regarding its use as interchangeable with “militia”. To me, militant is about discipline, principle, and unyielding. I am a vegan and have heard some people say things like “militant vegan, you know those who don’t use shampoo tested on animals” – to me that is not militant, that is very basic, to the core vegan, I mean if your shampoo is tested on animals, you aren’t a vegan. So that is what militant means to me. Uncompromising on your core beliefs.
In the original post, some people had a problem with anger. Anger is an energy, anger is what get you up in the morning and keeps you going after midnight. Apathy can be paralysing, it can make you feel powerless, like walking in quicksand, apathy is what keeps you in bed all day, easy listening on the radio and mind-numbing drivel on the tv. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.
First you get angry, then you channel that anger into energy, something productive.
I learned a long time ago that those in power don’t care that you’re angry, they care if you use that anger to do something about it.
– Al Sharpton
I find people who say “don’t get angry” aren’t really in touch with their emotions, if you don’t feel a burning, white-hot anger at what has happened to this country under PM Abbott and PM Turnbull, you must be some kind of robot. Anger does not mean losing your temper, or lashing out. Anger, to me, means being so furious at what is going on, that you need to do something about it, “doing nothing” is no longer an option.
Gough Whitlam made famous his phrase “maintain the rage” – but Whitlam’s full quote was actually “Maintain your rage and enthusiasm”, the enthusiasm part is just as important as the rage.
What I took away from this video, and people may disagree with me is knowing what your personal values are, separate from a political party, and never, ever compromising on those values.
The owners of this blog and the author do not necessarily endorse everything in this interview.