Naomi Klein to Occupy Wall Street: Get Organized

NaomiKlein.jpg
Naomi Klein spoke at Occupy Wall Street Thursday evening.
Naomi Klein, the Canadian journalist famous for her anti-corporatist books No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, spoke to the protesters at Occupy Wall Street yesterday evening, telling them their movement can follow through on the promises of the global trade protests she participated in a decade ago.

Speaking through cycles of call-and-response because the protesters have been denied a sound permit, Klein urged the protesters not to lapse into structureless disorganization.

"Being horizontal and deeply democratic is wonderful," she told them. "But these principles are compatible with the hard work of building structures and institutions that are sturdy enough to weather the storms ahead. I have great faith that this will happen."

The complete text of Klein's speech can be found here.

Klein's prepared remarks clearly rallied the occupiers, but some of her most interesting comments came as answers to questions posed to her afterwards. Asked how the movement can withstand the supposed sympathies of establishment politicians with questionable motives, Klein said "Don't worry about it. What will make this movement vulnerable is if it doesn't develop its own democratic mechanisms to speak for itself. Then it's vulnerable to people using your energy to fight for limited small changes. It's in your power to not let this happen. You are not cannon fodder for Washington policy wonks."

And when another protester asked: "Some Democrat leaders say this is the answer to the Tea Party. Why do you disagree with that?", Klein's answer was terse: "I think this is the answer to the Democratic party.

"We can have allies who are elected representatives," she said. "But I don't think that's what this movement is about.

What's the most powerful thing we can do as individuals to spread the movement?, Klein was asked.

"Tell your friends how fun it is," she said. "That's the most dangerous thing about it."

Another protester asked Klein a version of a question on many occupier's lips: "How do we transform the energy of the movement into something that is actually happening?"

"Something is happening," she said. "You're giving the people courage. You're telling them they're not alone and they're not crazy. You're giving them a space to find one another. But this is not group therapy -- we also want to change the world. This movement has to create democratic structures. It just can't happen overnight, but I beg you not to fetishize not having a structure. We made that mistake, and it destroyed our movement."

[npinto@villagevoice.com] [@macfathom]

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17 comments
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Old English applied the word to Roman roads in Britain such as Ermin Street, Watling Street, etc. Later it acquired a dialectical meaning of "straggling village", which were often laid out on the verges of Roman roads and these settlements often became named Stretton. In the Middle Ages, a road was a way people travelled, with street applied specifically to paved ways

Morgan
Morgan

Ipurchased the book The American Republic Manifestum from Amazon. When I got itI of course read it. If these words are true, then the author" AnAmerican" will start a revolution in America not seen since 1770. This isbigger than any protest I have ever seen. The rest of the world should readthis book, because it could happen in your country as well. If the old Americafalls with this new republic then we all are in for one hell of aride...http://american-republic.org/

Shinajudheen Kothamangalam
Shinajudheen Kothamangalam

Dear Naomi  you are not alone... we are tumps up with you against corparates till the end of last breath..

Alan Hamid
Alan Hamid

There is a need for new business model without greed being a part of it.  The model has to be a social enterprise, completely operational and profitable through social collaboration.  

The way I see ows is that people in the park, gather to tell that they are mad as hell and they are not gonna take it anymore.  Bring on the corporate spring.

Thomboes
Thomboes

 THE OWS FIX’IN TO MARCH SONG Well c’mon all you ladies and men,Your Uncle Sam needs some help again.He’s got himself in a terrible jam,Over there in Afghanistan.So shut down iMac and get some sun.You’re gonna have a whole lotta fun! Refrain:And it’s 1, 2, 3 what are you march’in for?I don’t think you give a damn.You don’t care ‘bout Pakistan.And it’s 5, 6, 7 open up the Pearly Gates.There ain’t no time to wonder why.Whoopee!  We’re all gonna die! Come on Wall Street you can’t stay quiet.Look out your windows, it ain’t no riot.We’re the People, we want the money you stole.And tossin’ you in jail is our one goal.You better hope by the time we’re done,there’s a place for you to run. Refrain: Come on mothers through the land,join your kids and take a stand.Come on fathers we need you too,it’s the Bankster’s Waterloo.Be the first one in your town,to bring their shady system down. Refrain: © 9/26/2011 Trucker Tom thanks “Country Joe and the Fish” for the inspiration.

Christian
Christian

Your headline echoes the mainstream dismissal of OWS. Better : Naomi Klein to Occupy Wall Street: Tell your friends how fun it is!

DamOTclese2
DamOTclese2

She's a left wing corporate shit hole Democrat, she's part of the problem. We don't need shitting Democrats and shitting Republicans to waltz in and hijack the people's rebellion. Fuck her! Fuck Obama. Fuck all these shitting political fuck holes that all work for our nation's enemies.

bytheC
bytheC

Beautifully written speech.  We have many problem's facing us.  Most of them can be boiled down to the Corporate takeover of our Democracy.  Cutting off the head of the snake would be a step in the right direction.  In addition, we do need to reset our moral compass.  This "let him die!" angry attitude we are seeing coming from the right is not the American I know.  They are rooting for the Corporate Kleptocrats so they can STEAL what is left of our great country.  Naomi gets it right in the Shock Doctrine.  They are pushing through all kinds of unpopular legislation that take away our freedoms and stealing what belongs to "We the People" in the name of austerity.

Cvan
Cvan

Sorry, but Naomi Klein does no more than take thoughtful researched writings and simplify them.  She has no original bone in her body, or at least her fingers!

Sakara
Sakara

figures, a foreigner coming to usa to bad mouth usa politics.

little miss canadian sunshine should have told the mostly white bread crowd to find another hobby, cause that's what this sham of a protest is.

it's respectable to protest against white wall street----racist to protest against obama; that's the only reason for this protest.

and just as the 1968 liberal protest/riot in chicago, all these protests are gonna do is....elect a republican president.

chicago 7 protester jerry rubin even became...a wall street broker.

so, enjoy while you can, cause this liberal stoopidness is just making sure obama gets kicked out, and a generic republican, any republican, takes his place.

Mikael Kallavuo
Mikael Kallavuo

An own mass media for the 99 percents!The non-violence movement is changing the world. The Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and Spanish M15- movement have been successfully. The question is how they could transform the society for longer time? What is missing from our democracy? In many countries the leaders from non-violence movements are getting power. Not long ago in Ukraine, Georgia and Serbia the people did make a real non-violence revolutions. What can we today learn from these very brave people in the beginning of 2100-century? Why these lands have fallen back, why there is not more equality and more democratic activities? Why in so many democratic countries the new politicians and parties lose their trust? How can we help that the new non-violence movement in Arab Spring, Europe, USA and elsewhere will have lasting effect?In many countries the leaders from non-violence movements are getting power. Not long ago in Ukraine, Georgia and Serbia the people did make a real non-violence revolutions. What can we today learn from these very brave people in the beginning of 2100-century? Why these lands have fallen back, why there is not more equality and more democratic activities? Why in so many democratic countries the new politicians and parties lose their trust? How can we help that the new non-violence movement in Arab Spring, Europe, USA and elsewhere will have lasting effect?In a democracy should be a balance between economic, politic and media. But now the economic owns the media and can strongly influence the ongoing discussions and politics. In every elections the parties need a lot of attention to get votes. And most attention they do get from the mass media. To the advertising in election campaigns the politicians did spend about 2 -3 bn in 2010 in USA. And those billions are flooding from economic sector (Le Monde diplomatigue, page 10 - 11, September 2011). In addition the mass media lifts politicians, which have "suitable" opinions, to positive public eye, like it was reported for example in Great Britain with the resent media scandal with media mogul Rubert Murdoch. So when the Arab Spring and other non-violence movements raise a new, fresh generation of politicians to the power it should actively prevent the corruptive influence from the mass media and economic. This new movement can change and reform the relation to the mass media, if they would target it as one fundamental improvement in democracy. Noam Chomsky have already decades spoken, that the key to the real democracy is behind the mass media.Three ideas how the new movement could make an own mass mediaIn addition the mass media lifts politicians, which have "suitable" opinions, to positive public eye, like it was reported for example in Great Britain with the resent media scandal with media mogul Rubert Murdoch. So when the Arab Spring and other non-violence movements raise a new, fresh generation of politicians to the power it should actively prevent the corruptive influence from the mass media and economic. This new movement can change and reform the relation to the mass media, if they would target it as one fundamental improvement in democracy. Noam Chomsky have already decades spoken, that the key to the real democracy is behind the mass media.Three ideas how the new movement could make an own mass mediaThere are a strong need for good independent information. The oppositions to the ruling powers, economics and mass media has been growing so powerfully all over the world, that the "indignations" could create own mass medias. 1. Their financing should be cooperative and lasting. All kinds of institutions, organisations, human rights and environments organisations, trade unions, theatres, galleries, hospitals, small communities, individuals etc. could each begun to pay a small payment every month ( 10 or 50 or 2000 dollars). 2. Together they could make enough to have a professional media maybe with 100 - 150 journalists. 3. In association with all their supporting organisations, professors and speakers the new media could get good information, experts, articles and discussions without the interest from economics or old parties. The start should be with one already existing independent media (like Democracy Now). The internet makes it now possible to spread to the each country. That could create in a society an open platform, so that the new ideas can get more powerfully. Through free and creative ideas the new mass media could influence the public opinion and lawmakers, which could better control especially the investment companies. So the really free mass media could be in important keyroll to a healthier democracy, laws, environment and justice.If this new movement will grow, it urgent needs an own big media.A media for the 99 percents!With best regardsMikael Kallavuofreelance journalistHelsinki, Finland

E.Pivaral
E.Pivaral

IF WE DON'T APROVE THE GOVERNMENT IS RUNNING THE ECONOMY, HEALTH CARE, THE MILITARY, OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM, OUR FOOD SYSTEM, AND MANY OTHER ISSUES ..... THIS IS HAPPENING FOR MANY MANY YEARS... ARMY AND PENTAGON SPEND SO MUCH OF OUR MONEY ...MILITARY AND SECURITY CONTRACTORS  ?   AMERICA IS BROKE..THE VERY POWERFUL FEW CONTROL OUR GOVERNMENT ...

Songbyrd76
Songbyrd76

What an amazing & articulate speech...what disgusting behavior by the police & what a shame to deny protestors a sound permit!  They are afraid & our numbers grow...the 99% here & all over the world have had enough....we will make our public servants serve us...not corporate greed!  I'm inspired!

Shelley
Shelley

You've obviously never read her books.

Crystalan25
Crystalan25

What do u mean white bread, haha did u not see the diversity of protestors, and as u know nothing about this let me break it down. Its not left it is not right, it united. About joining together to make changes. And obama is just a distraction from the real issues. A scapegoat by ppl like you, get over yourself. Educate yourself on what this is really about. It all comes back to the 1 percent end the fed end fractional banking.

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