Ep 12: In which I have an epic chat with award-winning author Naomi Klein about the lessons we're learning during this historic period, the decisions we need to make before the Machine is turned back on, the coming US election, and much more
This is the podcast companion to our latest Honest Government Ad - The Machine. If you haven't seen the video, you can watch it here.
You can follow Naomi Klein here: @NaomiAKlein
Naomi's books and work: NaomiKlein.org
The climate justice foundation co-founded by Naomi Klein: The Leap
And here's the article I mentioned by Mehdi Hasan in The Intercept about the deal between Bernie's and Biden's campaigns.
Music featured in this podcast courtesy of Tom Day
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Hey everyone Giordano here from The Juice Media Welcome back to The Juice Media podcast, a companion to the Honest Government Ad series. This is Episode 12. A companion to our Honest Government Ad, The Machine -
scientists had been warning us for decades to prepare for this crisis, did we? Of course not. The machine said there was no profit in preventing future crises. So instead, most of us opted for an alternative policy - total fucking panic, dead people and bullshit.
In part one of this podcast - episode 11, we focused on the Australian government's response to the COVID pandemic. But in this episode, I'm going to zoom out and focus on the bigger picture and talk about some of the lessons that we've learned during this historic moment we're in - just as governments are pushing to turn the machine back on. If I could have one wish about who to sit down with and chat about what's happening on the global stage. My dream guest, it would be someone like, I don't know, maybe Naomi Klein. Fortunately, Naomi Klein happens to be a huge fan of the Honest Government Ads. So that's who my guest is today. For those not already familiar with her, Naomi Klein is an award winning
journalist, and best selling author of seven books published in over 30 languages including the Shock Doctrine, This Changes Everything and of course the cult classic No Logo. I thought I'd cover all the logos on my gear today. That's my Naomi Klein flex. Naomi Klein is also senior correspondent for The Intercept and professor at Rutgers University and co-founder of the climate justice organisation, The Leap, Naomi has been featured in shit tons of major newspapers and magazines. So I assume the only reason she agreed to come on our very non-major podcast is because she shares our passion for exposing government shitfuckery. After seeing her share many of our Honest Government Ads over the last year, I thought, gee, maybe I should try my luck and invite her on to the podcast. So I did and to my surprise, she said yes. So here we are. Welcome to the Juice Media Podcast, Naomi Klein.
First of all, I just wanted to ask you, how are you? Whenever I speak to anyone in the US and particularly in your part of the US around New York City, it feels like I'm talking to someone who's been in a, you know, in a disaster area, in a war zone.
How are you and your loved ones?
Thank you for asking. Um, yeah, it's pretty crappy here. Um, and it's really raw where we are, it's, we're still very much in it, we're in a COVID hotspot and, and hundreds of people are still dying every day. And thankfully, our family is healthy. That wasn't always true throughout this. And I'm Canadian, I moved to this part of the world a year and a half, almost two years ago. I came here for a job at a university that has now closed and it's been, I think, a really homesick period for us because we feel we have wonderful friends here in the States but our whole family is in Canada and our oldest friends are all there and it's, it's - and we're navigating this crazy US for-profit healthcare system and it really sucks. So yeah, we want to go home.
I can I can imagine. But look, I'm glad to hear you, you and your loved ones are healthy at least but at least it's um, I suppose the firsthand experience of many of the things that you've been talking about in, especially in regards to health care and access to, you know, the basic essentials - you're used to the Canadian system. And now you get a first hand experience and what this is like.
Yeah, I think it's also a first hand experience, like I've been writing about shock and the, you know, the reason why, you know, our elites use these moments of disaster and crisis to push through their wish list of horrible policies that make things even worse when the next disaster comes. And I've been writing writing about this for almost 20 years. And the truth is, I've always been writing about it at some kind of a distance, you know, I go to the shocked zone, you know, to Iraq after the invasion or New Orleans after Katrina, but it's, you know - it it's not my disaster, you know, I've had that luxury of being a visitor, a voyeur, right and documenting, and sort of seeing like, okay, yeah, so people's like sense of emergency and trauma is being exploited. But what I've realised over the past couple of months is I've never really lived it the way we're living it now. Like, I understand the Shock Doctrine, but I'm still subject to it. Like I'm still completely discombobulated, and I can't think straight and I'm so worn down and it's like, I'm like the Shock Doctrine girl. And I'm just like, I'm sorry, I'm just like, too shocked right now to deal with this. I can't write anything. I can barely think so. Yeah, it's been weird.
It must be a trip, and I feel like probably learning experience lessons are the some of the most valuable things that we're learning through this period. That's actually one of the questions that I wanted to ask you and referring to the climate - climate emergency. But I'll get to that in a second. Before before we get to that I really just wanted to say, you know, still as part of our welcome onto the show, and I say us because although I'm interviewing you on my own, we have a broader team. You just met half of our family and and one of our actors, Ellen. I was talking to Lucy last night while I was thinking about, you know, this interview, and she said, Have you met Naomi before? And I said, No, not not really, no, I haven't. She said that's really weird. It feels like we have and she said, 'Maybe it's because we've always had her books always on our bookshelf', you know, for most of our life, and it kind of feels like you've been a presence, and I think a lot of our listeners will feel the same way, that you're a very familiar voice for explaining and chronicling the world that we live in. And, you know, it reminded me of something when I watched your interview with Greta in the US when she visited last year, and you started off by saying, You told the audience it's the first day that that we've met each other. But I feel like we know each other. Can you talk a bit about that feeling? What did you mean when you said that?
Yeah, I mean, I appreciate what you say because I, you know, and I feel like I know you too, because I love your videos, and that's why we're doing this and they, they're just so savage. And so sharp and I love sharing them and everybody always loves it when I do. And, you know, it just it just hits that they always hit just the exact right note of disdain that our elite so richly deserved. And I appreciate that because, you know, we're often far too, too polite and deferential - for people who really don't deserve it at all. Um, so that feeling of some familiarity is mutual and I think having I've been writing these books now, for more For more than 20 years, and I do realise now that that there is this kind of cohort where we grew up together and we have been understanding the world together and I write about movements, right. So like, I'm not somebody sitting on high saying, These are the truths. You know, I'm a, I'm a journalist that, you know, I, I immerse myself in movements and then come back and write about them. And I always see my books as a kind of collective process - with Greta, you know, I, I've always I felt very connected to her - as soon as she started speaking, and we started DMing on Twitter and she's such a scholar, she's such a, she's such a bookworm, she reads - she's a voracious reader. And, so we had that, that that feeling of connection when we met because she had read my stuff and I had read, I had read her and listened to her. And, you know, I have to admit, I do feel a tiny little bit of like maternal feelings as well because, you know, I'm a mom and I'm a mom of a, you know, a special needs kid, a kid who I think like Greta feels things very, very deeply - doesn't have those, some of those protections that neurotypical people have. So I'm familiar with some of her gifts to be honest and challenges as a parent, so you know, I shared that with her. So, you know, and I'm in touch with her parents too. So I just adore her. She's just a wonderful - It's all I can do not to just throw my arms around her. Yeah. Sure.
I think a lot of people felt the same way when you said that, you know, in the audience and thanks for sharing that, that with us as well. That's really powerful. Um, I, you know, in one of your books, This Changes Everything. You really talk about how it's necessary to you - I don't know if you use these exact words because the word emergency kind of emerged into our lexicon really last year. Thanks to Greta and the movement that she helped kickstart. But you were saying in that book that you know, several years prior that we need to basically do that we need to declare a state of emergency we need to talk about this as a crisis.
Yeah, that's what I wrote about in the intro to This Changes Everything.
Yeah, that's right. So you know, must have been like, when Greta came along, I could imagine from your perspective is like, here is the - here it is, you know, this is happening.
Our podcasts are a companion to the to the videos. So I started doing the podcast as a way of really kind of like being able to pick apart some of the videos. Yeah, as you said they're short, sweet, biting, they don't take any prisoners. But the podcast kind of gives us a chance to talk a little bit more about the topics I wanted to ask you a little bit about our latest video which you retweeted I thought you'd be the perfect guest to talk about this because the the metaphor of the machine touches on many of the issues that you've documented and exposed throughout your your writing life from the short sighted shitfuckery of corporations to governments and fossil fuel companies. So I was hoping to get perhaps your thoughts on the video? I'm sorry. It's a very vague question.
It's a great question. And I meant to rewatch it right before before our conversation. The machine wants to be turned back on right? And the machine is starting to be turned back on so it's you know, it's interesting timing that where - if we don't want to go, not back but actually to a more dangerous place, right. We have to, like we humans, you know, organised people are going to have to - You know, throw some some wrenches in the works - like we have to stop this. And so, you know, that that I think was a very resonant, resonant image. And I think there's a lot of ambivalent feelings about whether we want it - the machine to start again, like as it was, or this particular machine, like, of course, we want jobs and we want people to have food and we understand that this has caused tremendous hardship and you know, let's not romanticise you know, the bird song and, you know, like, like, that is a very privileged experience of this pandemic, like the people who've been able to appreciate, you know, the return of the wild. First of all, a lot of people have been working their asses off throughout this pandemic, delivering you know, Amazon, you know, entirely unnecessary products to our homes, you know, and, and caring for the, for the, for the, for the vulnerable in - on so many fronts. So, we do need some, like something needs to start again? Right like I, you know, it's like this holding pattern or whatever it was or partial holding pattern is not what we want. But neither I think do we want most of us to return to that, you know, mindless planet torching roar that we were at before, right? So yeah,
no absolutely, and I'm glad you mentioned that because that that's been a real - there's been a different experience based on socioeconomic class of the - of this and that honestly that was one of the hard things about writing this episode is that it's very hard to generalise and sort of make any sweeping statements because there have been vastly different experiences of going through this pandemic. Some have been, as you said, the romantic sort of - birdsong, we can see the Himalayas. On the other hand, the essential workers have had to carry the weight and really keep things going. I want to focus a little bit on
that is that is something like I mean, I think if we how do we - What, what do we want to be after this? Right? I mean, that's the core question, right? If we don't want that machine to just restart only only, you know, with even more exhaust coming out of it, then then we have to have a vision for what that looks like. And I think that there are some really, really important lessons of what has been unveiled by this. Right and, you know, I, I'm in the United States, which is a society that claims not to be a class based system and yet, and yet, right, you have these wildly different experiences of this pandemic, both in terms of who is dying, right, because who has the underlying health conditions that are connected to pollution, are connected to stress, are connected to food deserts and not having access to healthy food - it is overwhelmingly black and brown people who are dying, and in some cases like 70 percent of the people dying in Chicago, at one point were African Americans. But it's also because these are people who, for whom the idea of like sheltering in place means, you know, either people who don't have the luxury to shelter because they are - their work has been deemed essential, or the shelter is no kind of isolation because it is so crowded, right. And one of the things we've really seen very clearly is that like, wherever people are being warehoused, right, wherever, not just people, animals as well, like wherever you have this kind of treating of life as a machine, right? In Amazon warehouses in these massively under-funded homes for the elderly, meatpacking plants. These are the COVID hotspots, like the virus is like a heat-seeking missile that finds where we are discarding life. Right? And that is where it spreads, prisons, obviously. Right? So what do we want to learn from that? Like, what is the lesson of this? Right? And, and we just can't be warehousing people, you know? And so whatever we build has to be built on that knowledge.
You know, like many I've been trying to see what lessons we can draw from this experience. And for me, I keep saying that, you know, what if there's a silver lining to, to this pandemic experience is that the world has just received a crash course, in the concept of flattening the curve, which until now, you know, this idea that by taking early action rather than delaying we can minimise the cost, damage and death count in a crisis. Is also the central argument behind the need for an urgent climate action movement. It's the same principle, you know, we act now we can manage it - with delay it's gonna be much worse. Until now, that was a theoretical concept. Now, most people get it in a really practical way. So we have a conceptual tool that before we didn't have, you know, in your most recent book On Fire, the burning case for a Green New Deal, which came out last year, and I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I was wondering whether the COVID pandemic has given you any new insights into how humanity can rise to the challenge of flattening this much bigger curve of the climate emergency. Yeah.
Right. And so I mean, the book is about the need for a very different kind of economy and a Green New Deal is not a narrow, carbon based climate policy, like a carbon tax or a or cap and trade, although a carbon tax is certainly one of the tools that we need. But you know, in Australia, people have generally sort of associated climate action with these narrow carbon policies, right? A Green New Deal is an industrial policy, a Green New Deal is like, what do we want our economy to be? How do we get to 100% renewables in a decade? You know, for electricity and transportation, I mean, how do we do that? While creating millions of good jobs? How do we protect the union hard won wages and benefits of high carbon workers in this next economy? How do we value the work of care that is been, has been so crucial during this pandemic? And then and I'll be honest with you, you know, people like the idea of battling you know, economic injustice and climate change at the same time. But the biggest, the most pushback that I got, it was very different than when I was out there with This Changes Everything that which came out 2014. When This Changes Everything came out, you know, the subtitle is capitalism versus the climate. I had a lot of debates, "oh, capitalism can fix this". This is how blah, blah, blah. Nobody's making that argument anymore. Everyone knows it's bullshit. Okay. The only thing people said, you know, and here I'm talking about the centrist journalists questions that one gets but but also some audience questions. The only question was, "isn't it too late?" Right? Aren't we too fucked? And this is crucial. Because what my response is. We can do this! Look at the original new deal, because the Green New Deal is sort of inspired by the way the US completely remade its economy, during the Great Depression to create directly create millions of jobs to electrify rural America, to plant 2 billion trees, to put artists to work in the millions staging plays and painting murals. And there were huge problems with the original New Deal, there was discrimination, systemic discrimination against African Americans, against women. But it certainly puts the lie to the claim that we can't do big things fast because the US changed dramatically and much of its current infrastructure was laid in the nine years of the New Deal.
So when I would talk about this, or I would talk about the way the US economy transformed itself during the Second World War, which is true of Australia as well, right. People would say, okay, but those were crises, those were moments of crisis. And right now, and here, we're thinking about way, way back to last November. Um, you know, the economy is booming. Unemployment is low. All the things Trump brags, used to brag about, and what people said is nobody is going to, nobody's going to willingly embrace that kind of change when all traditional economic indicators say that things are going well. Right. And to be honest with you, I didn't have a great response to that, you know, my response is, look, climate is an emergency, we have to act like it right. But that only goes so far, because the forces of inertia when you know, or just the power of the machine when it is running at full force, it's very difficult to counter. We are in a very different moment now. And in no way do I want to say that this is easy. But I will say that the Green New Deal, you know, one of the things I say in On Fire about what is good about a Green New Deal framework, is that it I said it's it's recession proof, right? Because one of the things that we've learned in in the climate movement is that things generally, we tend to make progress when things are relatively good economically. But as soon as there's an economic downturn, people say, oh, sorry, we can't afford all that green stuff anymore. Right? But the Green New Deal is a jobs programme. It is an economic stimulus programme. So it actually becomes more relevant when you need an economic stimulus, then when things are actually going well, and you're being told that there's no need to spend that kind of money. So we are in a moment where our governments are going to be spending a lot of money. And this is the moment to be talking about what that public money remember, it's your money, right? What it should be spent on - should it be spent, you know, subsidising coal companies and airlines, or should it be spent redesigning our cities so they're never again dominated by car traffic in the way you know, that they were before the pandemic? Do we want it to be spent on rail, we want it to be spent on reimagining public housing. And so, you know, none of this is going to happen on its own, but I think that we actually have more of a chance because we are not - because the machine is not at full throttle. Right. I mean, if you think about flights, you know, talking about what what is a rational use of air travel? You know what what? Well, you know, given that there is no green alternative to it, what is the rational use of air travel? How should we decide whether or not a flight happens, having that conversation when the skies are filled with planes is a lot harder than having that conversation when there are almost no planes in the sky, which is where we're at right now. So but that window is closing really, really fast, as you know. So this is the moment to have those conversations and to be organising towards it.
When - I keep going, when do we have this conversation that kind of feels like everyone's waiting for sort of like a, you know, an announcement, but we have to have that conversation. I mean, this is exactly why we made this video and why you do what you do, I suppose is to really say hey, it's now it's, you know, I wanted to ask you a little bit more about the US situation. You've just spoken about a Green New Deal. I know you were very disappointed about Joe Biden's presumptive nomination as presidential candidate. My question is, how are you feeling about it now? And I just want to premise that with just one little bit of news that I only learned a couple of days ago that Biden has recruited some really interesting, progressive, some legitimately genuine progressives to his platform. Alexandria Ocazio-Cortez, who sponsored the Green New Deal bill, Pramila Jayapal, who sponsored the Medicare for all bill, Sarah Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants, to chair three of his six joint task forces that are meant to unify the Democratic Party on policy in the presidential campaign. Mehdi Hassan, your colleague at The Intercept wrote a really good story about this, which I'll include in the show notes for anyone who wants to read it. There's many other excellent people also on those task forces, including Stephanie Kelton, who many will know as one of the key figures spearheading the Modern Monetary Theory movement. They're not Wall Street and banking executives, they're not sellouts. Does this give you hope in in, in the Biden nomination, particularly with reference to some of the things you've been talking about in terms of climate action? How do you feel about it now?
Um, so so the what's going on with these committees is this is the product of negotiation between the Sanders campaign and the Biden campaign. When Bernie suspended his campaign, this was what he negotiated with Biden, was that he would be able to appoint or they would agree to, to certain people on these drafting committees, and it's wonderful the people who, that you mentioned and others like Varshini Prakash, who's the executive director of the Sunrise Movement , which is I know there's a Sunrise in Australia the Sunrise Movement is a youth, a youth climate army, they sometimes call themselves and they've been - they were the ones who occupied the offices of Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, the democratic Speaker of the House demanding a Green New Deal now a year and a half ago. So there's real troublemakers in there, you know, and nobody's going to push Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez around, um, and and they're going to get absolutely more than they bargained for having some of those folks in there. The real question is, whether this - the extent to which what they come up with, has teeth. You know, there are debates about that, you know, in some ways, it's a good way to kind of defang the opposition, you know, create a committee, put people on it. But like I said, these are not these are not good. These are not good little team players. They will upend in the table. I promise you that, that if they feel they're getting played, they will upend the table and we love that. Um, but I guess to be perfectly honest with you, I I haven't made my peace. I'm still grieving. I'm so angry, to be really honest with you, I'm really, really, really angry. That, about the way it went down like it's possible that it's possible Biden would have won anyway. But there was a particular way that things happen where we're, you know, I was I was part of the Bernie campaign - I was a surrogate. And I went to five states you know, campaign for him, this was the first time I've ever been involved in a presidential campaign, obviously, as a volunteer - I'm a writer, but this is what the climate climate crisis has driven me to you know. And it's a part of the reason why we moved to the states you know, I've always cherished being in Canada and not here to be honest even though a lot of my work is here, just having that little bit of distance from, from this from from from ground zero of the machine. I like my distance and it's helped my writing, I think to have that little bit of distance. But it just seemed to me that these were really important years and as the Sanders campaign became a viable prospect, and Bernie was leading in many national polls, and he won the early states, and then the party just coalesced in this brutal way around this very weak candidate and it's very - it's scary on a lot of fronts. It's scary because you know, the polling around whether or not Biden can beat Trump is not reassuring and it's it's what worries me is like I think it's great having these people on the committee's but ultimately, you need a candidate who can speak to the outrageousness of this moment who can be angry with people, who can let people find their fight and help people find their fight you know, in this moment where people are just being sacrificed, being ordered to go into meatpacking plants, because apparently pork chops are an essential, you know, item on the American you know in the in the American diet.
so it's it's, you know - it worries me because I know that Bernie could have helped people find find their fight in this moment and when I say I'm angry - what I'm angry about is something very specific which is that I really think it was a class war that happened within the Democratic Party. Bernie's base was working class people and it was the very working class people who are now holding the country together. If you look at the list of like the number one small donor group who donated to Bernie's campaign was Amazon workers, Amazon workers, Walmart workers, nurses overwhelmingly were, you know, on the campaign trail with Bernie. And it really bothers me that the sort of professional NGO class, you know, the sort of professional activist and liberal class, just looked at the polls and saw that Bernie was the only progressive candidate who was building that working class base. And they thought they knew better. They thought they knew better. And you know, they - and so I think that this is such a key moment. Where those of us who have this luxury of being able to shelter in place and who are you know, who's you know, biggest complaint under lockdown is that our kids are bugging us and that like our sourdough didn't work out well, you know, like we really have a moral responsibility to stand with the Amazon workers who are fighting to have their workplace cleaned after their coworker just died, you know, you know, or people that, you know, families of people working in slaughterhouses who are saying, please don't eat meat for a month, please, you know, stand with us because the higher the unemployment rate gets, the less their power is right. But they have power when they're being called essential workers. But when unemployment is like, threatening to be 30%, Jeff Bezos knows, there'll be more people who will feed that machine and they're literally - you know, they're being sent. They're being treated like cannon fodder for capitalism right now. And so I just think that those of us who are having our lives delivered to us, you know, whether it's by streaming or Zoom or by delivery package, we have such a moral responsibility to stand with those workers right now who are taking such risks. And I'm just not over the fact that we could have had a presidential candidate who they chose. Who the nurses chose. Who the Amazon workers chose. Who the Walmart workers chose. All these people who are being celebrated as essential workers. So I guess I'm just giving myself a little bit of space to be to still be mad. Because it's really hard for those of us who were part of the Bernie campaign. The timeline of all this was very hard. Like, there was a call that went out where people said, you know, find, share a picture of the last normal thing that you did before the pandemic before lockdown, and I looked at my phone and every picture I had was a Bernie rally. That's, that was the last thing I did before lockdown, you know, and we just went straight from this, like, kind of almost unbelievable euphoric sense of possibility. I mean, Bernie, Bernie won Nevada, Bernie. Bernie won Las Vegas, like picture that, picture Las Vegas, like the most capitalist place you can imagine, you know, literal casino capitalism. Trump Tower on your right, you know, like, gold, skyrises, highrises as far the eye can see, and the people who made, make that city run. The people who shine the slot machines, you know who who clean, you know, the toilets in the Trump Towers came out and said, fuck you. You know, we're voting for Bernie. It was unbelievable. He swept the Las Vegas Strip. And like, it's so it's hard for those of us who were part of that, and really felt what a working class movement it was. And it was not the Bernie Bros on Twitter. It was not all the things that people claimed it was, was such a feminist movement. It was so many women who are at the front, front of it. It's really hard to go from that to the sort of non entity that is Biden's leadership. And obviously, we know we have to beat Trump. You know, that's why we supported Bernie because, you know, we - you can't - you can't beat Trump without somebody who can build the energy. Yeah, we may be able to get rid of him anyway. And, you know, I certainly I'm not one of these people who says it doesn't matter one or the other. I don't believe that, I think a second term of Trump is disastrous, not just for us, but for the entire world. I don't think it's a continuation of his first term. I think the way these authoritarian guys can interpret a second mandate, look at Mohdi, look at what he did. Anyway, I'm talking to much.
No, no, I absolutely agree with you.
I'm treating this as therapy.
Some things just don't make a lot of sense in the US political culture at the moment. So you know, I totally agree. I mean, I feel like the lesson of 2016 was, you know, very clear in terms of what Bernie could have offered as an alternative to the status quo. And now we have the status quo again. I say we because I feel like this is really our world election in a sense I mean, it affects all of us.
That's why I have dual citizenship because my parents are American,
right? So at least you have American citizenship, I don't even have that. And people often go, Why do you get involved in all this? And I say, shut up, it's gonna affect me and my children. So, you know,
everyone should have a right to vote in American elections.
Another thing that doesn't make sense to a lot of people. And it's the polarisation that, that really is gripping American political culture or just, let's say, just American society. Have you? Have you kind of wrapped your head around that, that it's almost like a split in reality, it's I'm kind of toying with the idea of making an Honest Government Ad where the government just says hello, I'm from the Australian Government, you may have noticed that we live in two separate universes, you know, and then to kind of go from there from a satirical angle, but the reality is that actually, that's the case. You know, even in the middle of the pandemic, there are people who think Trump's doing a wonderful job and, on the other side people have the exact opposite, is this what culture war is? Is this like a schism in the time continuum? What is this?
Look. Reality is is incompatible with the worldview of free market, you know, ideology and so they've been at war with reality for a long time now and climate - the war on climate science is a preview of the war on all science, right? It's all it's all just too inconvenient so you just have to build your own world and I think the fact that that the US is led by a reality star is not a coincidence. I mean, this is Trump's skill, he built his own reality. He's very good at it. He had very high ratings as he likes to tell us right. And so we, you know, those of us who've been paying attention to the climate wars have got a big preview of what we're seeing now with like, 'Sorry I just refuse to believe that there is a virus and I'm just going to go get my nails done it's my god given right you know', um and yes it's extreme in the US but we're seeing rallies like it in Germany and you know there - this is a global phenomenon and it's certainly present in Australia. I think that there's also like we you know, I think we under analyse the role of evangelical Protestantism in some of this and and the way in which the sort of rapture is being reenacted in you know, this corporeal realm with a sort of idea that the chosen will be fine, will be rescued. And in some ways their right because money does buy a certain degree of protection right, you can buy your bunker. You can, you know, you can you can, people are buying their own ventilators in the US. So, there's that. I have to stress again I guess if I'm honest with you, I have written off.
I'm gonna get misquoted.
I'm just gonna get quoted.
My battle is not with Trump supporters, you know, and here I mean, like the hardcore of the Trump supporters - because I think there are lots of people who were just like, ah, let's just see what happens. I hate the other guy. Let's just mix it up a little bit. I thought it was a laugh, you know, people voted in kind of an unserious way for Trump. But then there's just like hardcore Trump supporters. I'm not gonna win a battle, you know, an intellectual battle with those folks, you know, and that's why I think my battle is is with like, the people who, who, who, who saw Bernie surging in the polls and thought, let's gamble on, on Biden, you know, who we know is a riskier candidate. What is it about - I mean, I'm having trouble with words because I know liberal means something different.
the, the meritocratic liberal class, right and the the depths of a hatred of, of the left of a kind of a working class movement of a sort of the scruffiness of it. Um, I think I think that's the biggest - that's the biggest problem that we're up against because we didn't have to end up with Biden, um, it could have been a real alternative that was addressing, frankly, the crises of our time, and I, - Bernie's not perfect, I have lots of quarrels with Bernie, you know, um, but, you know, he was, as you say, he was talking about Medicare for All he was talking about living wages. You know, he was talking about the climate crisis, he was - he had a multi trillion dollar Green New Deal as part of his platform. And people were just like, you know, like, it's just too much, it's just too much, and let's just like kind of romanticise Obama and so in this moment where the people who supported Bernie are just being sacrificed so literally, in order to keep our way of life and to get the machine running again, this question, you know, I was doing I did a webinar with the progressive group in the states and I was on with a guy named Eric Ward who works with the Southern Poverty Law Centre and he said the only question that matters is whether liberals are going to stand with labour or stand with capital. And that's really stayed with me and I feel like that that's the question like, I love your Honest Government Ads keep keep taking on more like to keep taking on your crazy goddamn coal-addled government. But I actually think that that we also have to take on the 'small l liberals', you know, who are so afraid of the change that we need to actually keep us safe, so afraid that they will saddle us with these - they preferred Johnson to Corbin - and I worry that they prefer Trump to Sanders. And we need to, we need to challenge those folks. Because. Because I think the cost of that has never been more stark. And maybe we can, maybe we can win some of those folks over I think it's more likely that we will, then that we'll change the minds of the sort of hardcore climate change deniers.
What do you have to say about our Australian situation like what do you say to Australians who you know, might be following your work, and also, you know, as a Canadian citizen, we know we have - there's a lot of parallels between our settler societies and mining colonies between Canada and Australia, we share a very similar thing. One of the things we don't share is treaties with indigenous peoples, who very recently, there's been some good news coming out of Canada, that British Columbia, the Wet'suwet'en people, have entered into an historic agreement with with the government of BC over the coastal gas link pipeline. And I was wondering if you could just very briefly mention, you know, what is your take on that as well?
I haven't reviewed it enough. I actually probably shouldn't comment on it, because I haven't been. I haven't been following it as closely as I should have. I think that, and it's interesting you mentioned treaties. British Columbia is mostly untreatied. Yeah. Entirely unceded. I mean, not to say that treaties are documents that that ced territory, they don't. They're agreements to share territory. And we break those treaties very liberally, including our dashing liberal Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. And you know Trudeau is a reminder really of of how dangerous liberals are, you know, I have a friend who says 'the liberals are gonna get us all killed'. She's been saying it for years and I always say back to her she's never written it publicly so I can't say who it is but I always think she should write that up. The liberals will get us all killed. We always call each other up or just text each other 'the liberals will get us all killed'. Because it is less clear, right? Because people get seduced by it.
especially, you know, when they're so dashing and fashionable and you know, it's like this kind of like charisma that's oozing out of them.
And they look so good compared to the Scott Morrison's, Trump's and the Balsonaro's, and , you know, the truth is that Trudeau has has has done some some good things. In the context of the pandemic. But you know, you're talking about somebody who bought a pipeline in order to ram it through indigenous lands in British Columbia. It's a different pipeline, not the coastal gas like pipeline. But the Kinder-Morgan, trans mountain pipeline. There's so many pipelines to keep track of.
But you know what?
We've got a lot of work to do in Canada. And I think it's just a reminder that it isn't just about changing the government, it really is about building the kinds of broad based movements that have a sense of true collective authorship over the demands of what we want. Right. And that absolutely in Australia, and in any settler society, indigenous leadership, it needs to be co-led, right? It isn't just I think, you know, one of the, one of the things that we have learned in many ways, the hard way, building coalitions in Canada is that indigenous groups are not like one member of a coalition, you know with different interests. It is. It's a different status. It's a nation to nation relationship, right. So, I mean one thing I would just plug as as we say goodbye. There's an initiative that we've kicked off with a group that I co founded called The Leap with War on Want in the UK for a Global Green New Deal. And, you know, it comes out of a critique that a lot of the ways in which we were talking about a Green New Deal in North America and UK and in parts of Europe, were leaving out the global south. We were originally going to be having an in person convening that got cancelled and now sort of moved to digital space. We kicked it off actually today with a event with Arundhati Roy, and we had 4000 people joining us live and there's been tonnes of interest. So I think that there needs to be, you know that every time I've been in Australia in recent years, I've met with different wonderful groups who have been trying to get something like this off the ground in Australia, and it's never really happened. Sort of just been baby steps, not the kind of leap that we need. But I think if there's ever going to be a moment, like on the backs of the wildfires, and, this pandemic, you know, we need to think about what is an essential economy, what builds on the lessons of what we learned about what was truly essential in these moments of crisis and how we need to value the work of care and build, build relationships and communities that can weather the shocks that are going to keep coming, you know, as we come out of, of isolation, like let's not just go shopping, you know, like let's actually have some real in person conversations. Let's, let's make good use of each other's company.
And build power.
Naomi, I'm going to ask you one last question and then I'm gonna let you go. A slightly personal big picture question to end on, I always like to sort of remember that, ultimately, there is a bigger picture here, we're on this insane, crazy journey that as humanity we're on. Maybe humanity is something we're aspiring to, rather than something that we already are, you know, big philosophical questions about, you know, are we going to make it do you see us, you know, sort of actually getting through this. But in the middle of all this, I just wanted to end on a question that perhaps relates to your personal motivation. You know, why do you do what you do, you speak so passionately and you've dedicated your life to all of this, you could just sort of have a comfortable job at a university just you know, get some grants, supervise some students, retire early, maybe buy a bunker. You know, why do you - Why are you fighting? You know what, what, what motivates you? Just something to leave our listeners with.
you know it's a cauldron of - a cauldron of of forces that keep me going, of emotion, not to be too witchy about it - but you know there's like, you heard a little of the rage that keeps me going.
I have a vindictive streak.
But it's also you know, there is - there is also fear you know, I fear for the world that we have created you know, unless we change course I fear for, for my son, and his friends and all of us, you know, I don't think it's just the kids we have to worry about, you know, by the time things get even worse, you know, you and I will be in walkers and at least the kids will be able to run you know. So, I, I, I want, I want better for us, I want better for us. And I think that that comes from a place of love, right? I mean, I am a bit of a hippie and I do deeply, deeply love the natural world. And I find it unbearable to think of the depletion of - the depletion of a wonder and beauty and just the the unnecessary hazards that we are creating for people who deserve none of this and for non-people who deserve none of this. And so it's that kind of mix of fear, rage and lots of love. That keeps me going. And I don't think we have an option to give up. I think that is the ultimate luxury product in this age of massive and disgraceful inequality, this idea that we can just kick back and just watch it burn. You know, I I just have nothing but disdain for the people who imagine that as an option, because even imagining as an option, it just comes from such a place of such privilege. The vast majority of people on this planet are just thrown into the fires through no choice of there's, mostly through choices of ours. So this is a moment where we need to really decide who - you know who's side we're on, and we really need to fight because it is a fight and that's one of the things I learned in the Sanders campaign, right. I mean, my God, they came at us we were it was a hydra headed beast, you know, it's just like we'd slay one of them that is like, oh my god now it's Pete Buttigiege. Oh, no. Now it's Michael Bloomberg coming at us. Oh no, it's Biden again. I thought we'd slayed him. No, he's back. It's just like, and it was just endless. But the thing that I really felt so much is that there's so damn many of us. And people want to come together. You know, that was a beautiful thing about being part of that campaign and these rallies of like, 20,000 people, and watching you know, the people who had been discarded, rise up and say, you know, we want something better. We got fucking close, we got really close. And I think once you feel that, once you really feel like 'Oh, actually they lied to us. They told us we were marginal, but we are we're not'. You know, we're many and people long to fight for people they don't know and to be part of something bigger than themselves. So once you've glimpsed that, you know, goddamn Bernie, he gave us a glimpse of it, like, we're not gonna let go of it.
I want to end on that note, because that's - those are really beautiful words. And I think they really resonate strongly. I think, you know, the fear, rage and love is really part of the - what keeps us going. And, you know, we just like to throw laughter in there because that's another thing that really, laughter takes away - fear can be both good and motivating, but it can also sort of paralyse and I think laughter helps to generate the right kind of fear, which is the one that motivates action rather than the one that sort of, you go, I'm alone. I can't deal with this kind of thing. So thank you so much for taking time to talk to us. I know you're very busy. I also want to wish you happy birthday. I believe you just had a big birthday in your life. Thank you for the work you do from all of us. Please come back one day on our podcast. Thank you so much.
Thank you. It's such a pleasure. Keep up the amazing work. I look forward to whatever comes next.
Well, that brings us to the end of Episode 12 of the Juice Media Podcast. I just wanted to make one comment before we conclude, a couple of people have asked why I don't have guests who hold significantly different views to me. I know some podcasts specialise in that. But to be honest, I envision this being more of a chance for me to talk with and help amplify the voices of people I find interesting. That being said, I don't see why we can't also host the occasional debate. I'm still learning the ropes in the world of podcasts. But once I get more familiar with this medium, I hope to do that too. So I hope that answers that question. As always, we want to thank the people who make this podcast and the Honest Government Ads possible, our patrons and all those who support us by other means. If you want to help us keep going you can do so at thejuicemedia.com/support, or simply by sharing this podcast and recommending it to your friends and family. You've been listening to the Juice Media Podcast with me, Giordano. We'll catch you soon for our next Honest Government Ad. Till then, take care.