Revisiting Predictions

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In August 2008 Paul Jay spoke  with Naomi Klein about Obama’s campaign and promises. Two years down the road we can look back and compare what he said with what he’s done.

Obama’s foreign policy positions have become indistinguishable from those of McCain. His campaign was virtually built around absorbing, co-opting and quieting the anti-war/anti-fascist/anti-imperialist movements.

How far do you go before winning becomes losing, and becomes just a shiny new paintjob hawked by a very good salesman?

August 26, 2008 9 min 38 sec

Naomi Klein on Obama and the intellectual and political integrity of the progressive movement


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    • Edger on August 29, 2010 at 21:16

    2 years and millions of blog posts and comments later?

  1. wow.

    so what is she saying now??

    We do know this. Far from being “made whole,” the Gulf coast, more than likely, will be diminished. Its rich waters and crowded skies will be less alive than they are today. The physical space many communities occupy on the map will also shrink, thanks to erosion. And the coast’s legendary culture will contract and wither. The fishing families up and down the coast do not just gather food, after all. They hold up an intricate network that includes family tradition, cuisine, music, art and endangered languages – much like the roots of grass holding up the land in the marsh. Without fishing, these unique cultures lose their root system, the very ground on which they stand. (BP, for its part, is well aware of the limits of recovery. The company’s Gulf of Mexico regional oil spill response plan specifically instructs officials not to make “promises that property, ecology, or anything else will be restored to normal”. Which is no doubt why its officials consistently favour folksy terms like “make it right”.)

    If Katrina pulled back the curtain on the reality of racism in America, the BP disaster pulls back the curtain on something far more hidden: how little control even the most ingenious among us have over the awesome, intricately interconnected natural forces with which we so casually meddle. BP cannot plug the hole in the Earth that it made. Obama cannot order fish species to survive, or brown pelicans not to go extinct (no matter whose ass he kicks). No amount of money – not BP’s recently pledged $20bn (£13.5bn), not $100bn – can replace a culture that has lost its roots. And while our politicians and corporate leaders have yet to come to terms with these humbling truths, the people whose air, water and livelihoods have been contaminated are losing their illusions fast.

    This Gulf coast crisis is about many things – corruption, deregulation, the addiction to fossil fuels. But underneath it all, it’s about this: our culture’s excruciatingly dangerous claim to have such complete understanding and command over nature that we can radically manipulate and re-engineer it with minimal risk to the natural systems that sustain us.

    June 19 2010

  2. … picking between Obama and McCain, we were not deciding between an enemy and an ally, but deciding which enemy we preferred to have in the White House.

    Gosh, where do I collect my “correct prediction” prize. I’d like low sodium microwave popcorn, thanks.

    • banger on August 31, 2010 at 00:24

    They would have seen that the Obama candidacy was carefully engineered. Yes, it was a conspiracy by the oligarchs to defang the left (never hard in this country) and allow this period to go by without substantial change even if people want the change. It has worked perfectly so far. The rich continue to get richer and the rest of us are ready for austerity which we will get as sure as the cold wind will blow through the Loop in Chicago this winter.

    It is so silly that the rich have funded the Tea Party movement to beg the government to impoverish them to avoid a move towards “socialism.” How cool is that!

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