Naomi Klein: Who are you?
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times and #1 international bestseller, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In 2008 it won the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Libris Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year and is longlisted for the inaugural 2009 Warwick Prize for Writing (UK). The six minute companion film, created by Alfonso Cuaron, director of Children of Men, was an Official Selection of the 2007 Venice Biennale and Toronto International Film Festivals and was a viral phenomenon, downloaded over a million times.
Her first book No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies was also an international bestseller, translated into over 28 languages with more than a million copies in print. A collection of her work, Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate was published in 2002.
Naomi Klein writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian that is syndicated internationally by The New York Times Syndicate. In 2004, her reporting from Iraq for Harper’s Magazine won the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Also in 2004, she co-produced The Take with director Avi Lewis, a feature documentary about Argentina’s occupied factories. The film was an Official Selection of the Venice Biennale and won the Best Documentary Jury Prize at the American Film Institute’s Film Festival in Los Angeles. She is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia.
Naomi Klein: I’m Naomi Klein. I’m an author, writer, journalist. I’m Canadian. I was born in Montreal to American parents who chose to come to Canada for political reasons in the late ‘60s. You can imagine what those political reasons might have been. And we came back to the states actually and lived in the U.S. until I was five, and then chose to move back to Canada because my family liked it better there. So what I usually say is that we came because of the war but we stayed for the healthcare system. So I think being Canadian born of American parents who came to Canada by choice for various political reasons really has shaped my political outlook and my interaction with the United States; also being a dual citizen kind of straddling that border I guess. My mother is a documentary filmmaker, and she is an activist filmmaker and an . . . kind of an activist-journalist, which is how I identify myself. My mother’s filmmaking was really . . . It was part of the anti-war movement. It was part of the feminists’ movement. It was really imbedded in movements, and it gave me this amazing role model that, you know . . . in my home of another way of thinking about storytelling and another way of thinking about reporting, which is about being useful to movements for social change. That was . . . that was the model I grew up with – that you make a movie, you make a film, a piece of journalism, and the goal is to start a discussion. Some of my most vivid memories are of people watching films and then having big arguments about it, and crying, and talking, and confessing. And the idea is that media starts a conversation. But then people take it and act. And so I think that had the most profound effect on me. I didn’t think I would be an activist. I didn’t have really good associations with activism because I think being a child of ‘60s parents growing up in the ‘80s (Chuckles) was . . . You know people used to joke that I was a bit like Mallory on Family Ties – just kind of embarrassed of my hippie parents. So I didn’t think I would be an activist, but I did think I would be a writer because I always wrote. And that was always my primary means of self-expression, even if it was just bad teenage poetry. Recorded on: 11/29/07
The embarrassment of growing up in the 1980s with 1960s parents.