Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Open Letter to Naomi Klein

Dear Naomi Klein,

Thanks so much for your incredibly brilliant work. With The Shock Doctrine, you have given me a great framework for understanding the current economic and political crises. Now, however, listening to you on Democracy Now three times in the last few weeks, I would like to make a suggestion.

Those of us who listen to DN! are well familiar with your critique, familiar enough to do it for ourselves. So next time they call you, why not say, “You know what? I don’t really have anything to add to what I’ve said the last few times I’ve been on. Here are some names of women economists and policy researchers you haven’t interviewed. Try to get one of them.” (In the event you don't have such a list, I'd be glad to share mine with you. I just interviewed two of them on KPFA-Pacifica.)

That’s step one. Here’s step two:

Get together with all the other really smart, well respected experts you’ve been on panels with recently. Make a video of yourselves laying out a progressive – not radical – program of action – things you would like to see the Obama administration do that they might actually consider doing (e.g., put Paul Krugman on the economic team; suspend or repeal the time limits for welfare recipients who can’t get jobs; sign the Employee Free Choice Act; don’t use a bailout of the auto industry to crush the unions; etc.). Post the video on YouTube and post the link on every blog or website you can post to. Ask every blogger you are in touch with to post the links on their blog. Make it go viral. Make sure the Obama team sees it. Demand a response from them.

Step three: Put out a press release letting the mainstream media and the alternative media know what you’ve done. Make noise! The story: progressive economic analysts are using the technologies popularized by the Obama campaign to change the direction of the Obama administration. Keep on them until they cover you.

Then go back on Democracy Now! to tell everyone how you accomplished your great victory.

This is not meant as an empty challenge. The administration is moving to the right so far so fast because they know the right is a threat, and they know the left isn’t. I am unwilling to spend the next four years the way I’ve spent the last eight – shaking my head and feeling hopeless while I listen to the news. The time for critique is past; the time for action is now.

Your sister in struggle,

Kate Raphael

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