Naomi Klein: ‘Anti-Shock Doctrines’ Show the Way to Resist

From Common Dreams:

While media portray alternatives to austerity as “apocalypse,” we must say no, but also “show the yes,” said Klein

Andrea Germanos

In the midst of the current “final colonial pillage” for natural resources and a bombardment of “there is no alternative” to austerity messages, Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein urged the left to seize this “crucial moment” to build real resistance movements that offer a “message of critical hope.”

  Speaking this week at the Vio.Me worker-run factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, Klein, who is in the country doing research for a book and film, said the building materials factory was the perfect place to be speaking as it is “known in resistance movements around the world” and provides an example of what she said is “the anti-Shock doctrine”—a situation where rather than bowing down to the forces at hand, the crisis has put a fast-forward on coming up with creative alternatives, where workers “refused to have their lives and livelihoods sacrificed on the altar of economic crisis, and instead found reserves of power and ingenuity.”

Describing Vio.Me, economist Marjolein van der Veen explained:

In May 2011 when the owners could no longer pay their bills and walked away, the workers decided to occupy the factory. By February 2013, after raising enough funds and community support, the workers started democratically running the company on their own. (They do not intend to buy out the owners, since the company owed the workers a significant amount of money when it abandoned the factory.) They established a worker board, controlled by workers’ general assemblies and subject to recall, to manage the factory. They also changed the business model, shifting to different suppliers, improving environmental practices, and finding new markets. Greek law currently does not allow factory occupations, so the workers are seeking the creation of a legal framework for the recuperated factory, which may enable more such efforts in the future. Vio.Me has received support from SYRIZA and the Greek Green party, from workers at recuperated factories in Argentina, as well as from academics and political activists worldwide.

In Greece, Klein said, “alternatives to austerity are presented by media as apocalypse.”

“Our environment is under vicious attack.”But the Vio.Me factory is an example of an alternative “that must be known, must be disseminated .. because many factories are now being closed as the crisis unfolds, and workers are not being given the opportunity to reshape the ownership, when in fact the workers should be the first ones asked if they want to be the creditors and run the factories themselves.”

Klein slammed the Greek media for “not doing its job” in letting the people know an such alternatives do exist, instead repeating the mantra: there is no alternative (TINA), showing that “Margaret Thatcher is alive and well and living in Greece and working for the mainstream media.”

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