Transcript: Irshad Manji on her book The Trouble with Islam | Jan 22, 2005

Naomi appears on screen. She’s addressing the audience from the stage, in a conference room. A caption reads “Naomi Klein. Author of the book ‘Fences and windows.’”

She’s in her late thirties. She has short straight brown hair down to the shoulders and wears a fitted dark blazer.

Naomi says I HAVE SPENT
THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS--
LISTENING TO THE PREVIOUS
SPEAKER, I REALISE THAT I'VE
SPENT THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS
VISITING SHOCKED PLACES, PLACES
THAT HAVE EXPERIENCED SOME OF
THE SHOCKS THAT MAY COME TO US
HERE.
AND ONE OF THOSE PLACES WAS
ARGENTINA, WHERE WE PRODUCED
THIS DOCUMENTARY.

The caption changes to “Navigating a New World Symposium. University of Toronto. November 6, 2004.”

Naomi continues AND THAT'S A
COUNTRY THAT HAS BEEN
ECONOMICALLY SHOCKED, AND WHERE
THE SYSTEM DID BREAK DOWN, WHERE
UPPER MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE WERE
LOCKED OUT OF THEIR BANK
ACCOUNTS, THEIR SCOTIA BANK
ACCOUNTS, THEIR CITY BANK
ACCOUNTS, WHERE THE BASIC
STRUCTURES OF THE SYSTEM JUST
BROKE DOWN, AND THE WHOLE
COUNTRY DECLARED BANKRUPTCY.
AND WHAT WAS INTERESTING ABOUT
THE WAY PEOPLE RESPONDED THERE,
IS, IT WAS A LOSS OF FAITH IN
EXPERTS OF ALL KINDS.
THE SLOGAN OF THE SOCIAL
MOVEMENTS IN ARGENTINA, WAS
QUE SE VAYAN TODOS, WHICH MEANS,
ALL OF THEM MUST GO.
AND THERE WAS THIS TREMENDOUS
FEELING, AFTER THE ECONOMIC
COLLAPSE THERE, THAT THEY HAD
BEEN BETRAYED BY THE PEOPLE WHO
WERE SUPPOSED TO KNOW HOW THESE
SYSTEMS WORK.
AND THAT BRED THIS VERY HEALTHY
SCEPTICISM OF POWER, AND IN THE
RUBBLE OF THEIR FAILED SYSTEM,
STARTED BUILDING TREMENDOUSLY
EXCITING ECONOMIC ALTERNATIVES
AND SOCIAL ALTERNATIVES.
THEY STARTED SPEAKING TO EACH
OTHER.
AND IT WASN'T A BREEDING GROUND
FOR FASCISM AND FUNDAMENTALISM.
IT WAS VERY RESILIENT AGAINST
ANYONE WHO TRIED TO CO-OPT THESE
MOVEMENTS FOR THEIR OWN DOGMATIC
OR FUNDAMENTALIST ENDS, BECAUSE
OF THEIR LIVED EXPERIENCE,
BECAUSE THEY HAVE DIRECT
EXPERIENCE WITH FASCISM AS WELL
IN THEIR COUNTRY.
BUT AS TINA MENTIONED, I'VE ALSO
SPENT TIME IN IRAQ, AND THAT'S
ANOTHER COUNTRY THAT'S BEEN
SHOCKED.
SHOCK AND AWE WAS, OF COURSE,
THE SLOGAN OF THE WAR.
AND IT IS A BREEDING GROUND OF
FUNDAMENTALISMS OF ALL KINDS.
IT'S ANOTHER KIND OF SHOCK,
THEY'RE ALSO EXPERIENCING
ECONOMIC SHOCK, SIMULTANEOUS TO
THE MILITARY SHOCK.
BUT FOR WHATEVER REASON, THE
SPACES, THE DEMOCRATIC SPACES
ARE BEING SUFFOCATED BY WARRING
FUNDAMENTALISTS.
AND I'LL TRY TO COME BACK TO
THAT A LITTLE BIT.
BUT ONE THING ABOUT BAGHDAD IS,
IT REALLY FELT SOMETIMES LIKE WE
WERE GLIMPSING THE FUTURE.
THERE WAS SOMETHING VERY SCI-FI
ABOUT OCCUPIED IRAQ, AND I DON'T
MEAN THAT FACETIOUSLY.
THE CENTRE OF SCI-FI BAGHDAD IS
THE GREEN ZONE, WHICH IS A
WALLED IN FORTRESS CITY WITHIN A
CITY WHERE THE OCCUPATION
AUTHORITIES, NOW THE AMERICAN
EMBASSY, IN SADDAM HUSSEIN'S
FORMER PALACE, ARE LOCATED.
AND LISTENING TO THESE
PREDICTIONS ABOUT OUR FUTURE, I
REALISE THAT I SAW A LOT OF
THAT.
I SAW THIS INCREDIBLE DISPARITY.
WHERE WE HEAR ALL THE TIME
ABOUT THE FAILED RECONSTRUCTION
OF IRAQ, BUT ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT'S INTERESTING THAT'S GOING
ON THERE, AMONG ALL THE THINGS
THAT THEY ARE SUFFERING UNDER,
IRAQIS ARE SUFFERING UNDER, THEY
ARE ALSO SUFFERING UNDER CLIMATE
CHANGE.
AND IT IS TREMENDOUSLY HOT FOR
MUCH OF THE YEAR, TEMPERATURES
OF PLUS 50 OR MORE.
IT'S ABSOLUTELY INSUFFERABLE.
AND WHEN YOU ADD TO THAT THERE'S
NO SEWAGE TREATMENT, AND THE
FACT THAT THERE IS VERY LITTLE
ELECTRICITY, AND WHAT THERE IS,
IS ERRATIC, YOU DON'T HAVE AIR
CONDITIONERS, AND PEOPLE JUST
FEEL SORT OF PICKLED IN THEIR
OWN FILTH.
AND PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THIS, AND
IT DOES BREED A KIND OF A RAGE.
AND THEN YOU HAVE THIS BUBBLE,
WHICH IS WHY IT GETS SCI-FI,
BECAUSE OF COURSE, THE PEOPLE
WHO CAN AFFORD IT ARE INSULATED
FROM THE MESS THAT THEY,
THEMSELVES HAVE CREATED.
THEY ARE INSULATED PHYSICALLY
WITH PRIVATISED MILITARY.
PAUL BREMER, THE OCCUPATION
CHIEF WHO LEFT A COUPLE OF DAYS
EARLY ON JUNE 28th, HIS SECURITY
WAS PROVIDED BY BLACKWATER,
WHICH IS A PRIVATE SECURITY
COMPANY, IN FACT, THERE ARE ALL
OF THESE PRIVATE SOLDIERS
RUNNING RAMPANT, 20,000
MERCENARY SOLDIERS IN IRAQ.
BUT THEN, BECAUSE THE
RECONSTRUCTION HAS FAILED SO
MISERABLY, YOU ALSO HAVE THIS
PRIVATISED RECONSTRUCTION, IF
YOU CAN AFFORD IT, SO IF YOU CAN
AFFORD IT, YOU HAVE WATER, YOU
DRINK BOTTLED WATER.
AND IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, YOU
HAVE ELECTRICITY, BECAUSE YOU
HAVE A GENERATOR.
AND YOU EVEN HAVE PRIVATISED
SEWAGE TREATMENT, AND THINGS
LIKE THAT. AND THE PHONES
DON'T WORK, BUT IF YOU'RE IN THE
BUBBLE, IF YOU'RE IN THE GREEN
ZONE, THEN YOU HAVE THESE MCI
PHONES, WHICH ACTUALLY HAVE 914
AREA CODES, SO YOU HAVE PEOPLE
IN BAGHDAD WHO ARE CALLING EACH
OTHER IN THE SAME AREA CODE AS
YOU WOULD USE TO CALL UPSTATE
NEW YORK. SO THAT'S A
LITTLE GLIMPSE, I OFTEN THOUGHT,
OF OUR FUTURE IF WE DON'T DO
SOMETHING FAST.
UM... I'M GOING TO TALK A LITTLE
BIT ABOUT THE ELECTIONS.
UM, BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE A BOOK
TO SELL.
(The audience laughs)

Naomi continues
I'M SORRY, I SHOULD APOLOGISE TO
MY PUBLISHER, WHO'S SPONSORING
THIS TODAY, MY VERY PATIENT
PUBLISHER, RANDOM HOUSE CANADA.
UM...
I'VE BEEN GETTING A LOT OF
FURIOUS E-MAILS FROM AROUND THE
WORLD IN REACTION TO THE
ELECTIONS.
PEOPLE DESCRIBING AN AMERICA--
A FRIEND IN IRAQ SENT ME AN
E-MAIL SAYING, AMERICA HAS JUST
GIVEN THE FINGER TO THE WORLD.
AND OF COURSE, BIN LADEN ISSUED
THIS MESSAGE TO AMERICANS, A FEW
DAYS BEFORE THEY WENT TO THE
POLLS, AND IT WAS A VERY ODD
MESSAGE INDEED, AND IT'S BEEN
INTERPRETED IN MANY WAYS, BUT
THE WAY MANY PEOPLE HAVE
INTERPRETED THE LATEST BIN LADEN
TAPE, WAS THAT HE WAS PUTTING
AMERICANS ON NOTICE THAT IF THEY
RE-ELECT GEORGE BUSH, IT WILL BE
SEEN AS AN ENDORSEMENT, AS AN
ACT OF ENDORSEMENT OF THE
POLICIES THAT ARE TARGETING THE
MIDDLE EAST, OF U.S. POLICY IN
ISRAEL, OF THE U.S. OCCUPATION
OF IRAQ, AND WHEN AMERICANS RE-
ELECTED GEORGE BUSH, THIS IS THE
WAY IT'S BEING INTERPRETED, AS
THIS STAMP OF APPROVAL OF THESE
POLICIES.
NOW THE IRONY IS THAT WHAT
ACTUALLY WON THE ELECTION FOR
GEORGE BUSH WAS HIS POSITION ON
GAY MARRIAGE AND ABORTION, WHICH
HE SHARES COMPLETELY IN COMMON
WITH BIN LADEN.
(The audience laughs)

Naomi continues
ON THIS THEY ABSOLUTELY AGREE.
IT JUST WAS MORE IMPORTANT TO
MANY AMERICANS, THE MAJORITY OF
AMERICANS THINK THE AMERICANS
ARE DOING A VERY POOR JOB IN
IRAQ, BUT THEY'RE MUCH MORE
CONCERNED ABOUT GAY MARRIAGE.
UM...
I HAVE A FRIEND IN SEATTLE,
SHE'S A FANTASTIC ACTIVIST.
SHE'S ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF
INDIE MEDIA, THE FANTASTIC
ALTERNATIVE MEDIA NETWORK.
IT STARTED DURING THE SEATTLE
PROTESTS IN 1999, AND SHE WAS
ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THAT
NETWORK.
SHE'S A FANTASTIC
ENVIRONMENTALIST AND PEACE
ACTIVIST.
AND HER PARENTS ARE EVANGELICAL
BORN AGAIN CHRISTIANS.
AND SHE TOLD ME THAT ON ALL OF
THESE ISSUES THAT WE'VE BEEN
TALKING ABOUT TODAY, GLOBAL
WARMING, WAR, INCREASED
CONFLICT, SHE SAID, “MY PARENTS
AND I AGREE.”
WHERE WE DISAGREE IS, THEY THINK
IT'S A GOOD SIGN AND I THINK
IT'S A BAD SIGN.
THEY THINK IT'S A GOOD SIGN,
BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT JUDGEMENT
DAY IS COMING AND THEY ARE
SAVED.
SO THAT'S ANOTHER THING TO THINK
ABOUT WHEN WE CONSIDER THE
INCREASED INFLUENCE OF
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS ON
POLITICS.
I AM GOING TO TRY TO GIVE YOU A
POSITIVE SPIN ON THE U.S.
ELECTIONS.
ARE YOU READY?
HERE'S MY POSITIVE SPIN, THEY'RE
OVER.
AND THAT'S A REALLY, REALLY,
REALLY GOOD THING.
AND IT'S A REALLY GOOD THING
BECAUSE A LOT OF VERY SMART,
INNOVATIVE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN
POURING THEIR INTELLIGENCE,
THEIR CREATIVITY AND THEIR
ENERGY INTO A MOVEMENT THAT
DESCRIBED ITSELF AS, THE ANYONE-
BUT-BUSH MOVEMENT, ABB.
AND I HAD THE EXPERIENCE OF
SEEING THE THINKING BEHIND THIS
MOVEMENT UP CLOSE, A YEAR AGO, A
LITTLE MORE THAN A YEAR AGO, AT
A CONFERENCE OF THE
ENVIRONMENTAL GRANTMAKERS'
ASSOCIATION.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL GRANTMAKERS'
ASSOCIATION REPRESENTS THE
PEOPLE WHO GIVE MONEY TO NGOs,
TO WORK ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
AND OTHER ISSUES AS WELL.
AND THEY MEET ONCE A YEAR TO
TALK ABOUT THEIR FUNDING
PRIORITIES.
AND THERE WERE BILLIONS OF
DOLLARS REPRESENTED IN THIS
ROOM.
MacARTHUR, FORD, ALL THE BIG
FOUNDATIONS GETTING TOGETHER TO
TALK ABOUT WHAT THEIR PRIORITIES
WERE.
AND THEY ASKED ME WHETHER I
WANTED TO ADDRESS THIS GROUP.
SO OBVIOUSLY I WANTED TO ADDRESS
THIS GROUP, BECAUSE THEY HAVE
ALL THE MONEY.
SO I WENT TO THE CONFERENCE, AND
I-I-I LISTENED IN ON THE
DISCUSSIONS A LITTLE MORE THAN A
YEAR AGO.
AND THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY OPEN
THAT THEY HAD DECIDED
COLLECTIVELY -- THESE ARE THE
FUNDERS, THESE ARE THE BIG
FOUNDATIONS -- THAT THEIR
PRIORITY FOR THE NEXT YEAR WAS
TO GET BUSH OUT OF OFFICE.
THAT WAS THEIR ONLY PRIORITY,
AND THEY WERE PUTTING ALL THE
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS ON NOTICE
THAT THEY HAD BETTER GET THEIR
APPLICATIONS IN TO THEM, THAT
THEY DIDN'T WANT APPLICATIONS
THAT WERE ISSUE BASED, THEY
WANTED APPLICATIONS ABOUT
GETTING THE VOTE OUT.
AND THEY SAID, WE'RE GOING TO
FUND “MOVE ON,” TO THE HILT, AND
THEY DID.
ANYTHING THAT WAS ABOUT VOTER
REGISTRATION WAS GOING TO GET
FUNDING, ANYTHING THAT WAS ISSUE
BASED WAS NOT GOING TO GET
FUNDING. AND THEY ACTED
ON IT, AND THEY BUILT AN
INCREDIBLE APPARATUS IN THE U.S.
DURING THE ELECTIONS TO TRY TO
GET BUSH OUT.
SO ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS COULD
GET MONEY IF THEY WERE FOCUSSED
ON ABB, ANYBODY BUT BUSH, AND
ANTI-WAR GROUPS COULD GET MONEY
IF THEY WERE FOCUSSED ON ABB.
NOW THAT WOULD
HAVE BEEN FINE, IF THERE WAS A
CANDIDATE WHO WAS RUNNING ON
ISSUES OF GLOBAL WARMING, THE
ACTUAL DISASTER OF THE WAR IN
IRAQ, ASS OPPOSED TO SAYING, “I
COULD WIN IT, I WILL DO IT
BETTER AND MORE EFFICIENTLY.”
BUT THERE WASN'T SUCH A
CANDIDATE, THERE WAS JOHN KERRY.
AND PROGRESSIVES DUTIFULLY LINED
UP BEHIND HIM, AND ALL OF THAT
ENERGY AND OUTRAGE ABOUT THE
ISSUES, ABOUT ABU GHRAIB, ABOUT
THE LOSS OF CIVILIAN LIFE IN
IRAQ, ALL OF IT WAS JUST
FUNNELLED INTO THIS MOVEMENT AND
PEOPLE WERE TOLD TO BE GOOD
LITTLE KERRY SUPPORTERS.
AND WE SAW THIS, I THINK MOST
DRAMATICALLY, WITH MICHAEL
MOORE'S FILM, BECAUSE PEOPLE'S
REACTION TO THAT FILM WAS SO
EMOTIONAL.
AND WHAT THEY WERE RESPONDING TO
WAS THE FACT THAT THEY WERE
SEEING THE BODIES FOR THE FIRST
TIME, AS SCANDALOUS AS THAT IS,
BECAUSE THE WAR HAD BEEN SO
SANITISED THAT THEY WERE
ACTUALLY SEEING THE BLOODY
MUTILATION OF WAR, BOTH OF U.S.
SOLDIERS, AND OF IRAQ FAMILIES
LOSING LOVED ONES.
AND THEY LEFT THE THEATRES
CRYING, AND THEY WANTED TO DO
SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
AND THEY WERE TOLD, VOTE KERRY.
DON'T ASK ABOUT THE DETAILS,
BECAUSE OF COURSE, KERRY IS
SAYING WE'RE GOING TO SEND
40,000 MORE TROOPS IN THERE.
NOW, IF I COULD HAVE, I WOULD
HAVE VOTED KERRY.
I THINK IT WAS TREMENDOUSLY
IMPORTANT TO TRY AND GET BUSH
OUT.
BUT I THINK IT WAS A TERRIBLE
STRATEGIC MISTAKE TO STOP
ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT THE
ISSUES, TO ABANDON OUR ANTI-WAR
MOVEMENT, TO HAVE A PRO-KERRY
MOVEMENT, AND I THINK THAT IS
PART OF THE REASON THAT HE LOST
THE ELECTION, BECAUSE ANYONE BUT
BUSH IS ACTUALLY NOT THAT
GALVANISING A SLOGAN.
WHAT IS GALVANISING, IS END THE
WAR, WHAT IS GALVANISING, IS
BRING THE TROOPS HOME.
AND IT ENDED UP BEING A MORALLY
BANKRUPT POSITION.
I WAS IN NEW YORK DURING THE
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION,
WHERE THERE WAS A HUGE
DEMONSTRATION -- I HESITATE TO
CALL IT AN ANTI-WAR
DEMONSTRATION, BECAUSE IT
ACTUALLY WASN'T ANTI-WAR.
WE DIDN'T TALK ABOUT THE DETAILS
OF WHAT WAS GOING ON.
DURING THAT DEMONSTRATION AND
THE RUN-UP TO THE REPUBLICAN
NATIONAL CONVENTION, NAJAF, THE
HOLIEST CITY IN THE SHIA WORLD
WAS UNDER SIEGE.
THEY WERE FIGHTING IN THE
CEMETERIES, THEY WERE STOMPING
ON GRAVES, YET NOBODY SPOKE
ABOUT NAJAF, NOBODY SPOKE ABOUT
IT BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T WANT TO
BE SEEN AS SUPPORTING
TERRORISTS, AND THE GENERAL
KERRY STRATEGY WAS, YOU KNOW,
LIKE GENERAL--
SORT OF NO, TO THE BUSH AGENDA
WAS THE SLOGAN.
AND IT WAS ALSO MORALLY BANKRUPT
BECAUSE THERE WERE THESE
STRATEGIC DECISIONS THAT IT WAS
BETTER JUST TO TALK ABOUT THE
U.S. TROOP CASUALTIES, AS
OPPOSED TO THE DEATHS OF WHAT
ARE NOW ESTIMATED TO BE 100,000
IRAQIS.
THAT'S THE LATEST ESTIMATE.
NOW IT'S NOT A COMPLETELY
RELIABLE ESTIMATE, BUT IT'S THE
BEST WE HAVE RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE
THE U.S. DOESN'T KEEP CIVILIAN
CASUALTY STATISTICS.
SO THE STUDY WAS PUBLISHED IN A
VERY REPUTABLE SCIENTIFIC
JOURNAL, THE LANCET, AND THEY
THINK THAT IT COULD BE MORE THAN
100,000 CIVILIANS THAT HAVE DIED
SINCE THE INVASION, DURING THE
OCCUPATION.
NOW THIS WAS NOT MADE AN
ELECTION ISSUE, BECAUSE IT WAS
SEEN AS BEING UNPATRIOTIC,
BECAUSE IT WAS IMPLICITLY
CRITICAL OF THE TROOPS.
BETTER TO JUST FOCUS ON THE
1,000 TROOPS WHO HAD DIED.
SO THAT'S WHERE THIS THINKING
GET YOU, IT GETS YOU INTO A
MORALLY BANKRUPT POSITION.
AND IT'S NOT A WAY TO BUILD ANY
KIND OF MOVEMENT FOR SOCIAL
JUSTICE, AND IT DOESN'T SEEM
LIKE IT'S EVEN A WAY TO WIN
ELECTIONS, SO YOU LOSE ON BOTH
COUNTS.
SO IT'S OVER, IT'S OVER.
ABB, ANYONE BUT BUSH, WE'RE
STUCK WITH HIM FOR FOUR MORE
YEARS.
IT'S OVER AND WE NEED TO FOCUS
ON THESE ISSUES AGAIN, AND WE
NEED TO FOCUS ON OUR CORE
BELIEFS AGAIN.
I WROTE BEFORE THE
ELECTIONS, THAT THE PROBLEM WITH
BUSH IS NOT THAT HE'S DUMB,
THOUGH HE IS, IT'S THAT HE MAKES
US DUMB, IN THE SENSE THAT
BEFORE HE WAS ELECTED, I THINK
THAT OUR MOVEMENTS, THAT ARE
SOMETIMES CALLED THE ANTI-
GLOBALIZATION MOVEMENT -- I
DON'T CALL IT THAT.
I THINK THEY'RE MOVEMENTS
AGAINST THE CURRENT STAGE OF
CAPITALISM WHICH IS PRIVATISING
EVER MORE ASPECTS OF OUR LIVES.
AND OUR MOVEMENTS WERE GETTING
REALLY GOOD AT IDENTIFYING
SYSTEMS AND HOW THEY WERE
CONNECTED GLOBALLY, AND
DEVELOPING AN UNDERSTANDING OF
EMPIRE, IN A WAY THAT UNDERSTOOD
THAT IT WAS NOT ABOUT ONE
COUNTRY.
THE WAY IN WHICH IMPERIAL POWERS
AROUND THE WORLD, AND WITH
MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATIONS,
WORK TOGETHER TO REINFORCE AN
AGENDA, AND SOMETIMES CAME INTO
CONFLICT AND THEN HAD
DIFFERENCES, LIKE THE
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FRANCE AND
RUSSIA, AND THE U.S. OVER IRAQ.
WE STOPPED FOCUSSING ON SYMPTOMS
AND WE STARTED FOCUSSING ON
BUSH.
THE SYMPTOMS OF THIS ABB
PATHOLOGY, YOU KNOW, IT'S A
COMPULSION TO SEND REALLY BAD
INTERNET HUMOUR TO FRIENDS AND
FAMILY MEMBERS, COLLECTING SORT
OF BAD BUSH GAGS AND DOLLS AND
ALSO A MEMORY LOSS.
A MEMORY LOSS, SHORT TERM MEMORY
LOSS THAT IT WAS ACTUALLY
CLINTON, FOR INSTANCE, WHO DEATH
THE DEATH BLOW TO THE KYOTO
PROTOCOL, NOT BUSH.
IT WAS CLINTON
WHO WENT TO THE HAGUE, AND-- OR
DIDN'T GO TO THE HAGUE, AND
SCUTTLED THE NEGOTIATIONS.
BUSH MERELY FINISHED THE JOB.
SO THOSE ARE SOME OF THE
SYMPTOMS.
IT'S A PERSONALITY BASED
POLITICS.
YOU ALSO BECOME
OBSESSED WITH ANALYSING THE
PARTICULAR PERSONALITIES IN THE
WHITE HOUSE, AND MAYBE CALLING
IN SHRINKS TO UNDERSTAND BUSH'S
PERSONALITY DISORDER, AND SO ON.
THESE ARE SOME OF THE OTHER
SYMPTOMS OF ABB, AND OF COURSE
WE DON'T TALK ABOUT ALL THE
ISSUES THAT WE'VE BEEN SO
FORTUNATE TO BE ABLE TO
CONCENTRATE ON TODAY, LIKE THE
ROLE OF OIL AND TRADE AND SO ON.
IT'S NOT JUST A PROBLEM IN THE
U.S., ABB, IT'S ALSO A PROBLEM
IN THE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE
ALIGNED THEMSELVES VERY STRONGLY
WITH THE BUSH AGENDA.
YOU HAVE THAT SAME
PATHOLOGIZING, THE SAME
CONCENTRATING ON THE
PERSONALITIES.
THIS IS WHAT'S HAPPENED, WHEN
YOU'VE HAD HUGE DEMONSTRATIONS
IN BRITAIN, IN ITALY, IN
AUSTRALIA, BUT THEY HAVE THE
TWIN DEMONS, THEY HAVE BLAIR AND
BUSH, AND BUSH AND HOWARD, AND
BUSH AND BERLUSCONI, AND DON'T
FORGET POLAND.
AND YOU KNOW, THEY BURN
EFFIGIES, OR, YOU KNOW, IN
LONDON THEY HAD THE STATUE OF
BUSH, LIKE THE STATUE OF SADDAM
HUSSEIN, AND THEY PULLED IT
DOWN.
BUT I DON'T THINK THAT THIS-- IT
REINFORCES THIS MYTH THAT I
THOUGHT WE HAD LEFT BEHIND, THAT
ACTUALLY POLITICAL CHANGE CAN BE
OVERTHROWN BY PULLING DOWN SOME
FIGURE, SOME DICTATOR, OR A
SINGLE IMPERIAL POWER.
WE LOST THAT UNDERSTANDING OF
HOW EMPIRE WORKS.
SO THAT'S OVER, I HOPE, WITH
FOUR MORE YEARS OF BUSH, AND I
THINK THAT THAT'S GOOD.
NOW, IN COUNTRIES THAT DIDN'T
JOIN THE COALITION, COUNTRIES
LIKE CANADA, WE HAVE A DIFFERENT
PROBLEM.
THE NOT-AS-BAD-AS-BUSH PROBLEM,
NAB.
(The audience laughs)

Naomi continues
AND IT HAS ITS OWN SET OF
SYMPTOMS, AND I WOULD LIST THEM
HERE, AS BEING, COMPLACENCY,
BECAUSE WE'RE NOT AS BAD, AND
WE'RE NOT IN IRAQ, NOT REALLY,
THAT WE CAN ALMOST DISENGAGE
FROM THE WORLD, AND WATCH IT AS
SPECTATORS, THAT THESE PROBLEMS
DON'T EVEN RELATE TO US.
AND I THINK CANADIANS HAVE
BECOME TREMENDOUSLY APOLITICAL
IN THIS MOMENT WHERE SO MUCH OF
THE WORLD IS ON FIRE AND
ENGAGED, BECAUSE WE ARE
SUFFERING FROM NAB.
ANOTHER SYMPTOM CAN BE SMUGNESS,
ALTHOUGH THIS IS MOSTLY IN
FRANCE.
AND ANOTHER SYMPTOM, I THINK, IS
SORT OF FOGGY VISION, WHERE,
BECAUSE WE'RE SO PLEASED THAT WE
DIDN'T JOIN THE COALITION GOING
INTO IRAQ, WE DON'T LOOK TOO
CLOSELY AT WHAT WE ARE DOING,
FOR INSTANCE, IN HAITI, AND WE
DON'T LOOK AT HOW WE ARE BEING
ASSIMILATED AS GENERAL DELAIRE
SAID, INTO FORTRESS USA, WHETHER
THROUGH MISSILE DEFENCE, OR BY
FOLLOWING U.S. DEMANDS FOR OUR
IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE POLICIES
TO BE BROUGHT IN LINE.
I WAS AT A RALLY YESTERDAY IN
SUPPORT OF A MAN NAMED MOHAMED
CHERFI, SOME OF YOU MAY KNOW
ABOUT HIS CASE.
IT'S A CHILLING ONE.
HE IS AN ALGERIAN WHO HAS BEEN
LIVING IN QUEBEC FOR MANY YEARS,
AND HE SOUGHT SANCTUARY IN A
CHURCH IN QUEBEC CITY EIGHT
MONTHS AGO.
AND THE SANCTUARY WAS BROKEN AND
THE POLICE WENT IN AND THEY
SEIZED HIM, AND SENT HIM OFF TO
BUFFALO, AND THIS IS PART OF OUR
INTEGRATION WITH IMMIGRATION
WITH THE U.S.
HE'S BEEN IN PRISON IN BUFFALO
FOR EIGHT MONTHS, AND HE WAS
JUST DENIED ASYLUM STATUS.
IF HE IS SENT BACK TO ALGERIA,
AND IT LOOKS LIKE HE WILL BE, HE
FACES POSSIBLE IMPRISONMENT,
TORTURE, POSSIBLE ASSASSINATION.
IT'S A VERY DANGEROUS PLACE TO
GO, AND WE'VE ALREADY SEEN SOME
OF THIS.
WE SAW THIS WITH THE CASE OF
MAHAR ARAR.
IT WASN'T A COINCIDENCE THAT THE
CANADIAN AUTHORITIES HANDED OVER
THEIR INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR
INVESTIGATION, THEIR SHODDY
INVESTIGATION INTO MAHAR ARAR,
OVER TO THE AMERICANS.
THAT WAS ACTUALLY A CONDITION OF
THE SAFE BORDER ACT.
TO KEEP OUR BORDERS OPEN, TO THE
FLOW OF TRADE, TO MAKE SURE THAT
MINIVANS KEEP FLOWING AT THE
WINDSOR DETROIT BORDER, WE
AGREED, AND THIS WAS WHEN PAUL
MARTIN WAS FINANCE MINISTER, WE
AGREED THAT WE WOULD GIVE THE
AMERICANS ANY SECURITY
INFORMATION ABOUT CANADIANS
TRAVELLING TO THE U.S., OR
SIMPLY TRAVELLING THROUGH U.S.
AIR SPACE, WHICH IS WHAT
HAPPENED TO MAHAR ARAR, AND WHY
HE WAS DEPORTED TO SYRIA.
AND KEPT IN A CELL THAT HE
DESCRIBED AS A COFFIN.
SO WE ARE BEING ASSIMILATED, AND
WE'RE NOT JUST SEEING IT WITH
CASES LIKE ARAR AND CHERFI,
WE'RE ALSO SEEING IT WITH THE
CASE OF SOMEBODY LIKE JEREMY
HINZMAN, WHO IS AN INCREDIBLY
BRAVE YOUNG MAN WHO REFUSES TO
GO AND FIGHT IN IRAQ, BECAUSE IT
IS AN ILLEGAL WAR, AND HE
REFUSES TO BE A PART OF IT.
AND HE HAS COME
HERE TO SEEK REFUGEE STATUS, AND
HE DESERVES REFUGEE STATUS,
BECAUSE KOFI ANNAN HAS CALLED
THIS WAR ILLEGAL.
AND IF AN AMERICAN SOLDIER
DOESN'T WANT TO FIGHT IN AN
ILLEGAL WAR, AND HE WILL FACE
IMPRISONMENT IN HIS COUNTRY, AND
THEY COME TO CANADA -- AND
THERE'S THREE WAR RESISTERS HERE
NOW, WHO HAVE NOT BEEN GRANTED
REFUGEE STATUS, THAT IS PART OF
THIS SAME ASSIMILATION PROCESS,
AND WE NEED TO DEMAND THAT THEY
BE GRANTED REFUGEE STATUS, AND I
SAY THIS--
(Applause)

Naomi continues
I SAY THIS AS THE DAUGHTER OF
DRAFT DODGERS FROM THE VIETNAM
WAR.
I THINK THAT THIS COMPLACENCY OF
BEING NOT AS BAD AS BUSH, IS
OVER, TOO, AND GOOD RIDDANCE TO
IT.
WE WILL HAVE TO CHOOSE, WE WILL
BE FORCED TO CHOOSE -- PAUL
CELLUCCI IS ALREADY MAKING THAT
QUITE CLEAR, AND WE WILL HAVE TO
ASK OURSELVES WHICH SIDE WE'RE
ON.
AND I BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD
SIDE WITH THOSE WHO ARE TRYING
TO ISOLATE THE UNITED STATES AND
ITS QUEST FOR MILITARY
DOMINANCE.
IF THEY WANT TO GO IT ALONE,
WHICH THEY CLEARLY DO, THEY
SHOULD TRULY HAVE TO GO IT
ALONE.
BECAUSE IF THEY HAD TO TRULY GO
IT ALONE, THEY WOULD HAVE TO
BEAR THE BURDEN, THE TRUE COSTS
OF THESE MILITARY ADVENTURES,
BUT RIGHT NOW THEY ARE NOT
BEARING THOSE COSTS ALONE.
THEY ARE BEING SHARED BY CANADA
THROUGH SUPPORT FOR THE SO-
CALLED RECONSTRUCTION, AND ALSO
BY THEIR COALITION PARTNERS, BY
THESE MERCENARY SOLDIERS.
IF THEY DIDN'T HAVE THESE
COALITION PARTNERS, THEY WOULD
HAVE TO BRING THE DRAFT BACK,
AND I DOUBT THAT GEORGE BUSH
WOULD BE ABLE TO WIN AN ELECTION
IF HE HAD TO BRING THE DRAFT
BACK.
SO IT IS A STRATEGY TO ISOLATE
THEM, AND SAY, IF YOU WANT TO GO
IT ALONE, GO IT ALONE, BEAR THE
BURDEN AND PAY THE POLITICAL
COSTS AT HOME.
THAT'S A PRINCIPLED POSITION
THAT WE SHOULD BE TAKING.
AND THERE HAS BEEN SOMETHING OF
A MUTINY WITHIN THE COALITION,
STARTING WITH SPAIN HEADING TO
HONDURAS, AND SO ON -- I THINK
I'M OUT OF TIME.
HUNGARY HAS JUST ANNOUNCED THAT
THEY'RE PULLING OUT.
ONE WAY THAT CANADA CAN SUPPORT
THIS MUTINY IS BY MAKING CANADA
A SAFE HAVEN FOR U.S. SOLDIERS
WHO DO NOT WANT TO GO AND FIGHT
IN IRAQ.
THAT IS A CONCRETE WAY THAT WE
CAN TRY TO ISOLATE THE U.S., AND
THAT WE CAN SUPPORT IRAQIS WHO
ARE TRYING TO FREE THEMSELVES
FROM MILITARY OCCUPATION.
NOW THAT BRINGS ME TO MY FINAL
POINT, WHICH IS, IT'S OVER, AND
THAT IS NOT GOOD IN IRAQ.
THE HEADLINE TODAY IN THE GLOBE
AND MAIL IS, “JETS POUND
FALLUJAH AS BATTLE LOOMS.”
THAT'S ON A-20 FOR SOME REASON.
THIS WAS ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE
AND PREDICTED, THAT UM...
THE U.S. ELECTION IN IRAQ MEANT
THAT -- TWO THINGS.
ONE, IT MEANT THAT THE U.S.
MILITARY HELD OFF LAYING SIEGE
ON FALLUJAH AND THE OTHER SO-
CALLED REBEL CITIES IN IRAQ,
BECAUSE KARL ROVE DIDN'T WANT A
BLOOD BATH DURING THE ELECTION.
THEY HELD OFF AND IMMEDIATELY
AFTER THE VOTE, THEY'VE STARTED
THE SIEGE ON FALLUJAH.
I WAS THERE DURING THE FIRST
SIEGE, WHEN 900 CIVILIANS AT
LEAST WERE KILLED.
WE KNOW WHAT IT MEANS.
THE OTHER THING THAT THE
ELECTIONS IN THE U.S. MEANT IN
IRAQ WAS THAT THEY HAD TO
PRETEND THAT FREE AND FAIR
ELECTIONS WERE ACTUALLY GOING TO
TAKE PLACE IN IRAQ, BECAUSE
GEORGE BUSH HAD TO SAY ON THE
IRAQ TRAIL THAT FREEDOM--
I MEAN ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL,
THAT FREEDOM WAS ON THE MARCH.
NOW THAT THOSE ELECTIONS ARE
OVER, AND THEY DON'T HAVE TO
FACE THE ELECTORATE FOR ANOTHER
FOUR YEARS, ALL BETS ARE OFF.
SO IT'S NOT JUST THE SIEGE ON
FALLUJAH THAT HAS ALREADY BEGUN,
IT'S ALSO THAT THOSE ELECTIONS
ARE VERY, VERY MUCH IN QUESTION.
THEY MAY TAKE PLACE, BUT I THINK
THAT IF THEY DO TAKE PLACE, IN
THE CURRENT PLANNING, THEY WILL
BE EXTREMELY STIFLED.
THERE WILL BE A GREAT DEAL OF
CONTROL OVER WHO CAN VOTE, AND
WHO CAN RUN IN THOSE ELECTIONS.
SO IF THERE IS SOMETHING
CONCRETE THAT WE CAN DO, I'D SAY
THAT WE HAVE OUR WORK CUT OUT
FOR US, WHICH--
WHICH IS TO DEFEND -- FORCE THEM
TO MAKE GOOD ON THEIR PROMISE
FOR DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM IN
IRAQ.
NOW WHAT DOES THAT ACTUALLY
MEAN?
I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT ELECTION
SCRUTINEERS, I'M TALKING ABOUT A
DEEPER KIND OF DEMOCRACY HERE.
ELECTIONS ARE PART OF IT, BUT
THEY'RE NOT ALL OF IT.
BECAUSE WHAT'S ACTUALLY BEEN
GOING ON IN IRAQ, AND THIS IS
THE SUBJECT OF MY “HARPER'S.”
PIECE AND I DON'T REALLY HAVE
TIME TO GET INTO IT TODAY.
BUT WHAT'S BEEN
GOING ON IN IRAQ HAS ACTUALLY
BEEN A RACE AGAINST DEMOCRACY,
AND AN ATTEMPT TO LOCK IN
ECONOMIC REFORMS SO THAT BY THE
TIME IRAQIS ACTUALLY GET TO THE
POLLS, ALL OF THE KEY DECISIONS
ABOUT THEIR ECONOMY AND SOCIETY
WILL BE PRE-MADE AND IT WILL BE
THIS SORT OF RITUAL ACT.
SO DEFENDING
DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM IN IRAQ
MEANS, FIRST OF ALL DEFENDING
FREEDOM FROM ATTACK, FIRST AND
FOREMOST, AND IMMEDIATELY.
IT ALSO MEANS FREEDOM TO DECIDE
HOW TO REBUILD THEIR COUNTRY FOR
THEMSELVES.
UM, IT MEANS FREEDOM FROM
OCCUPATION, NOT JUST MILITARY
OCCUPATION, BUT ALSO CORPORATE
OCCUPATION.
IT ALSO MEANS FREEDOM FROM DEBT.
IRAQ HAS A DEBT OF ROUGHLY 200
BILLION DOLLARS AND THAT IS SADDAM'S
DEBT.
THEY DESERVE TO BE FREE OF THE
DEBT OF THEIR DICTATOR, BUT THEY
ALSO DESERVE TO BE FREE OF THE
DEBTS OF THEIR OCCUPIERS,
BECAUSE A FEW WEEKS AGO, THE
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND JUST
LOANED IRAQ HALF A BILLION
DOLLARS, WITH A 107 PAGE
STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM
ATTACHED TO IT.
SO IT IS FREEDOM FROM DEBT, AND
IT IS ECONOMIC FREEDOM, WHICH
MEANS
INSTEAD OF RECONSTRUCTION FUNDS
GOING TO COMPANIES LIKE
HALLIBURTON, IT MEANS
REPARATIONS GOING TO THE PEOPLE
OF IRAQ, TO CONTROL, AS THEY
WISH, AS THEY DECIDE, AND IT
ALSO MEANS FREEDOM TO CONTROL
THEIR OWN OIL REVENUE, AND LINDA
TOUCHED ON THIS.
THERE IS LESS THAN THREE MONTHS
TO GO BEFORE IRAQIS GO TO THE
POLLS, APPARENTLY, WHICH MEANS
THAT IT'S NOT OVER YET, AND
THAT'S GOOD, BECAUSE THERE'S
STILL TIME.
THANK YOU.
(Applause)

On the same stage, Tina appears sitting down next to Naomi. She’s in her late forties. She has short brown hair in a neat cut and wears glasses, a brown suit with a red flower brooch on her left lapel.

Tina says OKAY LET'S
TALK A BIT ABOUT YOUR “HARPER'S.”
ARTICLE.
YOU SUGGEST IN THAT, YOU SAY ONE
OF THE GREAT CRITICISMS OF
BUSH'S WAR IN IRAQ WAS THAT HE
HAD NO PLAN FOR WHAT WOULD
HAPPEN AFTERWARDS.
AND YOU SAY, AU CONTRAIRE, HE
DID HAVE A PLAN, AND IT WAS A
KIND OF ECONOMIC YEAR ZERO PLAN,
I THINK YOU CALL IT.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT THAT WAS?

Naomi says YEAH.
WELL, FIRST I WANT TO MAKE IT
CLEAR THAT I THINK THAT THERE
WAS A PLAN, AND THE PLAN WAS
IMPLEMENTED AND THE PLAN
BACKFIRED.
THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM THE
REASON THEY WENT TO WAR.
I THINK THE REASON THEY WENT TO
WAR HAS A GREAT DEAL TO DO WITH
OIL, AND IT ALSO HAD A GREAT
DEAL TO DO WITH MILITARY BASES
NO LONGER BEING VIABLE IN SAUDI
ARABIA, IT HAD TO DO WITH
ISRAEL.
ONCE THEY DECIDED TO GO IN,
HOWEVER, THERE WAS SOME
OPPORTUNISM ON THE PART OF THE
NEO-CONS IN THE WHITE HOUSE, WHO
WERE ON A ROLL, BECAUSE THEY HAD
PREDICTED THAT IT WAS GOING TO
BE A CAKEWALK.
THESE ARE THE -- DOUGLAS FIFE,
AND DONALD RUMSFELD AND SO ON.
FOR A LITTLE WHILE THERE, IT
LOOKED LIKE THEY WERE REALLY
SMART, THAT THEY HAD CALLED IT,
AND EVERYTHING WAS UNFOLDING AS
THEY HAD PREDICTED.
NOW WE KNOW, IN FACT, THAT THAT
WAS NOT THE CASE.
AND THERE WAS A CONFLICT WITHIN
THE WHITE HOUSE BETWEEN THE
PRAGMATISTS, PEOPLE LIKE COLIN
POWELL, AND JAY GARNER, WHO WAS
THE FIRST ENVOY TO IRAQ.
HE WAS MORE OF A KIND OF OLD
SCHOOL IMPERIALIST.
HE SAID HE WANTED IRAQ ON THE
MODEL OF THE PHILIPPINES, A
COALING STATION, JUST FOCUS ON
THE MILITARY BASES, HAVE
ELECTIONS AS SOON AS YOU CAN,
LEAVE THE ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING
TO THE IMF.
HE WAS UNSEATED.
HE LASTED FOR THREE WEEKS, AND
HE WAS REPLACED BY WHO THE NEO-
CONS WANTED, WHO WAS PAUL
BREMER.

Tina says MM-HMM.

Naomi continues AND PAUL BREMER
CAME IN WITH A MUCH, MUCH MORE
AMBITIOUS PLAN, AND IT WAS LAID
OUT, THE PLAN ITSELF WAS THE
ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING OF IRAQ,
WHICH WAS ACTUALLY LAID OUT IN A
USAID CONTRACT, WHICH WAS GIVEN
TO KPMG, BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE SO
MUCH IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, THAT
THEY PRIVATISED THE TASK OF
PRIVATISING IRAQ.

Tina chuckles and the audience laughs.

Naomi continues THEY GAVE IT TO
KPMG.
AND KPMG HAD THE JOB OF
REWRITING IRAQ'S ECONOMIC LAWS,
TO TURN IRAQ INTO WHAT THE
ECONOMIST MAGAZINE CALLED, “A
CAPITALIST'S DREAM.”
AND THEY DESCRIBED THE LAWS THAT
WERE IMPOSED ON IRAQ IN THE
AFTERMATH OF THE SHOCK AND AWE
MILITARY ATTACK, AS THE WISH
LIST OF FOREIGN INVESTORS.
AND THIS IS NOT A CONSPIRACY,
THIS IS JUST WHAT THEY DID.
WHAT THEY DID IS -- THE FIRST
THING PAUL BREMER DID IS, HE
ATTACKED THE PUBLIC SECTOR.
THEY CALLED IT DEBAATHIFICATION.
WHAT HE ACTUALLY DID, IS LAID
OFF 500,000 PUBLIC SECTOR
WORKERS, MOST OF THEM WERE
SOLDIERS. BUT THEY
WERE ALSO PUBLISHERS, PRINTERS,
DOCTORS, TEACHERS.
THIS HAD A HUGE IMPACT ON THE
RISE OF THE ARMED RESISTANCE,
THIS IS NOW ACCEPTED, AND
CERTAINLY PEOPLE WITHIN THE
MILITARY WILL TELL YOU, THIS IS
PROBABLY THE STUPIDEST THING
THAT'S EVER BEEN DONE.
LAYOFF 400,000
SOLDIERS, DON'T GIVE THEM THEIR
PENSIONS -- THIS IS AFTER YOU'VE
DROPPED LEAFLETS IN IRAQ, BEFORE
THE BOMBING, TELLING THE
SOLDIERS, IF YOU ABANDON YOUR
POSTS, NOTHING WILL BE USED
AGAINST YOU.
THEY IN FACT ENCOURAGED A MUTINY
IN THE RUN-UP TO WAR.
SAYING, WE ONLY WANT THE TOP
TIER.
THEY ENCOURAGED A MUTINY, THEY
TOLD THE SOLDIERS, YOU'LL BE
OKAY.
BREMER COMES IN, FIRES ALL THE
SOLDIERS, PISSES THEM OFF
ROYALLY, AND SAYS, “YOU CAN KEEP
YOUR GUNS.”
(The audience laughs)

Naomi continues
AT THE SAME TIME, CREATED A
TOTAL UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS IN THE
COUNTRY, BECAUSE NOT ONLY HAVE
YOU JUST LAID OFF 500,000
PEOPLE, BUT YOU TREAT
RECONSTRUCTION AS AN EXPERIMENT
IN UTOPIAN CAPITALISM SO INSTEAD
OF IT BEING A NEW DEAL PROJECT
FOR IRAQ'S INDUSTRY TO RECOVER,
GIVING THE CONTRACTS TO SOME OF
THAT STATE FIRMS THAT HAVE BEEN
SUFFOCATING UNDER THE SANCTIONS
REGIME, RESUSCITATING THOSE
BUSINESSES, REBUILDING THEM, ALL
THE CONTRACTS WERE GIVEN TO
AMERICAN AND BRITISH COMPANIES
AS A REWARD FOR INVADING IRAQ.
AND WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT THIS --
THE AMERICANS TALK ABOUT IT AS
IF IT'S THEIR MONEY, SO OF
COURSE IT'S OUR MONEY, SO WE GET
TO GIVE IT TO OUR COMPANIES, BUT
IN FACT ONLY 1 BILLION DOLLARS HAS BEEN
SPENT ON THE GROUND IN IRAQ,
EVEN THOUGH 18.4 WAS ALLOCATED
BY CONGRESS.
ONE BILLION HAS ACTUALLY BEEN
SPENT, BUT 8 BILLION DOLLARS OF IRAQ'S
OIL MONEY HAS BEEN SPENT ON THE
SO-CALLED RECONSTRUCTION.
2 PERCENT OF THAT MONEY HAS GONE TO
IRAQI FIRMS, THE REST HAS GONE
TO COALITION PARTNERS.
THAT'S WHY IRAQIS SEE THE
RECONSTRUCTION AS AN EXTENSION
OF THE INVASION OF THEIR
COUNTRY.
IT'S ALSO FEEDING THE
UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS, WHICH IS
NOW AT 67 PERCENT UNEMPLOYMENT IN IRAQ.
SO YOU'VE GOT AN UNEMPLOYMENT
CRISIS, YOU'VE GOT LAID OFF
SOLDIERS WITH GUNS, YOU'VE GOT
UNPROTECTED WEAPONS CACHES.
YOU KNOW, IN THE “HARPER'S.”
PIECE I QUOTE HUSSEIN KUBA,
WHO'S A PROMINENT IRAQI
BUSINESSMAN, CALLING IRAQI
RESISTANCE ALTERNATE EMPLOYMENT,
WHICH IS NOT TO SAY THAT THERE
WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN SOME
RESISTANCE.
THERE WAS SOME RESISTANCE.
THERE WERE BAATHIST HOLDOUTS AND
THERE WERE SADDAM LOYALISTS, BUT
IT WAS QUITE SMALL, AND IT WAS
QUITE CONTAINED.
IT BECAME A POPULAR RESISTANCE
BECAUSE OF THESE POLICIES.

Tina says WELL HOW
THEN-- I MEAN, IT SEEMS NOW IN
RETROSPECT, IMPOSSIBLE THAT THEY
EVER THOUGHT THIS WOULD WORK.

Naomi says RIGHT.

Tina continues WHAT DID
THEY THINK THEY WERE DOING?

Naomi says WELL WHAT THEY
THOUGHT THEY WERE--
YEAH, BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE WOULD
FORESEE THAT IF YOU LAID OFF A
LOT OF SOLDIERS WITH GUNS,
THEY'D START SHOOTING YOU.

Tina says THEY'D GET
ANNOYED, YEAH.

Naomi continues WELL, I CALLED
IT UTOPIAN CAPITALISM, AND YOU
KNOW, I THINK THESE GUYS ARE
TRUE BELIEVERS, THEY'RE
BELIEVERS IN--
WELL THERE'S A COUPLE OF WAYS OF
ANSWERING IT.
I REALISE I DIDN'T FULLY ANSWER
THE PREVIOUS QUESTION IN TERMS
OF WHAT THE PLAN WAS.
THE PLAN WENT BEYOND JUST
ATTACKING THE PUBLIC SECTOR.
IT WAS ALSO TO WRITE THESE LAWS
THAT ALLOWED FOR 100 PERCENT FOREIGN
OWNERSHIP, YOU COULD TAKE 100 PERCENT
OF YOUR PROFITS OUT, AND THEY
EVEN IMPOSED A FLAT TAX ON IRAQ,
A 15 PERCENT FLAT TAX, AND IRAQI
BUSINESSPEOPLE WERE VERY
CONCERNED ABOUT ALL OF THIS,
BECAUSE THEY HAD JUST EMERGED
FROM THIS BRUTAL ECONOMIC
EMBARGO, 12 YEARS, WHERE IF
SOMETHING BROKE IN ONE OF THEIR
FACTORIES, THEY COULDN'T GET IT
REPLACED, YOU KNOW, THEY
COULDN'T ORDER SOMETHING FROM
FRANCE OR GERMANY, AND NOW
SUDDENLY, A MONTH AFTER THE
INVASION, PAUL BREMER ANNOUNCES
THAT IRAQ IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS
AND FLINGS OPEN THE BORDERS TO
ABSOLUTELY UNRESTRICTED FOREIGN
IMPORTS, NO TARIFFS, NO TAXES,
NO BORDER INSPECTIONS, SO IT
GOES FROM BEING THE MOST CLOSED
COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, UNDER
TOTAL ECONOMIC EMBARGO, TO THE
WORLD'S FREEST MARKET, BUT THE
PROBLEM IS, THE LIGHTS ARE STILL
OFF IN BAGHDAD, THERE'S NO
WATER, THEY STILL DON'T HAVE THE
SPARE PARTS IN THEIR FACTORIES,
WHICH HAVE ALSO BEEN LOOTED
WHILE THE U.S. HAS DONE NOTHING
TO STOP IT, AND THEY'RE TOLD,
WELCOME TO THE FREE MARKET.
COMPETE WITH WAL-MART.
AND SO THESE IRAQI
BUSINESSPEOPLE ASKED TO HAVE A
MEETING WITH THE COALITION
PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY TO TALK
ABOUT THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT THIS
ECONOMIC SHOCK THERAPY, AND THEY
MET WITH THE PERSON WHO WAS, AT
THE TIME, HEAD OF PRIVATE SECTOR
DEVELOPMENT IN IRAQ, WHO IS A
GUY NAMED MICHAEL FLEISCHER, WHO
IS ARI'S BROTHER.
SO ARI FLEISCHER WAS SELLING THE
WAR, AND THEN HIS BROTHER WAS
AUCTIONING OFF THE COMPANY.
AND SO THEY EXPRESSED THEIR
CONCERNS TO MICHAEL FLEISCHER,
AND MICHAEL FLEISCHER BASICALLY
DID THIS IMPERSONATION OF THE
GUY ON SURVIVOR, AND TOLD THEM,
ONLY THE BEST OF YOU WILL
SURVIVE.
THIS WAS HIS WAY OF COMFORTING
THEM.
AND THEN HE TOLD THEM, LOOK, THE
ENTIRE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS
ENVIOUS OF YOUR TAX LAW, AS IF
THEY SHOULD BE HAPPY THAT THEY
WERE BEING MADE THIS EXPERIMENT,
THIS LABORATORY FOR NEO-CON
ECONOMICS. THEY WEREN'T
HAPPY, AND IN FACT THIS IS
ANOTHER KIND OF BLOWBACK FROM
THESE REFORMS, IS THAT IT WASN'T
JUST THE LAID OFF SOLDIERS AND
THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SHUT OUT OF
THE RECONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS,
WHO JOINED THE RESISTANCE, BUT A
LOT OF THE MONEY FROM-- FOR THE
RESISTANCE THAT IS BUYING THE
RPGs AND THE AK-47s, IS COMING
FROM IRAQI BUSINESS PEOPLE WHO
HAVE, IN A SENSE INVESTED IN THE
RESISTANCE, BECAUSE THEY FEEL
THAT IT IS--
YOU KNOW, THAT THEY ARE UNDER
FOREIGN INVASION. SO THAT'S
ANOTHER UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE
OF THESE ECONOMIC REFORMS.
BUT I MEAN TO ME, IT'S AMAZING
THAT THEY ACTUALLY THOUGHT THEY
COULD GET AWAY WITH IT.
BUT IT WAS THIS THEORY, AND THE
THEORY WAS SHOCK THERAPY, AND
YOU KNOW, MANY OF YOU HAVE HEARD
THIS PHRASE.
THOMAS HOMER DIXON, YOU KNOW--
TALKED ABOUT SHOCKS, AND HOW
SOMETIMES SHOCKS TO THE SYSTEM
CREATE CHANGE.
BUT THERE IS ANOTHER SIDE OF
THAT, THERE'S ANOTHER THEORY,
AND THE THEORY IS THAT IF YOU
SHOCK PEOPLE, IF YOU SHOCK A
POPULATION WITH CHANGE, WITH
RAPID CHANGE, THEY WILL BE SO
CONFUSED, THEY WILL BE UNABLE TO
REACT.
AND YOU KNOW, WE EXPERIENCES A
VERY WATERED DOWN VERSION OF
THIS, HERE IN ONTARIO WITH THE
SORT OF COMMON SENSE REVOLUTION
OF MIKE HARRIS, AND IT WAS THE
SAME THEORY.
THE IDEA IS THAT IT IS A
REVOLUTION, YOU USE THE LANGUAGE
OF REVOLUTION.
YOU DON'T IMPOSE THESE POLICIES
ONE AT A TIME, YOU DO IT ALL AT
ONCE, BECAUSE PEOPLE CAN RESIST
ONE POLICY CHANGE AT A TIME,
THEY CAN DEFEND THEIR SCHOOLS,
THEY CAN DEFEND THEIR HOSPITALS,
BUT THEY CAN'T DEFEND THEIR
SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, HYDRO, YOU
KNOW, ALL OF IT ALL AT ONCE.
THE THEORY IN IRAQ IS THAT YOU
HAVE A POPULATION THAT HAS JUST
BEEN SHOCKED THROUGH SHOCK AND
AWE, IS TOTALLY DISLOCATED.
AND THEN HOT ON THE HEELS, WITH
THE LIGHTS STILL OUT, WHILE
PEOPLE ARE STILL DEALING WITH
THE ABSOLUTELY DAILY NECESSITIES
OF SURVIVAL IN THE AFTERMATH OF
WAR, YOU BRING IN THE SHOCK
THERAPY, AND YOU BRING IT IN
FASTER, AS JOSEPH STIGLITZ
SAID, IT WAS FASTER THAN THE
SHOCK THERAPY IN THE FORMER
SOVIET UNION, WHICH WAS ALSO IN
THE AFTERMATH OF A HUGE SOCIAL
DISRUPTION.
AT FIRST IT SEEMED TO WORK.
PEOPLE DIDN'T REACT RIGHT AWAY,
BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY THEY WERE MORE
CONCERNED ABOUT WHETHER THEY HAD
WATER TO DRINK, THAN WHETHER
THEIR WATER SYSTEM WAS BEING
PRIVATISED.
BUT IT HAD THE UNINTENDED
CONSEQUENCE WAS THAT PEOPLE DID
FIGHT BACK, AND THEY FOUGHT BACK
IN WAYS, I THINK MORE BRUTAL
THAN ANYBODY COULD HAVE
ANTICIPATED.
I WENT TO THE FIRST STATE
COMPANY THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE
SOLD. WHEN PAUL BREMER
ANNOUNCED THAT THEY WERE GOING
TO PRIVATISE 200 OF IRAQ'S STATE
FIRMS, THE FIRST COMPANY HE
LISTED WAS THE STATE VEGETABLE
OIL COMPANY, WHICH PRODUCES
VEGETABLE OIL, AND THEY ALSO
PRODUCE SOAP, AND ALL KINDS OF
COSMETICS, AND IT WAS SORT OF
SEEN AS A NATURAL FOR PROCTOR
AND GAMBLE TO COME IN AND JUST
BUY IT UP, AND I VISITED THE
FACTORY, AND IT HADN'T BEEN
PRIVATISED, AND I FOUND OUT WHY.
BASICALLY THERE WAS AN UPRISING
IN THE FACTORY, AND THE MANAGERS
WERE THREATENED WITH DEATH BY
THEIR WORKERS, WHO KNIFED THEIR
SECURITY GUARD, MADE AN
ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION ON THEIR
FACTORY MANAGER.
THEY SENT DEATH THREATS TO THE
TOP TIER OF MANAGEMENT, AND
SAID, IF YOU'RE GOING TO GO
AHEAD WITH PRIVATISATION, YOU'RE
ALL GOING TO DIE, DON'T COME TO
WORK.
AND I SAID, “WHAT HAPPENS IF
THEY GO AHEAD WITH PRIVATISATION
ANYWAY?” TO ONE OF THE WORKERS,
A 25 YEAR OLD SECURITY GUARD,
AND HE SAID, “THERE ARE TWO
CHOICES, EITHER WE'LL BURN THE
FACTORY TO THE GROUND, OR WE
WILL BLOW OURSELVES UP INSIDE OF
IT.”
THOSE ARE THE TWO CHOICES.
SO THAT'S HOW PRIVATISATION IS
BEING FOUGHT IN IRAQ.
IT IS DEFINITELY AN UNINTENDED
CONSEQUENCE OF SHOCK THERAPY.

Tina says THIS IS IN
“HARPER'S” MAGAZINE, WHAT MONTH
WAS THAT IN, DO YOU REMEMBER?

The caption changes to “Special thanks to Random House of Canada.”

Naomi says IT WAS IN THE
SEPTEMBER ISSUE, BUT IT'S ONLINE
NOW.
ON THE HARPER'S WEBSITE AS WELL
AS AT nologo.org.

(Applause)

Watch: Irshad Manji on her book The Trouble with Islam