Naomi Klein

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Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein is senior editor at The Intercept,[1] a Puffin Writing Fellow at Type Media Center, Gloria Steinem Chair of Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University,[2] and author of seven books, most recently On Fire, the (Burning) Case for the Green New Deal.[3]

Content of Writing and Commentary

The Shock Doctrine

Klein's book The Shock Doctrine argues that fundamentalist capitalism, the type favored by Milton Friedman and other members of the Chicago School, is so unpopular to the average person that "only circumstance in which a population would accept Friedman-style reforms is when it is in a state of shock, following a crisis of some sort—a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, a war."[4] Following this argument, the book claims "Some of the most infamous human rights violations of this era... were in fact either committed with the deliberate intent of terrorizing the public or actively harnessed to prepare the ground for the introduction of radical free-market 'reforms.'" [4]

Green New Deal

Klein has been a proponent of the Green New Deal, saying that its supporters make her think "about the crucial difference between leadership that acts and leadership that talks about acting",[5] comparing it to the original New Deal,[6] and seeing it as an answer to the "pressing need to confront the ways in which the fires of climate breakdown are already intersecting with the fires of white supremacy and surging xenophobia globally."[7]

In a 2019 interview, she claimed the Green New Deal was the only legislation she had seen proposed where the scale of the solution matched the scale of the problem, calling it "a holistic approach that is really about changing the entire economy."[8] She also claimed resistance to climate action has been impeded by proponents of neoliberalism, who wish to give as little power as possible to the public sector while deregulating and reducing the taxes of polluting corporations. She claimed the support for a policy like the Green New Deal came from the fact that "a lot of people understand those [neoliberal] rules have failed them, with or without climate change."[8]

In a 2019 Democracy Now! interview, Klein claimed that the specific timing of scientific insights into climate change came at the worst possible time in human history, during the "free market zealotry" of the 1980s. She highlights how the prominent mindset at that time focused on reduction of collective action, cutting back on government programs and mass privatization, but Klein claimed the problem instead requires "unprecedented collective action and unprecedented public investment".[9] She also raised concerns over anti-immigration administrations worldwide refusing to accept climate refugees, seeing it an example of climate change intersecting with white supremacy and authoritarianism.

In April 2019, Klein teamed up with artist Molly Crabapple and U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to create a "postcard from the future": an illustrated video description of what could be possible if the Green New Deal came to pass.[10]

Political Beliefs

A 2008 New Yorker exposé explains that Klein "distrusts centralization, institutions, platforms, theories—anything except extremely small, local, ad-hoc, spontaneous initiatives. Basically, she really, really doesn’t like being told what to do."[4] It also describes how she "slides into the position that politics is always and everywhere about enrichment. Her great strength— following the money; never taking ideology at face value but always questioning who benefits from it; helping to pull the left back to the economic analysis that it forgot during the era of 'the personal is political'— is also a weakness. Her materialism is such that she sometimes seems scarcely to believe that politics exists at all."[4] The piece also describes Klein's rejection of utopian visions of all types and her wish to connect Friedmann with the misdeeds of Augusto Pinochet and Suharto, just as Karl Marx's legacy has been tainted by the crimes of Joseph Stalin and others authoritarian Communist leaders.[4]

Endorsement of Bernie Sanders's 2020 Presidential Bid

In November 2019, Klein spoke at a Climate Crisis Summit in Des Moines, Iowa alongside Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, The Sunrise Movement and other influential grassroots proponents of the Green New Deal and large-scale environmental action. Klein endorsed Sanders, saying she had "never formally endorsed a candidate for President in my life- never mind spoken at a campaign rally." on Twitter.[11]


Klein Studied English and Philosophy at the University of Toronto.[12]

Honorary Degrees

As of September 2019:[12]

  • Doctor Honoris Causa of University of Amsterdam
  • Honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Thomas University, New Brunswick
  • Honorary Degree at College of the Atlantic


Klein has been senior editor at The Intercept since 2017.[1] According to her March 2019 CV, "She has also written a regular column for The Nation, The Globe and Mail and The Guardian that was syndicated in major newspapers around the world by The New York Times Syndicate. She has been a contributing editor at Harper’s and Rolling Stone. She has reported from China for Rolling Stone, Copenhagen (COP15) for The Nation, Buenos Aires for The Financial Times, and Iraq for Harper’s. Additionally, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Globe and Mail, El Pais, L’Espresso, The New Statesman, Le Monde, among many other publications."[12] According to the same CV, Klein's television appearances have included "Fareed Zakaria’s GPS on CNN, BBC Newsnight and HARDTalk, Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Colbert Report, The Tavis Smiley Show, The Charlie Rose Show and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.




As of September 2019:[12]

  • 2016 Sydney Peace Prize for "exposing the structural causes and responsibility for the climate crisis, for inspiring us to stand up locally, nationally and internationally to demand a new agenda for sharing the planet that respects human rights and equality, and for reminding us of the power of authentic democracy to achieve transformative change and justice."
  • 2015 Izzy Award for Outstanding Independent Media and Journalism. Citation: “Few journalists today take on the big issues as comprehensively and fearlessly as Naomi Klein. She combines rigorous reporting, analysis, history and global scope into a package that not only identifies problems, but also illuminates successful activism and solutions. That goes for her groundbreaking book on climate change and for columns that brilliantly connect the dots –such as the intersection of climate justice and racial justice.”
  • 2014 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for This Changes Everything
  • 2014 International Studies Association’s IPE Outstanding Activist-Scholar award. "Honoured for her activism in alter-globalizations social movements and protests. Author of numerous books and articles, Naomi is one of the most important voices in the alter-globalizations movement."
  • 2011 World Rainforest Challenge Business as Usual Award from the Rainforest Action Network
  • 2009 Inaugural Warwick Prize for Writing for The Shock Doctrine.
  • 2008 Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year for The Shock Doctrine
  • 2004 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism
  • 2001 Canadian National Business Book Award for No Logo
  • 2001 Le Prix Médiations, France
  • 1999 National Magazine Awards (Canada), Gold

Criticism of The Shock Doctrine

Other Criticism


Naomi Klein, senior editor at The Intercept, Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies, Rutgers University

Rutgers Email:
Facebook: /naomikleinofficial
Twitter: @NaomiAKlein

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch

External resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Intercept, Naomi Klein, organizational website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  2. Rutgers University, Naomi Klein, university website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  3. Naomi Klein, About Naomi, organizational website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Larissa MacFarquhar, "Outside Agitator", New Yorker, December 8, 2008, accessed September 30, 2019 (subscription required after five free monthly articles).
  5. Naomi Klein, "The Game-Changing Promise of a Green New Deal", Intercept", November 27, 2018, accessed September 30, 2019.
  6. Naomi Klein, "The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn on the Green New Deal", Intercept, February 13, 2019, accessed September 30, 2019.
  7. Naomi Klein, "Only a Green New Deal Can Douse the Fires of Eco-Fascism", Intercept, September 16, 2019, accessed September 30, 2019.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Naomi Klein and Steve Paikin, Naomi Klein: The Case for a Green New Deal, The Agenda with Steve Paikin YouTube channel, September 21, 2019, accessed September 30, 2019.
  9. Juan González, Amy Goodman and Naomi Klein, "'On Fire': In New Book, Naomi Klein Makes the Case for a Green New Deal to Save the Planet", Democracy Now!, September 17, 2019, accessed September 30, 2019.
  10. Naomi Klein, "A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez", Intercept, April 17, 2019, accessed September 30, 2019.
  11. Julia Conley, WATCH: Sanders Joined by Naomi Klein and Sunrise Movement at Climate Crisis Summit in Iowa, Common Dreams, November 9, 2019, accessed November 11, 2019.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Rutgers University, Naomi Klein CV, university website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  13., Team, organizational website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  14. Corporate Accountability International, Advisers, organizational website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  15. EcoVivaWelcoming Our Newest Advisory Board Members, organizational website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  16. Jewish Voice for Peace, People, organizational website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  17. The Leap Manifesto, Who's on Board?, organizational website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  18. Media Education Foundation, Our Team, organizational website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  19. Type Media Center, Naomi Klein, organizational website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  20. War on Want, Patrons, organizational website, accessed September 30, 2019.
  21. The Wildfire Project, Advisory Board, organizational website, accessed September 30, 2019.