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Naomi Klein and Arundhati Roy Help Launch Global Green New Deal Project With Worldwide Invitation

"The time to build the future we deserve is now, and international solidarity is the tool we need to begin its construction."

Image: Global Green New Deal

The coronavirus crisis has brought "the machine of capitalism... to a halt," said Arundhati Roy. (Image: Global Green New Deal)

Authors Arundhati Roy and Naomi Klein took part in a virtual conversation on Tuesday to help launch a Global Green New Deal project to foster internationalism and visualize possibilities for a new and better world for people and the planet.

The online event, entitled "Into the Portal, No One Left Behind," was co-sponsored by The Leap, War on Want, and Haymarket Books. Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want, moderated the discussion.

"We knew our system was broken. But the Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the cruelty of the global economy, and deepened the visceral injustices of our societies," organizers said in the conversation's event description. "The time to build the future we deserve is now, and international solidarity is the tool we need to begin its construction."

Klein said that driving the cruelty is "the violence of a capitalist system" rooted in "an extractivist logic that treats... the Earth itself, individual places, and entire groups of people as disposable," a "logic of endless extraction and disposal that really cherishes nothing and no one."

The coronavirus crisis means that we are now hearing the "roar of workers who are on the frontlines who are talking about being simultaneously essential and disposable or simultaneously essential and sacrificial," said Klein, adding that this duality has parallels with slavery and land theft.

A more justice vision for life on the other side of the "portal" post-pandemic should be "bounded in treating no one as if they are sacrificeable—and nowhere," she said.

Watch the full conversation:

Roy said the pandemic meant "the machine of capitalism has come to a halt," and suggested a global movement toward justice could heed lessons from the "ferocious, beautiful, and militant movements" in India.

What those movements have done, said Roy, is to ask "the world to redefine the meaning of progress, to redefine he meaning of civilization, to redefine the meaning of happiness. Do you really need to treat the Earth like a resource in order to call yourself civilized?"

"If people think coronavirus is a problem, it's a stuffed toy compared to the climate crisis that's coming," she added.

"The main thing is to change our imagination," said Roy. "Once you understand that you just can't extract everything, that things are finite," a new, more just vision can emerge.

Roy said that it was important to acknowledge that "change doesn't mean that you're going to necessarily suffer."

"Life," she continued, "could be so much more beautiful." People could be in a situation in which they respect the Earth and "have a more equal relationship with people."

Getting from this moment of global crisis to justice will take a far-reaching effort.

"The answer to the question 'How do we change the world?' isn't in any of us individually," said Reyman. "It's in all of us collectively."

The Global Green New Deal website says that a call to action is will be released in the coming weeks. "Together," says the new site, "we will create a people's plan to build a resilient global economy, based on the principles of a just transition and recovery, which guarantees the right to a dignified life for all."

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