The 5 Best Moments from Jeremy Corbyn's Illuminating Interview with Naomi Klein
There are few moral victories in politics, but Jeremy Corbyn's performance in the 2016 British elections almost certainly qualifies, as the Labour Party made its biggest gains in a generation. This week, he sat down with the Intercept's Naomi Klein to discuss the future of the left, the challenges presented by a resurgent right, and how we can forge a better world.
Here are five lessons he imparted American progressives would be wise to internalize.
1. Work backward from the worst-case scenario.
"I’m not in any way minimizing the horror of what happened or the awful things the individuals did," Corbyn said of the recent U.K. terror attacks. "But I said you’ve got to look at the international context in which there’s been this growth. And I can hear myself [as if it was] yesterday, on February 15, 2003, saying, 'What could be the worst-case scenario if we went to war in Iraq?' I wasn’t defending Saddam Hussein. I was just saying, if you go to war in Iraq and you destabilize the whole country, there are consequences."
2. Do not retreat from Trumpism.
"I think [progressives world leaders have] got to meet Trump and discuss with him, as one would with any leader," he concluded. "I was shocked by the language he used during his election campaign—about women, about Muslims, about Mexicans, about other people in society. I was also appalled at the language he used surrounding the Paris climate change discussions. I mean, these are serious, serious global issues."
3. Shift focus to cities.
"I think that the image of the USA is too often presented as the image of what Donald Trump has said day-to-day. The number of jobs in renewables in California alone runs into the hundreds of thousands," the Labour leader argued. "Look at the growth of renewable energy systems across the USA, the number of states and cities that are serious about protecting their environment and controlling what they can of climate change."
4. Develop a strong social presence.
"You knock on doors and you identify voters," Corbyn said of campaigning. "That’s key, crucial. But if you’re seen solely through the prism of media that is quite right-wing and quite conservative in its views, then all you’re doing when you knock on the door is hearing an echo of what people have heard on a right-wing television station or through the printed media."
"Social media and the technology, and techniques that are there through social media, give an opportunity that’s never been there before to get that message across," he continued. "The opportunities are there. And it’s not regulated, it’s not censored, it’s not controlled."
5. Understand the world's crises are connected.
"Climate change and refugees are linked. Climate change and war is linked. Environmental disaster, not necessarily always associated with climate change, is also linked when you have deforestation and you end up destroying your local environment because of it."