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Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate Paperback – October 4, 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The success of Klein's No Logo, a slashing account of how corporations actively go after "market share" and the global misery that can result, makes anticipation for her next project high. As Klein notes in her preface, this book is more a stopgap than a follow-up. Covering the period of late 1999 to 2002, the book collects Klein's in-the-trenches journalism about sweatshops, genetically modified foods, evolving police tactics for crowd control and more. The two title images recur throughout: the fences are real, steel cages keeping protesters from interfering with summits, but they are also metaphorical, such as the "fence" of poverty that prevents the poor from receiving adequate education or health care. Klein argues that globalization has only delivered its promised benefits to the world's wealthiest citizens and that its emphasis on privatization has eroded the availability of public services around the globe. Critics have suggested that the "anti-globalization" movement (a term loathed, Klein notes, by many people actually involved) lacks a cohesive structure, but Klein generally sees this decentralization as a strength, likening the small groups' "hub and spoke" organization to that of linked Web sites. While Klein offers snapshots of success stories involving Nike, Starbucks and other corporate monoliths, she wisely does not suggest any easy solutions to this complex mesh of problems. Despite post-September 11 talk to the contrary, these dispatches indicate that the movement is far from over.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Ms. Klein incarnates [her] generation's invention of the North American left.” ―The New York Times
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Product Details

  • Series: Recent Picador Highlights
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1 edition (October 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312307993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312307998
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Pen Name? VINE VOICE on February 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Fences and Windows is a poignant and highly important collection of on-the-scene essays and articles from Klein's travels participating in and observing the ongoing struggles between ruling elites and a diverse array of opposition. Klein is an excellent writer and very incisive. She brings the brute reality of the fences being drawn around democracy while the corporate globalization movement claims to be opening windows to freedom. But it is the diverse and decentralized "global justice" movement that is working to open the windows to a truly democratic globalization, one that places people over profits. While the WTO and FTAA factions work to push through economic legislations that will further remove most people from democratic decision making, the police are developing more brutal strategies to scare the conscientious populace from participation in demonstrations. But as this political climate heats up, the decentralized movement is coming together more cohesively in the face of this repression. Klein writes of how politics is becoming a "gated community," and how the protest movements are struggling but still pushing for real democracy. There are no easy answers in Fences and Windows, but lots of necessary information and insight for anyone who cares about their world.
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Naomi Klein's "Fences and Windows" is an inspired and brilliant collection of dispatches written from the front lines of the anti-globalization movement. Whether it was due to the deadline pressures of submitting her newspaper columns, her proximity to numerous protest sites, or her keen understanding of contemporary politics, Ms. Klein's writing in this book is as powerful, concise and insightful as it has ever been.
While Ms. Klein herself might modestly suggest that this book represents a "stopgap" effort sandwiched between "No Logo" and her forthcoming research project, you will be impressed by the author's dedication and conviction to the subject matter. The book has been given structure by grouping its articles into discreet categories that in turn relate to the "fences and windows" theme. For example, the section "Fencing in Democracy" contains stories that describe the ways in which the benefits of free trade have largely been realized by the rich but not the poor, while "Windows to Democracy" describes how formerly exploited communities and peoples have managed to positively transform and better their lives in creative ways.
Throughout the book, Ms. Klein's intellect and analysis is in top form. She skillfully and routinely turns the tables on neoliberal propaganda, exposing the greed and hypocrisy at the heart of the corporate agenda. For example, "Genetically Altered Rice: You Can't Eat Public Relations" deconstructs the claim that genetically engineered (GE) "golden rice" could save millions of lives in Asia. The author correctly points out that malnutrition has more to do with policy decisions than with technology, and that pushing the GE solution is to merely sustain and perpetuate the profits of the agribusiness industry at the expense of the people.
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Format: Paperback
The thing about a book by Klein is you are either a real fan or you aren't - there really isn't a middle point. Most people who have encountered Klein before would have read `No Logo' and this book is very much in the same vein, with commentary on, or more specifically against, the perceived rise of a capitalist corporatist culture, driven by a consumerist West which is disadvantaging the rest of the world. This book is a collection of articles and speeches by Klein about issues regarding international regimes, the good and bad sides of globalisation, and the resistance movements that seem to now be a prerequisite for any meeting of economic importance. A good non-scholarly take on one facet of the many-sided debate on globalism and its effects.
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Format: Paperback
A wonderful little book about globalization, privatization and the loss of democracy around the world, FENCES AND WINDOWS does exactly what it sets out to do - it provides a global analysis of "anti-globalization" activism and profiles the activists that are doing it. Despite the monotony that is portrayed on television (black-block anarchists trashing Starbucks), this loose-fitting network of activists encompasses people from all sectors of society who share one thing in common: They are fed up - fed up with the World Bank and IMF, with closed-door trade meetings, and with surreptitious laws, like the ones that slipped genetically modified foods into our mouths. In a word, all across the globe people are sick and tired of "being acted on" by a group of international trade brokers and government leaders with fat pockets seeking to privatize away all the social services fought for and won throughout history. Although Klein by no means gives the last word on the issue here, these letters and dissent are informative and well worth the read. For a more comprehensive view of the economic issues that underpin the current global heist, check out WHEN CORPORATIONS RULE THE WORLD by David Korten, a good compliment.
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Format: Paperback
I was not initially sold (no pun intended!) on Klein's earlier No Logo. I found it repetitive and lacking a clear literary style. Obviously I was pretty much alone in that as the book inspired a generation of young anti-Corporate activists. And rightly so. Klein returns with a collection of articles about the time after No Logo. I found these very moving and concise snapshots of the globalization movement and the need to regain a perspective on the role of multi-nationals in our lives. Now a respected voice on the world stage, Klein finally gets down to writing the book I wanted to read first time around. Not as cleverly titled though :-)
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