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No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need Paperback – June 13, 2017
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“This year's most immediately useful political book.” ―Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017
“Naomi Klein is magnificent, and in No Is Not Enough, she has forged a courageous coruscating counter-spell against the hegemonic nightmare that, if left unchecked, will devour us all.”
—Junot Díaz, author, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
“Naomi Klein is a critically important thought-leader in these perilous times, a necessary voice as a courageous movement of movements rises from the ashes of the last election cycle. No Is Not Enough tells a compelling story about where we are, how we got here, and what we should do now. The book is a genuine page-turner—highly engaging and provocative—and provides a fascinating lens through which we can view our current moment. Klein is not preaching to the choir, but framing the moment, connecting necessary dots, and outlining the challenge that lies ahead in clear terms that anyone can understand.”
—Michelle Alexander, author, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
“Naomi Klein is one of the few revolutionary public intellectuals of great integrity and vision. This new book confirms her crucial relevance and essential pertinence.”
—Cornel West, author, Race Matters
“Urgent, timely, and necessary.”
—Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor (Emeritus), MIT
"A blueprint for combating Trumpism and the corporatist policies of his predecessors that made his rise possible. With a genuine sense of hope, Naomi Klein illuminates paths to collectively forge an ecologically sound, anticapitalist order.”
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"In No Is Not Enough, Naomi Klein anatomises the roots of Trump in the already dystopian world of corporate-ruled America and predicts the “end run around democracy”. A clear and readable guide to action, if it is action you are contemplating.”
—Paul Mason, The Guardian
"Klein moves beyond mere outrage and hand-wringing to offer a practical manifesto for opposition.”
“Naomi Klein shows us that the monstrosity of Donald Trump has not occurred in a vacuum but is the culmination of decades of unchecked economic inequality, racism, militarism, and war. As the shock of Trump as president gives way to anger and the determination to fight, No Is Not Enough makes an urgent intervention in emerging movements. It will take more than ‘resistance’ to beat Trumpism. We need history, politics, strategy, and, most importantly, the optimism that another world is possible. Klein has made a critical contribution to the developing opposition to Trump and the economic disorder that produced him.”
—Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
“If you’re wondering how Naomi Klein has managed to produce an essential and gripping book so early in the Trump presidency, it’s because she’s spent her whole intellectual life preparing for just this moment. Trump is the ultimate logo. Every day we watch him try to exploit yet another shock to the system. So this is the book to read—not just the first word on Trump, but in powerful ways the last word as well.”
—Bill McKibben, author, Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist
“Naomi Klein has written an ordinary person’s guide to hope. Read this book.”
—Arundhati Roy, author, The End of Imagination
"No Is Not Enough manages to be that rare thing in political writing: both rousing and profoundly sensible. It is brilliant.”
—Laurie Penny, The New Statesman
"[A]nyone struggling for a place to even start making sense of Trump, and Trumpism, will find a book abounding in insight… Without lapsing into corny cheeriness or the puffed-up cant of centrist political cliché (“Love Trumps Hate!”), Naomi Klein holds out a cautious hope for the despairing age: an honest, prescriptive belief that people can unite in their opposition to Trumpism to build a better world.”
—The Globe and Mail
"Klein’s background and expertise allow her to pull together the disparate threads of what it would be misleading to call “Trumpism”, if only because of the unwarranted suggestion of system and control. She insists, rightly in my view, that there is a need to promote a positive alternative social vision, and that ostensibly “utopian” aims and proposals are a way to avoid being caught in a politics that is merely reactive or timidly reformist.”
—Hari Kunzru, The Guardian
“No Is Not Enough is the absolute must-read book of the Trump era. Naomi Klein lays out exactly what we need to know about how we got here, and ends with a clarion call to channel our despair and outrage into action. This book is inspiring and energy-giving. Like a little sun.”
“Saying No to their shock doctrine is essential but insufficient. Naomi Klein’s new book incites us brilliantly to stiffen our lip, to overcome quickly their calculated shocks, and to interweave our No with a programmatic Yes. It is a manual for emancipation by means of the only weapon we have against orchestrated misanthropy: constructive disobedience.”
—Yanis Varoufakis, DiEM25 co-founder, Professor of Economic Theory, University of Athens
“Naomi Klein's books are ceaselessly illuminating, daring, and indispensable. As accessible as it is brilliant, No Is Not Enough is an essential blueprint for a worldwide counter-attack against right-wing corporate hegemony.”
—Owen Jones, author, The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It
“From No Logo to The Shock Doctrine to This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein’s books have charted the harmful impact of surging corporate power on culture, jobs, peace, and the planet. In our current hellish situation, who better than Naomi to make sense of this madness, and help us find a way out? This book is a top-of-the-stack summer must-read.”
—Michael Stipe, musician
“No Is Not Enough is Naomi Klein 2.0. It is the accumulation of years of brilliant and layered analysis applied with lightning precision to an understanding of how we got to Trump, and how we can use this moment to bring about another system and world. It is a potent stand for No—and a compelling vision of the Yes to come.”
—Eve Ensler, author, In the Body of the World
“Naomi Klein has written a compelling book that we all need to read and act on. No Is Not Enough is an essential handbook for all people, especially young people, who want to understand the economic, social, and political forces that produced the current crisis we are facing—and how we can effectively organize to win a better world.”
—Danny Glover, actor
“Naomi Klein constructs a common story that allows us to withstand the effects of being shocked. We can act upon that, with intelligence and happiness, to recover our world and the use of adjectives.”
—Gael García Bernal, actor
"The desire to radically challenge capitalism is widespread and growing. Klein’s new book is an important contribution to that project.”
—Nicole M. Aschoff, Jacobin
"A useful volume in the fast-growing library of resistance.”
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More importantly, while it is tempting to focus on Trump's individual persona, Klein asks us to see Trump as a product of larger social forces. As Klein shows, Trump is a logical outcome of interlocking systems of power that give the rich, whites, and men impunity over other humans (and non-human species). We cannot effectively resist Trump's unabashedly plutocratic, racist, sexist, and ecocidal agenda unless we understand where it came from, and have a coherent vision of a better world. While this is obviously a short treatise, it does those things very well. Bravo, Ms. Klein.
The core of the book concerns the question that hangs over all of us--how to resist Trump and prevent him from becoming a dictator, and how to challenge "the capitalist ideology" (82) of his cabinet members, who understands that any action that ameliorates global warming endangers their "desperate need" to soak the globe with oil. This is indeed a troubling question, which is for now, at least, unanswerable.
The most important task for Americans, according to Kliein, is to become aware of Trump's malicious methods of attempting to control us. The two important words here are "chaos" and "shocks." Klein is exactly on target when she says that "[s]ince taking office [Trump's] never allowed the atmosphere of chaos and crisis to let up. The outrages come so fast and furious that many of are understandably struggling to find their footing…"(135). This kind of attack, Klein says, "has felt a little like standing in front of one of those tennis ball machines" (135). What an apt metaphor! The purpose of the shocks is to so disorient us that we won't be able to respond effectively.
Resistance should and has followed Trump's shock treatments. Klein praises the women's march, the scientists march, indivisible.org, and the judiciary, who bravely opposed Trump's travel ban. However, Klein warns, if there is a terrorist attack, the President is likely to override court decisions, round up his enemies, and declare a state of emergency (165). Klein questions whether the courts would muster the courage to stand up to "public hysteria" (165). To my mind, this is an imaginary scenario. I may be proven wrong, but I still believe that the courts are brave and trustworthy and that Trump cannot trump the Constitution so easily.
In Klein's darkest prediction she sees Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, who, reportedly, had been in touch with one of Putin's cronies, as Trump's new point person in case Trump has it in mind to create a private militia for the purpose of surveillance and interrogation (167). This is a KGB, or a Stasi nightmare. Again, I think this is a fantasy that fits perhaps some of the Latin America dictatorships Klein visited and wrote about rather than America. But, of course, I may be wrong.
What can save us, according to Klein, is the Leap Manifesto her group created in Canada, a platform without a party and without a country, that aims to address the "crises of climate change, inequality, and racism together" (252). I fail to see redeeming power of this Manifesto. Of course, it consists of noble ideas of fairness, justice, decency, and compassion, but many across America, across the globe, and across the centuries have expressed these ideas with clarity and eloquence. It is always good and right to remind us of these ideas, but how are they going to help us when Trump unleashes his black tyranny?
What is surprising and disappointing is that Klein does not include the press among the resisters. Journalists from the NYT, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, MSNBC, CNN, and other organizations are now doing a remarkable, painstaking work as watch dogs over Trump's presidency. They are investigating his every move and mood, revealing his secret plans, exposing his lies, and upending some of his schemes. Why doesn't Klein give them credit?
To fight Trump we need everything Klein mentions--protests, platforms, the judiciary. But we also need the press and brave leaders.
It was Mandela who alone stood up to the government of Apartheid. It was Gobachov (with Reagan's help) who brought down the Berlin Wall and thus put an end to the communist dictatorship in East Germany. And it was Churchill who, with eloquence and courage, faced up to Hitler when many in the British cabinet supported appeasement.
Here's a quandary for all of us.
This book does not merely survey the current political situation but also suggests principles upon which leftists might act. One of the book's arguments is that racism, war, climate change, ecosystem destruction, economic inequality, labor rights and other such problems are intimately related. Social movements will not make much progress against an individual social or economic problem until they recognize that all social and economic problems have roots in neoliberal capitalism. Social movements need to focus on the elimination of all the destructive manifestations of neoliberal capitalism rather than focusing on just one or two.
There is much activism related discussion in the book but also no shortage of analyses of some of the peculiar operating characteristics of Mr. Trump and his family. One such characteristic is the very high level of conflict of interest on display between the executive branch duties of Mr. Trump and his daughter Ivanka and the fact that they are still profiting from the private sector businesses whose day to day management they have placed in trusts run by family members. The author discusses how she believes the Trumps are engaging in the unprecedented blatant behavior of using their government privileges to enrich themselves while serving in government.
As a politician, as a person in general, Trump is a conman. Contrary to his pledges, Klein notes that Trump will not succeed in bringing back any large number of manufacturing jobs. She mentions that he broke his promise to ensure that steel made by American workers would be used to construct the Keystone XL pipeline. She also mentions that while campaigning for president, he accused Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton of being controlled by Goldman Sachs, but has since proceeded to appoint six of that financial institution’s alumni to key positions in his administration.
Trump is also a fraud as far as his professed concern for lost American jobs. Klein observes that Trump has heavily outsourced production of his products throughout his business career. She notes that news reports have described the brutal conditions under which Trump’s ties and Ivanka’s clothing line have been produced in Chinese factories. She also mentions a VOX report about terrible living conditions among migrant workers employed to construct a Trump golf course in Dubai. These migrant workers lived in extremely cramped, rat infested rooms.
Meanwhile Trump made a great show of signing—for his first executive order--the repeal of American involvement in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). However Klein notes that a leaked document, cited by Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, indicates that the Trump administration has plans to incorporate some of the worst aspects of the TPP into a reformed NAFTA agreement. These aspects include the creation of unelected WTO style tribunals where businesses can seek the override of domestic legislation that might slightly threaten their profits. To summarize, it appears Trump and his associates envision making NAFTA even more destructive for ordinary people than it already has been, Mexicans included. Klein cites a 2017 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research which states that an additional 20 million Mexicans have fallen into poverty since NAFTA was implemented in 1994.
Such NAFTA inspired poverty increases in Mexico have played a big role in the surge in illegal immigration about which Trump has engaged in so much demagoguery.. Klein notes how Trump's scapegoating of "the other"--Muslims, Mexicans ,etc.--is a traditional tactic used by politicians to advance the domination of the rich and powerful. She notes that Trump has experience in scapegoating people of color going all the way back to 1989. In that year, Trump placed full page pro-death penalty ads in major New York newspapers to stir up hysteria about the Central Park Five, a group of Latino and Black youths who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. The five were later exonerated by DNA evidence and their sentences eliminated but Trump has refused to admit their innocence.
I think the best chapter in the book deals with the resistance of the Standing Rock Sioux and their non-indigenous supporters in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline. Peaceful resistance by these people was met by massive violence on the part of police and private security thugs. Obama scuttled the pipeline’s permit in December 2016 but Trump has brought it back. The Standing Rock Sioux argue that the pipeline is a great risk to destroy their sacred sites and runs directly under their water reservoir at Lake Oahe, thus threatening their water supply. The pipeline was originally scheduled to pass by the majority white town of Bismarck North Dakota but local fears of potential damage to that city’s water supply scuttled the project. So the pipeline route was moved under Lake Oahe instead. Klein sees the Standing Rock Sioux led resistance to the pipeline as an exemplary social movement, once which seeks to model in their resistance an alternative society of living cooperatively with the earth and with each other.
In order to encourage social movements to focus on fighting not just one or two injustices but all the social and economic ills created by modern capitalism, Klein—with other progressive Canadian activists-- participated during 2015 in the creation of the Leap Manifesto. She discusses the various proposals of this manifesto (the full text of which is in the book’s one appendix). One notable such proposal is to give indigenous people and communities of color the first opportunity to operate renewable energy co-ops. Allowing these historically oppressed people to be first in line to operate democratically and profit from renewable energy is envisioned as a form of reparations. Klein has been inspired by the operation of renewable energy co-ops in Denmark and Germany. She writes that Germany gets 30 percent of its energy from renewables and is by a significant margin the most successful economy in Europe.
Klein and her colleagues are hopeful that their manifesto can serve as a model for progressive political demands in Canada and throughout the world. She lists some of the uses to which the Leap manifesto has been put so far; for example a resolution was passed endorsing its spirit at the 2016 New Democratic Party national convention and it served as a model platform for Cheri Honkala’s recent Pennsylvania state representative campaign.
Klein views Trump and his associates as utilizing elements of what she has called the Shock Doctrine, in order to roll back the rights of ordinary people and further increase the power of economic elites. Ruling elites all over the world have historically tried to use economic and political instability or natural disasters—when their populations were in “shock—to quickly push through unpopular extreme pro-business, pro-wealthy measures. Klein mentions some recent examples of the shock doctrine (or shock therapy has others have called it.) There was Paul Bremer rapidly instituting neoliberalism during his time as America’s Iraq proconsul. Then there was Hurricane Katrina, whose severity was amplified in part, Klein observes, because the degradation of the levees supposedly protecting New Orleans was ignored by the Army Corp of Engineers. Reactionary politicians, led by Mike Pence, seized the opportunity to impose right wing policies on New Orleans. Charter school operators flooded into the city; according to Klein, public housing with little damage was demolished in order to make way for new condos and town-homes for the wealthy.
The author spends some space writing about Trump and the phenomenon in corporate culture of “branding.” Trump has used branding techniques to advance his wealth in the private sector which in turn laid the basis for the launch of his political brand. Klein cautions though that while progressives might criticize Trump’s brand they also ought to be cognizant of the branding of progressive politicians such as Obama or Justin Trudeau, the tar sands enthusiast.
A la, Howard Zinn, Klein refers to moments of crisis in the past when instead of the shock doctrine imposed by elites, progressive social movements have been able to seize the moment from those elites and successfully pressure governments to implement restrains on corporate power and implement civil rights, labor rights, environmental protections, etc.
Finally, I will note that the author has a few interesting things to say about the oil industry and the relationship between climate change and refugees. She notes Exxon (before it was Exxon-Mobil), through its own scientists decades earlier, has always known about the reality of global warming but chose to suppress its own research in favor of spreading global warming denialism through its funding of think tanks and other such venues.
The book is well written. There is a notes section at the end of the book listing sources by chapter.