Sunday, June 25, 2017

Naomi Klein Pushes Us to Dream Big to Get Beyond Trump’s Shock Politics

I love Naomi Klein and all that she embodies. Her love and the enormity of her heart. Her courage and wisdom. Her profound commitment to truth and a higher good for all beings. She is my hero and an international treasure. May she inspire us all. I also cannot recommend her new book strongly enough! There is an urgent and vital need for us to come together, cultivate individual and collective shock resistance, and work toward the creation of a just and caring world. - Molly

 Naomi Klein understands that President Donald J. Trump 
is a problem, but he is not the problem.

 The activist’s new book challenges the pessimism that sets in when we think radical change is politically impossible. But it misses something big.

In her new book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, Klein reminds us to pay attention not only to the style in which Trump governs (a multi-ring circus so routinely corrupt and corrosive that anti-democratic practices seem normal), but in whose interests he governs (the wealthy, those he believes to be the rightful winners in the capitalist cage match), while recognizing the historical forces that make his administration possible (decades of market-fundamentalist/neoliberal rejection of the idea of a collective good).
Klein, one of the most prominent and insightful leftist writers in North America for two decades, analyzes how Trump’s “genius” for branding, magnified by his reality TV success, carried him to the White House. But while we may have been shocked by the election of Trump—not just another celebrity, but the ultimate “hollow brand” that adds no tangible value to society—she argues that we should not have been surprised.
Trump is not a rupture at all, but rather the culmination—the logical endpoint—of a great many dangerous stories our culture has been telling for a very long time. That greed is good. That the market rules. That money is what matters in life. That white men are better than the rest. That the natural world is there for us to pillage. That the vulnerable deserve their fate and the 1 percent deserve their golden towers. That anything public or commonly held is sinister and not worth protecting. That we are surrounded by danger and should only look after our own. That there is no alternative to any of this.
Underneath all these pathologies, Klein explains, is “a dominance-based logic that treats so many people, and the earth itself, as disposable,” which gives rise to “a system based on limitless taking and extracting, on maximum grabbing” that “treats people and the earth either like resources to be mined to their limits or as garbage to be disposed of far out of sight, whether deep in the ocean or deep in a prison cell.”
Klein’s book does not stop with an analysis of the crises. She outlines a resistance politics that not only rejects this domination/subordination dynamic, but proceeds “with care and consent, rather than extractively and through force.” In addition to the “no” to the existing order, there must be a “yes” to other values, which she illustrates with the story behind the 2015 Leap Manifesto (“A Call for a Canada Based on Caring for the Earth and One Another”) that she helped draft.
Klein believes the expansive possibilities of those many yeses are visible in Bernie Sanders’ campaign and others like it around the world.
Near the end of the book she lists ideas already on the table: “free college tuition, double the minimum wage, 100 percent renewable energy as quickly as technology allows, demilitarize the police, prisons are no place for young people, refugees are welcome here, war makes us less safe.” She goes on to identify more ambitious programs and policies: “Reparations for slavery and colonialism? A Marshall Plan to fight violence against women? Prison abolition? Democratic worker co-ops as the centerpiece of a green jobs program? An abandonment of ‘growth’ as a measure of progress? Why not?”
Klein is not naïve about what it will take to achieve these goals but stresses the possibilities: “there is reason to believe that many of the relationships being built in these early days [of the Trump administration] will be strong enough to counter the fear that inevitably sets in during a state of emergency.”

No comments: