Thursday, July 6, 2017

No is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein

Staff review by Chris Saliba

Naomi Klein persuasively argues that the election of Donald Trump is not an aberration. It is the culmination of years of neo-liberal influence on policy, politics and society. 

No is Not Enough was written in record time, unlike Naomi Klein's other books, which have taken years to research. Ostensibly this is an anti-Trump treatise. Klein shows how much the Trump administration is really just a kleptocracy. The collected wealth of Trump's key officials is in the billions of dollars. Their record on labor rights and the environment is appalling.

The main thesis of No is Not Enough is that the election of Donald Trump should not really surprise at all. It is something we have been slowly and blindly walking into. The neo-liberal philosophy that has been pushed for the last thirty years or so has strongly argued for smaller government, less regulation and ultimate faith in markets. The election of Donald Trump is the natural end game of neo-liberalism. The market has replaced government.

While many readers may groan at the thought of a book on Trump - afterall, don't we see and hear too much of him everyday? - there is plenty of smart analysis here. Klein does an excellent job following the money of everyone in the Trump camp,  right down to Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. The sections that deal with Trump as a brand name provide a good reminder that Trump is not a creator of value, but a brilliant self-promoter. He rose from the ashes of financial ruin by becoming a reality television star and leasing out the Trump name for dodgy developer projects.

No is Not Enough ends on a positive note. Klein documents groundswell movements that are rising up and having some wins. Canada's Leap Manifesto, a political manifesto created by writers, artists, leaders and activists, and with which Klein was involved, garnered a lot of support and influenced Canadian election results. It called for a restructuring of the Canadian economy and an end to the use of fossil fuels.

This is a bracing, urgently argued call for change. 

No is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein. Published by Allen Lane. ISBN: 9780241320884 RRP: $29.99

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