Academic journal article The Innovation Journal

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need

Academic journal article The Innovation Journal

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need

Article excerpt

Naomi Klein No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. Toronto, Canada: Penguin Random House, 2017

1.

Over the past two decades, Naomi Klein has produced four books plus a collection of newspaper articles and other short pieces (Klein, 2002). I have reviewed two of the books in The Innovation Journal. The first one, No Logo, was part of a review essay on books that "demonized" the corporation in Vol. 6, No. 3 (2001). The second, The Shock Doctrine (2007) somehow slipped through my personal editorial cracks (read but not reviewed here or elsewhere), but a generally favourable review of the third, This Changes Everything, appeared in these pages in Vol. 19, No 3 (2014). With No Is Not Enough, I am finally going for the trifecta. Even covering three out of four, however, requires an explanation.

Naomi Klein isn't an original or an especially profound thinker. Few such people make it to print, and fewer produce books that attract many readers or make a big impact on the events of their days. Conveying extraordinary brilliance in conventional, accessible language is a talent that escapes most deep thinkers and writers of genius. Naomi Klein, however, does the next best thing, and she does it rather well. She has sold a ton of books, is widely interviewed in all the major media, contributes opinion pieces to widely diverse print and online journals, appears to have attracted a measurable constituency and, from at least one perspective, makes a fair amount of common sense. So, when I said she was neither an original nor a profound thinker, I intended no disrespect and, of course, Ms. Klein makes no such claims. She is and seems content to be a dedicated activist and a well-tuned popularizer. In fact, if people such as Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump hadn't so thoroughly discredited the concept, I might even have referred to her as a "populist." And I'd have meant it as a compliment.

Why should readers of The Innovation Journal pay attention to her? The simple reason is that she raises some of the most salient issues of our day and puts them in language that ordinary citizens can understand. Her main topics should be atop every government's agenda. If innovation is to contribute to the public good, it must address issues such as the vitality of democracy, the fairness of public procedures, the application of universal human rights, the equity of economic arrangements and the sustainability of the planetary biosphere. Anything less is political distraction and an abrogation of our deepest moral and ethical responsibilities. Others, of course, may do a better job of discussing any one of these pillars of modern civilization; but, few are her equal in provoking intelligent public consideration of them all. Moreover, Klein's personal journey through the complexity and complementarity of the issues she discusses is so open, so honest, occasionally so vulnerable but also and always so passionate, that it is hard not to follow along. Those who do so will almost certainly be amply rewarded.

2.

It took Naomi Klein almost a decade to bring together the ideas she'd accumulated as a journalist and political activist and to condense them into her first three manageable volumes. It was certainly worth the investment of time and effort. Permit me to rehearse her line of thought.

No Logo was an attack on "the brand bullies," the multinational enterprises that exploited workers on the periphery to sell commodities and merchandise to the exploited middling and lower classes in the centres of empire, or of what Kari Levitt (2002) called the hinterland and the metropolis in Silent Surrender, a splendid little book that once inspired social democratic and nationalist dissenters and still holds up well. In her initial enterprise, Klein gave a shout-out to "ethical shareholders, culture jammers, street reclaimers, McUnion organizers, human rights hacktivists, school-logo fighters and Internet corporate watchdogs. …

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