Book Reviews International US 

No is not enough – Naomi Klein

If there is one aspect of Klein’s writings that any progressive can appreciate, it would be her staunch critiques of a neoliberal economic system that she finds to be failing in a multitude of consequences.

From the writer of No Logo, The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything, Klein now discusses the phenomena of shock politics, and how this relatively little-known conception played a pivotal role during the nail-biting election night of 2016 and the weeks and months that subsequently followed.

Introducing this topic on the basis of the ‘shock doctrine’ which Klein summarises as “the quite brutal tactic of systematically using the public’s disorientation following a collective shock – wars, coups, terrorist attacks, market crashes, or natural disasters – to push through radical pro corporate measures, often called shock therapy,” we are exposed to a new variation of the shock doctrine – shock politics.

Most important to note, is the application of this theory to the assumption of the United States presidency by Donald Trump.

As the title reads, Klein postulates that while saying no in the past has often made way for progress of various causes, the two lettered exclamation lacks insufficiency in combating the shock tactics of the global elite in this contemporary age.

Whether this concerns climate change, income inequality, systemic racism or healthcare reform, the only solution apart from expressing no, is to follow up with action.

Let’s not be mistaken here. Klein is notably on the left with a political philosophy that holds similarities to Bernie Sanders – the candidate who she supported during the 2016 primary election, as stated in this book.

Nonetheless, the one idea that I appreciated from this book that Klein repeatedly lectured was the failure of these multiple activist groups for various causes to unite and overhaul the system they all mutually despise.

For example, for those that advocate for single payer healthcare should not view their cause as more important than dismantling police racial profiling – a key cause of Black Lives Matter. The same can be said for BLM to not look at cleaner energy activist groups as less important than their cause.

What is important to understand as Klein concludes is that these causes interrelate.  No cause is more important than the other and the solution to finding success for their cause is a united front, where one movement’s cause becomes everyone’s cause.

Critics on the right might say that this is a fantasy and will never materialise into an action plan.  Perhaps it might seem like a far fetched uptopian dream that could only ever become reality in special circumstances.  But what these critics fail to take into context (most probably due to their political bias) is that the era of Trump is a special circumstance and as science argues – every reaction has an opposite and equal reaction.  The shock of Trump’s victory will still ignite a shock reaction that will crush his archaic policies.

But again, the practicality of such a end result needs to be reiterated – all of those who are opposed to every conceivable policy and action by this administration have to unite, find common ground and treat every grievance, cause and inequality, equally.

This is not to say this has not been done already.

Since January 20th, the United States and the world have experienced an array of different protests and demonstrations countering the egregious decisions and actions by this presidency. Movements have been born, unfair policies and laws have been crushed. But there is still a lot more work to be done. All of this has been done under the unified, multicultural, multinational movement known as the Resistance.

No is not enough is the perfect guide book for the resistance.  While it is explicit in the shameful conflicts of interest among Trump and many members of his Cabinet, critically apocalyptic of Trump’s policies and the impact they will have in the near future – this book is still very much a call to action. A call that will still give hope to many, even in these uncertain times and provides a clear path towards a better, more progressive future.




Related posts

Leave a Comment