No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need
a book by Naomi Klein
(our site's book review)
“This is one attempt to uncover how we got to this surreal political moment. It is also an attempt to predict how, under cover of shocks and crises, it could get a lot worse. And it’s a plan for how, if we keep our heads, we might just be able to flip the script and arrive at a radically better future.”—From the Introduction
Donald Trump’s takeover of the White House is a dangerous escalation in a world of cascading crises. His reckless agenda—including a corporate coup in government, aggressive scapegoating and warmongering, and sweeping aside climate science to set off a fossil fuel frenzy—will generate waves of disasters and shocks to the economy, national security, and the environment.
Donald Trump’s takeover of the White House is a dangerous escalation in a world of cascading crises, says Naomi Klein
Acclaimed journalist, activist, and bestselling author Naomi Klein has spent two decades studying political shocks, climate change, and “brand bullies.” From this unique perspective, she argues that Trump is not an aberration but a logical extension of the worst, most dangerous trends of the past half-century—the very conditions that have unleashed a rising tide of white nationalism the world over. It is not enough, she tells us, to merely resist, to say “no.” Our historical moment demands more: a credible and inspiring “yes,” a roadmap to reclaiming the populist ground from those who would divide us—one that sets a bold course for winning the fair and caring world we want and need.
Naomi Klein (Photo: Kourosh Keshiri)
This timely, urgent book from one of our most influential thinkers offers a bracing positive shock of its own, helping us understand just how we got here, and how we can, collectively, come together and heal.
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, and author of the international bestsellers No Logo, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, and most recently This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. In 2017 she joined The Intercept as Senior Correspondent. In November 2016 she was awarded Australia’s prestigious Sydney Peace Prize for, according to the prize jury, “inspiring us to stand up locally, nationally and internationally to demand a new agenda for sharing the planet that respects human rights and equality.”
This book’s argument, in a nutshell, is that Trump, extreme as he is, is less an aberration than a logical conclusion. Klein says "He is also the personification of the merger of humans and corporations— a one-man megabrand, whose wife and children are spin-off brands." Spin-off brands? We definitely did not see that one coming. There's a lot of sense to such an analysis, although these are impolite words to apply to the First Family, who are decent, accomplished people, mostly in spite of Trump. (A hit piece article in The New Republic is entitled How Trump Rebranded the First Family so maybe Klein is onto something.)
Ivanka Trump volunteered as a presidential advisor and, given who she is advising, she has her work cut out for her. But she's evidently taking it all in stride wonderfully, and she's not the type to be concerned about being called a "brand." This thoughtful young lady (she's written two books and has spoken about women's rights in speeches, and she did a great job speaking to the RNC) is the very best thing about the Trump presidency. We think of her as filling the missing pieces in the president's personality, such as conscience, thoughtfulness, stability, and even a bit of wisdom. It appears Trump likes her to be this "safety valve" reminder of not pushing anything too far. If he considers nuking any country it would probably be she that talks him down.
In March, it became official: Ivanka was granted a West Wing office as an informal adviser, although she's been her father's confidant for a long time. Senior Trump advisor Jared Kushner is her husband. Hillary's daughter Chelsea Clinton has said "There's nothing skin-deep about Ivanka. And I think that's a real tribute to her because certainly anyone as gorgeous as she is could have probably gone quite far being skin-deep." Trump would like to see Ivanka on the ten dollar bill (we concur!). Ivanka is happy fulfilling some First Lady roles that the actual First Lady rejects—like living in the White House, although Melania finally moved in in June, 2017. “Donald Trump Isn’t Even the Best Presidential Candidate in His Family,” read a headline in The Washington Post April 14, 2016, referring to smart, kind, savvy Ivanka, who they showed a gorgeous picture of.
Jonathan Van Meter referred to Ivanka and her brothers in a 2004 New York family profile as the “Trump parenting miracle.” From this and other evidence one concludes they really were parented well (but not by their father, who is their business tutor and left most fathering duties to Ivanka's grandfather—Ivana's father).
Ivanka is more than a chip off the old block. She is the glue that helps the block stick together. The 35-year-old has become a star in her own right during the long campaign, and something of an icon to the female voters who helped dad Donald clinch the Presidency. During the campaign it was Ivanka who urged her father to behave in a more “presidential” manner on a number of occasions. Michael L. Ashner says “She’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever dealt with. She was a thorough, diligent, excellent negotiator.” And yet she has three children! "To America, Ivanka is the best thing Donald ever did," says Business Insider. Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric grew up with a mother and nannies and a close relationship with their grandparents, who initially lived with them. Lots of nurturing and nurturing choices explains the "Trump parenting miracle." See The Big Answer.
Ivanka is a natural-born dealmaker and an executive vice president of the Trump Organization specializing in acquisitions and design of the company's buildings, and has her own jewelry and fashion line and she was stellar on The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice. Ivanka is a businesswoman and philanthropist who is married to real estate developer Jared Kushner, who is a senior adviser to the president. Donald Trump Jr. is an executive vice president of the Trump Organization. Eric Trump is an executive vice president at the Trump Organization. Tiffany Trump, 23, is Donald Trump's youngest daughter, not discernably connected to the Trump Organization or the presidency. She was—unsurprisingly—named after the famous jewelry store. Barron Trump, 11, is Donald Trump's youngest son. He has his own floor in Trump Tower. First lady Melania says "Sometimes I say I have two boys at home -- I have my young son and I have my husband." She rashly swatted her husband's hand away—on camera—when he tried to reach for her a few weeks ago. Perhaps there is trouble in paradise. Perhaps not—(lovers' quarrels?). Trump seems to adore Ivanka and she seems to like the attention. Other family relationships are harder to judge. It's said that Ivanka is the daughter everyone wishes they had.
In truth, Ivanka does not mind being a "spin-off brand." Her jewelry and fashion line are indeed brands and she represents them wonderfully, looking better in them than even her models. Given all of the above, can one imagine a better role model for women? One surely cannot fault her for being born into money, or for having an ethically challenged father. But in all fairness, it's not so much what you are given or what happens to you, it's what you DO with these things—how you respond—that matters. Ivanka has risen to the challenge wonderfully. And she has put herself in a position to be an important and benevolent influence on the most powerful man on the planet. And that influence is all good, wise, thoughtful, helpful and compassionate. Again, can one even begin to imagine a better role model for women? The Washington Post isn't alone in seeing her as a good potential presidential candidate (she needs a decade or so of experience in Washington first, of course, since she's only 35). She is very smart and she has her own mind and there's little danger of her being Trump 2.0 like Hillary was planning to gross out America and be Obama 2.0 in a skirt. Ivanka could outthink Trump or Hillary without breaking a sweat. Klein's book was way too hard on her.
In her last chapter, Klein outlines a program for the transformative change of our capitalist system, here and everywhere. She argues optimistically that more and more people are arriving at the conclusion that it’s time to unite around a common agenda that can directly confront the political venom spreading through various countries. But it's difficult to judge whether this opposition will become strong enough to stop some of Trump’s most egregious policies (most of which are right out of think tank American Enterprise Institute's playbook) and bring an end to his cynical presidency and the Republican domination of the federal government. We must prevent him from becoming a dictator or pushing us toward fascism. Klein’s book is strongest in its analysis of the ascendance of Trump, what it represents, why it has happened, and the threats to democracy and justice that it poses. Her marshalling of information on the opposition to Trump is very effective.
It is hard to say whether or not opposition to Trump's regressive agenda will become strong enough to stop some of Trump’s most egregious policies
We must prevent Trump from becoming a dictator or pushing us toward fascism
Since taking office, Trump has never allowed the atmosphere of chaos and crisis to quiet down. The outrages come so fast that many of us are understandably struggling to get their bearings. Klein says this kind of attack "has felt a little like standing in front of one of those tennis ball machines" that lobs balls at you every few seconds. Klein's book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, is a how-to guide for defeating Trump and neoliberalism. Klein sees no answer to Trump in the politics of establishment Democrats. Politicians like Hillary Clinton offer no challenge to the oligarchy that controls us. According to Klein, Trump is a symptom of the further deterioration of conditions under the neoliberal economic policies implemented in recent decades by both Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats have offered no real answers to the problems of economic malaise so many people have turned to Trump, as preposterous as he is.
Klein says Trump's closely spaced outrages have felt a little like standing in front of one of those tennis ball machines that lobs balls at you every few seconds
Klein views Trump and his associates as utilizing elements of what she has called the The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, 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." She notes that Exxon-Mobil has always known about the reality of global warming but it chose to suppress its own research in favor of spreading global warming denial ideology through its funding of think tanks (AEI) and other such venues.
The hidden message in Trump posters is Make American Oligarchs Even Richer Again, not Make America Great Again
Exxon-Mobil: 'Global warming? What global warming?'
Proof of global warming—maybe Exxon-Mobil didn't get the memo!
[No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need is] “Urgent, timely, and necessary.”—Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor (Emeritus), MIT. Considering he is the most important intellectual on planet Earth, that is high praise indeed.
According to Klein: “Trump is . . . the culmination—the logical end point—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 one 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.”
With Trump it’s hard to spot an underlying master plan of running the government; it seems more like tic-tac-toe, the equivalent of a monkey throwing darts at a board containing possible moves
Carlos Lozada, in his review of No Is Not Enough in the Washington Post, says "when aides and agencies are constantly being undermined by the president and policy is made and unmade via tweetstorm, it’s hard to spot an underlying master plan, let alone see a 3D chess match underway. (I think it’s more like tic-tac-toe.)" His agenda is nothing if not self-serving: Trump is the rich giving more tax cuts to the rich, i.e., himself. What happens when the suckers that voted for him see that he's in it for himself, not them, like he promised? “Trump will then fall back on the only other tools he has: he’ll double down on pitting white workers against immigrant workers, do more to rile up fears about Black crime, more to whip up an absurd frenzy about transgendered people and bathrooms, and launch fiercer attacks on reproductive rights and on the press.” Distraction and misdirection—definitely in the Trump playbook. While the gullible, confused citizens that put him in the White House will fall for it, no one else will. So he might just resort to war, which uses OPL (other people's lives), the human equivalent of OPM which is other people's money, the old business staple. “Politics hates a vacuum; if it isn’t filled with hope, someone will fill it with fear,” she writes. (Source: Naomi Klein’s message to the anti-Trump left: You’re doing it wrong.)
Since it only took her two months to write this book, one must excuse the Chicken Little tenor, but then again who on our beautiful blue planet has NOT thought about the trademark Trump impulsiveness leading him to push the button? Klein told the Guardian that No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need would address some of the same topics as her previous books. "I'm trying to tease out threads from my previous books to understand how we could have a human brand as the president of the United States, with a family of spin-off brands around, completely unable to distinguish his own personal identity from his corporate identity. Only when we are not in a panicked regressed state can we think strategically." (Source: Naomi Klein urges resistance to Donald Trump in upcoming book, Michael Schaub, LA Times)
A leaf fell on her tail, so Chicken Little panicked that the sky was falling. The moral for 2017: KEEP LEAVES AWAY FROM TRUMP'S ASS!
Not one to merely cry crocodile tears at the unlikely prospect of Trump showing restraint, she says that "It is important to be able to step back from that barrage of news that we are overwhelmed with and think about how we got here, what we can expect, how things can get worse and think strategically how things can get better." She sees that an unprecedented number of people are becoming engaged in movements and politics due to Trump trauma.
Not one to merely cry crocodile tears at the unlikely prospect of Trump showing restraint, Klein thinks strategically about how things can get better
Klein says that "four decades of corporate, neoliberal policies and privatization, deregulation, free trade, and austerity" have ensured ongoing economic pain and in turn, enabled the rise of faux-populists like Trump. . . . Only a bold and genuinely re-distributive agenda has a hope of speaking to that pain and directing it where it belongs—the politician-purchasing elites who benefited so extravagantly from the auctioning off of public wealth, the looting of our land, water, and air, and the deregulation of our financial system." (Source: 'No Is Not Enough': Naomi Klein Writing Anti-Trump Blueprint for 'Shock Resistance', Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams)
Speaking at her home in Toronto last week, Klein suggested to Tim Adams that Trump’s novelty was to take the shock doctrine and make it a personal superpower. “He keeps everyone all the time in a reactive state,” she said. “It is not like he is taking advantage of an external shock, he is the shock. And every 10 minutes he creates a new one. It is like he has these lasers coming out of his belt. . . . I think if I hadn’t written this book I just would have stared at Twitter like many others for months on end, watching it unfold, and writing snippy things at people,” says Klein, alluding to Trump's incessant, impulsive Tweetstorms, which have the saving grace of letting us know what he is feeling and thinking—a big plus considering how dangerous the man is. "One of the questions that Klein’s book does not reach a conclusion about is how conscious Trump is of his shock doctrine tactics. Is he a demagogue in the scheming manner of Putin and Erdogan, or just a useful idiot for the forces around him? . . . Klein argues that the only thing that can rival those forces of white nationalism and xenophobia is a justice-based economic populism on the left. (Good luck with that!) (Source: Naomi Klein: ‘Trump is an idiot, but don’t underestimate how good he is at that’ , Tim Adams, The Guardian)
Her book places too much stock in the Black Lives Matter movement
Her book places too much stock in the Black Lives Matter movement. Liberal whites feel obligated to sign on because of course black lives matter. But this toxic movement exploits that easiest of all targets: white guilt. The whole white-liberals-invented black victimization thing is a hoax perpetrated by the likes of fake news purveyors and racebaiters like racist Al Sharpton—people happy to exploit racial tensions for their own selfish ends. See 'Don't Make the Black Kids Angry': The hoax of black victimization and those who enable it. Trump's oppression of all things Islamic or Mexican is a better place for such focus.
"Klein splices together these three key pillars, corporate branding, neo-liberal shock politics and the endgame environmental rape on which it is predicated to explore the roots of the global shift to the right, identify the key players, set out the specific components of the corporate agenda, provide a handbook for weathering shock politics and construct a blueprint for defeating it through concerted resistance. While Klein clearly abhors Donald Trump and the whole book is about the toxic potential of his presidency left unchecked, she takes great pains to emphasize that we must focus on the big picture of global corporate ambition behind the smoke and mirrors of his shock tactics meant to quickly disorient, disinform and deceive any opposition so that it dissolves. . . . [Trump's] platform is underpinned by a reframing of 'democracy' which removes any participatory elements in favor of an authoritarian plutocracy from which the populist veneer will soon evaporate. . . . [To resist, we must] build a coalition across grassroots activist groups." (Source: No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, Marilyn Gates, New York Journal of Books)
Trump's plans will screw the little guy and ladle giant helpings of cash ripped from the nonrich all over the greedy wealthy like so much turkey bastings
The only good thing about the Trump fraudsters is that pretense is dropping away like a tissue paper gown in a downpour. They admit they want to dump taxes on the rich and the rich corporations and then cut rich people's taxes again in an ObamaCare revamping that will—guess what? Screw the little guy and ladle giant helpings of cash ripped from the nonrich all over the greedy wealthy like so much turkey bastings.
If Trump's plans are really put into effect, the little guy will be so far beyond screwed he couldn't catch a bus back to screwed
Klein says that "There was already a very live, very energetic campaign in Pittsburgh to try to get the mayor to adopt this really ambitious target of getting to 100% renewable energy by 2035, which is better than anything else in the country. The next day after Trump’s Paris withdrawal, the mayor adopted that target. Now we have hundreds of cities that have committed themselves to the Paris goals. I think we are seeing more ambition from states like California and New York, because they are under pressure from the climate justice movement. It is similar to what we are seeing with healthcare, where as we see how much damage they are willing to do, just the complete disregard for life on every level that this administration represents, it is starting to build momentum for state level deep change. We are seeing some really positive signs towards single-payer healthcare." States are raising their middle fingers to Trump just as Trump's greed (and naivete) has been raising its middle finger to our country, our nonrich, our environment, women's rights, and common decency. (Source: No Is Not Enough, with Naomi Klein, Sarah Jaffe, The Progressive)
As Trump attempts environmental suicide, states led by leaders with integrity, insight, and ecological savvy are creating their own Paris Accord standards for their states
"Trump is not the crisis. He is a symptom of the crisis," says Klein, explaining that the corporatocracy has been ratcheting up its game for years. First it snuck a few things in. Then it snuck a lot of things in. Then there were stealth candidates saying they were for one thing but doing another. Then most politicians were doing this. And they got bolder as the years went by. The corporatocracy was disguised at first, but lately it has "come out of the closet" and we do not mean the gay closet, we mean the "oligarchs first and citizens be damned" closet. Trump's policies are simply the distilled essence of corporate interests, in contradistinction to the people's interests. He represents a new unwritten constitution that is by the oligarchy, for the oligarchy, and of the oligarchy, not by the people, for the people, and of the people. All the pretenses of major corporations being good citizens that care about the people or climate or environment have been dropped and we see beneath their masks of deception the raw, corrupt ugliness of their infinite greed and lust for power. We are all frogs in water that's been heated hotter and hotter slowly for several decades, so we wouldn't notice the change. We are now in very hot water and we'd better jump out (dump these anti-human and anti-life policies and leaders) quickly or we will be boiled alive and served to laughing oligarchs in the form of a business lunch emblazoned with the motto "It's not personal—it's just business."
We are all frogs in water that's been heated hotter and hotter slowly for several decades, so we wouldn't notice the change. We are now in very hot water and we'd better jump out
All the pretenses of major corporations being good citizens have been dropped and we see beneath their masks of deception the raw, corrupt ugliness of their infinite greed and lust for power
"We have to tell a different story from the one the shock doctors are peddling, a vision of the world compelling enough to compete head-to-head with theirs. This values-based vision must offer a different path, away from serial shocks—one based on coming together across racial, ethnic, religious, and gender divides, rather than being wrenched further apart, and one based on healing the planet rather than unleashing further destabilizing wars and pollution. Most of all, that vision needs to offer those who are hurting—for lack of jobs, lack of health care, lack of peace, lack of hope—a tangibly better life." (Source: We can leap…Highlights from No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein, email@example.com)
" . . . it's a mistake to see an insatiable ego as the ultimate meaning of these shocks. Their function is to maintain a political condition that enables conservative lawmakers to impose laws and policies that would never pass in normal or calm times. . . . The Republicans never had it so good. But they will, I think, throw Trump under the bus when his [presidency] show begins to lose ratings and no longer offers them cover for their policies, almost all of which voters do not want." (Source: Naomi Klein to the Left: Enough About Trump, Charles Mudede, The Stranger)