I have finally managed to drag myself through Naomi Klein’s “No Is Not Enough”. Now I say ‘dragged’ not because the book was boring, but rather because of how rage inducing some of the insights were, and there were a lot of them. I had to put the book down purely out of disgust at how Trump and his allies manage to get away with so much, whilst many people, particularly the marginalised had to suffer the consequences.
I’d like to sum this book up by quoting a couple of paragraphs from the last chapter:
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 here 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 look after our own. That there is no alternative to any of this.
Given these stories are, for many of us, part of the air we breathe, Trump really shouldn’t come as a shock. A billionaire president who boasts he can grab women by their genitals while calling Mexicans “rapists” and jeering at the disabled is the logical expression of a culture that grants indecent levels of impunity to the ultrarich, that is consumed with winner-take-all competition, and that is grounded in dominance-based logic at every level. We should have been expecting him. And indeed, many of those most directly touched by the underbelly of Western racism and misogyny have been expecting him for a long time.
The gist is this: Trump, is the end result of a belief system that keeps telling us that public institutions are moot, and that our only hope lies in the benevolence of those who have amassed crazy amounts of wealth – because the accumulation of a disproportionate amounts of wealth is equated to possessing wisdom that mere mortals do not. Instead of working to strengthen public institutions, we leave our future to the Davos class, a group of people who meet up on a mountaintop, like the Gods Olympus, those who have practically zero accountability to general public.
But, according to Klein, this doesn’t always have to be the way. Things can change, and as we have seen, people are starting to fight back, starting to come together under a movement of movements (because many social movements, though distinct, have many intersections) and are pushing back against the system. The solutions that Klein lines out in her book may seem radical, and perhaps, even to many, seem…dare I say it…socialist. But that’s the thing, anything revolving more equitable sharing of wealth inevitably gets slapped with that label, to immediately invite the reaction of disgust at the idea. It’s also telling that any idea revolving better treatment of people and the environment is deemed as ‘radical’.
The proposed alternative, revolves around improved relations between people and the environment, a system of caring instead of one that treats everything as disposable inputs to endless taking and it’s not as otherworldly as it sounds.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, particularly the message of hope at the end, and I hope you give it a read too.