An author of successive bestsellers, Naomi Klein is one of the most recognisable critics of the neoliberal consensus. The Shock Doctrine explored how unfavourable ‘free market’ policies have come to dominate the globe, in part through the exploitation of communities ravaged by disaster and warfare. In This Changes Everything, Klein took aim at society’s sluggish response to runaway climate change, suggesting – perhaps obviously – that our dominant system of capitalism is fundamentally at odds with principles of sustainability.
Now she has released a book titled No is Not Enough about the Trump phenomenon. It is not only a rumination on the ruination that is Trumpism, but a call to arms for the political left: to provide an alternative that is genuinely bold, inspiring and worth getting out of bed for.
In short, we should all be more like Naomi Klein. Here are five great truth-bombs from the Canadian author to impress – or annoy – your friends with. Next time you are awkwardly huddled around the snacks table, try breaking one of these babies out!
On Climate Change: “It is a civilisational wake-up call. A powerful message—spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions—telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us that we need to evolve.”
On rhetoric: “Politics hates a vacuum. If it isn’t filled with hope, someone will fill it with fear.”
On Grenfell Tower: “It is a microcosm. This one building that is now a mass grave…. It’s the same logic of this brutal economic discounting of life, the saving of a few pounds because the people who are inside, their lives are seen as not valuable enough. And that is, to me, the same logic that allows a low-lying Pacific nation to just disappear beneath the waves.”
On humbling ourselves: “We can save ourselves, but only if we let go of the myth of dominance and mastery and learn to work with nature.”
On consumerism: “We are looked to brands for poetry and for spirituality, because we’re not getting those things from our communities or from each other.”
On ‘disaster capitalism’: “What we have been living for three decades is frontier capitalism, with the frontier constantly shifting location from crisis to crisis, moving on as soon as the law catches up.”
On raising the alarm: “Slavery wasn’t a crisis for British and American elites until abolitionism turned it into one. Racial discrimination wasn’t a crisis until the civil rights movement turned it into one. Sex discrimination wasn’t a crisis until feminism turned it into one… In the very same way, if enough of us stop looking away and decide that climate change is a crisis worthy of Marshall Plan levels of response, then it will become one, and the political class will have to respond…”
And finally: “What if it’s all a hoax and we’ve created a better world for nothing?”