"‘No’ Is Not Enough" by Naomi Klein is the first book of her’s I have read. After reading John Semley’s review in The Globe and Mail, and seeing it in the bathroom library of my partner’s parent’s house, I was convinced to commit myself to reading it. Graciously, I was leant their unfinished copy and I sped through it at a pace that is unusual for me, possibly because of my desire to return it to them promptly, but also because Klein is a spectacular writer and the subject matter is gravely relevant.
The idea behind “No is Not Enough”, is that, in effort to combat Trumpism, the alt-right, climate change denial, and the movements behind those ideologies, Klein produces a text which is cumulative of her 20+ years of researching for her previous books and could act as a guide to people who are opposed to these movements and galvanized by the dire threat they pose. The title is the first piece of her argument, which claims that saying “no” to Trump and his fellows is not going to cut it, that we need to have a vision of the future we want, and we are fighting for, and we need to dare to dream one up. At the end of the book, Klein includes the stories behind producing The Leap Manifesto and a copy of the manifesto as examples of the kind of dreaming she suggests can complete the resistance.
While a fair portion of the book was preaching to the choir (me, left-leaning, Klein-readers, anti-Trump types), I learned a great deal. Most notably, Section 2 outlines where this, what I consider to be a political disaster, could be headed, informed by her experience as an investigative journalist following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans’ disaster relief (or lack thereof, including the poorly executed privatisation of much of said relief) and Iraq’s civil war, much of which was first written about in her 2007 book “The Shock Doctrine”. In this section, she paints a picture of the future many of us so deeply fear. Of the effects of Climate Change, leading to extreme weather events and disasters, shocking the public into letting governments divide the world into some variations on a walled paradise controlled by privatised military groups and wastelands outside of them (references to what she saw in Iraq). But more important than her well-informed prediction of the future is her demand that we dream up a new future to claim and do more than just deny Trump & co. their dystopian, oligarchical wonderland.
Klein suggests that the future we dream up is going to be one of great change. That the current neoliberal capitalism of most Western countries directly conflicts with sustainability and equality. Trump and friends’ vision of the future is filled with winners and losers, she says, but ours should be full of people. The Leap Manifesto is “A Call for a Canada Based on Caring for the Earth and One Another”, as claims the website’s banner. From the Manifesto the organisation known as “The Leap” has emerged and their website claims that their goal is “Building a world based on caring for the earth and one another” and expands on the Leap Manifesto, as well as starting and working with initiatives that attempt to implement it locally and internationally.
The book is well worth the read for anyone who wants to: make change but doesn’t know how, doesn't know why everybody’s so upset about politics, and for new and old appreciators of Klein's body of work.
This wasn’t necessarily supposed to be a ‘review’, but I wanted to share some of her ideas here and hopefully influence more people to talk about them, and it just turned into one. I hope my simplification of her ideas is passable.