No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein
In No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, Naomi Klein makes both a journalistic argument and incredibly human plea for people to come together and say yes to a world within our reach if urgent, rapid action is taken to resist the status quo that is not Trump, but which bred Trump, and come together on a people's platform that represents us, not any political party.
She begins this book by revisiting past work of hers on mega branding, which came to the fore with companies like Nike and Apple, and was also the foundation on which Trump built his name. While Trump first branched out from under his father with real estate, he eventually transformed his business into one that encompassed a certain wealthy lifestyle. Instead of Trump hotels, private planes and golf courses, Trump represented money, and the ability to live in luxury. He put this in reach of the middle class as well, with Trump steaks, shirts and ties. Soon, he was leasing his name for buildings (for millions of dollars) and was otherwise uninvolved, which also kept him at a distance when any human rights or workforce violations came against the buildings that carried his name.
This branding has heavily influenced his family too, with Ivanka as a prime example. She too put her business in the hands of family while she continues to earn the profits working at the White House. However, despite this handover in the family businesses to other family members, Trump and his family continue to pitch their brand and collect the revenue.
The Mar-a-Lago is another great example, where membership fees have since doubled, because now guests can bet on the very possible odds that they might get to have a private, undisclosed conversation with Trump, who, by brand alone, has also become President of the United States. However, while Trump created a brand of himself, he was simply optimizing off an existing neoliberal model that has become embedded in American and World history. This is at the heart of Klein's case, and the core of our equity struggle.
On top of my already growing doubts, this was the needle that burst the social media bubble for me. Why are we so focused on making a brand out of ourselves? How does social media cater to this imaging that so many of us now participate in? And how can it be further exploited or used to exploit others? Like the professional wrestler he considered himself to be, Trump used his brand and his 'following' to bully himself onto the Republican ballot in a very WWE-like manner. He gave his opponents nicknames like 'Little Marco' and 'Lyin' Ted' to make caricatures of anyone who came to wrestle with his power. And the public gave him the biggest stage imaginable - the Presidency.
Klein then ties the state of the world today to the state of the earth, arguing that, with a President like Trump, who is clearly doing everything he can to remove climate change from the global agenda and to push oil prices up to once again keep richness in the hands of the rich and spread squalor elsewhere, we are risking pivotal years to make a difference on our planet. Natural disasters are an example of the shock that can be exploited by leaders like Trump if we continue to forget our past. However, if we come together and remember how we were exploited in the past, we might stand a chance. It is not just saying no to how past disasters were taken advantage of (like Katrina), it is saying yes to more - to community and shared-ness (with the example of Standing Rock). Because even if we fail, we remember. We put ourselves at less risk for future shock politics.
Klein's solution is what she calls the Leap Manifesto, a people's platform that brings together people representing climate change, women's rights, black rights, indigenous rights, workers rights and other groups to discuss a political agenda that represents everyone's needs. This was first tried in Canada, and can spread around the world. This challenges the political and neoliberal model to focus instead on defining the world we need, with no basis on the fault lines of our existing systems.
I suppose there's only one more thing to say - Yes.