Book blog: The truth about Trump: it’s worse than you think, but there’s hope…

Naomi Klein’s book, No is not enough: defeating the new shock politics, is the most lucid, convincing, and alarming account I’ve seen yet of what Donald Trump and other magical-thinking political leaders are really about. She’s clearly right that these leaders excel at alarming and confusing us. This is likely to leave people confused, overloaded, and acquiescent. But it gets worse.

What, in essence, are these far right ‘strongman’ leaders trying to do? Rearrange the world to favour mega-rich individuals and corporations, including themselves. Typical measures include huge tax cuts, massive deregulation, and surrounding themselves with billionaire corporate types and other cronies. And why do they crank up international tension and defence spending? To raise the level of shock and confusion even more, and hence enable even more drastic parts of their game plan by enabling them to impose a state of emergency or martial law.

Sadly, as she says, Trump “is less an aberration than a logical conclusion – a pastiche of pretty much all the worst trends of the past half-century.” And his assault has backing of the super-rich and the big multinationals. So how can we respond to all this? First, we must learn “how to get out of shock quickly and start fighting back.” Hence the skills of resilience become absolutely crucial for all of us.

Secondly, Klein says “we have to tell a different story from the one the shock doctors are peddling, a vision of the world compelling enough to compete with theirs…based on coming together across racial, ethnic, religious and gender divides, and…on healing the planet…” This has echoes of the New Story advocated by Thomas Berry, see separate blog.

Naomi Klein at a rally in Toronto

I try to believe that any problem contains a gift: the upside of these magical-thinking leaders is that the assault is visible, and could be the galvanising shock that unites dispersed groups. Back to Klein: “the firmest of no’s has to be accompanied by a bold and forward yes…No – to Trump…to any number of xenophobic and hyper nationalist parties on the rise the world over – may be what initially brings millions into the streets. But it is yes that will keep us in the fight.”

The Guardian ran a four-page feature on this book, which is a good overview. To see it, click here.