no is not enough
by Naomi Klein (2017)
halina bortnowska describing poland:
you can no longer expect people to act in their own best interests when they’re so disoriented they don’t know – or no longer care – what those interests are.’..t
we don’t go into a state of shock when something big and bad happens; it has to be something big and bad that we do not yet understand… when we find ourselves in that position, w/o a story, w/o our moorings, a great many people become vulnerable to authority figures telling us to fear one another and relinquish our rights for the greater good t
these tactics can be resisted: 1\ need a firm grasp on how shock politics work 2\ have to tell a different story..t
i don’t claim to know exactly what that vision looks like. i am figuring it out w everyone else..
let’s try this: a nother way
all this work is born of the knowledge that saying no to bad ideas and bad actors is simply not enough..
there’s no one blueprint for how to fix things.. – our world is far too braided and complicated for that..t
part 1 – how we got here: rise of the superbrands
1 – how trump won by becoming the ultimate brand
we cannot spend the next four years only playing defense..t
2 – the first family of brands
3 – the mar-a-lago hunger games
hunger games ness
quiet revolution (possible scenario)
tens of millions glued to sets as participants were voted off the island on survivor, voted out of the mansion on the bachelor – and, eventually, fired by trump
the first episode began w a shot of a homeless person sleeping rough on the street – a loser, in other words. then the camera cut to trump in his limo living the dream the ultimate winner. the message was unmistakable: you can be the homeless guy, or you can be trump. that was the whole sadistic drama of the show – play your cards right and be the one lucky winner, or suffer the abject humiliation of being berated and then fired by the boss..
they turned the act of firing people into mass entertainment
in later seasons.. trump trailer park and mansion.. microcosm of the very real and ever-widening ineqs outside the show..played inequalities for kicks, turning them into a spectator sport (there was a slight hunger games quality to it, ..)
what’s interesting about this particular piece of televised class warfare, which aired in 2007, is that the pretense sold to a previous generation – capitalism was going to create the best of all possible worlds – is completely absent. no: this is a system that generates a few big winners and hordes of losers, so you’d better make damn sure you are on the winning team
2016 – bottom half owns less than 1 % of total wealth and top 10% own 89%.. which is why there just aren’t many serious people who are willing to argue, .. that giving more to he wealthy is the best way to help the poor. trump’s pitch has always been different. from the start it was: i will turn you into a winner – and together we can crush the losers..
used on voters – exploiting those deep economic anxieties and using all the reality-simulation skills ..after decades of hawking how-to-get-rich manuals, trump understands exactly
how little needs to be behind the promise – if the desperation is great enough
worth underlining: trump didn’t create the problem – he exploited it
a bizarre cross between a pro-wrestling match (trump and wwe) and a white supremacist rally
acknowledging that trump’s presidency is being produced like a reality show in no way diminishes the danger it reps – quite the opposite. people have already died in this show – in yemen,/afghanistan/syria/us.. and many more will
the rise of hollow brands – selling everything, owning next to nothing – happened over decades when the key institutions that used to provide individuals with a sense of community and shared id were in sharp decline: tightly knit neighborhoods where people looked out for one another; large workplaces that held out the promise of a job for life; space and time for ordinary people to make their own art, not just consume it; organized religion; political movements and trade unions that were grounded in face to face relationships; public interest media that strove to knit nations together in a common convo..
these two trends.. decline of communal institutions and expansion of corp brands.. have had seesaw like relationship
worth remembering: at the heart of this cycle is that very powerful force – the human longing for community and connection.. which simply refuses to die
part 2 – where we are now: climate of inequality
baldwin quote on why hate.. because once hate is gone forced to deal w pain
roots of healing ness
4 – the climate clock strikes midnight
one of the most unjust aspects of climate disruption (and there are many) is tha tour actions as adults today will have their most severe impact on the lives of generations yet to come, as well as kids alive today who are too young to impact policy – kids like toma and his friends, and their generation the world over. these children have done nothing to create the crisis, but they are the ones who will deal w the mos t extreme weather – the storms and droughts and fires and rising seas – and all the social/econ stresses that will flow as a result..they are the ones growing up amidst a mass extinction, robbed of so much beauty and so much of the companionship that comes from being surrounded by other life forms..
it is a form of theft, of violence – what the author/theorist rob nixon calls ‘slow violence’ a clean vibrant planet is the birthright of all living beings.
xiu et al
w so many lives on the line, there is nothing to be gained by ranking issues by urgency and playing ‘mu crisis is bigger than your crisis’ if it’s happening to you if it’s your family being torn apart or you who is being singled out for police harassment, or your grandmother who cannot afford a life saving treatment or your drinking water that’s laced w lead – it’s all a five-alarm fire..
climate change isnt’ more important than any of these other issues, but it does have a diff relationship to time. when the politics of climate change go wrong – and they are very very wrong right now – we don’t get to try again in four years..
we need to get off fossil fuels w superhuman speed
eva resnick-day: ‘what happens in the next 4-8 yrs could determine the future of our planet and the human species’
to avert climate chaos, we need to challenge the capitalist ideologies that have conquered the world since the 1980s. if you are the beneficiary of those ideologies, you are obviously going to be very unhappy about that.. the oligarch class cannot continue to run riot w/o rules. stopping them is now a matter of humanity’s collective survival..
5 – the grabber in chief
of powerful men vouching for other powerful men
6 – politics hates a vacuum
there’s a real risk today of repeating those mistakes – of coming together arround lowest-common-denominator demands such as ‘impeach trump’ or ‘elect democrats’ and, in the process, losing our focus on the conditions and politics that allowed trump’s rise and are fueling the growth of far-right parties around the world. one thing we know for certain from the bush years is that saying no is not enough..
approx 90 mn eligible voting age american shrugged and decided to stay home instead. far more would-be voters chose not to vote – roughly 40% – than chose to cast a ballot for either hillary or donald…that is a staggering level of disengagement in a democracy
trumps path to white house partially paved by two men who are beloved by man us liberal – bill clinton and bill gates..
trump.. proclaimed he had one qualification to be president: i’m rich.. he presentee his wealth as evidence tha the was ‘very smart’ and indeed superior in every respect
for two decades now, elite liberals have been looking at the bn class to solve the problems we used to address w collective action and a strong public sector – a phenom sometimes called ‘philanthrocapitalism’ .. gates, branson, bloomberg, zuckerberg, oprah.. and always for some reason – bono – are treated less like normal people who are gifted in their fields.. and good at making a great deal of money, and more like demigods..
gates and his fellow world saving bn’s ar part of what has come to be known as ‘the davos class’
the power of the davos class exploded in the 90s, w bill clinton and uk pm tony blair as charter members.. clinton foundation established the annual clinton global initiative, a kind of ‘davos on the hudson’ .. featuring a continuous parade of oligarchs who, rather than pay their taxes at a fair rate, publicly shared their plans to fix the world out of the goodness of their hearts..
clinton foundation mission: there is now so much private wealth sloshing around our planet that every single problem on earth, .. can be solved by convincing the ultrarich to do the right things w their loose change
the whole davos class came to symbolize the idea that success was a party to which they were not invited, and they knew in their hearts that this rising wealth and power was somehow connected to their growing debts and powerlessness, and the increasing precariousness of their children’s futures.. the fact that politicians who promised to protect working people’s interests were so entangled w the davos class only increased the rage..the debate over obama accepting 400 000 for a speech to a wall sts audience needs to be understood in this context..
trump didn’t run w the davos crowd (indeed, he tapped into the rage against it). and many from that glamorous, liberal leaning world are horrified by the trump presidency. yet the precedents set by mountaintop do-gooderism are part of the reason it became fathomable for trump to run in the first place..
trumps assertion that he knows how to fix america because he’s rich is nothing more than an uncouth, vulgar echo of a dangerous idea we have been hearing for years: that gates can fix africa. or branson and bloomberg can solve climate change
divide between davos class and everyone else has been widening since 80s.. but for a lot of people, the breaking point came with the 2008 financial crisis.. all of a sudden it turned out that govts can do all kinds of things to interfere in the market.. and have seemingly unlimited resources w which to help you out if only you are rich enough. at that moment, everyone on earth saw that they have been lied to..
i wish this was true.. i think if it were.. we’d be trying a nother way to live… sans money/measuring..
there is no superhero enlightened bn coming to save us from the villains in power. not oprah, not zuck, and not musk
7 – learn to love economic populism
part 3 – how it could get worse: the shocks to come
8 – masters of disaster – doing an end run around democracy
speed is of the essence in all this, since periods of shock are temporary by nature. like bremer, shock-drunk leaders and their funders usually try to follow machiavelli’s advice in the prince: ‘for injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that being tasted less, they offend less’
as th elate uruguayan historian eduardo galeano asked: ‘how can this inequality be maintained if not thru jolts of electric shock?’
the shock doctrine is about overriding these deeply human impulses to help.. seeking instead to capitalize on the vulnerability of others in order to max wealth and advantage for a select few. there are few things more sinister than that
142 – 143
describing trump in 75 and his dad (made fortune building distinctly unflashy middle class homes in new york’s outer borough and who was notorious as la landlord practicing system discrimination against african americans).. trump allowed to purchase property from railroad for 9.5 mn then sell it for a dollar to the urban develop corp.. allowing developer to pay taxes far below… for 9.5 mn trump extracted a tax break windfall for the property worth 360 mn and counting from the city.. the new hotel was a blight.. exploited the city’s desperation to build their towers..
right from his breakout moment, his attitude toward the public sphere was that it was there to be pillaged, to enrich himself
phillips-fein: ‘this deep level of fear about bankruptcy, fear of the future. and it’s that kind of fear tha really makes possible the cutbacks of th e time, and also the sense that the city needs a savior in the first place… the way that fear can make things that seem politically impossible suddenly feel as though they’re the only alternative.’
describing katrina – and pence’s part – storm had been downgraded.. didn’t need to be so bad.. but public infrastructure rot had allowed it
when you systematically wage war on the very idea of the public sphere and the public good, of course th publicly owned bones of society.. roads, bridges, levees, water systems – are going to slip into a state of such disrepair that it takes little to push them beyond the breaking point. when you massively cut taxes so that you don’t have money to spend on much of anything besides the police and the military, this is what happens.
grenfell tower ness
then too.. took fema five days to get water/food to people.. et al..
what i saw during the flooding shocked me. but what i saw in the aftermath of katrina shocked me even more.. (soldiers pointed machine guns at residents as they board buses, providing no info about where they were being taken. children often separated from parents).. w city reeling.. a plan emerged to ram thru a pro corp wish list w max velocity.. milton friedman then 93, wrote for all st: ‘most new orleans schools are in ruins, as are the homes of the children who have attended them. the children are now scattered all over the country. this is a tragedy. it is also an opportunity to radically reform the educational system’
richard baker: ‘we finally cleaned up public housing in new orleans. we couldn’t do it, but god did’
enter pence – committee of lawmakers
and charter/voucher schools.. in line w vision of betsy devos..
katrina.. combo of extreme weather.. possibly linked to climate change, and weak and neglected public infrastructure. the so-called solutions proposed by group pence headed .. were the very things that would inevitably exacerbate climate change and weaken public infra even further.. and now pence in position to brin vision to entire us
big oil taking big cuts.. local construction workers not so much
the katrina experience also stands as a stark warning to those who are holding out hope for trump’s promised trillion dollars in infra spending.. will fix some roads/bridges.. create jobs… though.. less green.. more private.. .. every reason to fear that his big ticket infra spending could become a katrina like kleptocracy, a govt of thieves.. with the mar a lago set helping themselves to vast sums of taxpayer money
9 – the toxic to-do list – what to expect when you are expecting a crisis
part 4 – how things could get better
10 – when the shock doctrine backfires
we can evolve and grow up in a crisis, and set aside all kinds of bullshit – fast..t
have to leap.. for (blank)’s sake
11 – when no was not enough
civil rights era…similar utopian fervor..late 60s early 70s.. when young people were questioning everything.. – laid groundwork for fem/les/gay/environ breakthrus..
the new deal.. appeared only way to prevent full scale revolution…. when upton sinclair, .. ran for governor of calif.. 1934 .. it was something like the bernie sanders campaign of its day.. he was arguing that the key to ending poverty was full state funding of workers’ coops
by the time the 2008 financial fiasco was unfolding .. that utopian imagination had largely atrophied.. great many people knew.. moral outrage..
yet generation who had grown up under neoliberalism struggle to picture something, anything, other than what they had always known.. this may also have something to do w the power of memory
2016 – junot diaz: ‘those of us whose ancestors were owned/bred like animals know that future all too well, because it is in part our past.. and we know that by fighting, against all odds, we who had nothing , not even our real names, transformed the universe. our ancestors did this with very little, and we who have more must do the same..’
it is this imaginative capacity, the ability to envision a world radically different from the present, that has been largely missing since the cry of no first began echoing around the world in 2008..t
while we can demand slight improvements to our current conditions, imagining something else entirely is distinctly more difficult – full w/in capitalism’s matrix
what was too often missing was a clear and captivating vision of the world beyond that now
and that future cannot simply be where we were before trump came along (aka the world that gave us trump). it has to be somewhere we have never been before..
a nother way
12 – lessons from standing rock – daring to dream
she (full allard) told me she had come to understand that, although stopping the pipeline was crucial, there was something greater at work in this convergence. she said the camps were now a place were indigenous and nonindigenous people alike were learning to live in relationship and community with the land…. exposing visitors to the traditions/ceremonies..’this is why we are sill alive. to do this very thing we are doing. to help humanity answer its most pressing question:
how do we live with the earth again, not against it?’.. t
in the camps, surrounded by people who had been fighting the most powerful industries on earth, the idea that there was any kind of competition between these issues dropped away. in standing rock, it was just so clear that it was all of it, a single system.. t
since the election i had been longing for some kind of gathering go progressive thinkers/organizers – to strategize, unite, and find a way thru the next four years of.. i pictured it happening ant a uni, in big halls. i didn’t expect to find that space at standing rock..
13 – a time to leap – because small steps won’t cut it..t
so many of the crises we are facing are symptoms of the same underlying sickness: a dominance-based logic that treats so many people, and the earth itself, as disposable..
a nother way – deep enough for all of us
we came together out of a belief that overcoming those division – finding and strengthening the threads that run thru our various issues and movements – is our most pressing task..t
it’s time to unite around a common agenda that can directly battle the political poison spreading thru out countries..
exactly.. we need the energy from alive people.. so let’s focus on just 2 convos (deep/simple/open enough for 7 bn people to resonate with today).. has to be..as the day..[aka: not part\ial..have to leap.. for (blank)’s sake…]
the frame became: the need for a shift from a system based on endless taking .. to a culture based on caretaking..
we asked ourselves: what are th equalities that we value most in people: generosity, hospitality, warmth, and wisdom…. in public: openness
so.. imagine we trust those are human qualities (if those humans are living healthy.. ie: not oppressed et al).. already within each one of us.. that makes the frame/vision/mission.. uncovering/waking/detoxifying/de-oppressing us .. and makes the focus simple enough for all of us to grasp/grok/be.. ie: maté basic needs.. we just focus on authenticity and attachment..
bianca mugyenyi: the leap is about speaking to our better selves.. t
energy reparations et al..
none of these need to be spelled out.. if we first (do this first).. free all of us.. and then trust us to take care of the rest.. (using mech to facil that chaos.. everyday)
we can afford to save ourselves
avi lewis on leap: w the leap, the scale of plan matches scale of crisis.. a crisis of a system and econ philosophy..t
avi lewis – @avilewis
conclusion – the caring majority within reach
we have to question not only trump but the stories that ineluctably produced him.. the same values that have been playing out in destroyed safety nets exploding prison numbers, normalized rape culture, democracy-destroying trade deals, rising seas and privatized disaster response..
while trump is the logical culmination of the current neoliberal system, the current neoliberal system is not the only logical culmination of the human story..t
clearly it is the culture itself that must be confronted now, and not policy by policy, but at the root..t