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The Trump Problem: Naomi Klein Finds Hope – In “Killing the Trump Within”

A Strong Call to Insistent Courage and Hope
Naomi Klein calls us to action and hope in “No is not Enough.”

We must de-Trump ourselves! - Flexible Solidarity - Decentralized Resistance

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need.

For example, here’s a look at her 10-page Conclusion, “The Caring Majority Within Reach.”

I.  THE BAD – Realism About the “Dangerous Stories”.  Important List!

Hope, to be more than self-delusion, must include a careful facing of reality.  A good part of this book is precisely that – and very well done, as is her habit.

“A Great Many Dangerous Stories”

Trump is … the culmination – the logical end point – of a great many dangerous stories our culture has been telling for a very long time.

  • That greed is good.
  • That the market rules.
  • That money is what matters in life.
  • That white men are better than the rest.
  • That the natural world is there for us to pillage.
  • That the vulnerable deserve their fate
  • And the one percent deserve their golden towers.
  • That anything public or commonly held is sinister and not worth protecting.
  • That we are surrounded by danger
  • And should only look after our own.
  • That there is no alternative to any of this.

Horrible list!  And accurate.  But, she insists, there have always been better, truer stories that are self-evident. Holding up such stories is a key component of hope.

III.  WHAT’S THE CHOICE WE ARE FACING?  “Killing the Trump Within.” Choose against “pseudo-liberalism.” Choose against wrong values.

This also is a crucial step in the process.  This self-cleansing is a common theme in healthy resistance literature. As Gandhi wrote, “We must become the change we wish to see.”  You know – the opposite of hypocrisy, crass marketing, and manipulation.  For examples of personal commitments (maybe changes from our personal status quo):

As we de-Trump, perhaps resolving to

  • Spend a few more hours a week in face-to-face relationships,
  • Or to surrender some ego for the greater good of a project,
  • Or to recognize the value of so much in life that cannot be bought or sold

We might just get happier. And that is what will keep us in a struggle that does not have a finish line in sight.

Essentially it’s to choose against the pseudo-liberalism, the neo-liberalism, that set us up for Trump et. al.

The same blind faith in markets, the same equation of endless consumption with happiness …

Grossly inadequate … it offers only a weak no to the forces responsible, and it lacks a yes worth seizing.

Our Enemy, or Problem, Is the Culture Itself

Our culture is saturated with the wrong stories and the wrong values. (And that means we ourselves also are, to a significant extent – thus the need to “de-Trump” ourselves.)

With this elevation of the basest of figures to the most exalted of positions, the culture of maximum extraction, of endless grabbing and disposing has reached some kind of breaking point.

Clearly, it is the culture itself that must be confronted now, and not policy by policy, but at the root.

Ooh. Could be difficult!

THE HOPE: Commit Ourselves. Cooperate Through Diversity.

But she argues that, even by 2017, election results were showing that a deep reforming progressivism
“is popular – more than many of us would have dared imagine”!

She holds hope – not certainty, but serious and credible hope.

And she calls us to invest ourselves into that hope, and in the process to genuinely embrace the need to work with people who will not see things just like we do, people who may not be committed to the same strategic priorities we hold.  Like the quotation near the top of this page, “to surrender some ego for the greater good of a project.”  Or, a “movement of movements.”  We don’t all have to copy or imitate each other or work on the same project simultaneously.  But we do all need to bring what we can.  And a big part of that is heart, which in fact we CAN bring.

What you can do, and I can do, and what we choose to focus on, where we choose to work – it is ALL necessary and matters deeply. Therein is hope.  That is, you know, such a Christian idea – that the individuals matter, and the abilities and love each person can bring matter profoundly!

Precisely because what is happening in Washington is so exquisitely dangerous, what all of us do with our collective power in these non-Trumpified spaces matters now more than ever.

Precisely because what is happening in Washington is so exquisitely dangerous, what all of us do with our collective power in these non-Trumpified spaces matters now more than ever. -Naomi KleinClick To Tweet

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