Naomi Klein's No Logo is an international bestselling phenomenon. Winner of Le Prix Mediations (France), and of the National Business Book Award (Canada) it has been translated into 21 languages and published in 25 countries.Named one of Ms Magazine's Women of Year in 2001, and declared by the Times (London) to be "probably the most influential person under the age of 35 in the world," in Fences and Windows, Naomi Klein offers a bird's-eye view of the life of an activist and the development of the "anti-globalization" movement from the Seattle World Trade Organization protests in 1999 through September 11, 2001. Bringing together columns, speeches, essays, and reportage, Klein once again provides provocative arguments on a broad range of issues. Whether she is discussing the privatization of water; genetically modified food; "free trade;" or the development of the movement itself and its future post 9/11, Naomi Klein is one of the most thoughtful and brilliant activists and thinkers for a new generation.]
The success of Klein's No Logo, a slashing account of how corporations actively go after "market share" and the global misery that can result, makes anticipation for her next project high. As Klein notes in her preface, this book is more a stopgap than a follow-up. Covering the period of late 1999 to 2002, the book collects Klein's in-the-trenches journalism about sweatshops, genetically modified foods, evolving police tactics for crowd control and more. The two title images recur throughout: the fences are real, steel cages keeping protesters from interfering with summits, but they are also metaphorical, such as the "fence" of poverty that prevents the poor from receiving adequate education or health care. Klein argues that globalization has only delivered its promised benefits to the world's wealthiest citizens and that its emphasis on privatization has eroded the availability of public services around the globe. Critics have suggested that the "anti-globalization" movement (a term loathed, Klein notes, by many people actually involved) lacks a cohesive structure, but Klein generally sees this decentralization as a strength, likening the small groups' "hub and spoke" organization to that of linked Web sites. While Klein offers snapshots of success stories involving Nike, Starbucks and other corporate monoliths, she wisely does not suggest any easy solutions to this complex mesh of problems. Despite post-September 11 talk to the contrary, these dispatches indicate that the movement is far from over. (Oct. 1) Forecast: The wave of corporate scandals has made the media more interested in the movement for reining in and regulating capitalism, to the point where a local Communist Party representative was featured recently in the New York Times. Look for national reviews that use this book to discuss the state of the movement more than the book's contents-and for sales to be less pronounced than for No Logo. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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October 04, 2002
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Excerpt from Fences and Windows by Naomi Klein
This is not a follow up to No Logo, the book about the rise of anti-corporate activism that I wrote between 1995 and 1999. That was a thesis-driven research project; Fences and Windows is a record of dispatches from the front lines of a battle that exploded right around the time that No Logo was published. The book was at the printer's when the largely subterranean movements it chronicled entered into mainstream consciousness in the industrialized world, mostly as a result of the November 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle. Overnight, I found myself tossed into the middle of an international debate over the most pressing question of our time: what values will govern the global age?
What began as a two-week book tour turned into an adventure that spanned two and a half years and twenty-two countries. It took me to tear-gas-filled streets in Quebec City and Prague, to neighbourhood assemblies in Buenos Aires, on camping trips with anti-nuclear activists in the South Australian desert and into formal debates with European heads of state. The four years of investigative seclusion that it took to write No Logo had done little to prepare me for this. Despite media reports naming me as one of the "leaders" or "spokespeople" for the global protests, the truth was that I had never been involved in politics and didn't much like crowds. The first time I had to give a speech about globalization, I looked down at my notes, started reading and didn't look up again for an hour and a half.
But this was no time to be shy. Tens and then hundreds of thousands of people were joining new demonstrations each month, many of them people like me who had never really believed in the possibility of political change until now. It seemed as if the failures of the reigning economic model had suddenly become impossible to ignore -- and that was before Enron. In the name of meeting the demands of multinational investors, governments the world over were failing to meet the needs of the people who elected them. Some of these unmet needs were basic and urgent -- for medicines, housing, land, water; some were less tangible -- for non-commercial cultural spaces to communicate, gather and share, whether on the Internet, the public airwaves or the streets. Underpinning it all was the betrayal of the fundamental need for democracies that are responsive and participatory, not bought and paid for by Enron or the International Monetary Fund.