Anti-globalisation celebrity Naomi Klein is all that is left of revolutionary socialism when it loses its intellectual and organisational discipline.by Martin Wolf / February 20, 2003 / Leave a comment
Published in February 2003 issue of Prospect Magazine
Book: Fences and Windows
Author: Naomi Klein
Price: Flamingo, £8.99
Naomi Klein is a celebrity. The author of the bestseller, “No Logo”, is a pied piper to a generation of anti-globalisation protesters. In that book, she argued that corporate brandlords exploit the world’s poor to provide the products rich westerners have been trained to crave. She married Veblen’s views of conspicuous consumption to Marx’s analysis of capitalist exploitation, thereby connecting the dissatisfaction of the spoiled children of the west to the ills of global inequality, corporate power and environmental degradation. The argument was arrogant, paranoid and wrong. But it was also an intellectual coup.
Klein is a journalist by training, and this book consists almost entirely of newspaper columns written between 1999 and 2002. Any such book is likely to prove incoherent. But this one does have a theme. Klein tries to analyse, explain and justify what she calls “the movement.” It is, it appears, a messy blend of populism, anarchism and utopian socialism.