Fences and Windows by Naomi Klein, 2002 - Flamingo, London.

"their goal is not to take power for themselves but to challenge power centralization on principle." (Preface XXVI)

"[questions about how economists measure progress and value] will come from people such as José Bové, the French dairy farmer whose campaign is not against McDonald's but against an agricultural model that sees food purely as an industrial commodity rather than the centrepiece of national culture and family life." (Page 67)


A lot of what this books says is just an articulated version of the protests that it refers to. Most people are very quick to pass off political activism as just crazies smashing windows and though everyone knows that there are reasons behind these violent acts, why am I trying to write a review of this book. I am not trying to write a review of this book, I just want to explain my feelings about it. I enjoyed it a lot and it helped me to understand better what is going on in the world. I am really interested in political activism and the ways that organisations and individuals are going about it.
The two quotes above are the only two parts of the book that made me want to stop reading and get a pen and paper. There were other parts, such as the chapter about the Zapatistas in Mexico, but that is too long to quote. I think that what these quotes do is present an intelligent argument that could maybe help people to understand better what is happening to the world. There is a point in the book where Naomi Klein refers to José Bové again:

"when the United States launched a trade war against France for daring to ban hormone-laced beef, José Bové and the French Farmers' Confederation didn't get the world's attention by screaming about import duties on Roquefort cheese. They did it by "strategically dismantling" a McDonald's." (Page 237)

For a moment I thought that she had contradicted herself but then I realised. Grass roots political activists cannot scream about 'import duties' or 'agricultural models' because the words are too big and they do not fit onto the placards. So something more approachable is used such as McDonalds or Nike. The problem with this is that the dumbing down of the issues filters through into the reporting of the protests and so when the media spits it back out they only explain the obvious stuff and make the people involved sound like foolish students who do not really know what they are talking about.

So this book explains things in the right way but it does not feel as though anyone has read it. What it does for me though is give me something to say to people when I eventually figure out how to have an argument with someone about umm... globalisation. I just need to remember all of these quotes. I would like to figure out a solution to this problem but I fear it is beyond me.

http://www.nologo.org/
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