The week before last I finally got around to reading Naomi Klein’s post-Trumplection book “No Is Not Enough”
It is very good, particularly in the first half we she expounds on how Trump is not The Problem, he is a symptom of The Problem. The logical consequence of what came before – if not Trump then something else just the same.
Very easy to read she goes on to critique the negativity inherent in always being against things, protesting about this or that, shuffling through the streets chanting slogans, always on the back foot and failing to ignite the fire within.
Somewhat inevitably the step beyond “No” is not clearly drawn, at least for me – she talks of movement building – the leap – but this seems to be simply more activism, albeit with some of the organisational weaknesses addressed.
I think it is inevitable that the “and What?” cannot be specified – it is something that each of us has to find inside ourselves in our own way and will be different for each of us. For Ms Klein with her background in journalism and activism it is not surprising that the answer for her is something like The Leap.
Can a big solution be the answer to a big problem? It is easy to think that faced with an enormous intertwined set of crises the answer must be to build a new structure to replace the crumbling edifice but is that the way to go?
Faced with a tangled mass of brambles nettles and blackthorn taking over the field I can’t pull it all out in one go; I have to use billhook, slasher, secateurs, loppers, machete, scythe and break it into manageable bits to remove and then mattock, fork, spade, dibber and rake to replant. Its a piecemeal approach but it works, chipping away at the edges, establishing my ground.
In the early stages perhaps I could have confronted the entire problem, either working with the invaders to minimise their overall impact or having a realistic chance of banishing them entirely except to the extent that they have utility – sloes for the birds and the gin, blackberries for the jams and pies, nettle soup anyone?
But we are way past that stage now; industrial civilization has taken over the field, pushing the dynamic stable ecosystem to the limits replacing it with the fixed crystalline machine with no space for wonder or mystery.
It can’t be confronted, there is nowhere left to leap to, it has to be taken apart one piece at a time with each of us carving out our niche where we can tend our own garden and dream that ultimately our gardens will reconnect with each other.
Like the work that reconnects, like the view from the dark mountain, like the diggers and dreamers who have been there before us we are all knowing that “no” is not enough and seeking to play by different rules…