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“No Is Not Enough”: Best-Selling Author Naomi Klein on Challenging Trump’s Shock Doctrine Politics

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As President Trump is sued by the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., for “unprecedented constitutional violations” and as another federal appeals court rejects Trump’s Muslim ban, we spend the hour with best-selling writer Naomi Klein, author of the new book, “No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., have filed an anticorruption lawsuit against President Trump, accusing him of, quote, “unprecedented constitutional violations.” The lawsuit alleges Trump has flagrantly violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments since he became president.

AMY GOODMAN: The lawsuit cites reports that the embassies of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and other countries have booked expensive rooms and held events at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., possibly seeking to win favor with the president. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced the lawsuit on Monday.

ATTORNEY GENERAL KARL RACINE: President Trump’s businesses and his dealings violate the Constitution’s anticorruption provisions, known as the Emoluments Clauses. My office window is just a few floors above where we’re sitting today, and I can tell you that as I look out the window and see the tower of the Trump International Hotel, we know exactly what’s going on every single day. We know that foreign governments are spending money there in order to curry favor with the president of the United States. Just one example, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose government has important business and policy before the president of the United States, has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at the Trump International Hotel.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Resistance against Trump’s profiteering while in the Oval Office has taken other shapes, as well. Last month, artists projected the words “Pay Trump Bribes Here” on the front of Trump International Hotel.

Meanwhile, in another setback to the Trump agenda, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously ruled Monday that President Trump had overstepped his legal authority in signing an executive order seeking to ban all refugees and citizens from six majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, today, we spend the rest of the hour with someone who has been closely following the various forms of resistance against the Trump presidency: the best-selling author, journalist, activist Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and also This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. She’s out today with a new book; it’s called No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. In the book, Klein writes, quote, “This is one attempt to uncover how we got to this surreal political moment. It is also an attempt to predict how, under cover of shocks and crises, it could get a lot worse. And it’s a plan for how, if we keep our heads, we might just be able to flip the script and arrive at a radically better future.”

Naomi Klein, welcome to Democracy Now!

NAOMI KLEIN: Thank you, Amy. I’m very pleased to be with you. And hi, Juan.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Hi.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. You’re beginning your tour across the United States. The book is called No Is Not Enough. What do you mean?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, as you know, Amy, I have been covering crises and major shocks to countries for a long time. And to be honest with you, when I wrote The Shock Doctrine and it came out 10 years ago, I actually kind of thought no was enough, in the sense that I thought that if we understood this particular tactic—and what I mean by “the shock doctrine” is the ways in which large-scale shocks to societies, large-scale crises, economic crises, wars, coups, natural disasters, have systematically been used by right-wing governments, using the disorientation and the panic in society, to push through a very radical, pro-corporate agenda. You know, and I have been on the show many times talking about examples of this, like Hurricane Katrina and how that tragedy and the dislocation of the residents of that city was used to privatize the school system, attack public housing, introduce a tax-free free enterprise zone under George Bush’s administration. But after that book came out—it came out in 2007—we had the 2008 financial crisis. And all around the world, people did say no. You know, people knew that they were being forced to pay for the crisis of the bankers. They took to the streets. They occupied plazas. They stayed there for months. They said, “No. No more.” But they didn’t, in so many cases, have a plan for what to do instead, beyond just, you know, we don’t want the austerity, we don’t want the attacks. There wasn’t a credible plan put forward, in many cases, for how we could have a different and better economy, that responded to the underlying reasons why we are seeing these shocks.

And so, I think in this moment where Trump is this sort of rolling shock—you know, every day there’s some shocking news. We just heard a few examples of it in the headlines. Behind the scenes, we’re seeing that same agenda advance very quickly. I’m concerned about what’s going to happen if they have even larger shocks to exploit, not the shock of just Trump himself and what he’s doing and the various investigations, the various gaffes, the various palace dramas, the rest of it, but I think it’s really crucial that in preparing for that, we understand that there has to be a yes, what we want instead of the shock doctrine. So that’s why I called it No Is Not Enough and put a great big “No” on the cover, because I just want to make sure no one misses that message, because it’s a hard-won insight after many years.

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