Naomi Klein
The 93rd Letter of an Autonomous Thinker

Amsterdam, November 8 2007

Dear reader, 

The Shock Doctrine, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is the new book of Naomi Klein.

About her book No Logo I wrote that it contains a lot of interesting information but that it fails to make a link between information and action. It describes the disasters caused by capitalism but it gives no solutions.

Naomi tells in The Shock Doctrine again horrendous and very true stories about what happens in "higher circles". Again the masses only play the role of victims.
In the last chapter she utters a few optimistic words about initiatives of masspeople but just as in No Logo these initiatives are restricted to the playing grounds that are enclosed by the barbed wire that is controlled by the "higher circles". The rich and mighty only permit actions that do not attack their very existence.

Naomi Klein writes about Disaster Capitalism but does not understand that capitalism is always a disaster for the underlying people. Capitalism maintains a fundamental inequality between the haves and the have-nots and is always aimed at the improvement of the situation of the people at the top. That sometimes the masses also get an improved life is not in contradiction to the goals of the elite that always tries to maintain and improve the own privileged position. This egoistic behaviour is the basis of the capitalist system.

Naomi Klein tries indeed to give the masses hope on a better and autonomous life but fails because she does not question the capitalist principles.

On page 27 she applauds the (leftist) words of Sergio Tomasello, an Argentinean leader of landless farmers: "The structure has to change".
That is the wrong idea, that is exactly the reason why the Left never can stop the subordination of the masses. The people have to get their own power. When a new structure is implemented, new "higher circles" will come into being and the situation will resemble very much the old situation. The development after the leftist (sometimes communist) revolutions of the past have proven that the masses are as powerless as in capitalist countries.
The "high gentlemen" in the governments, the army, the industry and other sections of society are only interested in the continuation of the idea of the "free market", a system that is based on unequal power relations.

Power relations and not the system must stand central in mass actions. When the masses do not develop an own independent power, all efforts for a better world are doomed to fail. And this power must be guided by the intention that the elite cannot anymore live the life it lived before and that the masses do not want to live anymore the subordinated life they lived before.

The change from the Old World to a New World will occur with a shock. But though the Shock Doctrine seems to resemble my ideas about Political Catastrophes it is a different concept.
The Shock is used to implement an existing theory (in this case Milton Friedman's ideology of a free market). The future society is already embedded in the present theory. The situation will not change fundamentally because the masses remain subordinated and the elite continues to rule and live from the same elevated position as before.

In my (political) Catastrophe Theory the present activity of the masses grows until the point is reached that the present situation can not be maintained. Then there will be a fundamental change. A new situation, a really New World is reached in which the same people (masses as well as higher circles) see the world on a different way. Only then the possibility will arise that all people will have the same status.

The propositions of Naomi Klein and other leftists only improve the life of the masses within the boundaries that are built by the privileged elite. When the importance of equal power to each individual is denied, Disaster Capitalism can return any time.

Yours truly, Joost van Steenis


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94. The hoax called democracy
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