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Naomi Klein: Behind the Curtain of Trump’s Chaotic Horror Show Is an Effective, Destructive ‘Shock-Creation Machine’

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Ignore the narrative that Trump is a bumbling idiot: Very bad things are happening, with more to come.

AlterNet by By Celisa Calacal 

June 13, 2017

Shocking, abnormal, unprecedented: These are just some of the words used to describe the Trump presidency since he took office. And with each new statement, tweet or piece of legislation from the Trump administration, many people feel that these antics are unlike anything we’ve seen before.

But author and journalist Naomi Klein disagrees: We have seen this before.

Speaking to a crowded hall June 12 at the Cooper Union in New York City, Klein, whose new book is titled No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Needdiscussed the events contributing to Trump’s rise, the future of the progressive movement and the “shocks” left in the wake of Trump’s policies.

Much of Klein’s talk centered around the theory she presents in her 2008 book The Shock Doctrine, but she also differentiated Trump’s policies as a different form of shock. While most media coverage of the White House portrays his administration as a chaotic mess, Klein argued that the media ends up missing the more diabolical policy movements behind the curtain that are “shock-creation machines”—such as the removal of Dodd-Frank and Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord.

“This narrative has emerged that he’s this bumbling idiot, that it’s all chaos,” she said. “And meanwhile, behind the scenes, getting very little media attention is a methodical, very organized redistribution of wealth from lower and middle incomes to the 1 percent of the 1 percent.”

The Rebranding of Trump—How We Got Here

In an analysis that has largely been missing in mainstream media, Klein connected much of Trump’s success to the way he brands himself. Drawing from common marketing practices, she discussed how Trump’s new business model involves the selling and leasing of his name to almost every product imaginable—a corporate model she calls the “hollow brand.” Klein’s analysis of hollow brand marketing builds upon the analysis in her 1999 book, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies.

Beginning in the late-1980s, Klein pointed out, companies began to shift away from their traditional model of creating products and establishing a brand around those products. The new trend in the marketing industry was to sell an idea.

“The product is the marketing tool. Branding is a very colonial process,” she said. “And essentially what they’re selling is group identity.”

Trump, Klein argued, capitalizes on this marketing technique as he built a brand centered on his name while quietly outsourcing the production of his products to developing countries. Klein took a moment to call out similar practices by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who has branded himself a progressive climate leader despite his anti-environmental policies in supporting tar sands pipelines.

“I’m a dual Canadian and American citizen, so I feel it’s my responsibility to tell you that Justin Trudeau is a hollow brand,” she said, to loud cheers from the audience.

The danger in this practice lies in the facade that companies are actually fulfilling consumers’ needs.

“They’re not selling anything that meets the need,” Klein said. “They’re selling the promise of meeting the need, which is fantastic for capitalism.”

See article here……

 

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