For an old Red like me, bowed down by years of Thatcher, Reagan, Clinton and Blair, these two books are full of exhilaration and hope. George Monbiot writes mainly about Britain in a terse investigative style that I had feared was out of date. Naomi Klein, based in Canada, ranges all over the world and writes infectiously with verve and passion. Again and again their themes converge. Both contemptuously reject the view, which seemed supreme after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and what used to be known (quite wrongly) as Communism, that the world is now set fair on a course to libertarian capitalist prosperity. Instead of the torch of freedom, Klein writes, 'it seems that it may be the torch of authoritarianism that is being carried by those determined to go global.' Both identify the chief menace of the modern world as the multinational corporations and their unelected boardrooms. Both suggest that the power and greed of these corporations is rapidly overtaking what is left of the power and responsibility of elected governments. Both revel in the growing anger against this menace, from the spontaneous protests against antisocial roads and supermarkets to the demonstrations which over the last two years have taken London, Seattle, Prague and Nice by storm and threaten every future international meeting of trade ministers.
LRB 22 February 2001 | PDF Download