The Shock Doctrine

Link to Naomi
to Naomi Klein's Newsletter
Materiales en español


Manuel Rivas, EL PAIS (Spain), October 13, 2007

The Shock Doctrine is the latest work by Canadian Naomi Kein, another ethical blow by the author of the famous No Logo, which came out in 2001, a revolutionary and scathing manifesto against the power of the superbrands and the slavery of the consumer. Now she deals with the techniques of subjugation under globalization. The traditional method has been what we know as "carrot-and-stick" politics, although throughout history people have seen many sticks and few carrots. A History of Sticks would be very instructive. What we call historical memory is, at heart, a memory of sticks, the rebellious memory of unpunished sticks. Now the stick is shock. The virtual stick. The systematic production of uneasiness, of goosebumps. Klein's diagnosis refers to the rise of capitalism in a "disaster culture," but it seems inspired by monitoring the feverish activity of our certified Factories That Make Our Hair Stand On End. The country of hair standing on end. The best-selling product over the last years has been shock. It is said that the right in Spain does not have a plan, but that's an anachronistic view. It has what it must: shock. We are not still talking about José María Aznar because of his talents as a statesman. A great statesman would have left a dose of hope as his legacy. What fascinates us about him is that he is a shock doctrinaire. That genuine gift for popularizing the abyss, for getting us excited about disaster. There are days when Spain seems like a giant laboratory of the shock doctrine. The hairstyle of Shock. The politics of Shock. The communication of Shock. The religion of Shock. Buddhists recommend devoting oneself to sukkha, to bliss. Spanish bishops just preach shock. They have gone from the egalitarian Epistle to the Galatians ("There are no longer Jews nor Greeks…") to the sectarian Epistle of Shock, while in the ditches the remains of Christs murdered by Franco's "crusade" continue to turn up. It's the fundamentalism of shock. There was even a fear that some would transform the Hispanic Festival into a festival of Shock. The thing about shock is that you get used to it. "Would you like your coffee with or without shock?" the friendly waiter asks. "Give it to me without coffee."
Jacket Cover