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Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate Paperback – Sep 4 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada; 1 edition (Sept. 4 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676975518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676975512
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 17.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #340,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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When Naomi Klein took on the "brand bullies" in No Logo, a book charting the rise of anticorporate activism, she auspiciously, inadvertently perhaps, branded herself an anticorporate activist. Fences and Windows is a chronicle of that ascending career. It's a collection of the columns, speeches, and essays--the bulk of which appeared originally in The Globe and Mail--that Klein wrote between 1999 and 2002 as she traversed the world bearing witness to antiglobalization rallies, demonstrations, and counter-summits that mushroomed, largely in response to the November 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle. The book, ultimately, is a record of the emergence of a new type of activism, one indebted to the culture of globalization even as it seeks to open a critical window onto and provoke debate about the policies of multinationals, the WTO, the IMF, and national governments. She writes:
What emerged on the streets of Seattle and Washington was an activist model that mirrors the organic, decentralized, interlinked pathways of the Internet--an Internet come to life…. But while the movement's Web-like structure is, in part, a reflection of the Internet-based organizing, it is also a response to the very political realities that sparked the protests in the first place: the utter failure of traditional party politics.

The book is structured as a series of "hub and spokes," one of the metaphors Klein uses to describe the movement. The broad themes of intolerance towards and criminalizing of dissent, the impact of a genetically engineered food supply, the privileging of corporate profit over social welfare, the erosion of national sovereignty, and the neglect of ecological considerations are the hubs around which gravitate her reports on the protests that have taken place in Toronto, Quebec City, South Africa, Prague, Chiapas, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. The reader, Klein states upfront, should not expect a sustained thesis. Instead, the articles are dispatches from the many sites of dissent--brief, immediate, impassioned, engaged, positioned, incendiary, persuasive, crafted. A moment comes, however, when the reader does desire a more in-depth dialogue about the issues raised by these confrontations, especially when presented with a simplistic "us-versus-them" slant. One example is the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty protest in Toronto which erupted into a violent (some may argue provoked) clash between police and demonstrators. Klein almost seems to brush it off by taking one side, rather than contemplating the question "Is this the only kind of response possible, and should it be?" At a time when, as this book makes abundantly clear, the very topography of democracy is experiencing seismic tremors, critical and rigorous reflection by our intellectuals becomes of utmost importance. This is where Fences and Windows either constitutes a lost opportunity or presents an invitation for reflection. --Diana Kuprel

From Publishers Weekly

The success of Klein's No Logo, a slashing account of how corporations actively go after "market share" and the global misery that can result, makes anticipation for her next project high. As Klein notes in her preface, this book is more a stopgap than a follow-up. Covering the period of late 1999 to 2002, the book collects Klein's in-the-trenches journalism about sweatshops, genetically modified foods, evolving police tactics for crowd control and more. The two title images recur throughout: the fences are real, steel cages keeping protesters from interfering with summits, but they are also metaphorical, such as the "fence" of poverty that prevents the poor from receiving adequate education or health care. Klein argues that globalization has only delivered its promised benefits to the world's wealthiest citizens and that its emphasis on privatization has eroded the availability of public services around the globe. Critics have suggested that the "anti-globalization" movement (a term loathed, Klein notes, by many people actually involved) lacks a cohesive structure, but Klein generally sees this decentralization as a strength, likening the small groups' "hub and spoke" organization to that of linked Web sites. While Klein offers snapshots of success stories involving Nike, Starbucks and other corporate monoliths, she wisely does not suggest any easy solutions to this complex mesh of problems. Despite post-September 11 talk to the contrary, these dispatches indicate that the movement is far from over.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "bibliophile_ca" on Oct. 25 2002
Format: Paperback
I read _No Logo_ soon after its publication and was impressed. In it Klein provided me with the arguments and the evidence to back up my own mounting dis-ease with the excesses of modern consumer culture. So I read her new book with eager interest. I was not disappointed. The book is comprised of short articles and speeches given over the past 3 years and, as such, is a chronicle of her ongoing activities within what she likes to call "the movement." The focus of each piece reflects the circumstances under which it was written and her concerns and activities at that time. While they do not perhaps add up to a wholly unified programme of action (and she freely admits this in her preface), they do provide a fascinating chronicle of both the growth and persecution of the movement and of her own fears, worries, and hopes for our collective future. This book is not one grand text but many smaller texts grouped together and, as such, acts as a fitting metaphor for her own celebration of multiplicity. She moves back and forth between looking at the big picture (the global movement for change) and looking at the local and particular. Act where you are, move to change what needs to be changed, support what needs to be supported, challenge what needs to be challenged in your own community, then make connections with others who are doing the same thing in their communities. I was inspired, moved, angered, engaged, frightened, and shocked by turns.
Silence is complicity. Do not remain silent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "idioteqnician" on Nov. 22 2003
Format: Paperback
I thought this was a pretty good book. Unlike No Logo, which has a central thesis that guides each of the chapters, Fences and Windows is a collection of articles and essays that Naomi Klein wrote for The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, The Nation, The LA Times, The Guardian. What I liked about Fences and Windows is the diversity of topics, and how Klein makes clear the common link between them. So we have NAFTA linked up to foot-and-mouth disease linked up to homelessness in Ontario linked up to September 11th linked up to why left-wing political parties that want to centralize power are missing the point that anti-globalization activists make. While reading this, various people said to me, "Oh I liked No Logo better," (or more commonly, in fact, "Oh a friend of mine said they liked No Logo better..."). I like them both though. No Logo was written at a time when people like me were beginning to become aware of "the movement" (that vague catch-all term that Klein herself confesses to using). A few years along, and after having had it drilled into our heads that "the world is so different now" due to you-know-what happening on you-know-when, people like me are a little bit more aware of the basic issues and are now seeking to understand more of the details. I think this book did a good job of explaining the notion of pro-democracy rather than anti-globalization, of power that is decentralized and local rather than centralized and distant, and of how exactly these mega trade deals are hurting us. Because truthfully, I think there are a lot of people like me who know enough of the basic facts to know that capitalist fundamentalism is creating greater inequality in our world, but are a little hazy on how all those big economic forces play themselves out. Fences and Windows demystified that a bit.
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Format: Paperback
People who should read this book: fans of Naomi Klein's work, people who are unfamiliar with free trade agreements like NAFTA, and those looking to understand the resistance to those trade agreements.
While any collection of articles and speeches can seem to be all over the place, this book is very well organized and edited. Keep in mind that these are relatively short pieces but they still provide valuable information about the topic if you are not already familiar with it. Not knowing much about free trade before I read the book, I feel much more knowledgeable about it and I feel inclined to learn more. If you already have a good grasp on free trade and the resistance to it, you most likely will not find anything new here, but there are helpful thoughts and entertaining anecdotes from the author that makes it a good, quick read.
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This book is not "No Logo". It will not be the Bible of any movement, however it is a good source of information about events that are happening in the stuggle against globalization and neo-liberalisms. The media has a bias and Naomi is the one who gives us the truth behind the events. She gives us understanding into the police crackdown and the politicians desire to stifle freedom of expression.
As it is a collection of articles it's a book that can be picked up and read at any point. The articles are compelling and will help you to see a truth that's not given in the mainstream.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 25 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Unique insights and startling reports. Feb. 1 2003
By Pen Name? - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Fences and Windows is a poignant and highly important collection of on-the-scene essays and articles from Klein's travels participating in and observing the ongoing struggles between ruling elites and a diverse array of opposition. Klein is an excellent writer and very incisive. She brings the brute reality of the fences being drawn around democracy while the corporate globalization movement claims to be opening windows to freedom. But it is the diverse and decentralized "global justice" movement that is working to open the windows to a truly democratic globalization, one that places people over profits. While the WTO and FTAA factions work to push through economic legislations that will further remove most people from democratic decision making, the police are developing more brutal strategies to scare the conscientious populace from participation in demonstrations. But as this political climate heats up, the decentralized movement is coming together more cohesively in the face of this repression. Klein writes of how politics is becoming a "gated community," and how the protest movements are struggling but still pushing for real democracy. There are no easy answers in Fences and Windows, but lots of necessary information and insight for anyone who cares about their world.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Spokesperson for the post-democracy struggles Jan. 18 2003
By Malvin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Naomi Klein's "Fences and Windows" is an inspired and brilliant collection of dispatches written from the front lines of the anti-globalization movement. Whether it was due to the deadline pressures of submitting her newspaper columns, her proximity to numerous protest sites, or her keen understanding of contemporary politics, Ms. Klein's writing in this book is as powerful, concise and insightful as it has ever been.
While Ms. Klein herself might modestly suggest that this book represents a "stopgap" effort sandwiched between "No Logo" and her forthcoming research project, you will be impressed by the author's dedication and conviction to the subject matter. The book has been given structure by grouping its articles into discreet categories that in turn relate to the "fences and windows" theme. For example, the section "Fencing in Democracy" contains stories that describe the ways in which the benefits of free trade have largely been realized by the rich but not the poor, while "Windows to Democracy" describes how formerly exploited communities and peoples have managed to positively transform and better their lives in creative ways.
Throughout the book, Ms. Klein's intellect and analysis is in top form. She skillfully and routinely turns the tables on neoliberal propaganda, exposing the greed and hypocrisy at the heart of the corporate agenda. For example, "Genetically Altered Rice: You Can't Eat Public Relations" deconstructs the claim that genetically engineered (GE) "golden rice" could save millions of lives in Asia. The author correctly points out that malnutrition has more to do with policy decisions than with technology, and that pushing the GE solution is to merely sustain and perpetuate the profits of the agribusiness industry at the expense of the people.
In its totality, the book suggests a world that has become post-democratic in the sense that unelected organizations and unaccountable corporations are exerting greater control over people's lives than perhaps at any time in recent human history. But Ms. Klein has given voice to the scores of people who are speaking truth to power. In my view, this outstanding book is evidence that we couldn't ask for a more articulate and passionate spokesperson for the post-democracy struggles than Ms. Klein.
I encourage everyone to read this timely, relevant and important book.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The Where and Why of Activism March 2 2003
By J.W.K - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A wonderful little book about globalization, privatization and the loss of democracy around the world, FENCES AND WINDOWS does exactly what it sets out to do - it provides a global analysis of "anti-globalization" activism and profiles the activists that are doing it. Despite the monotony that is portrayed on television (black-block anarchists trashing Starbucks), this loose-fitting network of activists encompasses people from all sectors of society who share one thing in common: They are fed up - fed up with the World Bank and IMF, with closed-door trade meetings, and with surreptitious laws, like the ones that slipped genetically modified foods into our mouths. In a word, all across the globe people are sick and tired of "being acted on" by a group of international trade brokers and government leaders with fat pockets seeking to privatize away all the social services fought for and won throughout history. Although Klein by no means gives the last word on the issue here, these letters and dissent are informative and well worth the read. For a more comprehensive view of the economic issues that underpin the current global heist, check out WHEN CORPORATIONS RULE THE WORLD by David Korten, a good compliment.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Involving if not surprising June 6 2004
By Megami - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The thing about a book by Klein is you are either a real fan or you aren't - there really isn't a middle point. Most people who have encountered Klein before would have read `No Logo' and this book is very much in the same vein, with commentary on, or more specifically against, the perceived rise of a capitalist corporatist culture, driven by a consumerist West which is disadvantaging the rest of the world. This book is a collection of articles and speeches by Klein about issues regarding international regimes, the good and bad sides of globalisation, and the resistance movements that seem to now be a prerequisite for any meeting of economic importance. A good non-scholarly take on one facet of the many-sided debate on globalism and its effects.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Another eye-opener June 15 2004
By P. Smy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was not initially sold (no pun intended!) on Klein's earlier No Logo. I found it repetitive and lacking a clear literary style. Obviously I was pretty much alone in that as the book inspired a generation of young anti-Corporate activists. And rightly so. Klein returns with a collection of articles about the time after No Logo. I found these very moving and concise snapshots of the globalization movement and the need to regain a perspective on the role of multi-nationals in our lives. Now a respected voice on the world stage, Klein finally gets down to writing the book I wanted to read first time around. Not as cleverly titled though :-)


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