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Publication Details

Klein, Naomi (2000) No Logo. Flamingo: GB : 1-490.

Gaby Wood
Sunday November 12, 2000
The Observer

Imagine a world designed by Disney, marketed by Nike, and described by Franz Kafka. When you wake up in this world, you think you are putting your clothes and shoes on, grabbing a coffee, getting in your car and filling it up with petrol; you think you are switching on your computer when you get to work and maybe having a cigarette or a soft drink at about 11. But you are sadly mistaken.
What you are actually doing is buying into a lifestyle, having a 'deep emotional connection' with fitness or coffee. Of course, the clothes, the car, etc. really exist, but the plane on which you are experiencing them is a higher one, of ideas and aspirations. And behind the scenes of this enclosed, almost sci-fi universe of concepts and intangibilities is another, horrific one, in which you are exploiting people in sweatshops as you put on your shoes, working them to their deaths, and you are supporting the murder of a Nobel Peace Prizewinner as you fill up your car. We are all already living in this world. And for many the only way out seems to be to listen to Naomi Klein.

Klein is the 30 year-old author of No Logo, a book which came out in Britain at the beginning of this year to rapturous reviews, and which has since developed a life of its own. It has been called a manifesto, 'the Das Kapital of the growing anti-corporate movement', and it set out to document the aims and rationale of the group that demonstrated at Seattle and Prague, before those events had even happened. Over the course of this year, No Logo has had a burgeoning, massive success, recommended by word of mouth; all over the world, people are sending loop emails to their friends, telling them how it has changed their life, how something they had felt but not understood has suddenly become clear. Klein now gives talks so often she jokes that she'll 'never write again', though she has a regular column in Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail . This week she is in England, and speaking publicly every night. However, she rejects the idea that No Logo is a manifesto.

'There is no Das Kapital for the anti-corporate movement,' she says. 'One of the best things about this movement is that no one is handing down a manifesto from on high.' Klein is extremely articulate both in writing and in conversation, but even so, in order to understand her and understand what's going on, you have to be able to embr