Fearless necessary reporting . . . Klein exposes the ‘battle of utopias’ that is currently unfolding in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico” (Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao)
“We are in a fight for our lives. Hurricanes Irma and María unmasked the colonialism we face in Puerto Rico, and the inequality it fosters, creating a fierce humanitarian crisis. Now we must find a path forward to equality and sustainability, a path driven by communities, not investors. And this book explains, with careful and unbiased reporting, only the efforts of our community activists can answer the paramount question: What type of society do we want to become and who is Puerto Rico for?” —Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico
In the rubble of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans and ultrarich “Puertopians” are locked in a pitched struggle over how to remake the island. In this vital and startling investigation, bestselling author and activist Naomi Klein uncovers how the forces of shock politics and disaster capitalism seek to undermine the nation’s radical, resilient vision for a “just recovery.”
All royalties from the sale of this book in English and Spanish go directly to JunteGente, a gathering of Puerto Rican organizations resisting disaster capitalism and advancing a fair and healthy recovery for their island.
“Klein chronicles the extraordinary grassroots resistance by the Puerto Rican people against neoliberal privatization and Wall Street greed in the aftermath of the island’s financial meltdown, of hurricane devastation, and of Washington’s imposition of an outside control board over the most important U.S. colony.” —Juan González, cohost of Democracy Now! and author of Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America
Journalist Klein (No Is Not Enough) lays out the challenges facing Puerto Ricans who seek to transform their island into a democratic polity that serves the people's interests rather than colonial kleptocracy in what is essentially an extended if enlightening pamphlet. The brief work reports on the actions taken after Hurricane Maria by Professors Self-Assembled in Solidarity Resistance and other organizations to develop strategies for combating neoliberal structural adjustments such as privatization of public services and deregulation of commerce, as well as the wealthy "Puertopians" investing in an attempt to use the island for cryptocurrency mining (surprising given the lack of adequate power for those who live there). Klein recapitulates elements of her work regarding the "shock doctrine," noting privatizations of public assets in the wake of the hurricane, which worsened previously imposed austerity measures. She breaks Puerto Rico's circumstances down into four categories desperation, distraction, despair, and disappearance and traces the problems to corruption, incompetence, and years of neglect, combined with a "starve-then-sell strategy" that has furthered privatization schemes elsewhere. But Klein finds sources of hope in centers of community-run resistance, such as the JunteGente network (to which she is donating royalties from the book), a network of organizers against austerity and inequality. Klein's account is a welcome update on the situation in Puerto Rico one that portends similar battles worldwide as climate change accelerates.