Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A woman shields her face from the sun with a piece of wood, as residents wait to receive food and water, provided by FEMA, in a neighborhood without grid electricity or running water on Oct. 17, 2017 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Demand for 'Just Recovery' Battles 'Shock Doctrine' in Puerto Rico

Elizabeth Yeampierre and Naomi Klein detail what a "Puerto Rico recovery designed by Puerto Ricans" looks like

Common Dreams staff

In a piece receiving applause from those demanding a "just recovery" for Puerto Rico, Elizabeth Yeampierre and Naomi Klein report that even as "shock doctrine" tactics are already being deployed on the storm-ravaged island there is also a localized resistance to such strategies and a vision among Puerto Ricans of the future they now want to realize.

"It's a vision for an island where people are not saved by benevolent outsiders, but are given the tools to become true partners and save themselves. An island where the people of Puerto Rico transition rapidly to renewable power — and claim their full political power at the same time."

Despite the ongoing crisis and widely derided response of President Donald Trump, "there is some good news," write Klein, a journalist and activist, and Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE and co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance, for The Intercept on Friday.

And that good news, they write, is that "Puerto Ricans are wise to shock doctrine tactics. They know all too well that their island's debt crisis, fueled by Wall Street's hunger for tax-exempt bonds, was systematically exploited to extract brutal 'reforms' from workers and students who played no part in driving up the debt. They know that the debt crisis was used to strip Puerto Ricans of their most basic democratic rights, putting the island’s finances in the hands of an unelected Financial Oversight and Management Board — referred to locally as 'La Junta.'"

And the additional good news, they continue is that because of this awareness, there is a much more robust effort to fight back even as the "disaster capitalists" circle the islands looking for new prey.

"Under the banner of a 'just recovery' for Puerto Rico," they write, "thousands have come together to design a bold and holistic plan for the island to be rebuilt as a beacon for a safe, resilient, and thriving society in the era of accelerating climate chaos, spiraling economic inequality, and rising white nationalism."

From transforming the nation's energy system to overhauling its agriculture sector, the storm is acting as a catalyst for progressive change while community members erect barriers against further exploitation.

In turn—both in collective awareness and in action—the people of Puerto Rico, they conclude, are manifesting a "vision for an island where people are not saved by benevolent outsiders, but are given the tools to become true partners and save themselves. An island where the people of Puerto Rico transition rapidly to renewable power — and claim their full political power at the same time."

For more, read the full article at The Intercept.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·

Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·

Betrayal of Railway Workers Ignites Working-Class Fury Toward Biden and Democrats

"Politicians are happy to voice platitudes and heap praise upon us for our heroism throughout the pandemic," said one rail leader. "Yet when the steel hits the rail, they back the powerful and wealthy Class 1 rail carriers every time."

Jessica Corbett ·

With GOP House Control Looming, Pascrell Calls for Swift Release of Trump Tax RecordskennyDec 2, 2022
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) walks through the U.S. Capitol on November 30, 2022.
"Donald Trump tried to hide his tax returns from our oversight but after 1,329 days we have finally obtained the documents," said the New Jersey Democrat. "We should review and release them."
Common Dreams Logo