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AUDIO FILE: Naomi Klein Speaking in Portland

Naomi Klein, whose most recent book, "The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism" has become an international best-seller, spoke to an overflowing house in Portland Oregon on Friday, December 7, 2007.

The crowd completely filled the available space and the overflow were provided with television coverage in the basement of the First Unitarian Church where she was speaking.

Klein, whose parents went to Canada seeking political asylum because of the Viet Nam war, was born in Montreal in 1970, spoke for about an hour, answered questions for about an hour afterwards, and concluded her talk with a 6 minute video. Engaging, but casual, smart and eloquent, but easily understood, her presentation charmed the crowd as much by its style as by its content. Though speaking from a podium, she seemed very much a part of, rather than apart from the gathering

She begins, "it's wonderful to be at the heart of Portland's legendary Progressive community; thank you for all the work you have done over the years in keeping up this fight. It is a revolutionary moment. There are moments when it feels less so, and Portland keeps on keeping' on, which we appreciate."

Arriving here from Los Angeles, which is still recovering from the wild fires of recent months, she was met with television images of people who have lost their homes to floods, highways collapses, mudslides and road closures. "These are very familiar images to me , because I've spent the last four years immersed in disaster zones. ...It reminds me of what I've seen in Biloxi Mississippi after Katrina, or New Orleans after Katrina, or Sri Lanka after the tsunami."

"We're going to be talking about disaster tonight, we're going to be talking about disaster capitalism, and it seems only appropriate for us to begin this discussion by thinking about these disasters unfolding in this region, in other parts of the country, around the world......Think about when we see these images, when a community is living through these disasters, what our initial human response is. ...."

"The initial human response to a disaster is not to exploit it for personal gain, that's not what most people want to do. What most people want to do is help When they see i t on television from far away, they want to help. That was the response to the tsunami, that was the response to Katrina, that was the response in this state.........The message that I have is that we are not inevitably exploited in the face of a disaster. There are choices at all of these junctures, and I think we need to remember that."

"This phenomenon that I call Disaster Capitalism is really the opposite of that initial human response that we all felt....What Disaster Capital sees in a crisis is really the opposite of that. They see, this phrase which comes up over and over again in the book, in this research, a 'blank slate,' a 'clean sheet.' They somehow confuse rubble with renewable, and there is this idea, -I saw this in New Orleans just 10 days after the levees broke, meeting lobbyists and politicians, and that famous quote from Richard Baker the Republican Congressman who said that "we couldn't clean out New Orleans housing projects, but God did."

"That's what he saw; he saw an act of cleansing."

Klein continues, drawing deeply from the extensive research in her book, describing how disasters, natural and man made provide momentum for Disaster Capitalism, using shock and crisis, to reshape the world, for the profit of a few. Speaking of the War on Terror, "if you think of it as a military plan it doesn't make much sense, but if you think of it as an economic plan it makes a lot of sense. I think what we need to understand is that the Bush Administration is not an administration, they do not administer. They think other people should do that. They've outsourced administering. The role they have played in the War on Terror is not that of an administrator, but that of a venture capitalist, a deep pocket venture capitalist that says, okay, here is your business plan, here's your market, fight evil everywhere forever. Terrorists and immigrants too while you are at it."

This was an enlightening presentation, but it did so by drawing together many ideas and common insights lying loose in the minds of the audience and directed them lasar-like, to obvious conclusions. She weaves a fabric from many threads available to all who dig beneath the veneer of Corporate Media complicity in the social engineering which passes for political and religious belief systems.

This audio file is just under 1 hour in length, and contains only the presentation itself.

Naomi Klein, RealPlayer

Naomi Klein, MP3

homepage: homepage: http://www.PhilosopherSeed.org

Naomi Klein Shocks and Awes Portland: Impeachment is the Antidote 10.Dec.2007 14:57

Harry Kershner

Canadian hottie/intellectual Naomi Klein told a full house at the First Unitarian Church of Portland on Friday evening (12/7) that impeachment of Bush is a proper response to the shock and awe perpetrated on U.S. citizens.

Despite an attempt by "911 Truthers" to disrupt the event, Ms. Klein charmed and inspired a huge gathering of Portland area political activists.

The author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Klein contended that the so-called "War on Terror", rather than being a disastrous military undertaking forged by incompetents, is actually an economic model for furthering the control of the world's resources by corporate interests through the promotion of a program devised by the Chicago/Friedman school of neoliberal economists.

The "Truthers", who, despite their attempts to vilify her both before and during her presentation, were treated courteously by Klein, apparently believe that: (1.) Klein is a "gatekeeper" of news who has the power to prevent others from sharing their "facts"; and (2.) that she is a "female Chomsky", which to them is an insult. Klein's response to them included the fact that she has consistently stated that she believes that the official story of 9/11 requires investigation, but that she wonders why the deaths of more than a million Iraqis is so much less important to them than the deaths of a few thousand Americans.

dissing the "disrupters" 10.Dec.2007 18:11


I don't know what you heard - Harry - but I thought the dread locked " truther " was reasonably tactful , and if you think that the events of 9-11-01 don't fit perfectly into the discussion that Miss Klein was presenting , then I think you missed the point.

Proof? Examples? 11.Dec.2007 09:32

Ginny Ross, Oregon Truth Alliance

I'd like anyone who attended this event to share proof or examples of this:

"attempts to vilify her both before and during her presentation"

Also, if she is aware of the 9/11 fraud and does not use her podium to raise greater awareness, I think it is a valid topic to raise in a public forum. It is unfortunate when people resort to name calling and labeling -- it is not effective. But bringing up the 9/11 fraud and asking why an author seems to overlook it is a perfectly valid and suitable challenge and is not "villifying".

perspective 12.Dec.2007 13:57

N ujada

Some impressions:
1) Naomi Klein is a Canadian. We should pressure our own citizens to join 9-11 truth-out.
Leave the foreigners alone! She does outstanding work and probably has her own reasons for
staying neutral on 9-11. Get on Noam Chomsky's case, or Amy Goodman's, all those Air America people who have an enormous audience and huge influene (Thom Hatmann, for example).
2) Why are the men so angry? Klein asked to let women speak first, since we have less voice and opportunity. It seems that after that, the women in line were asking her for answers, hope or guidance while the men were blaming or criticizing her, some in a hostile way.
Would these same men do that to Greg Palast or Jeremy Scahill? I don't think so. I think they'd give male speakers more leeway. We see it all the time.
3) Vote for Cynthia McKinney if you want a 'truthout' candidate! She is a whistle blower and continues to pay a high price for it.

Klein is a "hottie" and an intellectual? 12.Dec.2007 20:00


Golly gee whiz,I've never heard Norman Soloman,Greg Palast or Noam Chomsky,to name a few,called "hotties." Double standard much? I thought it was 2007,not 1967.

Villifying 12.Dec.2007 20:27


I agree with you, Ginny. I could not believe the hostility directed at her during the question/answer
session. Which should probably be called the 'commnet' line instead - people just wanting to talk.
It made me embaressed! Now it will probably be a long time before she comes back to Portland. I wonder if she's telling her friends how sexist the U.S. is, even in a city with a progressive reputation.

reasons 13.Dec.2007 04:15

of course she has them

so do Solomon, Chomsky, Palast, Rothchild, Cockburn, Goodman, et al - they don't touch the 911 third rail because it's instant excommunication for the marginally successful (as are all so-called progressive) published authors lucky enough to get on the lecture circuit - to say one welcomes a new 911 investigation is about as close as any can get without getting fried - but all the "progressive" things these people have to say may well be for naught if the regime manages another 911 and stampedes the congress into WWIII - at that point, about the only thing that could halt the rush to nuclear war is a military coup, the real potential for which we're now seeing: e.g. CIA reports on torture and Iran's N status, coming on the heels of the Barksdale nuke incident - expect Secret Service agents to be replaced in large part by Black Water elite operatives especially those closest to the POTUS and the VP

Rothschild? 14.Dec.2007 12:35

as in Matthew

chief editor of The Progressive Magazine, who last year, like Cockburn in Counterpunch and Corn in the Nation, went out of his way to write a lengthy defense of the Chomsky line: It's all blowback and incompetence and you conspiracy theorists are just a distraction from the systematic crimes of (for example) the World Bank.

Well, I wasn't at the Klein lecture so can't comment on what did or did not happen. It sounds like she was challenged for not incorporating more about 9/11 into her "Shock Doctrine" thesis. Let's consider why these so-called progressive writers are being challenged like this everywhere they go.

Since "The lessons of 9/11" are cited by the regime at every new curtailment of civil liberties or expansion of the war; since the regime went into an "all Al Queda all the time" mode last summer, then came out of it to report that Al Queda has been eliminated in Iraq (calling for a serious look into the myth of Al Queda); since the Barksdale Nuke incident pointed clearly to an attempt of some sort to launch on Iran and since the broader peace movement has chosen to take on this murderous criminal regime in the tired old protest-songs & candle-light vigil modes, which has done next to nothing to impede the regime in its ruthless agenda, clearly the desperation of this situation calls for stronger polemics.

The 911 Truth movement generally holds that to bring down this regime, the 911 myth and attendant myths of Islamofascism and the Global War Of Terror must be exploded, followed by a complete and transparent investigation of the crimes of 9/11 and nothing less than charges of treason and mass murder against those responsible. As for blowback and incompetence, the former plays right into the regime's "...they hate us for whatever..." and the later is the perfect cover.

Some (not me), but some are even referring to Chomsky as a "rich asset." Other than their lecture tours, book deals and salaries, what are these so-called progressives afraid of?

so why not 15.Dec.2007 00:22

the questions?

When I go to one of these lectures, I often find the QA more interesting than the lecture - why cut it from the audio? Plus, that's what all the follow up debate is about here - well, except for the sexism sidebar (BTW: does "hottie" refer to sex apppeal or media buzz? Don't get me wrong, just asking.)

I read about how disruptive the 911 truth people were - then it's refuted by several bloggers and supported by others - too bad the QA sin't on offer here to actually hear what went on - tip for the audio tracker: if you didn't include the QA because you didn't have a mic on the questioners; that's an easy fix - takes some planing and some extra gear, but it's doable - a real pro could cover it without breaking a sweat - but if this was a KBOO job...'nuff said.

About the Q & A 15.Dec.2007 16:49

Jim jglockhart@comcast.net

Well, I didn't include the Q & A because I wanted to get the audio of her presentation up there ASAP. If folks are interested in this, it can be included, but at a later date.

I do agree that often the best part of these events is in the Q & A segment. This isn't the case here, though they were about equally interesting and educational.

Not sure when I can get to this, but I'll make an attempt to do so soon............

truth? 20.Dec.2007 21:05


i don't know how "these truthers" can be attacking Klein when she has devoted years of professional research into the subject. she's presenting a larger system of oppression and they have this tunnel vision that soley concerned with specific events, not the larger picture.

most of these "truthers" are just attracted to the idea of a conspiracy and wouldn't be involved in activism otherwise. thats why you don't seem them doing real organizing with causes that create real change every day.

Naomi Klein Rocks 21.Dec.2007 08:52

and 911 freaks are starting to bug me

Are you serious? Shit, I wasn't able to attend Klein's lecture, so I am happy that the intrepid Jim Lockhart posted this here. But I'm just appalled to hear that the whacky 911 freaks apparently attacked her? Am I reading that right? Shit, I'm so sick of that nonsense.

Listen, we ALL know that the government is lying about 911. Yeah. No shit. And it's frustrating as hell to KNOW this, and not be able to do anything about it. But it seems that some folks have allowed that overwhelming frustration to actually drive them insane or something. Not only is their aggressive behavior becoming alienating and destructive to everyone around them, it's also starting to make it look like the only people who give a shit about 911 are nutty freaks, because that's how they're acting.

For the record, Naomi Klein ROCKS. I whole-heartedly recommend the Shock Doctrine to anyone who wants to understand just what is going on in the world right now. In spite of the weird, Micky-Spillane-looking cover, this book is almost impossible to put down. Klein is one of the most skilled researchers, and one of the most stellar investigative journalists that I have ever read. (Which is probably why the truthers objected to her. Although she doesn't buy the US government's story about what happened any more than they do, she would not be willing to just make up "facts" or just accept other people's "facts" without verification. Anyone who does not do that, doesn't eat up their dogma without question, seems to be suspect to the 911 freaks.)

I would have loved to be at the lecture. Thanks, Jim, for posting the audio. Now I feel like I was there (and I didn't have to sit through the "truthers" being assholes).