Naomi Klein gives lecture at Smith Hall Auditorium

By Kelly Gibbs

Journalist, author and activist Naomi Klein’s lecture filled Smith Hall Auditorium to its fullest capacity Wednesday night while her audience remained attentive throughout, cheering wildly at her economic critiques and laughing enthusiastically at every humorous nuance. Klein’s lecture drew from her latest book, Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Her lecture provided detailed analysis of the systematically exploited workers in the wake of natural disasters under a free market economy.

“We have had a history told by the winners, by the people who have waged this crusade”, Klein said. “They have told us a fairytale.”

One of Klein’s main arguments included the idea that equating free markets with free people has been problematic.

She noted that the first laboratories for these policies started in Latin America, as Argentina in the 1990s went from being praised by their strong deregulation policies to suffering a financial crisis. The slogan in the streets of that time was “All of them must go.” The significance of the event was the first national uprising against neo-liberalism, Argentina was a country in revolt against an economic model. This received little press attention in the north due to the war that began in Afghanistan. The significance of this history, Klein believes, is that it negates the central claim that free markets equates to free people.

The power Argentina claimed was through their collective memory of the way in which this crisis was handled, according to Klein. Klein believes that we need to embrace a more in-depth and informed historical memory in order to move forward in the United States.

According to a recent press release, Klein’s work calls attention to local issues at the University. The Graduate Employee’s Organization rallied Wednesday evening for better education and employer practices from the University administration.