Shock treatment: Naomi Klein 

By Karen Herland

Naomi Klein Magnifying glass

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein launched her latest book tour in a packed H-110 and kicked things off by acknowledging how glad she was to be back in her home town. The event, organized by Jennifer Roberts, book manager at the Concordia Bookstore, was standing room only, with people lined up over an hour before Klein was set to appear.

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism was already number one on Amazon’s list by the time fans were pouring into the lecture hall, although it had only been launched the day before. The book was simultaneously published in seven languages and Klein said she wouldn’t be unpacking her tour bags until Nov. 20.

After introductory remarks, Klein was interviewed by CBC radio personality Anne Lagacé Dowson before opening up the discussion to the enthusiastic audience.

Klein rocketed to international prominence when her first book, No Logo, was published in 2000 and immediately became the bible for anti-globalization activists.

In The Shock Doctrine, Klein argues that right-wing governments and bodies like the International Monetary Fund exploit and profit from crisis and disaster situations in an effort to further their own agendas.

The book’s arguments are based on examples ranging from post-tsunami Sri Lanka to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Klein stressed the research that went into the project. She described the book’s 70 pages of end-notes as her “body-armour.” A companion website,, allows access to many of the reports and documents cited.

Using Iraq as an example, she criticized U.S. President George Bush’s justifications of creating a new and better society. “If you blast things, you don’t get a clean slate — you get rubble.”

Klein avoided any advocacy of conspiracy theories. Instead, she pointed out that industries, like Canadian forestry, are increasingly discussing post-disaster situations as growth opportunities. She pointed to a shift in many communications corporations. “The same devices that were going to give us freedom are now being used to track us.”

This was the first bookstore-organized reading at Concordia and Roberts hopes to build on the success. Eventually, she would like to see events organized in conjunction with the faculties.


Concordia University