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Book: Dignity & Defiance

Stories from Bolivia's Challenge to Globalization

Edited by Jim Shultz and Melissa Crane Draper. University of California Press 2009. Also available in Spanish as Desafiando la Globalización.

Forces the abstract and sanitized theory of globalization to get down and dirty in the real world: in the oil spills, the coca fields, the border crossings, the political massacres. This is the little-known story of a people that has dared to fight back against the most powerful economic forces on the planet, told by writers with the courage to dig relentlessly for the truth and the humility to stand back and let their subjects speak for themselves. Enraging, unsparing, inspiring.

— Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything

What can we learn from one nation’s battle to define its own way forward in a globalizing world?


Published in 2009 Dignity and Defiance is the story of one country, Bolivia, but it is representative of many countries around the world. The book tells the story of Bolivia’s citizen uprisings against the privatization of its natural resources. It travels to jungles and jails to trace the human impact of the U.S. war on drugs. It pedals by bike across the Bolivian highlands to document the disaster left behind by an Enron/Shell oil spill. It digs deep to trace how IMF economic policies led to bloodshed on the steps of the Bolivian Presidential Palace.

Dignity and Defiance also tells the story, from the ground up, of how people have fought courageously to keep globalization from swallowing their lives and to make it work to their benefit – as activists, workers, and immigrants. Ultimately the book is a story of inspiration, and it goes to the heart of what has drawn so much global attention to Bolivia.

How to get your copy

Dignity and Defiance was the product of three years work at The Democracy Center. Please help bring these voices from Bolivia to a broader audience! Create a book discussion group in your community, suggest it to your local library, or use it in your classrooms and learning spaces.

Available downloads:

Selected media

  • Chicago Public Radio aired an hour-long interview with Jim Shultz.
  • A Seattle-based project called Talking Stick TV filmed our event at the University of Seattle and posted this great video.
  • You can see an overview of the book in this accompanying video: