Against Muerto Rico...
Author: Marisol Lebrón
Translator: Beatriz Llenín Figueroa
The series reVolucionA offers here the bilingual publication Against Muerto Rico: Lessons from the Verano Boricua /Contra Muerto Rico: lecciones del Verano Boricua. The book approaches the Verano Boricua 2019 from a sociological standpoint, highlighting what its author, Marisol LeBrón, considers the six most significant political lessons to be garnered from the rebellion for the ongoing struggle against the forces of death in Puerto Rico. These lessons are: (1) the struggle must be intersectional; (2) the criollo elite are a murderous class; (3) debt is death, protest is life; (4) protests are sites of pleasure; (5) la policía ≠ el pueblo; and (6) the diaspora must be a part of the struggle for Puerto Rico’s future.
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Every EEE book that I have read has been a liberating experience. Each text has made me more aware and critical of our archipelago, while also making me feel hopeful for what is still possible, individually and collectively.
Editora Educación Emergente, I believe, is one of, if not the, most important publishers in Puerto Rico over the last ten years. With over 50 print titles and over 30 digital titles –all of them beautifully designed– about diverse themes such as queer theory, race, and politics, to just name a few, and in varying genres such as essays and poetry, EEE offers something for everyone. Moreover, EEE constitutes one of the few available spaces today for those who seek to publish their projects. EEE’s work is truly essential.
Small, independent publishing houses have assumed an abundance of written work. Each one –and some of them are excellent– occupies an important place. The indefatigable labor of Editora Educación Emergente assumes the risk of publishing works in areas of great contemporaneity. EEE’s books stand out for the care and beauty of its editions, which engage the difficult present.
Editora Educación Emergente has forged for itself a very particular space in Puerto Rico’s publishing world, divulging texts that propose new forms of interpretation of our reality. From an anticolonial, queer, feminist, and anticapitalist stance, EEE has placed its bet on the book, in its various formats, as an indispensable object for our existence. And it has done all of this while assuming the risk of publishing new authors without abandoning already established ones.
EEE has its finger on the pulse of emerging writing in Puerto Rico. The voices are fresh, daring, powerful and fearless. Each title published is a testament to the force of intellectual courage, solidarity and imagination in the midst of crisis and struggle.
Wherever there is an urgency to meticulously and passionately turn into words the country we have, the country we dream and the country we fight for, we find EEE’s thorough and audacious books. To read them is to keep track of our memory in de/re/construction.
Editora Educación Emergente offers us the archive of contemporary Puerto Rico, which is currently navigating the full breadth of modes of capture, but, most importantly, of resistance. An other chronicle, an other critique, an other scene, an other school, other feminisms, queer.y, and an other revolution: such turning-into-words, such thought-action, situates us in possible time-spaces. A collection, a series of collections, indispensable.
Critical thinking in the midst of crisis is what defines the growing catalogue of EEE, which publishes books by Puerto Rican thinkers who help us see other possible worlds, anticapitalist, feminist, queer and maroon worlds, visions to combat colonialism’s sense of impossibility. EEE becomes, thus, the heir of other publishing projects that have not been able to survive the latest crisis, but which continue to exist.
My collection of EEE books has over 20 titles. Even so, these are not books to accumulate and ignore. These are books that make you read them, mark their pages, question, cry, discuss and share their ideas, and connect with your reality through the written word. EEE books are a school of life.
To live in such an irrational and complex present implies that we must find refuge in words, art, music, in that which makes us human. For this, I am grateful to Editora Ediucación Emergente, which has given us works such as ¿Quién le teme a la teoría?, ¡Oh! Natura, Fantasmas, and Jugando con el derecho, among so many others. In my attempt to understand the Puerto Rican present and past, I thank EEE for helping me see beyond History, noticing instead that which can be seen through histories.
Although I studied engineering, in my spare time I like to read books that are not about engineering and that are written in Spanish. In recent years, I have found in Editora Educación Emergente a collection of books that ignite my hunger to continue reading.
In EEE’s books I have discovered the value of writing by Puerto Rican voices who imagine and work towards an other Puerto Rico. In its publications we perceive an incredible love for our land and for the necessity of its liberation. The books are very well edited and beautiful. The printing is also of excellent quality. I enjoy them, recommend them and find them the best gift for friends and family.
Why do I read Editora Educación Emergente’s books? Well, to start, I will appropriate Rima Brusi’s words in her most recent book, Fantasmas (2019): “every once in a while, [especially when I read books published by EEE], I find beauty in the form of a sentence… and the anguish subsides” (Brusi 110). That is why I often use EEE’s texts in the classroom: they never disappoint. Generally, the first exercise with students is an open question in order to expose all the prejudices we carry without noticing them. Then, as though unintentionally, we immerse ourselves in the texts and the magic happens: ideas are discussed, we rethink the reasons why “we believe what we do” and, finally, a space is opened to new models of relation with our social realities. There are two common denominators in every EEE book I’ve read: on the one hand, the recognition –from an encounter with our daily lives– that this archipelago is far from the country we desire for all, and, on the other, the certainty that we are in each other’s company in the struggle for the country that we do want. Each one of EEE’s books –Puerto Islas: crónicas, crisis, amor; Las propias: apuntes para una pedagogía de las endeudadas; Nada es igual: bocetos del país que nos acontece; Borrador de auto-ayuda queer y otros ensayos raritos– is a space where new possible worlds are built: inclusive, empathetic, just.
Editora Educación Emergente is love in action. It is an act of social justice, a cry of resistance, a counterproposal against systems that opress and impoverish us. It is protest, street, education, politics… and much more that perhaps I cannot remember. To read books written by people who live in this archipelago has been an experience of light, clarity, and learning about what happens in the colony, about stories they never told us or wanted to silence. Those voices that tell their stories, teach you, inspire you, rip you apart and save you.
The books published by Editora Educación Emergente reflects the contemporary Puerto Rico. We can find critical social analysis and progressive literature. Certainly, EEE is a project that is generating an important and necessary conversation from a non-hegemonic space.
EEE may be a small press, but it's impact on how we understand crisis and resistance in contemporary Puerto Rico has been outsized. EEE has published vital works that help us to imagine feminist, queer, antiracist, anticapitalist, and decolonial futures for Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans. Most critically, EEE takes a truly interdisciplinary and intersectional approach to understanding this current juncture, publishing works of poetry, essay collections, educational guides, philosophical interventions, and political provocations that ask us to imagine otherwise.