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Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America

The first book to explore the Occupy movement in depth, with reportage and analysis.

In the fall of 2011, a small protest camp in downtown Manhattan exploded into a global uprising, sparked in part by the violent overreactions of the police. An unofficial record of this movement, Occupy! combines adrenalin-fueled first-hand accounts of the early days and weeks of Occupy Wall Street with contentious debates and thoughtful reflections, featuring the editors and writers of the celebrated n+1, as well as some of the world’s leading radical thinkers, such as Slavoj Žižek, Angela Davis, and Rebecca Solnit.

The book conveys the intense excitement of those present at the birth of a counterculture, while providing the movement with a serious platform for debating goals, demands, and tactics. Articles address the history of the “horizontalist” structure at OWS; how to keep a live-in going when there is a giant mountain of laundry building up; how very rich the very rich have become; the messages and meaning of the “We are the 99%” tumblr website; occupations in Oakland, Boston, Atlanta, and elsewhere; what happens next; and much more.

With contributions by Judith Butler, Angela Davis, Jodi Dean, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Zoltán Glück, Elizabeth Gumport, Doug Henwood, Christopher Herring, L. A. Kauffman, Svetlana Kitto, Kung Li, Audrea Lim, Manissa Maharawal, Thomas Paine, Marco Roth, Marina Sitrin, Rebecca Solnit, Stephen Squibb, Sunaura Taylor, Alex Vitale, and Slavoj Žižek

Reviews

  • Occupy! abounds with insights on how the occupiers have dealt with internal challenges to their experiment in direct democracy.”
  • “Both analytical and full of vivid experience... These blog-style pieces are interspersed with more substantive writings, which are the true strength of the collection... but most interesting are those by lesser-known writers who bring us vivid historical analyses of various aspects of the occupations.”
  • “Unlike most quickie publications, the book is gorgeous, a testament to beautiful book design...the essays are thoughtful pieces of first-person reportage. [A] clear-eyed and sober examination of the dream world that we created this fall, along with a few brief, tentative explorations of what it will become in the future. It's also an excellent proof-of-concept for speedily published book-length journalism that does work blogs and newspapers simply can't do. This is not some dashed-off smear of a money-making scheme; I recommend it heartily.”
  • “A heart warming anthology of the voices involved in this surprising grass roots movement.”
  • Occupy!, an anthology from the occasional Occupy Gazette published by n+1, includes…a lovely piece on the difficulties of organising an occupation’s laundry, which works as a handy metaphor for some of the movement’s larger challenges.”

Blog

  • Verso Five Book Plan: Feminism

    In this new blog series we bring you recommended reading lists as selected by our authors. Sarah Leonard, editor of Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America, contributing edtior at The New Inquiry, and senior editor at The Nation, picks 5 essential feminist reads.


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  • Interns, Occupiers, and Strikers: A May Day 2014 Reading List



    The 1st of May marks International Workers' Day, a festival of working-class self-organization stretching back over 130 years. It was originally inaugurated to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre of 1886 in Chicago, where a bomb thrown during a worker's strike kicked off a period of anti-labor hysteria.

    In 1890, the first internationally coordinated demonstration for an 8-hour day was held, in commemoration of those killed in the massacre. Eight anarchists were executed on trumped-up charges after the event.

    Here, Verso staff present an updated reading list for May Day. Since first posting the list a few years back, we've added some of our recent titles that trace the changing nature of work and the labor movements in the U.S. and around the world. 

    All books listed are available for direct purchase from our site at discounts of 40% off paperbacks, 30% off hardcovers, and 50% off ebooks, with free shipping, and ebooks bundled with your print purchase where available. 

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  • Beyond America's "one night democracy special"

    This time a year ago, Occupy camps across the country found themselves dismantled, handcuffed, and power-washed away in a move coordinated by several city administrations, forcing the network of activists and anti-capitalists who once gathered in those public spaces to find alternative modes of protest.

    A year later, at least here in New York, that network is leaping into action with a speed and force that's caused even the apparatus of the state -- FEMA and the National Guard, most notably -- to recognize Occupy Sandy and on some occasions seek its aid. Its a testament, at the very least, to the organizational prowess of a movement that has been continuously churning out projects, if not media-mandated spectacle, throughout 2012.

    Sarah Leonard, one of the editors of last year's Verso title Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America and a member of the Dissent Magazine team, recently surveyed the post-election landscape.

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