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.
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.
A year ago this Monday, a few hundred young protestors bed down in lower Manhattan to protest the corruption of America's political, social, and economic institutions. Occupy Wall Street's grievances have been famously diverse, but as the movement rounds the corner into its second year it can claim many victories: a world-wide network of over one thousand self-identified occupations, a vast ecology of movement-generated media, a worker-owned cooperative, measurably successful campaigns in collaboration with New York-based activist groups against racial profiling and unfair housing practices, and, quite recently, a report investigating the illegal practices of the New York Police Department throughout the year.
There's quite a bit to celebrate, and this weekend in New York activists from across the country converge on the financial district to ring in Occupy's new year. If you're in New York, we invite you to attend one or all of these events with us.