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 letter was first published in Le Monde. Translated by David Broder.
(via Wikimedia Commons)
As a rule, crises open up the terrain of the possible, and the crisis that began in 2007 with the collapse of the subprime market is no exception. The political forces that upheld the old world are now decomposing — first among them social democracy, which has since 2012 entered a new phase in its long process of accommodation to the existing order. As against these forces, the National Front has diverted part of the anger in society to its own advantage. It has adopted the pretense of an anti-systemic stance, even though it challenges nothing about this system, and least of all the law of the market.
Such is the context in which Nuit Debout was born — a movement that now marks the first month of its existence. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall the opposition to neoliberalism has taken various different forms: the “Bolivarian” governments in Latin America in the 2000s, the “Arab Spring,” Occupy Wall Street, the Spanish indignados, Syriza in Greece, the Corbyn and Sanders campaigns in Britain and the USA…. Future historians delving into our era will doubtless say that it was particularly rich in social and political movements.
May 1st 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. We present the following reading list: