Dreaming in Public: Building the Occupy Movement

Overview

Since September 2011, the Occupy movement has captured the world's imagination. The media has been flooded with accounts of demonstrations, descriptions of the encampments, interviews with Occupiers, and discussions of Occupy's merits, political and otherwise. But what do its participants have to say?

Dreaming in Public gathers together dispatches, essays, blog posts, and images from within the movement aimed at influencing its development and addressing those not yet involved. ...

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Overview

Since September 2011, the Occupy movement has captured the world's imagination. The media has been flooded with accounts of demonstrations, descriptions of the encampments, interviews with Occupiers, and discussions of Occupy's merits, political and otherwise. But what do its participants have to say?

Dreaming in Public gathers together dispatches, essays, blog posts, and images from within the movement aimed at influencing its development and addressing those not yet involved. Produced by participant journalists, political analysts, writers, polemicists, photographers, organizers, and activists, these documents capture the vibrant, contentious, illuminating, and inventive exchange of Occupy.

Work from contributors such as Naomi Klein and Harsha Walia complement public declarations from the movement, images, and graphics. Some pieces explore the rites and rituals of the movement, others its aims and overall structure. Yet others take up the role differences of race and gender play in a movement that claims to represent the 99%, and the complicated business of maintaining urban encampments. Many consider the challenge participatory democracy poses to conventional ideas of what politics is or should be.

The materials in this collection attest not only to the extraordinary political energy that has already come out of Occupy, but to the implications of the movement for the future.

Amy Schrager Lang is professor of English and humanities at Syracuse University and author of a number of books.

Daniel Lang/Levitsky is an artist, theater producer, writer, and founding member of the Direct Action Network and Jews Against the Occupation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781780260846
  • Publisher: New Internationalist
  • Publication date: 6/12/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Lang: Amy Schrager Lang taught U.S. literature and cultural studies for thirty-five years and is Professor of English and Humanities at Syracuse University. The author, most recently, of The Syntax of Class (Princeton, 2003) and the co-editor of What Democracy Looks Like (Rutgers, 2006), Lang currently serves as co-editor of the University of Michigan’s Class : Culture series and as the book review editor of the AAUP's journal, Academe.
Daniel Lang/Levitsky: Activist, author, artist and theater producer. Daniel Lang/Levitsky is a theater artist and organizer based in Brooklyn, a founding member of the Direct Action Network - NY and Jews Against the Occupation, and active in a range of radical movements. Lang/Levitsky has written on radical history, politics, and theater for Bridges, Monthly Review, History News Network, and others.

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Read an Excerpt

Occupy Wall Street took everyone by surprise! That surprise was felt by those who initiated the action as well as by others who, like myself, joined in later.
No doubt like other observant participants, in trying to understand what was happening I used previous experience as a template. The experience that came to my mind was that of the New Left of the early 1960s.
From 1960 to 1967 or 1968, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) professed belief in nonviolence and in what we called ‘participatory democracy’. We believed that we are all leaders, and, although we did not use the term, our practice expressed horizontalism. We sought to influence each other by exemplary action rather than by ideological harangue. History, it seemed to us, might come about because Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of a bus, because four young men ‘sat in’ at a segregated lunch counter, or because David Mitchell refused
to be drafted for a war in Vietnam that he considered a war crime.
The Occupy movement exhibits these same characteristics to an astonishing degree. Who would have believed that this ‘structure of feeling’ could reappear after SNCC and SDS crashed and burned in the late Sixties? It is as if beneath the charred surface of the forest floor all manner of seeds, sprouts, networks of green and growing things, somehow survived and now have reappeared.
Thus SNCC and SDS on the one hand, and Occupy on the other, are alike in their commitment to certain values. There are particular problems that we in the Sixties failed to resolve and must therefore pass on, in that unhappy state, to protagonists of Occupy.
The first has to do with demands. We had demands in the Sixties: Yes to the right to vote in the Deep South, No to military service in Vietnam. We knew that behind these problems stood an economic system, capitalism. We did not know how to make specific demands that, if acted on, could change capitalism into something better. We passed on this conundrum to those who came after us, who turned out to be Occupy.
We failed in creating an appropriate process of representative government within our Movement as its numbers grew.
We did not know, and proved unable to learn, how to deal with an intransigent minority in the course of Movement decision-making.
This is a formidable collection of unresolved matters!
Sorry about that, brothers and sisters.
But in effect, history has given all of us a second chance. There is excitement in recognizing that the activists in Movements all around the world, gathered, as we have, in downtown public squares (Wenceslas Square in Prague, Tahrir Square in Cairo), are struggling with the same problems.
In the Sixties we supposed that somewhere there was a society that had found solutions to the issues we experienced. If not the Soviet Union, then surely the intrepid guerrillas of Latin America, Algerian women with their battle cry, the Chinese in seeking to pass on the spirit of revolution to a new generation, even the students of Paris, had found the Answers. Painfully, we discovered that was not the case.
We are all in this together.

Staughton Lynd
Longtime US activist, lawyer, historian and author.

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Table of Contents

Preface Staughton Lynd 8

Foreword 10

Anonymous Eileen Myles 14

Introduction 15

Amy Schrager Lang & Daniel Lang/Levitsky: The Politics of the Impossible

Information Desk 26

The Audacity of Occupy Wall Street Richard Kim 27

Darth Vader and Occupy Wall Street: A Twitter Essay Ira Livingston 31

The Most Important Thing in the World Naomi Klein 43

Media 47

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City 49

Occupy Student Debt Campaign Pledges & Principles 52

The Mortville Declaration of Independence 54

Occupy Wall Street Statement of Solidarity Council of Elders 56

UAW Local 2865 Resolution in Support of Occupy Oakland General Strike 58

American Library Association Occupy Wall Street Library Resolution & Press Statement 61

Jóvenes en resistencia alternativa Solidarity Statement: We walk by asking, we reclaim by Occupying 63

Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq Message of Solidarity to Occupy Wall Street 67

Response to OWS Egypt Delegation Proposal Comrades from Cairo 70

Library 72

Another American Way Barbara Kingsolver 73

What I Saw at #Occupy WallStreet Last Night, and What I Saw When I Left Angus Johnston 75

Adrienne Maree Brown from liberty plaza; let it breathe 79

One Step in Building the 'Occupy/Unify' Movement in Detroit Adrienne Maree Brown Jenny Lee Yusef Shakur, et al 85

Occupy DC (Hasty Notes) Keguro Macharia 88

Occupy Oakland Day Four: Wherein I speak to some folks, and the General Assembly debates MoveOn's move in Jaime Omar Yassin 92

Facilitation 99

Heirs to the Autonomen Anne Tagonist 100

Statement Decolonize LA 104

On Occupy Wall Street Larisa Mann 108

The Bureaucracies of Anarchy (Parts 1 &2) Hannah Chadeyane Appel 112

Occupying Process, Processing Occupy: Spokes Council musings by one POC Sonny Singh 121

Safer Spaces 125

Occupy Oakland: Hugs Are Also an Option Jaime Omar Yassin 126

Occupy Boston Women's Caucus Statement 128

A Bunch of Trans Women Occupiers OWS Must Resist Cis-Supremacy and Trans-Misogyny 129

Society Must Be Defended From Rats Aaron Bady 133

Occupy Wall Street Safer Spaces Working Group Transforming Harm & Building Safety: Confronting sexual violence at Occupy Wall Street and beyond 138

People of Color 141

Bruce A Dixon Occupy Where? What's In It For Black and Brown People? 143

Forget Diversity, It's About 'Occupying' Racial Inequity Rinku Sen 147

American Indian Movement of Colorado An Indigenous Platform Proposal for 'Occupy Denver' 150

So Real It Hurts: Notes on Occupy Wall Street Manissa McCleave Maharawal 154

Race-ing Occupy Wall Street Tammy Kim 161

Letter to Occupy Together Movement Harsha Walia 164

low end theory the last thing we need 171

Arts & Culture 175

Percentages 176

Octopi Everywhere 177

Pepper Spray Cop 178

Tents 180

Posters 181

Eat the Rich 184

The Empire Strikes Back 185

We Are Legion 186

We Are Everywhere 187

Jaime Omar Yassin (& Chris Kendrick) 'I'm on a Boat!': Occupy Oakland navigates in unknown waters 188

Puppets & Projections 192

Memory Is Solidarity: Ogawa-Grant Plaza as Opportunity Kenji Liu 194

Sustainability 197

Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance Lemony Snicket 199

In the Name Itself Dana Spiotta 201

Occupying the Imagination, Cultivating a New Politics (Part 5) Vijay Prashad 203

The Oakland Commune Aaron Bady 206

the class implications of 'know your history' Sarah Jaffe 213

Arriving at Occupy LA - cops and dogs have more of a place than people with disabilities! Emma Rosenthal 216

change comes from connection across difference not by erasing difference Larisa Mann 221

Stop the Tether Ball Sara Paretsky 223

Direct Action 225

A Letter to Other Occupiers Staughton Lynd 227

The Coming General Strike Michelle Ty 234

UC Davis Bicycle Barricade No Cops, No Bosses 245

Occupy Oakland Port Blockade Working Group Clarification on Nature of Call for West Coast Port Blockade 248

The Sword and the Shield: Occupy Foreclosures Mike Konczal 250

Town Planning 253

Occupy Wall Street Prepares for Crackdown - Will Bloomberg try to tear it all down? Sarah Jaffe 254

The People's Microphone Hannah Chadeyane Appel 260

C-SPAN for Radicals Sara Marcus 263

Occupy Oakland, Day 8: Solving global problems in a downtown microcosm Jaime Omar Yassin 267

Room for the Poor Morrigan Phillips 270

Elsewhere 277

Occupying Everywhere: A Global Movement? Sam Halvorsen 278

Occupy the North Tim Gee 280

Voices from the Occupation: The homeless & the hungry - modern-day outlaws Kerry-anne Mendoza 283

We Need Caveats On Inclusivity Steven Maclean 289

Disguising, Mythologising and Protest Michael Richmond 291

Past Tents: A brief history of protest camping Tim Gee 295

No Parties, No Banners: The Spanish experiment with direct democracy Gianpaolo Baiocchi Ernesto Ganuza 298

See, The Nigerian Revolution Has Begun Emmanuel Iduma 305

Is This The End of The Nigerian Revolution? Emmanuel Iduma 307

Onward 309

The Flow Chart of the Declaration of the Occupation of NYC Rachel Schragis 309

Occupy, Defined 310

Index 312

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