Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America, provides a heartening anthology penned by those involved in the grassroots movement. Compiled by progressive journalists Astra Taylor and Keith Gessen (along with other editors from `N+1'), this pastiche of personal insight offers eclectic reflections from the frontlines of the movement. Presented in chronological order, each entry deciphers what it means to occupy, organize, and change the plethora of issues facing America's foundation.
Each is an experience of its own. One tells the history of the iconic drum-circles and their discrepancies in the park. Others analyze issues like the "breaking windows theory", a tactic deployed by the NYPD, which illustrates why brutality often comes from personal premise, not official order. Explained elegantly, many also provide the historical background necessary to attest viewpoints and suggestions. Occupy! is a testament to the movement.
More sophisticated writings, such as those by Slavoj Zizek and L.A. Kauffman, provide philosophical critiques and advice to ensure the movement's longevity and status. Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher, inspires in his speech from Oct. 6, "They tell you we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are the awakening from a dream that is turning into a nightmare".
Unlike the criticism tied directly to the phrase "occupy", most issues presented are quickly and adequately followed by objective solutions. The most obvious criticism would be a lack of insight from the movement's opposition. Another may be that many contributors show patterns of the same privilege the movement combats against. All but two label themselves as a writer, editor or scholar, which is unclear until the final two pages. Ironically, affluence can yield an attitude of entitlement, which could destroy the idea of solidarity overnight. One small step in the wrong direction can prove detrimental to any movement.
Conservatives, beware. From the Marxist rhetoric when you open to the preface, to the closing excerpt from Thomas Paine's The American Crisis, Occupy! serves as an anecdotal guide for those who cherish the ideology of the "99 percent". Filled with countless perspectives on every aspect of the movement, Occupy! is the perfect manual for the "American Spring".