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Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street Paperback – 27 Sep 2013


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More About the Author

Mark Bray is a political organizer and PhD Candidate who has been involved in the global justice movement, the anti-war movement, student and immigrants' rights work and labor organizing for many years. Most recently, he was an organizer with the Press and Direct Action Working Groups of Occupy Wall Street in New York City.

Mark is a PhD Candidate at Rutgers University studying modern Spanish history, focusing on anarchism, terrorism, state repression, and human rights around the turn of the 20th century.

His writings have appeared in Foreign Policy, Critical Quarterly, Theory in Action, The New York Times Examiner, We Are Many: Critical Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation (AK Press, 2012), and The End of the World As We Know It? Crisis, Resistance, and the Age of Austerity (AK Press, 2014).

Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street is his first book.

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Bray's meticulous, rich insider account of Occupy Wall Street demonstrates the central influence of anarchism on its core militants, but refuses to shy away from drawing hard lessons from its limitations. Anarchism, he convincingly argues, must position itself as an everyday movement of the 'ordinary' folks who alone can change the world - this requires a positive, practical programme and message, self-reflective and accountable politics, solid organisation, and clear tactics and strategy. -Lucien van der Walt (Rhodes University), co-author of "Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism".

In "Translating Anarchy" Mark Bray provides unique insight into the inner workings and politics of OWS and its interactions with the press and the public. Straightforward and non-academic but in fact scholarly and historically informed, it provides an often witty good read. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the OWS phenomenon or who may ever interpret social movements for the public and the media. -Jeremy Brecher, author of "Strike!"

About the Author

Mark Bray is a PhD Candidate in Modern European History at Rutgers University and longtime political activist. He was a core organizer of the Press Working Group of Occupy Wall Street. He lives in New Jersey, US.

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Anarchism, lost in translation? But an excellent history of the OWS 27 Oct 2013
By John C. Landon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This work, and Thank You, Anarchy, give a good picture of the emergence and course of the OWS. It came as a surprise that anarchism was the key influence on the whole movement. Whether that is good or bad, the reality is that this movement wasn't what people thought it was, until it was almost over. As such, it is a classic, and unexpected, experiment in activist tactics, requiring a careful verdict as to future movements and tactics. That verdict is likely to make future activists wary of a movement that lacked objectives, leaders, and organization, and whose demand for consensus tended to paralysis. But the standard narrative here has been barren, while this innovative movement penetrated the enigma of successful action, briefly. The text here reviews all of those issues, along with giving a set of historical notes on anarchist movements. For a movement that expressed such a frequent refrain on the subject of overcoming capitalism the actual gestures in that direction seem to be no match for the problem. And the obvious suspicion arises that the anarchist strain is a commentary on classic communist revolutionaries histories and their legacy. But if the traditional marxist groups tend to paralysis, the moment of success of the OWS should make the legacy revolutionaries with no revolution possible sit up and take notice. In any case the historical snapshot here of the OWS movement will be indispensable to anyone considering the future of the left. Anyone who tried to follow the OWS from a distance will find this book an indispensable chronicle.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Explains why the Left has turned from Marxism to anarchism 20 Nov 2013
By Malvin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Translating Anarchy" by Mark Bray demonstrates the importance of anarchism to contemporary Leftist politics and the Occupy movement. Mr. Bray is an activist, writer and academic who participated in direct actions and media relations at OWS in New York. This well-researched, enlightening and accessible book will inform and inspire people who believe that a better world is possible.

Mr. Bray leveraged his status as a trusted OWS insider to conduct an ethnographic study of the movement. Mr. Bray's survey found that OWS consisted of a core group of organizers with mostly anarchist views who were surrounded by mostly liberal supporters. Mr. Bray interviewed nearly 200 of the organizers to gain unprecedented insight into the views of the most active participants and shares their opinions throughout the text. Disillusioned by the failures of capitalism and state socialism, many young activists are attracted to inclusive, empowering and participatory organizations. Through this exacting first-hand research, Mr. Bray makes a persuasive case that OWS signifies a decisive turn of Leftist tactics and strategy from Marxism to anarchism.

Mr. Bray reveals that the media's confusion about the movement's anti-capitalist intentions stemmed from the organizer's calculated use of strategic messaging. OWS' core members understood that aspirational messages about social and economic justice for the 99 percent would play best with a public that does not understand the anarchist movement too well. In any case, Mr. Bray explains that avoiding ideology was successful in attracting media attention and winning supporters on the streets.

Mr. Bray situates OWS within the tradition of radical politics and working class struggle. Mr. Bray is especially keen to share his deep knowledge about the anarchist tradition and its relevance to us today. Mr. Bray suggests how activists might better manage a number of critical issues including organizational structure, accountability, autonomy and state violence. As capitalism and the welfare state crumbles, Mr. Bray's powerful writing helps us understand how anarchism has inspired a new generation of activists who are intent on building a better future.

I highly recommend this important book to everyone.
Engaging history of the Occupy movement's beginnings 14 Oct 2014
By April - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Articulate, well-researched history of the beginning of the Occupy movement. As someone in a similar position at our local Occupy camp, I relate very much to his story, and found the book engaging as well as educational.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
our country's not perfect, but anarchy definitely isn't the way to fix ... 19 Sep 2014
By YOYO - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I met the author of this book (how I discovered it) at a book store while browsing in Amsterdam. I heard him begin to give a talk, before hand, I was speaking with another person there about what I major in, economics and finance. Then throughout the talk he was very standoffish. He clearly doesn't see the full picture of how systems work and what supports a thriving economic and political system. Sure, our country's not perfect, but anarchy definitely isn't the way to fix it.
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