Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupied Wall Street Journal

Last night I visited Occupied Wall Street on my way home from work. I strolled around the encampment, took in the sights, and came home with the best example I have yet found of the depth, complexity and reach of this movement: a copy of the encampment's newspaper, The Occupied Wall Street Journal.

The front-page stories by Naomi Klein and Chris Hedges were nothing that you couldn't read in The Nation (not that there's anything wrong with that fine publication.) But the inside pages, with pieces on the "The Progress of Revolutions" and an international timeline on this year in dissent, and back pages featuring union endorsements of the occupation, and articles on the principles and practices of the occupation, give a sense of the movement's range and principles.

My Spanish-language edition of Occupied contained the most interesting thing I've seen on the encampment: a map of the site. As it shows, walking from the northeast corner of Zuccotti Park to the southwest you'll go from the library to the general assembly to the info desk to the kitchen to the sleeping area to the medical service.

There are plenty of flaky types participating in the occupation, but the people I met running the kitchen, library and information desk were all smart, hard-working, welcoming and organized. Their organizational capacities, which seem to hold the whole operation together, are the embodiment of new forms of politics and participation.

As Alexander Hamilton might have told you when he founded the New York Post to support the Federalist Party, newspapers are a great way to build and maintain a movement. Even in the age of Web, the local and global dimensions of The Occupied Wall Street Journal give the occupation a kind of gravity that should be taken seriously.

2 comments:

Steve Zurier said...

Rob: Stick with your blog posts as OWS continues. This is your moment to grow an audience!!! Also check out the #ows twitter feed and the various twitter feeds. Here are some good charts that give people a very good look at why people are so upset. I found them on my old friend Mitch Wagner's twitter site: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10?op=1

Hulser, public historian said...

Adjacency to Ground Zero site ought to spark more commentary because the freedom to speak that was so often invoked in the 10 years since WTC towers came down seems only now to be claimed on a big scale in public space. And it is even more curious that the lineage is linked to Tahrir Square. Ahem, so, trillions on war in Iraq did not achieve much for democracy, but did fuel terrorism and bring new life to Al-Qaeda. But Arab Spring helps dozing Americans realize that they have been stripped of income, power and political voice steadily (since 1972) or 2001, or whatever date you pick? Curious global echoes with no quick and easy reading.