Eulogy for Occupy
We will need more meditations on Occupy. Photo: Michael Prados, under a CC License.
I’ve just read Quinn Norton’s resonant ‘Eulogy for Occupy’ in Wired – an elegant, elegiac piece from someone who experienced many different US Occupy camps from the inside over the whole period of the rebellion What she says has the ring of truth – not just because it celebrates the achievements but also because it is prepared to confront the failures of the movement (the way the General Assembly concept fell apart and became a parody of itself, the sexual harassment that increasingly scared women away).
In the course of the piece Norton quotes someone as saying that the movement lacked an Orwell, prepared to confront the complexities and idiocies in the way he did the conflict between factions of Republicans during the Spanish Civil War. But Orwell wrote Homage to Catalonia after the event, from a significant distance. And we will need illuminating meditations like Quinn Norton’s as we continue to process what happened in that remarkable outpouring of resistance and dissent – not least to help us chart the next frontier in reshaping our world.
Our own book Dreaming In Public: Building the Occupy Movement aimed to bring together all the primary documents of the Occupy movement in one place – the thinking, the statements and the artworks in their raw form as they happened. It will remain a vital resource, not least for students of politics. And there were plenty of dissenting voices within it, plenty of challenges to the mythology. But ‘Eulogy for Occupy’ turns hindsight into an art form.