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Thank You, Anarchy

Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse

NATHAN SCHNEIDER
Foreword by Rebecca Solnit
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 211
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt3fh39s
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  • Book Info
    Thank You, Anarchy
    Book Description:

    Thank You, Anarchy is an up-close, inside account of Occupy Wall Street's first year in New York City, written by one of the first reporters to cover the phenomenon. Nathan Schneider chronicles the origins and explosive development of the Occupy movement through the eyes of the organizers who tried to give shape to an uprising always just beyond their control. Capturing the voices, encounters, and beliefs that powered the movement, Schneider brings to life the General Assembly meetings, the chaotic marches, the split-second decisions, and the moments of doubt as Occupy swelled from a hashtag online into a global phenomenon. A compelling study of the spirit that drove this watershed movement, Thank You, Anarchy vividly documents how the Occupy experience opened new social and political possibilities and registered a chilling indictment of the status quo. It was the movement's most radical impulses, this account shows, that shook millions out of a failed tedium and into imagining, and fighting for, a better kind of future.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95703-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. FOREWORD: MIRACLES AND OBSTACLES
    (pp. ix-xiii)
    REBECCA SOLNIT

    I would have liked to know what the drummer hoped and expected. We’ll never know why she decided to take a drum to the central markets of Paris on October 5, 1789, and why that day the tinder was so ready to catch fire and a drumbeat was one of the sparks. The working women of the marketplace marched all the way to Versailles, occupied the seat of royal power, forced the king back to Paris, and got the French Revolution rolling. It was then the revolution was really launched, more than the storming of the Bastille—though both were...

  4. Map
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  5. PART ONE: SUMMER TO FALL

    • ONE SOME GREAT CAUSE
      (pp. 3-23)

      Under the tree where the International Society for Krishna Consciousness was founded in 1966, on the south side of Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, sixty or so people are gathered in a circle around a yellow banner that reads, in blue spray paint, “general assembly of nyc.” It is Saturday, August 13, 2011, the third of the General Assembly’s evening meetings.

      “No cops or reporters,” someone decrees at the start of the meeting. Others demand a ban on photographs.

      From where I’m sitting in the back, my hand inches up, and I stand and explain that I am...

    • TWO NEW MESSIAH
      (pp. 24-52)

      When night fell on September 17, the Financial District had that feeling of loneliness about it again, of lifeless towers, of quiet. Th is night, though, it was at least somewhat less unoccupied.

      One or two hundred people were huddled in circles, scattered around Zuccotti Park’s stone floor. A little before 10 p.m., more than twenty empty police vans passed by them on Broadway in a solemn line, their flashing lights lighting up the empty buildings above. Soon, on that narrow end of the park, there formed two rows of officers with clubs drawn and plastic white handcuffs dangling from...

  6. PART TWO: FALL TO WINTER

    • THREE PLANET OCCUPY
      (pp. 55-77)

      There was this moment, while I was standing on the steps of the New York County Supreme Court building overlooking Foley Square, when things came together right in front of me. It was October 5, the day of the first big march when organized labor turned out in support of Occupy Wall Street. A few thousand union members, students, and allies were rallying in the square when a few thousand marchers from Liberty Square poured in from the north end on Worth Street. They kept coming, riverlike, and it seemed as if they’d never stop.

      In the union crowd, people...

    • FOUR NO BORDERS, NO BOSSES
      (pp. 78-100)

      If there was one apotheosis of Occupy Wall Street atop all the others, surely it was the early morning of October 14, just before dawn. A few days earlier, Mayor Bloomberg had made a surprise visit to the occupation to announce that the park needed to be cleaned. Police would help clear it in stages to allow sanitation workers to come through. Not coincidentally, the cleaning was to be on the eve of the global day of action planned for October 15, first called for months earlier by the Indignados in Spain, but now poised to be a worldwide coming-out...

    • FIVE SANCTUARY
      (pp. 101-118)

      All things must come to an end, but not necessarily like this.

      When the sun rose on November 15, Liberty Square looked an awful lot like Zuccotti Park again—aside from the damaged flower beds and a broken plastic peace sign lying in the gutter. It was blocked off with barricades even though there’d been a court order that people should be allowed to return. The place had been completely cleared and power-washed, bare and dead except for the trees, whose leaves had turned a bright yellow for autumn. I don’t think I noticed that they’d turned before; there was...

  7. PART THREE: WINTER TO SPRING

    • SIX DIVERSITY OF TACTICS
      (pp. 121-142)

      Protest in 2012 was no longer so legal as it had been in 2011. On New Year’s Eve, President Obama signed into law the latest National Defense Authorization Act, which included new powers for indefinitely detaining U.S. citizens, and on March 9, he would sign the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act, which heightened penalties and limits for protests near Secret Service–protected people or events “of national significance.” To add insult to injury, on April 9, the Supreme Court went on to rule that invasive strip searches were permissible for any arrest, no matter what the cause.

      Occupy...

    • SEVEN CRAZY EYES
      (pp. 143-164)

      “I’m totally in love with the general strike,” said Jerry Goralnick, a middle-aged artist and actor, at a Sunday afternoon visioning meeting about what the Direct Action Working Group’s priorities would be in the coming year. It was January 8, and by then Occupy Wall Street’s die-hard meeting goers could think of little else than the strike. He understood the impulse, but it made him nervous; his experience in the 1960s had taught him the allure of the unattainable as well as its fallout.

      “To me,” he said, “it’s analogous to seeing the face of God.”

      The idea of a...

  8. PART FOUR: SUMMER TO FALL

    • EIGHT ETERNAL RETURN
      (pp. 167-186)

      At the corner of Spring and Varick Streets, in the ethereal white halls of a Manhattan Mini Storage, two members of the Occupy Wall Street Archives Working Group assembled competing visions of how the movement should be remembered. Their collections looked deceptively similar: cramped, high-ceilinged closets packed with cardboard signs, boxes, banners, and stray objects such as a mannequin, a pig mask, a miniature tent, an orange mesh police net, and hundreds of unopened letters. Neither self-appointed archivist had access to the other’s stash. They rarely even spoke to each other, having undergone a philosophical falling-out—one that, as the...

  9. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 187-188)
  10. WORKS NOT CITED
    (pp. 189-194)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 195-195)