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New Book Out: The Occupy Handbook


gilbertrollins

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Not really a new book and not really anything profound either. To me, it seems kind of like a haphazard collection of works freely available on the internet so the editor could make a few bucks off the movement. Some of the articles/chapters are good, some are bad, most are just kind of meh. It seemed as though most of the authors had little actual involvement with what was/is going on and decided to project their thoughts and, in some cases, ideologies on what they heard.

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Well if we're going to impute motives, we should recognize that a person who writes for a living has a statistical expected value in monetary terms of about zero for most people, and just above it for the somewhat-more-established authors of the essays.  The cut on an edited volume is not large.

 

But many of the commentors in the review I linked share your criticism of the content of the book. 

 

Edit: Oops, I see you were talking about the money the editor made.  I don't know what kind of cut they get.

Edited by gilbertrollins
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I don't know how much discontent Occupiers have about the results of their rousing; I suspect quite a bit considering discontent seems like the foregone conclusion of hard-line progressivism.  But I think, stepping back, the Occupy movement has had an incredible influence on left-center politics.  The book, even if not written by The People's Mic, is a reflection of that -- in terms of the market demand for these ideas, and in terms of the broad reaction and conversation the movement influenced among non-movement public intellectual figures.

 

Broadly, I I think the left, like I noted above, because of its progressivism (i.e. nothing is ever good enough), systematically discounts what it accomplishes in terms of influencing ideas and behaviors in the street, and systematically over emphasizes the influence of center-right and right ideas. 

 

A good example is the degree to which left scholars harp on the influence of economics and neoliberal ideas generally.  Surely there has been an incredible infection of economic calculus into the State -- such is the reason we have policy schools of scientific bureacracy now.  But if you take a pulse in the street, you see that neither people from the left nor right translate economic thinking well at all -- and are largely fighting over a Marxian story of the economy and society (Glen Beck's insanity would be a good example; Alex Jones another).  This I think is evidence of just how incredible of an influence left scholarship has had over the last century and a half. 

 

I suppose it's an empirical question though -- only so much can be accomplished citing anecdotes like this.

Edited by gilbertrollins
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I think it's hard to say with any kind of certainty how the (continuing) result(s) of the Occupy movement are being understood. Here in Miami, where Occupy has all but completely died, the attitude is positive. It brought together a number of leftists who were geographically and socially isolated and has created vast networks of activists and organizers. A good example can be seen in the growth of a local anti-capitalist organization and the increased participation in events put on by a local anarchist group. It also acted as a catalyst for the reformation of the Miami IWW.

 

The effects on political and economic discourse, and how good or bad these are, really is always going to boil down to ideology. A revolutionary anarchist group couldn't care less about the increasing visibility of Keynesianism but a progressive might see this as a sign of improvement. Both such groups were represented in Occupy groups across the country.

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The effects on political and economic discourse, and how good or bad these are, really is always going to boil down to ideology.

 

Good points, all.  I don't think the effects themselves, that is the quantity of visibility, and the adoption of ideas, is subject to ideological interpretation -- though you're right that "how good or bad these are" almost completely does.  My point was that the Occupy movement had been broadly successful, as you note, in increasing visibility for and adoption of a number of its branches of ideology.

 

I wonder if sociology will see an uptick in majors and graduate applications as a result of Occupy the same way economics did as a result of Freakonomics and the resurgence of popular-press economics publishing. 

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