After an intensive weekend editing bucket-loads of copy, wrangling images, and tweaking our code base, the web version of the Journal for Occupied Studies is live and ready for action!
1. Occupy America | Cinzia Arruzza | Assistant Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research
"Movements always arrive unexpectedly", according to philosopher and veteran activist Cinzia Arruzza — but once they arrive, what is to be done? Cinzia reconstructs the moments of fulmination behind the high points of Occupy Wall Street, outlining a cautious vision for propelling the movement onward.
2. Lines of Dissent | Tim Gee | Friends of the Earth
Where did we come from and what can we learn? An analysis of London’s OccupyLSX in the context of the now-disbanded UK “Camp for Climate Action” network.
3. On the People’s Mic | Ryan Ruby | Writer and Teacher, New York City
Predicting that People’s Mic will come to be regarded as paradigmatic of post-literate politics, Ruby brings Plato to bear on boredom, sacrality, and eroticism in the movement, highlighting key contradictions of technoscientific capital in the social media of the American Fall and Arab Spring respectively.
4. Communicability & the Police | Hannes Charen | European Graduate School
A forceful outline of Occupy Wall Street’s heritage in the anti-globalization and Zapatista movements, 18th-century aesthetics, and Plato’s Republic. Drawing on the political theories of Hannah Arendt and Jacques Rancière, Charen evinces a fundamental struggle between the radically egalitarian core of OWS tactics and the stultifying gaze of pop-political representation
Writing from his experience as a long-time activist having lately found affinity with New York’s ‘Occupy’, Varon reminds us that ‘Occupy’ should not be approved of so much as appreciated as a transgressive disruption of normal liberal-democratic functioning.
Following the contentious and short-lived occupation of a study space, Lewis reflects on what makes an occupation truly ‘heterotopian’, on the basis that the space we claim should, above all, negate the unsafety of the capitalistic ordering.
In this sober yet utopian appraisal of the present reality of circulating struggle against the subsumption of education by capital, Thorburn, theorist of the EduFactory, describes the radical praxis of ‘militant research’ and formulates concrete proposals towards the autonomous university.
If university students are offered the pernicious choice of resembling either products or consumers, what are the fundamental choices facing today’s university professors? Are the practices of our professors in line with their preaching? Uncritical Faculties questions the apolitical attitudes and self-serving poises found among many professional academics today.
Today I wrote a response to an article in The New Republic, written by Alex Klein, who is a young journalist at Yale. You will find the article here (http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/95621/occupy-wall-street-protests-radiohead), with my response following below.
I do not know you personally. I’m sure by now you have handled your share of criticism in response to the Occupy Wall Street piece you published in The New Republic. That is not why I am writing you.
I do not doubt the accuracy of the anecdotes you chose to include in your piece — nor do I think it is written poorly or unconvincingly. Quite the contrary. What I am troubled by, however, is why a young and clearly bright person such as yourself would un(self)consciously adopt the same scornful and dismissive attitude that established news sources have insidiously suggested we ought to adopt toward these demonstrations.
I hope you don’t write off un(self)consciousness as yet another gratuitous academic coinage. Living in Brooklyn, I have come to feel it is a necessary term for describing the kind of automated and unblinking living one witnesses in New York today. But the ubiquity and permeation of the culture designated by this term extends beyond any city or specific social milieu. It is a culture that thrives in the hasty, solipsistic rants facilitated by social networks like Facebook.
Un(self)consciousness does not create dialogue in any meaningful, positive sense, but prefers to occupy a position of provisional encampment, staking out territory only long enough to satirize, criticize, or mock before fleeing to iterate its next attack. One could say it infects discourse, like an ultra-vigilant settler, with its a priori condition of general disinterest (in things — people, cities, conflicts — outside itself). This self-interested disinterest metastasizes into a kind of blanket hostility, or generalized apprehension, regarding things outside its own selfish imperatives: things like social justice movements, wars/occupations, philosophy, art that is not for sale.
It is probably sufficiently clear why I’ve adduced the meaning of un(self)consciousness for you. If you think I do so unfairly, perhaps you can clarify matters for me.
What is the argument or consensus you wished to extirpate with your article? I am asking the question seriously. What or whom are the subjects you disliked so extensively, compelling you to disregard them with a smirking gesture of detached satire?
Have you been shielded from the manifold and perspicuous conditions leading to new kinds of social unrest, conditions urging the rest of us to do ‘something more’ than sit and watch? Or do you understand the impetus, but simply choose not to relate?
Do you not feel responsibility for the manner in which you write or the matters you write about, something pushing you to ground yourself in knowledge of your readers, and the world — to ‘write responsibly’, as Jean-Paul Sartre might have put it? Or do you think it exhausts your responsibility to amalgamate the bits and pieces of narrative you find most enchanting?
Are you not incurring massive debt from your studies at Yale? Or if you are privately wealthy, can you not contextualize that wealth, and recognize the scarcity it implies? Have you never felt a moment of embarrassment while serving as an intern, assuredly for little to no pay? Are you unconcerned with the fact that many others are imprisoned in a lasting state of belittlement or impoverishment — not for a moment, but as an enduring condition of their lives, without so much as a believable scenario for betterment or escape?
Many who criticize the protests maintain a degree of genuine interest in their unfolding. These individuals often contribute to the overcoming of their deficiencies, so that we might more effectively address the unjust social conditions protesters have continued to scrutinize. Your article has done nothing but belittle those who speak out and undermine the worth of public discussion. In satirizing what are is by every account a nascent and fragile movement, do you intend to muffle conversation, stifle (legitimate) consciousness, or shatter the co-ordination of mutual sentiment and shared knowledge? Does not your disdain for embryonic movement imply that you are against all social movement?
As a target of your article I felt grossly misunderstood, paradoxically unknown, and yet somehow still despised. But my point is the following: to be despised is one thing; to be despised without being included in something — without being granted so much as an argument, challenge, or opportunity for dialogue — is something else entirely. Such is the banality of satire.
Brooklyn, New York