The output of any pop star is inevitably political, and up until recently, Rihanna’s music and videos predominantly explored… Read More
Occupy Wall Street
It’s “A Matter of Time” Until New Protests Explode: Author Michael Gould-Wartofsky on Occupy’s Past and Future
On a freezing Friday afternoon last week, New York’s Zuccotti Park was empty of anything except piles of dirty and frozen snow, a nondescript thoroughfare for cold tourists and bargain shoppers on their way to Century 21. Yet those of us who were regular visitors to the Occupy Wall Street encampment here in 2011 don’t even have to close our eyes to conjure up tents, a kitchen, signs, and hundreds of simultaneous debates happening on every street corner of Liberty Plaza.
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I walked down to Zuccotti Park yesterday afternoon. I haven’t been there since Occupy Wall Street was forcibly removed from the park in November 2011. And, look, I’ll admit it — I never went to the park during Occupy, either. Like many people, I suspect, I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with activism — or, perhaps more accurately, with activists. Insofar as Occupy had defined goals (and one of the smartest and most interesting things about the movement was its inclusivity), I supported them — anyone who reads Flavorwire regularly will be unsurprised to know that we often lean left of center. But when it comes to direct action or marches or such things, I have always had a problem, and that problem has a name: drum circles.
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The Best Things We Read on the Internet This Week: Faulkner, Baldwin, the Other Side of Silicon Valley
Listicles, tweets, your ex’s Facebook status, picture of dogs wearing costumes — the internet offers no shortage of entertaining stuff to look at. But there’s plenty of substantial writing out there, too, the pieces you spend a few minutes reading and a long time thinking about after you’ve closed the tab. In this weekly feature, Flavorwire shares the best of that category. This week: the lack of James Baldwin in high schools, the other side of Silicon Valley, an Occupy Wall Street protestor on trial, and more.
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Catching Fire, the second film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy (a trilogy which, true to their current style, Hollywood is adapting into four films), arrives on screen with the confidence of a film that knows it’s going to gross a bajillion dollars. It is a brisk, exciting, well-acted entertainment, and those elements, in addition to the built-in audience of Collins’ voracious readers, are the most logical explanation for the franchise’s massive popularity. But in viewing the two films back-to-back this week, another theory seems worth mentioning as well: the series’ political subtext, which is present and potent, yet flexible enough to latch on to the ideology of your choice. The Hunger Games is “political” without actually having to stand for anything.
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“Five marines Raising the Flag, Mount Suribachi, V for Victory,” a White House spin doctor explained to his partners in the 1997 film Wag the Dog. “You remember the picture. Fifty years from now, they’ll have forgotten the war.”
This is true for moments in military history, but it’s also true of the anti-war movement. Very often, images emerge that come to embody the entirety of the events they capture in our collective memory. As the unseating of the Morsi government unfolds in Cairo, the images of gesturing hands, signs raised, flags waved, and fires lit will become enduring symbols to the uninvolved public of the moments those pictures represent. Here are some of the most memorable images from protest movements since the end of World War II.
“Hello, my debt is $40k.” As we entered the People’s Bailout last night at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge, a volunteer invited us to make a name tag — but instead of writing down our names, we were supposed to fill in the amount of debt we’re struggling under. Although my student loan debt isn’t something I’m used to speaking openly about, and the naïveté with which I mortgaged my future to get a master’s degree in a field where master’s degrees aren’t so much a requirement as a stigma still embarrasses me, I grabbed the Sharpie and wrote, “$40k.” For the first time since I started making my just-barely-feasible loan payments, being honest about my debt brought me relief instead of guilt.
I didn’t expect the People’s Bailout to be such a personal experience for me. Organized by Strike Debt, an Occupy Wall Street offshoot dedicated to fight predatory lending and challenge big banks’ power over the vast majority of Americans through credit card, medical, educational, and mortgage debt, the event was a benefit for the organizations Rolling Jubilee project — an ingenious plan to buy up distressed debt and forgive it. Since debt can be bought for just pennies on the dollar on the secondary market, Strike Debt realized that if they raised $250,000, they could relieve a whopping $5 million of it. To aid in the effort, they planned the People’s Bailout as a live — and live-streamed — telethon, featuring performances by a boatload of entertainers sympathetic to the cause. Although I always supported the cause, I’ll admit that it was those big names (Jeff Mangum’s in particular) that convinced me to make my donation and come down to LPR.
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Despite the pervasive assumption that Occupy Wall Street is defunct or irrelevant, in the weeks since Hurricane Sandy struck, the movement has mobilized countless volunteers to fill the gaps left by government agencies and larger humanitarian organizations. Now, in order to sustain its efforts, Occupy Sandy has announced a benefit concert… Read More
Just like the punk movement to which it shares more than a casual connection, Occupy Wall Street isn’t dead — it’s just harder to find these days. But an all-star concert to be held November 15th at Le Poisson Rouge promises a resurgence of the movement in New York’s popular consciousness. The show will feature… Read More
It’s only about a year late, but Occupy Wall Street finally has a candidate for that anthem old media Baby Boomers spent last fall demanding. (No, sorry, the Third Eye Blind one still doesn’t count.) Tom Morello has joined forces with Rise Against’s Tim McIrath and Serj Tankian from System of… Read More