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1. Collective emotions and the European crisis

By Mikko Salmela and Christian von Scheve


Nationalist, conservative, and anti-immigration parties as well as political movements have risen or become stronger all over Europe in the aftermath of EU’s financial crisis and its alleged solution, the politics of austerity. This development has been similar in countries like Greece, Portugal, and Spain where radical cuts to public services such as social security and health care have been implemented as a precondition for the bail out loans arranged by the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, and in countries such as Finland, France, and the Netherlands that have contributed to the bailout while struggling with the crisis themselves. Together, the downturn that was initiated by the crisis and its management with austerity politics have created an enormous potential of discontent, despair, and anger among Europeans. These collective emotions have fueled protests against governments held responsible for unpopular decisions.

Protests in Greece after recent austerity cuts

Protests in Greece after austerity cuts in 2008

However, the financial crisis alone cannot fully explain these developments, since they have also gained momentum in countries like Britain, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden that do not belong to the Eurozone and have not directly participated in the bailout programs. Another unresolved question is why protests channel (once again) through the political right, rather than the left that has benefited from dissatisfaction for the last decades? And how is it that political debate across Europe makes increasing use of stereotypes and populist arguments, fueling nationalist resentments?

A protester with Occupy Wall Street

A protester with Occupy Wall Street

One way to look at these issues is through the complex affective processes intertwining with personal and collective identities as well as with fundamental social change. A particularly obvious building block consists of fear and insecurity regarding environmental, economic, cultural, or social changes. At the collective level, both are constructed and shaped in discourse with political parties and various interest groups strategically stirring the emotions of millions of citizens. At the individual level, insecurities manifest themselves as fear of not being able to live up to salient social identities and their inherent values, many of which originate from more secure and affluent times, and as shame about this anticipated or actual inability, especially in competitive market societies where responsibility for success and failure is attributed primarily to the individual. Under these conditions, many tend to emotionally distance themselves from the social identities that inflict shame and other negative feelings, instead seeking meaning and self-esteem from those aspects of identity perceived to be stable and immune to transformation, such as nationality, ethnicity, religion, language, and traditional gender roles – many of which are emphasized by populist and nationalist parties.

The urgent need to better understand the various kinds of collective emotions and their psychological and social repercussions is not only evident by looking at the European crisis and the re-emergence of nationalist movements throughout Europe. Across the globe, collective emotions have been at the center of major social movements and political transformations, Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring just being two further vivid examples. Unfortunately, our knowledge of the collective emotional processes underlying these developments is yet sparse. This is in part so because the social and behavioral sciences have only recently begun to systematically address collective emotions in both individual and social terms. The relevance of collective emotions in recent political developments both in Europe and around the globe suggests that it is time to expand the “emotional turn” of sciences to these affective phenomena as well.

Christian von Scheve is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin, where he heads the Research Area Sociology of Emotion at the Institute of Sociology. Mikko Salmela is an Academy Research Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and a member of Finnish Center of Excellence in the Philosophy of Social Sciences. Together they are the authors of Collective Emotions published by Oxford University Press.

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Image credits: (1) Protests in Greece after austerity cuts in 2008. Photo by Joanna. CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons. (2) A protester with Occupy Wall Street. Photo by David Shankbone. CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

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2. NYC To Pay $47,000 To Settle OWS Library Suit

The City of New York has settled with the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement over the destruction of the OWS Library. The city will pay the OWS Library Working Group $47,000 and pay $186,350 in attorney fees for the movement as well.

Read the complete settlement in the Scribd file embedded below–are you surprised?

The Occupy Wall Street movement and OWS librarians sued New York City in federal court over the destruction of the Occupy Wall Street Library during a late-night raid on Zuccotti Park. According to the lawsuit, the city confiscated 3,600 books on November 15, 2011, but the city only returned 1,003 of the books.

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3. Editors Occupy Cooper Union to Discuss the 99 Percent

Five editors of the Occupy! Gazette discussed the movement on Sunday at the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature.

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4. Occupy Wall Street Librarians Sue NYC Officials

The Occupy Wall Street movement and OWS librarians have sued New York City in federal court over the destruction of the Occupy Wall Street Library during a late-night raid on Zuccotti Park.

The suit names mayor Michael Bloomberg, police commissioner Ray Kelly and sanitation commissioner John Doherty. According to the lawsuit (filed late last week), the city confiscated 3,600 books on November 15, 2011, but the city only returned 1,003 of the books. We’ve embedded the complete complaint below–what do you think?

Check it out: “We believe that the raid and its aftermath violated our First-Amendment rights to free expression, Fourth-Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure, and Fourteenth-Amendment rights to due process, as well as the laws of the City of New York regarding the vouchsafing of seized property. We are demanding compensatory damages for the lost/destroyed books and equipment, which we have estimated at at least $47,000. In addition, because we believe the seizure and destruction of the books went beyond negligence to constitute a reckless and callous indifference to our constitutional rights, we are demanding punitive damages of at least $1,000.”

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5. How to Use a Book Cover as a Shield

What book would you carry during a march? For the last few years, activists have created book cover shields to use for protests.

As you can see by the photo embedded above, these “Book Blocs” make a striking image during a protest. The Occupy Wall Street Library will host a workshop on July 29th, showing readers and activists how to use these tools.  Here’s more about the class:

Perhaps the most striking example of such deployment of books has been the Book Bloc—phalanxes of protesters hoisting large shields against lines of riot police, each emblazoned with the cover of a book. Book Blocs first appeared in Italy in 2010, and since then they have made their way to London, Spain, California, New York and beyond.  For this workshop, we will supply the materials and instructions to make our own book shields. Members of Occupy CUNY and librarians from the People’s Library will be on hand to talk about the history of the Book Bloc and spark conversation about the tactical and symbolic uses of books. Participants are encouraged to drop in for the workshop anytime between 2-5pm.

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6. Occupy Wall Street Celebrates Anniversary & Seeks Stories

Activists will celebrate the first year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement today in New York City, gathering around the city in a day of action. Follow this link to read a full PDF of all the planned activities.

The anniversary has also produced a new website, and the activists are urging writers and artists to submit related work. Click here to submit a story for the anniversary blog.  You can also follow all the activity on Twitter at the #S17 hashtag.

Here’s more about the page: “This movement can’t happen without your creativity. Please share pictures, videos, drawings, signs, posters, or anything else we can re-post online! … We will do our best to share it with the world. You can also submit media to: OccupyDesign.org & OccuPrint.org. Check out this Design Brief with information for making posters. Check out what others are making on our Media page.”

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7. Occupy Wall Street: Can the revolution be trademarked?

By Dennis Baron


Psst, wanna buy a hot slogan?

“Occupy Wall Street,” the protest that put “occupy” on track to become one of the 2011 words of the year, could be derailed by a Long Island couple seeking to trademark the movement’s name.

The rapidly-spreading Occupy Wall Street protests target the huge gap between rich and poor in America and elsewhere, so on Oct. 18, Robert and Diane Maresca tried to erase their own personal income gap by filing trademark application 85449710 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office so they could start selling Occupy Wall St.™ T-shirts, bumper stickers, and totebags, as well as various other tchotchkes bearing the protest name (the Marescas’ application is for “Occupy Wall St.,” using the abbreviated form of street–they haven’t expressed an interest in owning “Occupy Wall Street” as well).

The Trademark Commission will have to decide whether anyone can own the rights to the phrase “Occupy Wall Street,” which seems to have captured the public’s imagination and entered the public domain in record time–in fact, faster than you can say “Tea Party.” If so, the Commission must then consider whether the Marescas have any right to the phrase. They didn’t join the OWS protests and they may have never even been to Wall St. (according to their application, the Marescas live in West Islip, about 50 miles from the main protest site). Plus, so far as anyone can tell, they’ve never manufactured T-shirts, bags, or stickers with “Occupy Wall St.” or any other logo or design.

The Marescas are not the only ones trying to capitalize on the anticapitalist protests. There’s an episode of an MTV reality show, complete with commercial sponsors. There’s a book. There’s an Android app. And a company called Condomania is selling Occupy condoms (free samples available to the protestors). There are over 3,000 items of Occupy merchandise for sale on the ’net. A local pizza shop sells Occupy Meat, Occupy Veggie, and Occupy Vegan pizzas to the protestors at a discounted price of $15 a pie. There’s even an Occupy Wall Street iPhone™ app that looks like a combo of Tetris and Angry Birds ($4.99 at the iTunes™ App Store™).

The Occupy movement itself is trying to buy TV time to air a commercial that it made—though unlike the competition, the original OWS remains not-for-profit. But it’s not even clear that Occupy Wall Street could trademark its own name, or that, despite its new-found popularity, the word occupy could qualify as Word of the Year, since it’s not really a new

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8. The disconnect between democracy and Republicanism

By Elvin Lim


It should now be clear to all that the highly polarized environment that is Washington is dysfunctional, and the disillusionment it is causing portends yet more headlocks and cynicism to come.

Here is the all-too-familiar cycle of American electoral politics in the last few decades. Campaign gurus draw sharp distinctions to get out the vote. The impassioned vote wins the day. Impatient voters watch their newly elected president or representative fail to pass in undiluted form the the reforms promised during the campaign. Disillusion ensues. The gurus step in with a new round of fiesty charges, and the cycle begins anew.

At some point, citizens are going to get tired of being stoked, poked, and roped, and all for nought. The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements are reactions against a system gone awry. The low approval ratings for the Congress and the president are another indicator. The Republicans’ perpetual search for an anti-establishment alternative is another.

And now we are facing a spectacular new failure. The “super committee” charged with reaching a budget reduction deal has proved itself anything but super. If twelve people can no longer agree to make hard decisions, it is reflective of the larger malaise of which we dare not speak. It is that democracy has run amok in a republic founded on the idea that our elected representatives should be able to make decisions on our behalf, and sometimes in spite of ourselves, because representation is a higher calling than mimicry. Maybe that is why Abraham Lincoln did not deliver a single campaign speech in 1860.

Each of the twelve men and women in the committee are thinking about their constituencies, their parties, and their base and so bluster and bravado must take precedence over compromise and conciliation. When the voice of the people, artificially stoked for shrillness, begins to infect the deliberative process even in between electoral cycles, there is no chance for serious inter-branch deliberation. We have reduced our representatives to sycophants whose mantra is do nothing but heap the blame on the other party.

The solution is not to exploit the disillusioned by way of new campaign slogans and negative ads to artificially jolt their temporary and baser passions, but for the noise and the trouble-makers fixated only on winning at the next ballot to be weeded out of the system. To do that, citizens must realize that the lion’s share of what counts as democracy today is making it nearly impossible for the representatives of our republic to make decisions on behalf of We the People. Remember: ours is a republic, if we can keep it.

Elvin Lim is Associate Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and author of The Anti-intellectual Presidency, which draws on interviews with more than 40 presidential speechwriters to investigate this relentless qualitative decline, over the course of 200 years, in our presidents’ ability to communicate with the public. He also blogs at www.elvinlim.com and his column on politics appears here each week.

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9. Occupy Wall Street Library Seeks to Return Lost Journals

When the NYPD raided the Occupy Wall Street camp in November, scores of activists and writers lost their personal journals as the police cleared Zuccotti Park.

The OWS librarians have recovered a number of these journals and are hoping to return them to their rightful owners. If you or someone you know lost a diary during the eviction, you can contact the OWS librarians directly.

Here’s more from the People’s Library: “If anybody lost a journal that is featured in either photo, please get in contact with me, hristo@doctor.com or 646-220-5655. It is my personal contact to ensure that it doesn’t get lost in the mass mailing list that we have for the library. To ensure it is yours, I would need some sort of verification, any kind that shows you are the rightful owner of the journal through knowledge of what is inside. Please spread this around to anybody that may have lost a journal on the night of the raid.”

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10. Occupy Wall Street Library Hopes to Rebuild in Duarte Square

On Tuesday, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) librarians will offer a proposal to the OWS General Assembly–hoping to rebuild the library in Duarte Square, another New York City park.

Check it out: “The People’s Library would like $800 to purchase tarps, dollies, and plastic bins, and to provide transportation from SIS to the occupation of Duarte Square on December 17. All of our supplies, our computers, our bins and 80% of our collection was destroyed in the raid on Liberty Park on November 14. Since then we have received donations of books from around the world. We want to bring them to the people!”

The park was named after Juan Pablo Duarte, a Dominican Republic revolutionary who helped Dominicans fight for independence in the the 19th century. (Photo via)

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11. Occupy Wall Street Activists Try To Reoccupy Zuccotti Park

On the six month anniversary of the movement, the Occupy Wall Street organizers have sent a Twitter message to its 154,000 followers: “500+ RE-OCCUPYING LIBERTY SQUARE RIGHT NOW! JOIN US!”

Today activists filled Zuccotti Park once again. Occupy Wall Street librarian Stephen Boyer took the photograph embedded above and wrote a dispatch from the park: “Spring has come to New York City! Which means, if you’ve been hiding and resting this winter (like I did for a bit) it’s time to dust off your signs and hit the streets! The flowers are in bloom and job prospects are still scarce, so it’s the perfect time to fall in love and with Cupid’s arrow hanging out of your side, run around the streets of New York demanding a better world for you and your new found lover.”

A separate text message from the Occupy Wall Street organizers urged supporters to bring blankets and food to the park. The Daily Occupier has been live-blogging the protests and celebration near Wall Street today.

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12. Occupy Wall Street Library Briefly Reopened in Zuccotti Park

On the six month anniversary of the movement, the Occupy Wall Street library briefly reopened before the police cleared Zuccotti Park. The librarians posted this message on Saturday night: “The People’s Library is once again open at #LibertyPlaza. 1,000 people here right now and staying all night.”

But by 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, the police had cleared the park–this video recorded some of the arrests. The New York Times described the violent scene: “At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from a seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove her handcuffs and provide medical attention. For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands. Eventually, an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside.”

The occupation has now moved to Union Square Park, where organizers report that “several dozen” activists occupied Union Square last night. Here’s more from the site: “Over 70 people remain, now on Day 3. Although tents and tables are still banned, Occupiers have brought blankets and sleeping gear. Many are calling it ‘the new Occupation.’”

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13. Occupy Wall Street Library Confiscated in Union Square

These are the remaining books left in the Occupy Wall Street Library following a police action last night.

At 7 p.m. yesterday, the Occupy Wall Street librarians posted a picture of the newly rebuilt Occupy Wall Street Library in New York City’s Union Square Park. By 10 p.m., police had cleared out most of the library–leaving behind the books in the picture (embedded above).

Below, we’ve created a chronological collection of tweets from activists showing what happened to the library. The librarians tweeted a new chant today: “People got sold out, Books got thrown out!”

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14. Ypulse Essentials: The White House Gets Millennials, Tablets For Kids, Millennial Spending

Michelle Obama will be making her first appearance on Nick’s Kids’ Choice Awards this weekend (presenting Taylor Swift with the Big Help Award. The First Lady won the award herself in 2010 for the Let’s Move! Campaign. In other... Read the rest of this post

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15. "Occupy" relaciona con los inmigrantes

Occupy has forced its way into the news this past month, despite the worldwide embarrassment it's causing U.S. political and financial leaders. Our streets don't yet look like those of Greece, but that's what they must fear most: a movement against almost every tenet the privileges of our economic system stand on. [The photos on this post are from Occupy Miami, Madrid, Mexico, Oakland, L.A., So. Korea, Aztlán and more are viewable here.]

Keith Olbermann's nightly news show covered Occupy Denver on Monday, interviewing protestor Jeannie Harley on the police violence perpetrated on protestors: "We had a perfectly peaceful march, a perfectly peaceful rally, and it turned into something much worse," Harley said.

Sorry, Harley, Occupy could develop into a greater threat than the 60s or 70s movements, which were infiltrated, spied on, framed up on charges, incarcerated, beaten and even assassinated. The worst may be yet to come: "The situation we find ourselves in is absolutely unacceptable," said Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President Joe Haraburda. "We have made our position clear.… We want Occupy Oakland closed."

Filmmaker, liberal activist Michael Moore stopped by to tell an enthusiastic Occupy Denver crowd of about 1,000 Thursday: "There is no leader to this movement. That's why it's such a large and growing movement."
"He said the rest of the country is watching the Occupy protest in Denver."

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16. Video Sunday: I’m gonna give you some terrible thrills

So I’m at a lovely Little Brown librarian preview earlier this week and the first special guest star of the day turns out to be none other than Daniel Handler a.k.a. Lemony Snicket.  A resident of San Francisco, I wasn’t sure why he was in town.  Turns out, he was on Rachel Maddow’s show talking about his recent Occupy Wall Street piece that had been making the internet rounds.  Maddow says that he’s a “cultural hero of mine” and then later that she is “dorking out” being in his presence.  The interview is great in and of itself, plus you get this fun bit at the start about what you do when the police have confiscated your generators.

Of course if I’d known he was in town I would have tried to hook him into saying hello at the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival festivities.  Hosted in my library I’ll be blogging about it rather soon.  It was rather epic, I have to say.  Everything from a children’s musical about the birth of the Newbery Award to kids singing the plot of The Westing Game to Katie Perry’s “Firework” (a song that seems to haunt Mr. Kennedy wherever he may go).  Of course we ran out of time so we never got to show this final video.  I present it to you now because it’s rather brilliant.  As Ira Glass imitations go, this has gotta be up there:

This next link is here only because Travis at 100 Scope Notes spotted it first.  According to Reuters, the Japanese have brought The Magic Tree House books to life on the screen.  Apparently Mary Pope Osborne has always resisted film adaptations but the filmmakers so wowed her that she gave them the rights.  The result pairs nicely with that recent Borrowers adaptation, also out of Japan:

In other news, Newbery Honor winner Kathi Appelt recently interviewed Caldecott Award winner Eric Rohmann about his latest hugely lauded Halloween tale Bone Dog.  Perhaps I should have posted this before Hal

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17. The Student Loan Crisis: Another Bubble About To Burst?

There’s a student debt crisis in the U.S. According to the Project on Student Debt, two thirds of the 2010 graduating class were carrying some amount of student loan debt, averaging $25,250 in debt, up 5% from 2009. And that’s only undergrad... Read the rest of this post

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18. Outtakes from my talk with Susan Miller

The first installment of my new microcolumn, “The Historical Record,” ran in The New York Times Magazine on Sunday alongside some other quickies, including Lizzie Skurnick’s brilliant (and useful!) “That Should Be A Word.” This one concerns astrology, from Chaucer to Susan Miller.

A friend who, like me, is drawn to the stars, says astrology shouldn’t and possibly doesn’t work at all, that it’s just really easy for those of us who are attracted to and adept with metaphor to stretch the system to fit reality. I don’t disagree with her, exactly — of course I don’t, I’m a Gemini — but it doesn’t take more than a drink or two with friends before I’m pulling out my iPhone to look up their charts and their lovers’ charts and to ponder their synastry…

As I mentioned in the columnlet, Miller and I talked about Occupy Wall Street, which she attributes to a square between Uranus and Pluto that will recur into 2015; she believes the demonstrations will continue at least until then. (There was also a strong Uranus-Pluto aspect during the the Civil Rights Era, she points out. And the last time Pluto was in Capricorn, as it is now, the American Revolution happened.) “The universe always pushes us back onto the rails,” she says, predicting less government gridlock and a better housing market next year.

Like most of her readers, I became aware of Miller online, where the zodiac is big business these days. Many sites offer “personalized” computer-generated reports, round-the-clock transit predictions, and even phone consultations; Miller is more like a magazine columnist, posting general monthly forecasts for each star sign at her site, Astrology Zone. I asked her what she thinks about the explosion of Internet astrology.

“You need to know the provenance of the advice,” she said. “A lot of Internet advice is unsigned, which means there’s no yardstick.” She’s heard of many sites that “hire college girls — ‘A’ students in English — who have beautiful writing skills but no astrological background.”

What surprised me most was her response to my mention of Liz Greene, a Jungian analyst-astrologer I like whose “psychological horoscopes” are sold at Astro.com. “I don’t do psychological astrology,” Miller said. “I am very practical. I don’t presume to tell you what you’re thinking or feeling.” (But that’s my favorite part!)
 

My (waterless) chart, if you’re curious:

astro_w2gw_01_maud_newton_hp.70850.14501

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19. Keeping nonviolent resistance real

2011 will certainly be remembered as a year of uprisings and protest. Consider the “Arab Spring” and the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Complacency has no place in the present, but nor does violence, hopefully. From the 494 B.C. plebeians’ march out of Rome to gain improved status, to Gandhi’s nonviolent campaigns in India, to the Solidarity movement in Poland in the 80s and uprisings and protests of 2011, nonviolent struggles have played pivotal roles in world events for centuries. Around each of these events a vocabulary, a lexicon, of power and struggle emerged. And Gene Sharp, the “godfather of nonviolent resistance” has been “one of the great pioneers of nonviolent theory,” according to Joseph Nye. “His writings have affected nonviolent resistance tactics around the world, most recently in Egypt. He distills…wisdom…readily accessible to activists, journalists, and researchers alike.” Below is some of that wisdom, an essay by Sharp from the recently published Sharp’s Dictionary of Power and Struggle. Let’s hope the lines of communication stay open and all parties keep it real.     -Purdy, publicity

You can also listen to an interview with Gene Sharp on today’s edition of WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show.

Our world is filled with conflicts. They often cause us grave problems. However, conflicts themselves are not the real problem. Conflicts are often positive and a given conflict can have meritorious purposes. Problems arise principally from the means by which conflicts are often waged: through violence.

Many political groups and virtually all governments operate on the unexamined assumption that the means of last resort and greatest effectiveness is violence, especially in a military capacity. Violence is certainly necessary to support certain objectives, among them oppression, dictatorship, and mass killings. If we oppose those objectives we need to think about how otherwise to act so that our actions truly weaken the possibility of oppression, dictatorship, or mass killings, and do not unintentionally contribute to their growth.

The choice to use violence is determined by our understanding of the nature of political power. We need to understand better both the power possessed by our opponents and the power available to those who reject their opponents’ objectives. Opponents in “no-compromise conflicts” are understood to be able to wield massive power. We know that the power they use for hostile purposes must be counteracted by equal or greater power. If it is not, the opponents’ objectives will likely be achieved.

Our opponents’ power is often understood to be strong, solid, and long-lasting. If we choose to act against our opponents with violence, it is because we believe that our capacity to wage violent conflict is needed—that is, our opponents’ power for hostile purposes cannot be successfully defeated without violence. But in choosing to fight with violence we have agreed to fight with our opponents’ best weapons. We think that extreme risks are justified because our opponents’ power is likely to triumph unless it is confronted by greater violence. We do not examine whether our understanding of power is accurate.

POLITICAL POWER DEFINED

In our quest for better understanding of what is possible in extreme conflicts, we must start by asking a fundamental question: What is “political power”?

Drawing on the insights of respected political theorists and analysts, we unders

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20. Frank Miller Faces Occupy Wall Street Backlash

In an angry essay on his blog, author and graphic novelist Frank Miller recently blasted the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Here’s an excerpt: “Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism. And this enemy of mine — not of yours, apparently – must be getting a dark chuckle, if not an outright horselaugh – out of your vain, childish, self-destructive spectacle. In the name of decency, go home to your parents, you losers. Go back to your mommas’ basements and play with your Lords Of Warcraft.Or better yet, enlist for the real thing. Maybe our military could whip some of you into shape.”

Miller’s attack on the “unruly mob” generated thousands of responses around the Internet, including more than 5,000 quotes on his own site. Using Storify, we’ve collected some of the backlash to the post by the author of 300 and Sin City. (Image via)

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21. Occupy Wall Street Library Evicted

The NYPD have raided the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park, tossing tents, tarps, pallets, sleeping bags and 5,554 books into dump trucks.

The Occupy Wall Street librarians have been tweeting the eviction all night: “NYPD destroying american cultural history, they’re destroying the documents, the books, the artwork of an event in our nation’s history … Right now, the NYPD are throwing over 5,000 books from our library into a dumpster. Will they burn them? … Call 311 or 212-639-9675 now and ask why Mayor Bloomberg is throwing the 5,554 books from our library into a dumpster.”

Even though the New York City camp has been cleared, these People’s Libraries are popping up around the country. We are building a list of Digital People’s Libraries, if you want to contribute. (Photo via nic221 on Flickr).

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22. Memo from Manhattan: Occupying Wall Street—and Fifth Avenue

By Sharon Zukin

Until the early morning of November 15, a few hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters spent the chilly nights of a glorious autumn camping out in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. Despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s disapproval with their politics and under the New York City Police Department’s anxious eye, the occupiers captured public attention in a remarkably peaceful way. Regrouping for the winter, they will take stock of what they have achieved so far and the work that remains.

Though the occupation was initially ignored by mainstream media after it began in September, the protest movement attracted favorable attention both nationwide and internationally. Arrests flared in other U.S. cities, notably Oakland, California, where protesters tried to recall a famous general strike of 1946 by marching to the port. But unlike in Oakland, and Portland, Oregon, the encampment at Wall Street survived the constant threat of being rousted by police action on the one hand and cold weather on the other without death, disaster or dishonor.

An official order to clear Zuccotti Park was squelched in October by the intervention of local city council members and other politicians—some of whom, not coincidentally, plan to run for office in the 2012 elections. Many local labor unions support the movement, suggesting that alliances may be possible across “police and firefighter” lines. This kind of alliance recently won a referendum in Ohio overturning a state law that would have limited public unions’ collective bargaining rights.

In Zuccotti Park protesters formed a tiny city within the city. Food, clothing and books were donated and handed out. Electric generators that were confiscated by the fire department were returned after volunteer attorneys complained on the protesters’ behalf. For public safety the occupiers relied on volunteer security guards who used nonviolent techniques to confront, isolate and occasionally expel troublemakers. Women and transgender protesters could, if they wished, sleep in separate tents. Before November 15, few people were arrested by the police for allegedly committing sexual or physical assault.

New Yorkers quickly became accustomed to this remarkably peaceful microcosm of urban life. On sunny weekend afternoons tourists thronged Zuccotti Park and its celebrated neighbors, the World Trade Center site on one side and the financial district on the other. I have never seen Lower Manhattan look more vibrant.

But Occupy Wall Street was only one of Manhattan’s tourist attractions. To put support for the movement’s proposed reforms in a realistic perspective it is suggestive to look at other sites in the city and the desires that they apparently fulfill.

Nearly 50 million men and women are visiting New York City this year. Nearly 50,000 of them ran in the recent New York City Marathon sponsored by ING Bank .

While protesters occupied Zuccotti Park in tents, the average price of a hotel room in New York City is $250 and the hotel occupancy rate is 0 Comments on Memo from Manhattan: Occupying Wall Street—and Fifth Avenue as of 1/1/1900

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23. Occupy Wall Street Library Recovery Reports

Occupy Wall Street (OWS)  librarians reported tonight that the NYPD have confiscated the OWS library for a second time, a few blocks away from the National Book Awards ceremony.

The librarians tweeted: “OWSlibrary been told to remove the books from the park or the police will seize them.” Five minutes later, they wrote: “NYPD & Brookfield have taken the People’s Library again. and we love you all.” Bookseller Michael Lieberman added this information: “heard from Betsy Fagin one of the original OWS librarians that nypd and Brookfield did indeed take everything!”

Earlier today, the librarians reported that some books and materials confiscated during yesterday’s raid on Zuccotti Park were damaged. Lauren Comito has posted more pictures of wrecked books recovered at the garage (including the photo posted above).

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24. American Library Association Defends Occupy Wall Street Library

American Library Association (ALA) president Molly Raphael has voiced support for the Occupy Wall Street library, writing: “The very existence of the People’s Library demonstrates that libraries are an organic part of all communities.”

Below, we’ve reprinted her entire statement. In addition, Common Cause president Bob Edgar urged the city to help the library: “To the extent that the books lost can be accounted for, the city should replace each title, buying two new copies for each one destroyed … And for whatever number is unaccounted for, the city should provide Occupy’s librarians with funds sufficient to buy twice as many.”

After being evicted twice from Zuccotti Park this week, the People’s Library librarians took the books around the city in carts.

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25. Occupy Wall Street Resources for Writers

In a Morning Media Menu interview this morning, literary blogger Edward Champion shared stories from the Occupy Wall Street eviction last week and offered resources for writers, journalists and readers looking to follow the evolving story.

Champion also talked about how coverage of the controversial University of California, Davis pepper spray incident spread online–including his phone call to the officer videotaped spraying students.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview: “Being there in a physical capacity is very important. If you are in a city where an Occupy movement is happening, the best thing to do is simply go down there … The #OWS hashtag is always dependable, that’s always a good place to find stories. If you’re trying to corroborate something on YouTube if you have a name, that’s helpful. If  you have a verb: pepper spray, occupy, these are helpful things to look for.”

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