The Occupy Handbook

Posted: 16 April 2012 in Uncategorized
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I just received my copy of The Occupy Handbook, edited by Janet Byrne.

Needless to say, I haven’t had the time to read it through (my plan is to post a review once I have had the time) but here are a few quick comments. . .

Robin Wells is listed as a the guest editor but why doesn’t she get front-cover billing?

The list of “big names”—from Paul Krugman and Nouriel Roubini to Ariel Dorfman and Barbara Ehrenreich—certainly lends a certain kind of prestige to the movement.

Some of the authors put the Occupy Wall Street movement into a larger context, examining the links to such historical events as the pan-European uprisings of 1848, the Great Rail Strike of 1877, and the lunch-counter sit-ins by black students in Greensboro, N.C., in 1960 as well as contemporary movements, like the student movement in Chile.

The authors seem to be mostly outsiders. I didn’t see any essays by or interviews with actual participants in the movement (with the exception, perhaps, of David Graeber).

There are, of course, many names missing. But I don’t understand why essays by Suresh Naidu and Maliha Safri, who have been involved in the day-to-day activities of Occupy Wall Street, are not included.

That I know of, the only piece in the book currently available on-line is by Krugman and Wells. Unfortunately, while the essay is focused on inequality, it is still the case (as I argued back in 2010) that they can only make the link between inequality and the current crises via the political process and not as a direct cause of the crises.

Those are just some quick reflections. I look forward to writing more about The Occupy Handbook after I’ve had a chance to read it from cover to cover.

  1. Janet Byrne says:

    David, on Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson’s recommendation I asked Suresh Naidu for a piece and he was kind enough to write one. Understandable obligations on his end prevented its inclusion: his replies to my edits arrived after the rest of the book had been through copyediting and was on its way to the printer; at that point Little, Brown could no longer fit new pieces. It was a very good piece. You might ask him if he’d be interested in your posting it? Regarding other pieces of the OH that are available online, here you go: (Paul Volcker on getting money out of politics), (Daniel Gross on countercyclicality), (Michael Lewis on university endowments removing their funds from the too big to fail banks). Thank you for pointing me to Maliha Safri’s work. Sincerely, Janet Byrne

  2. David F. Ruccio says:

    Thanks, Jane, for the background story and for the update regarding on-line materials. I’ll let you know when I post my full review.



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