Protest camps is an inside look at various protest camps all over the world, from Resurrection City in Washington, DC to Greenham Common in the United Kingdom and to Horizon in Stirling, Scotland; from Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt to OccupyLSX in London. The book provides a detailed account on how protest camps work to achieve their goals. More specifically, it provides both inside and outside accounts of protest camps. The book thereby takes into account several theoretical approaches, such as a sociological, a political science, and a communications approach.
Erik Wångmar’s book on corruption presents an astonishingly thorough and methodical historical analysis of five corruption cases set in the world of Swedish local politics, i.e. on a municipal level. While impressive in its laboriously scope, archival accuracy and extensive time frame, the book does not counterbalance this empirical focus with an equally rewarding theoretical analysis and development.
Armin Schafer and Wolfgang Streeck, two scholars at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany, have edited a remarkable volume that attempts to address a political-economic touchstone of modern democratic-capitalism: how to reconcile democratic political processes with the increasing governance of global economic life by economic institutions – corporate and transnational governmental – that are politically nonresponsive to the demands of ordinary citizens and which are dedicated to often unpopular economic policies of austerity (cf. Edsall, 2012).
‘What can strike mean for the creative workers, and industrialists, whose punch clocks know no on and off, but only countless versions of on?’ (142). The essay Factories of knowledge, industries of creativity by Gerald Raunig deals with the Occupy movement and today’s forms of existence and production. According to Raunig, the Occupy movement is a temporary ‘reterritorialization’, as a form of resistance in a ‘deterritorialized society’ (13).
While cooperation exists since times immemorial, in its modern form it constitutes a 'product' of specific socio-economic and political conditions. Within this context, cooperatives and other alternative experiments have offered an opportunity to challenge existing capital-labour relations and inter-work relationships and rethink the way we relate everyday practices to political organization in general. This in turn implies an effort to reconceptualise the links between the economic and social field of action.
It has been two years since Occupy emerged on the global scene, inspired by an on-going wave of protest movements and upheavals. Like its predecessors, the movement was met with great skepticism – not least by many self-acclaimed leftist academics and journalists. How could a political movement, one objection went, be of any significance and endurance if it failed or refused to produce a clear, univocal agenda? How could it affect society or politics beyond the border of its own tent camp?
I was gripped by this book. I enjoyed it partly because it tells my own story – and who can resist their own story? Or rather (because only I can tell my own story), it tells the author’s story of a series of events and of a movement that I was part of. Namely: that wave of North American and European counter-summit protests that emerged with the mobilisation against the WTO in Seattle in November 1999 (or possibly with the ‘Carnival Against Capital’ in London a few months earlier), and then waxed and waned over the course of the following eight years or so.