BZP Review: “Find yourself swept away in the moment.”

Adele Oltman, visiting assistant professor at Seton Hall University, wrote a very thoughtful review of Beyond Zuccotti Park in Missouri State University’s eJournal of Public Affairs, volume 2, issue 2. Here is an excerpt:

Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space serves as a document of the first iteration of the Occupy Wall Street Movement in downtown Manhattan before it spread to other cities across the country. A project of Architects/Designers/ Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), the volume brings together professionals in the field as well as activists, scholars, an ACLU attorney, and even an official from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, to explore the relationship between public space and democratic action. In this volume you will find a breathless quality to the thick descriptions of the encampment from participant-observers, along with appreciative nods from the other contributors as they place the movement in some larger political and historical context. Photos depict the various phases of the occupation, including police barricades around the park, occupiers scrubbing the ground of the park, the first march across Brooklyn Bridge, the Sustainability Desk that organized environmental endeavors, and energy bikes that occupiers rode after the fire department confiscated the movement’s gas generators (that were used for cooking and charging electronic equipment). Most evocative are photographs of demonstrators, including one of a middle-aged white man wearing a hard hat and carrying a sign that reads: “Occupy Wall Street! Do It for Your Kids.” This is a highly partisan document, but its partisanship does not undermine its significance. Pick it up and you, too, will find yourself swept away in the moment. You might also, as I did, begin to raise questions about the form of this protest and its relationship to meaningful social and political change.

Please read the full review.