Protests everywhere. The Mideast, Wall Street, and now Russia. We read that the Occupy movements set up libraries in their “communities” almost immediately. So what would they add to their collections, and what might we donate to such a library if we felt so inclined?
Barbara Ehrenreich, in her brief “Washington Post” November 18 article , gives us a bibliography of such books that were part of New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement. Some were found in a NY warehouse after the movement’s community was removed and others were destroyed.
Occupy Charlottesville is not dead and Occupy Wall Street is looking at rebirth. Ehrenreich is ready to donate to these causes but feels that she has to distill her choices down to just a few if she must “lug a box to the post office.” Her choices then would be:
- Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”
- Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward’s “Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail.”
- Adam Hochschield’s “Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves.”
Others that she mentions in her article and from the list of Occupy Wall Street’s catalog:
Manning Marble’s “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.”
Edgar Snow’s “Red Star over China.”
Todd Gitlin’s “The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage.”
Ruth Rosen’s “The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America.”
Most of us would not pitch a tent in Lee Park, and some of us would not read the books mentioned above, but whether we would do any of those things, many of us have read a very American protest essay: Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience.” From Thoreau.eserver.org we can read their view of that essay: “While Walden can be applied to almost anyone’s life, ‘Civil Disobedience’ is like a venerated architectural landmark: it is preserved and admired, and sometimes visited, but for most of us there are not many occasions when it can actually be used. Still, although seldom mentioned without references to Gandhi or King, “Civil Disobedience” has more history than many suspect. In the 1940′s it was read by the Danish resistance, in the 1950′s it was cherished by those who opposed McCarthyism, in the 1960′s it was influential in the struggle against South African apartheid, and in the 1970′s it was discovered by a new generation of anti-war activists. The lesson learned from all this experience is that Thoreau’s ideas really do work, just as he imagined they would.”
Books and writings like “Civil Disobedience” nurture protests, and they are available in your public libraries.
~ The Reluctant Blogger