A Call for Participation in the #OccupyWallStreet Movement*
Shaun Randol founded The Mantle in 2009. Today he is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher. You can email him at shaun [at] themantle.net. Shaun is the co-editor of Gambit: Newer African Writing. He is also a member of the PEN American Center and serves on the boards of Nomadic Press, the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative, and Africa Book Link.
At Occupy Wall Street's headquarters in Liberty Plaza , New York City, teach-ins happen daily over the People's Mic (an empowering, participatory spectacle, shown here). Lecture topics vary widely, including the prison-industrial complex, land grabs in Brazil, gender equality, philosophy, environmental issues, and lots and lots of economics.
On October 18, Reverend Billy Talen and the Church of Earthalujah (formerly the Church of Stop Shopping) paid yet another visit to Occupy Wall Street in New York City. In the video below, they entertain the crowd with a very catchy tune.
Sunday, October 16, 2011, was a spiritual day for me at Occupy Wall Street. I began the day at the famous Community Church of New York, where Unitarian Universalist minister Bruce Southworth delivered his sermon, "Excellence!" using the Occupy worldwide movements as as fulcrum. What's happening down at OWS, he said, is an explosion of morals. (That's a good thing!)
Like many of you, I have been following the Occupy Wall Street movement since its inception, which is now entering its fourth week. My initial reaction on hearing of the occupation was one of caution; I assumed—and I am sure I am not alone—that this was another case of young, white, privileged college students staging a demonstration out of genuine concern, but able to do so because they knew Mom and Dad would keep putting money into their checking accounts.
On September 20, I attended a lecture by former UK Prime Minster Gordon Brown at The New School University. As he paced the stage, Brown outlined the themes of his new book, Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalization.
Quite a title! I am sure we could come up with a globalization crisis that precedes the contemporary one he speaks of, but that's not the point of this post.
When we get a whiff of inauthenticity, we are made aware of just what we expect from nonfiction. So says award-winning author Jonathan Weiner. He sat on a panel alongside the thoughtful and amusing Amitava Kumar and Carmela Ciuraru. Brooklyn Book Festival's panel, Unreliable Subjects, focused on the complexity of dealing with subjects (that is, people) who are inherently unreliable.
My second foray into the Brooklyn Book Festival was the Walker in the City panel, where the venerable Edmund White coaxed writers to reveal the imaginary forces behind a common theme in their writing: the distance their main characters covered, both geographic and metaphysical.