The OWS Library
So, I was reading Pandagon, and I learned that the owwies had a library.
The “People’s Library” was at the heart of the OWS encampment at Zuccotti Park, and has played a similar role in other large occupations, such as Los Angeles. It is the necessary complement to the actual physical occupation of urban space represented by the OWS movement. Many people might wonder why it’s so important for protesters permanently to camp when the reality, especially as the weather turns bad, is that few people are actually doing anything at night besides sleeping.
But the point of the occupation is precisely to reconquer space that has been taken over, either by the state or by private interests – a kind of “eminent domain” of, by and for the people – and create a permanent presence that can engender and nourish the kind of community and solidarity that have so disappeared in the United States in the last forty years. By permanently occupying Zuccottii and other parks, the OWS movement created a space where people could gather, create libraries, share books and ideas, and even meals. Where they could plan for another world that isn’t merely possible anymore, but the only hope for the survival of humanity as a civilisation.
So, what books
are were there? Whatever anyone wanted to donate. There appeared to be a little bit of everything; imagine your local used book sale. And the need was obviously dire for this service, given the draconian book restrictions in American.
Which makes what happened to the “People’s Library all the more horrifying.
In the dark of night on November 15th the People’s Library at Occupy Wall Street was destroyed. A public library in a so-called democratic society completely destroyed in a coordinated, deliberate and intentional fashion.
The day is destined to live on in infamy and Mayor Bloomberg will rightly take his place next to Hitler, whose coordinated book attacks in May of 1933 attempted to silence the opposition.
Of course, a “public library” in a tent on a park in New York. The ALA goes a tad far:
The ALA has released a statement expressing “alarm” at the seizure of the People’s Library.
The statement reads, in part:
“The American Library Association deplores the destruction of libraries, library collections and property, and the disruption of the educational purpose by that act, whether it be done by individuals or groups of individuals and whether it be in the name of honest dissent, the desire to control or limit thought or ideas, or for any other purpose.”
The ALA has gone off it’s nut.