Attention: open in a new window. PDF


Marcial Godoy-Anativia | New York University

On Saturday, September 17, 2011, we responded to a call circulated by Ad Busters to converge on Lower Manhattan and occupy Wall Street.  Without much determination, Rossana Reguillo, Jabáz, Benjamin Arditi and I made our way to Zuccotti Park, deeply compelled, on the one hand, by the audacity and scale of this call to action and, at the same time, already encumbered by the possibility of its failure.  While we missed that first day’s march onto Wall Street itself, we arrived at what would soon become Liberty Plaza to find hundreds of people walking about with signs referencing a million and one concerns, looking at each other in search of mutual recognition and the possibility of collective articulation.  What ensued in the weeks and months that followed—Occupy Wall Street in New York City, the irruption of a national Occupy Movement across the United States, as well as its reverberations internationally—has been well documented and extensively theorized. Occupy Wall Street and the myriad movements and struggles it engendered and energized, had and continues to have a profound impact on the political landscape in the United States insofar as the movement unequivocally implanted the issue of economic inequality on the national political agenda, brought attention to the crisis of political representation that is the result of this growing inequality, linked us to a global movement and, perhaps most importantly, unleashed our ability to imagine other forms of politics, communication and community.

In this this issue of e-misférica on dissidence, we have chosen to highlight three emblematic moments/elements of OWS—Occuprint, Tidal, the journal that emerged from the Occupy Theory Working Group, and the Occupy Bull action and video created in the Yes Lab—that speak directly to our interest in visuality, theory, and performance as vehicles of and for creative political action and social transformation.  Occuprint’s extraordinary work not only transformed the walls of city streets into instruments of mass mediation, but also brought the powerful traditions of poster art and street propaganda of prior revolutionary movements to bear on the struggles of the present. Tidal, a journal of theory and strategy for the Occupy movement continues to play a key role in framing and disseminating the analytic and tactical debates that have unfolded through the Human Mic and beyond. The Occupy Bull action and video, moreover, rehearsed the capacity of performance interventions to recode the insignias of power with precision and acute political intention.

We would like to thank Rodrigo Dorfman for sharing his improvisations from his feature-length documentary Occupy the Imagination: Tales of Resistance and Seduction (2013), Yates McKee, Amin Husain, and the other colleagues from the Tidal collective, Josh MacPhee and all the compañer@s from Occuprint, JB Nicholas for the stunning cover photograph, as well as Mary Notari and the entire Yes Lab crew.