Journalist, Professor, and Author Michael Levitin discussed the successes of the Occupy Movement on this 10th anniversary.
No one tells the Occupy Movement’s story like Michael Levitin
I knew my good friend, Journalist, Professor, and Author Michael Levitin was writing a new book about the Occupy Movement. After all, he interviewed me a couple of times over the last couple of years or so. I had not seen him since we had lunch at the Democracy Convention in Madison, Wisconsin.
Then I received an email from his email list. It turns out the book “Generation Occupy: Reawakening American Democracy” was out and going hot this week. I told him I wanted to be one of the first to interview him about the book and the expansion of the Progressive movement. He did not disappoint.
Michael still has the same passion that he had since Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park in New York City. He tells the story as no one else can. I love his book because he told the real story instead of the false narrative that generally denies the Occupy movement its successes. He did not do that.
Coinciding with the release of his book, Levitin wrote the prescient article “Occupy Wall Street Did More Than You Think” at the Atlantic. He wrote the following.
At its core, Occupy made protesting cool again—it brought the action back into activism—as it emboldened a generation to take to the streets and demand systemic reforms: racial justice, women’s equality, gun safety, the defense of democracy. As the Occupy veteran Nicole Carty told me, “We can’t unlearn the 99 percent. Now what you have is a whole generation that is growing up in movement times, which explains all the escalation you’re seeing and the work that’s happening among very young people who were still kids during Occupy.”
Rewriting the protest playbook, Occupy introduced a decentralized form of movement organizing that enabled hundreds of city chapters to reinforce and strengthen one another yet remain independent—a sharp break from the traditional, hierarchical structure of protest movements of the past. Pioneering the use of live-stream technology while employing powerful social-media messaging and meme tactics to grow participation both on- and offline, Occupy showed a new generation how to turn social movements into a viral spectacle that seizes control of the public narrative.
Watch the entire interview. Michael Levitin is engaging, knowledgeable, and empowering. And if you want to understand the essence of the movement and how you can be part of the continuation in some other form, then get his book.
Michael got his start as a journalist covering the Cochabamba Water War in 2000 for the English-language newspaper Bolivian Times. He worked for six years as a freelance correspondent in Barcelona and Berlin, covering politics, culture, and climate change. He has also reported from India, China, the Balkans, and East Africa. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian, Financial Times, Newsweek, Time, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, and The International Herald Tribune, among other publications.
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