Occupy Wall Street Being Insta-Historicized Into a Book


Occupy Wall Street, largely organized and advertised on the Internet, has spawned a surprising amount of old-fashioned print media, including the Occupied Wall Street Journal and n+1‘s Occupy! gazette. Now the next step is here: an Occupy Wall Street book.

The book is being put out by OR Books, the small independent publishing company that’s behind Sarah Palin essay collection Going Rouge. The working title: Occupying Wall Street: The Inside Story of an Action that Changed the Course of America. The author: a collective called “Writers For the 99%.”

We spoke with OR Books co-founder Colin Robinson today (who also gave an interview to Daily Intel). He wouldn’t tell us who exactly was writing the book, though he’d allow that “there are some quite well-known writers involved in this.”

Robinson described the book as “basic ethnography.” OR is sending interviewing teams to Zuccotti over the next two weeks; their reporting will be transcribed, then another team of writers will coalesce the interviews into a narrative.The book won’t be a collection of interviews, as the idea is to bring a cohesive narrative to Occupy Wall Street’s story.

In terms of process, “We’re basically just announcing the book and calling for help to fill it in, which is basically the way OWS works,” he said. “There is a parallel between the two things.”

The book will not be sold in stores. OR’s model is that customers order the books either in print or as an e-book directly from them.

“What’s happened in the last month down in the square is of historic importance,” Robinson said. “Obviously we can’t be very analytical about it because it’s not at all clear what it means at this point.”

Whether or not it’s really possible to do justice in book form to a story that’s still happening and constantly evolving is a question that remains to be seen; either way, OWS’s first book treatment will be available for purchase on December 17. That’s the three-month anniversary of the occupation if the cold hasn’t driven out the occupiers by then.

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