The Arty Semite

Writers Sign Up for Occupy Wall Street

By Ezra Glinter

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

Occupy Wall Street has its share of misspelled, ungrammatical placards, but the ongoing protests in Lower Manhattan — and similar efforts around the country and the world — are receiving a strong dose of literary acumen. In addition to efforts such as The Occupy Wall Street Library and The Occupied Wall Street Journal, a growing list of writers have signed on to Occupy Writers, a website collecting the names and literary contributions of authors, editors and other writerly types who support the Occupy Wall Street protests.

The effort was spearheaded on October 9 by journalists Kiera Feldman and Jeff Sharlet, after a Twitter exchange between Sharlet and Salman Rushdie, one of the first signatories. The list now includes over 200 writers including Margaret Atwood, David Bezmozgis, William Deresiewicz, Barbara Ehrenreich, Sasha Frere-Jones, Neil Gaiman, Jerome Rothenberg and Ayelet Waldman. A number of Forward contributors are also represented, including both Feldman and Sharlet (who is also the former editor of the Yiddish Book Center’s magazine, Pakn Treger).

Sharlet told the Huffington Post that the wide range of writers indicates the broad support the movement is receiving. “There are radical writers on this list, but there are also the kind of writers who maybe Bloomberg takes their books with him on a vacation to the beach,” he said. “We wanted to say, ‘Look, you’ve been outflanked. The movement draws as much from the people you consider to be your base.’”

Although the list of signatories is being screened, Sharlet said that the aim is include both the obscure as well as the famous. “There’s a way in which status dissolves in the Occupy movement, and we like the idea that that would be reflected in the site, so you start with this group of established writers, and then it democratizes. The person who has a tiny book that nobody’s ever read, and their name begins ‘Ru-‘, they’re next to Salman Rushdie,” he said.

In addition to signatures, the site also features contributions including two initial pieces by Francine Prose and D.A. Powell. Prose writes:

In Zuccotti Park I felt a kind of lightening of a weight, a lessening of the awful isolation and powerlessness of knowing we’re being lied to and robbed on a daily basis and that everyone knows it and keeps quiet and endures it; the terror of thinking that my own grandchildren will suffer for whatever has been paralyzing us until just now. I kept feeling these intense surges of emotion—until I saw a placard with a quote from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself: “I am large, I contain multitudes.” And that was when I just lost it and stood there and wept.

Not to sound cynical, but I smell an anthology down the road.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Occupy Writers, Occupy Wall Street, Kiera Feldamn, Jeff Sharlet

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.