Occupy the Future

David Grusky, Editor, Doug McAdam, Editor, Rob Reich, Editor, Debra Satz, Editor
Edited by David Grusky, Doug McAdam, Rob Reich, and Debra Satz. MIT/Boston Review, $14.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-262-01840-1
Hardcover - 294 pages - 978-0-262-30607-2
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Attempting to bring cohesion to the Occupy protests of 2011 and 2012, Stanford University professors Grusky, McAdam, Reich, and Satz asked fellow academics, as preparation for a teach-in, to analyze the Occupy movement with an eye toward defining its potential. The result is similar to the protests themselves: energetic, noble, and inconclusive. Beginning with Grusky and Erin Cumberworth’s fairly objective examination of the wealth gap and continuing with Reich and Satz’s elaboration on the ethical reasons for the gap, the book makes a persuasive case that radical change is needed, but a little further in, the prescription becomes unclear. While worthy, essays on race and inequality, gender and inequality, education and inequality, and health care and inequality do not make for a cohesive message, which the editors address when they state that Occupy is not a single-issue movement but an overarching social awakening. Stanford political scientist David Laitin makes a compelling case for electoral reform, while essays on the language of Occupy and the art of Occupy prove trite and tacked on. This issue recurs throughout: does actual change require a more intensely focused objective and a more narrowly defined goal? Despite the book’s good intentions, it falls short of answering that important question. 12 illus. (Feb.)
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