The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street
by Todd Gitlin
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The Occupy protests of 2011 successfully transformed the issue of income inequality from an under-acknowledged condition into a national problem. This is a victory that has eluded labor unions, progressive activists, and liberal Democrats for over forty years. It is an admirable and, in some ways, very inspiring achievement, given the slapdash, decentralized, and rambling nature of the Occupy encampments.
Despite these accomplishments, I think you can be committed to the cause of economic justice without being enraptured with the Occupy protests. In fact, in some cases, analysis of the protests has been so starry-eyed that it runs the risk of missing its mark. Take, for instance, social historian Todd Gitlin's new book, Occupy Nation, in which he celebrates the earnestness of the nascent "movement" and its adherents:
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