Liboiron, M. (2012). Tactics of waste, dirt, and discard in the Occupy Movement. Social Movement Studies, [iFirst article], 1-9.
*written from the point of view of an NYC occupier
(NYC government and police use power to define what is and isn’t trash/OWS uses waste as political protest tool
*article centers around Nov. 15 police eviction—next day at morning assembly: “anything that touches the ground is garbage”
*during police gather of everything, books were subject to identical treatment as regular trash, effectively destroying them
*police “cleanups” and collaborative media rhetoric framing Occupy as dirty, the “stat is performing power, but they are also performing political repulsion” by making the basic association of the protesters with filth (half of filth/clean, bad/good binary)
*when Mayor Bloomberg ordered park cleanup, Occupiers rallied and cleaned it sparkling themselves, reclaiming themselves as good citizens
*”Within this understanding of the role of waste in protest, the seemingly contradictory acts of Bloomberg, the police and other opponents to Occupy whereby they decry waste even as they create waste by turning entire encampments into trash make sense.”
*cleanliness of the park was frequently and explicitly connected to the protest’s potential for success in “cleaning” up the world, and also played out in political challenges to the institutional waste that occurs through systems of free market capitalism—this was on physical display in a variety of recycled—goods/sustainable lifestyle amenities, and articulated as a forward-looking principle that “citizens’ duties included using resources as fully as possible”.
*litter and waste also connected via Occupy’s messages as an “ethical breach in politics and finance” not just a “breach of citizenship in the park”
*an aspect of Occupy messages: “is the argument that things that ought not be discarded have been wasted and trashed by the wealthiest 1% of society, banks, governments and corporations”…things like education and satisfying work, and so forth, but it certainly showed symbolically in the police (as the arm of the institution in power) destruction of books as trash. Occupy has the “implicit argument here that a citizen or resident of the USA should not be treated like trash by definition f what it means to be an enfranchised person”
*author’s point: how clean or not each encampment was misses the “different logics of transgressions attendant to waste and dirt. We can see that ideas about filth, waste and transgressions make up an ongoing political debate about the ideal society by both Occupiers and its opposition.”