Occupy: camping or revolution? Like most things, I came to it late. I saw the London Finsbury Square occupation, and then, the Edinburgh St Andrews Square scene, and later still the Meadows iteration, when it moved on. I didn’t participate, investigate, or even photograph it at the time. It’s only now, a year later, I got around to reading about it properly, spurred by an excellent review of of Occupy-related writings by David Runciman in the LRB. Runciman’s argument revolves around the slogan, ‘We are the 99%’. Too simple, he thinks. A lot of that 99% are actually doing fine, making any substantive action unlikely. A more targeted campaign he thinks is needed; it’s too simplistic, too unfocused to have much chance of succeeding.

I’m inclined to agree. The convulsions of the post-2008 financial crisis were something to behold, but still nothing compared with the supposedly banal decade of the 1970s. If you…

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About Richard J Williams

Professor of contemporary visual cultures and head of history of art at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Books on cities include 'The Anxious City' (Routledge, 2004), 'Brazil' (Reaktion 2009), 'Regenerating Culture and Society' (edited with Jonathan Harris, LUP 2010), and 'Sex and Buildings' (Reaktion, 2013). Writing a new book about Reyner Banham.

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