She Writes Video Moment #9: #OccupyBooks
Written by
Kathleen Sweeney
November 2011
Written by
Kathleen Sweeney
November 2011

When police raided Liberty Park in the wee hours of November 15th, what occupiers cared most about, in addition to free speech rights violation, press censorship and police brutality, was the removal of their library, which contained 5,000 donated titles. In this movement of ideas, Books have become a key symbol to the cause. The shelter for the library at #OccupyWallStreet was donated by National Book Award-winner and punk rock legend Patti Smith, who has a fabulous rousing song, "People Have the Power." (Which I saw her perform live at the Fillmore in San Francisco a few years ago...)

Here is a video of the return to Liberty Park just in the early evening of November 15th, including an interview with the #OccupyWallStreet librarian.

Video: Yvette Torell

Ideas memes from #OccupyWallStreet that continue to resonate:

"We Are the 99%"
and this week:
"You Can't Evict an Idea Whose Time Has Come"
"This is What Democracy Looks Like"

Bookmarks, anyone?

And finally, some amazing footage of words projected last night, November 17th near Foley Square where 10,000 gathered to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Talk about inspiring, and mysterious. Hero(ine) beacons writ large!

--Kathleen Sweeney is a vlogger, web content producer (, and author (Maiden USA) who teaches Media Studies and Creativity at The New School, NY. A Preferred Provider of video services for SheWriters, she recently produced the book trailer for the young adult novel, Hooked.

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  • Kathleen Sweeney

    You know, it's funny but the Guy Fawkes masks scare me a little bit and I can't exactly figure out why...maybe it's the idea of lost identity, lost individuality which is what the hacker group "Anonymous" is going for...but whenever I saw people with those masks at the site it left me unsettled.... What really intrigued me was the humanness, the multiplicity of people, the multicultural, multi-age, multi-circumstance make-up of those visiting, dialoguing about democracy, performing, drumming, making t-shirt slogans, engaging with, and sleeping in Liberty Park...masks would hide all of that! But yes, V for Vendetta is definitely being evoked....luckily we haven't hit's far more hopeful than that...

  • S. Ramos O\'Briant

    Watched V for Vendetta for the first time.Peeps in Guy Fawkes masks take to the streets for liberty. OWS parallels.

  • Celine Keating

    You put that so beautifully  -- how the books symbolize the ideas, thoughtfulness, and poetics of the movement -- exactly what I was trying to get at -- thank you !

  • Kathleen Sweeney

    Celine, I'm so glad you were a part of the book circulation onsite...I had thought about donating a book after the wonderful that you participated even if it was short-lived...I am interested in how the books symbolize the core ideas, the thoughtfulness of this movement, the poetics of it....and that cannot be destroyed...the projections onto the building on Thursday prove this is so in a haunting wow-factor way....

  • Celine Keating

    Thanks for the post and the videos!  I was so deeply upset when I learned what happened to the library.  Early in the occupy movement I went down to the site to show support.  I had been thinking of baking cookies, but when I learned there was a library, I was really tickled.  I brought copies of my own novel (Layla) to donate to the library, because its theme/story is about a young woman's gradual awakening to activism.  I loved knowing my novel was circulating among the protestors; this was for me a perfect coming together of my own ideals and my writing. What a stark contrast of the nonviolence of the protesters and their respect for books, with the harsh tactics and disregard of the library by the police!