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Occupy Wall Street fact of the day

07/09/2016

The much vaunted anti-capitalist protest movement of 2011 recruited a commercial public relations firm to help spread the revolutionary word. Initially, this supposedly “popular” revolt was mostly ignored by mainstream media. Workhorse Publicity, the firm commissioned to promote the OWS cause which eventually did become headline news, even won an industry award for their efforts. This interesting nugget is reported in Martin Gurri’s very good 2014 book “The Revolt of the Public”.

It contains much more interesting content. A central theme is the impact of insurgent amateur communicators representing a “public” on established “authority”. There is also interesting comment on the impact of social media on the Arab Spring and discussion of blogs authored by political dissidents. Some of them have curious titles such as Venezuelan blog The Devil’s Excrement (the title refers to Venezuelan politician Juan Pablo Perez Alfonso’s 1976 warning that “Ten years from now, twenty years from now, you will see: oil will bring us ruin… Oil is the Devil’s excrement”. I’m just over 30 percent in on kindle and the book seems highly relevant in this politically disruptive year of 2016.

I learnt of the book after reading this insightful review by the very sharp commentator Arnold Kling.

Martin Gurri also has a blog.

 

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