Gang of Many

The Feeling i$ Mutual: A Li$t of Our Fucking Demands, ed. Sara Wintz (Occupy Forever, 2012), 64 pp. unpriced—When I visited Brenda Iijima and Thom Donovan in 2011 at the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Donovan was scornful of the mainstream media ventriloquizing what they imagined as “most” Americans’ central question: what do they want? A year later I watched live feeds of the violent confrontation between members of Occupy Oakland.  A few hours before I flew into San Francisco to participate in a group reading at Small Press Traffic. I walked into strong disagreements among sympathizers regarding the tactics of the protesters. I bring this up as contexts for the publication of this anthology of various writers from the San Francisco/Oakland area. The utopian (“Land is earth no ownership no rent no hedges no borders” begins Alli Warren’s contribution) and pragmatic (“ I want people to not drink coca-cola while they give poetry readings attacking capitalism” observes Zack Haber) intersections between and within these poems, prose pieces, photos and drawings is an apt microcosm for the Occupy movements at large, both domestically and internationally. To the extent this document is itself a pledge of respect for these differences, the elephant in the room also remains at large (“why doesn’t this thing have any answers,” writes Paul Ebenkamp on the next to last page). In fact, as I noted above, there are some practical suggestions embedded in this chapbook. For example, Zack Tuck suggests, “A rotating randomly appointed police force, like jury duty, where everyone has to serve and there are psychological tests to weed out sociopaths.” (p. 22) And despite Anne Lesley Selcer’s desire for “an overturn of the current aesthetic regime,” “not aesthetic absence, but a whole different speed in which nothing and nobody is a resource” (34), her desire is countered by what are, frankly speaking, beautiful aesthetic moments, from Christopher Stackhouse’s enigmatic “But I Want It” to Allen Fisher’s mosaic montage that closes the book. In other words, this is a collection of manifestos and art that gives endless pleasures to my political and erotic, social and aesthetic, sides, spheres, dimensions, what have you.