OCCUPY THIS: POETRY SURVIVES THE TRASHING OF THE PEOPLE'S LIBRARY
By Danny Schechter, Author of The Crime of Our Time
One of the clearest indicators of a fascist mentality is its contempt for ideas it disagrees with.
The Nazis staged mass book burnings, and some religious zealots followed in their footsteps, in our country, by burning rock and roll records they considered the "Devil's Music." The war on Sarajevo began with the burning of its world acclaimed library by rightwing nationalists who found the city too multi-cultural for their tastes.
Here in New York, our "liberal", but opportunistically Republican, Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, supports the New York Public Library. He also supported the right of that fanatic, fundamentalist minister Terry Jones, to burn the Quaran to protest Islam,
"I happen to think that it is distasteful. I don't think he would like it if somebody burnt a book that in his religion he thinks is holy," he said a year ago, "But the First Amendment protects everybody, and you can't say that we're going to apply the First Amendment to only those cases where we are in agreement."
So what does this self-styled upholder of the First Amendment say today after the New York Police Department, under his command, trashed The People's Library at Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park,) the base camp of the Occupy Wall Street Movement?
So far, he's said nothing!
You can see pictures of the destruction of the library here.
Amy Goodman was one of the few journalists who managed to get into the Park while the Police tore it apart, writing, "w e saw a broken bookcase in one pile. Deeper in the park, I spotted a single book on the ground. It was marked "OWSL", for Occupy Wall Street Library, also known as the People's Library, one of the key institutions that had sprung up in the organic democracy of the movement. By the latest count, it had accumulated 5,000 donated books. The one I found, amidst the debris of democracy that was being hauled off to the dump, was Brave New World Revisited, by Aldous Huxley ."
I was in the Park this past Saturday with one of the People's librarians. She pointed to one of only a handful of broken and waterlogged books that they recovered from the trash.
She also noted that a new pile of books had been donated since the forced and brutal eviction earlier in the week. Among them was Howard Zinn's collection of voices from the People's History of the United States.
Also, this weekend, the Library issued a new PDF version of its unique and impassioned anthology of poetry, You can read the work here.
Poets from all over the world are supporting the library, as the People's library website explains:
"Poets from around the world have been sending poems to the People's Library in an effort to create a living/breathing poetry anthology in solidarity with the Occupy Wall St. movement. All poems are accepted into the anthology. The anthology is updated on a weekly basis. If you'd like a poem added to the anthology email stephenjboyer@gmail(dot)com and please include "occupy poetry" in the subject."
When I spoke with editor Stephen Boyer a week earlier, I commented that there was no introduction to the collection. He agreed it needed one, and honored me by inviting me to write it. It has now been integrated into the latest PDF.