A Holiday from Politics?

I’m a little perplexed by the new review of Thank You, Anarchy by Adam Kirsch, an editor of The New Republic among other things. Short of outright disapproving of my book, he replays a common liberal dismissal of Occupy. “For the vast majority of Americans, it was little more than a news story,” he begins, and he ends by claiming, utterly falsely, that “Schneider’s book suggests that the best way to understand Occupy is as a long, earnest holiday from reality, including the reality of politics.” I never once used the word “holiday” in that way; nor is that even what the book “suggests.” The last chapter concludes with a series of reflections on how to carry the ideals of Occupy into reality, and how people are doing so already. The book throughout strenuously insists that through Occupy, people experienced a return to the real politics of the needs of their communities, a break from the false politics of a deeply corrupted system. Kirsch’s reading, anyway, is suggestive of his assumptions, and, unfortunately, of my own failure to be clear enough to disabuse him of them. In that sense, the subtext of the review may be more revealing than the review itself.