When Herman Melville's Bartleby famously took a stand against his job as a scrivener by announcing to his boss, "I would prefer not to," he probably didn't realize what a splash he would make. Now this phrase can be seen on tote bags across the country, and it became especially popular during the occupy movement.
This isn't the only literary aspect of the protest movement. Activist happenings around the world have featured their own libraries, and according to the Occupy Wall Street Library, "In November at UC-Berkeley, when the tents were cleared from Occupy Cal, students filled a plaza with books spread open on their faces, accompanied by signs that read, 'These are our new tents!' And in February in Valencia, Spain, protesting students brandished books at the police in an action called 'Books against Nightsticks.'"
Now, protesters are trying a different bookish tactic: shielding themselves with large posters decorated like politically themed book covers. According to GalleyCat, The Occupy Wall Street Library will host a workshop on Governor's Island in New York on July 29th on this type of protest, which they have dubbed "Book Blocs." The Occupy Movement wasn't the first instance of Book Blocs, which first appeared in Italy in 2010.
The Occupy Wall Street Library's photo of Book Bloc participants includes titles by Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Thomas Pynchon. What book would you carry at a protest?
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