Take the Square
There must be a reaction when a process of social exchange begins, one that produces the same euphoric effects around the world. Whether members of the Occupy movement in Madrid, Athens or New York speak about their experiences, the joy felt at knowing political discourse is taking place, though it has seemed impossible for some time now, is extremely similar. What’s new about this political network of the 99%, other than the fact that it has a common enemy, capitalism that’s gotten out of control?
The Austrian artist, activist and filmmaker Oliver Ressler tackles these questions in his documentary Take the Square. For years now Ressler has occupied himself with political renewal movements, finding his own method of reenacting forms of political discourse as a result. While in What Is Democracy? this question is asked of numerous activists, Comuna Under Construction, about self-governed deprived areas in Caracas, focuses on the assemblies and the democratic praxis of which they are a part.
Take the Square continues this discourse concerning political processes. Ressler invited Occupy activists in Madrid, Athens and New York to talk about their experiences at public spaces. Not all are long-term supporters; some are individuals who just joined up at some point. They represent an aspect of the movement that US writer Mark Greif, who has close ties to Occupy, has already focused on: The hierarchies are flat, meaning that there’s room for everyone, from radical anarchists to reformists. One thing that stands out at all three locations — Madrid’s Plaza de Pontejos, Syntagma Square in Athens and New York’s Central Park (Zuccotti Park was not available during shooting) — is the agreement that not only the world of finance, but also institutional politics are in the middle of an existential crisis. This is nothing less than the prerequisite for a counter-movement that firmly rejects representation. Even more important is the rejection of a simple patent on solutions (or utopias): Direct democracy is not only one of Occupy’s mottos, it reflects the great amount of trust in it that can be achieved within the group.
(Dominik Kamalzadeh, shortened version of an article published in the newspaper “Der Standard,” September 22/23, 2012, p. 4)
Translation: Steve Wilder
Take the Square
German, English, spanish