Book Launch | The Mask and the Flag
The Institute for Public Knowledge and the Urban Democracy Lab at NYU invite you to join us for the book launch of The Mask and the Flag: Populism, Citizenism, and Global Protest by Paolo Gerbaudo. The author will be present in a conversation with Michael Gould-Wartofsky and Marina Sitrin, moderated by Stephen Duncombe.
From the Arab Spring to the Spanish Indignados, from Occupy Wall Street in New York to Nuit Debout in Paris, contemporary protest bears the mark of citizenism, a libertarian and participatory brand of populism which appeals to ordinary citizens outraged at the arrogance of political and financial elites in the wake of the Great Recession. The Mask and the Flag draws from 140 interviews with activists and live witnesses of occupations and demonstrations to explore the new politics nurtured by the movement of the squares of 2011-16 and its reflection of an exceptional phase of crisis and social transformation. Gerbaudo demonstrates how in waging a unifying struggle against a perceived Oligarchy, today’s movements combine the neo-anarchist ethos of horizontality and leaderlessness, inherited from the anti-globalisation movement, and a resurgent populist demand for full popular sovereignty and the reclamation of citizenship rights. The volume analyses the manifestation of this ideology through the signature tactics of these upheavals, including protest camps in public squares, popular assemblies and social media activism. Furthermore it charts its political ramifications from Podemos in Spain to Bernie Sanders in the US, revealing how the public square occupations have been foundational to current movements for radical democracy worldwide.
Paulo Gerbaudo is a political sociologist and Director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London. He is also a board member of the research committee on social classes and social movements of the International Sociological Association. He writes for The Guardian and OpenDemocracy.
Michael Gould-Wartofsky is a writer and photographer and a doctoral candidate in sociology at New York University. He is the author of The Occupiers: The Making of the 99 Percent Movement, and his writing has been published in the Washington Post, The Nation, In These Times, Jacobin, Gizmodo, and other venues.
Marina Sitrin is a writer, lawyer, and organizer whose work focuses on social movements and justice around the world. She is co-author of They Can’t Represent Us!: Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy and author of Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina and Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina. She holds a JD in International Womens’ Human Rights from CUNY Law School and a PhD in Global Sociology from Stony Brook University.
Stephen Duncombe is a Professor of Media, Culture and Communications of New York University where he teaches the history and politics of media. He is the author of several books, including Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy and Notes From Underground: Zines and the Politics of Underground Culture. Duncombe, a life-long political activist, co-founded the School for Creative Activism in 2011, and is presently co-director of the Center for Artistic Activism.