Having spent quality time at Occupations in Los Angeles, New York, London and Chicago, about a year ago I received a phone call from my friend – Emmy Award winning former CNN journalist Amber Lyon – asking for help with a book on contemporary protest she was working on.
“Come over for a day and write a few captions,” she said. I didn’t see the light of day for nearly a week. The result of the time served at “Camp Lyon” – as me and my fellow detainee/ PL&PS contributor Dell Cameron jokingly called it – is the just-released coffee table book, Peace, Love, and Pepper Spray.
With a Forward by David Lifton on the history of protest, the book chronicles the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the new wave of protest it inspired. It also vividly shows the state’s all too often brutal response to it, and the increasing militarization of our nation’s police.
Over the course of 12 chapters and 200+ pages, through images and commentary, the book highlights key events, such as the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia and the alternative “No Nato” Summit in Chicago, and actions like those conducted to halt the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The work of groups such as the Overpass Light Brigade, Code Pink, and Anonymous is also explored.
In addition, the book features shocking first hand accounts from the frontlines from Lyon (in the Introduction) and journalist John Knefel (My State-Sponsored Assault Courtesy of the NYPD), and an essay on online protest by academic and author Gabriella Coleman (The Ethics of Digital Direct Action).
“One thing’s for sure, protest in America will never be the same,” writes Lyon. “I only hope that the threat of pepper spray will never prevail over the voice of the American people.”
Watch Amber Lyon talk Peace, Love and Pepper Spray on SG Radio with host Nicole Powers, popular blogger and radio personality Brad Friedman, SG political correspondent David Seaman, and Strike Debt's Alexis Goldstein.