This week, Occupy Wall Street awoke from its winter slumber and initiated a new wave of protests, with thousands marching in downtown Manhattan. New York City, however, has seen it all before: A century ago, throngs of leftist activists, many of them Jewish, took to the streets and demanded change, leaving a liberal administration baffled and America’s wealthiest in a state of panic. Then, as now, some activists demonstrated peacefully, while others advocated violence. Then, as now, the nation was seized by a sense of uncertainty.
When he began writing an account of 1914 and the American anarchist movement, historian Thai Jones didn’t think his subject matter would soon become the stuff of headline news. Five years later, his book, just out, titled More Powerful Than Dynamite: Radicals, Plutocrats, Progressives, and New York’s Year of Anarchy, is proving to be timely. He joins Long Story Short host Liel Leibovitz to talk about American radicalism, and what the anarchists of the past may have to teach the occupiers of today.