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review

RESISTANCE

Lower East Side's story from many perspectives

By FEMINIST REVIEW BLOG

in: amazon, customer review, September 20, New York 2007

Resistance is a collection of essays detailing the history of radicalism, anarchism and activism of New York City's Lower East Side neighborhood. Clayton Patterson is best known for his three and a half hour video recording of the 1988 Tompkins Square Park police riots. Unsurprisingly, the 1988 riots and Patterson's video play a large role in a number of the essays he's curated, including one full section devoted to the riots in Tompkins Square Park and an article dedicated to Patterson's anarchic politics. Patterson's emphasis on the police riots and his role therein is somewhat off-putting, but he's clearly made an effort to reach across political lines and tell the Lower East Side's story from many perspectives. In the Tompkins Square Park Riots section, Patterson turns to street activists, long time Lower East Side residents, police officers and the commander of the 9th precinct at the time, highlighting the slippage between the various narratives.

Aside from the riots, Patterson also includes sections on the neighborhood's history, struggles for affordable housing, how media played a part in the power clashes of the late 20th century, biographies of prominent Lower East Side activists and an abbreviated section on the effect of AIDS in the Lower East Side. Patterson casts his net wide with this collection, a choice which allows him to address the multitude of factors which led to the destruction of the historical Lower East Side at the turn of the century. Unfortunately, though, his focus on the late twentieth century shift overwhelms the rich, earlier history of the neighborhood.

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