chapter  5
Queer Publics
Pages 33

On March 17, 2012 Miriam Roček was arrested along with over seven hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters in a failed attempt to retake Zuccotti Park. Roček, dressed in her “Steampunk Emma Goldman” persona, had been arrested with the protestors three times before and participated in numerous events with the Occupy movement including a reading of Goldman’s 1909 speech “A New Declaration of Independence,” the previous fall. “Right after the Brooklyn Bridge arrests,” Roček explains in an interview with The Local East Village, “[…] The New York Times printed this article where they said that if the NYPD tried to clear Zuccotti Park, it would result in the resurrection of Emma Goldman. And I thought that was a great idea!” Roček had played the part of Goldman before, but not as part of a political movement. The editors of Steampunk Magazine called Steampunk Emma Goldman “cosplay done right.” Cosplay is a form of cultural expression where fans dress up in costumes of their favorite characters at comic and fantasy conventions throughout the world. Yet, Roček’s persona is unique in her ability to participate in historical, fantasy, cultural, and political environments simultaneously. Cultural expression and representation, for Roček and for Steampunk Emma Goldman, becomes a form of participation in a contemporary historical event.