As the Occupy protest approaches its second anniversary, two organisations are conducting long overdue postmortems of the civil disobedience movement, the outcome of which will be published in books later this year. The New School for Democracy and the Hong Kong Federation of Students have been working on separate reviews. What is Occupy Central? 10 key facts about Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement “In my view, the movement ended in a mess,” said Andrew To Kwan-hang, president of the New School for Democracy and former chairman of the League of Social Democrats. “There was no united front in leadership. We don’t want to make the same mistakes again in future mass movements. Should we conduct dialogue with the authorities and how do we do it? How do we manage differences in expectations among the people? We need to learn a lesson.” The New School for Democracy was founded by local, Taiwanese and overseas Chinese politicians, activists and intellectuals to promote democratic movements in Chinese communities through academic exchanges. In March, it invited American scholar Larry Diamond to town to talk about the future of democratic development in Hong Kong. One year on, students who led Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement to gather again for protests’ anniversary For its book envisaged as an “oral history” project, To’s team has interviewed 16 key players in the movement for universal suffrage, including Occupy co-founders Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chan Kin-man, student leaders Alex Chow Yong-kang and Oscar Lai Man-lok, Cardinal Joseph Chan Ze-kiun, several pan-democratic lawmakers and activists. It is the first attempt in the city to conduct a comprehensive review of the movement, which started in 2013 and became a 79-day mass sit-in starting in September 2014 to fight for the right to select Hong Kong’s leader through a “genuine” one-person, one-vote system. The group has budgeted HK$200,000 for the project. To said there had been a delay because pan-democratic parties that took part in the exercise wanted to focus on the government’s political reform package last year and on the Legislative Council elections in September. Apart from the one-on-one interviews, the school has started to conduct panel discussions involving more participants – to achieve “reconciliation” among key players and erase misunderstandings. “We talk about a wide range of issues, like the problems of the Occupy co-founders and also of the student leaders. Did the co-founders have too much of a top-down approach? Were the students too influenced by social media in decision-making? Should they have looked at how many “likes” they got on Facebook to decide whether to continue dialogue with the government?” But the book would not lay blame on a particular person and would instead contain differing views on events, he said. Alex Chow Yong-kang, former leader of the Federation of Students who led the protests and took part in the first panel discussion, agreed with the need for a study. “Public perceptions of the movement have all been negative so far. We do need to examine the wrong decisions made but also recognise some good intentions and achievements. That’s how we rise from failure.” The federation has launched an internal review focusing on its own role in the protests. “We are concentrating on our communication with pan-democratic politicians and Occupy co-founders and are looking for any inadequacies. We are also looking at our interaction with protesters.” A book would be published around the second anniversary of Occupy in September, Chow said.