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About the New Title: Epiphany On Wall Street
I am a product of our times, and the spirit of our times is expressed in my work. Any resemblance to persons, movements or other acts of revolution, enlightenment or brilliance in the real world is, as they say, unintended. That my work reflects many of the questions, contradictions & crises the leaders of Occupy Wall Street are facing today is not to be dismissed as 'mere coincidence' however, not at all. It speaks tomes about the 'kulture' and times we share.
It is worth re-mentioning that both books one and two in the Nine Inch Bride series were written long before Occupy Wall Street was a gleam in anyone's eye. Drafts were completed early in 2011, editing was ongoing throughout that year, and book one was published in the fall of 2012 under the earlier title. Book two was completed at the same time as book one, as they were originally intended to be one much larger work but later separated.
It is further worth mentioning that the story is narrated by a Wall Street analyst dealing with a stock market crash and, inter alia, his personal ruin. The 'epiphany' is his. [read more...]
Yes, free 'preview' copies of our work were circulating in the summer and fall of 2011 (and free PDFs given away all through 2012), but no, we did not inspire the original Occupy Wall Street action with this book, nor would that have been possible time-wise. We like to think a few participants were influenced by reading it, but there is no way of knowing. Nor, for the same reason, is the heroine Sahar based on the recently surfaced Justine Tunney, the brilliant and controversial volunteer at Occupy, as much as we love her for the resemblance to Sa in intellectual prowess and fondness for wine and rattling cages. I didn't have the benefit of Justine, or anyone else at Occupy for that matter, and postulated the heroine as one with no model in the world.
I find Ms. Tunney's appearance on the scene just as we are bringing the book out under the new title remarkable, if only for the cage rattling. The GA's I've attended were stifling, exclusionary I felt, an initiation sham for docile recurits for which I immediately realized I was temperamentally unsuited. I steered clear of them. I can understand anyone's irritation with that particular expression of horzontalism, and would argue for one that acknowledges the shaping leadership roles going on behind the scenes anyway. Horizontalism of autonomous leaders does not have to manifest in a self-anointed committee speaking for all, but such leaders can surely speak for themselves and lead by example. Nor do I mean to say that the GA approach cannot be utilized efficiently and productively on a small scale given the right group of participants.
On a personal note, I hope Ms. Tunney will finally get around to reading our work, where she'ill find a kindred spirit and wonder what took her so long to get there. I could say the same of Micah White, who will find echoes of his left/right populism in the novel, and Priscilla Grim, will find the heroine's 'instructional designs' intriguing. Justin Wedes and many other 'leaders' in Occupy will find kinship its pages as well, different as these people are, given their new tacks in life and within the movement, the overlap in ideas and personalities being keen and well distributed in the books. Were it not for the timing of publication, Epiphany could indeed be mistaken for an unacknowledged product of or precursor to Occupy Wall Street. It is neither. I reckon it's simply the power of simultaneity among creatures of their time.
Needless to say, we did not dash out two fully edited 'masterpieces' within a year in order to somehow piggyback on 'the glory of Zuccotti Park.' The word 'occupy' occurs all of once and that in its ordinary usage. There are no 'occupations' in books one or two. That, if ever, is for future volumes in the series. We have a vision of an organization that is more of a mother ship to pilot groups that include 'retribution venting' and 'exit stage left' tactics such as Occupy, as part of a larger scheme for making revolution, a full orchestra of achievable tactics to perform in concert. Sa's leadership is of the create-and-hand-off-to-others variety, but it is decidedly autonomous leadership. The truth is top down, or it isn't truth. Get over it, you need top down truths to read this, or walk from a to b.
I urge readers who are engaged with real world work within real world Occupy, whether horizontally or as distinguished leaders, to celebrate and promote this book series and all constructive revlolutionary art in the same spirit of solidarity with which we as artists support their individual efforts and that of Occupy collectively. I despair to see the endless factionalism and inside-mauling among intellectuals within the Left. The most shameful development is for each to view the other as a competitor in obeisance to the culture of marketplace. We have differences, and should argue them, but we have far more in common cause and must remain big tent partners in solidarity for any chance to succeed. Acceleration in time saves nine. Occupy should open its mind to its accelerationistas, infants terribles, et al. "I call upon an even greater courage now—the courage to act like we stand a chance of winning," as fellow protest author Rivera Sun has so eloquently put it.
In its growing pains Occupy now resembles a kind of crony anti-capitalism, an exclusive cult of 'original founding members' and 'who's who' of Zuccotti Park. Whatever happened to Occupy outreach? What happened to Occupy The Arts? Occupy should be syncing up with a great many au courrant authors, thinkers, and revolutionists, not shunning them as 'leeches' upon 'the glory' of Zuccotti hero cliques. Leaders need followers and peer leaders both. We can occupy and chew gum at the same time without compromising values.
The fact is none of us are ‘holy,’ we are all ‘tainted’ with the heinous culture in which we are immersed, some more than others to be sure, some resisting some embracing, and some selectively resisting and embracing, which is what so many individuals and institutions on the Left are doing. It is unseemly, perhaps cynical, but on the other hand, as our heroine says, “There is scarcely an instrument of capitalism that cannot be used against it.” There is an affirmatively anti-capitalist capitalism that includes marketing, paid labor, profit from enterprise and other traditional 'taboos.' No revolutionary can deny the economic conundrum of essentially begging for funds from the very unfortunates whose commons we seek to uphold and raise, and none can deny that real money enables better considered and more effective action. In the end, one must survive to make a moral point, and movements require professionalism as well as passionate, principled spirits to be effective.
Okay, but Nine Inch Bride, you ask?? The fanciful title of this series with its slight sexual innuendo was deliberately chosen to distract from the gravity within its covers, as well as to appeal to the imagination and eros, where reside the greater powers. If titled for meaning in non-fictional terms, we might call it 'The Ontology of Perspective in Political Consciousness Development: A Prescription for Revolutionary Means Toward the Replacement of Capitalism.'
We think an absurdity like Nine Inch Bride is catchier, and more memorable. Call it leetspeak for your secret sharer. It may well be the most dangerous novel you ever read.