Talkin’ Occupy With Mickey Z

Mickey Z. is a veteran activist and author of several punchy books about politics, revolution, environmentalism and life in New York City, including Self-Defense for Radicals: A to Z Guide for Subversive Struggle, 50 American Revolutions That You’re Not Supposed to Know, Darker Shade of Green and Personal Trainer Diaries: Making the Affluent Sweat Since the 1980s Vertical Club. He’s been covering the Occupy Wall Street movement at Fair Share of the Common Heritage as well as his own blog. After several failed attempts to run into Mickey at Zuccotti Park (he and I never seemed to be there at the same time, and there’s kind of a big crowd), I gave up and invited him to converse with me online about the protest movement, where it’s going, what hazards it faces, and how it has inspired us both.

Levi: Mickey, I know you’ve participated in a lot of protests and actions in your life. These are always difficult, high-intensity, high-danger events, and they often run into conflict or trouble. Yet Occupy Wall Street seems to be growing at a steady rate, and remains peaceful, focused, well organized and internally harmonious after more than a month in the tents and on the streets. Are we getting better at running protests? It seems that way to me.

Mickey: I’d disagree with your characterization that OWS has “remained peaceful.” It is surrounded by armed enemies – filming everything and everyone and willing to strike without warning. Thus, I’d clarify, protests don’t just “run into conflict or trouble.” They run into State repression.

That said, I do feel that OWS has learned from so many false starts and, as a result, the occupants don’t view this as a finite protest, per se. They are cultivating an alternate model of human culture and it’s fascinating to witness how quickly skeptics are won over once they take time to visit the site and interact.

Levi: Yes, as you say, this alternate model of human culture is a very big part of the Occupy Wall Street experience, and I don’t think it has been described or explained to outside observers at all. The feeling I get as I interact with the regulars and the drop-ins at OWS is that they are busy trying to build a new civilization, with its own simple economy, its own ethics and societal expectations, even its own way of communicating: “on stack”, “wiggle”, “point of process”. The working groups I’ve participated in have been incredibly calm, polite, functional — far more functional than most corporate offices I’ve worked in recently.

But this fact doesn’t get covered in the news reports. If you watch coverage on TV news, you get the idea that hippies are wandering aimlessly around Zuccotti Park. No, they’re working hard — and working together.

So, do you feel encouraged about what’s happening here? You speak of state repression in strong terms — do you think this is going to get worse? What do you think is going to happen next with the movement in NY City, and around the world?

Mickey: I agree with your assessment of both OWS and how it’s been misrepresented by the media. However, thanks to new methods of disseminating information, it seems to me that the true spirit of OWS has become widely known. Every time I’m there, another branch of the activist tree has been respectfully added: disability, animal rights, homeless, etc.

In reply to your question, yeah, it would be easy to be cynical and point to other successful movements (e.g. Black Panthers) and identify how the powers-that-be infiltrated them and ultimately smashed them. That is a real and perpetual threat and there’s no reason to believe the State isn’t hard at work in that direction.

There will be many tests for OWS (cold weather, splinter groups, etc.) but the power of corporate media and State repression is the major obstacle. This will the truest test for all occupants and fellow travelers like us.

Do you foresee the NYPD ramping it up or easing back?

Levi: I worry that the NYPD will escalate, and I wonder what kind of conversations they’re having about this over at police headquarters. But you make a good point that those who feel threatened by the protests will not only try to combat it but will also try to infiltrate. I guess in the 1960s and 70s it was the FBI who infiltrated. We’ve got to figure that they’re doing the same thing now. Of course, we already know that freelance conservative journalists will try to infiltrate — like when it turned out that one of the “protesters” who caused a commotion at the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. was an anti-Occupy provocateur looking to start a riot.

Given that the Occupy movement must be aware of infiltration attempts — we’d be naive if we weren’t paranoid, at this point — it’s great to see how open and friendly the movement remains. I have been coming in and out of working group meetings — I have not put in as much face-time as many other people there — and yet I always feel welcomed when I enter a group circle or approach a stranger. This makes me feel really encouraged. If anybody is there to make trouble, they’ll probably be able to stir some up, but I don’t think they’ll get to pull the act for very long without being figured out.

What would you say has been the most encouraging aspect of the movement for you, so far, and what has been the most discouraging?

Mickey: In a way, your statement of how open and friendly OWS is might answer the “most encouraging” part of your question and I’m also thrilled that OWS sees Obama for what he is (Bush’s third term) and has not been co-opted by Democrats.

But if I had to sum it up my positive feelings about OWS in one word, it’d be: endurance. While this movement is clearly in its very early stages, it still displays remarkable staying power — relative to other recent protests. This is probably what most confuses the corporate media and frustrates the authorities.

As of now, the most discouraging aspect of OWS, for me, has been the nitpicking on the Left. For example, some activists are allowing word usage (“occupation”) to keep them on the sidelines. OWS doesn’t need academic deconstruction; it needs as many allies as possible. Choose process over purity.

How about you, encouraging vs. discouraging?

Levi: I know you and I disagree on whether or not conventional American two-party politics can help fix problems or not. I agree that Obama and the Democrats haven’t done nearly enough and are way too tied in with the extremely powerful Wall Street lobby. I do think the Dodd-Frank finance reform bill was a step in the right direction, and was more than a Republican administration would have done. I do think there is a significant debate going on between the Democratic and Republican parties right now over what lessons should be learned from the crash of 2008. The Democrats want more regulations in the financial marketplace, the Republicans want less regulations. I don’t think the Democrat program has been satisfying at all (I’ll at least agree with you there) but at least I think it points in the right direction. The Republican position, meanwhile, is incomprehensible to me — they blame the government rather than the banks for the crash of 2008, and seem to think that setting the banks free to operate with even less government regulations will somehow make things better!

I know you don’t believe in the possibility of honest capitalism in America, that you think this entire debate is a sham. But it’s the debate that most American voters are currently engaged in, and I think it’s an important debate for this reason alone.

I think you’re correct that OWS has not been co-opted by the Democratic party, and that’s a good thing. But I do think some Democratic politicians get it, like Alan Grayson, who expresses some important things in this video from the Bill Maher show. I’m glad people like Alan Grayson are in the Democratic party, even though Grayson lost his Congress seat in the last election.

As for encouraged/discouraged, I am totally encouraged. When I first heard about plans to occupy Wall Street in September, my first thought was “what the hell took this so long?” The sense of purpose and sense of unity on the street is really inspiring. I have never once been at the protest site without feeling extremely uplifted, and impressed by the intelligence, hard work and dedication of everyone there.

I can’t think of anything at all that I’ve found discouraging, except for the thought that this positive momentum may end, that the group mind of Occupy may lose its focus or its sense of unity before it acheives its goals. Like you say, endurance is the key. What do you think will happen when winter comes? I know the occupiers have been building up a lot of logistical support — apartments, supplies, equipment. But New York City has pretty harsh winters. I’m worried about this.

Mickey: I’m gonna try to avoid the dead-end, two-party (sic) debate, Levi. To me, the only difference between the two corporate parties is that they tell different lies to get elected but what’s more important is that OWS shuns both parties like the plague. Sure, it could be fun to have tens of millions voting for a progressive “third party” candidate in 2012 (say, Leonard Peltier, running from prison?) … just to send a message that the status quo is doomed. But otherwise, this movement goes well beyond just picking another figurehead for the empire.

As for the upcoming winter, I have extreme confidence that the occupants will endure the weather (with lots of help from the rest of us). Again, what really concerns me is the police, etc. No state gives up without a major fight and without resorting to previously unimagined tactics. If OWS weathers that storm, I feel confident we will see some folks currently in law enforcement and the military “switching sides,” so to speak.

But I’m getting way ahead of myself. Right now, the pace and the methods OWS has chosen are both revolutionary and heartening. It feels, in some ways, like a modern-day Underground Railroad with the number of allies (even those opting to remain silent about their involvement) growing by the day.

I truly feel it’s crucial to remind those who will read this exchange how important it is to support your local occupation. Bring your gifts to the movement.

Levi: Well, that raises a good question. How, in your opinion, can outsiders help? (By outsiders, I mean people who want to support the movement but whose physical locations or schedules make it impossible to get to Wall Street or any other Occupy happening).

I see this question as a specific one and a general one: first, what can people donate that is truly helpful, and how can they donate anything in such a way as to believe it will really help?

And, more generally, how can outsiders become a part of the movement — contribute not only donations but their energy, their enthusiasm, their great ideas, and their time? We were discussing this at a “think tank” at Zuccotti Park this weekend. One person brought up the importance of starting an organized boycott of the banks — take your money out of Chase and Citibank and Bank of America, and put your deposits and your investments into institutions that don’t engage in practices that are destructive to the economy, the environment and the world (a local credit union, for example, though research is always necessary). I spoke up and said I liked this idea, not only because it could be really effective, but because I think it gives every person in the USA a chance to join in an activity that supports the goals of the Occupy movement. I think there are people all over the country who want to join in but don’t know how, or who can’t easily get to a protest site. Do you agree that this kind of wider participation is a good idea? Can you think of other ways that people who can’t make it down to New York City or any other large city can truly help and become a part of this?

Mickey: I couldn’t offer more than general donation suggestions (food, clothes, etc.) but those on the ground at each occupation in each city can supply that info in person or via the Web. So, that’s step one.

In terms of solidarity support, lifestyle changes are a start. Switching banks, as you mention. The holidays are coming so why not pledge to NOT shop? This is the ideal time to end the consume-and-dispose cycle – forever. Speaking of cycles, switch from four wheels (cars) to two (bikes). Again, all of these are good initial steps to begin the slow dismantling of a destructive system.

In a more abstract sense, it’s key that supporters make bigger connections. OWS is much more than just seeking economic reform. Consider the trampled rights of indigenous peoples, prisoners, the disabled, those who identify as LGBT (etc.), women, and people of color. OWS supporters must recognize all such institutional discrimination … and that most definitely extends to the plight of other species: non-human animals and our literal ecosystem. Thus, another essential lifestyle change: go vegan.

Of course, do not remain silent. Talk about OWS, voice your support widely. We can create a new “normal,” one in which Americans actually talk about the roots of problems and to provoke immediate change.

Lastly, I hope everyone who reads this feels grateful to be around at such a time. There’s never been a better time to be an activist. When else in all of human history has there been a time when we were in better position to shape the future? Ecosystems are screaming for mercy and our land base is practically an endangered species. What we do (or don’t do) in the next few years could quite possibly tilt us all toward either the point of no return or a far more sane form of society. Each and every one of us can take part – right now – in creating the most important social changes ever imagined.

This isn’t about skin color, gender, or what parcel of geography you happen to have been born on. I’m not talking about party affiliations, incremental reform or what sky god you’ve chosen to worship. It’s all about recognizing a crisis and taking the appropriate measures.

We’re on the brink of economic, social and environmental collapse. What an extraordinary time to be alive. How lucky are we? We’ve been trusted with the most vital mission of all time: survival.

I have a friend who teaches yoga and conflict resolution to kids and she asked if I could get info about her doing a class at Occupy Wall Street. I talked to some folks in the outreach/info area and their basic reply was this: “Sounds great. All she’s gotta do is pick a day, show up, find a space – she should get here early – make an announcement, and start the class. That’s how it works around here. There are no official steps she has to follow.”

What’s not to love?

18 Responses

  1. “…the only difference
    “…the only difference between the two corporate parties is that they tell different lies to get elected but what’s more important is that OWS shuns both parties like the plague….” Best quote of the day on the web.

  2. Hi Levi and Mickey Z,

    Hi Levi and Mickey Z,

    We tried throwing taxpayer money into the system but we failed to help the intended victims because our cash settled in secret pools or leaked out into insiders’ pockets through the existing legal loopholes. In my humble opinion, our basic system could work if we fixed it.

    There doesn’t seem to be any one, glaring transgression that can be pinpointed as “the problem.” It’s an accumulation of small, corrosive laws and regulations that allow unfair advantage to some financial experts. No matter how passionate we are for change, we need many specific repairs to our system to manifest that change.

    If only we had some super-ethical “anti-lobbyists,” each knowledgable in one of the many facets contributing to the overall problem. Only an expert can ferret out the little unethical laws and regulations that quietly allow capital to be siphoned out of the system. This approach would take time, money and the people motivated enough to do it for a reasonable wage. I wonder if some recent business and law school graduates who can’t find a job would be willing to dive into this problem and save the future of America and the world.

    Funding could be a problem. What if they formed a non-profit and operated on public contributions? I’d contribute to the effort if it could be kept clean and ethical.

  3. Alan, I think the answer is
    Alan, I think the answer is simpler than that. I wrote a detailed list of 5 basic changes that will make the difference between today’s rotten capitalism and what I call “honest capitalism”.

    Between the 1930s and the 1980s, there were no stock market disasters, and this was a time of growing opportunity for middle class Americans. The age of Wall Street deregulation began in the 1980s, under Ronald Reagan’s leadership, and continued with the repeal of Glass-Steagall, a terrible change that was supported by both Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. This was the mistake that led to the crash of 2007/2008. There’s no mystery to it — we need to bring back Glass-Steagal, break up the mega-monster super-corporations, get Wall Street off its steroids and artificial growth hormones (also known as “hedge funds”), and return sanity and common sense to the industry of high finance.

    Nothing mystical or complex about this program at all. This is, in my opinion, the program of Occupy Wall Street.

  4. Hi Levi,
    There actually was

    Hi Levi,

    There actually was one of the longest stock market collapses in 1973-1974.

    As far as OWS being about reinstating Glass-Steagal, it doesn’t seem that is all it is about. Your analysis is probably pretty right on, but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do, really, with OWS.

    In fact I just read how “OWS is much more than just seeking economic reform” and it is “cultivating an alternate model of human culture”.

    There’s an all right article in New York about how the class war has begun by Frank Rich.

    I enjoyed the article, but think it is amusing to see this there and how focused on this this magazine is, as far as 1%ers etc…

    To me it is hilarious that a magazine by and for the 1%ers written by a fellow who made his living and got his name off of writing about entertainment created for the 1%ers has this distorted cognitive dissonance.

    The people who support this are the 1%ers and those in their wake.

    New York mag really is a good example of the attempt to co-opt it.

    I can’t take this New York prep school dilettante fun play seriously.

    That’s Entertainment!!!

    In this discussion I think you did get at solutions in saying, don’t do business with them. I think Bill Ectric made the best comment about this on another thread:

    ___How about this: Everybody just stop investing in all those god damn money market funds and put your money in a regular savings account and buy only the cheapest houses you can find. This is what I did 20 years ago. I don’t have much money but I’m comfortable enough.____

  5. The protests here in Oakland
    The protests here in Oakland turned violent because somebody unaffiliated with the occupy movement threw tear gas into the crowds while police were present. Since then police has been threatening to arrest people who are still around. I believe the government is going to do everything in their power to break ucp these protestors any way they can…it’s happened in the past, where agents infiltrate otherwise peaceful groups and stir shit up trying to cause riots and what have you. I hope that I’m wrong about that though.

    I’m currently in the middle of moving all of my money out of BofA and into a community owned credit union. I think if more people do this there can be some good to come out of it…we can take away power from the big banks if they become not so big.

  6. oh yea…forgot to tell yall
    oh yea…forgot to tell yall thanks for the interview. I really enjoyed reading this, and your insight is always appreciated. cheers

  7. Hi Levi,
    I reread your

    Hi Levi,

    I reread your previous article on Honest Capitalism as you suggested. What would be the best way to transform your 5 points into law?

    Who in Congress would be likely to champion this kind of reform? This could be occupational suicide for a legislator.

  8. Hi Alan — great questions.
    Hi Alan — great questions. Well, it would be occupational suicide for any candidate who gets most of their funding from large corporate donors. Which is, unfortunately, almost all of the mainstream Republican candidates, and way too many of the mainstream Democratic candidates. So, yeah, it’s a hard stranglehold to break. When I argue (as I often do) with somebody like Mickey Z. over whether real change is possible within the American two-party electoral system, one of the biggest hurdles I have to consider is that the American two-party electoral system offers Wall Street/Fortune 500 funded candidates on both sides. This is a tough hurdle, but I don’t think it’s insurmountable.

    The types of regulatory controls that kept the American economy in healthy shape from the 1930s to the 1980s can be brought back by Congress, and the first step towards this has already been taken: the Dodd/Frank bill, which was promoted by the Obama administration and became law in 2009. The problem is, this Dodd/Frank bill is just too weak to fix the industry. It’s not even as strong as the Glass Steagall bill had been. But at least it showed Congress moving in the right direction: basic common-sense regulations for the banking industry.

    One of the biggest problems with the current financial system is that insurance has become completely enmeshed with high finance (witness “Citigroup”) — and so I also believe the Obamacare health insurance reform bill was a step in the right direction for fixing American capitalism (as well as helping the American people). This bill was also too weak (and has also faced an incredible propaganda backlash from the Republicans, the insurance industry and the Koch brothers, claiming that government health care regulations are socialist).

    Even though both Dodd/Frank and Obamacare were weak, and have been broadly (though not credibly) attacked by Republicans, I believe these are examples of the kinds of legislation we need. I want American voters to support liberal candidates and throw the pro-business Republicans out of office so that we can have better and better regulations with each incoming Congress. I believe this can and will happen.

    Of course, when I say that I think this is the program of Occupy Wall Street, I’m representing my own opinion. As you see in the above conversation, Mickey disagrees with me. Many people who are part of OWS think it stands for a more fundamental program of change. I like the idea of more fundamental change too, but I am at this moment more focused on the immediate changes being debated in Congress. Even though both sides are corporate funded, I think the Democrats in Congress are corporate funded but pointing towards reality and common sense, while the Republicans are corporate funded but pointing in the wrong direction, a direction that’s really dangerous for America’s future.

  9. Mickey Z is starting to get
    Mickey Z is starting to get through to me. The idea, as stated by TKG, of cultivating an alternate model of human culture, is very appealing.

    A couple of observations:

    Shysters often use the fact that the person being scammed has a little bit of greed in them, too. A really extreme example is the email from some other country saying, “you have 3 million dollars waiting for you. All we need is your bank account and a $1,500.00 processing fee, and you will receive your money.” Now, most people should think, “What a croc. It’s too good to be true,” but that little 1% of greed in us all whispers, “But THREE MILLION DOLLARS…” and it’s the same with these high-yielding junk bonds. If there was no demand for junk bonds, financial institutions would have no reason to supply them. I’m not saying every old lady who lost her nest egg is greedy. Some of them relied on nice young men in suits and ties who seemed to know what they were doing. But it’s supply and demand.

    Oil. I think Jimmy Carter is a Christian in the best sense of the word. It would have been better to let gasoline go to $5.00 a gallon back in 1979, because by now, we would probably have electric vehicles up the ying-yang or at least riding bicycles everywhere. Instead, the Republicans jumped on the “christian” bandwagon, made Carter appear ineffectual, illegally traded arms with Iran in exchange for the release of seven American hostages held by Iranian-sponsored militants in Lebanon, and gave the money to Nicaragua’s right-wing contras fighting the leftist Sandinistas. Look at the amount of money we have spent in the Middle East since then.

  10. Thanks, Levi, for putting
    Thanks, Levi, for putting this together.

    Two quick replies:

    Bill, I appreciate you keeping an open mind and here are my thoughts on Carter:

    As for capitalism, it is a system based on relentless growth and hence, requires relentless consumption of finite resources. therefore, by definition, capitalism is unsustainable, anti-life, and obviously cannot be reformed.

    Ecosystem before economics…

  11. Levi and Mickey, the U.S. has
    Levi and Mickey, the U.S. has pretty much become a plutocracy, with two parties that are largely supported by big, wealthy corporations and big interest groups (as many of you have pointed out).Before I’d have pointed to Western Europe as a refreshing counter example, but lately France, Germany, Italy have been heading in the same direction as us. I’m glad to see a movement that offers some effective, or at least noticeable, counterpoint and protest to the corporate rule. I have never understood why a large percentage of the middle classes support economic policies intended to shaft them, reduce education spending and give tons of money to bail out the Wall Street bankers that have lost our money in the first place.

  12. “There actually was one of
    “There actually was one of the longest stock market collapses in 1973-1974.”

    Was this significantly worsened by spending on the Vietnam War?

    “Look at the amount of money we have spent in the Middle East since then.”

    There has been a lot of indirect spending, too; lowering interest rates to rock-bottom levels after 9/11 created a real estate bubble while a parallel policy of *reducing* taxes during war(s)-time drove up the U.S. deficit. In effect, tax cuts/tax loopholes are subsidies … in this case, subsidies that created an inherently unstable system that required even *more* spending once the investment bankin system needed to be bailed out.

  13. FYI everyone, KFI 640 radio
    FYI everyone, KFI 640 radio in LA is giving Occupy LA two hours today at 2 PM Pacific Time to do their own show and say what it is all about.

    You can hear it on the Internet or I Heart Radio.

  14. OWS from this side seems to
    OWS from this side seems to me to be a pacifistic revolution that asks to save the world thru responsible use of Earth’s resources; it asks for compassion for fellow man; it asks for common sense to prevail over greed; it asks for far less than what is the current path we have been put on by the wealthiest and most irresponsible among us want – more money in their pockets.

    This is not anything new amongst mankind other than we’re now a far larger population and we have at our disposal many more tools to spread our voices as seen by the number of OWS movements not only in the U.S. but in many parts of the world. Without our instant communications and our more informed citizenry this movement may well be not as large as it has become (and will continue to grow). But the one problem we all must be aware of is the defensive posture that so-called 1% will put up if the movement continues as it is.

    Hu’man nature being what it is, the defense of our treasures, be them great or small, of value or simply reminders of our past, is enough for us, the collective WE, to use whatever we have at our disposal to defend anyone and anything from taking away from us those simple things that make us the hu’mans that we are. The mega-wealthy thru the most humble of us need our treasures for it is those things that give us our identity. In the failed attempt by what was known as ‘socialism’ as practiced by the USSR, China, Cuba, North Korea, etc., failed miserably due to the idea that a governing body took away the individuality of their people by removing things that made them what they were.

    No movement can remove or even suggest the removal of our greatest treasure – our individuality. This is where I see this movement as totally relevant, as Mickey wrote: “another branch of the activist tree has been respectfully added: disability, animal rights, homeless, etc…” In order for any revolution to be successful is to make changes within ourselves…. to be strong enough, intelligent enough and compassionate enough to withstand the winds of change that sweep thru our Nation with a power that refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer, no matter the power than be at the time.

    As restless and needy as we all seem to be in these times, for each of us to forget or even deny our own precious individuality, the only true treasure we are born with and learn to know thru our living and die with, must remain the ideal that all people should honor and respect in each other. To do otherwise will place us back on the wheel of futility where there are no answers to the seven billion questions that are surrounding us in our age of instant communications. Listen to our hearts over our minds to find the peace within that all must commit to at any cost. Therein lies the only true revolution. To believe in something greater is a fool’s journey.

  15. yo
    to quote


    to quote


    capitalism is the unequal sharing of wealth

    communism is the equal sharing of misery

  16. okay homeboy. that’s
    okay homeboy. that’s capitalism vs. communism. so twentieth century.

    where does corporatism and corporate welfare fit into the picture? corporate crime and accelerated destruction / depletion of resources and ecosystem (and economy) ?

  17. I just wanted to commend you
    I just wanted to commend you both on a fantastic article, very informative and useful to someone outside the US of A who knows more about Occupy London than Occupy Wall St.

    What I think is so fantastic about this article is when MickeyZ spoke about what you can do to help. Hearing about changing your lifestyle to be more LGBT friendly, accepting of minorities and most brilliantly – veganism. These are truths I feel some people are scared to but alongside Occupy Wall St. because they’re not mainstream & may turn more people away from the cause – however, they’re all vital beliefs that need to be recognised & it’s wonderful to see someone brave enough to interlink the two.

    Again, fantastic article. We are the 99%

  18. Yes our People’s Library is
    Yes our People’s Library is under attack and down, but not out. Luckily there is another People’s Library book that is still very much alive on our Occupy Wall Street websites:

    The book’s story begins in Zuccotti Park and ends with the convening of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, a great leap forward to Global Democracy and Economic Democracy based on extending the idea of the EU Parliament globally as a new part of the UN, and a place in New York where people from the Arab Spring, OWS and the EU resistance may be heard in the institutions as well as on the street.

    Now that our physical library, the People’s Library, is down in Zuccotti we rely increasingly on our Online People’s Library as a resource to activists not only in Zucotti park but across the nation and world. Spiritus Mundi, the Occupy Wall Street Novel by Robert Sheppard continues to be serialized, issuing a chapter a week through the People’s Library on the Occupy Wall Street/New York General Assembly People’s Library website:

    See also:

    For Introduction and Overview of the Novel: The novel follows characters involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement in Zucotti Park, including their campaign for creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, a world-scale global assembly based on the model of the European Union Parliament and a threatened World War III and nuclear terrorism in Jerusalem.

    Below is an introduction to the novel: Introducing Spiritus Mundi, a Novel by Robert Sheppard:

    I write to introduce to your attention the double novel Spiritus Mundi, consisting of Spiritus Mundi, the Novel—Book I, and Spiritus Mundi, the Romance—Book II. Book I’s espionage-terror-political-religious thriller-action criss-crosses the globe from Beijing to Zucotti Park in New York to London to Washington, Mexico City and Jerusalem presenting a vast panorama of the contemporary international world, including compelling action, deep and realistic characters and surreal adventures, while Book II dialates the setting and scope into a fantasy (though still rooted in the real) adventure where the protagonists embark on a quest to the realms of Middle Earth and its Crystal Bead Game and through a wormhole to the Council of the Immortals in the Amphitheater in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in search of the crucial Silmaril Crystal, and to plead for the continuance of the human race in the face of threatened extinction from a nuclear World War III, all followed by a triple-somersault thriller ending in which a common garden-variety terrorist attack is first uncovered by MI6 and the CIA as the opening gambit a Greatpower Game of States threatening World War III and then, incredibly, as the nexus of a Time Travel conspiracy involving an attempt by fascist forces of the 23rd Century to alter a benign World History by a time-travelling raid on their past and our present to provoke that World War III, foiled by the heroic efforts of the democratic 23rd Century world government, the Senate of the United States of Earth, to hunt down the fascist interlopers before their history is irrevocably altered for evil.

    When activist Robert Sartorius, leading a global campaign to create a European Parliament-style world-wide United Nations Parliamentary Assembly presses the proposal in New York on his old friend the UN Secretary-General and is rebuffed due to the hostile pressure of the conservative American administration, his Committee resolves to fight back by launching a celebrity-driven Bono-Geldof-Band Aid/Live 8-style “People Power” media campaign and telethon spearheaded by rock superstars Isis and Osiris and former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, in alliance with the nascent Occupy Wall Street People’s Power movement, to mobilize global public support and pressure. The Blogs of Sartorius, activist Eva Strong and Committee Chairman Andreas Sarkozy reveal the campaign’s working struggle, their tangled love affairs, a loss of faith, attempted suicide, reconciliation of father and son after divorce, and recovery of personal love and faith.

    Things fall apart as the idealists’ global crusade is infiltrated by a cell of jihadist terrorists using it as a cover, then counter-infiltrated by CIA agent Jack McKinsey and British MI6 agent Etienne Dearlove. A cat-and-mouse game of espionage and intrigue ensues pitting them against the Chinese MSS espionage network allied with the Iranian Quds Force crossing Beijing, London, Moscow, Washington and Jerusalem unleashing an uncontrollable series of events which sees the American Olympic Track and Field Team bombed on an airplane in London, uncovers a secret conspiracy of China, Russia and Iran to jointly seize the oil reserves of the Middle-East, and witnesses Presidents Clinton and Carter taken hostage with Sartorius, McKinsey, Eva and other activists at a Jerusalem telethon rally cut short by the explosion of a concealed atomic device in a loaned Chinese Terracotta Warrior, then flown by capturing terrorists to Qom, Iran as “human shields” to deter a retaliatory nuclear attack. In Book II, Spiritus Mundi, the Romance they encounter Iran’s Supreme Leader in Qom as the world teeters on the brink of nuclear confrontation and World War III, while mysterious events unfold leading Sartorius and McKinsey from their captivity in the underground nuclear facilities of Qom into a hidden neo-mythic dimension that takes them to a vast ocean and land at the center of the world, Middle Earth, Inner Shambhala, and to involvement in a mysterious Castalian “Crystal Bead Game” linked to the destiny of the human race on earth. They then embark on a quest for the Silmaril, or Missing Seed Crystal to the central island of Omphalos in the Great Central Sea in the middle of the globe, aided by Goethe, the Chinese Monkey King, Captain Nemo, the African God-Hero Ogun, and a Sufi mystic they traverse a ‘wormhole’ at the center of the earth guarded by ‘The Mothers’ and the fallen angel tribe of the Grigori (Genesis 6:1-4) which leads the way to critical meeting of the “Council of the Immortals” at the Black Hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy to determine the final fate of the human species. The heroes battle and overcome the treacherous opposition of Mephisto and his satanic subaltern Mundus through their Underworld and Otherworld adventures and successfully plead the cause of the continuation of the human species before the Immortals, returning with the critical Silmaril Crystal. resolving the Crystal Bead Game and thereby inspiring through the Archangel Gabriel a dream in the mind of Iran’s Supreme Leader which brings a new Revelation causing him to release the hostages and an end the crisis.

    China and Russia stand down from aiding Iran in seizing the Mid-East oil reserves, but in a treacherous blow the Chinese instead utilize their forward-positioned armies to attack their former ally Russia and seize Siberia with its large oil and gas reserves instead. President Barret Osama, America’s newly-elected first black President then invites Russia, Japan and South Korea to join NATO and together they succeed in expelling the Chinese from Siberia and usher in a new Eurasian and global balance of power and a New World Order. Rock Superstar Osiris meanwhile, after undertaking a narcissistic Messianic mission in the wake of the Jerusalem atomic blast is dramatically assassinated on live world-wide television on Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa by a disillusioned follower. His wife and rock-star partner Isis then leads a spiritual movement to reconcile and unite the clashing religions and catalyze a common global spiritual Renaissance through a Global Progressive Spiritual Alliance which seeks to construct an Inter-faith Temple on the ruins of the atomic blast in Jerusalem. In counter-reaction to the cataclysmic events the world finally implements Sartorius’ crusade for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, but not before Sartorius has himself has died, Moses-like of a heart attack while helping to foil a metaconspiracy mediated by Time Travel in which a fascist agent from the 23rd Century who has time-transited back to our time to alter a benign history by causing WWIII and thus preventing the evolution of a democratic world government, the United States of Earth, which follows him through time and nabs him just in the “nick of time” to prevent Aramgeddon.

    The book ends with the opening ceremony of the UN Parliamentary Assembly which is attended in Sartorius’ name by his widow Eva Strong, whom Sartorius had fallen in love with and married in the course of the novel, and by their son Euphy, newborn after Sartorius’ death. They are joined in cinematic climax at the ceremony by newly chosen UN Secretary-General Clinton, President Osama and UN Parliamentary Assembly Committee Chairman Andreas Sarkozy who have just received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in creation of the world’s first world parliamentary assembly within the United Nations, bringing together the representative voices of the peoples of the world in face-to-face assembly and dialogue for the first time in world history.

    Highlights: All the Highlights of the novel cannot be contained in such a short Introduction, but a few of them would include:

    1. Spiritus Mundi is the first novel in world history to portray the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assemblyon the working model, inter alia, of the European Parliament; It also contains the Occupy Earth Manifesto, a program of Occupy Wall Street Demands:

    2.Spiritus Mundi is a prophetic geo-political WWIII novel of the near future forseeing a conflict and conspiratorial surprise attack by a resurgent “Axis” of China, Russia and Iran seeking by a decisive blow in jointly seizing the Middle-East oil fields to radically alter the global balance of power vis-a-vis the West in the world and Eurasia. Like Clancy’s The Bear and the Dragon, it forsees the inclusion of Russia in NATO, and goes far beyond in forseeing the inclusion of South Korea and Japan, following a joint Chinese-Russian occupation of a collapsing North Korea and the Axis strike at the Middle-Eastern oil fields;

    3. Spiritus Mundi is an exciting espionage thriller involving the American CIA. British MI6, the Chinese MSS, or Ministry of State Security and the Russian SVR contending in a deul of intrigue and espionage;

    4. Spiritus Mundi is a Spellbinding Terrorism/Counterterrorism novel involving a global plot to conceal an atomic bomb in a Chinese Teracotta Warrior to be detonated in Jerusalem;

    5. Features the romantic and sexual searching and encounters of dozens of idealist activists, rock-stars, CIA and MI6 agents, public-relations spinmeisters and billionaires with a detour into the bi-sexual and gay scenes of Beijing, New York, California, London and Tokyo:

    6. Establishes and grounds the new genre of the Global Novel written in Global English, the international language of the world,

    7. Spiritus Mundi is a novel of Spiritual Searching featuring the religious searching of Sufi mystic Mohammad ala Rushdie, as well as the loss of faith, depression, attempted suicide and recovery of faith in life of protagonist Sartorius. Follows bogus religious cult leaders and the Messiah-Complex megalomanic-narcissistic mission of rock superstar Osiris that leads to his dramatic assassination on worldwide television in Jerusalem, followed by the religious conversion of his wife and rock-star parner Isis;

    8.Features the search for love and sexual fulfillment of Eva Strong, a deeply and realistically portrayed divorced single mother involved in the United Nations campaign, who reveals her tortured heart and soul in her Blog throughout several disastrous sexual affairs and ultimately through her final attainment of love and marriage to Sartorius;

    9.Features Sartorius’ experience of a bitter divorce, alienation and reconciliation with his son, his loss of faith and attempted suicide, his battle against drugs and alcoholism, his surreal and sexual adventures in Mexico City, and his subsequent redeeming love and marriage to Eva Strong;

    10.Contains the in–depth literary conversations of Sartorius and his best friend, Literature Nobel Laureate Günther Gross, as they conduct worldwide interviews and research for at book they are jointly writing on the emergence of the new institution of World Literature, building on Goethe’s original concept of “Weltliteratur” and its foundations and contributions from all the world’s traditions and cultures;

    11.Predicts the emergence of the institution and quest of “The Great Global Novel” as a successor to the prior quest after “The Great American Novel” in the newer age of the globalization of literature in Global English and generally;

    12.Features the cross-cultural experiences and search for roots, sexual and spiritual fulfillment and authenticity of Asian-American character Jennie Zheng, and Pari Kasiwar of India;

    13.For the first time incorporates in the dramatic narrative flow of action the mythic traditions of all the cultures and literatures of the world, including such figures as Goethe, The Chinese Monkey King, the African God-Hero Ogun, surreal adventures in the ‘Theatro Magico’ in Mexico City bringing to life figures from the Mayan-Aztec Popul Vuh, Hanuman from the Indian classic the Ramayana, and many more;

    14. Book Two, Spiritus Mundi, the Romance is a fantastic Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Rollercoaster Ride: The more mythic Book Two utilizes a Wellsian motif of Time Travel to explore the making of history and its attempted unmaking (a la Terminator) by a hositile raid from the future on the past, our present, and the foiling of the fascist attempt by an alliance of men and women of goodwill and courage from past, present and future generations united in a Commonwealth of Human Destiny; Like Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day and Welles’ Journey to the Center of the Earth it involves a journey to an interior realm of the “Middle Earth;” it also contains a futuristic travel through a wormhole to the center of our Milky Way Galaxy for a meeting with the “Council of the Immortals” where the fate of the human race will be decided;

    15.Is a fantastic read on a roller-coaster ride of high adventure and self-exploration!

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!