I wanted to devote this post solely to SLICK!, my new novel available now as an e-book at Amazon and soon in digital and soft-cover formats at Amazon, iUniverse.com, and bn.com (Barnes and Noble). And why not? SLICK! covers territory that’s as fresh as last Saturday’s New York Times.
In SLICK!, the United States seeks to strengthen ties with the small Persian Gulf sultanate of Moq’tar. American military forces may need a new base of operations to project power in the region. Truth followed fiction. The Times reported that the U.S. military will build up forces in the Gulf now that our troops will be out of Iraq as of January. Fiction followed truth. In 2003, we began pulling troops out of Saudi Arabia. Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain took on increased importance as staging points. How stable they will be remains to be seen.
Truth and fiction intertwine here in America, too. I refer to the Occupy movement, occupying lots of media coverage in the Bay Area—particularly events in Oakland.
Yes, Americans should vent their rage against unfettered capitalism, a greed-filled financial industry that believes it’s “doing God’s work” and Washington’s rejection of responsible regulation. The nation’s right wing has contributed to the problem, not the solution.
But the movement that started with the occupation of Wall Street and spread nationwide has, at least in Oakland, been hijacked. And, that hijacking was inevitable. While well-meaning people from all walks of life assembled to raise their voices—that’s what the First Amendment is all about—virtually no one had anything to say beyond, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” The “leaderless” crowds displayed no desire to propose a specific agenda for Washington and support political candidates—which the Tea Party did admirably, as much as I disagree with their economics.
An Occupy movement rudderless from the beginning proved highly susceptible to being taken over by anarchists. A tiny minority, which shows up at protests of all sorts, they make big headlines by provoking and engaging in violence. As if Oakland’s city government were the problem. (It has its own problems to be sure.) In the process, they display no qualms about making it difficult or impossible for the small businesses downtown to do business, thus hurting many of the city’s working people whom they claim to represent.
It’s easy to smash a window, set a car on fire or put someone’s eye out. It’s not so easy—or cheap—to replace the window, repair the car or restore someone’s vision. I repeat a point I made in “Post-Mubarak Egypt and Torah” (2-11-11): Marlon Brando, as a Hell’s Angels-type in The Wild One (1953), is asked what he’s rebelling against. He answers, “What do you got?” When the folks standing and camping out in Oakland’s Civic Plaza figure out what they’re for and communicate it, they’ll occupy a proper place in history.
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Read the first 2-1/2 chapters of SLICK! at davidperlstein.com. To purchase a signed copy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.