We live in a time where millions of people in the US, the real silent majority if there ever was one, is truly disgusted by the current election spectacle and the candidates at the center of it. Currently, Democrats are scrambling as millions of young people and low-wage workers will most likely sit the elections out, as the Democratic primaries have already shown. Meanwhile, the Democratic war-machine continues to lurch forward as the US launched missile strikes in Yemen and potential wars with China and Russia loom. Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s campaign continued to take an extremely fascistic turn:
In a speech delivered by Donald Trump to an audience of thousands in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Republican candidate turned his campaign in a more distinctly fascistic direction. Presenting himself as both the savior of America and the victim of a ruthless political and economic establishment, Trump sought to connect deep-seated social anger among masses of people with an “America First” program of anti-immigrant xenophobia, militarism, economic nationalism and authoritarianism.
Responding to the latest allegations of sexual abuse, Trump proclaimed that he is being targeted by international bankers, the corporate-controlled media and the political establishment who fear that his election will undermine their interests.
Meanwhile, Sheriff David Clarke openly called for riots if Trump loses in a “rigged” election. Ironically, at the same time, the Republicans are also pushing to remove millions of mostly black and brown working-class voters from the roles under the guise of ‘voter fraud,’ a boogeyman that Trump has helped promote time and time again. As one article noted:
Trump has made similar allegations before, encouraging his supporters to watch the polls on election day to “make sure it’s on the up and up.” His comments seemed specifically aimed at sending his (overwhelmingly white) supporters to “watch” polls in inner-city areas, which have a higher population of black and Hispanic Americans. Trump is actively recruiting poll watchers at rallies and on social media.
There is an increasingly racist and fascistic character to Trump’s charges, which combine attacks on the media for pushing allegations of sexual abuse with sweeping claims of vote-rigging, particularly in minority neighborhoods. Trump is urging his supporters to turn out en masse to “monitor” the polls, creating the possibility of violence on Election Day.
As Greg Palast has written in Rolling Stone and many other outlets (mostly outside of the US because mainstream corporate sources won’t cover the story), Republicans are earmarking millions of voters to be purged from the voting roles simply because their names match those in other states. For instance, someone by the name of Jose Luna Hernandez could be struck from the roles simply because Jose Alvaro Hernandez lives in another state and also is registered to vote. To paraphrase Palast, it’s KKK voter suppression by another means. As Palast wrote in Rolling Stone:
What’s far more likely to undermine democracy in November is the culmination of a decade-long Republican effort to disenfranchise voters under the guise of battling voter fraud. The latest tool: Election officials in more than two dozen states have compiled lists of citizens whom they allege could be registered in more than one state – thus potentially able to cast multiple ballots – and eligible to be purged from the voter rolls.
The data is processed through a system called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which is being promoted by a powerful Republican operative, and its lists of potential duplicate voters are kept confidential. But Rolling Stone obtained a portion of the list and the names of 1 million targeted voters. According to our analysis, the Crosscheck list disproportionately threatens solid Democratic constituencies: young, black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters – with some of the biggest possible purges underway in Ohio and North Carolina, two crucial swing states with tight Senate races.
The Democrats have also been playing this game, albeit in a different fashion, as a means to keep Bernie votes from reaching the ballot box in the primaries and as a way to suppress working-class people that are starting to turn in a (small and limited) left direction.
While we at IGD see no point in voting and think that the elections serve as a distraction and a means to bring the population back into the state system and captivate them as opposed to activating people to self-organize or fight back, what is happening within this election (as it has with others) shows US democracy to be the controlled and managed spectacle that is always have been. It’s a shit show, it is rigged, and no one should vote or participate in pushing for candidates. Period.
If anything, the push from both parties to manage and control this election (and the people within it) shows why we should be concentrating on overthrowing this system once and for all; not seeking to ‘fix it.’ This democracy is ‘broken’ because it’s function, as all democracies always have been, is to create a smoke screen for class dictatorship and governmental rule.
But as all this has been happening in the background, obscured by whatever scandals are taking place this week, a continuous stream of social struggles, riots, sabotage, and social movements have been taking shape across so-called North America. In just this past two weeks, as resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline has heated up, police have called for reinforcements and the state has attempted to kill the encampment. Meanwhile, supporters prepare for winter and the long haul struggle to defeat the pipeline project as actions are spreading out beyond the initial encampment.
At the same time, there are signs that action is beginning to move out of the bounds of strict non-violence and take on a much more strategic and direct approach, as this week, suspected arson attacks were carried out against the Dakota Access Pipeline equipment. From one news article:
Authorities said arson is the likely cause of an Iowa fire that caused about $2 million in damage to Dakota Access oil pipeline construction equipment.
The Jasper County, Iowa, Sheriff’s Office and local fire departments responded to a fire Saturday in the town of Reasnor where bulldozers and an excavator were ablaze. A preliminary investigation that included the FBI and the Iowa Fire Marshal found that the fires were intentionally set. It was at the same location that equipment was damaged in an Aug. 1 fire, which police suspect was started by vandals.
Also, this arson is only the latest in a string of attacks against the pipeline project:
Police are investigating another incident of suspected arson after fires appear to have been intentionally set to construction equipment working on the Bakken pipeline.
It’s the fourth suspected arson on pipeline construction equipment in that area since August.
At the same time, two high profile attacks took place in North Carolina this week, as vandals attacked both the Democratic and Republican Party offices. As Raw Story wrote:
Democratic officials in North Carolina have asked law enforcement to step up protection of campaign workers after Orange County offices for both the Republican and Democratic parties were targeted on the same day.
On Sunday, the Republican Party said that its Orange County headquarters was set ablaze by vandals. Graffiti found on a nearby building said, “Nazi Republicans leave town or else.”
In a message posted to Twitter, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump blamed the attack on “[a]nimals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina.”
But Orange County Democratic Party Chair Matt Hughes told Raw Story on Monday that vandals had also targeted his offices in Carrboro. Both attacks were said to have occurred early Sunday morning.
According to Hughes, staffers found the words “Death to Capitalism” scrawled on the OCDP headquarters when they came into work.
But as a material force grows against this current way of life; an insurgency that pushes towards a new way of being, the government also pushes back with counter-insurgency. In a new video (watch it above) that was obtained by The Intercept, the Pentagon lays out that in the next 14 years, urban populations will grow into mega-cities that will face potential break downs due to crumbling infrastructure, widening gaps between the rich and poor, climate change, as “illicit networks [i.e. us] fill the gap left by over-strained governments,” as well as religious and ethnic tensions brought on by growing cities and unregulated development. The video goes on to state that growth, both in terms of cities and technology, will be highlighted by burgeoning slums and shanty towns alongside high rises, exorbitant wealth, and condos. The videos surmises that this future is something that we are not prepared for, yet is unavoidable – and this future demands a highly organized, and militarized force to govern it. It states the threat to this new order:
Criminal networks [anything or anyone that is against the nation-state] offer opportunity for the growing mass of unemployed. This becomes the nervous system for non-nation state, non-aligned organizations and individuals that live and work in the shadows of national rule…Where physical domains can be seen, digital domains have limitless potential to expand without limit.
The scale and density of these domains is daunting. In a city of ten million, where you hold the support of 99% of the population, the remaining 1% represents a threat of 100,000. It is an environment of convergence, hidden within the enormous scale and complexity of the mega-city. These are the future breeding grounds, incubators, and launching pads for adversaries and hybrid-threats. Linked globally, these are man-made labyrinths that provide refuge and movement across vast sections of these cities where alternate forms of government have taken control.
The video ends by stating that the “future is urban” and declares that coming engagements by both law enforcement and the US military will have to adapt and move beyond the established doctrine already put out by counter-insurgency theorists. In closing, it states how ‘urban operations’ will be the key to wining the war against insurgency in the coming terrain.
There’s a lot to take away from this video; in short, we must build our network in all avenues of social life. In workplaces, in schools, in our bio-regions, in our neighborhoods, and through our online networks. We must build up a base of support and create dual-power where we are able and build autonomy and capacity to solve our own problems, meet our own needs, and distance ourselves from the State as much as we can.
And this is a terrain that will be changing quickly in the coming years, as the breakdown that we have begun to already see only accelerates and grows as drastic climate change is now considered unavoidable. To make case in point, in late September it was released that carbon dioxide levels reached the 400 parts per million threshold – the highest they have been for millions of years. Climate change threatens all life on the planet and the consensus between even the elites of it’s dangers has never been more sound. Yet, our industrial mode of production continues to push us into the oven of destruction for the sake of profit, overproduction, and mass consumption. If this isn’t a prescription for the mass overthrow of the existing order now, then what is?
We have to take all this into account as we proceed in the coming terrain. We must be ready for the growing far-Right forces which take on the appearance of anti-capitalists and enemies of the current order. We have to prepare for militarized police forces and counter-insurgency methods of governance. We have to get ready for mass breakdown, extreme weather, and more as climate change will impact our daily lives. But as we go forward; as we build our movement, our bases of support, and our networks, there are also lines we must draw within the struggles that we find ourselves in today.
The first line is against respectability politics, a desire to simply “get power to listen” or the media to cover our stories and to play nice in order to create ‘change.’ Power doesn’t care. The media doesn’t give a fuck. If you seriously are wondering why corporations that make billions off of prison slavery aren’t covering the #PrisonStrike through the media channels that they own, then wake up now. We need our own organizations, our own media, our own ways of meeting basic needs. Let’s stop begging them, or even more pathetic, attempting to “shame them” for behaving like they have behaved since the beginning of time. To paraphrase Noam Chomsky, it’s pointless to become upset that elite institutions behave like elite institutions; for as apparatuses that exist to perpetuate elite interests, they cannot be expected to change – they can only be destroyed.
Respectability politics must be confronted and smashed. Whether in fighting a pipeline or during an anti-police uprising or organizing on the job, respectability politics exists as a means to make nice with power in order to smooth over struggle and insurgency. We must make a critical change of thought in our heads – and in our actions, that we are fighting for our lives and also building something new, not fighting for piecemeal changes. The time for that is over. As some friends wrote:
To any moral preoccupation, to any concern for purity, we substitute the collective working out of a strategy. Only that which impedes the increase of our strength is bad.
The second line is against putting one single more second of energy into electoral politics or the state itself. Those that went from Bernie to Stein to whoever are wasting everyone’s time, money, and resources. As the attempt to elect Bernie has shown, using the path of electoralism, even within one of the two established parities, is a complete dead end. The only way left is the street. It’s time to build a movement that can fight, take territory, space, and power, and win. Those that tell us to head back into the institutions and to stop fighting (such as Jill Stein) need to deserted en masse.
The third line is one that must be drawn especially in the white working-class, which is to push a class war politic that addresses the realities of working-class life in white areas but also connects it out to communities of color facing similar challenges. While things like gun ownership might be a “big issue” among many working-class whites, as long as we aren’t also talking about jobs, housing, education, and the cost of living with people, we will allow the field of discussion to be regulated to things like guns, immigration, and trans people using a bathroom. Class issues have been suppressed in the media and politics – for all people, we’ve got to work hard to bring those back in all communities in order to bring people together. As CrimethInc. wrote:
Fighting white supremacy in this context means spreading the clashes with the authorities, while crushing autonomous racist initiatives wherever they appear. It means confronting fascists—an essentially rearguard battle—but it also means taking the initiative in attacking capitalism and the state, intensifying the struggles we are already in. Only by foregrounding anarchist solutions to the problems of poor people, including poor white people, can we make it impossible for racists to recruit from the ranks of the poor, white, and angry.
In short: class war, not race war. We may have less time than we know.
Let’s get to it.