Filed under: Making Monsters
Imagine turning on the news to firey images of a city 100 miles from you reduced to ash. A tearful news anchor tells you your city is next, that you only have an hour to live. You’re definitely going to die.
But not everyone is going to die. Some escape this Armageddon by means of a private jet, where the screaming of expendables is drowned out by luxury noise-canceling headphones.
Headed to safety with plenty of legroom, these passengers take expensive sedatives as the jet takes off down the runway.
Hours later, they find themselves underground playing video games in a nicely-adorned apocalyptic bunker, secure from the blast which incinerated you and everyone else.
“American Horror Story” premiered its 8th season, “Apocalypse,” with this type of haunting imagery in September 2018, but what made it most horrifying was not the graphics — it was the accuracy.
In the show, billionaire families spend millions of dollars to reserve their space in an underground apocalyptic bunker, and this is no different than in the world off-screen. A 2017 CNN article addresses the phenomena of the world’s wealthiest people buying and designing luxury doomsday bunkers. Unlike in “American Horror Story,” these bunkers are not gray basements with flickering lights and expired preservatives. They can contain pools, smart home technology, luxury furniture and entertainment options.
Some of these bunkers are personally-owned, but the majority of doomsday bunkers are owned and operated by private companies who are cashing in on the fear and paranoia, or perhaps preparedness, of doomsday preppers.
Vivos is one such company. Its xPoint facility in South Dakota starts at a surprisingly low price of $25 thousand and serves as an underground community of survivalists. A map on the site says the facility’s location is safe from global warming-induced flooding, a Yellowstone volcanic eruption and nuclear blasts. The map highlights other areas of the country in what it refers to as “high crime anarchy zones.” The map does not specify if the ‘crimes’ are violent or dangerous in nature.
The website lists several possible reasons for the apocalypse, with nuclear warfare and biological warfare being the first listed. Also appearing on the list are acts of terrorism, solar flares, a pole shift, a comet smashing into Earth and a supervolcanic explosion. The site also lists Anarchy as a potential factor, stating:
“Following an economic meltdown, the government will not be capable of providing adequate police and social support. Without extreme emergency measures, there will be hunger, sickness, death, and destruction everywhere you turn.”
What Vivos fails to understand — besides the definition of anarchy — is that these atrocities are already happening all around us, often directly at the hands of governmental bodies. The loss of electricity and modern technology, the loss of a stable income and food security — assuming these were had in the first place — has nothing to with anarchist ideology.
Global warming perpetuated by the world’s biggest corporations and the animal agriculture industry will cause Armageddon. Nuclear or biological warfare waged by governments and war profiteers will cause Armageddon. Ending the reign of billionaires and corporate politicians through well-planned anarchist organizing will not cause Armageddon, it will prevent it,
… but I digress.
Rising S Company also makes bunkers and their options are vast. To install a small bunker — think upgraded personal storm shelter — starts at $45 thousand. For a 10 by 20 standard base model bunker consumers pay $58 thousand. This model includes a dining table, bunk beds, a TV, a small sink and stove, shelving units, a small closet and a mini bathroom with a toilet and shower. Basically, it’s an underground, bomb-proof hotel room.
On the other end lies Rising’s most expensive bunker, an $8.5 million complex complete with a game room, garage, hot tub and pool, bowling alley, gun range, sauna and gym.
The world’s largest privately-owned bunker, however, can be found in the Chez Republic. The Oppidum is a luxury bunker for billionaires. To even access the website requires a code or a submitted request.
Once approved, the website is very similar to those of its competitors, flashing images of designer furniture and enormous floor plans juxtaposed with images of fiery explosions and armed gunmen.
While prices like $25 thousand and $45 thousand may actually be affordable for the ever-fading middle-class, they certainly are not for 71% of the world’s population, who Pew Research Center defines as either low-income or poor.
Beyond this, it is important to remember that the capitalist nature of privately-owned bunker businesses means that in the event of an apocalypse, predatory companies will likely raise prices to meet the unprecedented increase in demand. When literally everyone in the world wants what you’re selling, you can charge whatever you please.
If Armageddon were to strike tomorrow, we know exactly how the events would play out. Joan Collins and Evan Peters have already shown us that.
The rich are not diverse enough to rebuild humanity. They are not compassionate enough to rebuild humanity. A world where the only people left are a few thousand billionaires is a world that holds absolutely no moral or cultural value.
Every day for thousands of years, the desires and whims of the ruling class have taken precedence over the lives of the oppressed. Nothing demonstrates this better than the existence of apocalyptic shelters that could hold thousands of human lives being instead designed like luxurious yachts. Doomsday bunkers must be designed to store people, not pool tables and overpriced amenities. While entire cultures, communities and species are decimated, a select few will sit in their underground mansions and pretend the problems of the poor don’t exist, no different than they do now.
In an article for Medium titled “Survival of the Richest” tech insider Douglas Rushkoff shares an experience when he was invited to discuss the future of technology with an anonymous group of tech tycoons. Rushkoff recounts a deeply troubling discussion in which he was asked questions like how to maintain authority over armed forces in a hypothetical apocalyptic famine:
“They were not interested in how to avoid a calamity; they’re convinced we are too far gone,” Rushkoff writes. “For all their wealth and power, they don’t believe they can affect the future. They are simply accepting the darkest of all scenarios and then bringing whatever money and technology they can employ to insulate themselves — especially if they can’t get a seat on the rocket to Mars.”
The rocket to Mars Rushkoff mentions here is currently being planned by private company SpaceX, owned by billionaire Elon Musk. The Infographics show has a video soley about Musk’s company and his plans to colonize Mars, which he has ‘jokingly’ discussed becoming the ruler of. Of course, the only people who will be able to afford Musk’s rocket trips are other billionaires, meaning his hypothetical colony would be comprised of the ruling elite.
It is clear that the only people in positions of power great enough to significantly change the lives of poor and working-class people for the better have absolutely no desire to do so, and in fact, profit off of their exploitation. This pattern of class struggle is as old as human civilization, but the environmental impacts of global industrialization means that time is running out.
Therefore, apocalyptic bunkers must be owned collectively by global communities and should be designed to hold as many people as possible in order to actually serve as safe spaces for humanity in the event of Armageddon. Potential colonizers of Mars should be selected based on psychological screening tests and desired skills – nursing, teaching, counseling, construction, etc. – or perhaps by completely random sampling – but not by who bids highest.
Most importantly, if humanity is to prevent a climate-induced extinction event, activists and regular working people must stop fossil fuel production, break up the oil and animal agriculture industries, dismantle the military-industrial complex and all of its bombs, end plastic production, deforestation and so much more.
Radicals understand that unless we redistribute the world’s resources and power to those who need it most — unless we prioritize humanity over profit — we will continue to lose ecosystems and human lives, and that’s if there is an apocalypse, most of us will not make it. Our challenge is to make everyone else understand that.