In the world that late-stage capitalism is leading us towards, lower class people, especially ones who’ve set themselves up against the capitalist state and the forces of imperialism, will be fighting a war for our survival. But through this war we can find vitality. We can forge a path that goes against the ever-encroaching forces of necro-politics, instead of being complacent in the process of dehumanization and growing systemic misery.
To prepare for this fight, first look at the current situation: during the worst economic crisis in the last century, the U.S. government just begrudgingly passed a stimulus that will give people $600, half of what was given out in the previous stimulus. The government is also dealing with the looming eviction crisis by passing a stopgap measure that will only temporarily stave off the descent of millions into homelessness, all while evictions keep quietly slipping through the cracks. Water is now being traded as a commodity on Wall Street amid fears of scarcity. The next administration plans to enact more austerity, as well as to revive a trade deal that will further strip workers of rights while giving multinational corporations even more impunity. We’re sliding into a future where we’ll have to fend for ourselves during the era of climate collapse.
“The belief that we can maintain current levels of consumption, especially of animal products, capitalist expansion, imperial wars, a reliance on fossil fuels and abject subservience to unfettered corporate power, which has solidified the worst income inequality in human history, is not a form of hope but suicidal self-delusion,” writes Chris Hedges as the Biden transition continues. “We are not headed under the policies of the Biden administration and the global ruling elite for the broad sunlit uplands of a new and glorious future, but economic misery, vast climate migrations, waves of new and more virulent pandemics, of which COVID-19 is a mild precursor, along with irreversible ecological systems collapse and frightening forms of societal breakdown, authoritarianism and neofascism.”
This is the lens through which we should look while we all try to do what’s in our best interests: our society is headed inexorably towards the environment of instability and destruction that we now see in Yemen, Libya, and the other countries that the U.S. empire has destabilized. Why do you think U.S. billionaires have been building secluded doomsday shelters in recent years, and have already retreated into them to an extent during this last year of pandemic and growing unrest?
Because of its role as the core of global imperialism, and its consequential lack of public health services amid unparalleled military spending, the U.S. is prime territory for late-stage capitalist collapse. This exceptional American vulnerability to crises has been shown in the fact that the U.S. has undergone over 300 thousand pandemic deaths so far, much more than has been the case for any other country. When the crises get too big, the rich will abandon this country-or at least the vast majority of its land-and make it into another sacrifice zone.
“Across the United States, some 162 million people — nearly one in two — will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water,” environmental reporter Abrahm Lustgarten wrote this September, when wildfires were sweeping the west coast amid deep failures by our neoliberal infrastructure to manage the humanitarian disaster. “For 93 million of them, the changes could be particularly severe, and by 2070, our analysis suggests, if carbon emissions rise at extreme levels, at least four million Americans could find themselves living at the fringe, in places decidedly outside the ideal niche for human life. The cost of resisting the new climate reality is mounting. Florida officials have already acknowledged that defending some roadways against the sea will be unaffordable. And the nation’s federal flood-insurance program is for the first time requiring that some of its payouts be used to retreat from climate threats across the country. It will soon prove too expensive to maintain the status quo. Then what?”
Then we’ll have to claw our way towards survival, and ultimately towards defeating a state that will be doing all it can to wipe many of us off the face of the earth. Expect the ICE concentration camps to morph into far larger projects of mass imprisonment and extermination. Expect the police and military, along with their partnered militias, to enact terror campaigns against marginalized groups and people with radical political affiliations. Expect the entire internal structure of imperialism to come after you, like how Germany’s wounded imperialist regime went after the undesirables during a frantic bid to build its war machine back up.
For the United States, this reactive attempt at retaining power through militarism will run through big tech, which is incidentally the industry that’s building upon the surveillance state and carrying out increasing censorship against anti-imperialists. The “fourth industrial revolution,” as corporate propagandists are calling this embrace of technology to maintain social control, is going to largely take place throughout the Biden era; cloaked in the liberal guises of environmentalism and humanitarianism, big tech will make daily life more intensely surveilled while building up the war machine. At the same time, the online censorship campaign and the police state will be expanded by Biden’s liberal technocrats. Then when a far-right demagogue like Tom Cotton comes to power in 2024 or 2028, these systems will be used to clamp down on the population like never before.
Use this time to get physically fit and trained for combat situations. Use it to read theory and collect books from history’s authorities on proletarian struggle. Use it to form groups in your local area that consist of other Marxists, ones who you can trust to fight alongside you after things pop off. Get stocked up on the medical equipment, armor, and weapons that we’ll need to survive. Gather together the radio-based communications equipment that we’ll need to communicate should the government shut off our internet access in the event of a crisis. Gather the materials that you would need to camp in the wilderness with your group’s other members for an extended period of time. Create maps that tell you where you could escape to should the government become likely to try to detain you, and that shows where the police and military centers are in your area.
As the communist YouTuber Hakim said during the start of this year’s civil unrest and the resulting state backlash, “Arm yourselves. Establish armed wings of revolutionary organizations. Start coordinating armed actions across the country with as many organizations as you can. Remember, never terrorist activity-only military and state targets. Establish Red bases around the country, and begin building dual power. People’s war is the solution.”
The Pentagon already anticipates a near future where scenarios like these will emerge. In recent years, it’s been putting out reports that warn of nationwide power grid failures, climate-related disease outbreaks, extreme unemployment, growing slums, and refugee-producing natural disasters hitting the country within the next few decades. The diagnosis of the military technocrats behind these reports has been to invade and occupy the impacted areas, truly making America’s wars come home as the fallout from the climate crisis continues.
“Even in rich neighborhoods, abandoned houses will linger like ghosts, filling with feral cats and other refugees looking for their own higher ground,” Jeff Goodell writes in The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized World. “It will have a metallic sheen and will smell bad. Kids will get strange rashes and fevers. More people will leave. Seawalls will crumble. In a few decades, low-lying neighborhoods will be knee-deep. Wooden houses will collapse into a sea of soda bottles, laundry detergent jugs, and plastic toothbrushes. Human bones, floated out of caskets, will be a common sight. Treasure hunters will kayak in, using small robotic submersibles to search for coins and jewelry. Modern office buildings and condo towers will lean as salt water corrodes the concrete foundations and eats away at the structural beams. Fish will school in the classrooms. Oysters will grow on submerged light poles. Religious leaders will blame sinners for the drowning of the city.”
These are the conditions we’re going to face. Embrace the war for your survival and liberation. Embrace the idea of sacrifice. You have the potential to become an active agent within history.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.