Isn’t it neat how the Mueller and Brexit stories wrapped up at the same time? I mean, for a certain definition of “wrapped”. And a certain definition of “neat”.
The effects will continue to ramify, but both stories have climaxed and all that’s left is to see where the pieces fall. No collusion. No deal.
I’m not running a victory lap. I’m not one of these klout-chasing pundits that gets a book deal for being right. I’m not here to say I told you so. I’m just glad that 2016 is finally over, so everyone can catch up to the disasters of the actual moment.
So if you’ve been living in a stupor for the last few years, following the plot as these characters struggle through their conflicts, I’d like to welcome you back to the world. The Wall fell thirty years ago and the sun set on Britain forty years before that. We are not in a Cold War between nuclear states. We are in active combat with our own governments. The spies do not serve our interests against other spies. They serve each other, against us.
I hope, dear readers, that you’re ready to build a new narrative together. I know I am. I’ve been waiting for this shitty spy movie to end since the moment the lights went down.
In the summer of 2016 I was so ready to believe the world was ending. I was on the second of what would be three evictions in one year. I had just moved from a lonesome cabin in the mountains to a one-bathroom apartment that I would share with five to seven other indigent workers/musicians/thieves. Fortunately for me (and for the plumbing), everyone shortly embarked on summer music/work/crime tours, and I was left alone to protect the place from such villians as the landlady, the cops, ‘the downstairs people’ and ‘the Jehovahs’.
The town was half-abandoned. It was a train town in a mountain pass, all its glory stolen by the interstate, its cruel salvation the tourists who came to gawk at its crumbling facades. Living in an industrial ruin has its appeal, to be sure. But it made clear to me what would remain invisible to so many for so long: British Exit and Candidate Drumpf were not anomalies. They were the new normal. The world, as we knew it, was actually ending.
Not that I liked that world very much. I’d tried very hard to leave it, in the five years since Occupy. I spent my time squatting, hitchhiking, farming and living communally. I knew another world was possible and I wanted to start building it. But the war machine kept burning, and eventually I realized escape was impossible. Capital has captured every corner of the planet. The only way out is through.
So there, to the soundtrack of air brakes and opiod ODs, I plugged myself into the internet and watched as the dark mages wove their web of deception.
If you think that the last few years have been about cultural divides, you’re missing the point. The thing that caught my attention about the 2016 election was not the racism, or the graceless clusterfuck of democracy. Nothing new, and if you were surprised by either that’s on you. Same with the idea that a pudding-brain bully with no qualifications except inheritance could become president. Did you forget Bush?
During the very first Red Team primary I blurted “That fucking clown is going to be President” and started to cackle. He was the perfect picture of the America that I know. The America that throws a full beer can at you from the window of a speeding truck. The America that arrests you for being broke and then charges you for the privilege of imprisonment. The America that topples countries for their oil and loans them money to get back on their feet.
Of course, the well-meaning progressives around me were horrified. “Don’t say that,” they hissed. As if my saying it would cause it to happen. It scared them because they could sense the truth of it.
Boomers don’t like to think that the world got worse on their watch. And it’s not all their fault: the fossil-fuel problem was set in motion centuries ago. Civil rights, Vietnam, women in the workplace, all good stuff too. Here’s your participation trophy. But while everyone was getting their touchy-feely on, the rich were eating your lunch and poisoning your air. Real wages have been stagnant since Nixon left office. The phrase ‘global warming’ was invented in 1975. Margaret fucking Thatcher called for a global treaty on climate change the year I was born . But somehow it was more important for all these yuppies to fully self-actualize their individual potential than to steward a common resource like the god damn atmosphere.
So those who benefit from the status quo, the technocrats and professionals and talking heads, the Boomers that won, they refused to understand what these populist movements were about. Yes, xenophobia and reactionary dogmas. Yes, white supremacy. But that’s not new. That’s not why the world turned upside down. It’s because capitalism is in endgame. There’s nothing left to extract but our souls.
What we’re living through is nothing less than the reorganization of the material conditions of the planet. It could be a renaissance, or it could be a coup.
The reason TV Man is president is not because misogynists and white supremacists rallied the vote. They came out in the same numbers as always. It’s because Blue Team stayed home.
Why did they do that? The years since the election have been standing-room-only for hand-wringing pundits and apologetic pollsters, desperately spitballing for answers that don’t implicate themselves or their advertisers. They’ve got charts of conspiracies as insipid as Alex Jones or Glenn Beck. Wikipedia has hundreds of thousands of words on the subject, across articles such as “Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections”, “Timeline of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections”, “Special Counsel investigation, 2017-2019”, “Timeline of investigations into Trump and Russia (2017)” [and its sisters “…(2018)” and “…(2019)”], “Links between Trump associates and Russian officials”, and of course “Trump-Russia dossier”. Between the deliberate lies and the mass confusion, it seems like no one can explain what happened to That Darn Election.
But it’s simple.
The people who Decide These Things had decided that the Blue Team nomination would go to Her, and thus it was Decided. And a lot of people desperately wanted it to be Her Turn because Her was a She, even though She was still a war hawk and bank shill and would not serve their class interest one bit. So when the Crusty Muppet from the balcony started yelling about class consciousness, it was Decided that he would be Destroyed and So It Would Be. But then he was not destroyed, for many people could see the Zeitgeist and knew that the Crusty Muppet was the only way of defeating the Ass Penguin. Yet despite the Obvious Zeitgeist of class warfare, the Deciders doubled down on being With Her and they made Decisions to keep it that way.
Meanwhile, the Red Team’s Deciders were in similar panic. They marshaled against the Ass Penguin but were decimated before the force of his Media Attention and his lip service to the Blatant Zeitgeist. A few Deciders threw their lot in with his, and in panic many scurried under the Ass Penguin’s protective wing. Naturally the rich have no reason to act against their own class interest, but they also have no morals so there’s no reason not to take a populist line if it helps get elected.
The remaining Deciders from both Teams, especially the ones who like adventuresome wars and living in flying penthouses over international waters, joined forces to find some way to slime the Ass Penguin out of the running. It didn’t work. Their beloved Her was slimed just as hard, and the Crusty Muppet was no longer in a position to save them.
The people voted, some for Her, some for the Penguin. But many voted for Nobody. They voted in their class interest. They refused the empty choice of two evils. A noble protest, perhaps, but inevitably it led the Eviler Evil getting its nasty way.
To the dismay of both the war industry and the second-wave feminists, the Ass Penguin was president. The two groups held each other tightly, whispering comforting nonsense, and the rest of civil society joined them in a group hug of paranoid bliss. Off to the races, how can we possibly explain this bizarre occurrence , to fail to say in 400,000 words what I just did in 400, and to positively fill the airwaves with their magnanimous blabber.
The Crusty Muppet has been the most popular Senator in America for the last three years.
The magic spell of the End of History has been broken. The curse of the Fallen Towers has done its dark work to American ideals. The communal belief that was so long tied up in these fetid institutions is unmoored. Demons irrupt into our world.
Remember that stage full of Red Team primary candidates? The first one, in 2015, where there were so many people they couldn’t fit them all in one shot? That’s what happens when a narrative is unbound. Its energy is freed, and the parasites frenzy.
We see the same pattern in the Blue Team this year, dozens of spinmasters slinging spells to capture this potent power. Now they stumble, as the trance of Russiagate clears from their eyes. Now is our chance.
The spooks and plutocrats who peddled this narrative aren’t giving up. They’d hoped to put President Penguin in prison, but that wasn’t the real point. The point was to delay and distract the lower classes while the rich shuffled their shell corporations and laundered their assets. Remember that bitcoin bubble?
Now they’re going mask off again. We have to be ready with our own incantation. We have to say, again and again, “M A T E R I A L C O N D I T I O N S”. We have to ask, “who gets to eat?” We must demand, “where did the money go?”
We take all of the floating belief and we say: no one goes hungry, no one stays sick. No one gets rich from the labor of others. We make life better, for everyone, for ever, and we do it together. It’s the only story that will survive this century. We start telling it today.
Thanks for reading, and for everything else you do.
###### SCIOPS is a weekly letter about me being right and telling you so, la la la. And other stuff. Feel free to forward it, or share it, or claim you had these ideas all along. You can find a web version of the latest letter here , or view the archive here .
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