They shut off my water last night, and it’s still off today. The leak is at my neighbor’s house, not mine, but the plumbers had to cut off the whole lot. However well-meaning our Planning Department might be, when it comes to building codes Albuquerque is casual at best.
I live in a casita , what you might call an “in-law” apartment. One of a couple outbuildings on a single-family lot. I have my own kitchen and bath, but apparently we share a single water line. I’m not complaining. I’m used to camping. The building manager brought me a couple gallons of drinking water. Add that to the liters stacked neurotically in the broom closet, and I’ll be fine.
Besides, what good would it do to complain? The owners live in California, they could give a shit. They put the place on the market last month. What do they care if we dry up or drown? The plumbers will be done sooner or later, and the building will sell.
The neighborhood’s being gentrified at the whim of one developer, who installed an overpriced cafe and a substandard brewery on adjacent corners. I guess he needed a “third place”. You know: work, home, and a place to flex on the hoes. (Allegedly.)
I’m at that cafe now, of course. This is America, you can’t just take a shit in the alley. You’ll get run over, for one thing.
This is the efficiency of the market. It’s working exactly as designed. The rich get richer, in good times and bad, and the rest of us are supposed to dehydrate and wait out the apocalypse.
An apocalypse which has already begun, remember. One recent climate model shows that a hundred more years of fossil fuels might end the formation of clouds . Not storm clouds, unfortunately, but stratocumulus clouds: the puffy layers that shade and cool the earth. This would unleash a feedback loop leading to 12℃ warming, triple the current worst-case scenario.
Even if we don’t lose the clouds, business as usual will turn this high-desert city, with its glittering cottonwood leaves and earth-quenching summer storms, into a parched wasteland not even fit for fleas.
This will not stand. Climate rebels around the world are getting arrested as I write. They’re pressuring their governments to enforce the social contract, to protect us all from the callous whims of billionaires. And they’re asking us all to join.
Extinction Rebellion is a direct-action movement against climate change. ( I wrote you about it in May ). They’re disrupting the economies of cities around the world because they know that when money talks, governments listen. By forcing the conversation on politicians and corporate executives, they shift the frame. No longer can the Davos set define the meaning of “sustainability”.
This is narrative warfare, and it’s designed to self-replicate. To be a climate rebel all you have to do is public, non-violent civil disobedience that spreads the XR demands: tell the truth about climate change; act now to stop it; give power to the people, not the politicians .
The viral nature of this open-source insurgency allows for mutation. In the USA, with our bloodstained history, a fourth demand was needed: justice, in this transition, for the people who have suffered the most . In the group Animal Rebellion, the demands are aligned with the force of food justice and the plant-based food movement. Each blockade at Westminster today has its own kitchen, with names like Power in Truth, The Future is Here, and Burning Earth. The DNA of the movement persists through its many faces.
However the hipster anarchists may scoff, this is a real moment. XR is fighting for truly global policy changes. It provides a Schelling point, a common flag that people of any nation can gather around. Crucially, it opens physical space for the conversation. This was the lesson of the Occupy movement: by deterritorializing a space, freeing it from the control of the mindfuck machine, we break people from the trance state installed by this engineered environment. (And unlike the Occupy movement, XR has clear demands.)
Why should the state fair be able to block traffic, with their horses and tractors and fields of cowboy hats, but not the people who are speaking against the fossil-fueled murders of billions of people? These mass actions, and the arrests they will precipitate, reveal the contradictions of the world-system. The people who block streets today will feel their collective power. They will become part of an egregore, a voluntary construct, an abstract force capable of battling oligarchy and capitalism in thoughtspace.
The world is in flux. The great beasts of the 21st century have risen from the deeps and showed their hideous faces. Along with other, less-non-violent protests popping off in Hong Kong, Iraq, Ecuador and Haiti and mmore, these XR actions may be rehearsal for a world revolution to come.
On the other hand, to build this collective power we will have to overcome the alienation of consumer culture. For instance, if I want to take up arms against my landlord and stand up for tenant’s rights, I might have actually talk to my neighbors…
Thanks for reading,
###### SCIOPS is a weekly letter which is completely fiction and any resemblance to actual events or people is purely coincidental. Feel free to forward it, or share it, or wheat-paste it to a wall. You can find a web version of the latest letter here , or view the archive here .
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