America has erupted in flames, in shooting and gassing and death. Our cold civil war has reached a tipping point. It was inevitable, because the prosperity of this country was built on the backs of black people, and the bloodthirsty supremacist state will not stop killing them.

And with 30% unemployment, and a pandemic, and a tyrannical government that took this opportunity to pillage yet more wealth from the people of this country and give it to their corporate masters, tensions are too high for a recuperation. A positive feedback loop has begun, an eruption of rage and desire that is mirrored in cities around the country and around the world. We have entered what historians call The Cool Zone :

“a period in history that’s super cool to read about, but much less cool to live through.”

The one thing a government is supposed to be good at is protecting those who it considers citizens. But in the last three months we’ve seen who America considers citizens: corporations, billionaires, police, and politicians. They got us all to hide in our homes, for the very real reason of pandemic, but they couldn’t resist looting the world while no one could stop them. Now they’re telling us to return to work, and if you step out of line, the boys in blue will kneel on your neck.

I’ve been saying that America is a police state since I was fifteen years old. This has made me popular at family gatherings, I assure you. (The trick is to sit at the kids’ table. Kids have not yet developed complex self-bullshitting mechanisms like the rest of us.) But now everyone can see it. The police are on a rampage across the country, attacking anyone who questions their unimpeded killing power. Now the mask is off.

The mayors and governors and police chiefs don’t care about you. At best, they see you as a follower; at worst, a nuisance. An individual, indistinguishable Voter, a member of the Public who can have an Opinion, a Citizen of the Battlespace who is Subject to the Rule of Law.

Our rulers are not all evil, though none are free from its stain. They’re just human. Their little monkey brains can’t give a shit about every single person they’re responsible for. Too many people jostle for their attention, too many billionaires and lobbyists, too many algorithms and demographics and data points. No one person can understand it. So they do what humans have always done in times of chaos: simplify the world to Us and Them, and plan the complete defeat of Them.

In the coming weeks, a lot of megaphones will be shouting division from on high. The elite already know their plan, who’s in-group and who’s out. They want to confuse the rest of us. Let us fight each other. They would like a civil war just fine, as long as they remain safe in their bunkers, as long as they control the satellites and nukes and strategic AI.

They don’t think they need us, after all. The rate of automation will increase and they can operate the world by robots. Send robots to Mars, upload their brains into robots while the rest of us fight and kill each other in a plague-ridden desert battleworld.

We hear that there are “outside agitators” causing protests in every city around the country. Where are these agitators coming from? Did they all swap cities? Are they from Space? From Hell? How do they pass among us?

Meanwhile the cops are dropping off pallets of bricks near protest. They’re smashing up their own cars, shooting at people with “less lethal” weapons, turning a blind eye to lynchings. Agitating, instigating, attacking. All to make the common people of this country afraid of each other.

How desperate must the masters be, to gaslight us so brazenly? This hand-wringing narrative, “violent accelerationists disguised among peaceful protestors”, this is a mind trap, to make us mistrust each other. In psychological warfare this is called FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. We must strengthen our resolve against it.

We know who the real instigators are: the police, the military, the white supremacist gun clubs. The occupying force, swaggering around our cities with guns, patrolling us in armored vehicles and helicopters. The inevitable has occurred: the Forever War has come to “liberate” the United States. Those who would shelter in bunkers and green zones see the cops as their bodyguards, and the rest of us as agitators from the Outside.

What does this mean for the future? The summer will be hot and the people unemployed: there will be more protests, there will be more riots. The pandemic will not end – in fact there will be another surge in hospitalizations and deaths in June and July, from the states that have unlocked their economies and from the protests alike.

The food supply will be shaky over the next year, and next year’s growing season will make or break a lot of people’s lives. The storms and the heat this summer will be bad, made worse everywhere that infrastructure begins to fail.

All of this was already locked in by the pandemic and the corrupt, backhanded or incompetent responses at all levels. Now many more variables have come into play. The federal government may double down on the fascism attempt to strong-arm an election, or fall apart into a failed state and a military coup. The surveillance companies and fulfillment megacorps have to walk a tightrope of allegiance to the USA while being ready to bail any minute into global markets. We may watch the White House live on Twitter.

It’s okay. America was already in a bad way. Admitting it doesn’t make it worse. It helps you prepare for the next steps.

There are at least two crossroads right now. One is the climate collapse, of which the virus is a symptom. How we deal with that is hard but known: we stop using fossil fuels, stop building new concrete buildings everywhere, and reforest the earth. Will we do it, has been the question, and the answer so far has been a solid No. We have ten years left to change course.

The other is the problem of inequality. Inequality in civil rights, in the enforcement of those rights, in the distribution of wealth and income and power and prestige. Black people have known this longer than anyone, and those of us who were raised to think we’re the “middle class” need to listen to their experience, because we’re all in the same boat now. The rich own everything, they own the machines and the software and the politicians and the laws and the police and the guns and the many many bullets that our society has been hell-bent on producing for the last hundred years. The rest of us, the Outside Agitators? All we have is each other.

Whether or not we manage to fix the climate, or just mitigate and survive its collapse, is intricately entwined with the struggle for equality. If we let the richest among us, the people who have had to do the most cruel and unjust things to maintain their power, who have been the furthest from consequence and accountability, if these people decide what to do with our planet for any longer they will kill us all. Rather, they will let us die, ignore our screams, as they live out their dreams in a world of pure imagination.

We must not be divided. We must look at every other person and see a talking ape, just like us. Each of us is wounded, every day, by the deliberate decisions of smooth-faced men at a distance. We must see ourselves, and others, as people with the capacity to change. We must look beyond superficial distractions, feel a duty to help each other. This is how we will survive, in the end, either way.

But if we can wrest the steering wheel from the adrenachrome grip of the idiot-kings, we might have a chance to actually turn this thing around. We could live in re-greened cities, sun-dappled forests overrunning concrete ruins, where food is plentiful, where you work at fixing the earth twenty hours a week and spend the rest of your time crafting, building, playing, eating, conversing. A decent place, a good place, a new place. Not America. A place less grandiose, and less aggressive. An example to the world, finally, of what freedom and equality could mean.

This isn’t a superhero movie. It doesn’t start with you knowing everything and having a plan and end with you saving the day. It starts with you waking up again not dead, listening to the song of birds or the rattle of helicopters, and thinking about the world you want to live in, the world you want to hand over to the millions of children who are just finding out, wide-eyed with shock, what kind of world they were born into.

It starts with you asking your neighbors, your friends, family: are you okay? How can I help?

It starts with you speaking up, when you need help, when you feel isolated and misunderstood. We are all feeling it, this dark lightning that tears apart the world of illusion and reveals the secret war that was here all along. We are collectively awakening, collectively grieving, collectively shedding our false identities.

The human individual has been breached. Our minds are connected in a global web of instant communication. And as we know now, our bodies are connected too. We will all experience ego death as we come to terms with this. We are in a planetary liminal space.

Whatever makes it out of the twenty-first century will not be the kind of human that came into it. We are going to merge, and schism, and quake with pain as we go through this transition. But if there’s one consolation of becoming a weird global hive-mind, it’s that we’re not alone. We are going to figure this out together.

Thanks for reading,

— Max


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