My teenage son Max and I are having a lively discussion over Balaclavas, the spicy dish made famous during the Great Uprising. He cringes as I relive a past agony–negotiating with a ‘customer service representative’ over erroneous, probably illicit, credit card charges. He is empathetic, if also a bit embarrassed for me.
“What,” he asks, “is a ‘customer service representative’, again?”
I try to explain it,”they were disembodied ghouls who…oh, forget it.”
I pause, then try a different tack, “remember when you were six-years-old and we visited that Museum in Portland and you asked me what that black thing on the wall was?”
In my mind’s eye Max points to a rotary dial telephone from the 20th century mounted on a display board. I share the image with him.
“I know what a telephone was,” he insists.
“Right,” I say, “But ‘phone’ to you meant a cell phone, not that thing on the wall, just as the notion of charging me money for something I need is so foreign and absurd to you now.”
“Yeah, that part–how food and and shoes!? were bought and sold and many people didn’t have either. And then if you did have them, in order to keep them, you would starve yourself of everything else money couldn’t buy.” He exclaims.
“That’s a good way of putting it,” I respond.
“Here’s another: The misery of wage labor, of private property and markets became so common that to suggest anything different became unthinkable. There was even an acronym for this: TINA–There Is No Alternative. But, of course, there was, and it is only by understanding how difficult it was to imagine something better that we never again find ourselves at the mercy of money.”
“Ok, Pops,” Max says. “So, money is the root of all evil.”
“Well, one root that anchored the weed that had to be pulled,” I reply. “There were three others to be pulled before our garden could be ready for Spring,” I add.
“Damn this is hot!” Max exclaims.
“So it was,” I nod.
Four simple and seemingly unrelated words. We now know them as the Four Loci of Attack, those iconic sign posts on the road to the Great Uprising, a tapestry of resistance, rebellion and revolution that unfolded as the greatest downward redistribution of wealth since the first Bolshevik Revolution and, before that, the United States civil war and Black Reconstruction.
As with Franklin Roosevelt’s ‘Four Freedoms’ of a bygone era–from want and fear, of religion and speech–the catchphrases reflected the theoretical foundation upon which they rested. But if Roosevelt’s ‘Four Freedoms’ were rooted in the United States Constitution, this 21st century revolution would be anchored in a different document, the Theses of Disambiguation, the first of which is so familiar to us all: “From each according to ability, to each according to need.” This precept, traced back some centuries and throughout many cultures, is the first of the theses (could it have been otherwise?)
There were, and continue to be, different variations on the central themes at work in the Four Loci of Attack.
“Head, Heart, Hands and Feet,” the sing-a-long plucked from radical pedagogy may not have preserved the particular order of battle many historians hold was so essential to the revolution’s success, but it did allow for the appropriate analogy: Border is to Feet, as Manse is to Heart, Factory to Hands, and Bit to Head.
That this transposition would spur millions of teenage Fortnite gamers to hack their virtual world so as to coordinate real world attacks and initiate the final struggle with Peter Thiel’s paramilitary Poundists was outside everyone’s thought world. How, how?!–did that happen?
There were so many rapid and unanticipated developments–new social actors, untethered discourses, clashes along bizarre battle lines–that entire disciplines would be upended trying to explain how what transpired came about.
But it did come about.
Even today we still debate where and when the proverbial writing on the wall first appeared, and who wrote it.
‘Learn To Swim’ scrawled on estate walls would prove to be prescient.
‘Are We There Yet?’ no longer the question of a cloying adolescent, but a statement full of mirth and resolve.
‘The Future Is Here–It Awaits Redistribution,’ yet another.
As with many of the great questions of history there is no definitive answer. The answer will forever change, as we do. But, one must try, no?
The burning questions the movement had to confront and overcome were answered in victory. But it is useful to revisit them so as to gauge their historical relevance anew.
Won’t the worst among us hijack the movement and plunge humanity into a new age of barbarism? Doesn’t militant resistance call down upon it the very repression it seeks to destroy? Won’t the ‘abused’ become ‘abusers’? Isn’t the terrible lesson of past utopian struggles their inevitable devolution into the ethical morass of all out war and the jettisoning of the very principles they seek to uphold? After all, had not every other radical experiment answered “no” to all these questions only to act in ways that amounted to “yes”?
So where, when and with whom did the resounding “No” originate? How and why was it different? How did the dream of a future free from “race, taste and history” come to pass?
A chronology of events can be assembled; from such an admittedly selective outline perhaps a logic as to their unfolding might better come into focus.
–A political line separating sovereign states often taking the material form of a wall.
June 1, 2018–The Summer of The Dancing Exodus
The Summer of 2018 begins with blistering heat waves and thousands of refugees forcibly reopening the land route through the Balkans and Greece; the restart of the migrant caravans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border; and, a deepening of militant memorials to the Nakba. With these signature developments the three great movements of people in the global south begin to coalesce.
June 5, 2018–Discourse
Slogans of ‘Family Reunification First’, ‘We Are All Refugees’, ‘On Demand Housing’ and ‘No More Work, So You Can Play’ begin to be shouted by wild-eyed subversives from makeshift pulpits.
June 13, 2018–The Zapatistas Move.
A contingent of Zapatistas who operate according to the now familiar ‘Militant’s Creed’, “Everything for Everyone, Nothing For Us” joins the caravan of Central American refugees with students, slum dwellers and the families of the dispossessed. In the global north sanctuary cities draw thousands of activists to vigils at border crossings, cities and towns.
June 15, 2018–Fascism Reaches For Hegemony.
‘White-ists’ in Germany, Italy, Austria and the Visegrad group–the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia–continue their march through institutions and deepen their ties. The familiar anti-Semitic trope that George Soros is the puppet master besieging white Christian Europe reaches a political threshold, with Victor Orbán it’s most visible leader. The AfD in Germany attempts ethnically cleansing neighborhoods in Berlin and Hamburg, but meets fierce resistance. Fascism begins to exert hegemony throughout these societies, but a counter movement is afoot.
June 17, 2018–Identity Disorder
Following vicious propaganda in newspapers and television linking ungrateful refugees and crime, pogroms break out in major Italian cities. Facebook first removes videos celebrating the pogroms, then reverses its decision, citing ‘national will’. “Besides,” Mark Zuckerberg quips, “it’s not extremism if everyone is out there doing it!”
The new MS-5-Lega government doesn’t need to make good on expelling 500,000 refugees–fascist mobs will drive them to the sea, saving millions of euros in the process, to the delight of the Troika.
June 22, 2018–Festivals of Resistance
Caravans form in Mali, Kurdish-held areas of Turkey, Syria and Iraq and from within the holding pens known as refugee camps in Italy and Spain. The push to expel them unites refugees on both sides of Fortress Europe and the first massive vigil featuring more than 20,000 Christians, Muslims and Jews is established on the beaches of Sicily. They are supported with thousands of aid flotillas and mobile health care units. Nothing so dramatizes this rapidly developing conscientizacao as the festivals of communitas that accompany the caravans and its border vigils.
Here, it seems, framing the right of movement in terms of fundamental human rights and survival begins to outstrip notions of charity, for which one is expected to be grateful, and access, which must be earned.
During a raucous Q & A Slavoj Zizek is shouted down by a teenager who tells Zizek that the only way to actualize sanctuary is to practice solidarity–not by reinforcing borders and walls, but by attacking them.
June 25, 2018–The Worm Turns
ICE raids in the U.S. begin to be met by unruly crowds of mothers and children. Street gangs begin targeting enforcement agents. An ICE picnic in a Texas park, replete with silhouettes of sprinting ‘illegals’ that participants shoot with paint guns, is demolished by protesters.
Thousands willfully obstruct ICE raids on meat packing plants in Illinois, Tennessee and Ohio, blocking armed raiders access to their targets.
June 28, 2018–Free Lula!
The first attempt to free Luis Ignacio da Silva from prison is rejected by Lula himself. He can run for president from jail and implores homeless activists and PT members to trust in Brazilian democracy.
June 30, 2018–Your Nightmare, Our Dream.
The Museum of Capitalism opens in the urban hellscape that is Jack London Square in Oakland, California. The point of the exhibit is to feature artistic representations of a world after capitalism. Also on this day the city of Oakland announces ground zero for their new sports stadium: Jack London Square. It will never be built.
July 4, 2018–Is It Loaded?
The National Rifle Association appears to shoot itself in the foot as their new president, Oliver North, is again investigated for funding paramilitary armies, although this time domestically–the ‘MAGA Militias’.
July 6, 2018–Comic Interlude
Sorry To Bother You opens to festive riots in such diverse locations as Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Santa Monica and Oakland, California. Director Boots Riley, of the radical hip-hop collective The Coup, avoids an assassination attempt by Atomwaffen Division fascists. Antifa militants respond in kind.
July 10, 2018–The Border Is Not Enough
The Five Eyes intelligence alliance begins mass arrests and targeted assassinations at key border conflicts. Trump sends the National Guard by the thousands to the southern border and deputizes Joe Arpaio with extrajudicial powers.
The uprising appears to reach an impasse as it stalls on the beaches of Italy, in the razor wire of Gaza and the conurbations of Juarez and Tijuana, El Paso and San Diego.
A second front emerges.
–The cradle of opulence within which the ruling class reproduces itself: “In a huff, the senator retreated to his manse in Butte—three stories, thirty-four rooms, stuffed with Tiffany glass lamps” (the novelist Timothy Egan).
It is said that the border assaults would have foundered had it not been for another totally unprecedented social phenomenon, that of a great outpouring from the slums, the barrios and the ghettos towards the direct occupation of the landed estates of the rich.
July 12, 2018–Tahir Square Redux.
Again Tahir Square is occupied, but this time primarily by slum dwellers, the real force that by the mere threat of an uprising during the 2011 Arab Spring prompted the removal of Hosni Mubarak. And they didn’t rely on Facebook to do it. This force, so often neglected and disparaged, stirs, quakes, then explodes in the Cairo Necropolis, then Dharavi in Mumbai, Neza-Chalco-Itza in Mexico City, Khayelitsha in Cape Town, throughout the favelas in Rio and Sao Paulo, and finally Shanghai, Beijing, Detroit and Los Angeles.
A gigantic pyroclastic flow of humanity swamps the borders and manses of Fortress Europe–by foot, bicycle and makeshift rickshaw, by vehicle, boat and air. Its movement appears as inexorable as a glacier, but its speed resembles nothing so much as scenes from the early 21st century film World War Z, where zombies overrun border walls.
July 15, 2018–Revolt of the Discarded
‘We Are Many–They Are Few’ heard everywhere. Squatting becomes a mass direct action tactic with a decidedly feminist component. Participants are mostly women, children, students, the elderly, disabled and infirm, the homeless and sex workers. Unforgettable images of octogenarians with canes and walkers splash across social media pages while Banksyesque graffiti heralds a movement led by those frozen outside the formal rituals required by regimes of accumulation.
Festive vigils take place at the opulent homes of those whose wealth made it impossible for the many to live. Lush gardens and manicured lawns become tent cities, golf courses host massive BBQs, the finest estate wineries in Napa and Sonoma counties with their ‘faux French’ architecture are completely surrounded by farm workers who create sublime murals in the tradition of Diego Rivera on their walls.
Gated communities become conspicuous totems for home invasions.
July 17, 2018–Standing Rock –Veteran Alliances
U.S. armed forces veterans who were active in Stand for Standing Rock during the 2016-17 Dakota Access Pipeline protests begin standing up for tribal sovereignty and standing down when National Guard units are deployed to borders or manse occupations.
Vets again form human shields to protect protestors and perform ceremonies of apology and contrition.
The esprit de corps of American armed forces doesn’t so much as weaken as it leaps head first into the Four Loci of Attack. Marines and soldiers refuse to obey unethical orders. Fragging again weakens the morale of professional soldiers throughout the capitalist core countries; ‘Citizen-soldiers’ increasingly demand explanations for jus ad bellum. “Oh shit” Jim Mattis is overheard saying with a stunned look on his face, “they want to know why? That’s the fucking kryptonite question. We’re gonna need Captain Kirk for this one.”
July 20, 2018–Cross Currents
A crucial alliance between pacifists and Antifa militants, first developed in response to the 2017 neo-Nazi riot in Charlottesville, Virginia begins to expand exponentially. Where pacifists face armed white nationalists or racist death squads, the Antifa fights a parallel battle, oftentimes violent, in their defense.
Rose City Antifa and the John Brown Gun Club disable a white nationalist terror group, it’s infiltration and dismemberment the subject of multiple hidden recording devices that chronicle the spycraft. The whole shebang is narrated by an Antifa social media collective in the style of Pewdepie, but without the juvenilia.
July 21, 2018–Moral Mondays
The Moral Monday movement in the U.S. South begins to reap the benefits of decades of patient, radical organizing. They begin ‘righteous occupations’ throughout the southern U.S. using the tried and true tactics of non-violent civil disobedience.
July 25, 2018–Free Lula!
The second attempt to free Lula is again rejected by the ex-president.
July 27, 2018–Cinema Verite’
Bong Joon-Ho, radical South Korean filmaker releases The Parasite, the satirical follow-up to his anti-imperialist film The Host. Netflix does not bankroll it and there are no adorable pigs, but Tilda Swinton is in it.
July 28, 2018–Pissing Among Giants
The annual meeting of elite tools at the Bohemian Grove in Sonoma, California is the last gathering of this kind. For the first time in history the protestors who besiege its environs are both decidedly left wing and multiracial. Alex Jones and other right-wing conspiracy theorists, mainstays of protests in earlier years, now focus on joining MAGA Militias, Thiel’s Poundists or buying more bitcoin and retreating to makeshift bunkers. The secret society’s annual ‘Cremation of Care’ ceremony assumes a decidedly non-theatrical character–participants with surnames like “Coors”, “Bechtel”, “Rumsfeld” and “Bush” are forced to flee into the Redwoods under a barrage of personalized napalm attacks, facilitated by a hack to Elon Musk’s $500 flamethrower. The fucktardery here reaches legendary proportions, symptomatic of a dominant culture gone totally insane.
July 30, 2018–All In La Familia
The Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas turn on one another in savage displays of fratricidal warfare leaving thousands dead and mutilated in the streets. Out of the wreckage left wing survivors begin providing support to caravan marchers and housing occupiers, turning their weapons on the state and right wing death squads. MS-13 militants join the effort, forming an alliance with the FMLN government in El Salvador.
August 3, 2018–Green Zone Overrun.
The Iraqi Shiite cleric Moktada al Sadr deepens his electoral alliance with the Communist Party of Iraq. The Green Zone is overrun by an interfaith coalition of revolutionaries. Sadr, in an abrupt about-face, orders Islamic academics to translate and integrate the Theses into Islamic law. The second Thesis, with an emphasis on the elimination of debt, becomes the fulcrum that supports an unprecedented theological convergence. Liberation theologians from Jewish and Christian traditions follow suit.
August 15, 2018–The Homeless Jew Living In An Elitist Shit-Den of Hate.
Gregory Stevens, the queer First Baptist Church of Palo Alto pastor run out of town for tending his flock of the homeless and exploited returns to evict the money changers from their temples. “The tech industry is motivated by endless profit, elite status, rampant greed, and the myth that their technologies are somehow always improving the world” He preaches.
August 20, 2018–The S.S. Social Democrat
Following an armed strike by workers aboard the Nation Magazine’s annual cruise off the coast of Alaska dozens of celebrity intellectuals are taken hostage. Huddled together in pensive grouplets within the ‘Africa-themed Explorer’s Bar’ most mutter about ‘horizontal vanguardism’, or ‘adventurist verticalism’ and ask if their captivity will include rations of wine–preferably of good vintage. A few guests express their solidarity by going full Stockholm Syndrome.
Another group, led by the ghost of Christopher Hitchens, calls in the U.S. Navy, but because the ship is in international waters, Blackwater mercenaries get the call. The ensuing debacle grounds, then sinks the cruise ship, hilariously named the ‘M.S. Eurodam’ or, in the gallows humor of its time, the ‘S.S. Social Democrat’.
August 25, 2018–Eat This
Two Book receptions at swank Georgetown manses are disrupted by wait staff, one featuring Pat Buchanan who is forced to eat his own feces with a pitchfork, the other featuring David Frum, who is forced to eat Pat Buchanan’s feces while standing atop a box, with a capuche on his head and electrical wires attached to his fingers.
September 5, 2018–Eloquent Yet Empty
The New York Times and Atlantic Magazine issue hyperbolic warnings about the end of democracy and a looming fascist turn by the state. Photos of refugees swamping borders, Teslas and police vehicles in flames, Van Jones in tears outside a looted mansion in Brentwood, California and, the source of seemingly endless hysterical op-eds, empty shelves at Whole Foods.
September 10, 2018–Mea Maxima Culpa
Pope Francis issues his mea culpa for failing to confront evil while a Jesuit official during the reign of the Nazi generals in 1980s Argentina. Determined not to repeat his sin the Pontiff issues a decree ordering a third Vatican Council around the Four Loci of Attack and the Theses. Within days, while the pope is washing the feet of a gay sex worker (who am I to judge?) Opus Dei conspiracists cut him down, inadvertently helping him complete a martyrdom deferred, but never abandoned.
Led by interfaith revolutionaries millions of mourners besiege that most unusual city-state, the Vatican. Swiss Guards abandon their posts and join the masses washing the feet of refugees and the outcast. Saint Peter’s Basilica will become a vast museum to the bizarre rituals and lavish feats of architecture that characterized organized patriarchy.
September 13, 2018–The Diversity of Opposites
Following police murders of young BLM activists Tupac Zapata in Los Angeles and Angela Lumumba in New Jersey, the ghettos explode. Rioters join vigils at wealthy estates and begin forcibly occupying them. Not a single edifice in poor neighborhoods is attacked. Streets team with mobs of Crips, Bloods and MS-13 militants escorting the marchers, bringing to mind that elusive chemistry between Malcolm X and MLK, occasionally made concrete when armed ‘Deacons of Defense’ protected civil rights pacifists from the violence of the state and their vigilantes.
September 15, 2018–God Slave the Queen.
The British royal family, under the cover of their popular identitarian princess Meghan Markle, reintroduces, through the House of Lords, a poll tax so as to limit the impact the opinions of the uninformed have on democracy–or some such twaddle. Thousands go to the streets and propose a ‘Troll Pax’ instead. Prince Harry is again filmed in a Nazi outfit, this time attending a meeting of ‘Mosleyites’ in support of Tommy Robinson. The queen is recorded referring to Meghan Markle as ‘that nigger princess’ who cannot be allowed to pollute the royal blood line.
Today Buckingham Palace is a research institute for the study of the various pathologies linked to royal inbreeding–such as racism.
September 17, 2018–The Great Sucking Sound
Traditional news media lose millions of viewers and practically disappear over night–except the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sinclair News and Fox affiliated stations and networks, whose viewership spikes for a hot minute, then collapses to chants of ‘Surprise! Surprise! The Government Lies!’.
A third front develops.
–A point of production whereby things are made and the class struggle is reproduced.
September 20, 2018–What About the Workers?
Just when they thought it might be safe to go home, along comes the general strike, long the most potent weapon in the arsenal of the proletariat. Led by IWW militants, radical nurses, TDU Teamsters, rebel teachers, UAW civil rights organizers, gig economy nomads, farm workers (peasants) anti-war veterans and increasingly, cops and soldiers who no longer identify the state with democracy. How could they, when their children, wives, parents, neighbors and friends were marching to manses, tearing down borders and occupying factories?
September 23, 2018–Marx Has the Last Laugh
The proletariat of China, some 200 million workers strong, whose quiescence had long been taken for granted, explodes and begins occupying Foxconn, the world’s largest ‘company town’. Walmart and Amazon apparatchiks flee to the west en masse. Much like the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, the germ of worker control that persisted in the rotted husk of the sclerotic communist regime prevented civil war, leading to a relatively bloodless victory. Thesis Eight, which places the role of the worker in the context of the other Loci of Attack, upends much of Marxist historiography, but upholds much as well. When that historic force moved, becoming a class for itself, everything became possible; but without other social actors, its movement would have been for naught.
September 26, 2018–Oroboros or Infinity?
Workers throughout the world adopt the symbol of infinity, to reflect their struggle as one that increases in value without limit. Captialism is represented by the Oroboros, a creature that eats itself. Seemingly everyone just drops their tools and begins moving–there is that ‘movement’ again–toward a mansion, a border, a factory or an Amazon distribution center.
September 28, 2018–The Great Slowdown
The implacable non-cooperation and material disruption that characterizes the General Strike produces a Great Slowdown. Traffic begins to noticeably thin, airports experience pile-ups of jetliners, the financial districts of major cities become eerily quiet. People stay home. For a few days it is terrifying. But workers self-organize and target non-essential, frivolous and repressive points of production for immediate elimination. Factories are occupied, then retooled or scrapped. Comrades at Labor Notes begin intensive work on a campaign of ‘Hack it or Scrap it’ so as to prevent a collapse into barbarism and back to ‘Year Zero’.
The rideshare behemoth Uber is hacked, occupied and reconfigured as Unter.
In retrospect the social basis for the general strike was precisely where corporate ‘disruption’ was most pervasive, in the wreckage wrought by the gig economy. The hard wedge of this force was Uber, said to control some eight million drivers. The gig economy dissolved the bonds of solidarity between workers in a self-administered acid bath of instant casino culture, a steroidal expression of the possessive individualism at the center of capitalist culture.
September 30, 2018–Free Lula!
An earthquake frees Lula from prison, who is grateful to join comrades in the streets. The era of representative democracy, however, is passing into history, so there is no election for Lula to contest.
October 1, 2018–No Skyscraper Is Too Big To Fall.
Wall Street in New York, the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco and The City in London are besieged by militants, but no one pleads for free tuition or debt relief, such reforms obliterated by the majesty of what had been impossible becoming possible, even probable. There were no demands made of elites and their institutions, only self evident and inexorable action towards a new future.
October 5, 2018–La Barricada
Workers link up with other social actors as barricades are built and Molotov Cocktails thrown by seemingly ‘new social actors’–presaging a much broader class formation than the students and workers of May 1968, who were, more often than not, at odds with one another. Not this time, as such tidy categories of discourse and definition–‘workers’ and ‘students’–begins to give way to a new discourse, a new social movement.
October 10, 2018–Oy! Stop Waving That Flag!
The pranksters of Jewdas form Antifascist fighting units with names such as ‘Grand Guignol’ ‘Discombobulate–Disambiguate’ and ‘Charlie Chaplin’.
October 15, 2018
Peter Theil, Robert Mercer and Jeff Bezos have a tete-a-tete and agree to begin funding private armies, including death squads to disrupt worker militancy. They move to create an alliance with Hoffa Jr.’s Teamsters to implement the program, but this proves too distasteful, even for Hoffa, who turns to more familiar allies (Republicans and a rump mafia) instead.
November 6, 2018–Vote With Your Feet
The U.S. midterm elections suffer an historic low turnout, as people vote with their feet. The Democrats implode–the communist wing of the Democratic Socialists of America splits with the electoral strategy of Bernie Sanders and takes thousands to the border, factories and large estates. As the possibility of a world without government and markets begins to come into focus, the Republicans consolidate their rule over all branches of government. The irony, of course, is that their electoral strategy works–the gerrymandering, billions in advertising, warmongering and swaggering nationalism create a GOP landslide–but it no longer matters. Facts on the ground say otherwise.
The Final Battle.
–A portmanteau of binary and digit, the ground floor of modern computing power.
–A tool inserted into the mouth of a powerful animal, together with ‘blinders’ facilitating control.
November 10, 2018–The Tech Wars
An explosion of hacking and activism in the center of the digital economy begins to weaken networks of capitalist command and control. Two factions of the ‘petit-bitoisie’–Left Techs and Right Techs (the latter also called Poundists in homage to the money fetishist, anti-Semite and poet, Ezra Pound), continue their struggle for dominance over the means of information production.
November 12, 2018–The Digital Break
Newly aware that the possibility of revolution had become real and that the tools to realize it were in their hands, Left Techs circulate memes and blogs arguing for the conquest of the means of scientific and technological production. They adopt the Theses then aggresively begin colonizing smart phones, gps navigation, sattelites and data farms to facilitate the direct, unmediated access to the means of survival–domiciles, food, clothing, health care, etc. Their digital activism becomes rooted in the Theses and Four Loci of Attack.
November 15, 2018–Playgrounds
The croquet courts at Facebook, festive playgrounds of Google and ‘campuses’ of Apple become battlegrounds featuring rival Tech factions. Left Techs break with the libertarian wing of their class, deploying the tactics of disruption to bring down the very corporations for whom they labor. The Poundists try to accelerate their crypto currencies and shadowy power centers as alternatives to impotent governments and an increasingly militant revolutionary movement.
November 17, 2018–War Games
The immensely popular online multi-player game Fortnite is completely taken over by teenage Left Techs. Gamers begin using the virtual locations of Tilted Towers, Anarchy Acres, Flush Factory and Wailing Woods in ways unintended by the game’s originators. A coded language is employed to coordinate real-world attacks on Right Techs, assist border assaults and occupy factory and manse. The speed and ferocity of these attacks is extraordinary and catches everyone by surprise.
November 20, 2018–The Paramilitary Turn
The Right Techs, led by Peter Thiel, secretly lobby the Trump administration to incorporate them into strike-breaking and border patrol units. Left Techs hack and publicize the plans through Glen Greenwald’s The Intercept, which takes a principled stand and begins doxxing state agents of repression, taking a page from Covert Action Information Bulletin of another era.
November 22, 2018–Shut Up Already
Elon Musk is mangled by one of his own robots, as it accomplishes the seemingly impossible–interrupting the tech titan mid-rant. Musk will die some weeks later, suffering periodic fugues and rambling about canals on Mars.
November 23, 2018–‘Are We There Yet?’
Left techs announce 20% of digital space hacked and repurposed for the Four Loci, a tipping point within reach.
November 24, 2018–Crypto Crap
‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ is outed as an Ayn Rand acolyte living as a hermit in the boiler room of the Chicago School of Economics Library. For more than 30 years he keeps his crypto currency scheme a secret, lest the Gnomes of Zurich find out and try to steal it. He subsists on an austere diet of sugar donuts and carrots. The product of Austrian economics, Randian culture kampf, and an abiding affection for fascism as an occasional emergency measure needed by elites, he judges the year 2010, in the wake of the wreckage of the Great Recession as ripe for the release of Bitcoin to the world.
November 26, 2018–We Are Not Bits
Left Techs begin to theorize and rapidly operationalize an economy without pricing and markets, money or wages, work or workers, capital or capitalists. Airbnb is hacked to bits (literally) and reformatted sans money. Free, on-demand housing signals a growing decommodification of markets. The technology of the gig economy is thoroughly decommodified–instant work of a dizzying array of jobs wherever one wants–food, clothing and health care available to whomever needed it.
Data science nerds begin eliminating the great inefficiences imbedded within capitalist and statist economics beginning with the fiction of converting the value of a thing into a number and distributing said thing according to whether a person has the accepted exchange value ($) sufficient to obtain it. But in a world with instant knowledge and instant communication what is the point of trusting in something as an intermediary? Why must the exchange involve a numeric value? We are asked to imagine a world without finance departments, without debt collectors, without money, and then use new technology to create that world.
December 1, 2018–The Foundation of Democracy is Equality
The Seventh Thesis on democracy is taken up and operationalized by Left Techs through a series of rhetorical statements and questions:
Human rights can never be legislated, they are the foundation of democracy, not a product of it, to be bartered, bought or sold.
Why would anyone be satisfied with voting for a talking head to ‘represent’ them when their opinions can be instantly registered?
Why vote for a cult of personality, for ‘democracy’ many times removed, when direct democracy, facilitated by the greatest scientific revolution in human history, is there for the taking?
The great fear of nuclear war or a descent back to year Zero thus far unrealized; at every juncture where chaos threatens, mutual aid and direct action open new horizons and channel the passions and the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ into a new future.
December 10, 2018–Chickens Come Home To Roost.
Most now regard the ignominious end of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, together with most of their fellow cabinet members at the hands of assassins dispatched from within the fetid bowels of the deep state, as after the fact; the point-of-no-return preceded this. How far back that PONR extended is a matter of contention, but that the assassination was too late is no longer an issue.
But it is poetic that the end of American Empire would be in keeping with that most sacrosanct of American traditions: assassination.
December 15, 2018–The End of Everything
While climate change was certainly a factor in the Great Uprising (the Summer of the Dancing Exodus was named in part for this–the asphalt was so fucking hot you had to dance) Mother Earth makes a statement about pollution and environmental degradation from deep within her bosom.
At 8:45 AM PST the Cascadia Subduction zone within the Pacific Ring of Fire detonates with multiple 9.0+ earthquakes, setting off the Yellowstone super volcano. The sonic boom produced by the eruption signals the end of humanity–at least that’s the conclusion many jumped to. And it was loud enough–you could feel it in your chest hundreds of miles away–and unusual enough, that it seemed to demand an apocalypse for an explanation.
And it was an apocalypse for some.
The earthquakes that crackled along the San Andreas fault resulted in the cleaving of California in ways interpreted by those of a religious persuasion as divine providence, as the devastation of La Jolla and Malibu, Silicon Valley and San Francisco appeared to target the wealthiest of zip codes. Thousands of seaside villas plunge into a sea boiling with tsunamis. Plumes of ash appear to coagulate most intensely in Beverly Hills, but not Watts.
The super rich flee en masse to pre-established and lavish bunkers in New Zealand, Iceland and Northern Canada. The ‘somewhat rich’ are left to the tender mercies of their gardeners, nannies, delivery drivers, teachers and servers. There are a few massacres.
December 20, 2018–The Beginning of Everything
From where did this Great ‘No!’ originate? Was it at the southern US border when the caravan of Central American refugees transformed into a movement of dispossessed nomads–from supplicants begging for administerial admittance into the core of accumulation, into insurrectionists intent on demolishing the border itself? Was it when the first great upheaval of people from the slums, ghettos and barrios of the ‘advanced’ metropoles began their vigils at the gates of the estates of the rich? Perhaps the appearance of general strikes throughout factories of production? Or the hacking of the digital sphere by software engineers, coders and data scientists (the Petis-bitoisie) which brought low Wall Street and Bitcoin, Amazon, Google, Uber and Apple–was that decisive?
It clearly wasn’t accidental, but was it predestined? Was it baked into capitalism? The publication and mass acceptance of the Theses and the Four Loci of Attack was prescient graffiti to be sure, but perhaps just recording, as a good journalist, what was in the process of unfolding.
In retrospect the diverse ways capitalism dug its own grave appear obvious–the rise of neo-fascism as an accelerant of inequality, the way automation obliterated productive labor and hurled millions onto the streets and into prisons and makeshift ‘holding centers’; the persistence of unjust, horrific wars; the intensification of the ‘Uberization’ of large swaths of economies and its reaching ‘scale’; the crisis in confidence in traditional institutions and a ‘breakdown’ of law and order.
This approach lends some credence to the ‘determinists’, of various stripes, who argue that structural features, such as declining rates of profit associated with automation and the ‘dead labor’ of capital, established the crisis for which reform became impossible. The clash of countervailing forces–of a capitalism off its leash and a revolution dedicated to its elimination–became the structuring force animating human affairs.
On the other hand the creeping realization that capitalism wouldn’t stumble, much less jump into, its grave, seems correct. Finally the necessity for someone to push it, or even make the ultimate sacrifice and pull it in with them, spurred all manner of militancy. That such activity was necessary seems a given; that it was pivotal, persuasive. This view is represented by the ‘Neo-Situationists’ in homage to the great global upheaval of students and workers of May 1968.
Regardless of what line one takes on this question, people who said “No Mas!” then began to say “Yes!”, but to a very different world.
By ‘border’, it should be noted, was not meant all borders. Nor did the term signify only the physical barriers that demarcated so-called sovereign states from one another. ‘Border’ would come to mean something more akin what the Greek radical Stathis Kouvalakis meant when considering deportations as a central policy of Fortress Europe:
“The eu–Turkish accord is not a mistake, a departure from so-called ‘European values’…. It is wholly in keeping with the logic that has presided over European integration from the beginning, making the eu’s external border the dividing line between the fully human, white and European, and the sub-humans destined for a ‘precarious life’ and an anonymous death, to which the waters of Lampedusa and Lesbos bear everlasting witness.”
As do the deserts of Arizona and charnel houses of Juarez.
It wasn’t until June 12, 2018 that the Four Loci of Attack would be laid out by an eclectic and anonymous group of radicals associated with outfits like Kersplebedeb Publishing. More of an outline with notes in the margins than a manifesto, it did capture a growing Zeitgeist of resistance and spark much discussion.
Loci, plural of locus: a set of points whose location satisfies or is determined by one or more specified conditions.
The Loci of Attack are concerned with power centers that present as inviolable: the militarized borders, the sacred family, the gigantism of multinational corporations, the endless carnivorous jello of computerized information systems.
The document treats the borders of the capitalist core as fortifications and systems of biopolitical surveillance and control that consign human beings in the global south–and not a few in the north–to the fracturing of their kinships, desperate precarity and super exploitation, while expanding and consolidating a geography of white nationalism within a neoliberal order of austerity for the many and grotesque opulence for the few, abetted by the long confidence game of capitalist democracy.
Border attacks, the group points out, would have a dual function: to serve as the sine qua non of solidarity between the northern and southern masses and the basis for a denial of the internal logic of both white nationalism and authoritarian neoliberalism. Neither order of oppression could function without them; therefore attacking them became essential, though not sufficient, in developing the Four Loci of Attack.
The Theses of Disambiguation (an unwieldy translation from the Lokota original) began circulating in late July, the product of obscure anarcho-communist, intersectionalist, and Indigenous collectives. Released during the second phase of the Great Uprising, Thesis Five posits the occupation of large estates and plush penthouses as a central feature of the social liberation of women and children–the locus of gender inequality being the social reproduction of the ruling class at the expense of everyone else. The Patriarchy lives inside men, the authors contend, but the roast beef it depends on for sustenance is up there, on that hill in that swank manse. Thesis six argues that homophobia is the social expression of the need to control the labor and sexual power of women. Following this, during the initial stages of an uprising, women and children should seek refuge with LGBTQ families as a way of both protecting themselves from, and undermining, patriarchal relations.
During this period Intersectionalists would cross pollinate with Trotskyists, Maoists with Black Lives Matter militants, and the crustier the anarchist, seemingly the higher the esteem in which they were held.
But what about the State, you may ask? What about the repressive state apparatus–cops and soldiers–and governments?
By the fourth phase of the Great Uprising, the Tech Wars, the pillars that supported the state had all but dissolved under sustained and militant attacks. Because the State was primarily administrative in nature, when it was no longer needed for management it didn’t ‘wither’ away gradually, it disappeared overnight. When representative democracy gave way to direct democracy on a field of relative equality, there was no need for electing ‘leaders’.
The novel idea to quarantine markets within stadiums and arenas also served its purpose. Today we know such human behavior through the few museums to capitalism that remain, curious relics to an age of sporting competitions like the NFL and FIFA and the orgies of consumption and revelry known as rock concerts. And golf courses. In these few remaining arenas the foulest of hot dogs and the stalest of beer may still be consumed, national anthems sung or knelt to, physical strength, artistic expression, unbridled cunning, disruption and innovation ruthlessly pursued. But only here, in these gladiatorial arenas, and nowhere else. Of course, without a profit motive and a market to channel it, the very nature of competition was utterly transformed. The video game Fortnite became emblematic of this as participants stopped killing one another, and began building as in Minecraft.
This epic struggle appeared as both unequal yet combined, with a permanence that echoed down through history: there would be no return to a social contract binding labor to capital in a framework of liberal welfare states and representative democracy; only the elimination of this grand bargain in exchange for an unfettered capitalism in alliance with fascism or a revolutionary movement intent their abolition.
The old prophetic binary ‘Socialism or Barbarism’ comes to mind.
Today we live in a different world. While three-hundred years can seem a long time, and the Great Uprising so much ancient history, in geologic time it is but a moment. The discovery last century of life on another planet, while important, is also cold comfort, for there is as yet no way to engage this miracle from 3,000 light years away. And in cosmic time this is but the idea of a hiccup.
We take solace in the hope that with a more just and equitable world we can hazard the proposition–something that in a previous era would have been reckless and foolhardy–that perhaps we should attempt contact; that perhaps we have something to offer other than brutal competition, a fight to the death, and a world that too often, for too many, was ‘nasty, brutish and short’.
We have accomplished much, but we should always be prepared to dance, lest our horizon again become but a short trip to nowhere.
“Yo! Pops! Pass the Balaclavas!”
This essay is a work of speculative fiction. As such, it is deliberately transgressive. As a ghost of antifascism future, I exercise a certain artistic liberty not often available the living.
Copywrite 2018. Jonathan Mozzochi