Sunday, December 18, 2016

Convergence: How it Could Go Down

Someone (I'm too lazy to dig up citation) said "It is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is the end of capitalism". Lots of people I know express a rational fear that any major systemic rupture will simply unleash anarchy,a Hollywood-enhanced vision of rednecks with guns out raiding the Hobbesian-each-against-all dystopia in some mad frenzy. Trumps election has, if anything, magnified this sense of potential victim-hood and violent upheaval. Without going all Rebecca Solnit on y'all, I dispute this notion of the nation's "balance of forces", and believe that while certainly dangerous, these prepper/survivalist types have managed to blow our perception of them way out of proportion. Nor do I think the vast majority of Trump voters, despite their arsenals, are as dangerous as all that. Of course this is just a guess with nothing empirical to back it up.

But let's imagine another end of capitalism: It is Springtime in America, all the "Not My President" protests and marches and failed vote recounts and inquiries into Russian hacking and electoral college challenges have come and gone. Trump has sworn on the Bible to uphold the Capitalist Constitution and cherry blossoms begin blooming in DC (three weeks early). Soon a steady stream of executive orders ooze from the White House, each undoing the well-intentioned-if-a-bit-late regulatory protections Obama put in place and further inflaming progressives (while filling the coffers of non-profits).

As the right-wing base fist pumps each tweet about "excellent new jobs" and corporate boards get ready to increase dividends and CEO salaries, confrontations break out between "water protectors" and cops at coal mines, fracking fields and oil refineries around the country. Until the Big Storm hits. One hurricane hits Houston and works its way slowly up the Gulf Coast destroying everything in its path, making Katrina and Sandy look like summer showers. Another one simultaneously hits Miami and heads up the eastern seaboard, wreaking devastation clear to DC. Because the government has been hollowed out ( or stranded at Trumps's golf course in Florida) there is no emergency response and tens of thousands perish.

The catastrophe swells the ranks of the climate justice movement with newly radicalized working class and middle class dissidents and calls are put out to converge on both Washington and Wall Street to force the phased closure of all coal fired power plants, end all shale gas and oil drilling as well as the import of tar sands. As the stock market begins to react, demands are made for State spending on new energy infrastructure, for carbon sequestration through massive reforestation and organic agriculture projects- all managed through local cooperatives and paid for by ( here is where it gets tricky) a tax on wealth? Deficit spending? War bonds perhaps? Scrip? What happens to the monetary system depends on how the descent is managed....anyway....

Understanding that it will be necessary to jettison Market-based incentives and institute planning in order to save the remaining sliver of democracy, liberal pundits, celebrities and politicians, pushed by massive popular movements, use the crash of the Finance and Insurance industries to call for a total re-structuring of the economy. Rather than panic ensuing, communities turn toward local networks of barter and small markets to trade necessities.

The climate change denying conservatives who have not been tarred and feathered (or worse) slink into anonymity along with fossil fuel execs. The administration, faced with the decision between ordering all-out violent repression and saving some personal assets,(and their lives) chooses the latter. Cops and soldiers see the writing on the wall and grab some tar. A Constitutional convention is convened.

A system of councils and assemblies is established along with new institutions and political structures. Why not? Ain't like the reactionaries got anything once the illusion is shattered.Inspired by this unlikely rebellion, populations around the globe (seeing oceans rise on their own shores) depose their own elites and put them to work weeding.

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