Revolution Number Ten

Revolt is in the air. Fed up with our corrupt government, Tea Partiers elect new, improved Republicans, those who will restore God, vote against gay marriage, tighten our borders and, above all, keep America strong militarily, even though she already has the most bloated (yet strangely inept) military in history, even though the military industrial complex is the very source of governmental corruption. Tea Partiers want to trim pork even as they feed this monstrous hog. We must support our troops.

Secessionists, on the other hand, have had enough of this madness. Why send tax dollars to Washington to be wasted on foreign wars? To save their own state or region, they want to get off this suicidal roller coaster ride, but what will happen when federal troops are sent in? The Civil War was fought over secessions. If the American empire is loathe to give up even its most distant outpost, why would it let go of, say, Vermont, without a bloody fight?

There are secessionist movements in about thirty states now. Among the more established is the Second Vermont Republic, founded in 2003. Besides political independence from Washington, it is also aiming for a more local and sustainable economy. “Life should be lived on a human scale,” it states on its website. “Small is still beautiful […] We celebrate and support Vermont’s small, clean, green, sustainable, socially responsible towns, farms, businesses, schools, and churches. We encourage family-owned farms and businesses to produce innovative, premium-quality, healthy products.”

All of these goals are laudable but the SVR’s commitment to non-violence ensures that it’ll never succeed on any scale, I’m afraid. Big government is big business now, and it will not release its prey, I mean, let go of its market share, without spilling blood. Big Brother will bare his fangs as soon as you cut into his profits. It will be the Domino Theory all over again. If you let Vermont fall (aside), then you’ll loose New Hampshire, Maine, then Massachusetts…

Even resorting to violence, the Kurds, Basques, Catalonians or Corsicans, etc., have not managed to secede from their respective states after many decades of struggle, but we also have the Soviet Union, which broke up into fifteen republics. Each of these new countries was an ethnic enclave within the Soviet empire, however. Several had only been absorbed quite recently. These peoples never saw themselves as Russians, and were only too glad to break away. We don’t have the same conditions here. The United States will not splinter along ethnic and racial lines, at least not without a considerable mess.

So if electoral politics, à la Tea Party, and peaceful secessionism, Vermont style, are both futile, should Americans resort to more militant actions? For several years now, James Howard Kunstler has conjured up scenes of fed up proles rising up to torch the manor of a blood sucking CEO. A typical, quite gleeful passage, “people with little interest in principle beyond some dim idea of economic fairness, will be hoisting the flaming brands out of sheer grievance and malice. By the time Lloyd Blankfein sees the torches flickering through his privet, it will be too late to defend the honor of his cappuccino machine.” In 2006, William S. Lind wrote even more ominously:

One of the things U.S. troops are learning in Iraq is how people with little training and few resources can fight a state. Most American troops will see this within the framework of counterinsurgency. But a minority will apply their new-found knowledge in a very different way. After they return to the U.S. and leave the military, they will take what they learned in Iraq back to the inner cities, to the ethnic groups, gangs, and other alternate loyalties they left when they joined the service. There, they will put their new knowledge to work, in wars with each other and wars against the American state. It will not be long before we see police squad cars getting hit with IEDs and other techniques employed by Iraqi insurgents, right here in the streets of American cities.

If disaffected Americans started to imitate Iraqi insurgents, the best they could hope for is to achieve the latter’s success, or lack thereof. For every American invader killed by an IED, how many insurgents have lost their lives? How many innocent civilians? For all the casualties they suffered, the Iraqis have won nothing. The United States still occupies their country. It has set up its Green Zone, built Enduring Bases, defended the Petro Dollar, stolen Iraqi oil proceeds and robbed American tax payers, so everything has gone according to plan, more or less. The loss of a soldier here and there has long been factored in. No biggie, this collateral write-off is merely a cost of doing business in any difficult neighborhood.

With its well-armed, confused and increasingly angry populace, the United States can quickly become the mother of all difficult neighborhoods, one would think, but so far, all is placid. We rally, rant and hold up cute signs, yes, but unlike the Thais, we don’t occupy the central commercial district for two months, then torch a mega shopping center and the stock exchange. We don’t riot like the French and the Greeks, or topple the government like Icelanders.

The Obama card was a brilliant move by our ruling class. After eight years of Bush, they placated our liberals and blacks with an articulate and personable black effigy. After four years of Obama, they will likely appease the gun happy and ultra religious with a deer hunting mom of a combat soldier. Sarah is so “real,” she even has a reality show. Pacified momentarily by a fake head, many Americans won’t realize, yet again, that nothing has changed. Many will celebrate and weep, and equally earnest lines such as these will be written, “Citizenship is a passionate joy at times, and this is one of those times. You can feel it. Tuesday the world changed. It was a great day.” (Rebecca Solnit in The Nation, 11/6/08.) I have a feeling, however, that we may be nearing the end of being jerked back and forth like this, that even the most insensate and silly among us is about to explode.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He's tracking our deteriorating social scape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America. Read other articles by Linh.

11 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Ray said on November 12th, 2010 at 8:24am #

    This was a truly interesting article, I do want to express concern forLinh’S premise that disaffected soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan will go home to the inner cities and practiced their trades. Unfortunately those soldiers on the ground in those two countries are disproportionately white and middle-class. To prove this theory I challenge you to go to Google, type in” photos of American soldiers in Iraq” and examined the faces you see, while a large proportion are Hispanic the majority are white. In 100 pictures I looked at I saw six black faces.

    The vast majority of white military members are anywhere from center-right to far right. Whether this is from their middle-class heritage, indoctrination, or peer pressure I don’t know. What I do know is these people hate the left. Any revolution they start will trend towards fascism and certainly not to do away with the present system that they say is working very well.

  2. hayate said on November 12th, 2010 at 12:25pm #

    “The Obama card was a brilliant move by our ruling class. After eight years of Bush, they placated our liberals and blacks with an articulate and personable black effigy. After four years of Obama, they will likely appease the gun happy and ultra religious with a deer hunting mom of a combat soldier.”

    It’s the “good cop/bad cop” strategy the ziofascist/fascist oligarchy uses to keep people chasing their tails so they can remain in control.

    “I have a feeling, however, that we may be nearing the end of being jerked back and forth like this, that even the most insensate and silly among us is about to explode.”

    The zionists have done their job making americans stupid very, very well with their almost total control of the media. Any explosion is likely to bring negative change instead of positive.

  3. Deadbeat said on November 12th, 2010 at 1:06pm #

    What missing here is any analeysis of the role of the psuedo-Left in creating the vacuum that permitted Obama’s rise. There was a change in 2004 to extend the influence of the 2000 Nader candidacy and to expand the Green Party. There was popular interest from the anti-war rallies and marches that occurred in 2003. However the psuedo-Zio-Left played a key role in weakening the anti-war movement and splitting the Greens.

    Recall that Howard Zinn, Chomsky, Norman Soloman. Michael Albert and Z-Mag all got behind war-monger John Kerry via the “Anybody But Bush” excuse. Apparently in the end Zio-Zinn decided to shovel coal for “moving train”.

  4. Hue Longer said on November 12th, 2010 at 2:40pm #

    Hello Ray,

    Not sure on the total numbers in each group (but not also sure a large amount matters to the scenario laid out in the article) but the white military is not “middle class” unless one takes the common today description meaning, “not rich”…They are largely working class and working class poor

  5. Don Hawkins said on November 12th, 2010 at 5:36pm #

    I read you words today Linh and Phil’s and I have decided for me to love big brother there’s no other way and let the currency float we will all be back to prosperity before you can say;

    Best case scenario:
    “Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.” Orwell

    Where do I sign up it’s probably painful at first then as everything dies inside the whole World talks in tongues it becomes easy.

  6. Don Hawkins said on November 13th, 2010 at 2:39pm #

    Over the years, dozens of American companies have filed papers to trade in their U.S. corporate citizenship for citizenship in tax haven countries like Bermuda.
    Richard Neal

    Above all, I would teach him to tell the truth Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar.
    J. Edgar Hoover

  7. Don Hawkins said on November 13th, 2010 at 3:07pm #

    The bailout recipients on the list include Bank of America, which received $45 billion; Citigroup, $45 billion; American Express, $3.4 billion; and Goldman Sachs, $10 billion, according to the Taxpayers for Common Sense watchdog group.
    “This is kind of like economic patriotism,” Dorgan said. “Americans were told you have to pony up some money to help these companies. And it’s rather infuriating for them to find out now that those companies, when they were profitable, didn’t want to pay taxes and found clever ways to hide their money overseas.”

    Several companies said they are engaged in legitimate business operations around the world, and rejected the premise that they are trying to avoid paying their share of U.S. taxes.

    Representatives from two companies reported in interviews that they couldn’t say whether their foreign operations ultimately reduced their total tax bill.

    “We do business around the globe,” AIG spokesman Nick Ashooh said. “It’s absurd that we’re being accused of using these as tax havens. Now what the net tax impact is, that’s extremely complicated.” Washington Post 2009

    Oh there’s Goldman Sach’s again and very complicated indeed.

    Many will celebrate and weep, and equally earnest lines such as these will be written, “Citizenship is a passionate joy at times, and this is one of those times. Linh Dinh

  8. mary said on November 13th, 2010 at 4:04pm #

    I suspect that a lot of the loot from the property boom has found its way across the Atlantic. The bankers and the property developers have left the scene of the crime with the loot and the poor Irish people are left to face to Eurocrats who will put them on the rack in the same manner that they employed with the Greeks. The Spanish and the Brits are also feeling the pain.

    Ireland ‘in preliminary talks with EU on bailout’

    The Republic of Ireland is in preliminary talks with EU officials for financial support, the BBC has learned.

    It is now no longer a matter of whether but when the Irish government formally approaches the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) for a bailout, correspondents say.

    The provisional estimate for EFSF loans is believed to lie between 60bn and 80bn euros ($82-110bn; £51-68bn).


  9. Don Hawkins said on November 16th, 2010 at 4:56am #

    I’ll bet the tea party can help solve this little problem.

    Dust storms scour Iraq. Freak floods wreak havoc in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Rising sea levels erode Egypt’s coast. Hotter, drier weather worsens water scarcity in the Middle East, already the world’s most water-short region.

    While the region as a whole has contributed relatively little to historic greenhouse gas emissions, it is among the most vulnerable to climate change, and emissions are surging.

    Its figures, cited by the UNDP paper, show the Arab world has undergone an uneven rise in surface air temperature ranging from 0.2C to 2C between 1974 and 2004.

    “People are still not aware of those impacts,” AFED’s secretary-general Najib Saab said. “When you talk of climate change, they think the impact will be on the moon or other countries.”

    A drought that began in 2007, aggravated by over-cultivation of subsidized cash crops, has displaced hundreds of thousands of people from eastern Syria. In Yemen, water scarcity is prompting many farmers to abandon their land and head for the cities, fuelling the capital Sanaa’s eight-per-cent annual population growth. The Vancouver Sun

  10. Don Hawkins said on November 16th, 2010 at 5:20am #

    Maybe the tea party can’t do it all by themselves so Oprah Winfrey could put out the call and we could help build a pipe from the Nile to say the Arctic. I know Gates could come up with another operating system buy one share of stock? Don’t tax the wealthy or go shopping watch more Fox new’s buy Glenn Beck’s new book yes so much to do so little time.

  11. Don Hawkins said on November 16th, 2010 at 6:01am #

    According to the official statement, “The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton. The wedding will take place in the Spring or Summer of 2011, in London. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course. AOL

    Well this did it for me we are now headed back to normal very soon and heck get Beck’s new book maybe a few put’s and call’s bingo Rob will be falling over the couch again before you can say down the drain in not such slow motion.