Fault Lines: brief notes on potentially exploitable weaknesses
<table><tr><td>What follows are some quick notes contributing to what could be called an anarchist "policy analysis". By anon.
With the election just behind us, Occupy largely considered to be dead, state repression against anti-authoritarians building, lingering economic woes and a rising right-wing populist discontent, what are our best options for contributing to overall destabilization?
Anarchists had two minds with regards to Occupy: one the one hand many pointed towards its leaderless, largely informal organizational structure, vague "anti-capitalist" sentiments, popularizing of a generalized dissent and its potential for deeper destabilization as broadly positive characteristics. Others decried it's problems, which are numerous to say the least, but for the purposes of this piece paramount was the idea that it was often a little too close to the mainstream, and thus too close to liberal/reformist recuperation. Potentially a huge effort would have been required to shift Occupy in a direction such that it would have adopted a solidly anti-establishment agenda and achieved significant politico/economic destabilization.</td><td><img title="I love the sound when I smash the glass. If I get caught..." src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2011/glasses_screams.jpg"></td><...
With Occupy having raised Serious Questions that have yet to be answered, opportunities for left-leaning and/or anti-authoritarian rupture are still very real, and still very unpredictable.
In terms of the concrete effects of Occupy a few would-have-been liberals were radicalized (an obvious positive) but the main result we have seen is most likely the passage of some assuaging nominally progressive legislation.
At this time it appears that left-leaning movements stand little hope of building a viable revolutionary potential, the left political climate is "mushy", meaning opportunistic and thus likely to bleed into and rely upon successful looking institutional solutions. As has been pointed out the middle class mostly wants to remain middle class and the "working class" wants to become middle class: supporting Obama and his party looks like a good bet for making this happen to most of the left population, any problems with his otherwise very aggressive "defense" policy notwithstanding (this is easy enough for most to ignore).
(Those groups and individuals who would have in the past lent their efforts to building a revolutionary left movement have to a significant, if not large degree, taken legitimate critiques of "leftism" in general to heart and as such are instead contributing to a mostly un-coordinated "post-left" inspired anarchism that is flashy but currently inept when it comes to putting any larger strategies or tactics into effect. This ineptitude is not inevitable, however.)
The Dem party has generally been wildly successful at making itself appear to be the party "in touch" with its constituency, while in fact achieving most of the aims and goals of the ruling elites with amazing success. That is, it is having its popular support and eating it too. Obama's Dem party is correctly seen as being the best thing for US right now (and thus the worst thing for us), hence its unsurprising electoral reconfirmation.
The Repub party on the other hand has been having problems partly because it has actually been too responsive towards its constituency, it has in effect been acting "too democratic": a toxic practice within electoral politics. Actual populism on the larger party's part doesn't win the presidency in any case, non-institutional players and politics don't win in the institution. The larger conservative population/institution complex in this country is feeling bitter and torn on how to proceed: on the one hand they are feeling a reactionary anti-establishment impulse fueled by Obama's spreading "socialism" (and nominally brown complexion) while on the other hand they are in a bind since they spend so much time lambasting Occupy's "illegalism" and highlighting their own decent law-abindingness that they realize it would look wildly hypocritical for them to actually engage in the borderline-rebellious activities that they sometimes talk about and surely dream of.
The more respectable, moderate (read: elite) sections of the Repub/conservative institution of course understand Obama's utility and as such tolerate or even quietly support him. This only contributes to the mistrust that the more populist sectors of the Repub/conservative complex (TP types) harbor towards their own elitist "higher-ups": they both ask each other "where do your allegiances really lie?" The answer to that question is the United States in both cases, just different understandings of it (one a greener shade like money, the other whiter like, well, white folks, to put it crudely). Both the institution of the republican party and the body of the conservative population are internally riven and in some turmoil.
Potentially exploitable situations:
Permaculture teaches us to understand systems and identify leverage points so that we can effect changes within them with the least amount of effort. In this case we want to break the system, so we are looking for strategically placed fault-lines to wedge apart further.
Classic revolutionary theory won't help us in the positive/constructive aspect since our newer organizational/cultural programs (or non-programs as it may be) don't work in the same way that the old ones did. However, what classic revolution theory says about disrupting and pulling apart systems might still be useful to us, although not in the way it was originally intended.
As such I am proceeding on the assumptions that 1) we don't want to effect change by getting significant portions of the population on board with a program, but we do want significant portions of the population to stop actively supporting the state/economy, and if possible to actively start attacking it, and 2) that large scale state disruption would be significantly advanced by the achievement of discontent and refusal on the part of the military, as has been acknowledged in classic revolution theory.
Although certainly many will critique these two assumptions, I have sought to keep them essentially compatible with the broadest range of flavors of anarchism.
At this point frontal assault in the sense of simply pushing forward with the most obvious and least sneaky tactics on our part seems not to be gaining us very much ground (the exciting "hoist the black flag and throw rocks" battle program). I support it in the nominal sense that I support anarchist attack activities in general, but acknowledge the low tactical efficiency of this orientation.
We could probably proceed more or less upon this path with greater success by exploiting the absolutely laughable environmental policies of the developed world's nations through more or less traditional propaganda/education campaigns coupled with rowdy direct-action, and then escalating from there. Highlighting the giant discrepancy between scientifically established understandings of global warming and officially mandated state policy could probably help to lead more of the complacent left/liberal population to discontentment and resistance. My sense is that this is the most directly exploitable crack.
Ultimately though my reading of the social/political climate leads me to feel that more difficult but far more interesting task would be to help drive the populist/conservative population farther towards rebellious activities.
There are a lot of reasons to suspect that a segment of the population that the state has historically relied upon to a very large extent is feeling pretty resentful and fed up, so I won't bother listing much evidence. Today, for example, the BBC reported that the White house is now obliged to respond to the petition of Texas residents requesting permission to secede in the wake of Obama's reelection: they easily secured the required 25,000 signatures. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20301477
If tea-party types, for example, were somehow driven to the point of desperation where they would consider a more "insurrectionist" course, this would not only be a harsh blow psychologically (the establishment would have a much harder time successfully writing off "tea party patriots" as wanton criminals and terrorist), but would also likely present serious logistical problems due to various contradictory sentiments amongst active-duty soldiers. The phenomena of the "Oath Keepers" movement within the military is indicative, as are the pages of comments generated in response to a paper titled "Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A “Vision” of the Future" featured in the Small Wars journal, a paper co-written by Kevin Benson, Ph.D., Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired, that imagines what the official response to a "tea-party insurrection" might look like. http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/full-spectrum-operations-in-the-hom...
Massive unrest by Occupy types would in contrast not be particularly problematic and suppression thereof would probably proceed by the books, as it were. History would certainly indicate as much.
As it stands I also believe that nudging the right towards (ultimately unsuccessful) rebellion would be more fruitful than the left towards "successful" revolution, in that the right is largely made up of people who are entitled, pushy, financially independent and well armed. They are used to feeling that the system should be working for them, become genuinely outraged when they perceive that it is not and are trained to act aggressively if need be to get what they want.
If it appeared that a true, full-blown and successful rightwing revolution was actually imminent then I would certainly not advise its hastening (this would have its own obvious problems). As it stands this possibility is still remote enough that subtly pushing in that direction would probably be more likely to simply help foment social disintegration and overall destabilization, potentially diverting some state repression away from us and opening new opportunities for autonomy and subversion, etc.
For those less interested in outright offensive attack this kind of instability would potentially make room for "defensive" forays into autonomy (as in "responding to the general climate of political unrest we hereby close off this neighborhood to incursions by both agents of the state and those right-wing insurgents fighting against the state, we are taking this step with the intention of keeping our streets peaceful and safe. Due to disruptions in the flow of goods into our neighborhood we hereby instate emergency gardening procedures on all vacant land..." blah blah blah).
This is perhaps one of the few ways that we could use the Obama win to our advantage, and we should try to use absolutely everything that we can to our advantage.
Exactly how we would go about pushing tea-party types farther into desperation and lawlessness is a tricky question, potentially one best decided on an individual and small group basis.
In any case the last thing that we should allow to proceed is the re-stabilization of the economic and political situation. The better the US does, the worse the we do. Every option open to us is dangerous, but doing nothing is by far the most dangerous option. We should be seeking to wreck the game ASAP: allowing ourselves to be played ultimately means losing.
Our new found publicity doesn't mean that we are powerful enough to become cocky, I doubt that we will ever become powerful enough to warrant being so self-assured. So, let's up the sneaky.
As always others will have better ideas or analysis than that hastily banged out here. Please push your criticism towards constructiveness.