Our Rolling Civil War

Yves here. On the one hand, Tom Neuburger gives a very good list of the various forces that are seeking to foment disorder in the US, whether violent, disruptive, or further institutional capturing/hollowing out. On the other, calling it a war is not consistent with the description he provides. Wars and revolutions usually have two sides, or at worst, such as in the Balkans, three ethic groups. Various interests may have slippery loyalties, as we saw with the various jihadists in the Middle East, or may be excellent fighters with clear interests struggling to find reliable bigger dog allies, like the Kurds. But the pattern for a war is one group versus another, even if the composition of those groups isn’t stable over time.

In other words, the coming time looks a lot like the sort favored by Lord Petyr Baelish: “Chaos is a ladder.” But he wound up dead.

And I have to beg to differ with his take on China. Your humble blogger is no China booster. But China appears to be buying a lot of loyalty from its citizens (as well as winning acceptance of an interruption in an increase in living standards) from its successful war against Covid. China will get even more internal support if our predictions prove accurate: that the West, particularly the US and UK, will pay a huge cost in chronic illnesses and shorter lifespans due to their “Let ‘er rip” policies….which will also have an economic cost.

China does have serious issues with feeding its citizens, particularly with providing access to enough potable water as that becomes a scarce resource. China has been hoovering up agricultural land in Africa and taking other measures. Whether they prove to be adequate remains to be seen. Nevertheless, China is likely to emerge a winner by default, due to the degree to which Covid accelerates the fall of the American empire.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

The next American civil war won’t look like this…

…it will look like this instead. Seem familiar? Maybe it’s already started.

I want to expand on an idea I discussed last year (see “Biden Classifies Opposition to ‘Capitalism and Corporate Globalization’ As Extreme”), first, because one of its points was likely obscured it by other ideas in the piece, and second, to add a picture of what our “rolling civil war” will actually look like.

What Is a ‘Rolling Civil War’?

More and more, people look at the broken and breaking United States today and see some kind of civil war coming. The problem is, their picture of that war has traditional elements and parameters.

The well-armed Right imagines citizen-militias fighting police and the military in an attempt to take over the state from “liberals who hate freedom.” This picture is similar to insurgencies like Mao in China, Shining Path in Peru, or Simón Bolívar in much of South America. The implication is armies in the field, or at least guerilla fighting.

That’s not what’s happening this time. As Joe Biden correctly said: “If you think you need weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”

Neither the rebellious left nor the rebellious right has any of that.The reasons why the actual civil war — which has already started — has a different shape are explained below. The main reason is that it’s so badly led by the left, thanks to the status quo–protecting efforts of the Democratic Party and its professional leaders. Absent leadership by the institutional left, it’s being (mis)led by the institutional right, but not just them.Here a list of the the rolling civil war’s likely participants. Note that many of these groups are already ‘activated’:

  • Sanders-type leftists, mainly peaceful
  • Black bloc leftists, mainly not
  • Boogaloo types who are revolutionary in intent and violent
  • Boogaloo types who are NOT revolutionary in intent, and violent
  • Street gangs looking to f*ck people up
  • Cops, looking to “let their RW freak flag fly”
  • Actual criminals who see ways to benefit from civil disorder (thieves, some organized, etc.)
  • Participants from the NatSec state (undercover cops, agents provocateurs), which wants to use self-created disruption to enhance authoritarian power
  • People inspired by Republican and right-wing institutions (overlaps with Boogaloos and similar trouble-seekers) to do what the security state is doing, foment disruption for Republican electoral benefit

This kind of “war” can include more than action in the streets. All kinds of resistance contributes to it. A general strike, especially if accompanied by other blocking behavior, is always part of a civil war–style revolt.

It’s better, in fact, to have the whole populace involved in the war than just a guerilla cadre — better for stating the case that resistance is called for, that is. A cadre resistance can be more successful (think of a coup), even when it’s less well supported.

As I said above, this war has already started. The first signs were political — Obama’s duplicitous ‘Yes we can’, which immediately became ‘No I won’t’; the Sanders-led rebellion of 2016; the Sanders-abandoned rebellion of 2020; and yes, the mess on Jan 6, which was a great many things, a manifestation of this being one of them.

We’ve been pre-revolutionary for a very long while. We’re watching the “pre” part slowly disappear.

What’s Coming and Why

The rolling civil war that’s brewing in this country is a messy, badly led, ideologically mixed affair, with many elements, suspect and expected alike, rebelling against all of the ways that Big Money screws most people, which is almost all of the country.

Most of the professional class, that group in the top 10% but below the top 1%, is exempt from these impulses. They still have happy lives, and the world still looks to them as it looked to their mothers and grandmothers in 1955.

They have largely no idea, for example, that police violence against the black, brown and poor among us is systemic, that it can’t be fixed by hiring better apples to replace the bad ones. Cops don’t want better apples — meaning, cops who will turn the bad cops in for their crimes. That kind of better apple gets shot in the back.

The rolling civil war in all its manifestations is what the new national security posture is concentrating to oppose — again, cheered by Resistance and MSNBC Liberals to their inevitable detriment and, after it’s too late, regret.

Where Are We Today?

As things stand today, anything is possible, good outcomes and bad. Sadly the bad seems much more likely to occur.

Biden is right: If you think you need weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons. The only way the rebellious right will take power is via their treacherous pro-corporate elected and appointed officials, people like Amy Coney Barrett, who was put on the court, according to the folks at Breaking Points, not to wage culture war, but to ensure and enhance corporate power. Obamacare, bane of the cultural right, still stands — even Coney Barret defended it — but Goldman Sachs is defended at all costs and from all sides of the supposedly divided Court.

If the rebellious Right does take power (as it’s trying to do), the rebellious left will (or certainly should) take to the streets, and the war continues, government supporting the Right with ugly force, the non-Right supporting people fighting it, with the split in the populace much as we see it today. It will become partisan chic to oppose the next Trumpist president — or it should.

The only way the rebellious Left will take power is via the almost-entirely-closed political system. The first modern chance of that was in 2008 and the duplicitous “Hope and Change” campaign of Barack Obama. But he was never that guy. He was always this guy instead. The second modern chance was the Sanders campaigns of 2016 and 2020, both ruthlessly quashed by professional Democrats, who then folded the veneer of his thought into their 2020 sales pitch. (And he, in all innocence I’m sure, let them do it.)

The Left will only take power by taking to the streets if (a) a determined leader emerges (a Sanders who won’t hand his sword to the next Joe Biden), and (b) once in office, that person cleans out and completely reforms the professional Democratic Party — or replaces it.

Odds of that happening are zero. Professional Democrats will kill the resistant Left — as they’ve regularly done — rather than surrender their power, their personal share of Establishment wealth and place.

This leaves the system exactly nowhere at all, and the suffering masses — the non-ideological soccer moms and put-upon three-job dads, the gig-working masses who shower after work and not before — with no way to hope for real change. They’ll take it till they can’t, then join whatever rebellion already exists, the one you’re seeing now.

Three Outcomes

This leaves just three outcomes, since a solution — real reform of a government owned by its wealthy — can only occur in one way.

  • A true Left resistance succeeds, and government and the Democratic Party are truly reformed.
  • Resistance against government fails but isn’t put down. This puts us back to the Movement of the 60s and 70s, which was allowed to exist (no tanks in the streets) till the Vietnam War, the Movement’s driving force, was ended. The modern Movement, if there is one, doesn’t have such a neat goal that brings it to a close.
  • Whoever is in government, the nominal left or right, backed by whatever is left of the non-resistant nation, clamps down, using the National Security apparatus as a sword (tanks in the streets if necessary). Slowly the nation becomes a Stalinist state — everyone hunkered down — until the climate jackpot jumps from the box. Then all bets are off.

All three outcomes are possible. The first is far less likely. In my view, it’s 50-50 on the other two. (An excellent example of the third alternative is Kazakhstan.)

Professional Democrats Are the Ones At Fault

As evil as the Republicans are, this is the professional Democrats’ fault. If they weren’t so determined to make sure the left never leads today’s revolt, we’d be in better shape.

But professional Democrats have ceded leadership of the anti-wealth rebellion to the Right, which leads it duplicitously. As we stand today:

• Democrats are the party of what people are revolting against (the status quo). Biden has made explicit the duplicitous broken promise of Obama.

• Republicans are the party of lies and false solutions.

• No one represents the interests of the revolt itself, or the needs of the people engaged in it.

I don’t see either party’s leaders changing their stance. Thus the mess we see coming, or already here.

There Will Be No Chinese Century

A side note: Lest anyone worry, there will be no “Chinese Century.” The Chinese will have exactly the same problem we do. They have two “breadbaskets,” spread roughly a thousand miles apart.

The ancient near one, the one next to Beijing, the one that spawned the Han civilization in the first place, will be under water before 2100. The chaos there will be great as the chaos here.

And like the U.S. in the not-too-distant decades, China too will lose territorial integrity.

This shows the ‘nine nations’ of modern China. After the chaos, there will be more than nine, and all will be smaller.

Anything that anyone with glory on their minds seeks to own in the next 50 years or so, cannot be owned by anyone. That world, if we get there, will be lost.

That’s very small comfort, I know, but I do know those who are comforted to think it.

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103 comments

  1. Larry

    An interesting thesis, but after reading “Break it Up” last year, I argue that the United States has been a tenuous arrangement from the very start. It’s an excellent reminder of how fractured our country has been throughout it’s history:

    https://www.littlebrown.com/titles/richard-kreitner/break-it-up/9780316510608/

    For those not wanting to read the book, the author appeared on Lewis Lapham’s excellent podcast.

    https://soundcloud.com/laphamsquarterlyworldintime/episode-60-richard-kreitner

    I completely agree with this article author’s thesis that the Democrats simply exist to protect the gilded class and derive their power from the upper 10% of earners who toil for that gilded class. Witness the craven corruption of Nancy Pelosi who engages in self-enrichment with insider information and access and thinks having the cast of Hamilton in for a sing-song will help heal the country. That is the person who sets the congressional agenda, and she defenestrated the so called “Squad” of progressives. My hope is that the party can change, or a new party can emerge from it’s ashes as the elderly neo-liberal leaders shuffle off to the graveyard.

    Reply
    1. WobblyTelomeres

      I think Congress is running a protection racket. They only listen to the donors, and the best way to get the donors attention is by having some party patsy draft a tax bill or actually funding the IRS. Perks the donor class right up. “Nice little fortune you’ve built up there.”

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      The elderly neo-liberal leaders have recruited a deep bench of youthful neo-liberal followers ( the Leaders of Tomorrow) such as Neerah Tanden and Peter Buttigieg and etc. The DemParty’s youthful neo-liberal leader bench is very long and very deep.

      Reply
    3. russell1200

      The United States have not always been very united.

      However, it has been shown that State fragmentation tends to occur during times of international calm, and aggregation during times of trouble. In times of trouble, you get dominant States with small states that latch onto a protector/ally.

      If the United States, one of the big (bad) cops of international order goes away, there are going to be some ugly surprises for those much smaller formerly united States.

      Reply
  2. ArkansasAngie

    Voting is the preferred method of regime change. That makes 1 citizen, 1 vote critical. Every citizen who wants to vote needs to be able to do so. All elections needs to be transparent and audit-able.

    Reply
    1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

      We have a bifurcated electoral system with a campaign funding component and a voting component. Since Citizens United, the one citizen one vote thing no longer matters, no matter how transparent or audit-able.

      Sorry. :(

      Reply
    2. The Historian

      Just some thoughts on voting:

      Voting is definitely the preferred method for the PMC because it is they who benefit from voting. The rest of us? Not so much. There has been study after study showing that Congress doesn’t care what average Americans want. Remember the Mary Tracy tweet in Links on Jan 10th?

      https://twitter.com/MaryTracy/status/1479970436398133249?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1479970436398133249%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2022%2F01%2Flinks-1-10-2022.html

      We can dream all we want and ‘believe’ in voting, but some time, some how, we have to wake up to reality.

      Voting Rights are important, I suppose, but only if you are giving a chance to vote for something. Look at the results from the 2020 election. Only 57% of those aged 18-34 (those people who are going to determine the future for us) voted and that isn’t because they couldn’t vote – it is because they had nothing to vote for. All the Voting Rights bills that Congress passes is not going to change that. Right now, I see Biden’s big push on voting rights as an attempt to appease the PMC and to draw fire away from how bad he’s doing with everything else. I mean you aren’t ‘woke’ if you oppose Voting Rights, are you, even if you do understand that it is a meaningless gesture.

      https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/04/record-high-turnout-in-2020-general-election.html

      I look at the gains we’ve made in the last century. None of them came from voting. The Viet Nam war was ended because of street action. The Civil Rights Act was passed because of street action. Even the modest gains of #metoo and BlackLivesMatter came from street action, not from voting.

      Remember what Einstein said? “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Wasn’t it voting that got us Reagan and all those who followed after?

      I think I am with Neuburger on this one: “This leaves the system exactly nowhere at all, and the suffering masses — the non-ideological soccer moms and put-upon three-job dads, the gig-working masses who shower after work and not before — with no way to hope for real change. They’ll take it till they can’t, then join whatever rebellion already exists, the one you’re seeing now.”

      The rebellion is coming but how bad it will be and for what reasons still remains to be seen. I am not hopeful because it isn’t the left that knows how to use power.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        What if the ” no benefits from voting” majority all came out and voted randomly and unpredictably for any old 3rd, 4th, 5th party thing? What if they created such ugly chaos in the results and such a visible embarassment for the biparty depublicrat establishment that they were inspired to keep coming out and keep trolling elections?

        Troll the vote!

        Reply
        1. Swamp Yankee

          Incisive comment, Alan!

          I do think we are in something that looks a lot like Italy’s “Anni di Piombi” (Years of Lead) from the late 1960s through early 1980s.

          I don’t know that a civil war will be sectional like the last one here in the the US — there are members of each faction Neuberger describes widely distributed throughout the country.

          On the other hand, my friend and I were talking, last weekend on our expedition to the appropriately named Moxie Falls — highest in Maine, Lambert! — that there is a better chance than either of us ever thought that New England will become some kind of independent (de facto or de jure) polity in our lifetime (both in our late 30s).

          If we were to go off on our own, two things strike me as critical: 1) seizing the North Atlantic nuclear sub fleet at Groton in the first days of any putative separation; and 2) establishing a federal republic with a Westminster-style parliamentary government.

          Back of the envelope calculations a few years back put the GDP of the six New England states between Australia and The Netherlands.

          Reply
      1. jonboinAR

        Trouble is, the average person takes too little interest in public affairs for their vote to accomplish anything useful in advancing societally useful goals, even when they have some choices. In California, for example, for decades there has been a mechanism for putting propositions on the ballot to be voted up or down. Some horrible things have been passed that way. The infamous Prop 13 is one example. When the average citizen can’t be bothered to take much trouble to inform their-self, their opinion tends to be subject to cheap manipulation. So, that’s a problem.

        Reply
    3. jim truti

      Anyone who want to vote, can do so in the US.
      The issue is that your vote is only a choice between candidates you have no input initially.
      Think about the president of the US.
      How does one become president?
      You need a lot of money.
      That is why you will always make a deal with the billionaires (who will support any candidate) unless you are one or really have a wide support from the masses.
      The miracle of democracy is that sometimes a leader can emerge from the popular support. But I dont see it now or the near future, the pain threshold is much higher.

      Reply
    4. Tom Bradford

      Voting is the preferred method of regime change

      True – in an ideal world.

      For it to be true you need:-

      1. A minimum of 5 options on offer at the ballot box – hard left, soft left, centrist, soft right, hard right.
      2. Some form of proportional representation to ensure the blend of Government reflects the blend of opinions expressed at the ballot box.
      3. An educated, open-minded electorate exposed to all the options, able to judge them on their (perceived) merits and vote according to their assessment thereof, and willing to live with the will of the majority.
      4. Honest politicians.

      Many if not most democracies manage 1, 2 and 3 better than the US. Too, 1, 2 and 3 go a long way to effecting some semblance of 4. If I were American, I’d despair of the gap between the ideal and reality and the biggest gap is with 3, which is the only place reform can come from without the kind of civil breakdown the article describes. (Mind you, I’d love to sit knitting at the foot of the guillotine as the tumbrils roll!)

      Reply
      1. Grayce

        An educated, open-minded electorate can come from public schools as they were initially envisioned: a place for children of all backgrounds to gain knowledge of citizenship and the tools (literacy, numeracy, social studies or whatever) to develop as an educated, open-minded voter. The general segue to turning out trained workers is a recent development reflecting the economic free-market opinions of some top percent of leaders. Schools were the store of knowledge; employers were the store of know-how. Now, employers expect every new-hire to contribute on day one, and there is no reciprocal expectation to develop a workforce.

        Reply
  3. jackiebass63

    The word War has a strange effect one most of the American public. It somehow gets them to support things they normally wouldn’t support. I think that is why it is used frequently in trying to promote something. Both political parties use it when convenient.

    Reply
  4. PlutoniumKun

    I’d add one addition to Neubergur’s list of participants. In most civil wars that I’m aware of, a major component was previously unaligned individuals running to get ahead of the parade. In the Yugoslav civil war, a lot of the key players were previously obscure businessmen, politicians or celebs who opportunistically hopped on one train or other and deliberately stoked up conflict for personal gain. Sometimes individuals or groups hop onto a side on the simple calculation that staying neutral in a rapidly heating up situation is more dangerous than trying to pick a winning side to support. So in a febrile situation you often get previously obscure people coming to prominence and making things much worse.

    As for China, if you take the long historical big picture of China as a geographical entity, its story is one of huge gradual strides forward over centuries with often very rapid and catastrophic collapses. Much of this is a simple function of physical geography. A country centred on two gigantic fertile flood plains is always going to be highly centralised and will lack the resilience of more physically varied nations. The crucial question for China is how well it will negotiate the middle income trap (so far, they are doing a pretty good job of it), and how well they will navigate the self imposed problems caused by the infrastructure and export based economic expansion (so far, not terribly impressive, but they still have time to get things right). Climate change is, though, a major potential black swan for China as it is still entirely dependent on the hydrogeography of its two giant river systems, and the Chinese government is very aware of this.

    Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    I wouldn’t wish a civil war on my worse enemy. With a regular war, soldiers get moved to another country, fight it, and then – mostly – come home. A civil war? You don’t get to go home. You are home. There are no tours of duty but you fight until one way or another, it fizzles out. The collateral damage is often your family, friends and neighbours. And your bitterest enemies can also be your family, friends and neighbours. In places like Vietnam and Iraq, American soldiers would never know which people were on their side and which were on the side of the enemy. And it would be the same in a civil war in America. The Army might fight to put down a rebellion but how about the National Guard? Who will they side against? Will a drone operator bomb a wedding celebration in rural Montana because there might be local leaders present? if so, they had better protect the families of those drone operators as they can be gotten at.

    Right now US Special Forces are conducting an exercise across several States where they are simulating an insurgency on US soil. But I see a flaw here. Special Forces are professionals and so have some predictability to them. Insurgents are by nature unpredictable which is the only way that they can survive. And such battles will be fought in the cities, not places like in the woods where sensors can pick them up. So you might see a sniper campaign where cops are no longer safe on the streets. Remember that the British in the American Revolution also came unstuck when facing snipers in the early battles, even though they may have been the most professional Army in the world. Any person that wishes to see a civil war that you may meet? Just keep on smiling and back off slowly as they are clinically insane-

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/43854/special-forces-will-simulate-an-insurgency-on-u-s-soil-in-upcoming-unconventional-warfare-exercise

    Reply
    1. coboarts

      These games have been going on for a long time. In ’76 I participated in Braveshield XV. It was held mostly in the swamplands of Eglin airforce base in FL, but, our special forces contingent, for whom we played the indigenous force, were operating all over – in fact they traded our c-rats for… whatever, but fed us rattlesnakes and armadillos – tastes like chicken. Then I participated with a SOF Civil Affairs unit in Solidshield 77, which was combined services and covered mostly the entire eastern seaboard. All good fun. Psyop is the nature of war.

      Reply
    2. Wales

      Did the British really come unstuck? I thought the North American colonialist sniper story was a myth. There were definitely snipers in the 1860s but in the 18th century the British army’s genius lay in the fact that while a single musket was inaccurate, hundreds of muskets aimed in the same direction became a kind of machine gun. Until the French stepped in weren’t Loyalist forces largely unvanquished?

      Reply
  6. Alex Morfesis

    The little furballs will be the undoing of the Chinese red army and the party…the unfortunate reality is the us Navy will be hard pressed to push back itself in the South seas 9 dash nonsense, but the blowback from Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, (and then North Korea) will be swift and devastating. China has a hold on its people due to the physical difficulty of leaving for better shores…you can’t just sneak across a border to a better life…china, by chance, circumstance, or conspiracy, is surrounded by lesser states, and thus the devil they know is better than the alternative, along with history of devolution and rebirth, leaving many to wonder if change will bring a better short term result. But the capacity to take and keep little submerged rocks nearer to other neighboring nations does not exist in current China, and they know it…for all the barking about forcibly taking back(they never actually had it) Taiwan, the red army would at best, if they could sustain a landing, find themselves defeated by the supply line problem of holding it, and the intense guerilla warfare type blowback to be expected from a people not exactly interested in becoming the next hong kong.

    Reply
  7. lakecabs

    The war is over.

    The Oligarchs have won.

    We have a one party system.

    The Fed prints out money and gives it directly to them.

    Every law that is passed attacks the middle class.

    Our civil liberties are being eroded.

    Reply
    1. ChrisRUEcon

      > The Oligarchs have won.

      For now, yes. Remember when Buffet said something like, ” … there is a class war … and my side is winning”?

      > We have a one party system.

      True. We’re merely waiting for the “final boss” to appear in the form of #BidenCheney24

      > The Fed prints out money and gives it directly to them.

      Hate the euphemism “printing money” … ;-) … But we can agree that money creation is now decoupled from legitimate economic activity, and benefits the 1% disproportionately.

      > Every law that is passed attacks the middle class.

      No economic measure can be passed unless it first makes concessions to the 1%

      > Our civil liberties are being eroded.

      And again, this is disproportionately a class thing.

      All agreed on, but …

      >The war is over …

      No it is not. I believe there is a fourth option – a new movement born in the aftermath of this pandemic that will finally, and correctly target both sides and grow large enough to make a difference and eventually win.

      Reply
      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        I think you middle class guys have it pretty good. You know why I say that? Because I have it pretty damn good, and I’m far from the middle class. I’m warm right now, and dry. I’m typing this reply, so I have internet access. I’m hungry, but I’ll have oatmeal for breakfast, and then I won’t be. Beans soaking for dinner.

        You middle class guys never seem to be satisfied – I used to be you, so I know that, too.

        The Buddhists call that “attachment to desire,” and it is a requirement for how Western society and economics work. You’re playing your part.

        Reply
      2. Carla

        I find your optimism very appealing, ChrisRUEcon, and want to agree with your final point. But my dark side is holding me back…

        Reply
        1. ChrisRUEcon

          When the dark side propels you toward the purple light saber, you’ll be ready … ;-)

          #NeitherRedNotBlue #MaceWindu

          Reply
      3. MonkeyBusiness

        Fifth outcome? The US splitting up. It’s hard to take this analysis seriously. The Chinese has managed to stay together for 3000 plus years and it’s them that will split up. Ok. ROFL.

        Conclusion: writer is suffering from Long Covid. Please forgive him for his delusions.

        Reply
          1. MonkeyBusiness

            A mix of both. ChrisRUEcon posited a 4th alternative but he didn’t say anything about China. Just to be clear: my jab about the writer having Long Covid was directed at Thomas Neuburger.

            Reply
            1. ChrisRUEcon

              See my comment on China in response to David Jones below … ;-)

              TL;DR – Wishful thinking.

              China has grown in leaps and bounds while the US has become crappified and stunted. I also commented recently on the fact that during the pandemic, life expectancy in China has now passed that of the US.

              Well done plutocrats, kleptocrats and imperialists!

              /sarc

              Reply
        1. Old Jake

          For some definition of “splitting up” and also for some definition of “stay together.” Will the USA still be a USA in 200 years? Not likely. Will an agglomeration of entities on the North American continent share a lot of social characteristics and exhibit some form of cohesion? See Europe in the last 1000 years. Empires break up but the remnants don’t disappear, they transform. The people who populate the US have a lot more in common than those who populate Europe.

          We do live in interesting times. But I think, if you look closely, almost all times are “interesting.”

          Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          If the US media was exactly the same in 1941 as it is today, they may have tried to convince Americans that it was really the Germans that bombed Pearl Harbour.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            If Pearl Harbor were to happen under current political auspices, we’d eventually declare war on Japan in 1943, but only after getting rid of the filibuster.

            Reply
    2. Mark Sites

      This is where Thomas Neuberger’s post dropped the ball: no mention of the oligarchs who have plotted and funded the course of America’s political actions for half a century.

      For decades it has been taken for granted that our “social issues” have had the most consequential influences on our elections, specifically as they have deflected from those Americans who have reaped virtually all the financial rewards.

      To pick from Neuberger:

      “The reasons why the actual civil war — which has already started — has a different shape are explained below. The main reason is that it’s so badly led by the left, thanks to the status quo–protecting efforts of the Democratic Party and its professional leaders. “

      Democrats status quo protections for and service to America’s rich took off with Clinton.

      “Here a list of the the rolling civil war’s likely participants.”

      No mention of the rich white men controlling funding and controlling vast rightwing networks, and the investments they have made in lies like tax cuts paying for themselves, and the vast return on investments that their donations and lobbyists provided.

      To the rich, America’s government was for sale and they bought it. They bought the Republican Party outright, and the Democratic Party only to a lesser degree. For them, America’s courts and laws exist for the mobsters equivalent of “protection”, a skimming of a percentage off our nation’s “take”, and the corruption of the Justice system to make what they do legal and prevent any scrutiny through the courts.

      Americans fighting Amercians in the street? Just another distraction, and I am sure they will find a way to make money off it.

      The rich, through hate radio, Fox, and countless conservative funded books, articles, speeches, appearances, etc., progressed from social issues to flat out hate speech in the past 3 decades, and they saw that their increase in wealth rose in proportion to how much faster and louder the lies and hate speech spread.

      Now they are comfortable dispensing with American democracy altogether.

      “As I said above, this war has already started. The first signs were political — Obama’s duplicitous ‘Yes we can’, which immediately became ‘No I won’t’; the Sanders-led rebellion of 2016; the Sanders-abandoned rebellion of 2020; and yes, the mess on Jan 6, which was a great many things, a manifestation of this being one of them., ed “

      Right, it was Obama who gave the first signs of a civil war… by being black. Oh wait, wasn’t that George Wallace? Or Nixon? Or Reagan?

      Reply
  8. David Jones

    Very unsure how the chap can make such sweeping statements about China many years hence and be regarded as credible!
    Perhaps, also there will be an alien invasion.I do agree with his assessment of the chances of the American left.

    Historically from the Peasants Revolt onwards leftist uprisings have failed – and most of them do/have -unless driven by disciplined and committed cadres which cuts completely across/against the grain of American individualism.

    Reply
    1. Divadab

      Agreed. He asserts their northern wheat lands will be under water as if it will happen in the next few years! Clearly lacking understanding of the generational and geological time scales of sea level rise. And ignoring completely that engineering solutions (dikes; dams; pumps) are available to the industrious Chinese. Imho this analysis is simplistic and quite ignorant of reality.

      Reply
      1. lordkoos

        Thwaites glacier could collapse in as soon as five or ten years’ time. Better start building those dykes and pumps like, yesterday.

        Reply
    2. ChrisRUEcon

      > Very unsure how the chap can make such sweeping statements about China many years hence and be regarded as credible!

      Indeed. To wit … (via Twitter)

      Transformation of Chinese trains
      The same person, train driver Han Junjia
      This happened just in 26 years — Shen Shiwei 沈诗伟 (@shen_shiwei) January 8, 2022

      Reply
  9. Cocomaan

    This is a weird piece. The most important element of any civil conflict is which way the military breaks, and it’s not mentioned almost at all in the piece. All of those factions he mentioned will be looking to the military for assistance.

    Also, the idea that small arms can’t defeat a modern military belies every conflict the US has lost since Korea.

    A civil war is most definitely not taking place right now. In the run up to the American civil war you saw plenty of street violence but nobody marks the US civil war as starting, say, during the Andrew Jackson era when he threatened South Carolina with invasion over nullification. Civil conflict yes but civil war, no.

    Reply
    1. MT_Wild

      2.77 million Americans have served in The Sandbox. My guess is that translates to roughly 277,000 with recent combat experience in a guerilla warfare/insurgency environment. That’s a lot of folks.

      Assuming no major foreign wars over the next few years, the majority of enlisted personnel will quickly revert to not having combat exerience. Not sure how experience vs. equipment would play out in the streets as each side pays for what they lack in blood. I’m sure this crosses the mind of military planners as an excuse to keep some level of conflict going somewhere.

      Not sure if its useful as a gauge of civil war futures, but the ammo shelves are full again in the military and handgun calibers but hunting ammo is still scarce across calibers.

      Reply
  10. Jason Boxman

    The only way the rebellious right will take power is via their treacherous pro-corporate elected and appointed officials, people like Amy Coney Barrett, who was put on the court, according to the folks at Breaking Points, not to wage culture war, but to ensure and enhance corporate power.

    The Roberts court has been wildly successful in stripping citizens of their right to seek redress in court by limiting when one has standing. So this has been ongoing for quite awhile now.

    Reply
  11. David

    I agree that it’s not very useful (I’d say it’s actually silly) to talk about “civil war” in this context. A civil war is a war for the control, or the future shape, of civis, the state. It requires two or more political groupings with different ideas about that, which cannot be reconciled peacefully. There’s nothing in this article which remotely suggests that this is the case in the US today. The most that seems plausible at the moment is scattered outbreaks of low-level conflict between different groups.

    You can’t answer questions about who would win such a war without first deciding who the sides are, what their objectives are and what would constitute victory. At one extreme, an armed militia-style group trying to occupy Washington would risk being smeared all over the landscape. At the other, it’s not impossible to imagine an area of the country becoming effectively independent and being able to maintain that status against an armed response. In general, this is an article which tries to list possible answers without defining the question first.

    Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    During our family xmas together, I asked my far-far-right brother in law and merely a little right brother in-law about guns, and both had owned precisely none say 20 years ago, with the far-far-right one owning around a dozen now.

    I specifically inquired under what conditions they would shoot somebody, and sadly if you were to be caught in the act of taking their stuff, would be grounds for perforating the perp.

    In our country of 400 million ‘citizens’ and 320 million gun owners, that’s a bit scary, no?

    Reply
    1. MT_Wild

      At what point does the theft of property become life-threatening? Not hard to envision a point in the not too distant future where theft of medication for resale on the black market becomes a thing. For those with means and access replacing medicine is no big deal. For others the loss of a month’s prescription means a month without the medication. Would they have the right to use force to protect their supply?

      Same goes for specialized work equipment and those Who are self employed. I had a neighbor who was self employed as a welder for one of the agricultural companies here. Big fancy welding machine (welded of course) into the bed of his truck. A couple of folks tried to come by and steal it using cutting torches one night. He was able to stop them and chase them off but what if he hadn’t?

      Assuming insurance would cover it, they’re sicomma there’s still a deductible $500? 1000? $2000? Who in the precariat has the cash on hand? How long to get reimbursed? Would the company try to deny the claim? Then giving the scarcity of such things now how soon could you actually replace such an item? And in the meantime you’re out of work with no income. Think the bank would have mercy on your mortgage payment ? The utility company?

      The issue with having no safety net is people are acutely aware of it when they’re on a tight rope.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I harp on the Bizarro World similarities of the endgames of Communism and Capitalism, and my mom told me that everybody was stealing from one another in Czechoslovakia in the 60’s and 70’s. Check out the film The Fireman’s Ball by Miloš Forman from 1967, to get a taste of what was going on in a quite satirical comedy.

        Reply
      2. Copeland

        But aren’t the people with 20 or more guns the same ones who have been all-in on dismantling the safety nets? Perhaps because they believe guns are their safety nets?

        Reply
      3. newcatty

        Safety net for some, but not for all. Do any of us know the “self-employed folks” who have purposefully declared only enough income to still qualify for assistance for government programs? Not too many people can be “self-employed ” as being paid in cash or trade. Others work at low income jobs with, if “fortunate”, have crappified employer supplied health insurance with high deductibles and co-pays. No Medicaid. No food stamps, either. A wonderful nursing assistant shared this information with me. She had no health benefits, while working at an affluent physian’s practice. She went for health care at a low, or no, income community clinic. She took a bus for transportation. No SNAP, ate frugally with healthy beans and cereals. A community garden shared some fresh produce. This is her prediction. Our fair city is already like the wild west. Desperate and hungry people will turn to lawlessness. A parent with hungry child may steal for bread.

        Reply
    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      It’s impossible to find a polite way to say this, but, middle class men over the age of 45-50 are not reliable foot soldiers of insurrection. Ever, in any time or place. They don’t have the vaguest idea of how to husband their strength. When the going gets rough they succumb to the cardiovascular disease that’s been eating away at them for decades. Any guy who can buy a stockpile of 10-12 guns and the ammo to feed them is easily middle class, and has been for awhile. The ragey BS that comes out of them has been a source of jokes for generations now (the “get off my lawn” types of jokes about fist shaking old coots railing at the kids these days…).

      Large stockpiles of guns and ammo in the homes of 60-something white men who need 2-3 Advil after walking 8 miles in gently rolling terrain aren’t indicative of civil war. They’re merely indicative of the marketing power of their preferred propaganda outlets. And the sadness of human mortality, and the aging that precedes it.

      I’m being generous with the age range I cited above. The truth is the cutoff is more like 35.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Large stockpiles of guns and ammo in the homes of 60-something white men who need 2-3 Advil after walking 8 miles in gently rolling terrain aren’t indicative of civil war. They’re merely indicative of the marketing power of their preferred propaganda outlets. And the sadness of human mortality, and the aging that precedes it.

        Yep, my brother in laws are pushing 70, all ready to defend stuff with their lives, and an elderly neighbor 3d printed a Paris Gun and if he can procure 238mm shells for it, promises to put Pixley in peril.

        Reply
  13. flora

    eh. the more I read anything about a supposedly nearing civil war, the more I think the idea is being pushed by political actors instead of anything felt on the street. I also know the B admin is eager to pass its Domestic Terrier Bill, aka Bush’s anti-terrior bill v. 2.
    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/read-full-biden-administration-unveils-plan-to-combat-domestic-terror

    Create a fear, pass a horrible bill to “address” the fear you created, et viola! – more destruction of the Bill of Rights. D.C. pols et al seem to like the idea; the public – not so much. My 2 cents. Or as that old cynic H.L. Mencken wrote:

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

    (Just because I see clamoring in the MSM and on blogs about something no longer means the thing has much real substance, the MSM being wholly political now.)

    (I thought Neuburger was shrewder than this column suggests.)

    Reply
  14. Glossolalia

    But China appears to be buying a lot of loyalty from its citizens (as well as winning acceptance of an interruption in an increase in living standards) from its successful war against Covid.

    If you look at what they’re doing in China, basically placing millions of people at a time on strict house arrest, with no concern for how they’ll get food, it’s pretty troubling to call in “successful.” I suppose it’s successful the way the Israeli military considers its operations in Gaza to be successful.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Reading a story on NPR about one city where “thousands” protested, it is the cities, not the national government, that are responsible for provisioning the quarantine hotels. And IM Doc’s wife, whose family fled China during the Cultural Revolution and is thus no fan of the regime, says that when Covid outbreaks occur, the reaction is “How did the local government screw up?”

      Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    One of our group stopped @ In-N-Out in Carson City NV for lunch and reported that there was a quite obese man with a gun in a belted holster inside which kind of freaked them out, it being the first time in the trio’s combined 204 year existence on this good orb of seeing someone in such a fashion in these not so united states, a gunslinger in their midst.

    Reply
    1. Adam Eran

      For a little perspective, in 2016, the Kochs, who were literally raised by a Nazi, spent $889 million to influence the politics of the day.

      By “raised by a Nazi,” I mean that the nanny hired by their father, Fred, was literally a member of Hitler’s party, not that she was a stern disciplinarian.

      My “conservative” friends answer: “But what about George Soros?”

      Yes, Soros is to the left of the Kochs, but so is Atilla the Hun. He’s also a capitalist’s capitalist who has made his bones speculating in currency. So…what did he spend in that election? Answer $27 million…so Kochs spent more than 30 times more.

      To show you how “left” is Soros, a lot of that money went to Hillary.

      In any case, given their lack of funding and attention, the disarray of the left in whatever this is (“civil war”?) is to be expected. … although it’s worth remembering Karl Marx was pretty poor for most of his life, so ideas are a currency all their own.

      Reply
      1. KD

        Let’s say you grew up having your @$$ wiped by a card-carrying member of the Nazi party. So what?

        There is zero evidence that the Kochs have anything to do with promulgating Nazism. I think Schwarzenegger’s Dad had some affiliation with somebody heavy, but it was hardly California Uber Alles when he was governor. Its pretty gross to reduce someone to their surname or their nanny.

        Reply
      2. griffen

        Lack of funding. Curious data point. Hillary Clinton blew up a cool $1 billion not winning in 2016. And seems likely to give it one more go, one last college try of it. Because, why not? Her friends in media will not suggest no.

        The left has plenty of deep pockets. Silicon Valley, Wall Street and white shoe law firms have plenty of Democract donors. They don’t make easy pickings as the Koch’s will do, granted. The Arnold’s and Sheldon Adelson’s of the world also fund a lot of R candidates. Okay, Adelson used to be a funder of candidates.

        Reply
        1. Swamp Yankee

          Silicon Valley, Wall Street, White Shoe Law Firms, Democratic Establishment =/= the Left.

          They are liberals, though, and not even in the attenuated social liberal sense of David Lloyd George’s “People’s Budget,” but much more 19th century laissez-faireniks, with a nice mix of Spencerian social Darwinism to round it off.

          Reply
  16. Susan the other

    I can’t really relate to this analysis. Except that I do believe we live in political chaos. And have always done so. If “globalization” is breaking down politics into smaller patches on the map, so be it. Smaller patches are better at creating equality. Because they are dependent on it to create government. And we will never achieve a functioning democracy until we achieve functioning equality. Why nobody considers equally to be the bedrock of democracy and functioning politics, I’ll never understand. Instead we clamor for our rights like monkeys. And politicians don’t really have the energy or intelligence to respond to us. So I propose a logical first step: The Revolting People Mitigation Plan. A title Hillary would love. Revolting People Mitigation is all about achieving equality first and then democracy by creating a social structure that is agreement-capable. We can all thank Ben Bernanke for planting this ingenious seed when he testified before Congress c. 2009, and after listening to them complain about “the economy” he told them his hands were tied by the Fed’s mandate but they could vote to give him fiscal control. And he smiled like the Cheshire Cat as he watched them squirm and avoid the subject altogether. Because they are slimeballs of the first order – and there’s very little we can do about their corruption… except for this: The goal of the Revolting People Mitigation Plan is to create the equality upon which we can create an actual, functioning democracy and society. Equality First. And it could be reasonably easy to do this: Draw up the document that gives the Fed the Third Mandate. In addition to adjusting monetary measures to control inflation and unemployment, the Third Mandate is the most important – it is to maintain equality and well-being for every citizen. The Fed can ensure social equality by balancing its monetary largesse (every dollar given to the 1% impoverishes the 99% – but conversely, every dollar given to the 99% enriches the 1% – just at a more reasonable pace) thus ensuring social democracy to a better degree, by direct spending in behalf of the Treasury to achieve this goal. It can come in all sorts of disbursements from income supplement, to rations, to free education, to BBB jobs programs, to decent housing. To anything we want it to do. In the process it will create a very healthy domestic economy. And the best part is of course that no fat cats need lose altitude. They can keep on hanging on. Actually they will do much better for the long haul ahead – there will be less volatility and insecurity in the markets; more social and political cohesion. Legislate and pass an amendment to the Fed’s mandate: give the Fed a third mandate to promote and maintain equality and well being for everyone. And, of course, define exactly the boundaries below which people are not allowed to sink, like homelessness, no health care, and other atrocities. And so on. Then all we have to do is let Democracy happen. I’d submit that equality and well-being make all people rational and constructive. That’s democracy.

    Reply
    1. Adam Eran

      You differ only slightly from Kalecki’s point in The Political Aspects of Full Employment: Businesses understand perfectly well that enriching the 99% would benefit the economy, and their business too. What they’re unwilling to give up, though, Kalecki calls “labor discipline.” That is the message that you’d better take whatever crappy job is on offer, or you’ll suffer the indignities of poverty (which we’ll make sure is pretty undignified), perhaps even homelessness or starvation. And if you’re extra ornery, we’ll put you in a cage.

      Reply
      1. ChrisRUEcon

        Or as expressed by Joan Robinson in her 1943 letter to The Times (with “unemployment” as a proxy for “poverty”):

        Unemployment is not a mere accidental blemish in a private enterprise economy. On the contrary, it is part of the essential mechanism of the system, and has a definite function to fulfil. The first function of unemployment (which has always existed in open or disguised form) is that it maintains the authority of master over man. The master has normally been in a position to say: “If you do not want the job, there are plenty of others who do.” When the man can say: “If you do not want to employ me, there are plenty of others who will,” the situation is radically altered.

        This is another reason why a job guarantee at a living wage meets great resistance today, even though things like the WPA were essential to the rebuilding of the US after the Great Depression.

        Reply
    2. flora

      …I’ll never understand. Instead we clamor for our rights like monkeys.

      er, um… no. Monkeys are animals. We demand our rights as citizens, citizens whose earlier family members fought for, and died for these rights against autocracies. A too over the top demand? A too operatic claim? No. My great uncle lies buried in France, a trench warfare victim of mustard gas. Too emotional a claim? No. Sorry, just no. He fought for something important.

      Reply
      1. flora

        Shorter: democracy isn’t secondary to some other process (unnamed) which itself might lead to democracy, democracy is the process by which greater equality is realized. My 2 cents.

        Reply
        1. flora

          adding: it’s so odd to me that I’m here quoting the US Declaration on an ostensible left web site to make my point, when I think the left (certainly as it was then) has this understanding in its bones. I shouldn’t need to remark this.

          ” We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
          – Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            The Old Left and the Old Neo Liberals of the Democratic Party, and yes, the small c-conservatives of the Republican Party before the political purges of the 1990s also agreed with the Preamble; a lot of money, time, effort, and lies was used to make the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with its Bill of Rights unfashionable while replacing equality and rights with equity, and reparations for justice, and money for speech as if one’s freedom, rights, and even responsibly can be equated to and replaced with money. How insubstantial, pale, and shallow is that? The monetization of culture and humanity.

            Reply
          2. Susan the other

            Then if this is true, that democracy achieves equality, (which I do not agree with) – then why hasn’t democracy achieved it? We have an ever decreasing equality in this country. And our democracy, our government, is in a shambles. Should we put a time limit on the achievement of equality – say if democracy cannot achieve equality in 50 years then it’s time to go around the log jam – which is truly a useless squabble – (aka Congress) and achieve equality by other means? A mandate (probably in desperation done by a President who understands how close the country is to completely falling apart) to achieve equality. I’d submit again, that once equality exists it creates a good society. Equality is not a handout, it is a right. It’s more basic than democracy.

            Reply
      2. Clem

        Wonderful series of videos on Youtube that every American would enjoy; Auditing the Audit is about people who deliberately or accidentally challenge the police and defend their constitutional rights. Illustrated with their own videos and the FOIA’d body cam footage of the cops.

        Episodes broken down into categories like Need to identify, probable cause, Right to video police, Trespassing, et al.

        Reply
  17. Lambert Strether

    > Here a list of the the rolling civil war’s likely participants.

    I would like some idea of the total numbers of these “participants,” and the ratio of state to non-state actors. My subjective impression is that state actors comprise a significant percentage. Of course, that was true with the Ohkrana as well, and look what happened to the Romanovs.

    Reply
    1. flora

      paging Andrew Jackson:

      “You are a den of vipers. I intend to rout you out and by the Eternal God I will rout you out. If the people only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system, there would be a revolution before morning.”
      – Andrew Jackson

      What? Oh… this talked-up, advertised revolution is not about the banking system ? / ;)

      Reply
    2. JBird4049

      I have been curious about how the Ohkrana was unable to prevent the Revolution. It was this effective secret police until it was not. I guess having most of the empire’s population seriously cheesed was the reason. They just couldn’t arrest the various leaders quickly enough and then the women at that factory who started protesting about the lack of food and where all the men were being sent to just got the entire city going. How does one arrest an entire city?

      Reply
  18. KD

    Much craziness. It takes small arms and some pissed off sheep herders to do an insurgency (witness Afghanistan). You do not need f-15s or nukes.

    Americans are way too soft for insurgency. Most of the youth doesn’t meet basic standards for admission into the armed forces. The rest is way too old for Revolution, that is a young man’s game. It won’t happen here.

    The “real left” is never coming to take over politics, because you have to understand how something actually works before you can re-engineer it.

    We’ll have “managed democracy” with a narrow set of oligarchs controlling speech in the name of “fighting misinformation” and increased authoritarianism. Not Stalinism, Stalinists believed in something. These people don’t believe in anything except grift.

    If they can really teach people of different races, religions, and ethnicities to hate each other, to the point that you have large scale race-based violence and population migrations, things could split up. However, I think they are going for the goldilocks of racial unrest where it is strong enough to prevent redistributive politics and yet not bring us to Yugoslavia 2.0.

    I think if the US gets in a big war and gets its rear-ended handed to it, like it is gunning for, that will probably trigger the “Constitutional Moment”, but nothing short of a really bad beat with on-going long term consequences, and a financial crisis before the white horses arrive.

    Reply
    1. coboarts

      I disagree, we combine totally with our brothers to the south, create “Aztlan Brigades” and let Huitzilopotchli’s sons rampage the Earth. It would mean the end of everything as “we” know it – but bfd.

      Reply
    2. fajensen

      Americans are way too soft for insurgency. Most of the youth doesn’t meet basic standards for admission into the armed forces.

      I don’t think so. A great mass of willing, but stupid and unfit amateurs, will deal plenty of damage while they are being decimated by the real army and eventually those who are left will all be hardened and professional fighters.

      It is because that their targets in a modern civilisation are far more valuable and difficult to replace than they are. If they are running at 30:1 or 50:1 against a modern army, the losses and costs of replacements will still be higher for the modern army. Until supply lines are cut and they are kinda on the same level.

      As an example, one can look at the jihadi footage from Syria. The first waves were clearly amateurs and clowns, taking themselves or their mates out more often than hitting any targets – while providing amusing footage for the meme warriors here in the west.

      However, after five years of attrition, only the hardest of the hardcore were left and the regular army pretty much had to go through every bit of rubble and burn them out. They are still not totally gone and keeps popping up here and there. The country is more or less razed to the ground too and it will take generations for it to recover.

      Reply
  19. JEHR

    Sometimes I think about how the Russian Revolution developed and it took centuries for the poor people to rise up and demand food let alone freedom. The situation in the US will have to get much harsher and crueler for the people to rise up or for the leaders of the revolution to take advantage of a situation in order to gain control. But in the end, the Russian people never achieved what they wanted and the aristocrats were replaced by dictators. What was gained in the end?

    Reply
    1. KD

      You see these social revolutions in pre-industrial and early industrial countries like Russia and China, and not so much in countries with a long history of industry. Usually a failed war helps. Now wither the hollowed-out Post Industrial society, the future is open, but the demographics are against it.

      Reply
  20. Jack

    I really do not think a “civil war” will take place. I believe our society will further degrade and disintegrate into a fascist state with some strongman in charge. It might be Trump in 2024, though he is such a managerial nincompoop someone worse will quickly follow to clean up his mess. I continue to find it hard to believe how the Dems just keep fiddling while Rome burns. Surely, they know nice things will not happen if the Repubs take both houses of Congress this year and the WH in 2024? And it is entirely possible, actually more than likely that will happen. I think something like the Weimar Republic is coming. If you want to read a chilling piece discussing that and other scenarios check out; https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-american-polity-is-cracked-and-might-collapse-canada-must-prepare/.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The DemLeadership classes expect to do quite well, materially speaking. Look how well the Clintons and the Obamas have been rewarded for their good upper class work. Look how rich the Pelosis and the Feinsteins are.

      The DemLeaders are doing what they are very well paid to do.

      Reply
  21. roxan

    Number two on his list should be ‘far right insurgency and autocratic despot’– surely, the most likely outcome. There is not much of a ‘left’ here outside the big cities.

    Reply
    1. Swamp Yankee

      I’m not sure it is true that there is not much of a Left outside the big cities. I think the great mass of people, in the metropolitan cores and outside of them, have a general and inchoate sense of opposition that could be channeled in any number of directions.

      Lots of hatred for the rich among non-metropolitan USians in my experience.

      Reply
  22. Watt4Bob

    I’m surprised no one has brought up the obvious rise in eliminationist tactics and sentiment by the right in the US.

    Give the poor badges, and guns, and the job of hunting down and if necessary, killing their cousins who hold unpopular political ideals.

    Unmarked vehicles snatching people off the streets, secret police facilities for the detention and disappearance of the opposition.

    In an important sense, the right started fighting the new civil war in November of 1963, and the opposition, the resistance if you will, has never found it convenient to admit it.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yup.
      Hobbsean All against All, settling into warlordism, akin to post roman britannia.
      during all that, there will be various mugs with access to whatever megaphones that remain claiming to be the Leader of whatever faction or another…but this doesn’t mean they will be leading anything.
      …and as long as The Dollar is seen to have value in a sufficient number of people(upper 30%?), the erstwhile Rich will continue to profit from the chaos….while pretending Real Hard that there’s still a USA, USA USA!.

      Oryx and Crake meets Aeon Flux meets the darker parts of Arthurian Mythos(prequels to Mists of Avalon).

      the question remains, what’s the trigger for a UN Peacekeeping Mission?

      Reply
  23. TimD

    America has always been right-wing when compared to other countries. It has had no trouble taking native land, Mexican land or invading a democratically-elected government it doesn’t like. The country had no problem looking the other way with Jim Crow for decades after the civil war, there was no uproar when voting rights were gutted in 2013, and both parties have accepted a weaker federal government that has ceded power to big companies and the wealthy. I remember when America claimed to be the leader of the free and democratic world and a significant number of its allies were countries with right-wing dictatorships. Now with J6, America’s cherished democracy is seen to be fragile – like it happened overnight. I think it is just that with the economy weakening, times getting more desperate, and small ‘l’ liberalism on the ropes, the Republicans feel an increased ability to grab power.

    Reply
    1. Swamp Yankee

      I’m sorry — No, America has not “always” been right-wing — the term only takes its current meaning beginning with the French Revolution. Even so, the Puritans were the radical wing of the Reformation and not right-wing (they cut off their King’s head!), the Revolution was not right-wing, Shays’ Rebellion was not, Dorr’s Rebellion in Rhode Island was not, the Abolitionists and the cause of the Union were not, the New Deal was not, the Four Freedoms were not, the Great Society was not, etc.

      This is an ahistorical claim.

      America is large; it contradicts itself; it contains multitudes.

      Reply
  24. drumlin woodchuckles

    The Institutional Left ceded the Civil War outcome to the Institutional Right on the day the Institutional Left decided to pretend to believe that Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy, acting alone . . . with his Magic Bullet.

    Reply

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