>An Overview of the Battlespace

UPDATED 1354 est 1 Dec 2008: Link and site disappeared overnight after creation of this post; just found this cached version.

Read this essay slowly, click on the embedded links, especially this one, and make sure to read the comments as well.

Use your bravo-sierra detector to sort the wheat from the chaff, as you should do with any piece of content.

And think about the essay’s closer:

Our only hope for the future is a coalition made up of Black Nationalists, old Southern Johnny Rebs, Sons of Liberty, Vermont farmers, anarcho-anthropologists, community organizers, hacker punks, and angry old Wobblies. Our only hope is to narrow our focus while expanding our networks, batten the hatches, open our hearts, and commit to fighting on our feet rather than living on our knees.

Damned straight.


The Revolutionary American Archipeligo

I don’t know if you’ve heard the news, but apparently there’s some kind of global economic meltdown underway that threatens (or promises) to forever alter world political-economic systems, power dynamics, and resource distribution. Or something like that. I could at this point parade out dozens of statistical analysises, stock charts, and articles comparing our current situation to 1929, 1865, or 1492, but I post enough gloom and doom here and that dead horse has been thoroughly pulverized by this point. What I’m interested in is where we’re going and what to do now. There are any number of sources for prognostication we could look at but there a few recent ones that feel particularly salient. None of them are perfect, but all of them have some truth.

The Coming Challenges

First, the Global Trends 2025 report put out by the National Intelligence Council has plenty of flaws, but correctly identifies some technologies that will greatly affect the next 20 years.

1. Biogerontechnology involves technologies that improve lifespan. If people
are living longer and healthier lives, it will challenge nations to develop new economic and social
policies for an older and healthier population.

2. Crop-based biofuels and chemicals production, which will reduce gasoline

3. Robots have the potential to replace humans in a number of industries,
ranging from the military to health care.

4. Internet pervasiveness will be in everyday objects, such as food packages,
furniture and paper documents. It will also streamline supply chains, slash costs “and reduce
dependence on human labor.”

What the report fails to discuss is how these technologies will interact with each other to create new challenges for humanity. Biotechnology will help the wealthy lead ever longer, healthier lives, while overcrowding in the cities (and government labs) spread new diseases to the masses. Corn-based biofuel will put more pressure on the food supply, contributing to the many other forces that will be decreasing annual crop yields and raising prices. We’re likely to see food shortages begin as early as next year as the global agro-industrial complex shakes apart and reorganizes. Global shipping lines could be hindered by pirates, higher fuel costs, and tight credit, leading to decreased fruit availability. A recent article in the Boston Globe pointed out that with higher food prices, more people will downgrade their diets to fast food and Spam (Spam purchases have already spiked dramatically), which could mean increasing obesity coupled with malnutrition. Vitamins and food supplements could potentially fill in the nutritional gaps in people’s diets, but with Codex Alimentarius coming into effect, they’ll all be government regulated and could become very expensive. Again, there could be great disparity between the health of the elites and the health of the proles.

Next, within the next five to ten years the surveillance grid that blankets the US is going to become even thicker. The current highly-successful trend has been surveillance as conveniance, and I think that will continue. Cameras will enter our homes under the guise of video-chat technology (keep in touch with loved ones when you can’t afford to fly), video game accessories, Fahrenheit 451-you’re-on-TV -type-technology, and burglar alarm to combat the rising crime. Cell phones already track our movements and potentially record our conversations, and this will no doubt continue. We may or may not have microchip implants in 20 years, but it may be unnecessary because RFID chips will be in all credit cards, clothing, consumer electronics, packaging, etc. and a nationwide or near-nationwide wireless network will keep the chips singing all day. All this data will be fed into SEAS.

And there will be robots. What little manufacturing there is still here will largely be performed by robots, increasing unemployment. In the cities we’ll see airborne surveillance drones at a minimum, and potentially on the ground force-multiplying armed robot police. There’s a lot of speculation going on now about Obama’s plans for the military. He’s stated he wants to increase the size of the Army and Marines, and while massive unemployment always helps military enrolement, expanded foreign and domestic responsibilities coupled with decreased tax revenue will force the Pentagon to seek creative solutions for its needs. Robots are cheap and will only get cheaper, and DARPA has dozens of projects developing robots that can crawl, walk, swim, fly, carry combat supplies, fit under door jambs, mimic insects, shoot tasers, hunt in packs, and do God knows what else. If there is a budget squeeze at the Pentagon, we may see fewer next-next generation fighter jets and battleships, but crowd control, urban warfare, less than lethal, and robot technology will only become a more important part of military spending. Americans are going to get poor, hungry, and angry, and the military will be here to apply the lessons learned in Iraq (Afghanistan, Pakistan) to keep the peace.

Our Best Defense

OK, so that’s one take on the future: unemployment is rampant, food is expensive and unhealthy, the surveillance grid is all pervasive, and the rise of the robots is well underway. So what do we do? Interestingly, one of the most interesting potential solutions to all this is coming from a military consultant. John Robb, author of Brave New War and the Global Guerrillas blog, spends a lot of time these days talking about our need for resilient communities. He argues that the only way to defend ourselves against the current (4th Generation) terrorist threat is by decentralizing, helping communities become more autonomous, and encouraging the development of networked local militias. Resilient communities able to produce their own power, grow their own food, and defend themselves with force if necessary, are our best defense against the new crop of super-empowered global guerrillas, and the lumbering armored infantry is outmoded.

Now, I think Robb’s got some great ideas here, but I also think it’s totally nuts to think the government-industrial complex would ever support resilient community projects. I mean, there are definitely some independent terrorists out there fighting the Great Satan, but the overall landscape of international terrorism/drug trade/organized crime is so dominated by the Anglo-American Intelligence Community it’s hard to imagine the Pentagon really helping communities become more secure against attacks. As far as I can tell, the Fed Gov has been on a steady course for the last century or longer, gobbling up as much power as it can, centralizing command and control, and making local communities as dependent on/vulnerable to the global-control grid as possible. So, I think resilient communities are a brilliant idea, but if they’re ever going to come about it will be through local initiative, not DHS grants.

But what would it take to make our communities more resilient? What are the biggest challenges and most important steps. First, we need to recognize the current state of most communities. They’re broken. We certainly have some model communities scattered throughout the country where neighbors know each other, help each other, and discuss issues in local government (we have these in poor urban barrios and small rural towns) but most of our communities are fractured, dysfunctional sprawling cell blocks where people sit at home watching TV without even knowing their neighbors’ names. I’m as guilty here as anyone; I only know a handful of people in my apartment building, and no one in the building nearby. The biggest cause of our isolation, I think, is time. I work a lot, and when I’m not I like being alone–the overstimulation of urban living can be exhausting. I also have friends spread around the country, and I’m often content to talk to them on the phone rather than go door to door meeting new people. And I don’t want to idealize small town life over the global network/urban living. Anonymity has its benefits, I like using email to stay in touch with distant friends instead of relying on the Post Office or losing touch, and village life where everyone knows your business can be terribly suffocating.

Our goal then, as was discussed in a post by Robert Patterson is rebalancing. Many communities have become too fractured, but we don’t want to roll back the gains we’ve made by expanding our communication network.

I have no doubt that most people would be (will be) much better off if (once) we switch to local food production and energy production. Every roof in every city should be a green roof growing food organically. Every roof should be collecting rainwater to either purify and drink or use as gray water. The government of Detroit has already begun opening up the lawns of abandoned properties for gardening, and there’s no reason that practice couldn’t spread to towns and cities accross the country. After the USSR could no longer provide food aid to Cuba, the government opened up public land for farming and small community gardens began providing a significant portion of the population’s food needs, and generating money for some people.

While part of me is glad to hear the green energy-meme spreading through the public consciousness, I keep hearing these new technologies shackled to antiquated distribution methods. T Boon Pickens and his enormous wind farm will save us. The Three Gorges Dam will produce clean energy for millions of Chinese. People fail to realize that we can be oppressed by centralized green technology as easily as by centralized carbon fuels. I’ll be damned if a giant wind farm coupled to a privately-regulated smart grid (another key component in the surveillance grid) is going to liberate anyone. What we need are localized power sources. Every building or small group of buildings has its own wind, solar, and hydro power sources. Hand cranks–on everything. Stationary-bicycle power generation. Whatever. The army has “tactical biorefineries” that generate electricity from trash and there’s a company making micro-hydro for toilets! There are many many ways to generate power and power generation should always start as close to the point of use as possible. Microgrids can link local power sources.

Finally, it is unreasonable to expect a return to a pure barter economy, but the cashless economy (and no doubt there will be a push for that soon enough) is another key part of the control grid. We need alternate currencies, local currencies to support local economies. Robert Patterson’s solution for the economic depression is a “slow money” movement to keep capital swirling through the community as long as possible. Local, unofficial, unmonitored currencies offer so much potential to get money to the unemployed, keep poor communities functioning, and resist unjust taxes. In a local economy, employers could pay employees with local script, thus avoiding taxation and the inflation/deflation waves of the global economy. Local currency is independence, and the founders of the US knew it. We forget that the Revolutionary War was primarily fought over the right to bear arms, unjust taxation, and the right to use colonial script.

If we are to survive the coming decades of hardship, it is crucial that we rebalance our lives to rely more on the local, but we should not think that thousands of isolated communities will improve anything. Divide and conquer is one of the oldest strategies and we must be careful not to fragment our nation in the process of unifying communities. Also, purely local food and energy reliance may actually make a community more vulnerable to hardship. What we really want is a network, an American archipelago that is still tied to the wider world.

Source Point Manifesto

The source point and the point of use should always be as close together as possible. Imagine a need as a body in space. The smaller the needs, the lower its gravity, the less it affects the other bodies around it. Alternately, resources form concentric circles around needs, and as a need grows it draws from ever larger resource rings.

My yard should have a garden that produces most of the vegetables I eat, but my milk could come from local farms, my grains from state farms, and oranges still grow in Florida. My laptop should have a handcrank that I can use to power it most of the time. If for whatever reason, I need more power, or power for a longer time, then I plug in to my home’s power supply. Solar panels and a small windmill on the roof generate power and batteries in the basement create a reserve. When i plug into the outlet, I begin drawing from the house’s reserve. If the house is using more power than it’s generating it draws on the community’s power sources, then the city’s, county’s, state’s, etc. If I cut my finger I use a bandaid first, or visit my community health clinic if needed, and only go to the hospital is absolutely needed. I could barter my firewood for my neighbor’s honey, uses town script to buy butter down the road, state currency to purchase hemp-biodiesel, and some sort of open-source, Revolution Money Exchange for Internet purchases.

Effective communication is the core strength of the network, of course, and we’ll need open source DIY solutions for this. We must assume that all electronic communication will be monitored, and so we’ll need codes for anything sensitive, human face-to-face-standing-in-a-Faraday cage for anything top secret, and who-cares-go-ahead-and-read-this-mail-we’ve-nothing-to-hide communication for just about everything else. Our goal is to always be forming resistance within the law, opposition operating ahead of the legislature, and as transparent as possible so as to encourage participation. Also, I’m hoping that our tech team can develop an inexpensive version of the military’s new JTRS, the switch to digital TV will open up new opportunities for pirate TV, and ad hoc networks will give us options I have not even begun to imagine.

This future will not be easy to create, but I don’t see any easy option in the future. We are in a transition period, a great cycling of epochs, and like all times of change throughout history (and in the individual life) there will be discomfort and loss. Our challenge, then, is to make sure that the suffering
does not occur in vain, and the tunnel ends in light. I see the walls of the prison planet rising around us and the devils are lighting kindling in the crematoriums. Our future, at best, looks a lot more like Afrigadget than the Jetsons, but I’m OK with that. We’ll build a new world in the dying shell of the old and our autonomous spaces will be tiger traps for the Empire.

God bless the Three Percenters who talk of a New American Revolution and are stockpiling ammo. Some of them are misogynists, homophobes and followers(!) of Ayn Rand, but the good ones ain’t racists and their courage will be vital to our resistence. God bless the bomb chucking Black Block who coalition with the Grannies for Peace to raise ruckus. God bless the eco-designers, and artists like the Future Farmers, and crazy brilliant (illuminated!) hippie entrepreneurs like Justin Boland who write inspirational things like 10 Ways YOU Can Fight Fascism Around the World.

Our only hope for the future is a coalition made up of Black Nationalists, old Southern Johnny Rebs, Sons of Liberty, Vermont farmers, anarcho-anthropologists, community organizers, hacker punks, and angry old Wobblies. Our only hope is to narrow our focus while expanding our networks, batten the hatches, open our hearts, and commit to fighting on our feet rather than living on our knees.

15 responses to “>An Overview of the Battlespace

  1. >Man I hope EVERYONE visiting here checks all this out THOROUGHLY!!Thanks CA! CIII

  2. >I think the key takeaway for enlightening the masses is the portion re resilient communities. True, government has no interest in independent decentralized self-sufficient communities who are not reliant upon (and thus not beholden to) government. But, we don’t NEED government to do it for us; we can do it ourselves. I think there is great potential that our first large-scale socially acceptable black market will be medical care under an Obama regime’s universal health care. There will be doctors who will see universal health care as bullshit because patient care will be the last priority of any such system. There may be a great many of those doctors willing to do off-the-books work — and there will be a lot of people who overlook such lawbreaking. After all, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything — and if the govt is responsible for the loss of your health, then the government is irrevocably wrong, right?

  3. >Wow…It’s coming up to 1:40AM and I’ve spent almost 3 hours reading and digesting.Every once in a while, I come across reading matter that makes the world wobble on it’s axis, and nothing is quite the same again. I delved several layers of links deep while reading this brilliant essay at VivaRedTeam. I highly recommend Global Guerilla too, although, I have to say The guy at Cryptogon alarmed me no end.This is one of the most informative, useful and inspiring posts I’ve read on WRSA, which I hope is a huge compliment. Thank you and keep up the great work.

  4. >Trying to fix link. Check back later — sorry for the inconvenience.

  5. >Link is now 404. Will try to find in cache.

  6. >The link worked when first posted…but has since been pulled at the source.

  7. >That link returns a 404 error.Unfortunate. I’d like to read that.

  8. >The article is there (at vivaredteam.com/wordpress/), it just returns 404 if you try to link to it directly. Odd. Anyway just go to the main site and scroll down a bit.

  9. >BTW, CA, you’ve probably seen this already, but just in case:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27989275/20K troops in active duty inside the continental US.

  10. >Hi, I’m the author of this piece and I want to thank y’all for your comments. And thanks to CA for re-posting my article after I broke the blog this morning. Particularly, I want to agree with Spartacus and his ideas about how future black/grey markets will help legitimize our struggle. People need to experience first hand how problems the Fed Gov can’t fix can be solved at a local/true free market level. Healthcare and food are two areas that can wake people up to many other problems and solutions. I’ll be writing more about this soon. Also, I’d be interested to hear what anyone sees as bravo-sierra in the article.

  11. >Welcome, JB.Please drop me a line at bloviate@hotmail.com when you have new articles up.Great work, including the links.