Civil War in 21st Century America?

We would destroy ourselves

“Governments without credibility devolve into chaos. … The notion of credibility is why my political preferences don’t align with either of the candidates for president.” ~ Scott Adams

“The spread of fascism in the 1920s was significantly aided by the fact that liberals and mainstream conservatives failed to take it seriously. Instead, they accommodated and normalised it.” ~ James McDougall

Three points must be understood.

  • We in the United States of America are on the edge of civil war. This would be the case regardless of who “won” this election.
  • Few want to see or hear anything about this. Most dismiss it as alarmist rhetoric or far-right wing fantasy.
  • A civil war in a large, developed superpower would be catastrophic for this planet.
  • Let me rephrase what I just wrote, ok: A civil war in the United States of America would be a horror and incredibly stupid, so stupid I want to use the F-word.
  • Here’s another: People don’t want to experience extreme distress. They don’t want to see events race from unlikely possibility to likely probability. Then it’s too late. If more people saw such changes shift from bad to worse they would act to stop war by resolving conflict peacefully.

The United States is the most polarized it’s been since the American Civil War of 1861-1865. As I write these words on the 18th of November 2016, Hillary Clinton is well ahead in the popular vote, Donald Trump is well ahead in the Electoral College count, the Electoral College has not yet voted, the polls predicted Clinton to win, the media declared Trump the winner, Clinton conceded to Trump, and Trump proclaimed himself the President-elect.

Movements are underfoot to both promote and deny Clinton a victory over Trump by having the Electoral College vote align with the national popular vote. Clinton is ahead of Trump by over one million votes with about four million votes left to count. Her margin is expected to increase dramatically.

Both the Democrat and Republican parties are broken even tho their Two-Party Duopoly maintains its dominance over the elections, debates, and state electors to the national College. Independent third party candidates proved insignificant as the majority of Americans were too polarized between Lesser Evils. At the same time about half of legitimate voters even bothered to vote as the election was viewed by so many people as rigged, corrupted, and ultimately irrelevant.

Massive demonstrations were quickly organized in many cities with the majority of the demonstrators peaceful. Initially many of these marches and protests were organized by Socialist Alternative, a growing national organization of Democratic Socialists who leverage Marxist dialectical analysis, in conjunction with Socialist Youth and the Occupy Wall Street-inspired Movement for the 99%. Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Oakland, and New York City were the focal points for these protests. Other organizations quickly moved to organize demonstrations, too.

Ongoing protest movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Standing Rock Sioux against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the banks financing the corporations behind the pipeline merged with the anti-Trump demonstrations. LGBTQI people marched with those protesting degradation and violence against women and immigrants. Students from high schools and colleges walked out of class to join and in many cases lead the demonstrations.

Allegations swirl around claiming George Soros, a multibillionaire member of the so-called globalist Cabal groups and backer of Hillary Clinton, financed and influenced demonstrations against Donald Trump. So far research demonstrates he hasn’t altho he may do so in the future. He has donated millions of dollars to a broad spectrum of Leftist groups in the past, but most of them are neoliberal groups such as the Open Society Foundations.

Socialist Alternative and its allies, however, rapidly organized most of the post-Election protests on Wednesday 9 November, in multiple cities via social media as they marshaled 40,000 or more people within hours. Socialist Alternative also scorned any help from the billionaire class and refuses to accept donations from Soros and his elitist ilk.

Scattered violence ripples across the nation and appears to be escalating rather than decreasing. The Southern Poverty Law Center recorded 437 reports of “hateful intimidation and harassment” by Trump supporters from the day after the election thru the 14th of November. This includes 20 reports of assaults upon Trump supporters. Most, however, were by White racists and fundamentalist Christians upon other ethnic and religious groups including immigrants and by heterosexuals against LGBTQIs.

Other reports demonstrate a surge in bullying in the schools, increase in police violence, interruptions of work, high volatility in the financial markets, and greater unpredictability across the planet as different nations, corporations, banks, and non-state groups review their options.

Protests in support of the Standing Rock Sioux water protectors, accelerated by Trump’s declared victory even tho he continues to lose the popular vote, have since spread around the nation to include demonstrations against the 38 banks including 17 banks directly financing the corporations supporting the Dakota Access Pipeline across the Missouri River and sacred tribal lands. Many others, however, seek to downplay the violence and bring people back to focus upon peace, compassion, positivity, and finding ways to move forward in spite of deep and ugly divides.

Meanwhile immigration hardliners among the pro-Trump Republican leadership propose the United States use World War II internment camps of Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants then in line to be naturalized as U.S. citizens as models to deal with Muslim-Americans today and track Muslim immigrants. Trump is viewed as unstable and continues to elevate White racist, sexist, and anti-immigrant extremists as well as vitriolic anti-environmentalists into positions of power.

Others point out Mike Pence, the Vice-President elect, as possibly more dangerous than Trump. Pence is a Christian Dominionist, a network of Fundamentalist extremists who seek to create a Protestant theocracy and “restore” the U.S.A. to its “proper place” as a “Christian nation.” Some Dominionists advocate America replace the Constitution with The Holy Bible. Mike Pence is a quiet, steady man and knows how to navigate the maze of government.

The Electoral College meets on the 19th of December 2016. The Electors present their signed, sealed, and certified sets of votes to six different heads of government including the President of the Senate who is also the Vice-President of the United States. Both houses of Congress meet in joint session on 6 January 2017 to count these votes and announce them. Objections may be presented and submitted in writing. Inauguration Day takes place on Friday the 20th of January 2017.

Huge and widespread demonstrations to protest Donald Trump and the Far Right are expected with counterprotests by Alt-Right groups amid heavy police presence. Fear of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State Caliphate terrorist attacks amid the discord and chaos with both the American Right and the Left blaming each other if such were to occur is also a major concern.

There is an expectation of what is “supposed” to happen, and the situation is fluid and highly unpredictable. The greater social consensus, broken since the Great Recession and Occupy, further disintegrates. If the unexpected happens, such as moves to install Clinton or to impeach or overthrow whoever ends up inaugurated as POTUS, expect worsening chaos and a constitutional crisis of unimaginable magnitude.

Even if Trump is removed then Mike Pence and the Christian Dominionists would ascend into power. If Barak Obama and Joe Biden decide to declare martial law or if Tim Kaine is put into power instead of Hillary Clinton the Republicans would erupt with calls for the military to intervene. This part is speculation, yes, and is acknowledged as such. Speculation, however, both arises from and drives anxiety. Speculation fuels polarization, and polarization fuels speculation. Be aware. Be self-aware. And be prepared. We are in uncharted seas were waves crash upon the rocks.

Many would argue the violent chaos engulfing America off and on thru the 1950s-1960s-1970s was an almost-revolution or quasi-civil war. No, the U.S.A. wasn’t polarized enough during the turmoil of those decades to generate a true civil war. America was engulfed in a protracted domestic conflict waged between a multitude of different sides, none of them strong and persistent enough to galvanize large-scale armed conflict.

We were a fragmented nation-state then, not polarized. The U.S.A. was too fragmented for the various factions to pair off into two polarized camps. Now the United States is polarized between the Right and the Left. America is divided down the middle in a manner unseen since the 1850s-1860s-1870s. Another civil war in America looms as an increasingly real probability.

The U.S. has been on edge for decades, however, from issues unresolved from the American Revolution. The U.S. remains on edge today as we blunder foolishly towards the horror and folly of civil war. Our struggles are old ones even as they continue to renew themselves within the greater system of capitalism, imperialism, and organized religions. Those are large, messy, contextual-contentual oceans of mind we swim in so much we are unaware of the very water we live in. Indeed, we continue to unconsciously create more and more psychosocial water to fill these oceans. Unresolved issues keep the struggle alive. They smolder and smoke today.

Historians sometimes refer to the U.S. Revolutionary War as the First American Civil War as it was a civil war between citizens of the British Empire. Large numbers of American colonialists remained Loyal to the Empire down in what came to be called the 13 Colonies. Canada as well as British colonies in the Caribbean stayed loyal to the British Crown. As such the U.S. Civil War 78 years later is sometimes referred to as the Second American Civil War. The war exacerbated issues unresolved from the Revolutionary War, and many of these issues smolder and smoke today.

These issues revolve around opposing and intersection positions on class and class war, race and racism, property and property rights, slavery and the slave trade, sexism, feminism, homophobia, and the conquest of Native American tribal nations by war, fraud, and genocide. Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism help frame the context of a cauldron of violent belief systems.

Major contradictions exist such as between freedom of religion to persecute those of other religions and the view of America as a peaceful nation yet engaged in incessant warfare. These contradictions further aggravate tensions. Even ageism intersects as one had to be of a certain age to own property, another to marry, another age to vote, yet another to serve in the military, and so forth.

The underlying forces of capitalism with the rise of banking cartels and corporations on regional, national, and international scales are fundamental causes of disruption with both wealth and power aggregated by the upper classes of elites supported by those in the middle classes who aligned themselves with those elites.

The structure of American government as an anti-monarchist republic presented to the public as a democracy yet functioning behind the scenes as an oligarchy controlled by the wealthy elites generates inherent contradictions. These same structural contradictions generate and increase tensions leading to strife and scattered violence.

Often the majority of people are so caught up in their day-to-day lives they don’t see or understand these matters even as they experience the stress of these tensions and act out. Frustration, rage, grievances, and desires for justice and opportunities lead to further breakdowns exacerbated by the underlying conditions generated by capitalist systems. These breakdowns may erupt into riots, insurrections, mutinies, and rebellions. On rare occasions these local revolts coalesce into revolutions and civil wars.

All wars are hellish, and civil wars are particularly ugly and messy. Most large-scale revolutions end up as civil wars with foreign intervention. The American Revolution was no exception. British, France, and Russia came close to intervening in the Civil War of 1861-1865, not to mention the various Native American tribal nations. France did intervene south of the border and conquered Mexico while the US was engaged in its own civil war.

Many civil wars become protracted affairs. They grind on for years without any clear victor until utter exhaustion and mutual destruction compels the survivors to a truce-like peace treaty. Multiple factions engaged in shifting alliances often mark these ugly wars. Usually all sides commit atrocities. One side may commit more war crimes than the other sides, and all of them commit atrocities. At some point foreign intervention occurs. Such intervention may be military or peacekeeping and usually entails economic and financial usurpation of local and regional if not national political power.

When a nation as complex as the United States, supposedly a democratic capitalist republic, becomes polarized into two large camps such as Left versus Right, revolution or a coup becomes nearly impossible. In a revolution the masses become unified behind a United Front and overthrow the government. A revolution is nationwide in scope and scale. A rebellion or insurrection is local and regional at best. The rebels lack support and fail to ignite mass uprisings to coalesce into a revolution.

Riots are rebellions extremely local in space and of short duration in time. Rioting citizens don’t stay in a stage of uprising long enough to organize, expand, and sustain their rebellion to turn it into a revolution. Local rebellions can drag on for years, even decades, but fail to inspire the greater population to rise up together.

What happens when a revolutionary war turns into a civil one is the same as what happened to the French Revolution of 1789, the Mexican Revolution of 1910, Chinese Revolution of 1911, and the Russian Revolution of 1917. These revolutions lead to protracted civil wars with foreign military interventions and invasions. Such also lead to horrendous atrocities, economic disruption, and sometimes even widespread starvation such as the Ukrainian Holodomor of the post-civil war U.S.S.R. In addition, note all those large-scale revolutions listed above, along with the American Revolution, were part of, arose from, or merged with even greater global conflicts.

Many today scoff Americans are too fat and out-of-shape to wage a serious revolution. Americans are supposedly too addicted to their smartfones, video games, big sports arena games, and binging on Netflix and Hulu. We’re addicted to self-indulgence, yes? We’re either unemployed, underemployed, or overworked but always “too busy.” Our attention spans are declared severely impaired, and we’ve replaced critical thinking and disciplined reason with emotional outbursts and temper tantrums.

Stereotypes abound such as only the Right arm and train themselves for the Apocalypse while the Left are merely a lazy bunch of stoned hippies. Such thinking is dangerous. It leads to ridicule, condescension, and ignorance. Such thinking is delusional. Delusions prevent effective communication, and the nation careens rather than tiptoes to the brink of self-destruction.

Americans chomping at the bit for civil war don’t have a clue what they’re trying to bite into. The U.S.A. is a highly developed core of a transnational empire. Our infrastructure is enormous and complex even as it further deteriorates into decay.

What does one expect in a 21st Century American civil war?

Expect a period of violence and turmoil as massive and widespread protests erupt in “Donolf Trumpler’s Amerikkka.” Gangs of White supremacist goons led by Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan and their allied, free-deranged gangs of brawling hoodlums will intimidate the Left and assault anyone deemed non-White and non-Christian, especially non-Protestant Dominionists. Demonstrators will fight back. The Men and Women in Blue with Badges, i.e. the Police, will attempt to crush these protests. Black Lives Matter, Native American groups associated with the Standing Rock Sioux, and disaffected Far Lefties riot.

Patriot militias rise up to impose their version of the Constitution, attempt to establish local control of Federal lands held in commonwealth for the national public, and fight the Left wherever seen. American military forces stationed abroad may seek to return home or turn on each other within foreign countries. Federal, state, and local governments will focus on domestic survival. Things get out of hand. Things get out of hand quickly.

True civil war, however, occurs when significant numbers of those once associated with Authority cross over to join the Rebellion. This especially includes elements of the Police, the Armed Forces, and the Intelligent Services. The military/security-industrial/financial-education/prison-intelligence/surveillance complex breaks into factions. One side supports the status quo and the entrenched bureaucracy, i.e. the State and the corporations and the job security and benefits associated with the Establishment. The other supports the revolution to overthrow the despots and address long-held and deeply seated grievances.

We’ve already seen small numbers of cops stand down and refuse to take part in policing the anti-DAPL protests in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux. These numbers are very small, however, but it’s too early to tell if those officers may be the start of a trickle that in turn merges with any anti-Trump elements within law enforcement.

Coups and countercoups likely won’t work in America as the masses will pour out into the streets and overwhelm the weapons of a small, professional class of soldiers trumping for the elites. Large numbers of protestors will face down troops unless the troops choose to fire directly into the crowds long enough to cause mass casualties. People will either flee and quit in fear, or rise up in rage. For revolution to sustain itself, however, enough working people, including professionals, must feel compelled to leave their jobs and businesses to take up arms on opposing sides. They must be willing to endure great hardship and learn self-discipline under fire for intermittent riot violence to cross the line into organized civil warfare.

Think about it, people! Civil war in America! In the 21st Century! With the possibility of military intervention and a multipolar world war, too! If we sink into an all-out apocalyptic civil war, we can expect to experience the following:

  • Destruction of nuclear power plants and resulting environmental, energy, and health catastrophes.
  • Ditto for the electrical grid, for petroleum refineries, oil and gasoline storage facilities, fertilizer plants, non-nuclear power plants, hydroelectric dams, computer server farms, satellite systems, biolabs and biohazard sites, hospitals and clinics, farms and food distribution networks, oil and gas pipelines, banks and insurance entities, transportation and distribution networks, and telecommunications including the Internet and cellular phones. They will be destroyed or utterly degraded. Large swaths of Planet Earth will be severely polluted or rendered uninhabitable. Scarcity of food, energy, water, shelter, medicine, training, and even bullets and arrows will present severe challenges.
  • All remaining privacy will be erased as personal information of any kind becomes weaponized in digital warfare beyond cyber attacks. Spy satellites, drones, and microbots have the capacity to relay anyone’s position as people attempt to hide or seek cover in remote mountains and inner cities. A.I. algorithms will calculate probable moves including unorthodox actions by opposing forces with increasing speed and accuracy. Overreliance on and the loss of digital information is a loss of knowledge and the capacity for self-reliance. This alone will make it difficult for us to rebuild.
  • Breakdown of governmental authority may lead to the rise of local warlords, crime waves, and acts of revenge.
  • Foreign military intervention to seize or secure American nuclear, chemical, biological, nanotech, and A.I./robotic weapons. Forces from the UN, NATO, the EU & the UK, Russia, Japan, Australia, China, India, Israel, even Brazil will all face pressure to act.
  • In the absence of American military might, nation-state and non-state groups may rise up against one another to settle old scores and seize territories. This in turn will trigger more migrating waves of refugees. Imagine what North Korea might do, not to mention China versus Taiwan or Bolivia and Peru with Argentina versus Chile and Ecuador. An all-out nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan alone would lead to the deaths of millions if not billions and poison large swaths of the planet.
  • American military and intelligence forces stationed around Planet Earth in about 800 to 1,000 bases far from the Homeland will face uncomfortable and potentially bloody choices. So will our Allies.
  • There’s nowhere to run. Full-scale civil war will spill over American borders into Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. If combat and vigilante violence doesn’t cross the borders, then waves of refugees fleeing such will inundate lands too hot, too cold, and too rugged to support large populations. Epidemics of diseases break out. Global climate disruption amplifies worsening conditions.

There’s nowhere to run. We better get ourselves together and calm down as quickly as we’re able. At the same time, however, don’t expect anyone on the receiving end of physical violence will remain all sweet, nice, and peaceful. Human beings must defend themselves. They must respect their own lives and those lives of others in need of protection. We may choose to risk everything.

The alternative is no different than the peace of a schoolyard playground dominated by a gang of bullies. Is peace preferable if it is the peace of people too afraid to get hurt and feel pain? To lose their lunch and schoolbooks? Those who seek to give Trump and his mobs of hate-spewing, stupid, homophobic, racist, bigoted, genital-snatching, female-hating, swastika-painting, Jew-hating, Muslim-hating, Atheist-hating, Hindu-hating, Queer-hating, Everybody Else-hating Capitalist-loving stormtrooper slaves lots of peace, light, and nicey-nice Kumbaya luv will be in for a shock.

Those who voted for Trump as wrathful protest against the establishment elites can turn away from the bigots and militias and learn about other peaceful alternatives. These involve working together to build a new mass movement of the working and middle classes including a revitalized mass party of the Left.

We can be obedient with downcast eyes from fear of getting hurt by the bullies and losing everything or choose to rise up, organize, and fight back. We can step back and see the underlying causes here. We can step back and recognize how Capitalism has failed most of humanity by enriching the upper classes at the expense of everyone else. We see how class war encourages racism, sexism, and other assaults on human dignity and liberty.

At some point everything is a choice. We can choose to go about as if it’s life as usual in an age of global climate disruption, economic chaos, and political anxiety to choose to take action. We can choose to live in ignorance, denial, and distraction. The search for some kind of balance is an illusion. The only seesaws that sit still are those with one end left on the ground.

Will we allow ourselves to be bullied into submission to preserve the illusion of peace? Shall we rise higher than our urges for revenge?

We can choose to practice acceptance of what is so whether or not we like or dislike anything. We can practice forgiving ourselves as well as others. We can chose to love ourselves and to love others. We can choose to feel compassion, kindness, fierceness, and courage. We can choose to take a stand, right or wrong. We can choose to integrate individual liberties with social responsibilities. We can choose to act with courage. We can choose wisely with our collective intelligence, or react in fear and stupidity. We can choose to listen to each other instead of shoving each other over the cliff.

It’s up to all of us, and “all” includes you, too. What do you choose?

 

Report Hate Incidents here: #REPORTHATE: https://www.splcenter.org/reporthate

Join the nationwide Student Walkout & National Strike on Trump Inauguration Day here: http://socialiststudents.net/inaugurationwalkout/

Unite in Solidarity with a “Pledge of Resistance” Against Trump here: http://movement99.org/pledgeofresistance

BLACK FRIDAY UPDATES: 
Hillary Clinton passed the two million vote mark by the 23rd of November and continues to rack up more votes than Donald Trump as more ballots are counted. Jill Stein of the Green Party is demanding a recount in the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin where voting irregularities were supposedly discovered. The Greens have surpassed their goal to raise $2,500,000.00 to pay for the costs of a recount. They raised $5,000,000.00 and counting. It’s obvious a recount would favor the Democrats and raise the flag of the Green Party over the Libertarians. Michigan hasn’t even certified its votes yet. California still has many uncounted. A few across the political spectrum but mostly on the right view both Trump and Clinton as puppets of quarreling Cabal factions and view the Jill Stein recount push as a nest of Byzantine conspiracies.

Violence continues to ebb and flow across America but seems to rollercoaster upwards more and more as police officers are ambushed, attacks by White supremacists on minorities increase, and the No-DAPL demonstrations at Standing Rock escalated into an ugly confrontation with numerous injuries. Hundreds of U.S. military veterans declared they would go to Standing Rock to peacefully protect the demonstrators from militarized police forces pulled in from around the region. Black Lives Matter Not Black Friday demonstrations as break out soon around the nation. The Army Corp of Engineers declares it shall forcibly evict all protesters from territory managed by the Corp along the DAPL route by the 5th of December.

Various movements are picking up steam to affect the Electoral College Count, as there hasn’t ever been a situation as unique as this one where the popular vote is so disproportionate to the Electoral College vote. Indeed, the gap between Clinton and Trump in the popular vote exceeds several past elections where the EC vote aligned with the national vote. One pro-Trump Montana Elector provoked outrage as he urged gay people be hung in public until dead. A few others Electors so dismayed at the prospect of Trump and his alt-right allies in the White House they may revolt to cast their ballot for Clinton on the 19th of December. A candidate must secure a minimum of 270 Electoral votes. Trump maintains his Electoral vote lead over Clinton 306 to 232. Jill Stein formally files for vote recounts and challenges the corrupt Democrat-Republican grip on the entire election process.

 

William Dudley Bass
Thursday 17 November 2016
Revised Friday 25 November 2016
Seattle, Washington
United States of America
Bioregion of Cascadia
Planet Earth
Sol Star

Disclosure:

I am a member of the Socialist Alternative, am an ally and former member of the Green Party, was a Bernie Sanders supporter, and then voted for Jill Stein. In addition I am a member of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center as well as other organizations. A native of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I have made Washington State my home since 1992. Both states as well as the county I was born and raised in, Prince Edward County, and the one I live in, King County, are currently “Blue” for Hillary Clinton in this election campaign.

Note: For related articles by the Author, see:

“American Mussolini: Trump arises from American Exceptionalism” here @ http://williamdudleybass.com/american-mussolini

and

“Locker Room Talk” arises from Rape Culture” here @ http://williamdudleybass.com/locker-room-talk-arises-rape-culture.

 

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Watson, Bryan. “Anti-Trump Protests: In Less Than 24 Hours 40,000 People Answered Our Call,” Socialist Alternative. November 2016. <http://www.socialistalternative.org/2016/11/11/anti-trump-protests-24-hours-40000-people-answered-call/>.

Copyright © 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.

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2 thoughts on “Civil War in 21st Century America?

    • You’re welcome, and thank you for your response. Yes, it’s wise to do all those things, and we must be prepared. Take action now. Many organizations already exist and new ones are forming. New alliances & coalitions are possible. Fundamentally we must build a new mass movement of the Left for the working/middle classes, the proverbial 99%. Here in our nation-state, and internationally, too, as this is a planetary crisis of capitalism with the outcome and direction of human terrestrial civilization at stake. And, hey, Princezz, it’s good to hear from you, too.

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