Some commentators have noted that the imperial arrogance of the American Empire may eventually be its downfall. The USA seems well on its way to becoming bogged down in a very lengthy, protracted war as the economy continues its downward slide. These are, of course, the very conditions that typically signal the collapse of empires. The former Soviet Union immediately comes to mind. If indeed the US were to undergo a political revolution of the type that occurred behind the Iron Curtain some years ago, there would need to be some sort of pre-existing plan regarding what would come after the end of the regime that could be implemented when the day of reckoning finally arrived.
I have repeatedly insisted that local and regional secessionist movements are likely to be the best means of resisting the empire. I have noted the consistency of these with American traditions and the seeds for such a potential resistance are currently being planted in the form of locally-based, grassroots opposition to both war in the Middle East and escalating domestic repression. Preferably, revolutionary forces in various communities should become active and vocal enough that they can effectively gain control over their local county or municipal governments. This could be done through direct political means like electoral action or through more informal means involving the exercise of grassroots pressure on local authorities. There is also the possibility of direct military action in the form of armed insurrection against corrupt local governments by citizen militias. The necessity of establishing an alternative infrastructure prior to formal secession cannot be emphasized strongly enough. Militias must be organized, supplies procured, necessary facilities identified, preservable communications networks established and indispensable institutions like hospitals, courts and schools maintained in some particular form.
Formal independence from the US regime should not be declared until the revolutionary forces are solidly in control of a majority of the territory of the United States and until credible committments for aid to the revolutionaries from outside the US have been obtained. Furthermore, a mutual defense pact where each group of local revolutionaries agrees to defend the others will be vital. The state of Vermont or the city of San Francisco will not be able to withstand a blockade imposed by the US military. Although the revolutionary forces should be decentralized in character, the overriding principal of military defense should be “an injury to one is an injury to all”. Also, the revolution should be non-ideological in character and devoted to one common objective: smashing the imperial regime and its police state. This does not mean that different elements among the revolutionaries cannot have their own ideological interests. It does mean that sectarian interests of this type must be subordinated to the common struggle. It is precisely this strategy that is working so well for the people of Iraq as this is being written. Apparently, the various components of Iraqi society, including Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Christians, Saddam-loyalists, anti-Saddamists and others, have put aside their respective differences in order to combat the Anglo-America-Australian conquerors.
What I will henceforth refer to as the “Iraq Model” provides us with powerful insights into how the federal regime might be effectively combatted and defeated. As various geographical areas declare their independence of the regime, there will also be private organizations within other areas that are supportive of the revolutionary cause. Also, sympathy for the revolutionary forces will come from various sectarian and often conflicting ideological forces-patriots, libertarians, Marxists, nationalists, racialists, anarchists-along with persons of “moderate” political temperament and largely non-ideological persons from “mainstream” society. I have written elsewhere of the need for a “revolutionary vanguard” consisting of reasonable and competent persons from various ideological tendencies to coordinate a common resistance effort. I have expressed hope that those in the various anarchist factions who recognize these issues might coalesce into such a vanguard along with persons from other ideological tendencies who think along similar lines. Assembly of a decentralized alliance transcending ideological, cultural and geographical boundaries would be the primary focus of the revolutionary vanguard. For example, in a large metropolitan area leaders of various ethnic nationalist/separatist tendencies, anarchist groups, churches, street gangs, neighborhood associations, business groups, labor unions, et. al. might rally their own constituencies behind the revolutionary program and then combine their respective forces into a decentralized political, economic and military force. As an illustration, the city of Los Angeles might see the development of a militia federation composed of everything from the Nation of Islam to left-wing anarchists to militant labor unionists to neo-nazi skinheads to members of the Bloods or Crips to the Baptist or Catholic churches. Development of such forces would probably be more easy in less densely populated areas where the culture is more homogenous.
Again, it is essential that the revolutionary forces remain focused on the common objective of deposing the current regime. Other matters can be dealt with elsewhere. The rank and file membership of most tendencies, particularly those of a highly sectarian nature, will no doubt be puzzled by the emergence of such disparate alliance. An essential task of the revolutionary vanguard would be for the leadership of each constituency to inspire and motivate their followers to recognize the necessity of such an alliance. What we want is a resistance movement that follows the “Iraq Model” and not the model of Beiruit circa 1984 or Yugoslavia circa 1992. In acquiring support from outside the US, it is essential to bypass institutions that are under the control of the US regime or its international allies. For example, some separatist tendencies in the US have attempted to appeal to the UN for recognition. The foolishness of such an approach ought to be obvious enough. The UN is a tool of the US and its First World imperialist allies. Instead, it is best to appeal to nations that resist the international political establishment and to international forces that stand to gain through the destruction of the US regime, whether they be governments or private organizations.
When the time comes that the US regime begins to rumble like the Soviet Union did, much of the US military forces will likely be outside the country fighting World War Three against the rest of humanity. It is quite likely that the draft will have been reinstated by that time. US military forces will be suffering from low morale, high casualties and a shortage of supplies as a result of both economic collapse at home and mismanagement by the military bureaucracy abroad. Riots against war, imperialism and conscription will be taking place with the US, not to mention in other countries, and the regime will respond to this by tightening its police state grip and interring dissenters in concentration camps. Such was the fate of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War. Underground networks of fugitive dissidents will have been formed and the bulk of the leadership of the resistance will likely be operating clandestinely. It will at this point be essential to cultivate a cordial relationship between the revolutionary forces and dissident elements within the state’s armed forces. The revolutionary alliance will have to be expanded to include defector units from the US military and auxilary forces provided by sources outside the US.
As formal confrontation between the revolutionary forces and the state develops, the “Iraq Model” provides us with certain clues as to how the enemy can be effectively defeated. The regimes heavy duty arsenal, its “weapons of mass destruction”, will be useless within the d
estic US. Resistance forces do not have to “win”. They simply have to “not lose”. The idea would be to wear down the forces of the state through clandestine guerrilla warfare, sabotage, bombings, assassinations, paramilitary actions and militia self-defense. Machiavelli insisted that the most essential ingredients of an effective fighting force are duty, loyalty and courage. It is precisely these things that the regime’s mercenary and conscript forces will be lacking. As Osama bin Laden reminds us:
“We realized from our defense and fighting against the American enemy that, in combat, they mainly depend on psychological warfare. This is in light of the huge media machine that they have. They also depend on massive air strikes so as to conceal their most prominent weakness, which is the fear, cowardliness, and the absence of combat spirit among US soldiers.”
Upon the defeat of the US regime, the first order of business will be to eliminate the machinery of propaganda maintained by the enemy. This will require the direct seizure of enemy media outlets. The revolutionaries should then commence broadcasting propaganda depicting the recently deposed ruling class as a force of unutterable vileness. This should be easy enough to do as it is plainly true. Another matter will be the avoidance of the degeneration of the revolution into internecine fighting between various revolutionary forces or the seizure of central power by any particular faction thereby establishing a new, tyrannical state. This matter necessitates the implementation of radically decentralized social system. Every faction should become sovereign within its own geographical areas. Different communities should be allowed to organize themselves in whatever manner they choose. Large metropolises can be carved up into autonomous districts reflecting the cultural, ethnic or ideological identity of the locals. One town can be a monarchy, the next a democracy, the next communist, the next fascist, or whatever. Sovereign communities could then combine into regional defensive or trade alliances similar to the leagues of free cities that arose during the late medieval period. Different regions could then form a continent wide defense pact against potential future attacks by China, the European Union, etc.
Jump-starting an economy that will have been virtually destroyed is another obvious priority. The first thing that will be needed is a solid currency backed up by some sort of precious metal standard. Local areas can maintain their own currency just as different countries do now. Eventually, competition between local currencies might have a stabilization and standardization effect and a common currency, similar to the euro, might emerge. Dismantling the vast regulatory bureaucracy that currently stifles certain sectors of the economy will be a priority in the effort to get things moving again. A comprehensive land reform program, whereby by state owned land is made available for homesteading by farmers, squatters and others might help to revive the depleted agricultural base in North America. The seizure of industries whose profits are derived from favors granted by the current regime and the conversion of these industries to worker cooperatives might help to restore the industrial base. Medical facilities currently under the control of monopolistic HMOs can be converted to consumer cooperatives.
Matters of crime control and “criminal justice” will largely be an internal issue for individual communities. As much as possible, civilian patrols and informal sanctions should replace professional law enforcement and formal legistlation. Communities can simply expel persons who engage in criminal acts. Such persons might eventually find their way to havens of their own. As for the enormous number of Americans who are in prison, a number that will be much higher by the time of the revolution, we might look to the example of Saddam Hussein’s granting of general amnesty to prisoners in 2002. All prisoners, excepting foreign spies, were pardoned. Thieves were released on the condition they repay their victims. Murderers were pardoned if the victim’s mother agreed. What was good enough for Iraq ought to be good enough for America.
One of the more complicate matters involves the question of what to do with the remnants of the current regime. Those geographical areas where the revolution has not taken root should simply be granted sovereignty and allowed to retain the current system. However, these areas, for obvious reasons, cannot be allowed to possess unconventional weapons. The military-industrial complex should be dismantled, foreign military bases closed, foreign troops withdrawn and the military top brass dismissed from their position and formally retired. Those elements within the state’s armed forces who defect to the side of the revolutionaries can continue on as part of the defensive militia of the new system. Other military personnel can simply be discharged and sent home. The entire federal bureaucracy should be dismantled and the buildings that house federal agencies should either be sold on the market, opened to squatters and homesteaders or converted to employee cooperatives responsible for earning their own living. Essential services can be converted to consumer cooperatives.
Although local secessionist movements may comprise the base of the revolution, this does not mean that local governments should be retained in their current form. If popular sentiment is overwhelmingly in favor of retaining local administrations, then so be it. But this would not necessarily be wise. Instead, a system of neighborhood autonomy should replace centralized municipal bureaucracies. Local bureaucrats and politicians should be dismissed and voluntary associations should be allowed to take over the administration of local communities. As for the federal regime itself, Congress and the Supreme Court should simply be retired. Particularly troublesome or criminal members of Congress can be exiled to penal colonies. The state’s worst criminals are found in the Executive branch of government. Ideally, these would be deported to nations victimized by their imperial aggression to face whatever popular justice may be in store for them or, alternately, handed over to the Hague for trial before a war crimes tribunal.
The new America would be a collection of sovereign regions and communities representing a variety of political, economic and cultural tendencies. We might want to dust off the old Articles of Confederation, perhaps modified, as a means of organizing a common defense and foreign policy apparatus. Upon doing so, the first order of business would be the undertaking of a peace initiative towards those nations under assault by the previous regime and the normalization of relations with those nations. Preferably, a Swiss or Swedish-like foreign policy of neutrality would be adopted. Equitable trade agreements could be worked out with the oil-producing nations. Peaceful relations with the Islamic world might be achieved. And an authentically Jeffersonian America might be an inspiration to citizens of other nations seeking liberation from their own tyrannical states.