When the American Empire Falls: How Anarchists Can Lead the 2nd American Revolution

by Keith Preston

When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, I used to hear a lot about the mighty, fearsome Soviet Union, a communist tyranny that was allegedly going to takeover the world and, ultimately, invade the United States. There was even a popular film about a Soviet occupation of America, called “Red Dawn”, where high school students lead a guerrilla war against the commie invaders. Even as late as 1988-89, when I had since become involved in radical left-wing politics, I used to come across literature from rightist groups like the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade proclaiming the imminent Soviet takeover of the USA. This was the same Soviet Union that had not been able to subdue even Afghanistan, a tiny, impoverished state on the Soviet border in eight or nine years of fighting. Of course, within a few years the Soviet Union fell completely apart and disappeared from the globe.

This will be the ultimate fate of the United States and for the same reasons. Military and imperial overstretch, economic bankruptcy, rising social strife, internal corruption and an expansive police state whose purpose is to maintain the grip of a regime that is losing power; these were the features of the Soviet Union in its final years and it is an apt description of present day America as well. The only remaining question is: When will the US finally fall apart? If the present administration’s ambitions for wars with Iran and Syria come into fruition, that may well be the beginning of the end. The further the neocon-led Republican Party tries to push its imperial ambitions, the more alienated the regime will become from public opinion. Americans love war, but only if their side is winning. Americans turn tail and run at the first sight of blood on their side. The US is presently losing the war in Iraq and will do even worse in the event of a war with Iran or Syria. The Democrats appear to be just about finished as any kind of opposition party. One can only imagine the political implications of a 2008 presidential election pitting John “Send in more troops” McCain or Jeb “Don’t blame me for my brother” Bush or Rudy “Il Duce” Guiliani against Hillary Clinton. Would that be the end of America as we know it? Perhaps.

What will happen when the lid finally pops off? The events L.A. 1992 or New Orleans 2005 give us a clue. The present regime maintains power through coercion rather than loyalty. More and more, public loyalty is being transferred to “fourth generation” forces, that is, non-state entities like religions, ideologies, regions and localities, economic interests, gangs and private armies. When the US regime falls, there will be hundreds of factions vying for power in the name of their own agendas. Ethnic rivalries will come to the surface. Despite the “anti-fascist” hysteria of the Left, the primary dangers of ethnic warfare and ethnic cleansing in the future of the US come from the threat of internecine warfare between the various minority groups. The Southwest, in particular, will likely be the scene of a bloody showdown between Hispanics, blacks and Asians. It is unlikely that a “white power” insurgency will emerge from the chaos. There is very little ethnic solidarity among whites, as it has never been necessary, given the historically majoritarian and advantaged position of whites. Also, there is far too much disagreement among whites on other matters. Does anyone really believe that the Jerry Falwell Right and the Michael Moore Left will put aside their differences to follow David Duke into the Aryan Paradise? Most likely, whites will simply flee chaotic areas and take refuge in more remote areas (recall “white flight” from integration in the 1960s and 70s) rather than join the Nazis.

A major military factor in post-System America will be the urban street gangs. Collectively, these groups rival the US military in terms of sheer numbers. In many cities, these are the only groups other than the local government that have any kind of organizational structure, leadership, economic base or arsenal. Gangs will become the defacto governments of many urban areas following the collapse of the state. It is likely that many metropolitan regions will split up into smaller city-states with many of these under gang control. The present day turf wars among gangs generated by drug prohibition are child’s play compared to the political rivalries that will emerge when the System falls. Many American cities will look like Beirut circa 1984 or Sarajevo circa 1992 or Belfast in the 1970s. The militia movement that emerged in the 1990s has dwindled a bit in recent years, but will likely rise again in the event of political and economic collapse, societal breakdown or severe social unrest. As the feds disappear, the militias and their support organizations will become the defacto governments of those regions where they are the largest and best organized, primarily rural and heartland areas. Neo-secessionist tendencies have also grown considerably over the last decade. While these are presently still quite small and marginalized they will certainly grow given rising political discontent and systemic breakdown. As for the ethnic factions, separatist or nationalist tendencies like the Nation of Islam or La Raza are among the most popular and best organized factions of the various minority communities. Accordingly, these will emerge as a major force as the system disintegrates.

The post-United States North American continent will be a rather dangerous place indeed. Hundreds of factions will be battling it out in the name of their own agendas. If you want an idea what this will look like, read Tom Chittum’s “Civil War Two”. The major factions will likely be the various gangs, militias, ethnic militants, secessionists and remnants of the present system. There might also be insurgent forces generated by Stalinist or Maoist elements of the type that currently lead the antiwar movement. There may be leftist militias emerging from the remnants of the anti-globalization movement or from college campus. Many different types of factions, from anti-abortion terrorists to eco-terrorists to theocrats to Marxists, will see the collapse as an opportunity. What will be the opportunities for anti-state radicals? Most so-called “anarchists” or “libertarians” are useless. Both anarcho-leftoids and anarcho-Republicans will be of no value to the struggle whatsoever when the time comes. These will either be absorbed or eliminated by other factions or they will simply disappear. But what will be the proper course of action for warrior-anarchists?

We should aspire to be everywhere yet invisible. Our model of organization should be that of “leaderless resistance” where we are organized into small, autonomous cells or as lone wolves. These can be either military cells (see http://www.attackthesystem.com/armedstruggle.html) or infiltration cells operating within the context of larger, above ground groups. The focus of our military cells should be to help the present system in its current efforts to commit suicide by feeding it a few extra cyanide pills, so to speak, and to prevent the emergence of a new centralized state structure following the collapse. The focus of our infiltration cells should be to work our way into leadership positions of larger, popular organizations. As the system breaks down, we will use our leadership positions to bring various warring factions together to negotiate a series of settlements where everyone’s interests can be accommodated to some degree. This can be done through the application of the traditional anarchist principles of decentralism, federalism and voluntarism. The new system must be organized from the bottom up, where different communities and social groups with different values, beliefs and customs are sovereign in their own enclaves, federated with others when necessary for joint purposes. There are many models for this-the Greek cities, medieval societies, traditional tribal systems, ancient republics, the early American colonies, pioneer societies and contemporary micronations. This is the only possible approach to avoiding either chaos or tyranny. We need a revolutionary vanguard of anarchist warriors and anarchist diplomats who can emerge from the disorder to come and provide leadership of an enlightened and progressive nature, just as the US Founding Fathers did in their time and as the Spanish anarchists did during the crisis of the Spanish Civil War. In this manner, we can continue the vision outlined by Jefferson, Paine, Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tucker and Rothbard. There is history to be made.

Copyright 2005. American Revolutionary Vanguard. All rights reserved.


2 replies »

  1. Yeah…say ‘anericans turn tail and run at the first sign of blood on their own side’ to any Vietnam, Korean, or even any veteran…I’m sure they will love to hear it

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