Supporting Community Leaders in Louisville

Shit is getting real…

There is really no other way to say it. The U.S is crumbling from the compounded effects of Trump’s leadership, the legacy of three decades of Neo-liberal imperialism and the festering rot of its original white-supremacist-settler-colonialism. Its all coming to a head in a way that scares the racist powers that be. It is clear that Trump’s chances for re-election are dwindling and that the only thing that save him is all out authoritarianism.

Fortunately it is not just Trumpism on its last gap. White nationalism is also on its last gasp as the U.S is hurdling towards a People of Color majority. Basically the Nazi’s are on the ropes throwing wild haymakers. This time every community is getting body blows. But not every community has the resources to easily treat these blows.

In the communities that are outside the usual coverage of the mainstream media, the Movement for Black Lives looks very different than it does in D.C. In Louisville, Kentucky BLM organizers face a much more personal backlash. In smaller cities known activists are targeted, followed and messed with in ways that are hard to describe. BLM leaders in small cities have to be brash and loud because the social habit of going along to get along is so strong. Particularly in the South.

To give you a sense of the struggle, a local film maker and activist was arrested by the police for graffiti. The police then posted information about the woman on social media and tied them to other politically tinged graffiti. Days later their house was fired bombed by white supremacist while they were inside. Luckily they got out fast.

Now the police in Louisville have started using live ammunition on crowds even those aren’t protesting. Being the person that all points out that shit is racist doesn’t win you any personality contests but, over time, it can win your community power and breathing room to articulate your liberation.

Organizers in BLM have used that breathing room to literally put Black women and their families in homes. They have been on the front lines of many protests. But, perhaps most importantly, they do silent, draining work for walking with Black people through the daily tragedies that we face. They meet with the families of people killed by violence, both inter-community violence and the police. The host healing sessions for their community. The get resources to where they need to be.

Inevitably, the power and prominence in their community means that they are blamed for everything. It’s like being the old woman in the woods who know which plants are poisonous and which can heal. People come to you because you give them medicine when they are sick but they also blame you when they stop you toe, saying it was you giving them the evil eye. The news and political opposition go out there way to blame anything they can on BLM regardless of how connected to it BLM actually is. I don’t have the words to talk about how emotionally stressful and draining this can be.

There are two people in particular I want to highlight. Chanelle Helm and Reece Chenault. Chanelle has worked tirelessly as the leader of BLM Louisville for Black Liberation. Chanelle is my sister April’s best friend and I first met her when she supported an action that BLM DC had organized (back in the day when I was CORE organizer for BLM). I am not sure I have ever met someone who lived, breathed and died with movement with more passion and authenticity than Chanelle (except for maybe my sister.)

Now, Chanelle is prominent and well known but like most full time BLM activists that prominence doesn’t pay the bills. Chanelle is quick to point out that Black people should get paid for their labor and very generous with paying others but I really see her send out appeals for herself. I know, from my own experience, that its hard to be organizing even if you are “getting by.” Always being on the go makes it hard to plan finances not to mention all the security concerns that activists have. Volunteering full time has a cost. While I don’t have access to Chanelle’s budget, I know that like many of us, her getting by is sometimes a challenge.

Now, usually I believe that it is more strategic to give organizations. I would encourage us all to give to BLM Louisville. But I also just want to say that there are some leaders who move whole cities and supporting those leaders is strategic. Chanelle is that kind of leader. We need leaders who are willing and able to be uncompromising in the face of oppression. We need leaders who are able hold a deep care for their community while also willing to rock the boat that many in community are afraid to rock.

To put it bluntly, we need trusted voices who always keep an eye towards revolution while being willing to meet young people where they are at. It is crucial for our movement that she is supported in being sustainable through our this whirlwind moment. So please join me in donating to Chanelle (paypal) or here (venmo).

The second person I want to highlight is Reece Chenault.

Reece is one my best friends and my co-conspirator of the WildSeed Society Project. We also are collaborating on Justice Before Peace, the organization that sent me to Korea, Hong Kong and South Africa. Reece has put in his dues as visible leader, first a union organizer and then as the executive director of US Labor Against the War and now mostly works behind the scenes. Part ferryman getting people where they need to be and party Griot sharing the wisdom that arises from what we do when we arrive, Reece plays an invaluable support role to many movement spaces.

Reece also does that slow, unsexy work of sitting with organizers at our most righteous, stubborn, wounded, angry, line stepping and fucked up selves. We cares for spirit of many Black organizers across the country while at the same time sharing his own wisdom and struggles with mental illness through Bi-Polar Dispatches. If you are reader of the blog then understand how profound it is for me say that I don’t quite have to words to express the impact that Reece has had on my life and the lives that all that he touches.

I think that Reece is a force multiplier for movement work. Like Chanelle, he is the kind of rare organizer that you can’t really train someone to be. It’s just the sort of diamond that forms naturally over time, one-fucked up high pressure situation at time. You can support Reece’s patreon here. You can give to his paypal here.

What Reece and Chanelle share, and why I am using this moment to try and get some additional support to them, is that they are exactly the kinds of leaders we will need for what comes after. You know I am nothing if not a futurist, I am concerned for the revolutionary potentials of the future. We live in moment of deep uncertainty which also means its a moment of great generative potential. Donating what you are able greatly increases the chances that we actualize the most liberatory potentials possible.

Don’t Work To Save The Master’s House

This article is primarily for my Black friends and family who worry about the violence happening across the country and worry, justifiably, about the what it will mean for Black people moving forward. Many of you see the property destruction and something in your gut turns. We know the price Black people pay for “stepping out of line” and who know who will pay for it even when it is white youth causing the damage.

There is a reaction that many of us Black folks have to this. I recognized it in my self watching the video of Samuel Debose execution by the police in Ohio a few years ago. Trying to search what he did wrong to instigate the violence unleashed on him. Believing that he had to do something, because it was too scary to accept that the death of Black people could happen so arbitrarily. It is devastating to accept that the U.S views Black men through a lens of inherent kill-ability.

It echoes so deeply, so viscerally and so unavoidably, the ways that this society shows each and every Black person, trans and cis, queer and straight, rich and poor, adult and child, compliant and not, and across the entire galaxy of gender as inherently usable and disposable. It is impossible to know that truth, as deeply as our bones know that truth, and walk into spaces where the expectation is that we are anything less than outraged or besot with grief. And yet, racial capitalism being what it is, most of us have to do just that, day after day.

The youth who, in cities like D.C, face depression era unemployment, don’t have to do that. They are not practiced in dividing their souls in two like we had to learn to. They know that they deserve better even if they can’t quite articulate what better is. They also know a deep truth that many of us force ourselves to forget. As one of my students in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago once said when I asked him why he yelled at the police “they are going to mess with me every day, whether I do something or not, so I might as well let them know how I feel.”

As Zora Neale Hurston said “if you are silent about your pain they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

I am not claiming that burning buildings and putting graffiti on buildings is a strategy that is going to get us free. I am not claiming that it is without its problems. I am claiming that it is a human reaction and, if we are honest, a much more healthy reaction than the false belief that if we color inside the lines we won’t end up laying on the ground, chest compressed with the weight of 400 years of oppression crystallized in the knees of white police officer, screaming for our mother and saying we can’t breathe.

I am claiming that if we want it to, every building burned can be leverage that we bring into each meeting where we are asked to lessen ourselves for the comforts for whiteness. Every spray painted slogan is a step away from the lie that we have enjoyed our time in this country, that we were singing and dancing on the levy.

If you worry that “looting is nonstrategic” than incorporate the energy of this moment into your strategy. But if you haven’t been pushing for progress and have just kept your head down hoping that the powers that be won’t notice you or waiting for other people to win victories for you I need you to honest with your self.

I see a lot of us saying that we should protest like Martin, peacefully and in a suit, but I don’t see many of us willing to walk down the Edmund Pettus Bridge. I don’t see these people proposing to boycott capitalism and build improvement associations like Garvey. And, for the record, voting for Joe Biden is not a strategy for Black Liberation, uplift or advancement.

“Vote Blue No Matter Who Raped You” is not a strategy for Liberation. I don’t mean this is a flippant way. Any man who consistently shows that he either does not understand or does not care about personal boundaries should never be allowed to ascend to the office of President. It means he will not understand or care about our communal autonomy as well. The choice between an old white male sexual predator who voted for racist legislation like the 90’s crime bill and an old white male sexual predator who said the central park five should be sentenced to death is not a choice at all.

And since so few organizations have offered these youths a strategy that resonates they are using the one embed deeply in all of our bones. Burn It All Down!!

And this also not to say that it all bad all the time. Or that there is not room for Black people to organize and build the world that we want. It is merely to say, that this uprising does not in any way deter from our path towards collective liberation. The plight of Black people in America has never been tied to our to going along to get along. It is not as if everything was going fine until that auto-zone was burnt down. Do not let the media pretend that was the case.

As Fredrick Douglass said:

This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

This uprising is, if anything, members of our community doing us a favor. They are telling tyrants like Donald Trump we will not have it. They are notifying the world that Black people have long reached our limit.

So instead of wondering if this was best or most appropriate way to give that message, we should use the energy of this moment to build what we actually want. To, as my mother says, do the next right thing. To come together and invest in the mutual aid systems that have already been popping up. Because the more things burn down the more space we have to build ourselves up. We don’t, as a people, own much of the systems we rely on. This moment can be an opportunity to build systems that no one owns but we all, collectively control.

As an aside, I know many of us are angry that some, and in some cities much, of the destruction is being caused by white people. Some of these white people are undercover cops and some of them are even white supremacist trying to start a race war. But, first of all, this is not going to start a race war. Any white person who is going to arm themselves because of Starbucks got burned down was just looking for an excuse to kill Black people. And never, in the history of white fuckery have Black people ever gone out of our way to hunt down white people en masse because the police arrested some of us over what a white person did.

Further, some of these white people, and my general sense is its the majority of them, want to burn this shit down for their own reasons. They are doing exactly what we often hope they would do but never believe they really will. They are burning down a society that never saw fit to include us in the first place.

And it not just white people. It is Asians who are tired of being attacked because of the “yellow peril” fear mongering. Or Asians angry that they are seen as perpetual foreigners in nation they came to because it invaded their homeland. Its Muslims who are tired of being banned. Who are outraged at the way their religious communities are infiltrated, monitored and attacked. They are indigenous folks who know that their people are killed by the police at the highest rates. Who are pissed that police put the property built on land stolen from them over the lives of human beings. It is Latinx folks who are enraged at wild xenophobia unleashed by this president and distraught by the literal concentration camps full of sick and hungry people who look a lot like them. Do not believe media lies that say people are rioting for “no reason.”

The system giving you nothing better to do than burn it down is all the reason anyone needs.

Now, I’m not suggesting these white kids are all John Brown. I am not suggesting we honor every kid who smashed a window with an NAACP image award. I am not suggesting that taking part in a riot means that all these non-Black people of color are going to campaign for reparations (though all of POC friends who engage in property destruction support reparations). I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t still organize to make sure that our homes and business aren’t burned down.

I am suggesting that when they set fire to the banks that refused to give us credit, or the check cashing stations that preyed on our poverty or the corporate stores that discriminate against us and refuse to pay us a living wage that we don’t spend our energy trying to put out those fires. I am suggesting that we don’t let this moment be used as an excuse to give us any less than we deserve. I am suggesting that the next time a political table is set that we demand everything we need to meet our needs with dignity or we point to these moments to give credence to our threat to overthrow the table.

Basically, Don’t Work to Save the Master’s House. I know, its natural to feel that fire might catch your house soon but if we are honest, we know that Trump was going to try and burn house down our houses anyways. Instead, let’s protect our communities and hope the winds take the fires to the banks or burn enough of these empty luxury condos that we can afford our rents again.

Because the truth is, there is no going back to before and we should be thankful for that. Whether the path forward is full of destruction and devastation or the ashes of the old system become the fertilizer for a new and better world for Black people rests on whether we respond to what the youth are saying with healing and humble wisdom or condemnation and condescension.

We all know the police will push back and our people will be hurt. The youth will be robbed of any lingering naivety and whether they become jaded like many of us, scared and shamed like many of us or the leaders of tomorrow that we need them to be is dependent entirely on our communal response. Whether we will be the leaders that they need us to be, that we need ourselves to be, is dependent on that we do now.












So it begins…

I finally sent of an email asking for money, affirmation and support from friends and supporters and posted it to this website on May Day of all days. It was actually really nerve racking to send it out. I had written the post over two months ago, before there was a pandemic, with the support of a few friends. But I couldn’t make myself send it. As time went on, it felt like a worse and worse time. Asking for community support to do…whatever I wanted…seems strange, out of touch and self-centered in a way. At the same time, this particular crisis is only highlighting the problems with our current way of operating. Doing things for money just isn’t going to cut it any longer.

I have to say it already feels pretty liberating. Even though I don’t have enough money coming in to meet all my expenses, I do have a couple that is supporting me with $2K a month! which is pretty extraordinary. Having two other patrons on my patreon really makes me feel like I am not alone walking this path. It frees me up to really listen to heart and to spirit and decide what to do next. It feels like everything I do, from cleaning the house to listening to my partner is part of what I’m on earth to do…to just be.

I’ve really held in my heart the quote form Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs in her short story “Evidence” of “life isn’t easy but its life all the time…” That for me, sums up this new path that I am on. It is part of rejecting the idea of work. The idea that there is some meaningful separation between the reproductive work of keeping myself alive and healthy, the subsistence work of cooking and cleaning, the “productive work” out in the world and my leisure time. I have been profoundly affected by the arguments of Maria Mies in “Patriarchy and Accumulation on the World Scale” that such of divide naturalizes subsidence work as “not real work.” Yet that reproduction and subsidence work, that is mainly done by women, femmes and children, is the most crucial because it literally reproduces humans and keeps us alive.

Mies challenges us to rethink work around these feminist lines. What if the work of cooking and cleaning wasn’t drudgery? What it is was purposeful and communal and joy filled? What if there was no distinction between leisure, production and subsistence? How might my “hobbies” be rethought as meaningful for my life and my community? How might I stop connecting my worth to my “marketable skills” and reorient my time towards being and loving and giving care to those around me?

Already it has created a marked change in my relationship with my partner Sandra. In addition to getting off facebook (which was a total game changer btw) moving away from work-life balance towards what we might call a feminist praxis of community supported labor has really allowed me to more present to myself and my partner. To feel that time was infinite and not something to be tracked and invested in. It was really done wonderful things for the quality of our relating. It has also allowed me to have much more generosity of spirit in my engagements with other people.

Ironically, being supported to just be has led to an explosion of thinking, writing and doing over the past month. I am currently working on new personal website, finishing the first draft of my first book! working on launching a new religious community with some dear friends on mine and working on a comic based on what this community might look like 400 years from now! Its actually kinda crazy how much more productive I have been when I am not forced to be; when my ability to eat and move through the world is not predicated on it.

So, thank you all (both of you!) for being willing to accompany me on this journey! I really can’t say how much better and more in alignment with myself I feel walking down this particular road.

In love and solidarity,

Aaron

You too can join my patreon community here!

Supporting My Next Steps

We are now living in an era of multiple apocalypses. For those of us who are literally post-apocalyptic people, people whose ancestors lived through the apocalypse of colonization, genocide, we know that there will be an after. Yet our response to the now, to the current gut- wrenching reality of worlds ending, shapes that after. We can respond to the present moment either by capitulating to the hurt and scared voices in our head telling us to use strategies of domination to get our needs met or we can listen to healing and sacred voices inviting us to plant seeds of liberation. 

I know, somewhere deep in my bones where logic has no use and words start to dissipate, that I was born for this specific moment. According to Malidoma Patrice Some (author of Of Water and the Spirit)  the Dagara tribe in Ghana and Burkina Faso, there is a belief that infants choose the time, place and family they wish to be born in. This belief has always resonated with me because I know I am supposed to be here, in this moment. The question for me has always been what seeds of Liberation is this season right for and what conditions would best allow that seed to grow. 

For years, I have tried watering the seeds of Liberation within the left wing of conventional structures: nonprofits and fee-for-service justice work. Yet it is more clear now that ever before, that these conventional structures are inadequate to attend to the problems that they themselves create and arise from. I need something new. We need something new. 

The work I’m most proud of, and that achieved the greatest impact, has been the work I have gifted to communities that welcomed and loved me. I have rarely received money for this work which often made it unsustainable. This unsustainability sets me up for burn out which leads me to lash out at the people I’m working with. When money enters the picture how everyone involved thinks about the work shifts. Suddenly, putting a project on hold because life happened is unacceptable. Everything needs to happen now and I have to prove I’m worth the money. Eventually you end up doing things because your contract or job description said you should even if it’s not the right thing or the community doesn’t have the capacity to receive it.

So I am asking you to do something a little unconventional, though I know I am joining others who have taken this path even earlier than me. I’m asking you to take a leap of faith and support me moving through the world as a semi-nomadic dream gardener who is exiting the existing economic structures. I am asking you to support me being one of the people who will seed the world that comes after the apocalypse. 

I’m not making a case that I deserve your money. Or that I’m special. Or that I’m more worthy of support than anyone else. Rather, I am suggesting something far more universal and controversial. I think we all chose this moment to be here, in one way or another and that the only way out of these coming crises is through, together. We all need to come together to support one another. Every human being has the right to unconditional support. If what I am asking is for makes you ask, “well what about me? “ Then I would love to invite you to take this walk with me, through these apocalypses together. The best support I could receive in this moment, is the gift of fellowship and fellow travelers. 

I want to offer my skill, vision, knowledge and heart to projects that might bear fruit towards my ultimate goal: a world where everyone can get their needs met with dignity. I want to work to plant seeds of love and rigor based on the framework I helped develop called Liberation Logic and help move as many projects into alignment with Liberation as possible. I want to be able to do this from a place of deep generosity of spirit and abundance. Eventually, I’d love to gather enough resources to support other Dream Gardeners around the way until we become a network of revolutionaries tending to the most promising seeds of liberation. 

I am not sure where this journey will take me and I can’t promise what the outcome will be. I know that I will continue to make meaningful interventions in movement formations that align them with liberation. I will seek to plant seeds  we can later harvest as our political situation worsens as well as develop networks that can be the basis for what comes next.

My goal is to find people who want to nurture radical dreams with me and use my network to help support them financially as well.  I have been busy planning, reading, writing and supporting movements these last few months and I have some exciting plans for what’s next. But I don’t want this to be about what I might do. I don’t want money in some sort of transactional exchange for what I’m planning to do. My hope is that enough people have already found my paid work, my movement work, workshops and writing useful enough to have sufficient faith that supporting my work with money will benefit not only me!

If you are down, here are four ways to support me and my work.

  1. You can become a monthly sustaining donor to my Patreon!
  2. You can send me a one time donation to my paypal!
  3. You can share this post with people you know who might be down to support!

Also, a lot of people are struggling right now with this pandemic. If you are blessed to be a stable financial situation, please consider supporting someone on this list. I did not create it but I found it on facebook. It has people who are struggling and asking for short term financial support. Also, check out the Movement for Black Lives D.C money pool which is collecting money to give to activists and organizers who are playing a major role running the mutual aid network in D.C. The only way out of this is through, together.

The Only Way Out Is Through, Together

The world is literally on fire. The worst swarm of locusts in a quarter century is making its way throughout the cradles of civilization. A pandemic is spreading across the globe, tanking markets within an already unstable economy. The world’s liberal democracies, already sources of war and colonizations but frequently sites of progress, are marching into open facism. 

We knew that this was going to happen…but that doesn’t mean we are prepared for it. 

We know that this world needs to burn down for something else to grow…but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t grieve the lives that will be lost to the flame. 

This moment is necessary but also terrible. 

Destructive but paving the way for growth. 

Predictable yet shocking.

This form that it takes was avoidable but the death of things that were not good enough for us, not able to provide for all of us, not able to hold human complexity is inevitable. 

Some version of this moment was inevitable.

But now is not the time to throw our arms up in despair. There will still be a tomorrow, there always is. There will always be an after waiting to be shaped by the seeds we plant now. We are already post-apocalyptic people, shaped by dreams of ancestors who lived through the horrows of colonization and genocide, each an apocalypse. We live in a world that was born from others.  We are fruits of the seeds they planted deep within the earth springing forth with the opportunity to heal what is left unhealed. 

As the world burns we do not need to concern ourselves with putting out the fires. We should not cower under the calcified structures of exploitation that surround us just because they are the only shelter in sight. While the roof of the master’s house is on fire, we have to let it burn. We might live there too, but we cannot forget that we don’t own it. It was never ours. 

So allow yourself to grieve. Be angry. Acknowledge your fears. Let this movement change you, let it stop you from working but don’t let it stop you from caring. If it overwhelms you, let it. Rest without forcing your heart to close. Don’t leave anything to be processed by those will come after. Process them now so that we can focus on what comes next from a place of wholeness and groundedness. 

As scary as it is, the burning is the easy part. It burns on its own. It can only survive the fire if we save it. The real work is building something new. That is work that can only be done collectively and can only be done by those who survive. So surviving together and building something better is the purpose of all of us who choose to be alive in this moment. 

Despite what dystopian movies would tell us, only community will save us. Yes, there will be looting around the world. Yes, this will fuel the right who can’t picture anything coming next except a Mad Max hellscape. Yes, corporations will seek to make a profit from the crisis. But already seeds of liberation are being planted. Activist of building mutual aid networks. Neighbors are working out ways to feed children who will not be at school. Nurse and care workers are pushing back against those who would put profit over saving lives. 

We will survive this. There will be an after. It will be different than anything we can imagine. And while we cannot control the future, we can shape it by planting seeds of Liberation. We decide if the after is more of the same exploitation and alienation. We decide if we plant seeds of love and light for descendants to harvest. 

We can grief the jobs and the homes that are lost. We can take it as an opportunity to find our true vocations and build refuge in unexpected places. We can grieve for those who die, knowing that they offered what they could in their time while we fight for living. We can watch as the systems fail to respond in reasonable, ethical ways while building new systems of care and support in our own communities. We can build communities in this moment by coming together and being open and honest about our need for belonging and willingness to offer it to those who want it. But this is only possible if we open up our wallets, our homes and our hearts to each other. There is no other way through this crisis as a species than being truly, magnificently human and humane together. 

Breathe.

Take care of yourself.

Grieve. 

Have compassion for yourself and you will have more capacity for others.

Don’t spend your energy saving systems that were not meant for you. 

Wash your hands often. 

Don’t give up touch completely, we need touch to survive. 

Develop ways to organize online both on social media and off.

Host weekly zoom check ins for people quarantined to be connected.

Join one of the many projects for mutual aid being developed. 

Call your friends and check up on them.

Be kind to strangers.

Don’t share anything online with anyone that you don’t know is true.

Wash your hands.

Keep masks for the sick and for healthcare workers. 

Wear a mask when you are sick.

Continue to donate to organizations and causes that we will need after. 

Be the most loving partner, compassionate friend, dutiful child, supportive caregiver you can.

Vision the world you want to be birthed from this turmoil and walk towards that vision with anyone who wants to join. 

And please, please, please, don’t forget to Rest.

All of these actions and more are seeds of Liberation we can harvest later. 

From Then Till Now: An Update From The Final Season Of America

 

America the final season edited

It has been a really wild couple of months since I last posted here. At a certain point there just seemed like way too many things happening to update anyone on. Like when someone sends you an email and you don’t reply immediately, then you think you have to have enough to say in the email to justify the late response but you are still too busy to write an email long enough but the longer you wait, the longer the email seems to need to be…

Yeah, it kinda been like that.

Similarly, I have also not been writing in the emotionally saturated, poetic, deeply personal way that has characterized much of my work on this blog. For so long I have been doing a lot of technical and professional writing. Writing for work has allowed me to get specific, clear and to some extent succinct. It’s the kind of writing that was useful for its audience–helping non-profit professionals understand race and emergent strategic planning–but hardly felt like something to post here. So I’m rusty and even this piece doesn’t feel quite up to snuff but you gotta start somewhere.

Lastly, there was a lot of weirdness that resulted from my deeply confessional writing here on this blog. For one, I started to meet people who had never interacted with me but felt connected to me and felt like they knew me. This in itself is perfectly fine and, honestly, to be expected in this medium. Yet this was combined with people who I worked with in the movement who made assumptions about why I talked and acted the way that I did that seemed based on a distorted view of who I (felt I) was. So I began to write more and more about my thinking and my growth process. Yet, I soon realized that few of these people ever read my blog! So it led to feelings of being both over-exposed and deeply misunderstood, literally two of my three least favorite feelings.

So I took a break from writing personal bits and publishing anything here.

Yet now, almost a year and a half later, the lack of sustained output for my thoughts feels like a severe lack in my life. I have actually written hundreds of pages of thinking and theory, things I would like to weave into a book, but I haven’t shared them. They have felt too piecemeal to be shared for the most part. Yet, without sharing them and getting them into the world they sort of just ping pong off the insides of my skull, getting re-written again and again for no audience in particular. This is perhaps one of the most deeply unsatisfying ways to be a writer. While me dying at a ripe old age and my family discovering manuscripts after manuscripts of my unpublished writing might make for a good Netflix original movie, its not quite the recipe for a satisfying life.

So, yeah I’m back…just in time to live-blog the Final Season of America (h/t to my man Reece Chenault for that one). Like really, WTF America? Like addrienne maree brown says (I mean she probably only said it once…and I actually have never heard her say it but I’ve seen it attributed to her twice…but it works better if you turn it into a mantra) “things aren’t getting worse they are just getting uncovered.” But it’s like when we have a serious cut with swelling and bruising and you take off the bandage and its all blue and purple with a ton of dead skin…I mean you knew it was fucked up and the puss and swelling is part of the healing process but still…its gross.

This is how I feel about the idea of America. America is the self-conception of exceptionalism and importance that allows us equate our government with two entire continents.  This America is not only the dreams of the hard right conservatives or the center-right liberals. It includes its opposite, the leftist who think of America as uniquely bad. Its still American exceptionalism if you think America is exceptionally evil or corrupt. Because in reality, there is no evil Empire. There is only Empire. The needs, thirsts, tools and ideology of its position vis a vis other countries and people’s. There’s no evil Empire because there is no good or bad Empire, like there is no good or bad serial killer. The act of serial murder is the crime itself. Sure, there are scales and scopes of murders but serial killers are generally not lacking motive only opportunity.

The circumstances of the United States are special but the U.S government is not really that special nor are the people it rules. This is why liberal media reports on the rest of the world have us seeing “so much of ourselves” in other countries like the leaders of England, Brazil or the Philippines.  Its not that these leaders are somehow Trump copies (again the U.S is not actually the center of the world) it that these countries are experiences similar challenges to which similar (bad) solutions presented themselves.

This is not the say that the U.S is not uniquely powerful or that it hasn’t put itself in a position where it has an outsized influence on the world. It is certainly not to say that Trump is not having an outsized influence on the norms of international relations. The point it merely that it is outsized and that it’s due more to the U.S.’position in the world and not its merit. There is nothing magical about the U.S. We were the only major power left relatively unscathed after WW2 and our bankers had positioned themselves as the financiers of the world after WW1. This gave us a relatively privileged position at the Brenton Woods talks and other world shaping conferences of the Liberal World order. But no amount of capitalizing on the misfortune’s of others nor historic luck means that the U.S is inherently evil or inherently good or even especially special in any inherent way i.e. outside of its context and actions.

The U.S is like the kid in middle school who tells one funny joke in the 7th grade and is for ever just seen as funny. Being the funny kid is what makes him cool and being cool is what gets him friends, so he keeps telling jokes. Then one day, he gets to high school and now he’s just another kid and can longer pass off common jokes as comedy gold. He didn’t become less funny, his context just changed. No amount of laughter or hours spent telling jokes made him funnier than the other kids, he was just the only one with a consistent platform. And sure, other kids would have told other jokes but if the culture of the school is set up for mean or edgy jokes to be cool then the only kids who can stay on that platform for long with be people who are mean or edgy.

The more this becomes clear, and more other countries can no longer conjure up a reason to be beholden to the “Washington Consensus”, the myth of America will pass. And when the U.S’s position in the world is stripped of all its dressings of American Exceptionalism, when “America” is no longer seen as powerful because we are good but able to force others to say we are good because we are powerful, then the basis of the world order will have to be revised. Because hard power can never be the only basis of hegemony, otherwise it would exhausts itself. If you have to always prove your are stronger to be listened to, eventually you’ll lose do to being to tired to fight on. To be the baddest dude on the block you got to convince others not to challenge you.

Similarly, habit or structure position only works as long as a new system is more costly that continuing the old one but when the old system is in crisis you need something other than “well we sort of made the dollar the lynch pin of the system and have always let U.S. police it as long as we looked the other way when it overthrew smaller countries’ leaders (especially when we got a piece of that pie).” So when you can no longer enforce you will through force because you’re exhausted by several disastrous wars (not to mention pissing off your allies), when the global economy is at risk due to your debt load and when you can no longer put up a half-way decent attempt to pretend to be good in order to allow the people who profit from your regime to look like they are good guys in their home country…the myth will collapse and you will fall like every empire does. (In a later post we will discuss the myth of Empire collapse because its often only a “bad” thing for the wealthiest imperialists whose way of life disappears and the archeologists no can no longer study massive monuments to imperialism made by slave labor.)

Yet the death throws of that myth will likely be pretty ugly as it truest (read: materially dependent) believers rally to bring back something that was a lie to begin with. Because its never really just that one kid who was invested in being funny. Everyone who was friends with him was invested in him being funny. And every kid who just wanted to know what the hierarchy was and who to emulate in order to not be bullied needs a obviously cool kid to follow. And every kid who has found comfort knowing they were the only one who knew that the kid wasn’t funny–who define themselves as part of an elite cluster of “those who really see”–loses one thing to define themselves against.

 

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It turns out, that a similar process has been happening in my own personal life. I think we all have a tendency to identify with the things we find ourselves doing all the time. If you find yourself taking the mic at a rally again and again soon you might see yourself as a public speaker. Once you see yourself as that, you might end up doing it habitually. You might get even better and better at it. You might learn to adapt to get certain social and emotional needs met through being at the front of the room. Yet doing it habitually and even being good at it or adapting to be validated personally by it effects on others, never makes it a part of you are in any essential way. Similarly, despite how much we might project onto it, being drawn to being at the center of the room doesn’t in itself make you an arrogant or self-centered person on its own accord.

The same is true of organizing, writing, working in “well-meaning non-profts,” consulting or living in a  big city. Once you are open to possibility that all these things you have been doing might not be a reflection of who you actually are but rather who circumstance, social relationships and random decisions have conditioned you to be you might have a bit of existential crisis.

Just a bit…

Well that, is probably the best overview of how this last year has been. Its been a long process of coming to terms with the fact that there might not be an essential or authentic self for me to live in alignment with. Rather, there is a series of strategies I’ve employed and adaptations I have made, consciously and unconsciously, that have become part of the story I tell about who I am. A story I then strive to live up to and communicate effectively. If that story is kind of arbitrary then what am doing here?

The only really answer to that is that I don’t really know. But I think I’ll feel better about it all if I keep writing about it. So…here we are.

Black Men Are Only Good When We Are Exceptional…Or Dead.

Black Women's Silence Has Never Gotten Us Free, Love.

 

All of this talk about Jay-Z has, not surprisingly, made me feel some kind of way.

I remember getting a call from my friend a few months ago, a Black woman, who lived in the New York at the time. She had been on my mind because she is a fountain of joy overflowing with the strength of truth telling. I wanted to talk to her because someone I cared about had just been sexually assaulted and I needed help processing it. I needed help figuring out how to be supportive.  Before I got a chance to talk with her about my friend, she told me about getting sexually harassed on the subway and she wanted to talk it through with me.

I listened to her story and tried, as best as I could, to be supportive of her. Eventually, she got to the point that all the Black women in my life get to in stories like this. The point where they say “but I just didn’t want to say anything because I feel like Black men are already so attacked right now, you know?” I had heard it before. It was the same reason that the person close to me did not want to report what had happened to her.

I was immediately filled with rage.

The rage of my friends being unsafe. The rage at understanding that these assaults are not isolated incidents. The rage at the reminder that they had just killed Philando Castile and it was not safe to be a Black man in America. But mostly the rage that my persecution was used to silence my sister. Rage that Black men could simultaneously be so monstrous that we need to put down for caring a pen and so fragile that talking about street harassment would tear us asunder. Rage that rage was the only feeling I knew how to feel.

I told my friend the only thing I could: “Black women’s silence has never gotten us free, love.”

To which she replied “But we keep trying it, don’t we.”

We do.

 

“If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.” –Zora Neale Hurston

 

Black men have survived the middle passage, slavery, sharecropping, Jim Crow and lynching. How have we gotten to the point where we think Black men can’t survive the truth? Black people need Black women to break their silence.

Patriarchy, like all forms of oppression, breeds in isolation. Black people cannot get free if 51% of our people are in chains of a Black man’s making. AND, at the same time, I can’t shake the weight of the reality that Black men are only good when we are exceptional…or dead. And let’s be honest, usually only when we are dead.

I wonder sometimes. Did anyone ever call Mike Brown a good kid to his face, when he was still alive for it to matter? Did we tell Eric Garner he was a good father for doing whatever he could to bring home some change before his daughter told us to organize? Did people tell Trayvon that he had a bright future before a white man robbed him of it? I doubt it happened very often.

Black men are mostly talked about when we ain’t shit, absent or dead. Oh, there’s Idris’s too fine ass or Jessie Williams before he started dating white women… but they are exceptional. We only talk about them in contrast to other men, especially other Black men. The serial rapist Bill Cosby had more Black people capping for his lying ass than any Black man I know personally…because he was exceptional. He used to be exceptionally respectable and now we know he’s exceptionally fucked up.

Again, Black women hold me down. They always have and history has shown that they probably always will. In private, Black men support me while holding me accountable. Yet for the most part, besides my chosen and blood sisters, even the Black women who support me, praise me for being exceptional. I’ve done “the work.” I read bell hooks. I support the women in life in visible ways. I have mastered performative solidarity. I’ve learned how to be what my friend once called “a safe nigga.”

It’s rare that I am told that I’m still worthy of being loved when I’ve fucked up, especially from other men. It’s rare that people remind me, when I come home tired and angry from walking through a white world, that I’m still worthy of being loved. Like my uncle used to say, ain’t no body going to thank you for paying the bills on time, but they sure do holla when it gets shut off.

There is some sad truth to the old Chris Rock joke that niggas always want credit for some shit we supposed to do. Imma be honest. I really need that shit. Part of my on-going journey in overcoming patriarchy is to be in touch with my pain and be real about my needs. I know I am responsible for meeting 80% of my needs myself but that other 20% can be so crucial. I need, and I think Black men as a whole need, some public validation that even when we are alive and unexceptional, we are worthy of love. We need it from Black women and Black GNC folk but mostly, I think we need it from each other.

I think honestly I’d settle for the recognition that these social expectations are literally killing me. Paying the bills on time is a struggle when the bills are more than you make every month.

Sometimes I wish people recognized that the way I used my overdraft protection and post-dated checks like credit is Black boy alchemy. Me and my brothers are stretching a week’s pay to a month’s electricity like an old testament prophet.  I wish people realized that my ability to remind my sisters that they are beautiful despite what society tells them is the art of Black male healing that my grandfather taught me.

I wish that I had been taught that my desire to push people further, to realize their full potential, could be sacred masculinity; that I didn’t have to tear folks down to build them up. I wish we talked more about Black men who didn’t need to drag Black women over the coals in order to heal and get their shit together. I wish we could have a holiday to thank all the Black men whose aggressive posturing towards white people on street corners is the only reason I can afford to live in my neighborhood.

Sometimes I’ve wished that there were more writers like Langston Hughes and James Baldwin. I wish there were more writers who could express their love for me. I wish I could tell all the little Black boys jumping rope and being carefree that they are the real MVP. I wish I was better at telling my own father that I love him. I wish everyone knew him like I did.  I wish I could explain that I forgive him for being so tired every day when he came home…cause the bills were always paid on time. I wish we knew how to do that while recognizing that my mother paid more bills that he did.

I wish there was way to be real about the fact that my mother learned how to carry all that weight and still smile and play puppet games and that the difference in their capacity for affection is real and fucked up and still doesn’t detract from the fact that my dad loved me and showed it. He showed me he loved me in the only way he knew how, until he learned to show it better, to say it better, to apologize for not showing it in healthy ways and do better to love by building us up without tearing us down. I wish we knew how to praise him for learning how to love without losing sight of the system that never taught him.

I believe, and will always believe, that Black women need to speak their truth and their pain. The truth of all those 0-4:33 women show us how much work we have to do. It forces us to be better. But I need our politics to tell the whole story: that we are still good while we are trying to get to better.

I need a politics that acknowledges the Black men who stay, who hold families and communities down. I need a politics that acknowledges the Black men who show up and quietly do the work. I need a politics that can praise Black male charisma as divine and beautiful and necessary even as it challenges its centrality. I need a politics that can hold the reality of rape culture in one hand and the capacity for Black men to address harm without causing more harm in the other. I need a politics that can hold the capacity for violence in Black patriarchy and the reality of Black male growth.

I need a politics that can hold all of me and love me even, maybe especially, when I’m not exceptional.

I need a politics that can love me before I’m dead.

The Rise of the Party for Revolution and Evolution [U.S Social Transformation in the Post War Period]

*this is the third piece of speculation political fiction in a series written with just a hint of satire in the form of a Wikipedia article form the future. You can see the first piece here. The second piece is here. The purpose is imagine what all this craziness from the White House might be building to while envisioning how peace might come out of chaos and tragedy. We should not take Trump’s idiocy or bluster lightly. When the autocrat says he is coming for you believe him! I believe we can prevent violence in the long run if we build for transformation and autonomy now*

 

Overview:

 

The Party for Revolution and Evolution [PRE] is a political party and revolutionary group founded in 2021 in Detroit during WW3. It was founded during a joint effort between the Grace Lee Boggs society, an underground political group prominent in Detroit during the Enlightened Retreat, and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement to take over Detroit’s political establishment. The party rose to prominence by taking the best practices for mass mobilization from several preceding social movements and political campaigns including Occupy, Bernie Sanders failed nomination run and the M4BL and mixing it with a revolutionary analysis of autonomy and transformation. The party was also protected and supported by its clandestine arm, the Maroon Society.

In just four years, the PRE went from an unknown speakeasy in Detroit to a major political party in America. Though the folk narrative focuses on organizers and political agents who have become legend and of the rise of the Maroon Society, most historian agree that the party was an idea whose time had come. Decades of ineffective government culminating in the Bush/Obama cultural war era created mass disillusionment with government that had two sides: apathy and anger. Bernie Sanders had used one in his failed bid to use win the Democratic Party nomination before the enlightened retreat while Donald Trump had used both against each other to get elected.

Beneath this national narrative there was a lot of work being done in smaller local third parties across the country during this time. As the enlightened retreat slowly developed spiritually grounded networks of engaged people at a time when most ideologies from socialism to liberalism were at best not clearly understood or at worst becoming irrelevant, the PRE was able to assemble many long simmering organizing campaigns together with progressive and radical organizations into a political powerhouse based on few revolutionary principles:

  1. Addressing harm without causing more harm
  2. Moving beyond non-violence
    1. Moving away from debates on violence vs. non-violence and towards seeing peace and self-determination as means not just ends
  3. Centering autonomy as interdependence
    1. organizing where you are at, with your people, for your own needs while supporting your neighbors
  4. Centering consent as radical co-creation
    1. Valuing the co-creation of political, economic, social, spiritual and sexual experiences with an eye towards addressing differences in power, resources, desire and ability so that everyone is fully powerful
  5. Repairing harm
    1. Embracing multi-lateral reparations in a diversity of forms for the history of slavery, genocide, mass patriarchal violence, forced migration and accumulation by dispossession
  6. Differential Political Movement
    1. Using the strategies of previous social movements as tactics to build accountable-power-with
    2. Embracing tradition while leaving what no longer serves us behind
  7. Being Holistic
    1. Addressing all issues holistically by simultaneous examining the intrapersonal, interpersonal, communal and structural aspects of a situation
  8. Emergent Strategy of Being
    1. Moving from a problem solving/deficient centered strategy to an emergent strategy based on embodying values and moving towards what we actually want
  9. Moving from a place of love
    1. Being gentle with ourselves so that we can be constructive with others
    2. Focusing on the power of love to remind us of our positive vision of the love, support and joy we want, not merely the hurt we want avenged
  10. Diversity of Strategies
    1. There is no one correct path to liberation. We seek to strengthen every front against oppression not to merely hold a party line. It’s more effective to coordinate everyone contributing the way they know how towards a common goal than to try and convince everyone that you have the one right path.

 

 

The key to these principles were that they were few, straight forward and fractal. It meant that they guided the interactions between individuals as much as they would the U.S government’s relationship to the rest of the world under the nearly 30 year democratic majority rule of the PRE. The principles, along with their strategy of connecting the mutual aid networks that were emerging into regional assemblies quickly made them a powerful alternative political force.

Their non-sectarianism that focused on embodying social/ethical/political values and shared visions for another possible world rather debating over how society is structured allowed for them to encapsulate many divergent political tendencies across the left-center spectrum while constructively engaging moderates on the right. It was also a key to their counter-organizing strategy to out organize far-right elements in the South and West.

Many scholars believe that the true fuel for the rise of the PRE wasn’t even political in the traditional sense. The vast majority of U.S residents cared little for political theory and much more about the food, housing, medical and worker cooperatives that the PRE stitched together. The PRE’s focus on hyper-local community-controlled direct service was its real strength.

Rather than build local mutual aid networks from scratch, PRE organizers applied the self-governing skills they had developed in their speakeasies to help facilitate meetings and complex democratic decision making processes for local groups. They were more conveners, networkers and facilitators than traditional revolutionaries. They linked the small, nearly illegible acts of everyday resistance and mutual aid that communities were already doing on their own into something more intentional on a large scale. Most importantly, they rarely focused on confronting the state they usually just out competed it for legitimacy by better meeting the needs of local people.

 

Political and Economic Context for the Rise of the PRE

For the spiritual and cultural context see the enlightened retreat

The U.S duopoly of Republicans and Democrats were so locked in a pitched battle of name-calling and responsibility shrugging that they neither party had been able to legislate a complete agenda for decades. The only faction that was consistently able to put forward its agenda were the corporate neo-liberals whose desire to deregulate, liberalize and privatize was accepted by both parties in various forms.  Even Presidents Trump bombastic rhetoric against renegotiating the “bad deals” of NAFTA and TPP didn’t lead to any substantial changes to those agreements. In fact, his Infrastructure bill was nearly entirely written for and by neo-liberal billionaires and their supporters.

However, the ongoing competition between individuals of the billionaire class and the political oligarchy of America’s ruling families meant that while they universally recognized the crisis of both capitalism and liberal democracy they had vastly different ideas of how to deal with either. This lack of class unity meant that they were slow to curtail the rise of cooperative economies and mutual aid groups nationally.

Corporations saw the threat to their bottom line but were unwilling to allow any regulatory body authority over business, even if it disproportionately affected their competitors. Attempts by organizations such as ALEC to bring about consensus on how to combat cooperatives was thwarted by the campaigns of corporate sabotage by the Maroon Society and eco-direct action groups like Gaia’s Progeny.

Movement scholar Jasmine Nwampa posited that “corporations were also unprepared for the dramatic shift to organizing at the point of consumption instead of production. Many capitalist saw the crisis of capital coming and assumed that either social democracy or some form of semi-privatized commons would have to be instituted to save industrial capitalist society. They did not expect people to merely take over and transform the market in the way that they did. By the time the writing was on the wall, they busy putting out literal fires up and down their supply chain.”

Most corporations were moving towards flexibility and sense and response supply chains that we able to respond to the market changes in record time. Amazon is a great example of this trend and its ultimate weakness. Amazon sought to use advances in internet usage, cloud storing, off shoring, automation and the gig economy to get cheaply made products, delivered equally cheaply by contractors within hours of being ordered.

They were largely successful in this effort. In addition, they were experts in trying to assess the consumer’s need in real-time and respond in addition to using big data to predict it. Their mass conglomerations of website, T.V stations and newspapers also gave them significant control creating new needs in consumerism while they forced their competitors to sell on their network.

Many contemporary scholars assumed that this model was the model of the future. Many leftist predicted an age of the super corporation that controlled the means of production and the market itself. However, few people foresaw the massive cultural shift away from consumerism that was precipitated by the enlightened retreat. While corporations like amazon were able to push forward the narrative of more and better, the cultural shift towards various self-reflection techniques made people want more autonomy and higher ethical standards in production.

It turns out that simple questions of Americans asking themselves where they hurt and what was causing it turned them away from seeing more consumption as the answer. Matched with corporate sabotage, boycotts and the rise of cooperatives even Amazon’s state of the ark monopoly collapsed into financial ruin.

While national right to work devastated labor unions, the movement for economic justice and self-determination emerged through consumer unions, cooperative associations,  CSA’s and the rise of increased worker-center and alt-labor organizing. Undeniably, the lack of powerful organized labor caused wages to drop severely and workplace accidents to increase just as fast. However, the resulting economic anxiety and anger was first expressed ass wildcat strikes and spontaneous boycotts that disrupted corporations enough to allow for the emergence of consumer unions and worker cooperatives.

Eventually consumer unions started boycotting companies with bad labor practices and launched buying campaigns for worker-owned cooperatives. Similarly, the rise of free-lancers guilds changed the face of the gig economy by widely boosting the desired prevailing wage and training workers on how and why to negotiate higher pay.

The rapidly increasing effects of climate change also devastated the political establishment and corporations. This time period in history saw an increase in massive natural disasters that devastated cities across the U.S. The Ryan Regime privatized FEMA in response to the abysmal job FEMA did during the Hurricane Jasmine humanitarian crisis of 2021. While ‘crisis capitalism’ saw an opportunity in climate change, they were out organized by far more effective mutual aid systems.

Meanwhile the rich paid millions of dollars for ex-special forces to extract them from climate change ‘red zones,’ the poor built environmental defense teams, survival camps and developed mesh networks that could be booted up in a crisis. Integration of the Rising Tide and Occupy Sandy networks with the PRE expanded these programs while building an effective alternative to both corporation and the state which in turned caused more people to turn to mutual aid.

Lastly, the PRE was also able to escape the brunt of political repression of the era due to federal government and corporative interest’s pre-occupation with combating the maroon society and by counter recruiting against fascist and white nationalist elements. The PRE’s greatest success was in creating the illusion that the PRE and the Maroon society were two separate and mutual antagonist organizations. However, it is now known that the Maroon Society was the clandestine arm of the PRE throughout most of its history. Not only were many Maroon Society members PRE members but the PRE funneled money to the Maroon Society and turned a blind eye when Maroons took refuge in their houses of hospitality.

Most historians agree that the Maroon Society created the political opportunities that the PRE took advantage of. The Maroon Societies devastating campaign of industrial sabotage, agit-prop campaigns, and prison/detention center breaks deeply unsettled the Ryan Regime and prevented them from ever consolidating power. The Maroon Societies “Rainbow Coalition” also counter recruited so effectively that White Supremacist organizations that were so powerful during the Unending March were marginal just six years later. For more on the Maroon Society visit “The Second American Revolution.”

 

 

General Strikes

 

The beginning of the end of the Enlightened Retreat was the general strike of the defense industry in 2021. Most scholars agree that the general strikes helped set the ground work for the PRE. The strike was organized by collaboration between the East Coast chapters of the Black Lives Matter [BLM] Network who partnered with International Workers of the World [IWW] across the country. While most historians agree that the general strike only effected a handful of factories and did not significantly threaten the war effort they also agree that it was a major symbolic victory.

It showed the maturation of the fight for racial justice with one the first major multi-racial attacks against racialized capitalism and imperialism. It also gave an example of effective organizing to all the networks of mutual aid that had been building over the last 3 years.

The subsequent trial of the BLM leaders was meant to instill fear in other dissidents. The leaders of the campaign were pulled from their houses at night and brutally detained. The police feared brutality against young white people would back fire against the state, especially considering that the IWW had their largest presence on elite college campuses that were doing Department of Defense research. Thus they rounded up the white IWW organizers gently and in secret. This tactic actually backfired as it showed blatant racism and racial disparities of policing as well as deep class differences.

Attorney General Rudolf [Ruddy] Giuliani charged the organizers with treason, a tactic that was meant to scare off further organizing but seemed more like government overreach as the penalty for treason was death. The trial was the most watched television event of the century and rather than discourage protests it inspired them across the country. The BLM leaders who were sentenced to life in prison all became leaders in the Maroon Society after their storied prison break in 2022.

As dead American men and women returned home from WW3, the organizing within the defense industry got more and more wide spread. After Teen Vogue released an exposé on the U.S government’s use of South African contract killers in the oil fields of Nigeria, public opinion turned against the war sharply. Despite the motion to bring back the draft failing in the house, the U.S saw anti-war protests that far outstripped the Vietnam era.

The speakeasies of the enlightened retreat planned strikes and rallies just as they had the rolling black outs. They sent messages through the farmer’s marches and during concerts. In later years, PRE workers organized churches to created packed lunch services for the workers on Easter Sunday and placed pamphlets that said “The lord commanded ‘thou shalt not kill’ don’t do the devils work for him. Strike for Peace and God on May 1st.”

Many PRE chapters sprung up in response to these mobilizations after the D.C PRE merged the analysis of the party with their own mass organizing trainings in 2023. The synergy of the PRE guiding principles with the DAT analysis that had gained popularity during the Enlightened Retreat allowed for thousands of activists to learn how to effectively organize and build political, economic and cultural power.

This allowed for distributed organizing on a massive scale as each city ran its own team of organizers coordinating thousands of volunteers also running their own campaigns. After three consecutive years of month long general strikes in the month of May, it was estimated that 35% of the industries workers took part and the United States signed the Beijing Accords ending WW3 in 2025.

 

Down But Not Out: Labor Unions and the PRE

For more on the Labor Movement in the 2020’s and 2030’s see the 21st Century Knights of Labor

 

Though devastated by National Right to work legislation, traditional labor unions played a significant role in the rise of the PRE. Most notably, the reconstructed Knights of Labor utilized solidarity unionism on an international level. Historian Stuart Le’Mark surmises their shift during the period thusly “previously ‘international unions’ weren’t actually that international at all. They usually meant the U.S and part of Canada. They were generally based on a model that could be summed at using the dues of 90% of the workers to focus on 10% of the workers; the 5% of that are active and the 5% that get in trouble. After national right to work, unions transitioned to a more worker center model of training working activists.

They disrupted production through direct action, mostly blockades on the entrances of workplaces and strategic slowdowns in which one or two key workers would stage a protest that prevented the other workers from working. Often they would do protests in stages, so that production would be disrupted for a whole day. Though much shorter than traditional strikes or slowdown’s, the shift to immediate delivery of products meant that companies could lose millions if products were delivered after their 3 hour guarantee.”

Additionally, groups like the Knights of Labor worked with organizations that managed to survive right to work like United Electricians and the Nurses Union to fund the organizing of workers further down the production line in countries that were termed “third world.” Unions were able to send money to worker centers and unions in other countries where a worker made several times less than a U.S worker and pay a whole factory to go on strike for a week.

Often times, these would be tied with boycott’s and slowdowns in the U.S. Eventually, the Knights of Labor would organize international strikes, factory blockades and work with free-lancer guilds to disrupt the gig economy that many companies relied on. These combined attacks were paired with combined demands that crossed sections of a company and locations across the world. Eventually, Knights of Labor and groups like Gaia’s Progeny would collaborate to make demands on entire industries.

All told, the smaller but still resurgent economic justice movement put capital on the defense for the first time in decades just as they seemed their most triumphant. Corporations were unable to rebound in time to stop the rise of the cooperative movement.

 

Accomplishments of the early PRE

 

By the formal end of the War in 2025, the PRE had 40 congressional seats, 6 senate seats, 10 mayoral positions, and the governorship in California. While it would not get a majority until 2030, its economic and cultural cooperatives fundamentally reshaped the country. The PRE had massive political power and used it to lobby governments at the local, state and federal level. Its deep cultural base and value of participatory democracy politicized its membership more effectively than any America political party since the communist party of the 30’s. Yet the real strength of the PRE was in the alternatives to the government it fostered.

PRE chapters run soup kitchens, childcare centers and crisis prevention teams across the country. Borrowing from the Catholic Worker Movement, chapters ran houses of hospitality that provided both affordable housing and refuge for immigrants on the Underground Railroad. The PRE’s great strength was working with ordinary Americans and taking the next step. They didn’t try to politicize people into their analysis, rather they went into communities, saw people helping each other out and asked if they could support them in any way. The mass radicalization happened mostly due to police repression. As grandmothers who opened up their homes to orphaned children were arrested, communities become more militant than any reading group or manifesto could have made them.

The PRE’s task was merely to build the infrastructure to support and develop people who were being radicalized and grow the techniques to coordinate all the projects they self-organized.  This was no small task. It was accomplished largely due to traveling facilitators and popular education teachers of the era. These trainers [often called griots in Black communities] went from city to city observing successful mutual aid programs, writing about them online and traveling to other cities to teach people how to do them. Cooperation Jackson and the British Columbia Cooperative Network played a leading role in creating best practices for cooperative development.

Due to the repression of the Ryan Regime and Proud Boy Brigades, these trainers were often travelling artists or Djays who used their art to cover the political nature of their work. Their teach-ins would often happen after the show. Some troupes like the Puppet Posse, incorporated their political education into the art itself. Despite these precautions, these traveling artist were the most often detained revolutionary actors of the period and would later become leaders of the prison riots of the 2030’s.

Most of the political accomplishments of the early PRE were at the local level. The massive increase in social engagement after the Enlightened Retreat kicked off a revolution in governance and civil society often called the “Civic Renaissance.” The PRE ended bans of rent control, instituted new local tax codes for consumer and worker cooperatives and abolished bail and ticketing as alternative sources of municipal income.

As a result, worker cooperatives went from barely statistically relevant in 2018 to nearly 20% of the economy in 2030 playing the same role in raising wages as unions formerly did. Many areas raised local corporate tax rates and, with the Financial Services Reform Act of 2026, established public banks and credit unions so that city budget would no longer be tied Wall Street’s whims. The PRE followed the blue-print in the Jackson Kush Plans and the Gar Alperovitz’s Pluralist Common Wealth for their local development schemes.

Many localities had radical experiments with different financial and political institutions. Seattle, D.C and Montgomery County all passed participatory budgeting of at least 15% of the budget in 2025. By 2035, 30 major American cities based similar initiatives. The entire states of Washington, California, New York and Connecticut developed land bonds that paid for public housing throughout the state. Oakland, CA, Jackson M.S and Washington D.C all passed Community Control Board for their police departments in 2027 and by 2035 this was a standard practice in most cities.

Healthcare saw one of the most complete overhauls under after the end of the Enlightened Retreat. The Nurses Union emerged as one of the strongest unions after national right to work legislation devastated the AFL-CIO. The nurses unions were pivotal parts of many of the community controlled direct service providers at the time and helped move America towards the Burtzorg model of homecare used in the Netherlands.

The National Patients Association was founded in 2027 as a federation of local patient care groups that forced major concessions from hospitals and insurances companies by launching a medical bill payment strike in 2028-2029. They forced hospitals and insurers to agree to medical patient’s bills of rights, which capped costs, made many services nearly free and forced insurance companies to pay for non-western medical treatments at the patients’ request.

Due to rise of Freedom Schools during the enlightened retreat and the abolition of the Department of Education under President Ryan, many localities passed voucher programs that allowed parents to choose which school to send their children and in many cases provided startup money for “small community schools” administered by local PTA’s.

When the Department of Education was re-established in 2032, 25% of children went to alternative schools of some form. Instead of returning to old system of public education, the PRE invested heavily in parent education and organizing and strengthened local parent associations and mandated parent centers at every school that received voucher money. With increased flexibility religious schools, free schools and ethno-centric educations became much more common to mixed results.

By 2040 however, there was revitalization of the American education system. With a decrease in consumerism, increase in the average wage and wide spread rent control parents had much more time to engage with their child’s education. With the mandated parent centers at each school, neighborhoods developed support systems to educate parents and support them in guiding their own children’s education.

This led to an informed community driven school model that changed from testing based, high pressure schooling to more project based learning that focused on nurturing whole children. The emphasis on math and science was replaced by an emphasis on emotional learning, appreciate inquiry and conflict resolution. As the technical aspect of educations was destressed, America saw arise in apprenticeship programs and comprehensive job training for college graduates.

In the 2020’s consumer organizing started to play a larger role in corporate regulation as organizations like Safe Food Network and Consumers Against Sweat Shops launched boycott and buy campaigns that created new markets for Fair Trade, Sustainable and High Wage industries throughout the United States. In the 2030’s, worker centers launched worker defense teams that fought for higher wages and better conditions on the shop floor. The consumer protection act of 2030 gave legal sanction and funding to these activities so worker centers, free-lancer guilds, and consumer unions replaced Worker Unions as the backbone of the economic justice movement. By 2040, the sustainable, fair trade goods produced with high labor standards had become the norm.

The progressive development of the United States was fairly uneven though much of this period and republican control areas in the American South and Midwest hampered much of the PRE’s work. However, with the election of 2030, the PRE took control of both houses of the federal government while the Democrats controlled the presidency until the election of Kelly Hadad in 2036.

With control of the House, the PRE immediately checked executive power by repealing the War Powers Act and Patriot Act in February of 2031. The PRE went on to slowly devolve much of their federal authority to states while increasing federal protections for marginalized people. Once in control of the U.S. government, the PRE would become well known and revered for its bottom up strategy to dealing with the catastrophic effects of climate change.

The PRE strategy of “empowering the people” revolutionized the role of the government in society as its general assemblies pushed for a constantly devolving of federal and eventually state authority to local mass assemblies. Often times the PRE politicians were at odds with the will of the people’s assemblies yet because the PA’s were the core of the party they won nearly every political disagreement.

 

The Enlightened Retreat: U.S Social Movements from 2018-2025

*this is the second piece of speculation political fiction written with just a hint of satire written in the form of a Wikipedia article form the future. You can see the first piece here. The purpose is imagine what all this craziness from the white house might be building to while envision how peace might come out of chaos and tragedy. We should not take Trump’s idiocy or bluster lightly. When the autocrat says he is coming for you believe him! I believe we can prevent violence in the long run if we build for transformation and autonomy now*

Overview:

 

The Enlightened Retreat, often called the DAT Revolution, is name of the powerful social movement that led to the fall of U.S Empire in the period of beginning with the Unending March and the end of WW3.  The great retreat was a direct result of the mass arrests and political show trials against socialist, communist, feminist, anti-racist and anti-imperialist organizers and artist during the Trump-Ryan political crisis of 2017-2021. Unlike the repression of the 1950’s which marginalized American communism by making it un-American, the brutality of the wave of repression in the pre-war years, combined with the deep community building in the U.S oppositional organizing lead to a mainstreaming of autonomous and transformative local organizing.

Due to fact that most political speech ended in jail time after the inauguration of President Paul Ryan following the impeachment of President Trump and resignation of Vice President Mike Pence and the economic down turn following the student loan and rental housing bubble bursting in 2018, most political dissidents went from protesting the government to building small communities of care and support. This often took the form of soup-co-ops, group housing and rapid response medical and mental health care. As housing insecurity due to loan repayments became wide spread, “take back the land” campaigns become more and more common in major Urban Areas as displaced people started squats in their own rental units.

The cultural practices of Block Parties and “Free Markets” where people shared food, music and unneeded clothes and supplies with their neighbors slowly became the mainstream as overt political speech was heavily monitored and the economic crises deepened. Eventually, larger scale cooperatives and community sourced agriculture networks started to develop as the gas shortages from the Qatar crisis lead to increased prices on food imports.

Political organizers started printing off political pamphlets and convincing CSA vendors and block party organizers to distribute them in the food and clothing giveaways at their events. As these critical connections developed, organizers would ask residents of a neighborhood to turn off their lights from 8:30-9:00pm, a tactic latter called “rolling Black outs.” The Black outs were massive acts of political disobedience that were low risks to residents but sent a clear message to government. Though they were tolerated by the local police who were still reeling from the massive Black Bloc demonstrations in Oakland, Detriot and Portland and the Afrikan blocs in Jackson, M.S and Washington D.C in 2019, it was widely believed that these small acts of wide spread solidarity, gave everyday residents the courage to take back the streets years later. Despite the increase in protests from preceding the Enlightened Retreat, the number of overt street protests went from nearly 4,000 in 2018 to 7 in 2021.

The rapid decline in street protests and the shift from digital communication to old fashion newspaper printing combined with the a disarray in the FBI and homeland security following the haphazard management by the Trump administration created the allusion of a U.S populace shocked into compliance. This allowed for a remarkable amount of cultural and spiritual organizing to happen without much confrontation by the state.

The first general strike of the defense industry in 2021, was organized by the D.C speakeasy through pamphlets at regional block parties distributed by traveling DJ’s and hip hop groups on tour. The speakeasies, or underground social clubs, where organizers meet in secret to plan campaigns and write their political pamphlets, often became the chapter hubs for the leadership of the Party of Revolution and Evolution that would grow to power after WW3.

 

The Call for Retreat

 

Most historians mark the start of the Great Retreat with the distribution of the anonymous essay “the way out is in, together” in January 2018 after the mass arrests of protestors in Portland, OR. The essay, or memo as it was called at the time, called for a “deep collective grounding in our own desire for connection, loving touch, joy  and freedom that can fuel the fire we need to burn down the aspects of the system that no longer serve us.” The essay argued the personal was political and spiritual. It resonated with many by speaking to the deep alienation that neo-liberal capitalism instilled in advanced industrial societies while connecting that feeling and spiritual sense of loss to structures of oppression. Marvin Jeffries, who would later help organize the 2023 general strike famously posited that “the memo gave us language to discuss a problem we were too afraid to let ourselves feel, while showing us that we were not alone in feeling it and we were not feeling it because of our individual actions but rather a system that was producing specific conditions of pain.”

By the time President Paul Ryan began ordering the mass arrests of 2019, the essay was well known among U.S organizers. That year it was common for posters with graphic representations of the main ideas of the essay to be wheatpasted by young dissidents at the sites of disappearances of organizers or mass arrests after political demonstrations. As protests dwindled in winter of 2019 and beginning of 2020, the posters became popular decorations at church revivals, farmers markets and block parties across the country. After the re-authorization of the Patriot Act in May of 2020 made the distribution of the posters a felony, they often lost their overt political content and took on a more overly spiritual tone which ironically allowed them to resonate with aspects of the Christian community that should have been a natural base for Ryan regime.

In this same period, the new monostatic movement of young Christians was reaching its height as rising housing insecurity and gas prices mixed with erratic weather to force many people into communal living situations. As always, desperate times called for theologies of escape as well as theologies of liberation. This helped popularize a less formally religious but deeply socially engaged spirituality that spurred revivals of Judaism, mass conversions to the Baha’i faith and an increase in socially engaged practitioners of American Buddhism particularly the Order of Interbeing.

 

The Revolution Was [Partially] Funded

 

Perhaps the most surprising role of the Enlightened Retreat was the role the philanthropic community played in it. Throughout most of its history previously, philanthropic organization were heavily tied to interests of the ruling elite. Their role had traditionally been to stop capitalism from being too brutal by providing for some basic human services the state would not and channeling righteous anger of oppressed people to movements of reform from within current political and economic frameworks so that all social change rarely threatened the status quo of the ruling class.

Not surprisingly, the rise of “progressive” billionaire philanthropist like Mark Zuckerburg and Bill Gates who criticized government austerity programs and inequality actually fueled conservatives in government dismantling the welfare state by showing that they would donate in proportion to the increased need created by cuts in government spending. Their charity actually played well into the argument that it is “civil society’s” responsibility to care for the poor and not the government. Thus, when the housing bubble burst in 2018 and the Trump administration responded with tax cuts and corporate buy-outs, the top 20% of the wealthiest Americans saw an increase in wealth while the bottom 80% saw a substantial decrease. Therefore, the amount of money in Philanthropic communities increased dramatically while the class of middle class white people who managed the social service organizations that received most of that money now saw themselves eligible for the services they delivered.

While the privatizations of social services had tremendously devastating effects on services as workers lost wages and protections, it also significantly decentralized the how social services were provided. In perhaps one of the era’s deepest ironies, the privatization did in fact allow for more innovation but not more neo-liberal individualization.

The shrinking of the middle class ironically transformed social service delivery because they people who needed services were now mainstream and no longer just marginalized communities. This precipitated the rise of the community directed service model designed to empower formerly middle class white communities that quickly made its way into urban cores around the country. Like the embattled communist who entered unions in the 40’s and 50’s, the anti-racist, anti-authoritarians of the enlightened retreat who managed to avoid jail time entered direct service organizations in droves. These influx in former political activist radicalized the industry in unexpected ways. Perhaps the most profound change was the shift from top down, massively hierarchical organized to more self-managed teams doing hyper local service provision.

These hyper local teams of food trucks, health workers and small mental health clinics developed actual relationships with the community. While the overall racial, gender and class hierarchies and pay disparities remained [frontline staff being mostly underpaid women of color] the staff in the communities had much more autonomy than they had as government workers. Many of these front-line staffers were friends and relatives to members of the more overtly political and thus clandestine speakeasies of the era. They would end up playing a critical role in distributing the political pamphlets and often became block captains for the PRE during elections.

The Black communities who were the most devastated by social service cuts became the most invested in mutual aid programs. Due to America’s historic segregation, the Black middle class saw itself once again surrounded by poverty. However, due to the lack of overt discrimination in many industries, the Black upper class retained much of income despite losing much of its wealth in the housing bubble. This ironically put the Black middle class in position of having the income to donate to social improvement, while redlining and discrimination in housing loans meant that they were unable to leave and needed to find alternative ways to have economic security outside building family wealth.

These conditions, combined with the decentralization of social services meant that Black people’s economic situation and political cohesion started to look nearly identical to how it looked at the beginning of the civil right movement. However, six years of solid M4BL organizing and increase of overt anti-Black racism meant that institutions like the NAACP and the Urban League were open to a Black politics that centered cross class solidarity rather than respectability politics. Once again, the line between the elite assimilationist Black politics and more radical, often nationalist Black politics, was  blurred as it had been 50 years before. So while philanthropic communities still gave little to overtly political social groups [some of which had also become illegal with the re-authorization of the patriot act] the established Black groups they gave the majority of their money to were much more willing able to pass some of that money onto clandestine activities. With the elimination of the IRS and increase of allowances of political activity by religious groups passed through the Tax Revision Act of 2020, this funnel from rich philanthropist to clandestine organizing groups became even more prosperous.

Prominent contemporary scholar Jasmine Banks noted that “we often forget how absurd the old political and economic order was. It would be inaccurate to say that the progressive wealthy class acted against their monetary interests because of the moral evil of inequality. Rather, they worked towards their material interests by supporting an expanded safety net versus risking the inevitable attempts to address inequality through violence that had been the strategy of the disposed for centuries. The fact that the safety net led to the co-operative economy that would replace capitalism was not something they would have foreseen and, honestly, happened on a timeline that the crisis of liberal society did not allow them to think on.”

 

The Rise of the Political Speakeasies

 

Just as prohibition had given rise to organized crime so did the combination of laws prohibiting anti-government protesting but expanding the ability of religious institutions to do political work give rise to an underground political resistance movement. These speakeasies evolved from informal gatherings were people met in national parks, community swimming pools, YMCA’s or other places where people with little disposable income could gather and be social together. It just so happened that many of these gathering spaces were places where you could be relatively sure of little government surveillance to vent and complain about the government. As the economic crisis worsened low cost activities like reading groups, potlucks, and rent parties that Black and Latinx people would throw to raise money for their rent, became more and more common.

Organizers who managed to escape the purges would often find each other at these gatherings and form small little pods or affinity groups of closeted dissidents. Overtime, they began to have their own gatherings that were spread through word of mouth or embedded in geo-cashes by hackers. Participants would show up, dump their phones in cooper and lead lined box and hang out together. The vast majority of speakeasies were barely even politically but allowed for people to “thumb their noses” at the repressive government. In places like Miami, Houston and L.A. these speakeasies give rise to the Cabal movement of small dance clubs where people escaped the Puritanatical politics of the Ryan Regime through juking, grinding and twerking.

Most cities however, had two or three regular speakeasies, often differented by racial, class, and sexual expression of the participants, that were overtly political. While these identity differences often times caused conflicts, there was generally enough of a sense of a common enemy and pre-existing relationships across groups that they could work together. In larger urban cores like NYC, D.C, and Oakland, there were often dozens of such groups that were often coordinated through spokescouncils or steering committees. Out of fear of repression, these groups generally worked to find and support comrades who had been imprisoned or deported.

Inspired by political activity in Palestine during the first Intifada however, they began to use the emerging network of direct service provides, CSA’s and block parties to launch their “rolling black outs”  and other demonstrations of civil disobedience. The clandestine nature of their work and their prefigurative, anarchist influenced politics, meant that they had to developed new ways of self-governance across racial, gender and class differences that didn’t require 6 hour meetings which would have been suspicious.

Perhaps one of their most enduring developments was political hand dancing. Inspired by Black culture in D.C., Maryland and Virginia as well as the slaves who developed Capoeira in Brazil, political hand dancing allowed for communication of complex group decision to debated and accepted in real time without speaking. Originally developed as a warning system for police raids and as way to coordinate evacuating hideouts and delegating the destruction of materials on the fly, political hand dancing or the clapping game become a crucial tool for coordinating the silent Afrikan blocs during the general strikes.

By utilizing complexity theory, hip hop culture and musical theory the clapping game was used much like war drums of earlier eras yet the call and response, “remix” and beat dropping allowed for the “orders” to be decided by swarm intelligence. Affinity groups self-organized themselves into sensors, responders and facilitators. Each role has its sound: sensors clapped, responders drummed on whatever was available while facilitators hummed or sang well known songs to different rhythms.  Sensors role were to sense police presence and warn others of raids, kettling practices or general police movement. Responders developed responses to the sensors, often directing people to go to specific hideouts [each with their own beat] or to scatter. Facilitators had two roles one was to create noises that made it hard for the police to follow what was going one and two was communicate the meanings of the different codes that the responders were using.

The codes used were often determined by whatever songs were being played by speakeasy DJays or with new lyrics that often used inside jokes, movement slang and elaborate metaphors to refer to places that speakeasies met. The complex system allowed for groups to utilize swarm intelligence to evade the police even when leaders were arrested or not decided before had. Due to its relatively simple rules and communal nature, versions of the clap game become wide spread. The rules of the clap game were innovated on time and time again to be more effective. The decentralized network and self-referential nature of the code also made it secure as the police would have be incredible skilled at the game in addition to understanding the codes to counteract in real time.

While the clap game was the most famous innovation of self-governance it was hardly the only one. In many areas, CSA were coordinated into regional council for food distribution, women’s councils were created above ground to deal with street harassment and underground to provide clandestine reproductive health after the family values act was passed in 2020 severely limited reproductive choice. As the police force become more and more overtly political, the justice system lost more and more legitimacy. Eventually, speakeasies were created to do restorative circles for community violence ranging from theft, to domestic partner violence to arson.

In Detroit, the speakeasies spokes council partnered with the Malcolm X grassroots movement to create the Party of Revolution and Evolution [PRE] in 2021. In just three years, the PRE utilized a decentralized “movement DNA” system to create chapters around the country that began building larger networks of mutual aid and eventually taking over local governments across the country.

 

Aftermath

 

The beginning of the end of the Enlightened Retreat was the general strike of the defense industry in 2021. The strike was organized by collaboration between the East Coast chapters of the Black Lives Matter [BLM] Network who partnered with International Workers of the World [IWW] across the country. While most historians agree that the general strike only effected a handful of factories and did not significantly threaten the war it was a major symbolic victory. It showed the maturation of the fight for racial justice with one the first major multi-racial attacks against racialized capitalism and imperialism. It also gave an example of effective organizing to all the networks of mutual aid that had been building over the last 3 years.

The subsequent trial of the BLM leaders was meant to instill fear in any other dissidents. The leaders of the campaign were pulled from their houses at night and brutally detained. The police feared brutality against young white people would back fire against the state, especially considering that the IWW had their largest presence on elite college campuses that were doing Department of Defense research. Thus they rounded up the white IWW organizers gently and in secret. This tactic actually backfired as it showed blatant racism and racial disparities of policing as well as deep class differences.

The attorney general Rudolf Giuliani charged the organizers with treason, a tactic that was meant to scare off further organizing but seemed more like government overreach as the penalty for treason was death. The trial was the much watched television event of the century and rather than discouraged protests it inspired protest across the country.

 

 

The Unending March [An Alternative History of Trumpism]

*this is a piece of speculation political fiction with just a hint of satire written in the form of a Wikipedia article form the future. The purpose is imagine what all this craziness from the white house might be building to while envision how peace might come out of chaos and tragedy. We should not take Trump’s idiocy or bluster lightly. When the autocrat says he is coming for you believe him! I believe we can prevent violence in the long run if we build for transformation and autonomy now*

Overview:

 

The Unending March.

The Unending March, also called the Bloody March or the March of Blood, is a series of mass arrests and political purges carried out by the Federal Order of Police and the Proud Boy Brigades in January of 2019. It was part of Donald Trump’s attempt to consolidate power ahead of the Calexit, as the California Succession movement was then known. Despite its legacy as the beginning of political purge of the American left, most of the causalities were actually political moderates and rival members of the Republican Party and the armed forces. The most famous killing was the public execution of the 26th Secretary of the Department of Defense James Norman “Jim” Mattis by John Carver Johnson on January 30th during a press conference.

The Term “Unending March” comes from a speech by then Vice President Mike Pence who, at the March for American Patriots on January 20, 2019 said that “believers in America liberty most [sic] not allow social degenerates to rule our streets. In response to marches of feminist and queers we need an unending march of American patriots in every city of this great country.” After the bombings of the New York and Chicago subway systems later that afternoon were blamed on queer anarchist supposedly funded by ISIS, the coalition of white nationalist and anti-immigrant groups called the American People’s Army began making internet memes calling for mass violence against LGBTQ people, Arabs, Muslims and Black Lives Matter activists using the phrase “Unending March.”

The morning after the bombings President Donald Trump attempted to institute a nationwide martial law despite there being fewer than 10 casualties and the suspects being quickly identified and apprehended by local police departments. On January 22nd, Secretary Mattis said that he felt a nationwide martial law was completely uncalled for given the circumstances and recommended that the America people try to heal the divides that had been growing under the Trump administration through “understanding and respectful dialogue.” This in turn caused Donald Trump to publically call for Mattis’ resignation, though he later backtracked on that call after the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement against marshal law.

The newly appointed head of the Federal Order of Police, Edwardo Pena, was tasked by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “root out the enemy where ever he may be.” Edwardo Pena began working through his newly created office to coordinate the national police response through the Fraternal Orders of Police. Though this coordination would be later ruled unconstitutional, Edwardo was able to coordinate the arrest and detention of over 10,200 activist, organizers and journalist who had been flagged under the now infamous “Law and Order” program which monitored protestors. These mass arrests triggered wide spread protests which eventually became uprisings in 13 cities.

Memo’s leaked by Wiki Leaks in 2020 later revealed that the Uprisings had been planned by the Trump Administration who increased militarized policing through the so called “War on Drugs” while eliminating human services spending hoping that the increase in crime would justify even more authoritarian actions by the administration. Despite the chaos, many Democratic and moderate republican governors and mayors refused to call in the National Guard to stop the uprisings. This led to the American People’s Army to call for a mass mobilization across the country which eventually led to the paramilitary group attacking politicians and military leaders who were openly critical of the Trump regime.

Over 300 hundred movement leaders, politicians and military leader were killed in the ensuing chaos. Though it has never be substantiated, it is widely believed that members of Donald Trump’s administration provided the paramilitary forces with names and locations of individuals to target. A series of memos leaked to the British magazine The Guardian, later known as the Trump papers or red papers, did confirm that Donald Trump personally ordered Edwardo Pena to target activists with whom he had personal enmity towards including members of the group Black Lives Matter. These memos would later led to Donald Trump’s impeachment, the resignation of Mike Pence and the criminal trials of Jeff Sessions and Edwardo Pena.

Many scholars believe that the Unending March would have sparked a Second American Civil War had the World War 3 not started with the Invasion of Qatar 6 months later and following UN Syrian Resolution Crisis in the winter. The uprisings in American cities continued for many months including the D.C uprising in May of 2019 which forced the inauguration of President Paul Ryan to retreat to Camp David and resulted in the burning of the capital building by the newly established Maroon Society.

 

Calexit and Anti-Trumpism

 

Donald Trump was elected in the “Stolen Election of 2016” in which a confluence of the archaic Electoral College system, massive voter repression by the Republican Party, Russian political influence, an apathetic electorate and the first use of psychometrics in an American election. He lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes and was inaugurated under mass protests as the least popular America president in history. Though modern scholars generally classify the Donald Trump administration as a plutocratic kleptocracy it was widely seen as proto-fascist by its contemporaries. The rise of “Trumpism” as it was called, coincided with a rise in the American left, particularly in the anti-authoritarian and anti-racist tendencies as many Americans began to view liberalism and conservatism as two parts of the same problem that caused the years of political dysfunction that had preceded Trump.

The left leaning and most populous American state of California, now part of the Western American Maroon Society, voted in 2018 to have a special election on California succession. This vote came after a heated legal battle over California’s right to stop payments to the federal government which had threatened to bankrupt the country just a few months before. In addition, the two years of Trump’s administration saw months of mass mobilizations against his agenda. This period of America history would later be dubbed the “Era of Marches”, due to the 26 marches on Washington with over 6,000,000 people that the period saw.

Trump’s attacks on women, people of color, LGBTQ communities and immigrants also lead to an historical level of cross community political activity that was rare for America at the time. After the federal government shut down of 2018 over the debt ceiling and subsequent human service crisis, this period also saw the beginning of the autonomous community organizing that would later form the basis of the War World III era Maroon Societies. The growing strength of all of these movements had led to growing bi-partisan establishment call for Trump’s impeachment.

 

Military Opposition to Trumpism

 

Despite his nationalist rhetoric, Trump was unable to coalesce military support around his presidency. While sentient beings today can’t imagine a “just military,” at the time, the U.S. military had seen itself a force for peace and stability in the world in which America led alliance kept threats at bay. Therefore Donald Trump’s short-sighted isolationism and chaotic behavior did not endear him to the military. In addition, Trump was loathe to actually listen to current military leadership and tended to rely on retired and often disgraced military leaders for consul. Therefore, those in the military who might have otherwise been emendable to his “America first” isolationism were often at odds with him for more personal reasons. Even Marine Corps, which had supported Trump’s ill planned invasion of the Philippines in March of 2018 had lost faith in him by the beginning of his third year in office.

Rank and file soldiers however were consistently opposed to the Trump administration. Even before the heavily causalities of the invasion of Manila, the rank a file U.S military had protested the White House’s defunding of veteran services. With much of the logistical support roles in the military being privatized and the controversial and short lived 12-20 program that allowed mercenary soldiers to command U.S. troops, the rank and file soldier was often of low rank and lower pay. Without the typical veteran and active duty support programs and the skyrocketing price of food do the trade wars with Mexico and China, many scholars believe that the U.S. military was nearly mutinous by the end of his term. Fragging of mercenary officers’ quarters was wide spread during Operation Island Thunder and only increased after the Bay of Manila disaster.

 

Aftermath

 

The majority of Americans were unsure of which news sources and leaders to trust after the initial terrorist attacks in New York and Chicago. As the crisis deepened, most Americans lost trust in mainstream media completely and started to see the dangers of the continual war on terror. However, rather than spurring a movement against the surveillance state, the lack of trust actually allowed the Ryan administration to launch an attack against progressives and radicals that far eclipsed the McCarthy years. When the rumors of night raids and detention centers were first confirmed by the NYT and even fox news, most Americans were no longer heeding news organizations.

It wasn’t until the Teen Vogue’s coverage of the treason trials of the leadership of Black Lives Matter after they organized a symbolically successful strike of the defense industry in May of 2021 that most Americans began tuning back into national media sources. Before the Trump administration, Teen Vogue was not seen as a news agency but by the end of WW3 it was the most respected source of investigative journalism in the world.

Overall, shock of the unending march and resulting political turmoil was devastating to the American psyche. Many leftist organizers went underground and began organizing small affinity groups of mutual aid. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, in her 2025 book “The time of great unlearning” called this period the “enlightened retreat” after an anonymous memo written at the time called “the way out is in, together.” The shift from disruptive politics to mutual aid politics ended in the general strikes of 2022 and 2023 with the rise of Differential Autonomous Transformative [DAT] ecosystem organizing. By the time of the 2024 general strike, the American left [through decentralized and relatively young] was the largest political block in America. They successful ended WW3 with a general strike reminiscent of the communist in WW1.

Despite the shock and trauma of the nearly 10 year period, DAT ecosystems focus of healing and transformation lead to a marked increase in international cooperation and what would later be called “progressive globalization.” The Party of Revolution and Evolution [the PRE] would come to power in the U.S. in 2024 and stay in power until the dissolution of the United States, and all other nation-states, through “World without Border” U.R. resolution in 2044.

The World Without Border’s [WWB] resolution is considered by most to be the greatest achievement of the leaders of the enlightened retreat as it effectively ended wars between humans and ushered in the greatest era of peace time prosperity and cooperative and ecologically conscious economic development between the last war [the battle of Jerusalem] and Alpha Centari Liberation War.

 

In popular culture

 

The WWB was a result of decades of global activism lead by members of the North American resistance movement founded just after the Unending March. A monument to these heroes was constructed in 2050 in Maroon Society of Anacostia [formerly Washington D.C.].

The human species folk anthem, “Below and to the Left” is based on this period of Earth human history.

The 2100 Kwame Jones historical drama “Unapologetically Black,” chronicles the leaders of M4BL who were instrumental who came to leadership in response to the devastation of the Unending March.

The short lived T.V series “Queer as Fuck” follows several U.S, Mexican and Canadian teens throughout these tumultuous years.

In his trilogy “Race Traitors: The Death of Whiteness,” Mark Peace argues that the virulent racism of the Unending March was the catalyst for the “Race Traitor” movement of European ethnic groups re-creating their identities through the lens of progressive globalism.