America’s revolution won’t be televised
The so far purely emotional insurrection lacks political
structure and a credible leader to articulate grievances
By Pepe Escobar
June 03, 2020 "Information
Clearing House" -
The Revolution Won’t Be Televised because this is
not a revolution. At least not yet.
Burning and/or looting Target or Macy’s is a minor
diversion. No one is aiming at the Pentagon (or even the
shops at the Pentagon Mall). The FBI. The NY Federal
Reserve. The Treasury Department. The CIA in Langley.
Wall Street houses.
The real looters – the ruling class – are comfortably
surveying the show on their massive 4K Bravias, sipping
This is a class war much more than a race war and
should be approached as such. Yet it was hijacked from
the start to unfold as a mere color revolution.
US corporate media dropped their breathless Planet
Lockdown coverage like a ton of – pre-arranged? – bricks
to breathlessly cover en masse the new American
“revolution.” Social distancing is not exactly conducive
to a revolutionary spirit.
There’s no question the US is mired in a convoluted
civil war in progress, as serious as what happened after
the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King in Memphis in
Yet massive cognitive dissonance is the norm across
the full “strategy of tension” spectrum. Powerful
factions pull no punches to control the narrative. No
one is able to fully identify all the shadowplay
intricacies and inconsistencies.
Hardcore agendas mingle: an attempt at color
revolution/regime change (blowback is a bitch) interacts
with the Boogaloo Bois – arguably tactical allies of
Black Lives Matter – while white supremacist
“accelerationists” attempt to provoke a race war.
To quote the Temptations: it’s a ball
Antifa is criminalized but the Boogaloo Bois get a
pass (here is
how Antifa’s main conceptualizer defends his ideas). Yet
another tribal war, yet another – now domestic – color
revolution under the sign of divide and rule, pitting
Antifa anti-fascists vs. fascist white supremacists.
Meanwhile, the policy infrastructure necessary for
enacting martial law has evolved as a bipartisan
We are in the middle of the proverbial, total fog of
war. Those defending the US Army crushing
“insurrectionists” in the streets advocate at the same
time a swift ending to the American empire.
Amidst so much sound and fury signifying perplexity
and paralysis, we may be reaching a supreme moment of
historical irony, where US homeland (in)security is
being boomerang-hit not only by one of the key artifacts
of its own Deep State making – a color revolution – but
by combined elements of a perfect blowback trifecta: Operation
Jakarta; and Operation
But the targets this time won’t be millions across
the Global South. They will be American citizens.
Empire come home
Quite a few progressives contend this is
a spontaneous mass uprising against police repression
and system oppression – and that would necessarily lead
to a revolution, like the February 1917 revolution in
Russia sprouting out of the scarcity of bread in
So the protests against endemic police brutality
would be a prelude to a Levitate
the Pentagon remix – with the interregnum soon
entailing a possible face-off with the US military in
But we got a problem. The insurrection, so far purely
emotional, has yielded no political structure and no
credible leader to articulate myriad, complex
grievances. As it stands, it amounts to an inchoate
insurrection, under the sign of impoverishment and
Adding to the perplexity, Americans are now
confronted with what it feels like to be in Vietnam, El
Salvador, the Pakistani tribal areas or Sadr City in
Iraq came to Washington DC in full regalia,
with Pentagon Blackhawks doing “show of force” passes
over protestors, the tried and tested dispersal
technique applied in countless counter-insurgency ops
across the Global South.
And then, the Elvis moment: General Mark Milley,
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, patrolling the
streets of DC. The Raytheon lobbyist now heading the
Pentagon, Mark Esper, called it “dominating the
Well, after they got their butts kicked
in Afghanistan and Iraq, and indirectly in Syria, full
spectrum dominance must dominate somewhere. So why
not back home?
Troops from the 82nd Airborne Division,
the 10th Mountain Division and the 1st Infantry
Division – who lost wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq
and, yes, Somalia – have been deployed to Andrews
Airbase near Washington.
Super-hawk Tom Cotton even called, in a tweet,
for the 82nd Airborne to do “whatever it
takes to restore order. No quarter for insurrectionists,
anarchists, rioters and looters.” These are certainly
more amenable targets than the Russian, Chinese and
Milley’s performance reminds me of John McCain
walking around in Baghdad in 2007, macho man-style, no
helmet, to prove everything was OK. Of course: he had a
small army weaponized to the teeth watching his back.
And complementing the racism angle, it’s never enough
to remember that both a white president and a black
president signed off on drone attacks on wedding parties
in the Pakistani tribal areas.
Esper spelled it out: an occupying army may soon be
“dominating the battlespace” in the nation’s capital,
and possibly elsewhere. What next? A
Coalition Provisional Authority?
Compared to similar ops across the Global South, this
will not only prevent regime change but also produce the
desired effect for the ruling oligarchy: a neo-fascist
turning of the screws. Proving once again that when you
don’t have a Martin Luther King or a Malcolm X to fight
the power, then power crushes you whatever you do.
The late, great political theorist Sheldon Wolin had already
nailed it in a book first published in 2008: this is
all about Inverted
Wolin showed how “the cruder forms of control – from
militarized police to wholesale surveillance, as well as
police serving as judge, jury and executioner, now a
reality for the underclass – will become a reality for
all of us should we begin to resist the continued
funneling of power and wealth upward.
“We are tolerated as citizens only as long as we
participate in the illusion of a participatory
democracy. The moment we rebel and refuse to take part
in the illusion, the face of inverted totalitarianism
will look like the face of past systems of
totalitarianism,” he wrote.
Sinclair Lewis (who did not say that, “when fascism
comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and
waving the cross”) actually wrote, in It Can’t
Happen Here (1935), that American fascists would be
those “who disowned the word ‘fascism’ and preached
enslavement to capitalism under the style of
constitutional and traditional native American liberty.”
So American fascism, when it happens, will walk and
George Floyd was the spark. In a Freudian twist, the
return of the repressed came out swinging, laying bare
multiple wounds: how the US political economy shattered
the working classes; failed miserably on Covid-19;
failed to provide affordable healthcare; profits a
plutocracy; and thrives on a racialized labor market, a
militarized police, multi-trillion-dollar imperial wars
and serial bailouts of the too big to fail.
Instinctively at least, although in an inchoate
manner, millions of Americans clearly see how, since
Reaganism, the whole game is about an
oligarchy/plutocracy weaponizing white supremacism for
political power goals, with the extra bonus of a steady,
massive, upwards transfer of wealth.
Slightly before the first, peaceful Minneapolis
protests, I argued that
the realpolitik perspectives post-lockdown were grim,
privileging both restored neoliberalism – already in
effect – and hybrid neofascism.
President Trump’s by now iconic Bible
photo op in front of St John’s church – including a
citizen tear-gassing preview – took it to a whole new
level. Trump wanted to send a carefully choreographed
signal to his evangelical base. Mission accomplished.
But arguably the most important (invisible) signal
was the fourth man in one of the photos.
Giorgio Agamben has already proved beyond reasonable
doubt that the state of siege is now totally normalized
in the West. Attorney General William Barr now is aiming
to institutionalize it in the US: he’s the man with the
leeway to go all out for a permanent state of emergency,
a Patriot Act on steroids, complete with “show of force”
Pepe Escobar is correspondent-at-large
at Asia Times.
His latest book is
2030. Follow him on
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