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<nettime> Dissolution, a sci-fi story
global anticapitalistconspiracy on Tue, 4 Mar 2008 10:10:28 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Dissolution, a sci-fi story


///Excerpted from postpedia.477nm.holo, visible spectrum, v. 365.3,
dated 3.23.2056///




The dissolution began in 2012, just as the Mayans predicted.




So many forces came together in so many battles in 2012 that by the
end of the year, the United States was effectively split into 6
small nations and the era of the Holy American Empire had ended in
fragmentation.




///We are still living in the time after the split, reveling in it,
the ambiguity, the liberation, all the while fighting off the forces
at the border with the ammunition we can get our hands on. When Alex
goes out for supplies, I always feel a little bit of fear. This
morning ze (Wikipedia, Gender Neutral Pronoun) borrowed my leg warmers
and knitted scarf, as the winter winds continue, with winters colder
than any year before. After the summer's drought, so many trees died
and so many wildfires cleared out the agricultural fields that this
winter is even harsher because of the added wind chill and the lack
of food. Our position in the area formerly known as the Grapevine, in
the mountains south of Bakersfield and north of Nuevo Los Angeles is a
critical one, but the weather is harsh and keeping ourselves supplied
is a constant effort.///




+++First communique from the Human Liberation Front, January 1, 2012

We are the Human Liberation Front. It is likely that you will be
reading this document, or sections of it, through a mediated form such
as the corporate media, television news or online video feeds like
CNN, Fox and MSNA(pple)BC. That is because we sent our communique in
the form of paper to these media outlets, in order to explain our
actions to the mass of humanity, many of whom follow these media or
get second hand stories from these media. We have also sent copies
directly to revolutionary groups around the world, in order to spread
the struggle.

 Unfortunately for the neocolonial and imperial masters, you have
taught us well. We have learned in your schools that the only thing
that matters is what sells, and what sells is what gets time on the
corporate airwaves and lcd pages of your newspapers. In this way, you
have created a simple economy that we can operate in. Through your
focus on terror, trying to paralyze the populations with fear, you
have created a simple economy where a bomb buys airtime (Baudrillard,
31). So, in order to free humanity from the shackles of its imperial
masters in this digitally facilitated global Empire, we spread our
messages with pigeons, pigeons that explode.

 Our goal is to free humanity because we recognize the fallacy of the
mentality that divides the working class. Your attempts to create
the figure of the feared Other, to play on our uncertainties about
ourselves, to give us a way to create ourselves only in opposition to
each other have turned into a gross caricature that we can only laugh
at and realize that all the bitterly divided races and religions of
the world are all suffering under the same weight of neocolonialism
and imperialism (Appadurai, 7). All over the world, people of the
working class are struggling in the same battle that has waged for
centuries against the rulers, whether they go by the name of King,
Emperor or the WTO and the IMF. Today we rise up, responding to the
original call of the EZLN in 1994 for people all over Mexico and the
world to rise up in arms. Today, like the four winds, four bombs will
go off in New York, Portland, Miami and San Diego. We will follow the
path of the ELF and the ALF which has been so successful at affecting
change and evading law enforcement while building a militant base.


Totally decentralized organizing. Anyone can claim an action for the
HLF that follows our guidelines.


A focus on maximizing damage to the property of the imperial powers of
the G8 nations.


Take all necessary precautions against harming any animal - human and
nonhuman (Wikipedia, Earth Liberation Front).

 In these last few months, we have witnessed the armed uprising in
Mexico. We are watching the battles of The Other Army in Mexico
closely as they succeed in bringing down the neocolonial regime
there. After centuries of collaboration with colonists and decades
of fraudulent elections (Giordano), the people who work the land are
taking back what is rightfully theirs.

 We have made strategic alliances with robotics and information
technology wizards around the world. Even if you catch us, you're only
catching one of our simulacra.

 This communique goes out to all of you. Sitting, watching your video
feeds, in your labs, at your desks. Working in misery, facilitating
the global nervous system of capital, speeding the digital ships of
imperialsm, fueling the modern day Santa Marias, carrying goods from
Maquiladoras and asian sweatshops to the stores of the bourgeois.
While only small areas of plenty still exist amidst a world of squalor
and environmental catastrophe, you can leave your desperation and
dissatisfaction and join us."+++




The police state reaction was massive and omni-present. The targets
had been military bases, surveillance corporations, major media
conglomerates, communications links, cell towers and major internet
junctions. Within days, similar actions were occurring in the name
of the HLF on behalf of white-supremacist militias, militant Islamic
jihad groups and militant people of color groups, both the black
panthers and the newly formed brown eagles. (Appadurai, 16)




///I wish we could just stay in bed and play with our bioengineered
sexual prostheses and screw, but today Alex has to drive back into
the city to get food, car batteries and propane tanks. Alex's new
body goes well with my pink leg warmers. Ze is experimenting with
a new intersex body, saying that time in the Posthuman Liberation
Front has given zir a new feeling of freedom to explore, thanks to
the supportive community and the access to bioengineers. Still, the
bullet proof leather jacket ze is wearing is a lot more important to
me, since it'll take care of most full metal jacket and magnum jacket
projectiles. (Spycatcher of Knightsbridge) Most important to Alex,
though, is the skill of infiltration. The white, big breasted female
body with sex traits like the long hair on top and no hair anywhere
else worked well for a while. It was especially a good way to retrieve
passwords and biometric samples from eager information technicians.
Today, Alex finds the current body to be best, choosing to express zir
gender as male or female or neither, depending on the days demands, be
they scouting, reconnaissance or combat. While intersexed people in
the old United States used to be the object of daily violence, in our
world, it is a strategic position. Alex also says that ze prefers not
provoking the old media programmed responses from our comrades in the
PLF with zir body. At this point in our transformations, it seems like
our bodies are a lot like our clothes. Changing them is a bit more
painful and takes a bit more work, but they change completely, from
month to month. ///




+++First communique from the Posthuman Liberation Front,

February 14th, 2012

 We are the Posthuman Liberation Front. You are already posthuman,
with a nervous system that extends around the world, facilitated by
the communications terminals in your pockets and the instant video
feeds on your screens.

 While your parents are always standing over your shoulder, in your
mind, telling you to do what your boss says and keep on working, we
are there to tell you, with our horns and wings, to screw what your
boss says and do what you want. You can find refuge with us, in the
communities we are creating, communities of support where we struggle
viciously against the forces of imperialism, but still facilitate
our desires. We have made strategic alliances with a handful of
genetic surgeons who are facilitating our superhuman, but oh so human,
rebellion. Our small bands of roving bioengineers with absolute
freedom and the resources of the revolution have taken your teachings
and done so much more than your bureaucracy, with its Christian
trappings and colonial dreams, ever would have allowed (Orlan). Join
us and use what the bosses, parents and leaders of the world have
taught you to help us take back the land that is ours, all of us who
want to roam freely.

 As the bombs go off today, think of the unloved, the discarded,
the alienated amongst you. Think of the words refuge, community
and support. When you took away our freedom to communicate, you
thought you were quashing dissent. In fact, your net spread to smother
deviance and you took away so much more. As we lost touch with our
far away lovers, collaborators and playmates online, we knew our
only option was to find them again, face to face, and create our own
networks. With wireless routers and long range relays, we began our
net subnetwork and began our plans. We, the posthuman liberation
front will show no mercy, because none has been shown to us. We are
those who you have deemed outside of your societies for too long:
immigrants, radical queers, self-sufficient women and self-defined
undefinables of all types. We call to those everywhere who share
our dreams to follow the path of the HLF before us, engaging in
decentralized actions in the name of the PLF, maximizing damage to the
instruments of imperialism and capitalism, but we share none of the
same sentiments of the sanctity of the flesh.

 We are taking back what is ours and reimagining it, reconstructing
it and making it more ours than it ever has been before. Our dreams
are your nightmares and those nightmares are taking back the space
that they need to thrive and shaking off the sickness of the obsolete
regimes that tried to smother us. Our intifada is made of dreams, love
and the mother's strength to protect her young, since we are all each
other's offspring. You will never understand our new filial networks,
but we understand that we no longer need the Fatherland to discipline
us. As Baudrillard said, "Welcome to the desert of the real", brought
about by our dreams.+++




Just six weeks later, around valentine's day, the PLF came out
with their bloody response. Their communique had more radical
implications. Their series of actions took place in shopping malls,
universities, border patrol stations, border crossings, airports and
major communications corporations. After a few university bombings,
the bioengineers responded to the call. They realized they could have
safe refuge within the PLF and its support network, far safer than the
research units they worked in, with the constant threat of bombings
and the administrative nonchalance to losing one more scientist cog
who could be replaced by so many eager graduates.




///My sister died in the PLF attack on valentine's day, teaching
a class on nanosimulation algorithms for bioengineering at the
local university. She has always wanted to try to cure cancer, and
her interest brought her to biology and then to study advanced
techonologies. She was developing a massively distributed real-time
simulator for research into nanotech treatments for cellular level
surgery. The work was unpopular, as the nanotech corporations wanted
to take their products to market instantly, but she felt an ethical
urge to guarantee people's safety. All of those concerns were
outweighed by the general economy of the PLF. My friends and lovers
engaging in PLF actions tried to comfort me, saying that while my
loss was immeasurable, there was no system of comparison that applied
in the situation of so many immeasurable losses on both sides of
the struggle, there was no possible answer to her death that could
reconcile the loss. (Birrell, 4) I remember reading the names of the
dead on the lcd newspaper, and the moment of stillness and infinity
that followed, followed by the incredible dissatisfaction of the
mundaneness of the moment. Just another day at work, just another
inconsolable moment of suffering, just another name for the dead,
listed in the news. ///




The same day, the Chief of the Department of Homeland Security held
a press conference with President Obama, saying "ours is a nation
of democracy and tolerance, and to ensure that our values continue
to live, we must all, as a nation, do anything to sop these insane
madmen." All border crossings were shut down. Many universities and
all public schools were closed down indefinitely. The national guard
was deployed to all of the 5 major Domain Name Server (DNS) hubs
around the country and the the headquarters of AT&T, Verizon, Google
and AOL/Time-Warner. Other agencies began raids and attacks on known
militant groups from the left and right all over the country. Gun
battles with the police were reported in every major city, reminiscent
of the Black Panthers, but far more widespread. The post-humanists had
touched on a post-identity strategy that allowed people identifying
with all different kinds of lives to realize their own oppression
and their own desperation, while adding to that fear and desperation
by targeting human targets. Many leftists began to pack up and go
into hiding as reports surfaced of the arrest of leading figures in
the anarchist, anti-war, environmental, feminist and anti-copyright
movements. The president, vice-president and congress were all
dispersed to safe locations. The war was on.




In systems theory, phase changes are seen as critical to understanding
any system over time. When enough energy is poured into a system, a
singularity occurs and every part of the system changes its behavior.
The simplest way of thinking about this is when ice changes to water
when heat is added and changes from a solid crystal arrangement to a
free moving brownian motion. The PLF's attack was our phase change.
The energy put into the system came from so many different nodes
in different networks, from the right wing neo-fascists and their
rhetoric about security to the intense liberatory desires of people
all over the world with more access to information about all the
products and lives they could never afford.




The targeting of the root DNS servers has its own history. DNS is
the system by which a name, like Google.com, is associated with the
specific computer that Google.com lives on. It is one of the most
fundamental components of the internet. DNS has a long history of
being the way that resistant websites are taken off the net (Allen).
In 2006, telephone corporations began moves to restrict net neutrality
by asking congress to enact laws allowing them to charge web site
providers extra charges depending on traffic. Many argued that it
was a way for the telecom corporations to control what can be seen
on the internet, effectively silencing web site providers who don't
have enough money to pay twice for their website traffic. Throughout
2006 and 2007 the battles happened in congress around HR.5252, by 2008
the fourth bill with a different name and the same goal was passed
(Free Press Action Fund). In the meantime, the same progressions that
occurred in China and Iran came to the U.S., with complex firewalls
placed at the root DNS servers around the country (Rahimi). Since
there are only 13 in the world, the choice of targets in the U.S.
was easy (). Google and Yahoo were eager to collaborate with the
U.S. government's new plan to crack down on "domestic terrorism",
the PATRIOT Act II, which included the usual targeting of immigrants
and other people of color, but was now expanded to include media
activists with any kind of link to the anarchist movement. The FBI
had openly stated that the anarchist movement was one of their main
targets before, but the new PATRIOT Act II presented the internet as
a space for "terrorists" of all kinds, claiming that Al-Qaeda and
anarchists alike were using blogs and wikis to engage in clandestine
communications in the open (Rosenfeld).




The freedom of expression that seemingly bloomed with web 2.0 quickly
withered as Blogger.com, owned by Google, began to filter information
to the Department of Homeland Security. One of the first new laws
after PATRIOT Act II was a law making distribution of information
containing public criticism of the new information policy an act of
domestic terrorism (Rainer). This law was built on the precedent, set
by democratic senator Diane Feinstein, of a California law restricting
the distribution of information about how to make incendiary devices.
The broad definition of these laws allowed for a widespread disruption
of expressions of dissent online. The loss of this freedom was painful
for many.




///This morning, looking at Alex.'s sleeping, innocent eyes, I
remembered the long road we had travelled to become Nuevo Aztlan
border patrol agents. I remembered the morning the FBI showed up at
our homes. After only a few months of organizing in support of the
resistance, not engaging in any violence, but sharing information
about their work.




Fortunately, we were in hiding across the street, but at that
moment, watching the agents tear through our home, hiding in the
bushes next to a neighbor's house, we knew that we had to begin our
transformations. We had to go into absolute hiding, leaving our lives
behind complete (Hansen). We also knew that the genetic surgeons of
the PLF were just the people to mold our protein producing codes into
something completely different. ///




The decades of promises of liberation and global community were
finally outlived by the age old forces of repression. Orwell's idea
that "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping
on a human face – forever," seemed to becoming real once again
as the hopes of generations of artists and activists energized by
the potential for worldwide communication, enabling a non-violent
anti-corporate-globalization movement, were ended. With the last and
greatest chance for a politics based on communication burnt out, the
only option was to go the route of Bataille and choose a politics that
immolates itself in order to find liberation from the restriction of
symbols, and so began the formation of the guerrilla groups that made
the conflict "real".




///Cybervato drives up in his jeep. His bandana belies the massive
technology woven into its fibers, radar, visualization, communication,
all in the white paisley patterns between the red fabric wrapped
around his head. He is here to take Alex with him into town. Stepping
out of our cottage for my morning patrol, I see him. Inadvertently, my
massive chest puffs out and my blue and grey skin starts to glisten
with perspiration. Alex and I have worked on our jealousy issues a lot
in our efforts to reimagine love the way we've reimagined our bodies.
Still, the extra testosterone in this new warrior scout body I'm using
has an overpowering effect. Its a good thing that I'm not supposed
to drink while taking the supplement cocktail of hormones and other
genetic responder uptake enhancers. I give Cybervato a knowing, but
angry glance and quietly say goodbye to Alex before unfolding my wings
for the morning patrol.

Landing at my vantage point in the former Grapevine, the valley lays
out before me, nestled within the green mountains with their curvy
roads and acne like pockmarks from bombings and mortar attacks. I
shake out my blue fur, making sure there's no dirt interfering with
the millions of communications antenna interspersed throughout the fur
picking up an endless array of communications spectra.///




By December, battles raged on, but the American Empire held together,
deploying all of its resources on its citizenry. On December 24th, the
Monster Liberation Army (MLA) took action. They wrote no communiques.
Working closely with genetic engineers, they had gone beyond modifying
their own bodies to create an army of nightmares and fantasies. The
United States was in such a late stage of collapse, that the best
bioweapons engineers were divulging all of their secrets to the group
that seemed the most likely to be able to hold its own territory after
the collapse. At midnight on the 24th, the White House, the Pentagon,
the NSA, NORAD and the west coast counter-insurgency command center
in San Francisco, in the former Transamerica building, were given
their Christmas presents: a rain of fire and destruction brought on
the wings of an army of dragons, cement eating land runners, orcs and
unnamable creatures.




///People ask us how we maintain a love relationship in the middle of
such a violent conflict. Alex. and I usually respond by asking how
someone could do anything else, well, or at least maintain a sexual
relationship. After a day of battle, with its emotional drain, our
time recuperating, caring for each other and making love is the most
critical thing. There would be no way for us to continue the struggle,
constantly losing friends to northern bullets in the battle for Nuevo
Aztlan, if we didn't bring each other joy and a deep satisfaction on
so many nights. Our ability to remember these moments and our promise
to remember them with our bodies is a driving force, a source of
energy.///



The day after the MLA attack, agreements were negotiated with various
groups that had moved into political negotiation throughout the year
including the HLF and the Brown Eagles, as well as indigenous tribes,
splitting up the former United States of America. They were bewildered
already by the PLF, but the MLA was inexplicable and unnameable, at
the time. The ideas of the RAND corporation and other think tanks
failed due to a lack of scalability. (Rabasa, 166) Netwar on the scale
of tens or hundreds of groups, networked in opposition to the networks
of state and capital, operated under its own logic. Similarly, suicide
bombers, created through a long tradition of religious belief and
social custom (Birrell, 3), were hard to come by. With the MLA's
attack, a new paradigm emerged, an army of a million suicide bombers
with no bombs, only their biological armor, powerful muscles and
their teeth. The bureaucracies of the G8 nations were too slow and
too unimaginative to think it could happen. When it did, buildings,
military bases and counter-insurgency forces like the police and SWAT
teams crumbled like so many mud walls under cannon balls.




///We are still living in the time after the split, reveling in it,
the ambiguity, the liberation, all the while fighting off the forces
at the border with the ammunition we can get our hands on. Some have
seen maps of the new territories, but I know that their geography is
created everyday, by myself and my lover. These contested spaces are
constantly shifting like a shimmering bit of water in the distance on
a highway. The drive towards absolute smoothness and hegemony, driven
by a handful of rich elites went a bit too far and slipped into the
other end of the spectrum into total fragmentation. (Deleuze, 480)
Sitting here on my perch, I know that the borders of nation and human
reside and recede within me, or at least I feel it and I remember it,
with the wind in my fur reminding me of Alex's hand running down my
back. ///




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