Collapse is a political phenomenon. It's inextricably tied into the global class war, and into this war's related factors of imperialism and colonialism. This is because the civilizational breakdowns that the world is experiencing, and that it's on track to experience in the coming decades, are not natural occurrences; they're the outcomes of capital's designs. Therefore when we think about collapse, and about the survivalist steps we plan to take in response to it, we must frame things within a context of war. A war where the ruling class is engineering crises to preserve its own interests, and where these crises can in turn only be addressed by countering their maneuvers.
Survivalist culture so often leaves out this innately political element of collapse. But if we incorporate class struggle into survivalist thinking and strategies, we'll equip ourselves to handle our generation's catastrophes in ways that empower our communities rather than atomize them. This means building revolutionary cadres that are equipped to facilitate mutual aid and community defense during a collapse scenario, rather than hoarding and turning on one another.
The "every man for himself" expectation about what will happen after collapse comes from capitalist individualism, and in the settler-colonial context it comes from the white supremacist mindset. The fascist militia movement that's been spreading within the United States is preparing for a societal upheaval because for its white petty-bourgeois members, whose interests are in holding onto their stolen indigenous lands amid instability, collapse is purely seen as a mandate for attacking the undesirables. For replicating the kinds of atrocities that reactionaries around the globe are increasingly carrying out as more failed states emerge.
The examples of this are numerous. As Ukraine has descended into failed state status, fascist militias have filled the power vacuum by terrorizing Jews, Romas, and other targets. As famine spreads within Ethiopia, the terrorist group the TPLF hoards food aid to exacerbate the crisis as a warfare strategy. As Afghanistan undergoes its own famine, ISIS threatens to throw the country into a new cycle of rising statelessness and conflict. As Somalia struggles to return even to fragile state status following its descent into the world's most failed state, terrorists plague the country. As Colombia's catastrophic pandemic response and civil war turn it into a failed state, paramilitaries take advantage of the social dysfunction to murder dissidents. All of these state structure breakdowns are the consequence of imperialist policies-such as economic sanctions, destructive global neoliberal policies, and outright terrorism against resource distribution networks-and all of these terror forces exist due to U.S. meddling. The agenda they share is simple: use the collapse to wipe out their enemies, which include civilians. And they all serve the interests of capital and empire.
The mentality of mass extermination among these terror groups has everything to do with the class war. Remember that when we talk about fascists, we're talking about the shock troops that the billionaire doomsday preppers will use to preserve their assets during the collapse. Fascism is the fighting wing of the bourgeoisie. And tomorrow's fascists will be fighting to defend the fortified luxury doomsday shelters and hyper-monopolistic corporations that the super-rich plan to have in place after the apocalyptic scenario they privately call "The Event."
When "The Event" happens-whether it takes the form of a countrywide power grid failure, an even worse pandemic, or something similarly destructive-the empire will apply its foreign terror tactics within its own borders. If enabled, its internal fascist militia proxies will kill with impunity like the Colombian death squads do, deprive communities of food like the TPLF does, and employ the increasingly prominent global warfare tactic of weaponizing water. They could do this by cutting off essential services to localities via terroristic sabotage. And they'll most of all target Africans, Natives, Chicanos, Asians, and the other groups targeted by settler-colonialism.
These reactionaries are already making racialized political violence integral to the kinds of prepper operations they espouse. Militias talk about the civil war scenario of the "Boogaloo." Neo-Nazis embrace accelerationism by seeking to do things like deliberately spread Covid-19. White nationalists are turning to survivalism around the globe, including in supposedly stable "liberal democracies" like Germany. Those who desire genocide have come to recognize collapse as a political issue, and are accordingly preparing to use collapse as a weapon for their side in the war. If those who seek to stop them don't prepare accordingly, we'll be unable to defend ourselves and our communities from the purge which the fascists aim to carry out when our crises get severe enough.
To understand how to prepare for this, we must understand the socioeconomic factors behind the crises within our current stage of collapse. As Professor William Robinson writes about what's produced the supply chain breakdown:
The immediate explanation for the breakdown of trade and supply networks is the economic meltdown that the COVID-19 virus triggered around the world in 2020".Behind this disruption of the global supply chain, however, is a larger story of capitalist globalization, which above all has involved the insertion in recent decades of every country into a new globally integrated production, financial and service system. This system is characterized by the fragmentation and decentralization of industrial production and distribution processes into numerous intermediate phases that are geographically scattered around the world".
The breakdown of global trade and supply networks, so emblematic of capitalist globalization, has underscored just how dependent every country has become on this globally integrated system and highlights key fragilities in the global economy. Trade in intermediate goods, such as semiconductors and other industrial inputs, now account for a full 56 percent of all trade among the rich countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development that dominate the global trade system. This means that if global shipping is disrupted, in this case due to the pandemic shutdown, so too is industrial production and distribution networks in each country given such a high level of dependence on the importation of raw material and inputs, along with finished goods, from the global market.
This is so important for those in the imperial center to recognize because it shows that imperialism is inextricably tied into the crises we're experiencing. The supply chain's unraveling is a consequence of our lifestyles as benefactors of global imperialist slave labor and resource extraction. The USA's unparalleled number of Covid-19 deaths is a consequence of imperialism as well; because the U.S. has taken on the role as the central arbiter of imperialist violence, it's diverted its resources to military spending while denying its people universal healthcare, paid family leave, adequate food access, and other outlets people need to survive during pandemics. This has made efficient quarantines impossible, since the workers here lack the power or resources to leave their jobs and shelter from the virus.
All of these sources of our crisis are the designs of the imperialists. They're turning their operations inwards, a typical behavior from empires that are in decline. If they have their way, most of the population in U.S. borders will be sacrificed; we'll be killed by the wave of fascist violence, become internally displaced by the breakdown of an increasingly dysfunctional neoliberal state, or descend into mass malnutrition (as has already happened for millions of the country's poorest people during the last couple years).
Our only escape from their trap is to do what our neighbors in Cuba did when faced with a tyrannical dictatorship during the 1950s: mount a revolt against the capitalist state which creates a new workers state. This will require opposing imperialism in all forms, including the social democratic form that it takes within the Nordic countries. Once we recognize that imperialism is the source of our society's growing misery and death, we'll gain the incentive to fight imperialism and its militia prepper shock troops.