We live in dark times. The planet is warming even faster than scientists anticipated, economic inequality is now likely the worst it’s ever been in American history, Wall Street and large corporations have enormous control over our lives and the media system, and mass incarceration and the war on drugs continue to destroy millions of lives and perpetuate structural racism. Capital and the state have fused, and reactionary elements hold the levers of state power. The United States government is now unapologetically a tool for capitalists and corporations to enrich themselves while repressing opposition. Neoliberalism has intensified into neofascism, just as capitalism morphed into fascism in the 1920s and '30s.
There is no mystery why libertarians love the Internet and all the freedom-enhancing applications, from open source software to Bitcoin, that thrive in its nurturing embrace. The Internet routes around censorship. It enables peer-to-peer connections that scoff at arbitrary geographical boundaries. It provides infinite access to do-it-yourself information. It fuels dreams of liberation from totalitarian oppression. Give everyone a smartphone, and dictators will fall! (Hell, you can even download the code that will let you 3-D print a gun.)
We can’t create a better world if we haven’t yet imagined it. How much better then, if we are able to touch such a world, experience it directly, even live in it—if only to a partial degree and for a brief moment. This is the idea behind “prefigurative interventions,” actions that not only work to stop the next dumb thing the bad guys are up to, but also enact in the here and now the world we actually want to live in.
What happens when Americans plunder America and leave it broken, destitute and seething mad? Where do these fabulously wealthy Americans go with their loot, if America isn't a safe, secure, or even desirable place to spend their riches? What if they lose faith in their gated communities, because those plush gated communities are surrounded by millions of pissed-off Americans stripped of their entitlements, and who now want in?