Overdue for an Eruption: Capitalism, Politics, Americans and Volcanoes

Photo by NIPYATA!

The United States, the working class, nations strangled by vestigial settler capitalism (and those in the not-so-vestigial stages) and probably a few actual volcanoes–are all, I pronounce: Overdue for an Eruption.

It’s that sense without adequate words that lets you know a storm is coming even if the weather reports (or CNN) say that all is well….inflation isn’t really that high, it’s only a 5% chance of severe weather—things are just fine. I’m sure there’s a magnificent word in a language like German that adequately conveys the feeling, but it’s just not there in English. Impending doom may be one way of describing it, but it’s more of a looming sense that a rush of what will become historical is coming at you. Everyone wants to think they live in unprecedented times, look at the loudly announced doom proclaimed over the years (and then quietly ignored and filed in the “later” column). Apocalyptic pronouncements galore. All attempts to make meaning and notoriety of the times the individual is living in. But, and I say this in every way that I can to not fall into that trap……we do seem to be living during a time of shall we say…unique challenges. I say this because we have so many embryonic sparks wanting conflagration, sizzling at the same time. Unprecedented climate change, and ongoing infections that are said to knock off some IQ points with each illness—well, that’s not particularly great.

At the same time, we also have some rather wonderful things: a burgeoning global awareness of historical determinism. Practically nobody calls it that of course, but it’s there. It’s not like two guys having a beer at the bar say “hey whaddya think of this historical determinism playing out within the ranks of disenfranchised communities–and hey pass me another one of those werewolf piss IPAs” (thank you What We Do in the Shadows for that; I like IPAs but still prefer that term now). But back to the topic, the shit done before will inevitably bring about the shit going on now. It’s not magic or deity-derived. It’s a bit mechanistic, but rather perfect for clarifying why those people you call terrorists just might be a bit enraged by the decades of horror inflicted upon them and why they are responding in the very same way you or I most likely would. At this time, more and more people the world over are realizing this and each one of those people can infect (in a good way) others to realize what is really going on. The subterfuge and rationalization for policies that only enhance the few are becoming far easier to recognize, the world over.

So in the sense that we are being propelled in some very disastrous directions, there is this: if the system was working perfectly—that is, people were being used as resources to propel the wealth of the few in a manner that gave them just enough to keep going, to keep producing—well, then this colossal soul draining shit-show could move on in a closed system forever. But here’s the thing: it’s massively inefficient, has no concern for even trying to titrate the misery index to a level tolerated by the masses, and the 1% are never satisfied. They have the hungry ghost sickness inside them that will never allow for satiety. Even massing the majority of the world’s resources is not enough. They won’t even allow for shelter and food for all when it’s clearly there. Why, they have even decided to make clearing out homeless camps a money-making venture by giving those contracts out to private companies. No, not using the millions for providing, maybe….shelter. No, it’s used for Blackwater-type thugs to come in and take the very last things these people own and then throw them in the trash. I’m sure the trash collection contracts are lucrative too. Hungry ghosts are everywhere and it’s difficult to see them because they are omnipresent making these hateful and greedy decisions. We have become so indoctrinated by their seeming invincible power that we can’t even see them anymore. They are the background noise. They are the gorilla that runs on the basketball court while we count baskets.

The fact that all of the humanity-denying, climate-destroying hi-jinx seems to be coming to a head will undoubtedly mean some misery for those of us living through this time. But in the same way that historical (or economic) determinism implies a starting point and consequences, we may be living through the seeds that spread–that this is no way to live. We all know it in our hearts, that is, those of us not in the “ruling class”. I still use that term in homage to Aaron Bushnell.

We have had these sociopaths foisted upon us since the first attempts at cities, it seems–the first steps to expand beyond a tribal situation where you could air your grievances directly and in person. I’m sure there were horrendous tribal leaders, but in such small groups, answers can come easily when power is misused. In short, it was a situation where leaders would have those near that they would have to answer to. This adds a necessary layer of accountability, I’d say. This seems to be a key to avoiding decision-making that doesn’t take into account almost all of the population’s needs–that is, what we have going on right now. I’m not saying I have the answer or hunter-gatherer or tribal life is what it will come back to, but a hybrid of sorts certainly needs to be the way forward. Accountability and an inability to shirk the needs of 99% of the populations. Even a ban on hoarding might enact some real changes.

Most humans are only able to think in proximity. An example I always use is living in the Midwest US, there are multiple people you come across that would do almost anything for you if you ask directly, but when asked to magnify their empathy and back things like programs that would alter society or help large swaths of people, they will almost always say no. Some of this is likely racism, in that they think it will help a group other than them, but I think it’s also a bit about an unfortunate inability in much of the populace to count beyond their fingers and toes. And they seem drawn to leaders like Trump who make that xenophobia seem somehow clever and in the know. The others are bleeding heart schmucks in their opinions. They feel the perceived coolness of a 60’s high school hallway bully coursing through their veins. And liberals have the same issues, but can often give lip service to caring about others. Still, they are drawn to politicians like Biden who make being a part of that party feel like they are somehow much more intelligent than right-wingers. They feel perceived coolness like the beatniks of the past, smarter and smarmy to their parents –sometimes tapping a glass in an attempt to hypnotize black people or anyone asking anything tangible of them…..this while watching their hero back a genocide, or do things like approve an oil export terminal about a week ago off Texas in the gulf coast. This endeavor is said to be the equivalent of starting up 90 coal-fired power plants. They would be enraged if Trump did that, but the current leader with a “D” by his name did it, so it must be okay. This is every bit as clogged a type of thinking as the MAGA club. But at least they don’t have red hats on! It’s undeniable that no matter who is in power life is getting more difficult, it’s harder to pay for necessities– yet all the resources needed to have a life-affirming existence are there. We simply decide to tolerate individuals who hoard money and power to the extent that they get whatever they want and could not possibly spend all their money in multiple lifetimes. But you can’t have free insulin, fuck off.

So yeah, I think we are overdue for an eruption. This is all unsustainable.

In the same manner that these life-denying types propel forward, now firmly in control of  the mainstream media narrative, we must connect and propel in a different direction. It’s very distressing to think of lives led in sad little cubicles forever for the human race, dominated by a self-appointed and bloated elite, leaving little notion of a shared humanity or responsibilities to each other. But in the manner that the ruling class has not properly titrated this venomous system, it will lead to its inevitable downfall. Now what comes after is up in the air. Without care, it could even get worse. Let’s try to put our seeds in there for something better. There is more purpose and meaning to life than all of this and though most of us have to participate heavily in the soul-crushing medium, we all have something inside that can rebel and move the future in a different pattern. It’s horrible to admit, but our climate is probably wrecked; we don’t know what the future holds in that direction, but that same future definitely doesn’t belong in the hands holding the reins that plunged us off the cliff (while they build and hide in bunkers). I mean how bad is it when you have billions of dollars and so much influence and your choice is…..bunkers! They, like all of us, have a finite time on Earth, but they use it to protect those last years from starving masses that they helped create? I had to laugh at recent media coverage of Lauren Sanchez, the girlfriend of Mr. Amazon-evidently she wore a revealing dress to someplace “important” and it was reported on like the end of the world. Really, that’s your problem with Jeff Bezos? His actually age-appropriate girlfriend is showing too much skin? Who gives a fuck? He needs to give up like 99% of his money to help fix the problems his kind has created, and he and Lauren can run naked through Times Square for all I care. Proper gravitas in this world of ours would be not being a money-hoarding freak, but pro-nudity freakery—go for it! Maybe our judges should have to be naked instead of in that gown to promote a sense of vulnerability on their part. That’s not a good idea, probably Clarence Thomas would LOVE it. You would totally have to keep your Coke cans away from him. So maybe the State of the Union could be done naked. Okay, that would just hurt the rest of us– probably Mr. Swims Naked if the Secret Service staff is female would not mind a naked State of the Union. Sorry, I digress. It’s the sad truth of Gen X’ers who had ADHD all their life without treatment. And you’re on the ride with me if you’ve read this far.

So anyway, we know this is all wrong, and we all have a duty to erode it in any manner possible. At the very least, to not believe and fall into their two-party trickery or any old manner of thinking. Many of us have shaken off the shackles of religion only to be firm believers in this system we all are forced to live in. We are just as confined by the billionaires and politicians of this world as the medieval peasants were by their clergy. Make no mistake, if they want you gone, you’re gone (look at the Boeing whistleblower) so to think that we have it so much better because the odds of being executed are lower….that’s fairly sad, really.

We have freedom as long as we do exactly what they want us to do in their bigger picture. You can rail and grouse like I’m doing as long as it doesn’t change much of anything. But what goes on in our minds is our own and from this well is the place of imagination and change. That can’t be stopped. So yeah….. it certainly feels like we are overdue for an eruption. Viva la magma.

Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest. Her writing is collected on her Substack page.