A game designer tests 4 war game scenarios for civil war in the US this fall. The tone of the author is kinda annoying but worth a read.

medium.com/@mikeselinker/a-war

@tom_nomad would love to hear your thoughts if you have the time

@franklinlopez
OK, finally got a few moments to sit down and process this, and have assembled the following thoughts:

@franklinlopez
The scenario planning here is interesting, but as others have mentioned it falls into a level of simplicity, which frames the entirety of the analysis. This occurs for two clear reasons, based on the terms of the discussion. The first is that the author is assuming that the election is actually between Biden and Trump, and that this identifies clearly delineated sides.

@franklinlopez
It might seem odd to claim that this is not the case, from a "normal" framing of the political dynamic within the US, but in this circumstance, the reasons it is not this way are actually critical to understand in order to gain an insight into what might occur here.

@franklinlopez
The second cause of some of the interesting artifacts in this analysis (which I think is actually really solid given these assumptions), is that it is addressing the question of what is to occur largely from the perspective of actions within the State, which minimizes the role of the uprising in these dynamics.

@franklinlopez
In other words, at some point, depending on how things play out, this is going to shift from a question of Statecraft, and State leadership into a question of street actions and the challenging of the ability of the State to continue in its present form.

@franklinlopez
The election is not actually, in its nuances, between Biden and Trump. Rather, the election is between Trump and not Trump, or, in other words, it is a referendum on Trump.

@franklinlopez
Now, I am in the middle of a short book on the concept of civil war in the US, and the ways that this derives from a dynamic among the Right in which they are simultaneously deifning themselves by what they are not, the outside that they demonize and mobilize around, and how that is inherently connected to the State, so I will not delve into it too much here (I'll make sure everyone gets the link when it goes online).

@franklinlopez
What is important to understand, here, is that even though the Right may be united around a point of condensation, Trump, the opposition is not.

@franklinlopez
Now, I am not about to argue here that we need "left unity" or some such thing; that is a highly problematic concept for a lot of reasons. Rather, this is to say that this is not a two way fight, between identifiable political and social groupings, fighting a horizontal war against one another.

@franklinlopez
It is, rather, an alliance of the non-State elements of the Right and the State aligned against a wide array of different political groupings, social identities, initiatives, dynamics, and sometimes just pissed off people, all with different understandings of life, outside of the simple rejection of fascism and rising authoritarianism.

@franklinlopez
This is not a civil war, in any traditional sense of the term, this is an uprising, which is coming into collision with a number of crises within the formal political institutions (the pandemic, the incipient economic crisis, the Constitutional crisis, political gridlock, a fight against racism and the police which is threatening the State itself, etc).

@franklinlopez
As some have mentioned, the scenario is a lot more like it was in Syria, due to this multiplicitous resistance. However, I would like to posit one difference between this situation and the dynamics of the mid to late Syrian Civil War.

@franklinlopez
In Syria the State was able to turn the conflict from one which was grounded in a fight between large portions of the population and the State into a fight between social, political and religious factions. This is the point in which the conflict there shifted from an uprising to a civil war.

@franklinlopez
This is specifically the dynamic that we need to completely avoid here, for a number of reasons. Firstly, we have to understand that the Right sees itself as defending the State, that they are protecting the State from internal enemies who are threatening their "way of life".

@franklinlopez
This has been deployed directly by the State as a form of counter-insurgency. To allow ourselves to fall into the dynamics of civil war distorts what has, up until now, been a conflict against the State and turns it into a conflict between social factions, in which the State becomes secondary. That is not only a strategic error, but it is based on a misunderstanding of the connection between the State and the paramilitaries/the Right.

@franklinlopez
Secondly, on a purely tactical level, if we leave the social terrain, where conflict is diffuse and in which we leverage as much of the social space as we can, we enter into a linear conflict with the Right, separated from the main trajectory of conflict, and that is, plainly, not a fight we are going to be able to win without profound levels of tragedy.

@franklinlopez
I would argue that the only way that we come out of this situation with a better series of social and political dynamics than we went into it, and the only way we do not end up having to deal with extreme repression, either by Biden or Trump, is if we specifically reject this dynamic of civil war, and attempt to keep this conflict firmly within the context of an uprising against the State.

@franklinlopez
It is only in this situation that we can leverage the realities of the opposition, that is is not contingent on supporting Biden, in order to weaken the State further by denying Biden a political mandate to enact his platform, which involves repressing the anarchists (as he clearly stated in Pittsburgh).

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@franklinlopez
Whew...sorry for the huge wall of text, and thank you for getting that discussion going and pointing us all to that piece.

We all need to be doing exercises like that right now, and where I am this is definitely happening.

I would encourage everyone, though, rather than these sort of meta exercises, focus on the area around you, where conflict will occur in your context. That will help ground this discussion in effective, immediate, strategic calculation.

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@tom_nomad @franklinlopez I agree that we should reject the red vs blue idea of civil war the author puts forth, as not only the wrong strategic move but won’t further any of the goals on the left. I feel a growing sense that increasing calls for left unity are also a strategic blunder, the left doesn’t have a monopoly on anti-state actors. The last thing you want, which the media is succeeding at, is to push those folks to defend the state; they’re heavily armed and well trained (lot of vets)

Kick ass @tom_nomad appreciate you and the others taking the time. I am in "Canada" but have many friends and family in the dumpster fire, so a lot of my thinking these days is how to support folks down south in the next few months. One key thing peeps need to have clear is that while Canada might be a good place to seek a safe haven if anyone needs to escape repression, there is no legal mechanism to do this i.e. Canada will never grant refugee status to Americans.

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