Everything is crazy now. I don’t know what to say.
Somebody didn’t like the Green Front’s October Surprise. So they came up with an October Surprise of their own. This one involved a lot of guns.
The premise, of course, was national security. Some of these climate demonstrations have been successfully shutting down our remaining fossil fuel infrastructure — export terminals, extraction projects, even a few power plants for short periods. The initial response by the government was the same as usual: detain some people, arrest others, basically just break up the demonstration and charge some small portion of the people with serious crimes.
But now they’re treating this as a massive breach of national security. All hell has broken loose. They’re in the process of a nationwide sting operation that has targetted the leadership of any group that they consider to be part of the Green Front. This has included some people like Deep Green Resistance who probably had serious mischief on their minds. But it has also included other people who don’t even focus on any type of direct action or civil disobedience. Groups that work on clean energy, or resilience, or all types of other harmless things. But if they have ties to people who get arrested, or if they advocated any remotely militant form of protest, they’re considered part of this alleged “conspiracy to disable American infrastructure”.
You have to keep in mind here that Green Front is not an actual organization. There are dozens of unrelated groups that get lumped together under the banner of Green Front. Some of these groups even fight with each other about how to respond to global warming. It’s just a general term that people have come up with to describe all individuals and groups that support some type of strong resistance to fossil fuels or radical changes toward a more ecological and community-oriented society.
But a lot of that is open to interpretation. Suppose I say that we must stop all fossil fuel use in order to avoid the most catastrophic responses to global warming. Is that a common sense science-based policy recommendation, or is that the statement of a wild-eyed Green Front radical who needs to be disappeared?
The current administration has decided to take a more hardline stance on this question in response to all of the demonstrations. In just the past 48 hours, thousands of people have been grabbed suddenly in no-knock raids — some conducted by law enforcement, some conducted by Bastion, all involving Homeland Security in some way.
It wasn’t as successful as they planned. Here in Miami, they just didn’t have enough boots on the ground to pull off a massive campaign like they did in other major cities. They tried something with Bastion, but I’ll talk about that more in my next post. In other parts of the country, they had a lot more resources to work with. But still, the results were mixed. About a third of the people they were trying to arrest got away. Some of it resulted in violence because the government decided to conduct these no-knock raids on the homes or bases of armed Green Guard militias. At least a dozen law enforcement officers died and an estimated fifty or sixty of their targets died, although it’s hard to be sure since some of them got away wounded.
It was a disaster. But it was also extensively organized, with coordinated raids in dozens of places within minutes of each other. This can’t be something they thought of after Hurricane Michael and everything else started getting people out in the streets. It hasn’t been long enough for them to plan something like this. This has to be something they’ve been planning for more than a few days — maybe months, maybe longer. They knew that sooner or later, we would all get fed up with the climate disruptions and the growing impacts it’s having on our daily lives. So they came up with a plan. That plan apparently involved arresting as much of the leadership as possible and herding any remaining dissidents into refugee camps.
But it didn’t work. This is a mostly leaderless movement. People are scared, but they’re still out in the streets, probably still a few million across the country. Some cities are starting to declare curfews, disperse “unlawful assemblies”, and so on. Numbers have dropped due to some people being arrested and some going home, but there are still plenty of people out there to make a difference. Here in Miami, each neighborhood has at least one big gathering where people are coming together to talk about it. Nobody knows what to do next, but everybody has an idea, and they’re all talking.
Really, one of the most devastating long-term consequences of this “purge” may be the effect on the elections. For the first time that anyone can remember, the government has arrested a large number of political candidates and charged them all with conspiracy. This includes most of the Green Party candidates, all of the Climate Party candidates, and even a few Democrats who had a few too many Green friends. The President himself got on TV tonight to say that the arrests were not political — that these people were arrested because they had been actively working with individuals who intended to commit specific crimes to shut down critical infrastructure using civil disobedience and direct action.
But how can you arrest dozens of candidates, most of them from the same political party, and say it’s not political?
The whole world seems to be holding its breath, waiting to see what happens here. The leaders of other countries are already talking about how to respond to what many see as election tampering. There are similar struggles going on in other countries too, some of them much more violent and oppressive than our own. But what happens here may have a major impact on the whole world.
Will we take action on global warming this time around or won’t we? That’s the big question. It doesn’t look as promising after all of these arrests. That’s going to put a serious damper on both the election and on all of the resilience and resistance projects that various groups are working on. But there are still a lot of people out in the streets, so it’s still possible. I don’t know what will come of it, but at least we’re trying to make it happen.