71 Days to Prepare Before the First Executive Orders

  • Posted on: 9 November 2016
  • By: thecollective

C4SS by William Gillis

While presidents almost always expand the power of their office and of the government, Donald Trump is likely to enact a degree of barefisted authoritarianism the modern United States is totally unprepared for.

Even if the corrupt and limp political elites that have so far utterly failed to stand against him unexpectedly rally a steadfast resistance in Congress Trump will still enter office with the overwhelming backing of rank and file law enforcement. A strongman unburdened by any conditioning of social norms or sufficient intelligence to understand game theoretic constraints. A man who the NYTimes reported “privately muses about all the ways he will punish his enemies after Election Day.”

Never mind the wild geopolitical catastrophes as yet undreamed, those of us in the belly of the beast have more immediate concerns to look forward to. Trump’s promised “law and order” presidency would mean a Christmas list of presents for the police. Exploding budgets and the removal of any pretense of constraining oversight from the Justice Department. Every beat cop in the nation flush with the invigorating knowledge that the President of the United States has their back, with money, legal support, public support, and ultimately the Presidential Pardon. The full extent of what is possible is dark indeed, but even moderate predictions are dire. We cannot afford to plan for the best.

In 71 days Trump will begin turning the ICE into a military operation capable of the industrial-scale ethnic cleansing he promised repeatedly. He will certainly shirk on some promises, but even if his effectiveness at getting all the millions he targets falls short, he will not miss the opportunity to demonstrate power, even if that means something as obscene as the national guard standing openly in sanctuary cities.

In 71 days Trump will approach an FBI already coursing with his fervent supporters and tell them to go ahead and do whatever it takes to get the domestic terrorists that didn’t vote for him. All the bored and overstaffed Joint Terrorism Taskforce offices the Bush administration left behind surveilling vegan potlucks will finally get to just bring the damn hippies in for questioning. The same pattern we’ve seen in countless countries when right-wing populists get into office will play out. Police raiding punk houses and roughing up anarchists for the sheer pleasure of it, finally able to assert their authority over those whose mere existence offends them. And this is the presidency when US police will be given drones with weapons.

In 71 days Trump will immediately turn his vindictive eye upon the media and every journalist he can get his fingers on. The press corp will be gutted and reporters will be threatened. The same tired procedure we’ve seen in dozens of other countries will arrive here overnight. The sort of regime where armed raids are used to conduct tax audits and incidentally bust up equipment. Trump’s number one concern with the Supreme Court justices he’ll stock it with will be — as always — their loyalty to him and their openness to allowing him to sue everyone for libel.

In 71 days Trump will inherit a vast surveillance apparatus of unparalleled scope in the world that will immediately be turned to his benefit against domestic adversaries or dissidents. He will empower those who have been stewing in outrage at their (meager) constraint. The US’ torture program will escalate. Just because he can. Just for the kick of it. American citizens will end up in Guantanamo and black sites around the world, what barriers to this have previously stood will make no sense to Trump. It will not take long, all things considered, before such American torture subjects are not just Muslim.

In 71 days Trump will start asking what can be done about that whole unruly internet thing and all those losers spreading lies. A president already aligned with Russia and with less than zero compulsion to lecture about human rights or leverage the activists within other superpowers will inexorably build a unprecedented global collaboration against Tor and internet freedom. A unified coalition that most of our existing tools were not prepared for.

We will face an America probably more reactionary and authoritarian than Italy under Berlusconi but probably less authoritarian than Germany under Hitler. The proper analogues are probably modern Hungary and Romania. Authoritarian populist “law and order” regimes with some pretense of normal modern life, riven with empowered racists and neighborhood curbstompings. A broadly mobilized reactionary populace and a shattered and demoralized opposition.

To most it will be perfectly survivable, if objectionable. To many it will be an apocalypse.

We have 71 days to prepare. To bootstrap a radical infrastructure capable of enabling survival and resistance. For ourselves and for all those likely to be targeted.

On a personal level you can:

  • Read on security culture, opsec (also), threat modeling, best practices and frequent problems.
  • Get trained on tools of civil disobedience and street protests. From lockboxes to riot shield formations. Refamiliarize yourself with some basic activist skills
  • Learn, adopt and spread crypto tools like Signal, Torbrowser, GPG, and full-disk-encryption. Everyone can use Signal and Tor. GPG and full-disk-encryption will help you the most in the face of raids, although GPG has a steep learning curve and disk encryption can require a reinstall of your operating system. Read up on the limits and optimal ways to use Signal and Tor. Check out the EFF’s excellent guides for the basics. Read this list of other tools for a wider array of options, although beware that anything not in the EFF’s guide is problematic. Download a copy of the Tails operating system and put it on a spare USB.
  • Get a gun before dissidents and leftists with arrest records cease passing background checks. Learn about firearms if you’re ignorant. Go to the range and practice. Work out and enroll in self-defense classes focused on surviving attacks from reactionary thugs in the streets.
  • Familiarize yourself with how to use cryptocurrencies. Buy some prepaid phones with cash (don’t activate them or keep them on near your house, don’t give your actual info or call/logon using your actual devices when activating them). Buy cash cards.
  • Buy and stockpile long-lasting emergency contraceptives and hormones that will likely be constrained. If you are trans get a letter from your physician that you’re undergoing transition, and a court order/decree with proof of your name change, as these are likely to become requisite in some areas and also highly curtailed.
  • Get together with your closest friends and build affinity groups and networks of people capable of providing underground support.
  • Possibly start purging your social media, electronic devices and the like. Find other ways to communicate serious issues and organize.
  • Go to churches that do support work for undocumented people or provide sanctuary and start building personal ties.
  • Set up text trees or use apps like Cell 411 and Bouy to help establish communications networks to deal with raids and checkpoints, to mobilize responses to attacks and pogroms.
  • Get wifi routers, water, medical supplies, a month’s supply of dry food, and a go bag. Set up small geocaches (buried resources/tools in waterproof containers you can reach if on the run).
  • Train anyone and everyone you can in the above skills. Get at least a dozen of your friends to use Signal. Give a training in something else to larger numbers of people at least twice before the election.

Hackers need to shift gears towards building to just keep people in contact, to keep networks up and information flowing, in the face of unified global adversaries, a hostile legal regime to NGOs, and even possibly the shutting down of BGP or ISP infrastructure. The country should be treated as a disaster zone and mesh wifi networks built as fast as we humanly can, similarly the time to swap over to heavy focus on steganography and bootstrapping devices in a hostile landscape is now. Biohackers need to get DIY contraceptives and hormones flowing asap. Activists need to build coalitions capable of acting while respecting the innate dissonance and diversity of subjective actors. The object now must be making a difference, not playing games of positioning and signalling, not focusing on personally feeling virtuous or wrapping ourselves in the comforting blankets of community. Local networks and face-to-face AFK ties will regrettably become all the more critical. Food security and basic needs infrastructure must be locked down. But most importantly we need robust networks and widely shared skills.

Many will continue chortling — flush with the ecstatic visceral delight of seeing a monster like Clinton bloodied, smug liberals distraught, and the vile establishment shaken to its foundations — mocking and unsympathetic to those foretelling cataclysm. But beware that most limited and inane sort of induction that presumes that what exists must necessarily exist. We have lived in but a tiny and incredibly unstable sliver of the full expanse of what is possible. And dystopian as our world already is there’s a hell of a lot worse possible. There is no magic force that presumes things will continue ticking much as they always have. Such shallow comfortable thinking is incapable of seeing deeper troubles, the edge cases, and the barriers to the effective region of such normalcy.

We’re looking down the barrel of a grim future — the violent reaction to the cosmopolitan complexities of global interconnection and the information era. Liberty is in retreat like few other moments in history. Around the globe numerous countries are falling to nationalism. The reassuring simplicity of authority and tribalism is a balm to the anxious and a virus that self-compounds via fear and brutality. There will be all the pressures in the world to let such crop up in the ranks of the opposition. But remember every anti-authoritarian resistance movement that has adopted or made deals with nationalism in response to nationalism has regretted it.

We live, as the curse goes, in interesting times. We have no idea how much turns on the next 71 days, how much of the future we can influence by hustling now, but we are far more likely to underestimate it than overestimate.



more comments on the election, esp related to anarchist ideas of what it is to be doing:


I found this much more inspiring and intelligent than anything magpies ever done (an admittedly low bar...), or most of the noises coming out of what's left of the milieu: http://www.indigenousaction.org/anti-colonial-anti-fascist-action/

The silver lining is an opportunity to reboot radical movements far beyond the grimy little cesspool that's been deserted by all but precious cosplayers like M. and 'anarch' trolls like ziggy (who outed himself as trumpist in the totw).

The situation is very bad indeed, but it's not like another result would have been so much better. At least some things are clear. Go figure it's indigenous folks who take the long view and have the most profound things to say.

The future will be indigenous, if there is one at all.

Fuck it, I'll just go ahead and be vulnerable to an anonymous stranger on the internet. I just want you to know that I am here, that I see things like that, and that they hurt my feelings.

I get that you don't like my writing, that you don't consider it intelligent or inspiring. I'd be in a poor place to convince you otherwise. That's fine. I'm also a colonizer. The "Make it Impossible for This System to Govern on Stolen Land" concept is brilliant.

But you call me "precious cosplayer" like it's an insult. Anonymous @news commenters have gone down that path before, and I guess y'all will again. It's hard to picture how you mean "precious" as anything other than "dainty" or, maybe, "vulnerable." I have every intention of being "vulnerable" to my comrades and to save what teeth I have for the enemy. I wish you would do the same, because I see things like this and yeah, it hurts my feelings on a day when I'm scrambling to hold onto that silver lining.

I'm a precious snowflake, and I'm an anarchist, and my goal is to work together with other anarchists as well as a broader segment of society to create a world without states or capitalism or wage labor. I also have other interests and interact a lot with nerd culture. Most of what I write is aimed at the intersection of my interests. To give myself courage and hope when they're flagging.

I don't cosplay though. I'd be proud if I did. I wish more anarchists were halfway as dedicated their goals as cosplayers are to theirs.

It's not really "vulnerability" (what's an invulnerable person?), but being self-importantt and passive aggressive about it. We've met. Repeatedly. You were an stuck up scenester in an elaborate costume. I wasn't hurt, just unimpressed, as I am by your other projects/parts of your constructed image. I don't really feel like it's worth my time giving you a whole critique. You hear what you want, clearly, and you know what you are, on some level, so I think you know what I mean.

yo seriously? magpie isnt any of that, but ok sorry youre a jerk?

its ironic the way you talk about perceived negative personality traits.

Yr being kinda an asshole up there tryina spout petty bullshit on an international forum about a person u barely know & projecting onto magpie yr own insecurities. Its rly transparent. Also shittalking someone on anews is like the pinnacle of passive aggressive lmao

well I like what you write <3 <3

we're all in this thing together, kiddo.

smooch and destroy

indigenous peoples are stateless peoples who do not, like Western 'civilizeds', put 'reason' into an unnatural precedence over experience-based 'intuition'. Western civilization is inherently 'statist' (cultivating 'rational' belief in independently-existing entities such as 'sovereign states' and 'human "beings"' as well as "categories"' such as whites, blacks, muslims, jews, males, females; i.e. there are no 'independently-existing categories' in indigenous understanding).

getting in touch with our own indigeneity is something that is personally experienced [it has nothing to do with wannabeeism]. anyone can let cosmic influence actualize their creative potentials and shape their behaviours rather than letting the rational-political programs of Western culture drive and direct their actions.

Indigenous understanding, or aka, that elusive innate sense of the spontaneous organic harmonious perception, can make one hug even President Trump, for listening to the working class, maybe influence him with that ol' natural magic charm which very few people can resist, the power of love and understanding, the aesthetic of harmony and going with the flow. It is absurd to protest against Trump, a puerile/futile activist ego trip, they are an identity type full of envy and ressentiment, as bad as the opposition in a typical binary relational complex, sad. His beautiful wife and his cute son need a hug also, well what the heck, everyone needs a non-liberal hug.

For instance, watching from the outside of the spectacle, like a Broadway stage production, the commodity and the saleman, huh, Trump deserves the Tony Award, brilliant performance, aaaand his campaign manager, a genius for tapping into the desires and dreams of its audience, reaching into their real patriotic hearts which are weary of all the politicians' lies and privileges.

"... like M. and 'anarch' trolls like ziggy (who outed himself as trumpist in the totw). "

Really anon. Where did you draw that ridiculous inference from my comments. Was it the end of ip silver lining comment or the rust belted comment.

I looked at the date this text was published, then the date Trump got officially elected, then the date on the taskbar of my PC screen...

November Fucking 9.

Those who know Nazi and neonazi history know what that means.

William Gillis does not know what a complete sentence, versus a sentence fragment, is.

William Gillis doesn't really know a whole lot of anything above and beyond what it is to whine about things that no one else could really give a fuck about.

"William Gillis doesn't really know a whole lot of anything above and beyond what it is to whine about things that no one else could really give a fuck about."

"William Gillis does not know what a complete sentence, versus a sentence fragment, is."

Gillis = Azano, lol!

As I am writing,thousands of people are in the streets across the country,protesting Trump's win and chanting "not my president".What can I say except that these protests are stupid.Trump is a blatant racist and a demagogue,but we do not know what his agenda is.We know who Hillary is. She is the darling of Wall Street and loves the military-industrial complex.Trump loves the police. Will it be open season on Black Lives Matter,on Muslims,on radicals? Be prepared,but don't be afraid to act.

All the uncritical radicals can feel warm and fuzzy because their are a lot of protestors in the streets with them.
Don't be confused: those liberals are not your comrades!!!!

Just watched some footage from California. When people weren't being really docile and spouting hackneyed chants that went out of style ages ago, they were running around like chickens with their heads cut off and getting billy-clubbed in the face by the pigs. One guy was even doing donuts in the street with his car. Wasn't able to discern any anarchist presence based on what I saw but, if they were there, they were keeping a low profile. Weak. Really fucking weak.

You fucking shit troll. You watched some footage and they weren't protesting right, so you thought you'd comment to show the world how truly lame you are. Sick of this bullshit. Gotta be a way to turn this background noise off.

If you don't like what I have to say, then avert your eyes. Your insecurities aren't my problem.

OoooOo, El Errante flexes his biceps, like a true left-manarchist, raging through the binary chaos, guns blazing, keyboard bouncing, rhetoric ricocheting feeding the patriarchal fury!!

I agree with errante. Trolls licking their butts while other people take the streets. No strategy. No concept of the importance of public space. No attempt to interact with anybody that disagrees with them. Fucked up judgemental nihilist circle jerk. Meanwhile, not organizing for survival and resistance to Trump-run counter terrorism units. Will talk about how terrible 'society' is, while laughing at people who are worried about getting black bagged. Fuck all y'all. Errante for the win.

Aww, how cute! Another lefty cheerleader whining from the peanut gallery. Never seen one of those before.

You're the peanut gallery fool … never been anything but. That's all that trolls are.

Hey, I know! Maybe if you throw a big enough temper tantrum, all the big bad nihilist trolls will magically disappear. It's worth a try. And if it doesn't work out, at least it will have given me something to laugh at.

9/11: 11/9
Can we have another Inside Job?

The timing here is no joke... November 9 has been highly symbolic to Nazis in the past. Beer Hall Putsch, Kristallnacht, Fall of the Berlin Wall/German Reunification, and also the execution of Robert Blum during the German March Revolution. Not everything that happens on a Nov 9 has to be related to Nazis of course, but when you got a fascist political figure supported by neofascists and the KKK, you gotta be fucking dishonest to laugh it up.

There's also still those fascist idiots around who celebrate 420, but not for the weed.

This is no fucking joke, and you don't need to lecture me about historical dates

I thought about you the other day when it was reported that a black church got torched. Still so glad you took a stand on the importance of anarchists burning all churches, even black ones, as if actions themselves transcend context and effect because of what they meant to your favorite team in the sport of historical dogmatic thinking, you ideological twit.

Oh, hey, did I spell everything correctly here? Are we straight on the definition of "inflammable" yet, for that matter?

I have an airtight alibi

Yeah, I know you do. You were entrapped by leftists. But you actually were entrapped by your formulaic, dogmatic thinking. Years of declaring your magazine ideology-free should have been warning sign enough.

Hear, Here!

hey look everyone william guillis again imposes his trite SF narratives on reality

for gillis the only thing ultimately that is threatened by trump is the free circulation of information over the internet, and the only thing he can advise is that nerds keep doing stupid nerd shit.

there is nothing more parochial than a person who stares at a computer and thinks that's cosmopolitanism!

Maybe I will be proven wrong, but I don't see the Trump moment as some kind of kairos. Yes, his ugly rhetoric has encouraged ugly behavior from racist/nativist types, and that may continue - but he has already shown he will play ball to some degree by denouncing that behavior on TV when asked to do so. The people he is considering appointing are mostly within the realm of the usual neocon crowd. I think we can expect things to keep getting slowly shittier, as they have been. We will have more wars and such, perhaps with Iran, but I'm sure that would have happened similarly with Hillary. Trump has already retreated from his more outlandish claims - e.g., he is now talking about deporting about as many people as Obama deported. The Trump alarmists seem, to me, to be essentially taking campaign promises seriously.

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