The upcoming millennium shift has to be the most anticipated event in the history of the Christian calendar. Some people are consciously expecting the end of the world (or at least the end of the world as WE know it), while most others are simply anticipating that something will happen. As I will unfold, in these attitudes may lie an important opportunity for people interested in creating a new decentralized, non-authoritarian, socialist society.
The different feelings about the millennium in the collective unconscious of Western civilization are mirrored by the uproar surrounding the Year 2000 (Y2K) computer problem. People who already expected some kind of apocalypse see this electronic quirk as a validation of their beliefs. Others who heavily depend upon computers, to the point that they cannot imagine life without them (like, say, computer programmers) are in an uproar about the collapse of major world computer systems. Their minds have suddenly been confronted with the larger implication that the Y2K problems makes about our ridiculous over-dependence on technology and our often idiotic misuse of it. The misuse which I am referring to is the sloppy way that most important computer programs are written with the emphasis (as with everything produced in our capitalist society) on speed of production and the glitzy outward appearance of speed and complexity. With this ethic of computer programming predominant, most corporate programmers completely sacrifice the idea of creating space- efficient programs which can perform simple, utilitarian functions free of long term glitches and bugs.
With the advent of Y2K, computer programmers are beginning to see how the computer controlled society which they have helped to create is ridiculously wobbly and full of holes It has them so scared that someone recently told me about visiting a huge survivalist supply store and finding employees of Intel, Microsoft and other such corporations lined up out of the door to stock up for the forthcoming apocalypse.
But it is not the attitudes of these pathetically frightened members of the professional, managerial class which should most concern people interested in using the Y2K computer problem to spread social revolution. The emotions which we can most readily capitalize upon are the ambiguous anticipation lying in the back of the minds of the masses. Something has to happen to mark this numerological change over, and it should be something as big as the birth which this calendar commemorates. Something must come to end the lives of desperation that most people live, even in the bountiful land of America, tied to soul-crushing jobs which waste their time in unfulfilling, repetitive tasks that only serve to prop up a capitalist regime which keeps them chained to constantly escalating material desires while our social, mental and spiritual natures are increasingly stifled and perverted.
Scores of fly-by-night and corner-store prophets are waiting to take advantage of this millenarian anticipation. Their answers are on the whole nothing but pernicious superstition meant to prop up some new authoritarian, hierarchical reign. In the end they are all too small, scattered and unappealing to the majority of the population to be any threat to the current regime.
But perhaps the shining light of anarchism can brighten this millenarian darkness of superstitious obscurantist cults trying to take advantage of modern capitalism being crippled by computer problems.
And anyone who has even looked over the technical facts cannot doubt that our capitalist government will be at least partly injured by computer problems with the coming of the year 2000. Even if the California DMV has managed to safeguard its records, the systems are too widespread and variegated to avoid all computer chaos on this momentous date. The Y2K problem may well cause a majority of the electronic toys used to distract the first world masses from their enslavement to suddenly break down and stop functioning. It also has the potential to do great damage to the webs of electronic registration and observation which are increasingly used to monitor the most minute details of our lives.
The Y2K problem will certainly not bring down the U.S. government and its massive military in one fell swoop. If anyone has the monetary and technological resources to avoid such catastrophe, it would certainly be them. Even if its systems are disrupted, computers are not necessary to a large-scale repressive state. As the German Nazis and the imperialist dynasties of China proved, only violent force and perhaps well-kept paperwork are necessary. But the year 2000 may well bring the collapse of the TV-internet mind control network at a time when massively repressive militaristic emergency measures are required for America’s capitalist government to maintain control. This has the potential to suddenly make a whole lot of people aware of the ultimately repressive nature of government.
So what better time for an anarchist revolution and a libertarian socialist re-structuring of society?
What we need to keep in mind here is that its always a good day for a revolution — and January 1st, 2000 could be the best day of Ôem all. As year 00, it’s certainly got the numerological significance requirement covered. At the least the anarchist community and other groups of radical social activists need to stop buying wholesale what the capitalist press is telling us about possible Y2K problems and begin realizing the opportunities that they are offered by a massive shock to the technological systems which our modern capitalist government relies on to maintain its power. Revolution now!