indi.ca

Views from the third world. Earth.


What It’s Like To Live In A Fallen Empire

Before the literal underground, there was the Digital Underground

The curious thing about history is that it’s an utter mystery to the people living in it. If you asked Roman citizens circa 476 how the ‘fall’ was going they’d be confused. What fall? Rome had lumbered on for a century after 395, then split from West to East for another century, and took another thousand to finally ‘disappear’. So when did the Roman Empire fall? When did Roman citizens acknowledge it? The fall of any Empire is ultimately a historical call, and people don’t live in history. They live in the now, and the news will never tell you. So take it from this random Sri Lankan blogger, an already dead canary in the fossil fuel mine. Stick a fork in this European/American/White Empire. It’s done.

What Empire?

If you ask American citizens about Empire they’d first be like what Empire? Then what fall? Explaining White Empire to a person living today is like explaining water to a fish, except that water is oil, it’s on fire, and all the fish are slowly frying. The colonialism that spread out of Europe, cannibalized itself in World War II, and regrouped in America is just white, for lack of a better word. It started as a color of people and became a brand of asshole, all mere cogs in the corporate AI that actually runs it all.

This Empire is just ‘white’, it’s just background, it’s as imperceptible as the blank space these very letters float around. While the British openly called Empire ‘Empire’, the ‘aw shucks’ Americans like to pretend like they don’t have class or power at all. But they do! Their ruling class takes the same literal classes in the ‘Ivy League’ and they have 800 military bases literally occupying every false flag in the world. This truth hides in plain sight, obscured behind a wall-to-wall hallucination they call the ‘American Dream,’ because it’s made up.

America took the ‘white’ in White Empire to its logical conclusion and made it completely invisible. We’re all just fish swimming in it, wondering why our imaginary countries don’t seem to exist, why our liberal democracies don’t seem to do shit, and why all our living relatives are dying. It’s very difficult to face the truth. It’s like asking a fish ‘how’s the water?’ WTF is water? WTF is White Empire? Well, you’re drowning in it.

The Many Names Of Great Satan

I call this Empire White Empire because — having been colonized by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British, and now the American — from my perspective, what’s the fucking difference? Call it Western Civilization, the West, the Rules-Based Order, Liberal Democracies, pick your poison, it’s all killing us. The Great Satan has many names, like Satan himself. This corporate Hegemonster — devouring people and resources for planets — was born in Europe, cannibalized itself in World War II, but re-formed in America and kept going. As the British loser of World War II, Winston Churchill said (with liberal ellipses):

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall… then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.

The great myth Britain told itself after World War II was that they won, when in fact they lost to the Americans. The ‘Empire beyond the seas’ that Churchill spoke about wasn’t theirs, it was America and American hegemony. Britain could keep its shitty food and money laundering operation, but all of the imperial bases and power went to the Americans.

America, in turn, created the myth that they were ‘just helping’ by occupying the world and not doing what anybody with 800 military bases is obviously doing and, you know, occupying it. Thus the ‘New’ World, with all its power and might, stepped forth to the occupation of the Old. Just as the Roman Empire split from West to East, the White Empire split from East to West and lumbered on. Which roughly brings us up to date.

Barbarians At The Gates

Now the barbarians are at the gates. Just look around. Yemen is blocking imperial ‘roads’ in the Red Sea, and getting away with it. Iraqis are bombing American bases and getting away with it too. The provinces are literally getting from Empire, and what’s an Empire without provinces? Meanwhile the vassal armies of Ukraine and ‘Israel’ are losing on the battlefield, and what’s an Empire without vassals? Nothing at all. That Emperor visibly has no clothes, and no balls.

All the talk about ‘defending Western Civilization’ shows that it’s already fallen. Arming Ukraine was supposed to ‘defend’ Western Civilization, and now that country is literally amputated and the West lost. Arming ‘Israel’ is supposed to ‘defend’ Western Civilization, and people can see that the very concept is genocidal. Meanwhile Europe is being deindustrialized and American life expectancy is going down. Western Civilization increasingly sucks for the people living in it along with the people it’s killing. Western Civilization can’t defend itself and, anyways, who wants to?

Meanwhile people like me — in peripheral provinces like Sri Lanka — feel confident saying that the Empire has no clothes. What’s left to this history, besides the misery of living through it? It’s already written. You’re reading it now.

The Humpty Dance

Historically speaking, barbarians already sacked ‘Rome’ in 2001, hitting the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and almost the Capitol. Then Donald Trump — the vulgarian inside the gates — sacked the Capitol himself in 2021. The mandate of heaven has obviously been withdrawn. A falling Empire can still create hell on Earth for millions, but all the money printers and little green men, cannot put Humpty together again. As the Digital Underground said in 1990, “Alright, stop what you’re doin’ ’cause I’m about to ruin, The image and the style that you’re used to.” And now the literal underground in Palestine is doing it in the only language Empire understands. Violence.

White Empire attacked Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and now Palestine in a blind rage, but they couldn’t hold any of these places. They just ‘raged, raged, against the dying of the white,” to paraphrase Dylan Thomas. Empire was already, as Paul Simon said, slip slidin’ away. To paraphrase Rhymin’ Simon, “you know, the more the devastation, the more you’re slip slidin’ away.”

Now White Empire has wholly lost Afghanistan, are under attack in Iraq and Syria (Allah help Libya), and Palestine is in a state of open rebellion. Empire is still able to kill aplenty, but they miss the point of killing which is winning and intimidating. America hasn’t won a war in living memory, they’re just using the machinery to make blood money. They can’t even field their own army anymore, they have to hide behind proxies (ie, vassals). Even their Cold War ‘victory’ is being unwound, as Russia redraws borders while Empire just‘speaks loudly and carries a limp dick’. Empire can still kill lots of people in the news, but historically speaking they’re dead. They’re losing the provinces, they’re losing the ‘roads’, and — most fatally for any Empire — they’re losing face.

China is already a richer country. Not in terms of GDP — measured in increasingly unreal US dollars — but in terms of PPP, as is what you can actually do with money. Chinese people live better lives and are able to fund useful infrastructure all over the world. Americans, meanwhile, live like shit and export rubble. Russia is already a bigger and better military. They have more active duty troops and better technology and the ability to produce it. America is sitting there printing money but they can’t print bridges or bullets. And the rest of the world is increasingly moving on. You can only lose so many wars and so much money and so much face for so long.Eventually you have to look in the mirror, see that you’re broke, broken and just breaking things all around. And that the fear and respect that made you an Empire is simply gone.

As I’ve said, the Eastern White Empire first fell in World War II, then re-formed in the West. Barbarians sacked the new capital of Capital in 2001 and Empire’s wild over-reaction just accelerated the process. Empire started and lost a bunch of wars itself, printed and lost a bunch of money on dumb shit, and found itself militarily exhausted and financially tapped out by 2008. Now they’re just a zombie army and a zombie economy, waiting for history to put them out of their misery. They can’t make anything and they can’t take anything, all they can do is fuck shit up in an impotent fury.

Like a much dumber version of Romans, Americans are still yet to acknowledge that A) they have an Empire that B) it’s connected to European Empire and C) that it’s dead. I suppose it’s a lot to take in. Even if the American incarnation of abomination makes it another decade (unlikely), in a few decades the whole ecosystem collapses. Soon enough there will be nothing left to fight over, and no more energy to fight with. This is the resource exhaustion that befalls every Empire, though usually on a much smaller scale. Through colonization and then fossil-fuelled globalization, White Empire managed to ruin the whole planet. As the aboriginal philosopher Tyson Yunckaporta says, “Civilisations are cultures that create cities, communities that consume everything around them and then themselves.” As he goes on in his book Sand Talk:

A city is a community on the arrow of time, an upward-trending arrow demanding perpetual growth. Growth is the engine of the city — if the increase stops, the city falls. Because of this, the local resources are used up quickly and the lands around the city die. The biota is stripped, then the topsoil goes, then the water. It is no accident that the ruins of the world’s oldest civilisations are mostly in deserts now. It wasn’t desert before that. A city tells itself it is a closed system that must decay in order for time to run straight, while simultaneously demanding eternal growth.This means it must outsource its decay for as long as possible.

Rome was a city that conquered the Mediterranean world, jumped from West to East, and then eventually fell over a thousand years. White Empire conquered the whole world through Europe, jumped from East to West, and then fell in a mere century, living fast and dying young. It’s the same process. Empire’s are all indomitable until they’re insolvent, it’s inevitable. If there’s one rule of empire, it’s that all empire’s fall. The center sucks what energy it can out of the provinces, until it loses control of the edges and collapses into a black hole.

We’re living through the fall of an Empire right now, and yet this article might be surprising to you. That’s the curious part about living through history, it’s usually an utter mystery to those in the middle of it. We think we’re always the middle of things, but at some point it has to be the end. And believe me — standing on the internet street corner with this cardboard sign and a tip cup — the end is now. I should carve this in stone and bury it in the garden, to say ‘I told you so’when all the servers go down. We are living through the end of White Empire. It was here, it was fucking disastrous, and in short order it and the entire climate it came up in are going down. Historically speaking, it’s already done.