The suburbs are the colonies of America. Here is where our resignation is given physical form. Everything is magnetized by the economy. People must be reshuffled, dispossessed, thrown off jobs and out of houses continually. Burger King and insurance offices are quite happy to fire their lowest level employees constantly. Once you accept a life where everything is planned for you, it doesn't surprise you to find that you too are expendable. You too can be moved at someone's whim.
Everyone moves every five years. Highways, housing developments, fake tree-lined streets and a rustic image maintain an invisible ideology. Factories close, industrial parks open. People are made helpless to shape the form of their lives.
This is the whirlpool. The Russian Gulag was created with no one permitted to leave their town or state. The American Gulag is created with anyone who doesn't conform being told to go somewhere else: constant motion, love it or leave it, Coke or Pepsi, democracy.
The non-conformists, the ambitious and the bored do often leave. But everywhere you go is part of a whirlpool whose shape is known. The entire American landscape is a machine for flattening human relations. It accepts only buyer and seller relationships.
The city, the center, no longer truly exists. The cafe-society, center and critical universities have been cleared away. Au Bon Pain is a pre-fabricated cafe that serves equally the teenage aspiring beat-poets and the tweed-coated yuppies. College, time in the city, self-help and leisure activity are advocated as a way of cultivating resignation: youth rebellion is sold with this in mind. Book stores and books can come into fashion once there is no longer even a possibility that anyone would really read something.
The center is merely a magnetic pole that paralyzes those on the universal side-lines with its images. Los Angeles is city that serves as the center for captivating today's minds yet it is not a city in urbanism's traditional terms: It has no center.
The housing development is the latest effort in the capitalist project of freezing history. The defeat of all previous rebellions must be incorporated into the present defeat. Unions, democracy, and communist parties are simply the dead viruses of rebellion. They are injected into the American working class to inoculate them from a living rebellion. We are left with riots, sabotage, and wildcat strikes as our weapons.
But the present, latest stage of history is a conglomeration of the previous stages. The total defeat we suffer is reenacted by a premeditated youth culture.
The suburbs are the zones of planned failure. The defeat of the past is simulated here. The "thinkers" of America today are happy to discuss how the free market is the only possible system when they have lived with nothing else.
Revolutionaries can no longer interested in the newest or the most original ideas or trends for themselves. There has only been one qualitative change in today's culture, if you can call it that. That change is that everything is only expanding quantitatively. There's not much that's really new. We're getting more of the same old shit and it's shittier.
Punk rock was little more than an increase the self-critical, "nihilistic" tendencies in culture in general. But the lack of newness today means that we don't have to look for originality. We can look for the directions that give us the greatest leverage for activity. Those who grow up today and identify as punks are embracing something that was counter-revolutionary yesterday.
But the continual revolt needs only to find it's voice. It is as dangerous as ever.
Once the idea of the new recedes, once the idea of going forward to the center vanishes, the power of resistance to suburbs, of resistance to a total environment, can be unleashed.
The spectacle will always forgive but we can never forgive ourselves for being part of the spectacle. We might still feel defeated by not being able to get to live the good life. This is only because we still think the good life would be better. It is time to face the suburbanization of the world. Stucco and redwood have been plastered across our minds. Since nowhere is now everywhere, nowhere is the first place that will exist when the present sleep is ended.
Nowhere can also become anywhere. We can begin an era of unlimited experimentation, experimentation with the only things that actually matter, ourselves. We can only begin our adventures by rejecting the threats that create our society, from work to belief in the prestige of the well educated and the good looking. The adventure begins here.