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Political Writer/Cartoonist Ted Rall Predicts the End of the World as We Know It

Writer, cartoonist, and activist Ted Rall
Writer, cartoonist, and activist Ted Rall
Photo by Erik Bojnansky

Ted Rall says the end of world as we know it is near. According to his vision, the economy will continue to deteriorate, the government will disintegrate, and the United States will either break apart into mini-fiefdoms or be ruled by a neo-fascist junta.

Rall is not a fortune teller. He doesn't claim to have any unique insight into Armageddon from the New Testament's Book of Revelations or any other religious texts, and he isn't receiving prophecies from God.  Rall is a writer and a political cartoonist whose controversial illustrations and columns have been published in newspapers such as the L.A. Times, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

He is also a self-described Marxist who blames global free market capitalism for causing global warming and oppressing most of the human race. In recent years, Rall has advocated for the overthrow of the government, both on his blog and in his latest book, published in 2010, titled The Anti-American Manifesto. His main argument for a revolution: Better to replace a decaying system before it implodes on its own. Otherwise, left-wing activists should be prepared to organize when society starts to buckle.


"Things are happening very fast," Rall said last night at his event at Sweat Records. "I think the

system is headed toward collapse anyway."

But before that happens, Rall wants to get the participants of

the Occupy Wall Street movement, which the 48-year-old cartoonist called

the most "important political movements of my lifetime," to decide whether they want to reform the system, or replace it -- before OWS fizzles out

completely. "I don't have another 40 years to wait for something else

this cool to pop up," Rall said of Occupy. "And I don't think the planet

does either."

Ted Rall and Stephanie McMillan
Ted Rall and Stephanie McMillan
Photo by Erik Bojnansky

Rall journeyed from Long Island to explain his views on reform versus

revolution at the invitation of Stephanie McMillan, a fellow cartoonist

affiliated with One Struggle, a leftist South Florida-based group that

describes itself as "an anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist initiative." He spoke to modest crowds Tuesday near the Occupy Miami and Occupy

Fort Lauderdale encampments. Then, last night, Rall

lectured at Sweat Records to more than a dozen frustrated liberals and

radicals, where he compared the American form of government, as

enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, to an old, deteriorating car.

Reformers, he said, want to invest more money fixing the car.

Revolutionaries want a brand new car.

But since getting that new car via revolution means replacing one ruling

class with another, such an action tends to be very, very messy, Rall

admitted. "There are big negatives [to revolution]," he said. "A lot of

stuff gets broke; people get killed. It is brutal, violent, and usually

bloody."

That's why, Rall said, he was once content with trying to reform the system

as a liberal Democrat. "I worked for Democratic presidential candidates

like Mondale and Dukakis," he said. But as the economy worsened, Rall

became more radical. In April of 2009, Rall was laid off from his editor

job at United Media, a comic strip syndication service. The final straw

was when President-elect Barack Obama failed to name even a "token

liberal" to his economic council in December 2008. It was then that Rall

said he realized that the system has deteriorated beyond repair.

"They can't save themselves," he said of America's corporations and

the uber-wealthy. "That is why they are in trouble. It would be so easy to

talk their way out or pass a few laws, but they have painted themselves

into a corner.... They know it is coming. At this point, they are in the

looting phase. It is like Hitler in the bunker. They know."

Rall speaks to would-be revolutionaries
Rall speaks to would-be revolutionaries
Photo by Erik Bojnansky

What's coming, however, isn't necessarily revolution, but system failure

where institutions can no longer function, said Rall. When that

happens, Rall predicts a descent into warlord-ism, where portions of the

country are ruled by strongmen. Another likely possibility is a

right-wing coup.  

"We don't have much of a chance," Rall admitted to the Leftist audience.

"The Right has been prepared for this for a long time. If anyone senses

a power vacuum, it will be them.... They are paranoid, crazy, and armed to

the teeth."

But if reformers and radicals organize, it is possible that a new and

improved society will return. "It is going to be so fluid," Rall said.

"If we are smarter we are going to win. If not, they are going to win."

But what should replace our current system of representative democracy?

Rall holds out hope for a true communist system that guarantees the

equality of everyone, but says whatever arises should be up to the

masses. "It is not about Ted Rall, it is about all of us. We're going to

fight it out, argue it out," he said.

And that is what is neat about the Occupy Wall Street movement, Rall

argued. Besides liberals and radicals, there are also Ron Paul

supporters, libertarians and even some Tea Party activists. In fact,

Rall believes that the Left should reach out to the Tea Party.

"Personally, I think there is a lot of common ground with some people on

the right. The Tea Party knows it is harder to make a living, for some

people to work hard and make their fair share," Rall said. "There is a

vague sense of injustice in their analysis."

Unfortunately, Tea Partiers are also quick to blame the poor and illegal

immigrants, he said. "They are blaming the 99 percent or the lower 99

percent," Rall surmised. "And they should be blaming the one percent."

--Erik Bojnansky

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Sweat Records

5505 NE Second Ave.
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