Chapo Trap House Book ‘Chapo Guide to Revolution’ Is More than Political Comedy, It’s a Climate Change Call to Action

No Country for Old Men comes up every so often on leftist podcast Chapo Trap House, particularly a sentiment voiced by the deadly Anton Chigurh: “If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?” The quote appears in their new book, The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason, as an epigraph to a chapter diagnosing the problem with “libs.” More specifically, it dissects the technocratic, professional-and-political class liberalism unequipped to push back against a reactionary right wing and unwilling to endorse popular universal programs like Medicare for All or consider the radical reforms necessary to minimize the staggering toll of climate change.

While The Chapo Guide to Revolution is first a gallows humor overview of the political landscape, somewhere between Mallard Fillmore and Punishment Park (in part thanks to the skin-crawling illustrations by Diaspora Boy author Eli Valley), it also has a white-hot anger for those who have followed the wrong rule and brought us to this.

Chapo Trap House is emblematic of the young, socialist “dirtbag left” (a term coined by Chapo co-host Amber A’Lee Frost), sometimes associated with the Democratic Socialists of America, but just as often with Twitter discourse. The Chapo perspective comes preloaded with political vulgarity, a hatred of lanyard wonks who prefer fixes to ideological commitments, and the overwhelming dread that comes with believing capitalism (and the politic processes captured by it), won’t just bring us to environmental ruin, but will also turn the world toward totalitarianism, fascism, genocide—whatever’s most convenient in defense of hoarded capital in a burning world.

“Nobody wants to deal with the hangover from two centuries of untrammeled environmental extermination. Every earnest attempt at even ameliorating the effects of climate change has failed dramatically, and each time someone tried, global capitalism snuck away with cookie crumbs on its face, pausing only to make a cutesy ‘Who, me?’ face to the camera right as another Bangladeshi village got buried in mudslides,” hosts Felix Biederman, Matt Christman, Will Menaker, Virgil Texas and former producer Brendan James write. “For how long is this situation tenable? You don’t have to be the main character in the first third of a YA novel to realize we’re going to end up in a very bad place."

After listing the consequences of rising worldwide temperatures—ocean acidification, sea-level rise, barren farmlands, water insecurity, devastating extreme weather, refugee crises, wars and “ancient comic-book-villain-origin-story-caliber diseases unearthed from melted permafrost”—the Chapo team concludes, “More than anything, though, the current situation demands a huge expansion of what is considered ‘realistic’ or possible.”

That’s in part because fossil fuel sector profit motive—driver of pollution, climate change denial and regulatory capture—obscures both the coming catastrophes, and those that are happening right now. “People talk about the ‘coming apocalypse.’ Take a closer look. The apocalypse is Puerto Rico annihilated by a hurricane. It’s villages in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal tortured by lethal flooding,” says The Chapo Guide to Revolution. “The apocalypse is already here; you just don’t live there yet.”

To accompany their scathing critiques of the spectrum of discourse reflected in our political press, the Chapo hosts instead “imagine a global order built on egalitarianism—one in which the productive forces of society aren’t spent on inventing new weapons of mass destruction and clever ways to brutalize dissidents but on ensuring that all people enjoy the fruits of their birthright, an order that holds human beings and their fundamental rights as sacrosanct, that believes the provision of basic human needs to be the sole objective of politics and the economy, that rejects violence and militarism in toto.”

“That, or we’ll all drown in boiling seawater."

chapo-guide-to-revolution The cover to the new book from podcast Chapo Trap House. Simon and Schuster

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