And I mean real wars people.

UN food agency chief Jacques Diouf yesterday warned of civil war in some countries because of global food shortages and called for a revamp of the international food system.

The head of the Food and Agriculture Organisation said international leaders had failed to act on warnings from his agency leading to what he called a “predictable catastrophe”. […]

“Unfortunately, we always wait until there is a catastrophe in this world before we react,” he said.

Naturally, at a time of drought, ever growing prices for basic necessities and famine, Americans know just what to do. Or at least some Americans. You know, the REAL Americans?

Two bulk US retailers are rationing some sales of imported rice and that’s been enough for some Americans to begin stocking up.

It has also rekindled America’s survivalist movement.

One leading survivalist warning of lean and hungry times ahead is Jim Rawles, a former US intelligence officer and editor of a survivalist blog, who lives in California.

Mr Rawles says he thinks the food shortages being seen in the United States could soon become a matter of survival.

“I think that families should be prepared for times of crisis, whether it’s a man-made disaster or a natural disaster, and I think it’s wise and prudent to stock up on food,” he said.

The “survivalist movement” was the impetus behind the growth of the militia movement in America during the 90’s. These paramilitary organizations are comprised primarily of white people who espouse a variety of right wing extremist beliefs, often including anti-government, Christian nationalist and white supremacist ideologies. It was the militia movement that helped spawn the last major outbreak of right wing terrorism in America, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh and his fellow conspirators which murdered at least 168 people and wounded another 853.

Are all survivalists members of radical militias? No, but many are, and so are many people who sympathize with the goals of these militias even if not formally members themselves. Now imagine that Barack Obama, an African American, or Hillary Clinton, one of the far right’s biggest bogey-persons, is President at a time when severe food shortages break out in America, or even food prices go through the roof due to the rising cost of oil. Do you fear what I fear?

You can take it to the (food)bank: if a Democrat is elected President and takes office in 2009, at some point he or she will be faced with outbreaks of violence from one or more of these groups. As the economy continues to worsen, and droughts in the West and Southeast continue to ravage large portions of our country and limit agricultural production, these are not unlikely events to predict. When you add in the increase in biofuel production that is occurring in response to the ever increasing cost of crude oil, it’s highly likely that food prices will skyrocket in the next few years, and outright food shortages here in America due to distribution or or production problems are very real possibilities.

The people who make up the militia movement, and many in the larger survivalist movement, really are angry, and they do cling to their guns and their bizarre beliefs, religious, political or otherwise. If people who identify with these survivalist and militia leaders could effect the largest domestic terrorist attack in our history during the Clinton years, a time of relative prosperity, imagine what havoc they could cause when our country is faced with large scale economic, military and environmental crises.

In a worsening economic environment militias will only gain more adherents and appeal to more people susceptible to their radical ideologies. Unemployed people, desperate people, people who blame the government for all their problems (because that’s what our right wing media echo chamber has been telling them for years) and willing to justify the use of violent action against the government or anyone they perceive as a threat or an enemy. And the people who read blogs like this one certainly fall within those parameters.

We could be set to experience the first wave of large scale right wing violence since the Reconstruction era. Not trying to scare anyone but that is the reality I foresee unless we are very, very lucky. The era of cheap gas, and cheap consumer goods is going bye-bye. What follows in its wake is an unknown but dangerous future. How we as a country, and the leaders we elect, choose to respond to these issues, will determine what happens next, for good or ill.

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