I’ll try to keep this short, because I don’t have much to offer as far as details go, regarding the GameStop stock ambush. Tim Pool, the Podcast of the Lotus Eaters, and many others pretty much have that covered.
What I want to offer is an alternative frame, one which seems surprisingly absent from the conversations I’ve heard on the subject, but which makes more sense of the maneuver than just “gamers and trolls wanting to screw with things.”
For those who aren’t aware, the brief rundown is this: certain hedge-fund managers, who have a well-known habit of manipulating the market, shorted the stock of GameStop on the assumption that that business was on its way out. Shorting is when you “borrow” a stock and then sell it, anticipating a price drop — when your return comes due, the lower-cost re-buy reaps rewards for the shorter… assuming, of course, that the price went down. The very act of shorting often has a tendency to push the value down, especially if the short (made by an “authoritative” and “smart” investor) is made public. But in the case of Melvin Capital, who shorted over a million of shares of GameStop at around $6 a share (supposedly), the price didn’t go down. Instead, angry Redditors — through a combination of nostalgic love for their mall game-store and righteous hatred for the establishment bankers and their political puppets — decided to act in concert to pump the value of GameStop’s stock.
As of this writing, GameStop’s share is valued at $193.60.
Multiplied by millions of shares, the short appears to be backfiring catastrophically.
So far, this incredible maneuver has been framed as a prank, or as an angry lashing-out.
But I think the more explanatory filter for understanding this whole event is that of a battle — specifically, an ambush.
The Reddit squeeze on Melvin’s short is an attack, performed in the context of an ongoing fourth-generation war.
I alluded to the prospect of civil war in my first book (2017), and explicated exactly what that kind of war would look like in 2018:
Given what has been successful at achieving the aims of war in the last few years, we can expect a lot of propaganda, lawfare, doxxing, boycotting, and mechanisms of disruption that are as harmful as imaginatively possible without being outright illegal. Expect everyone unanimously to condemn as immoral anything illegal, like punching someone in the face, but defend acts far more harmful but not as clearly illegal, like getting someone evicted from their home.
Reddit aggressively and decisively striking out against Wall Street represents exactly this kind of maneuver.
$70 billion isn’t a prank.
It’s an attack.
To be specific, it’s a counter-attack. In my opinion, the COVID lockdowns and the legalistic rigging of the 2020 election constitute attacks on America’s working class by the institutional powers that be, transferring wealth from the public at large to favored corporations (Amazon) and allies (China). It’s a form of enslavement by degree. If a slave is “100% enslaved,” while a taxed citizen in a night-watchman nation is “10% enslaved,” then we moved from 30% enslaved to 50% enslaved over the course of 2020.
Hedge fund managers appear to be on the side of this enslaving establishment, mostly because they have — as a group — materially benefited from the lockdowns and election outcome.
The value of viewing this event through the “war” filter comes when we see the institutional clamp-down on buying more GameStop shares and trying to restrict the pump. Reddit’s behavior is par for the course among Wall Street’s stock-market manipulators, but is being policed as if it were something new. People who believe we are one nation will get stuck on the “double-standard,” of permitting hedge fund managers to paint the charts (as they are currently trying to do with the crypto market) but punishing regular people for doing the same thing back.
If you view these events through the 4GW filter, however, everything comes into focus. There is no “double standard” when the institutional powers are acting from the “friend and foe” frame.
Of course there’s a double-standard.
Reddit’s attack on Wall Street was an attack, and should be celebrated as an attack, just as Wall Street’s transfer of wealth from Main Street to their friends at Amazon and elsewhere (via COVID lockdowns) should be understood as an attack on the public.
This war-perspective is not necessarily more pleasant. But it is more explanatory. And over time, even an unpleasant but predictive explanation may be more tolerable than the perpetual state of confusion experienced by those who do not yet realize that we are, in fact, at war.
A final observation — as I wrote in “How to Win a 4th Generation Civil War,” overt violence is far less effective than minimal-escalation. Reddit employed entirely legal tools against the establishment — if the establishment wants to punish r/WallStreetBets, then it risks legally prohibiting the very tools of Wall Street’s own wealth.
A bunch of bored gamers behind keyboards, employing minimal tools of escalation, accomplished more than anyone dressed like this:
The “boogaloo boys” may as well dress as Spartans with shields and spears; the nature of the battlefield and the tools of war have changed. Guns are still great to have as a final protection, but they are not just an inferior tool for offense — they are outright counter-productive, a tool for the enemy’s propaganda machine.
And if you aren’t planning for the offense, you’re planning to lose.