I’ve seen this before. I remember when Martin Luther King was murdered. I remember my father telling us the cleaning woman in his office took him aside and said Mr. Brewster? You’d best go home early, and lock the door. There were fires. There was broken glass. There were cars overturned. In Arlington, Virginia, in the ‘Sixties, white people thought they could count on The Coloreds to stay put–in their neighborhood of Hall’s Hill, in janitorial positions. Until that day.

There’ve been so many other times. L.A., over Rodney King. Cincinnati. Ferguson. Baltimore. And on. And on. Nothing changes. It’s hard to understand why everything’s not on fire all the time. There’s been restraint, I tell you.

So when I watched a car being overturned and set on fire in Minneapolis, it was familiar. But there’s something different going on now.

Because one thing has been clear for a few years. There are people who want a race war in America. Or any other civil war. And I don’t mean the dime-a-dozen racist assholes. They’re just pieces. They can be swept off the board at any time and replaced just as fast. It’s the rooks and the bishops running this show. They want us to fall apart, to kill each other.

I just don’t know why.

I don’t even know who they all are. Certainly Russians. They’ll jam a wedge into any crack they can find. Vaccination. Guns. Race, for sure. They don’t take a side. They take all the sides. It’s easy to see why someone like Putin wants our fabric shredded.

The President of the United States wants civil war, too, though, and that’s harder to fathom. Perhaps the explanation is simpler than it ought to be. He’s an insecure ignoramus with no love for anybody, even his base, but rage lifts him up, fills his sails, tents his shorts. He doesn’t respect any American citizen, and black and brown citizens are merely at the bottom of his basket of expendables. He, and the daughter he finds most doable, are the only people he almost cares about. This whole damn thing gives him a little chubby.

But he’s also got an entire party behind him. With their own calculations.

Somehow or other, someone is calculating that when America falls apart for good, they’ll get all the money. All the rest of the money. I’m not sure how, but I am sure. Are you seeing all those memes about the “right” and “wrong” way to protest? The photos of those nasty people setting fires, the looting? They’re designed to be spread far and wide by earnest progressives and bigots alike. To make sure nobody misses the violence, to assure people that their assumptions about the dreaded Other were correct all along. There are people behind those creations. And those people don’t give a damn about black lives. Or poor white lives, either. They want war. They want the spoils.

But they’re not stopping with inflammatory posts on the social media. They’re willing to invest living bodies. They’ve got mercenaries on the payroll, ready to step in at any time, whenever the tinder they’ve spread around gets lit. Mercenaries to begin the smashing, to spark the protests, to ensure the violence.

Naomi Klein, in her extraordinary book Shock Doctrine, explained how the plutocrats have been poised to exploit any shocking disaster, from hurricane to tsunami to terrorist event, to further their own rapacious ends; they have playbooks on hand and players ready to muster. They privatized the education system during the chaos of Katrina, they privatized the beaches and evicted the native fishermen after the tsunami in Indonesia. And if a disaster does not occur naturally, they’ll engineer one: invade an irrelevant country after 9/11, when people were too shocked to mount an objection, and reap billions in profits. Stage a coup in Argentina and take over all the publicly owned utilities and companies. They’ve got playbooks, they’ve got players.

And that is how they can insert agents provocateurs into the protests in Minnesota. Just like that. They have them all ready to go. To incite, to divide, to conquer. Don’t fall for it.