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The best place to view Los Angeles of the next millennium is from the ruins of its alternative future

. Standing on the sturdy cobblestone foundations of the General Assembly Hall of the Socialist city of Llano del Rio - Open Shop Los Angeles’s utopian antipode - you can sometimes watch the Space Shuttle in its elegant final descent towards Rogers Dry Lake. Dimly on the horizon are the giant sheds of Air Force Plant 42 where Stealth Bombers (each costing the equivalent of 10,000 public housing units) and other, still top secret, hot rods of the apocalypse are assembled. Closer at hand, across a few miles of creosote and burro bush, and the occasional grove of that astonishing yucca, the Joshua tree, is the advance guard of approaching suburbia, tract homes on point. The desert around Llano has been prepared like a virgin bride for its eventual union with the Metropolis: hundreds of square miles of vacant space engridded to accept the future millions, with strange, prophetic street signs marking phantom intersections like ‘250th Street and Avenue K’. Even the eerie trough of the San Andreas Fault, just south of Llano over a foreboding escarpment, is being gingerly surveyed for designer home sites. Nuptial music is provided by the daily commotion of ten thousand vehicles hurtling past Llano on ‘Pearblossom Highway’ - the deadliest stretch of twolane blacktop in California. When Llano’s original colonists, eight youngsters from the Young Peoples’ Socialist League (YPSL), first arrived at the ‘Plymouth Rock of the Cooperative Commonwealth’ in 1914, this part of the high Mojave Desert, misnamed the Antelope Valley,1 had a population of a few thousand ranchers, borax miners and railroad workers as well as some armed guards to protect the newly-built aqueduct from sabotage. Los Angeles was then a city of 300,000 (the population of the Antelope Valley today), and its urban edge, now visible from Llano, was in the new suburb of Hollywood, where D. W. Griffith and his cast of thousands were just finishing an epic romance of the Ku Klux Klan, Birth o f a Nation. In their day-long drive from the Labor Temple in Downtown Los Angeles to Llano over ninety miles of rutted wagon road, the YPSLs in their red Model-T trucks passed by scores of billboards, planted amid beet fields and walnut orchards, advertising the impending subdivision of the San Fernando Valley (owned by the city’s richest men and annexed the following year as the culmination of the famous ‘water conspiracy’ fictionally celebrated in Polanski’s Chinatown).