Friday, November 28, 2014

Sometimes a riot is a beautiful thing!

Have seen several posts on Facebook contrasting white dudes rioting over pumpkins and sports victories, with stores and cars set fire in Ferguson. Who are the real rioters, they ask? I was thinking about this on the bus the other day... how what they share, may be more significant than how they differ.
On the one side, there's destruction as celebration--a spontaneous eruption from joy to mayhem. On the other side, attacks on property out of justifiable rage, or at least--rage with more than enough provocation to make it understandable. But isn't that all too neat? What kind of celebration is this--destruction of public property--of shared assets in the community (buses, automobiles, breaking into stores)--isn't this as much an expression of rage as the other? A rage let loose in people by the celebration? And if so, is there not something similar in their rage to what we saw in Ferguson--a release of pent up anger?  I mean--anger that explodes out of the oppression of living in this consumer culture, of being valued not as human individuals, but only for one's exchange value--as wage slaves, as consumers pressured to want and need always more than they are able to realize?
On the other side--isn't there joy as well as rage at the burning of a cop car? And breaking and smashing things, the tangible symbols of a culture where nothing has value of and in itself, but only as means of exchange?
Maybe--however little aware (at least the whites, in their Dionysian celebrations), are of what is driving them, there is on both sides a common passionate hunger to destroy the material symbols of a culture that oppresses everyone--however unequally distributed the raw violence of that oppression--that there is a shared hunger for genuine freedom, for another kind of world?
This is why I see appeals for 'calm' and 'reason,' are but a disguised way of taking the side of power, of the status quo. And the worst--those who think of themselves as radicals, scolding those who 'lose control' --that is, who refuse to accept the top-down discipline of the tacticians and strategists who claim to 'know better.'
Let there be room for joyful destruction. For both sides. May it come together in a great celebratory conflagration to make room for a new world.

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