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.