The Washington Post calls 2011 the "year of rebellion by the dispossessed." I wonder if they catch the irony in that statement for the dispossessed Americans...moving along...
The riots have quieted in England but needless to say the reverberations are echoing off broken shop windows and major media outlets across the globe.
The shocking disbelief has waned and now explanations flood in, by everyone from sociologists to teenage kids. There appears to be a primary focus in the aftermath: rich vs. the poor. One teenage girl, when asked the reason behind the riots replied, "to show the rich that we can do whatever we want."
Sorry sweetheart, I don't think the rich give a shit that you're destroying mom and pop stores in North London - they're probably stoked in fact - more little guys out of the way! I doubt very many MP's or lords have convenient stores in Tottenham...
The problem with mindless violence is that it is just mindless violence. What point were you trying to prove? Oh fuck, I don't know, but you look like a bunch of uneducated, coked up, violent dumb-asses to me. Any sympathy, any hope of solidarity and a push forward becomes quickly covered by the dirtied soot of your dick stick fires. Moves forward are done by those that can think forward, beyond the sense of power at robbing an innocent person, beyond the ego trip of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a police car - it comes from those that can understand the issues and present hope and ideas for how to solve them. It comes from a people united, not in violence, but in peace and knowledge.
So, interestingly enough - although the riots are a stupid, juvenile way of trying to make a point, the aftermath may be just the thing to sweeten the sour taste of violence and mayhem. Thousands of Londoners have taken a page from the Arab Spring and organized online meet ups to clean up after the riots and bring a peaceful solidarity to the streets of London. Activists have been marching and cleaning, waving brooms instead of guns, condemning the violence and giving some insight into the unrest they say fanned the flames of the rioters fires.
One man, walking in front of a "Stop the Cuts" banner said it's about government, and the economy. It's about how they continue to cut spending for social services and continue to spend money in wars - Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya. Another woman said that although she certainly doesn't condone the riots, she said it was only a matter of time before the people got pissed off enough to do something drastic. Unfortunately, they didn't' start with the peaceful marching.
This brings new meaning to the phrase, "two countries separated by a common language." It appears that we have far more in common with our old colonizers than we thought. It's interesting to sit and watch as facebook is flooded with group upon group, all above the 10,000 fan mark, discussing, organizing, planning and moving...forward.
I must admit, I'm jealous.
I use this blog, my band and most of my time trying to engage and educate, to think and move forward. I am happy to see the aftermath of the riots is leading towards a social understanding, a social engagement that we here in the US don't even think to dream of. As I say at the end of all of my video blogs, we have to Think. React. Do Something.
As the woman said, it is only a matter of time. However, it's not that rosy - we can not just sit around and wait for that time to come. We must create that time. In a country for the people, of the people and by the people, a step forward in our name won't be made until we demand it.
Go out there and demand it.
**we can start by coming together online - facebook.com/rooftoprevolutionaries and of course, here. Educate yourselves - find the information they don't even bother hiding - create change by being change.