Thursday, April 2, 2009

Why Riot? It Works!

In "Riots Are A Class Act- And Often They Are the Only Alternative" Gary Younge deftly lays out the importance of the riot for those who have no voice. He cites the working class French, largely Arab, youth riots of 2005 and the governments' concessions to their attacks. "We need to respond strongly and quickly to the undeniable problems facing many inhabitants of the deprived neighbourhoods," said President Chirac, and out rolled programs, jobs, and a build up of academic assistance for the underprivileged.
And the reality is that none of this would have happened without riots. There was no petition these young people could have signed, no peaceful march they could have held, no letter they could have written to their MPs that would have produced these results.

Amid the charred chassis and broken glass there is a vital point of principle to salvage: in certain conditions rioting is not just justified but may also be necessary, and effective. From the poll tax demonstrations to Soweto, history is littered with such cases; what were the French and American revolutions but riots endowed by Enlightenment principles and then blessed by history?
Younge may disagree with me and my pro-middle class riot stance, he views rioting as a last resort for the voiceless, a point with which I strongly agree. I'd submit too, that the middle class has reason to join the riot-privileged. We have been patronized, greased and stroked with empty niceties by the leaders, none of which pretends to aim at a path toward a world free of domination, mass murder, poverty, exploitation, and vampiric greed that shatters human bonds and grossly distorts humanity. Not to mention the current manic squandering by banks, investors and governments of the middle's class' money. That is to say, it leaves me dry, discouraged, and angry, and our voice isn't yet being heeded.

Read more about the 2005 French Riots, and read Younge's article, it's a gem.

No comments:

Post a Comment