Filed under: Resistance | Tags: alternative, anger, protests, suppression, Tottenham riots, youth
A generation that have been told NO too many times awake from their suppression
Its an interesting coincidence that the year I move to London is the year the city starts to become alive. This is the beginning, this is just the beginning. If we say it enough times maybe it will come true. The news embarks on its usual round of suppression tactics, but who now can seriously take the media on face value knowing the incestuous relations between the police and the media, as revealed via Murdoch & Co?
What we are seeing is rage, rage of a forgotten and dismissed youth. Whatever the cause: student fees, abolition of EMA, a man shot down by police; the anger and passion is the same. This anger is always there, simmering, waiting for the opportunity to pour out and run free across the streets. Though as it erupts it appears misdirected and basic in its strategies.
Dan Hancox describes this feeling perfectly:
There has been a psychic revolution since the glass shattered at Millbank in November – and the new reality has been a shock to everyone. In Parliament Square you could see teenagers testing the edges of the kettle and feeling its barbed-wire edges, like animals caged for the first time. Pinch me to see if I’m awake, they cry, and then run back, eyes bulging with adrenaline – I saw it after darkness fell that night, when conviviality turned to intense anger: that same full-body blood-rush of fear and excitement you get if you’ve been in any kind of physical confrontation. It affects you physiologically, your nerves bristle and tingle, and you can’t help but come back for more.
I too remember that same rush of fear and excitement on the March 26th protest. Everything turned upside down, the world through a new perspective. It was a sensation of being very present, alive. A feeling people rarely have access to day-to-day as we are sedated through consumption, of objects, ideals, and fast food that fattens our limbs making us sluggish, weak and unable to defend ourselves.
This is a transitory feeling, holding its power only in those isolated moments. And the power felt smashing a window or stealing trainers from Footlocker is too a transitory and unsustainable one. It is easy to jump on the bandwagon and criticize these actions, and the anger felt by shop owners who are sweeping up shards of their shop fronts is perfectly reasonable. And yet what these actions are attempting to achieve is to reveal the transitory, impermanence of our own little lives. A bus in flames has come to hold so much meaning for we have allowed ourselves to depend on these aspects of modern life to a debilitating degree. The riots act as a way to demolish what we know, and the response is one of condemnation, for behind that condemnation is pure fear. Fear that in the act of demolishing our sense of ontological security there is nothing to replace it: no safety net, no solutions.
To repeat from my last post, we can learn much from the patterns of modernity as Marshall Berman so aptly described by embracing and accepting the reality of the dangerous and ambiguous nature of modernity. This is not a comfortable process, but stability is an illusion of capitalism. It is through the chaos and ruptures of modernity that transformation is allowed to occur. In this era of suppression it is easy to forget the tumultuous nature of the history our ancestors faced.
No trust, no respect, no fear, not anymore. No fear of delving into the unfamiliar and fighting back. Lets explore the opportunities of this ambiguity, but lets be more ambitious in our goals, in our hopes and desires, lets set our aspirations high, lets see how far we can go.
For coverage, updates and intelligent discussion on the Tottenham/Enfield/Britxon riots see Richard Seymour on Lenin’s Tomb
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