City Of Light

City Of Light

Pigs will be pigs. You’ve got to wonder about anyone who’d choose to be one. Just as you have to wonder how many people chose/choose not to know that Rodney King beatings happen every day.

But the 1992 insurrection in L.A. was not fundamentally about the latest high-profile police atrocity, nor was it mainly a matter of race relations. Of course, the media worked overtime to argue otherwise, endlessly showing a white trucker being beaten by blacks, in order to equate him with Rodney King and trivialize the whole matter. Pushing most of the story out of the way, this tactic says, one “brutal and senseless” act cancels the other and things are not really that bad, except for such behavior. As if excesses committed by a population enraged beyond measure are the same as a calculated, vicious act by those who are not. More importantly, what is truly “brutal and senseless” is remaining passive about systematic degradation and not rising up wrathfully.

The media “coverage” was simply outrageous. Almost none of it hesitated to openly take sides against the slave revolt and array every kind of oppositional thinking against it. An outbreak that cost some 60 lives, burned and looted 5,000 businesses to the tune of $1 billion, and required 8,500 troops and countless cops from all over southern California to contain, was attributed to a few “hoodlums and opportunists” –an incredible lie in itself. All media attention seemed to turn to politicians and church leaders-for their help in denouncing the events unfolding, those cops who speak for the very few. The media behavior only reminds one that its job is always to advertise the culture defined by the commodity and its rules (viz. work).

On May 1st a group of German anarchists in Berlin unfurled a banner declaring their solidarity with the people of Los Angeles and attacked a near by group of neo-Nazis. In a radio interview may 6th, permitted safely after the fact, sociologist Harry Edwards that what happened “was not a black vs. white thing. Everyone was out in the streets, old and young and every color.” He also made it clear that people with jobs took part, including employees who destroyed their employers’ businesses. So much for the vain hope of capital that investment in new business will create social peace.

The rioting was not confined to the ghetto. In L.A., it spread to downtown, Westwood, mid-Wilshire and Hollywood, as desert-camouflaged armor guarded shopping malls for nearly 50 miles in every direction. The violence could not be isolated in south central Los Angeles any more than the depth of alienation can that exists all across the rotting culture. The decline of voting to depths that challenge the very legitimacy of the phony of representation is one example.

Those who wish to remain slaves as every authentic aspect of society, and nature along with it, are looted every day still summon up their defenses of slavery. Others, everywhere, who will not suppress their anger, their passion to live, find an inspiration in the explosion of those whose pride and dignity could not be suppressed. As Marc Fumaroli put it earlier this year, “the new generation is now discovering that the state of being a consumer, and above all a ‘cultural’ consumer, is the most humiliating and deceptive of all.”

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