let it burn, let it drop

it all started with this image: a building in flames, pressed against a smoky sky.  in london they have been rioting.  you can affix whatever judgments you may have against them, but they are acting.  they are moved to move and even more they are moved to destroy.  some say it is violence; some say it is mindless; i think it is neither.

it’s sparked a great debate on my facebook wall, with many proponents of non violence trying to remind me that violence only begets violence.  but nonviolence in the face of violent forces abdicates its power.  who will listen to the pacifists when deleted uranium tests have such controlling effects and bombs are dropping on qadaffi?  and furthermore, i cannot grant violence against property the same moral pinnings as violence against life.  property, in itself, is violence.  property is a concept that is small and mean; it requires selfish impulses and a value system in conflict with life.  you must hoard to own and in owning you create class.  and in creating class you create war.  so we’re back to violence.

it seems there are exciting things happening right now.  the world markets are stalling, they are hiccuping and looking for more loans to keep them afloat.  in tottenham court, bands of angry youth–unemployed and desperate for survival in a wage labor society–are setting businesses and cop cars on fire.  and i am peeing my pants while crossing my fingers and doing a grown up version of the snow dance.  i want it to snow ball.  i want this capitalist empire to fall.  it’s tottering on the edge and tottenham offers us a window into the canyon.

there were 16,000 cops on the streets of london last night.  and what were they doing?  perhaps they were protecting us from what would rise out of the ashes of this capitalist conflagration.  imagine a world in which you don’t sell your life for a material existence; imagine a world in which you do what you love and share with others who are doing the same thing; imagine a world in which you share resources and responsibilities with the people around you.  you may call me a dreamer, but i do more than just dream.  i create.  with the ferocity of licking flames, with the determination of a slow burn, with the urgency of dry kindling.  i burn and destroy and in the wake of dying flames, i create.

i believe in the life-death-life cycle and i am ready to help the structures that exist die and play midwife to a new world.  i am ready to say goodbye to a life in which meaning is stolen from us and given to things.  the violence in tottenham court is not meaningless, the anger that motivates it is real.  and that anger grows out of injustice and violence against life.  i say, let it burn.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. paxus
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 11:02:43

    indeed let it burn. And please dont confuse property destruction with violence. This is an old trick of the owning class to convince people that scratching their sports car is the same type of crime as assaulting them. Politically motivated property destruction harms no one, it costs money for those whose money has generally created problems in the first place.


  2. Mikey Cain
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 03:15:12

    I don’t enjoy getting into arguments with friends, and I generally avoid discussing topics that I feel will cause a rift with my friends; although I generally make an exception when it comes to issues of violence and oppression because I feel so strongly about these subjects. A friend of mine informed me that arguments about whether destruction of property counts as violence and whether violence by individuals towards society is justifiable to prevent violence by society against individuals are an old theme within the radical community, and it seems that I have little to add to a discussion that is probably older than myself.

    I suppose that the answer that will seem correct to a person is going to be based in part on that person’s values, because, at least in my estimation, both sides of these arguments are supported by rational thinking. I must say though that I was very surprised to find my friends on the opposite side of this argument; I suppose that I didn’t understand their values as well as I thought I did.

    While I concede that I am unlikely to change anyone’s mind about the specific issues of property destruction and antisocial violence (and I doubt that anyone will change my mind either, I do yet fear about the general question of what an eruption into chaos and violence would do to both society and individuals. I can see that the disruption of the order of industrial society would offer tantalizing potential for the dissolution of current systems of inequity and oppression; but I can not condone anarchism without accountability to society at large as an acceptable route to achieve these goals. To illustrate why I feel this way, please consider this video:


    The rioters in this video did not target the little boy because he was an obstacle to freeing society from the shackles of industrial society; they targeted him because he was weaker than them. Imagine this as a microcosm for what would happen if the riots intensified and spread throughout the developed world. Without order and the rule of law to protect the rights of individuals, the most powerful members of society would gain the ability to act without fear of repercussion, and would thus have even more ability to oppress the masses; plunging the world into a might-makes-right anarchy of the despot. I will concede that order and the rule of law are currently used to oppress the masses perhaps more often then to protect them, but that is a dynamic that can absolutely be reversed. To completely remove social accountability would lead to perpetual situations where, like in the above video, the powerful are free to stomp on the weak with impunity.

    Something must be done (and I am confident that there are ways) to stop the oppression of the underprivileged, but the path of chaos would only empower the tyrants of the world.


    It occurs to me that what I have just written has probably been discussed countless times as well. I wonder if it is even possible to make any new arguments. I wonder if people will ever be able to find enough common ground to work together. Perhaps there is a gridlock of philosophy that ensures that nothing ever actually changes. Regardless, I still think that benefits of peaceful collaboration are worth the difficulties inherent in solving problems by working with people of different interests; not against them.


  3. Lorena
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 05:00:35

    beautiful post, sara.


  4. Ally Mac
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 02:14:23

    I can’t believe you wrote this garbage sara.

    maybe you should empathize with the people who lost their homes because some punk ass kids thought it would be a fun idea to loot nearby stores for “free stuff” and then set it on fire.

    way to look at things in a completely one sided, one dimensional manner.

    it’s sickening. you are better than this. or you were, anyway.


  5. Trackback: riot for trayvon martin « narcissism for the dubiously modest

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