By Geo Ong
Last Thursday, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics to win the 2010 NBA Finals. It was a tough, tense game, and when the buzzer sounded, I jumped! I yelled! I shouted! I didn’t start a fucking riot.
In Downtown Los Angeles, drunk fans exited the Staples Center and proceeded to hurl objects at police officers, smash windows and street signs, jump on top of parked and moving vehicles, set rubbish cans on fire, and vandalise public property. At one point, as you saw in the above video, a taxi cab was vandalised and set on fire.
I remember when riots stood for something. (Okay, so I’m only 24. I remember reading about when riots stood for something.) The Stonewall Riots in 1969: a series of violent demonstrations at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, unofficially regarded as the first instance in American history when members of the homosexual community fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities. The Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934: a battle between the Teamsters Union and most of the trucking companies in Minneapolis for the right for their drivers to organise. Oh, and let’s not forget the, uh, what do you call it? Oh, right. The French Revolution.
I’m no idealistic pseudo-anarchist. I know what a riot is. And I’ve never condoned violence. Change may be forced through violence and fear, but it is difficult to be understood through those terms. They say, you can’t reason with your enemy. It’s true, and this is why you outreason your enemy, and you get as many people as you can to do the same.
So if I’m going to riot, it’ll be in protest of the factory farm, or Huntingdon Life Sciences, or the publication of an ‘amended’ Finnegans Wake, not because my home team won a statue and I can’t hold my liquor.