Photos from Vancouver riots following Canucks loss.
There are riots all over the world, and it’s crazy to even use the same term to describe what’s happens in Damascus as what happens in Vancouver. This kind of thing always amazes me, and got me looking back at the Guy DeBord essay — my god, it’s like 50 years old now — about the Watts riots of ‘65.
This is sort of painful to read, and toes a line I don’t toe, but there’s some truth in it, same as it was 50 years ago:
“The looting of the Watts district was the most direct realization of the distorted principle: “To each according to their false needs” — needs determined and produced by the economic system which the very act of looting rejects. But once the vaunted abundance is taken at face value and directlyseized, instead of being eternally pursued in the rat-race of alienated labor and increasing unmet social needs, real desires begin to be expressed in festive celebration, in playful self-assertion, in the potlatch of destruction. People who destroy commodities show their human superiority over commodities. They stop submitting to the arbitrary forms that distortedly reflect their real needs. The flames of Watts consummated the system of consumption. The theft of large refrigerators by people with no electricity, or with their electricity cut off, is the best image of the lie of affluence transformed into a truth in play. Once it is no longer bought, the commodity lies open to criticism and alteration, whatever particular form it may take. Only when it is paid for with money is it respected as an admirable fetish, as a symbol of status within the world of survival.
Looting is a natural response to the unnatural and inhuman society of commodity abundance. It instantly undermines the commodity as such, and it also exposes what the commodity ultimately implies: the army, the police and the other specialized detachments of the state’s monopoly of armed violence.”
Guy Debord, The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy.