democracy is messy: get used to it

Perhaps we are going back to the roaring eighteenth-century where people learned to live with riots as they did with disease and death. It becomes part of the nature in society. Background noise. The French Revolution changed the nature of riots in a fundamental sense. Mobs began to acquire more than a directing intelligence, which they had rarely been without, and to fall under the leadership of political strategists and ideological ends. Gradually, the dispossessed and frustrated, acquired a more profound and ruthless sense of identity which entailed more violence, tragedy, pain and death for the sake of the future.

---Madame Lamartine adopting the children of patriots killed at the barricades in Paris during the Revolution of 1848, (1848) Francois Claudius Compte-Calix...A tender portrayal of a woman, Madame Lamartine, holding the hands of the orphans of patriots killed in the French Revolution. The dramatic lighting and chaotic composition is juxtaposed by the woman's face as she leads the children to safety.

The root causes of most riots then and now are economic The American version we are seeing is by nature peaceful but the desire for overturning the structure of society and the complexity of the world’s economic problems make the present malaise unique in the face of unprecedented technological capacity to be both deflationary and employment reductive.The release of social emotion is not necessarily negative; however the underlying conditions that could lead to violence are not being addressed. America is running out of dependent and exploited empires; the easy money has been made and now we are witnessing a renewal of political ideology harnessed to social hope, and if need be, a form of civil war like Ireland. Individuals usually leap at glimmers of real hope, but America over the past 40 years has excelled at illusory hope. Eventually citizens will be willing to die by the tens of thousands so they can kindle an unquestionable spark of hope, not for the present, but for the future…..

..Two tents remain on the plaza after the previous night’s rally. About a dozen people camped overnight, it appears without city intervention. What’s really attracting attention is a stack of cyclone fence, the remnants of a barrier that had been erected around the lawn area but was torn down by protesters. The stack of fencing resembles a sculpture and many people are walking up to take pictures of it. A police officer just went over to snap a shot as well….

---Gordon Riots. Russell Drysdale artist.---In 1780, the British government lifted some of the restrictions against Catholics serving in the army. A Protestant mob marched on Parliament and demanded a U-turn. After their plea was heard, they dispersed and the authorities thought that the worst was over. But a few hours later, sporadic violence broke out against rich people across the city. The Bank of England was vandalised and carriages robbed. These weren’t political disturbances, they were “wanton acts of criminality”, to paraphrase the current Conservative cri de coeur. Rioters broke into toll booths, stole rolls of halfpennies and spent the lot on gin. Perhaps it is our Viking blood, perhaps it is the monotonous misery of living in a country where nobody talks to each other and bad weather is a constant. But the pattern of British history prior to the 1940s was one of regular social disturbance, followed by a good government crackdown. The workhouse and the labour codes of the 19th century were introduced to control/placate the proletariat, not liberate them.---Read More:

…The plaza is open, and one can wander around. Grass looks like a quilt of dead spots, yellow rectangles from where Occupy tents were located….Read More:

An adaptive reuse art installation on the lawn of the Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, California.

In Oakland, officials initially supported the protests, with Mayor Jean Quan saying that sometimes “democracy is messy.”

But tensions reached a boiling point after a sexual assault, a severe beating and a fire were reported and paramedics were denied access to the camp, according to city officials. They also cited concerns about rats, fire hazards and public urination. Demonstrators disputed the city’s claims, saying that volunteers collect garbage and recycling every six hours, that water is boiled before being used to wash dishes and that rats have long infested the park….

---Oakland resident Bilal stops to get a photo of the stacked barricades at Frank Ogawa Plaza as cleanup efforts continue at the site of the Occupy Oakland movement in downtown Oakland, Calif. Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. (Kristopher Skinner/Staff) ---Read More:

…When riot gear-clad police moved in early Tuesday, they were pelted with rocks, bottles and utensils from people in the camp’s

chen area. They emptied the camp near city hall of people, and barricaded the plaza. Protesters were taken away in plastic handcuffs, most of them arrested on suspicion of illegal lodging.Read More:

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