G-20 Summit Protest Riots Reviewed

Aquarian Weekly 4/8/09 REALITY CHECK

ANARCHY IN THE U.K. G-20 Summit Sends The Euro-Masses A-Riotin’

Nothing jacks my adrenaline like a good old-fashioned protest riot. Some of my favorite moments in TV viewing had to be the near orgasmic Rodney King mayhem of 1992, where police brutality met economic inequities in a king-hell blowout worthy of slick ’round the clock coverage. Dancin' In The StreetsIt made the Watts riots a generation earlier look like the Easter Parade. But ’92 turned out to be a weak year for anarchic spectacles when compared to the wild century-closing festivities of 1999, which managed to produce two absolute doosies; the spastically delightful eruption of teen angst at Woodstock III, where an exploited youth culture invented by TV and cola later described as “the crass commercialization of music and nudity” sparked an arson’s paradise, and who could forget the weirdly cross-ideological WTO street theater that made a war zone of Seattle.

I wrote about all three of those “happenings”, two of them in this space. Mostly, the pieces mocked the entire idea of getting that angry over outrageously-priced bottled water or finding enough armed solidarity to topple international free-trade agreements, but I must admit against the better judgment I have left that I get teary when I see kids heaving objects through windows or yanking people from their cars and beating them with baseball bats. There is a certain type of romanticism to the grouping of irate misanthropes taking on “the establishment” that gets to me, like Jesus riding the crazies from the Galilee into Jerusalem to “bring a sword, not peace” or Che Guevara telling the UN the seeds of revolution grow like weeds upon imperial corruption.

So, I get horny when I hear “The whole world is watching!” from the 1968 savage assault upon college kids by Chicago cops at the Democratic Convention? Sue me.

This week, the G-20 Summit, aka the planet’s industrial masters of naked power and pecuniary foot stomping met to decide our fate. The usual transpired; Russia acted as if it still mattered, Saudi Arabia toed the tricky line between atavistic war lording and the 21st century glad hand. China complained, Japan winced, and the German/French annoy-alliance pitched minor fits. Joe Cool and his wife pissed off the royals, made with the tight-lipped diplomacy and tried to extricate the United States from the cowboy thumb-nose mantra of the past eight years. But the real story was happening on the streets of London where every lunatic from Prague to Belfast rolled up their collective sleeve for a time-honored fuselage of wig-out.

More times than not firings have a greater affect than actual fire.

It’s just not as much fun.

As stated in last week’s ramble, there is little else in the realm of human fury that rankles the masses quite like the rich and powerful getting all pomp in their finery deciding if they’ll allow us to still have a civilization. This becomes especially galling after a good year and a half of rapacious drunken regurgitation of whatever may be left of free market capitalism. It’s the kind of thing that sometimes ends in Tea Parties or powdered heads filling Guillotines, but never without at least a little torch wielding and fist pumping chants by a motivated mob made up of the had-it-with-everything set.

Normally any meeting of powerbrokers brings the pain for the gaudy numbers of have-nots that can attract a march or two. This comes in handy during wartime, which is always going on somewhere, and specifically when grossly abundant nations have to hear about starvation in India and AIDS in Africa, atrocities aplenty in half of the third world, and whatever nonsense the Iranians or Venezuelans are cooking up. However, when the world economy is crumbling beneath an avalanche of fraud and greed and those who have sunk us are lighting their cigars with taxpayer sweat, anything called the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors is going to rile up even the most apathetic bystander.

By the time of this writing the property damage is rising and the arrests pour in. There has been one mysterious death, but that could happen at a Manchester football match, so whose counting? The pictures and video are good, though. Most of the really hardcore mania has made its way via cell phone jorunalists onto YouTube. There is even a poll to see if the damage rivals the French labor uprising of April, 2006. But it has to be rigged, because no one takes to the streets to make bloody rumble like the French.

But mass hysteria, while it has its place in the arena of entertainment, really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the world of big nation building and high finance. The beautiful people shan’t see the goofiness, and even if they happen to catch a few seconds on the BBC, they can switch it off like the rest of us. “It’s nice that people want to be involved,” they will snicker, “but the really important decisions have to be made in a vaccum.”

This is why our president was not screwing around when he whacked the CEO of GM before boarding Air Force One to leap the pond. He had to show muscle, become the voice of the people, show the rest of the world that although we are a country of gambling addicts forced to bring everyone down with us, this is no bottomless pit. The end is coming one way or the other, a fact made much clearer by the returning of $353 million in federal bailout funds by eight American banks late in the week.

More times than not firings have a greater affect than actual fire.

It’s just not as much fun.

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