Title: Preparations for the Next Riot
Author: Adam Bregman
Date: 1993
Notes: Originally published in Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed #35 — Winter ’93

For a moment there during the L.A. Riots there was jubilation as people showed they could take the streets back from the police, if only for a night or two. Poor people were able to attain things they could otherwise never afford. Capitalism’s excess products that forever waste away in the stores to be bought or always to be replaced by another on the shelf were liberated for use or for poor people to sell at swap meets for much more reasonable prices. Reporters on the scene were alarmed to see looters smiling and laughing. What isn’t fun about liberating free stuff from overpriced stores? People felt free. The crowd turning over and setting on fire the police car downtown was laughing, cheering and howling because they were having a blast and it was a crowd of mothers and their children, every race and age and every kind of folk you’d meet in this diverse city.

Communities may have come together to clean up afterwards. But communities also came together to burn down the local liquor store, to surround the local police station and to loot the local Circuit City. Obviously many small businesses were burned down and de-stroyed and some innocent people were injured and killed. But the media has well reported that story. That’s the only story they’re trying to sell you. The cops were declared not-guilty. The people were pissed. The city burned. The “healing process” begins. The looters go to jail. But they will not report that on that Wednesday night that people’s outrage at the police turned into a celebration, an angry, but festive-like atmosphere when police for a short time were defeated downtown. They had to call in the National Guard. Most of the rioters and looters were having a grand ole time. Together they helped fend off the police with rocks and bottles. They mutually aided each other in tearing off the metal gratings of stores. I saw happy free people fucking up the state. Those images will not be shown on your TV, so turn it off. They showed the torched police car, but you couldn’t hear the chorus of older women yelling “burn baby burn” and the roaring applause. The riot was not televised. Angry opinionated folks who somehow got on the microphones were quickly passed on for the next moron to say “This isn’t how people should express themselves. They should vote. They should use the electoral process.” Vote for any of the candidates in the 1992 election and you’re voting for the pig’s black, wooden baton to go crushing into your skull. That’s the kind of kinder, gentler justice all the parties in power will serve to you when they see their system collapsing.

The media is not your friend anymore than the politician is or the cop is. They filmed people looting. That film went to the police and now those people are going to jail. A lot is to be learned from the L.A. Riots. When committing any type of crime do not let anyone film you who you do not know. Cameramen who are stupid enough to let you see them filming are legitimate targets. When their camera is pointed at you they may as well be cops. In future riots people should wear handkerchiefs or masks covering their faces. Tattoos or distinguishable marks should be covered. Bringing along water is also possibly a good idea in case next time they choose to use tear gas. It can be applied to a handkerchief and then used to cover your face and also is good for when you naturally get tired and dehydrated. Of course refreshments can always be looted as worn out rioters did especially when the air was filled with smoke.

The police are well armed and trained to kick the shit out of you. If you’re going to fight the police you have to be able to defend yourself. In Germany anarchists wear helmets, carry batons and shields, bring projectiles to the protest, stick together and fuck shit up. You will not be able to hold off an advancing line of LAPD’s finest Gestapo soldiers with a rock and a sign. I don’t see guns as an effective defense in a riot situation. If you shoot at cops then they have every excuse to waste you. Shooting and killing anyone is about as serious a thing as anyone is going to want to get involved in. All kinds of intense emotions are flaring during a riot and guns are just the kind of weapon that will just as likely waste your friend or a passerby as the person you intend to shoot. I can only see them valuable in cases where you’re completely backed into a corner or in a well-executed sniper position where the target is one especially evil son of a bitch. But the police are often outnumbered and after all they are stupid. So if protestors intelligently fight back the police will cower. Never believe that they are stronger than you. They may be buff and trained to kill. But they don’t have the convictions that the protestors do, like that lone man standing in front of the tanks in Tienanmen Square. Sometimes you can tell that cops don’t quite know why they’re there. They’re paid to be at the protest. Protestors are there of their own volition. That’s what revolution is. Liberals holding signs and petitions and marching for peace are in a state of non movement towards nowhere, not even worthy of a-wrinkle in George Bush’s brow. The government and the rich are not going to hand back their power and wealth on a platter to individuals who want control of their own lives. It must be taken back.

The next time the city gets riled up and people take to the streets, there is no excuse for staying home and watching the spectacle on TV. If you believe in true freedom and creating a society based on cooperation, not competition, free of government and police, then you’re going to have to fight to attain it. If there’s a curfew you’re going to have to break it. They have no right to tell you where you can go. Younger people will need to defy their parents and say they are going to a friend’s house or something. Mayor Bradley is the typical age old liberal that would invite the police and army to take over the city and of course middle class suburbanites welcomed in the police state as well to make sure there isn’t the slightest inconvenience in their completely worthless lives.

Sorry Rodney King but “we can’t all get along.” For us all to get along in this city the massive poor, unemployed, and homeless people would have to ignore the super-rich who own the whole city but only use and live in a minute part of it. For us all to get along, thinking, caring people would have to ignore the ever increasing number of people who will “work for food” and that Los Angeles from East L.A. to the beach is resembling a third world city. The American dream has crumbled like the asphalt in any bad neighborhood and whole families are falling into the potholes that the rich greedy fuck in the Mercedes has left behind in his quest for ownership of the world. You’d have to completely ignore reality to buy into the peace and unity crap that liberals are trying to sell L.A. in the aftermath of the riots. The “healing process” has meant people returning to the endless toil of their wage-slave jobs or to unemployment and the endless degrading search for someway to survive in a rat-race with no end. L.A. is not a melting pot that tourists should flock to like some fake Disneyland Epcot Center. It is a city divided into desperate communities and widening classes that are separate, but overlap.

The hispanic community near Vermont was forcibly pushed to the East to create Korea-town. The 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica, the new hangout of Westside liberal yuppies was created after small hispanic stores were bought out and the homeless were kicked out. In Venice and Oakwood artists and minorities are forced out of their, homes and businesses by yuppies and developers who come in and raise property values and gentrify the area. People think South Central’s immense problems can be cured by big business coming in and opening a Lucky’s and providing 20 minimum wage jobs. Big business goes into South Central L.A. for one reason: to make money off the people there who are looking for anywhere to shop. That money goes directly into the wealthy man’s pocket and has nothing to do with the community. Those stores need to be burned down the second they reach South Central.

When will the city be ignited again? The L.A. Riots were an expression of a profound outrage that goes way beyond Rodney King and police brutality. It was a spontaneous burst of rebellion from all the far reaches of the country. It came out of poor and working class downtrodden neighborhoods and from the pissed off sons and daughters of the middle class on college campuses, while suburbia bunkered down and watched it on TV. Don’t be a spectator. Be an integral part of the destruction of the present and the creation of the future. Be thinking of what would be the best targets when the next tidal wave of outrage hits. The corner store, the library and bookstore all burned down in South Central during the riots. They obviously are not the targets you want to hit. If it erupts downtown take it to Bunker Hill and the offices and banks of the super-rich. Beverly Hills may have a huge police force, but they are in no way capable of fighting off an invading army from all parts of the city. Citizens of South and East L.A. must take their anger mobile en masse to the Westside. That’s what happened during the French revolution and a few years ago in El Salvador. The castles and playgrounds of the rich were stormed at least temporarily. The L.A. Riots were hopefully just the beginning of massive defiance against the government and the rich, and everyone who really wishes to create true freedom must be an active-participant in the downfall of the empire.