The Sunday night riots in Oakland following the Super Bowl are only a prelude of what is to come in America.. Granted, most of the "rioters" were not rioting for any discernable political reason but rather out of a sense of frustration that the "home team" lost in the Super Bowl, or out of simple a desire to "let it all hang out" in the streets.
But for the more discerning eye, these riots have the potential to become the basis for something much more, especially in terms of political rebellion. The surest sign of this fact is the predictable heavy handed response of the Oakland Police. Bedecked in Riot gear and armed with the usual array of "non lethal" weapons such as tear gas and wooden bullets that have become standard armament for Police departments throughout America, the Oakland Police Department once again responsed to the rioting with various forms of crowd disperal and intimadation techniques that are reminiscent of those used against Anti-Capitalist protestors in Seattle and Genoa.
This response of the Oakland Police has become a standard feature of American policing in general, and represents the underlying fear that the American ruling class has towards its own citizens who live in a society which is by far the most polarized economically in the so-called First World. This is the Dirty Little Secret which underlies American reality in 2003, and which American elites--from the White House to the Congress to Wall Street to the Capitalist Media--all fear.
These American elites understand correctly that even a small spark can trigger a blaze, and that a single event--say, the shooting of a Black youth by local cops--can set the masses rioting in a way which they cannot control. Indeed, just under two years ago, the killing of an African American youth in Cincinnati sparked the largest rebellion in that city in several decades, leading to several days of rioting and tens of millions of dollars in property damage.
Go further back in history and you have of course the fabled Los Angeles Rebellions of 1992. Though directly triggered by the Rodney King verdict, the underlying rage of the youths who rioted in the streets of L.A. was driven by a combination of Racial and Class angst. In 1992, the United States was in the midst of an economic downturn--much like today--and was involved in a war in the Persian Gulf, and governed by a man named Bush. Curiously enough, all of these circumstances are present in the America of 2003. Perhaps more so.
Indeed, for Antiwar activists, this is the great wildcard in the equation which should be taken into account in terms of stopping America's insane war drive around the world. Think what would have happened if the Los Angeles Rebellion that happened before--or even IN RESPONSE TO--the original Desert Storm War. Would the American Government have followed through with an attack on Iraq, if the second largest city in the United States were burning?
Perhaps, this time, America will not be so lucky....