In the past, Americans would have tuned in to the sight of burning cars and people being teargassed and felt comforted knowing that those images were being beamed in from Somewhere Else.
However, it is a Pyrrhic victory at best, and in fact it looks to me like Samson pulling down the temple around their heads. This may seem a fairly obvious point, but the tiny percentage of human beings who actually have a voice in our policies seem to not have grasped it. They’ve destroyed the middle class and declared war on people of color, relying on blue centurions to defend their property. And when their police murder someone, they can do so secure in the knowledge they will withdraw unpunished.
How can this strategy work? Is there no single voice of reason in these meetings, in these corporate offices, suggesting that continuing down this road can only lead to revolution? That relying on a psychotic quasi-army will only work for so long before a revolt occurs? Do they really think they can maintain the current absurd levels of inequity?
Or, borrowing from Langston Hughes, what does happen to that raisin in the sun?
Monopoly capitalism was never going to be a viable long-term solution for human social existence. A child can see it – resources aren’t infinite. There’s only one planet. The idea that technology and innovation will provide for the future indefinitely, given finite resources, can only be a mass delusion.
However, in addition to the murder of Michael Brown, and the predictable subsequent injustice in the handling of his case, we have also had Bill Cosby much in the news of late. It’s a suitable metaphor. The Cosby Show was the first popular television program to concern itself with an upper-middle class black family of professionals. It was the most popular show on TV for many of the Reagan years. It was a signpost of a kind as well – Pryor had asked which way was up, the Jeffersons had been movin’ on up, and now the Huxtables had finally gotten there. Life was good.
Except it all turned out not to be true. The Reagan years were the beginning of the annihilation of the middle class, and the removal of opportunities for many people of color, and worsening of the oppressive poverty that remains to this day. At the same time, as we have all discovered, Cosby himself did not live up to the symbol he presented in his personal life. In other words, we were sold an illusion. The final teardown of that illusion will require a mass movement of perpetual resistance. I think it’s coming.