The New York Times published an article today August 17th titled Lack of Leadership and Generational Split Hinder Protest, which argues that the two points of contention are possibly related. Of course as usual with the NY Times, dry reporting is the default instead of an obvious position that may scare regular readers. With that said, it doesn’t take reading between the lines to notice that Ferguson and the rejection of formal leadership is a trend increasing in frequency worldwide.
One protester, DeVone Cruesoe, of the St. Louis area, standing on Canfield Drive last week said, “Do we have a leader? No.” Pointing to the spot where Mr. Brown was killed, he said, “You want to know who our leader is? Mike Brown.”
It is nice to have an active anti-authoritarian or anarchist presence around to reject status quo leadership and politics. In countries such as Greece the leaderless but revolutionary resistance has encouraged many to practice life beyond politicians, and protest leaders. Although now more often than not we see rejection of leaders as a consistent position. People on the streets, political or not during rebellion see themselves acting as equals instead of followers. They look to one another to organize, to fight back and gain knowledge. In the past resistance could safely be managed through TV, newspapers and official channels, now resistance is led by all participants and;
Politicians, community leaders, Democrats & the acceptable opposition are unable to channel anger back towards safe ineffective demands
There has been much written about mass decentralized media creating new forms of social, economic and political organization. The New York Times article asks if a generational gap exists. Well, of course one exists although not the one they assume. Protesters worldwide aren’t always seeking “leaders who represent their generation.” And the people on the ground who actively reject them certainly aren’t. It is not disorganization. It is meaningful. Leaders are not needed in an age when people connect instantly. There is no need for compromise when the necessity for revolution is apparent and equally recognized. Those who wish to control only possess the ability to prove their irrelevancy.
In Ferguson, there is a rebellion which shares characteristics of others worldwide. Similarities such as free association, rejection of moderate positions and above all, distrust of formal representation. It isn’t “political confusion” as the dinosaurs at the NY Times may think, it is in fact political cohesion. Political cohesion informed by all voices on the ground. Those voices have access to people fighting back everywhere. They no longer need respectable voices that intend to calm anger. In Gezi park, in Exarchia, in Palestine, in Egypt, in Madrid, in Ferguson how many people do you think fight only for longer chains? Very few. A larger cage, is no longer a political compromise worth fighting for. Our communication among each other is now direct and intention is annihilation of the cage altogether. Smashing these chains into millions of pieces.