It wasn't Kronstadt, but it was fun.
My memory is fuzzy, but I’m trying to recall it all. I remember when the rioting started, I was on a bus headed north near Wrigleyville on Clark Street when a group of two hundred young people in their twenties appeared out of nowhere and told the bus driver they were going to tip the bus over. The bus driver, looking pretty amused, simply said, “well…,” turned off the engine and we all walked off the bus to watch it happen. Unfortunately a line of mounted police dispersed the crowd before the bus could be tipped, but the crowd kept moving at a fast pace. Amidst cries of, “Let’s fuck shit up,” and “Fuck the police,” the crowd soon was smashing up enough bank facades to make Bash Back blush and a liquor stores’ goods were expropriated for the party that the crowd was going to try and keep alive well into the night. Lone self-appointed peace police showed up to violently attack anyone who dared try and smash a defenseless window. Most of the crowd just ignored these imbeciles whose idea of a good time is apparently violently attacking fellow Chicagoans in order to save Starbucks windows.
I remember on Clark Street when we were all being doused in champagne and beer and having the feeling that this was the party of the year and everyone and their mother was invited. And I remember feeling how fitting is was when the police showed up ready to bust heads and sent most everybody home pissed. I guess that even the cops got to celebrate in their own sadistic way.
I remember the tentative and weary smiles of people trying to enjoy themselves the night before the workweek started.
I remember endless high fives and everyone in the city congratulating one another. We did it!
But after everyone is sent home, our lives go on. The city quiets down and the old anxieties return.
For now we return to work. But maybe these spontaneous explosions of joy are glimpses of what’s to come. Maybe one day nobody will listen when the police tell us to go home, and when they move in to disperse us we will stand our ground. I guess I can dream.