Over the last two decades there has been a steady rise in the number of so-called “party riots” across US campuses and spring break hangouts, culminating in an explosion of student unrest in just the last year. Since the beginning of 2013, at least 33 block parties and sports celebrations have devolved into large-scale riots involving thousands of individuals, hundreds of police (and civilian) injuries, and untold amounts of property destruction and looting.
Mask Magazine recently published an anonymous submission entitled “A Year of Pop Music and Party Riots” that attempts to draw correlations between the commodification of revolt and the IRL rebellions that arise in this context. The author argues:
The same year that saw Burn, I Love It, We Can’t Stop, and Can’t Hold Us reach #13, #7, #2, and #1 respectively on US pop charts also saw the emergence of total chaos is the face of police intervention. Surely this is no coincidence. No longer were parties resigned to a $50 noise ordinance and submissive compliance. Instead, partygoers set new precedents – namely, a collective negation of direct police orders: We don’t wanna leave, we just wanna be right now, I don’t care, we can’t stop, we won’t stop, we’ll fight ‘til it’s over.
Taking inspiration from Vancouver anarchists’ intervention into the 2011 Stanley Cup Riots (both during the destruction and afterward by designing posters that urged fans to “riot harder” and loot more), the author concludes by asking fellow anarchists to consider what intervention into party riot culture might look like and suggests that we “take this summer break as an opportunity to prepare theoretically and materially for future campus conflicts and we can compare notes in the fall.”
To better understand the terrain, we have compiled an interactive timeline of every reported party riot that has taken place since February 2013. (Clicking on a given picture will show more details and videos taken at each riot.)