From the Gordon Riot 1780 to Washington 2021. When mobs mobilised by authority wont go home

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2021 by kmflett

The violent attack on the session of US politicians designed to agree the election of Joe Biden as President by assorted groups of fascists and far-rightists has been widely condemned.

The attack was clearly inspired by Donald Trump who addressed the mob before it marched on the Capitol Building.

The aim was certainly to disrupt and send a warning to Biden & Co. that the forces around Trump are not going away. Whether the mob remained in any sense under the control of Trump appears unclear. However its constituent part, conspiracy theorists and fascists, are people he has previously encouraged.

There is a history of mobs put into progress by authority for reactionary purposes getting out of hand as far back as the Gordon Riot in London in 1780.

E.P Thompson wrote about the Gordon Riots of 1780 in central London in the Making of the English Working Class. The rioters were officially sanctioned in the sense that they were raising a reactionary demand to Parliament against Catholic toleration.

Thompson notes: the riots were directed in the first place against Catholic chapels and the houses of wealthy Catholics, then against prominent personalities in authority- including Lord Chief Justice Mansfield and the Archbishop of York.. then against prisons- whose inmates were released- and finally culminated in an attack on the Bank (of England) itself’.

At this point official toleration ended and the army were called out.

The difference between Washington in 2021 and London in 1780 is that the Gordon Rioters, numbers of whom were hung, were between a reactionary mob sanctioned by the Government and a rebellious crowd with its own agenda, those who disrupted the Capitol building, perhaps part mob and part politically conscious crowd, had no progressive element at all.

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