The riot is a technology of collective dissent against a regime or power structure in which a people explode into civil unrest. Whether spontaneous or planed, the riot has been used throughout history as a tool to release built-up frustration, bring awareness to ignored grievances, and inflict large-scale property damage. It ignites once the people have been pushed to their limits and cannot contain their rage any longer.
At surface-level it may appear that a riot is a reactionary response of the people, but in many instances it is used in incredibly strategic ways. The principal objective is to destroy as much property as possible, especially that belonging to wealthy landowners, colonizers and the elite. In communities of color property damage is often done to gentrifiers and incoming businesses in order to forestall gentrification. In metropolitan areas where many big-time multinational corporations are located, a riot can cause major losses for capitalist enterprise. In occupied areas a riot can displace settlers and destroy colonial interests. In areas where there are state or governmental buildings, a riot can hinder the function of governmental structures and may even shut them down. Riots can even be coordinate with other actions such as strikes or guerrilla campaigns.
Looting is also a common objective during a riot and is done to bring resources back into the hands of the people. For poor communities of color looting is both logical and necessary for survival. Looting functions in two ways: it harms the capitalist target and extracts resources that can be used for the betterment of the people.
Riots are still unpredictable and if one breaks out in the wrong area it can be disastrous for the people. Damage to poor neighborhoods should be avoided at all cost. Intense military repression should always be expected and precautions should be taken. People can die during a riot and the inciting of one should never be taken lightly.
Step One: Popular Discontent
A riot can only spark if there is a significant amount of discontent among the people. Observe how much anger there is and whether it is at a palpable level. If necessary, you may have to increase the anger by distributing pamphlets/zines or organizing a traditional protest or escalation campaign. If there are not enough people angry enough to riot you will be an easy target for the pigs.
Step Two: Location, Location, Location
Where the riot takes place will ultimately determine its effectiveness. Location is one of the most important factors to consider when inciting a riot because the area of the riot is the area where the most damage is done. You will want to coordinate so that the riot destroys as much of the target's property as possible, while inflicting the least amount of damage to surrounding neighborhoods and residential areas. Often times riots that occur in poor neighborhoods of color are never repaired by the government and experience further decline. Riots that occur in metropolitan areas will experience increased repression and surveillance. Come up with a list of key areas where rioting should take place that will inflict maximum damage to those in power.
Step Three: Logistics
Most riots occur spontaneously and organically once the necessary pieces are in place. If you are planing to incite a riot it is still helpful to plan logistics and details. For instance, you may have the intention of joining a protest already in progress for the purpose of starting a riot. If so, be sure to track the route of the protest to make sure it crosses through those key target areas where rioting would be desirable. If not, plan to head the protest in order to re-route its direction. Most riots occur during street protests and are good vehicles for setting up a riot. You might even organize a street protest of your own with the intention of inciting the riot. In both cases it will be very helpful to you if you have a group of comrades who are in on starting the riot. They can spread themselves out among the crowd and coordinate when to escalate the action that will spark the riot. Discuss and plan these details as necessary.
Step Four: Preparation
There will be police and military repression during the riot. If there isn't chances are you have done something wrong. For this reason it is important to be as prepared as possible. Tear gas, sound grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons will likely be used. You will want to wear clothing that you wont mind disposing of and that can easily come off of your body. Do not wear contacts or makeup. Wear a ski mask or gas mask if applicable. Turn location off on your phone, take the battery out or leave it at home altogether. Write the phone number of a legal assistant on your arm if applicable. You will want to bring milk, Maalox, or water to treat eye irritation caused by tear gas. Bring Molotov cocktails.
Step Five: Inciting The Riot
A volatile or climatic rising action done by members in the crowd is what usually begins the riot. This could be anything from the first brick being thrown to a dramatic scuffle with police. If you have planned before hand, you may introduce the rising action yourself when it is appropriate. After the rising action anything can happen, so timing is everything. There will be agent provocateurs among the crowd. Be on alert.