With protests around the country still swirling after the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury verdicts, St. Louis is to get its own dedicated ‘civil unrest’ czar, with authorities fearing more riots that could “radically alter” the city’s future.
The city submitted a successful application to join dozens of other cities around the globe as part of the “100 Resilient Cities Network,” a Rockefeller Foundation funded initiative which seeks to help cities “prepare for, withstand and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses.”
The city’s civil unrest czar will have his salary paid by the Foundation and will work out of St. Louis City Hall to develop an “action plan” to deal with domestic disorder and “endemic crime”.
As part of the city’s application for the position, it cited the growing threat of rioting and civil unrest, making reference to the recent backlash to the Michael Brown decision, which threatens to derail the future of St. Louis.
“A major and protracted event of civil unrest or rioting in the city of St. Louis could radically alter, weaken and delay the city’s prospects for continuing revival and revitalization,” the city wrote in its application. “The risk of civil unrest/rioting is connected to the greatest existing or imminent stress, endemic crime and violence, in the sense that, in the absence of a strong program of resilience, both implicate on the city’s ability to project and preserve its status as a strong, diverse, culturally rich, optimistic, steadily improving place to live, work, play and invest.”
With Ferguson and St. Louis having already been hit with major rioting and looting last month, violent demonstrations continue to take place in other cities.
During a protest in Berkeley last night, demonstrators threw bricks, bottles and small explosives at police officers, while another march in New York blocked bridges and snarled Brooklyn-bound traffic.
Although the issue of police brutality has proven a flashpoint for civil unrest in recent weeks, other experts have pointed to a coming economic collapse as the most likely trigger for a more widespread revolt, with economist Martin Armstrong, who correctly predicted the 1987 stock market crash, forecasting that, “a serious political uprising will erupt by 2016 once the economy turns down.”
As we reported back in August, the U.S. Army is preparing for civil unrest in the United States. A 132-page document entitled U.S. Army Techniques Publication 3-39.33: Civil Disturbances outlines how troops may be required to deal with “unruly and violent crowds” where it is “necessary to quell riots and restore public order.”
A report produced in 2008 by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Institute warned that the United States may experience massive civil unrest in the wake of a series of crises which it termed “strategic shock.”
“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” stated the report, authored by [Ret.] Lt. Col. Nathan Freir, adding that the military may be needed to quell “purposeful domestic resistance”.