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London/English Riots

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  • #61
    Russell Brand writing in The Guardian on the riots: Dismissing rioters as mindless is futile rhetoric. However unacceptable the UK riots, we need to ask why they are happening

    The only question I can legitimately ask is: why is this happening? Mark Duggan's death has been badly handled but no one is contesting that is a reason for these conflagrations beyond the initial flash of activity in Tottenham. I've heard Theresa May and the Old Etonians whose hols have been curtailed (many would say they're the real victims) saying the behaviour is "unjustifiable" and "unacceptable". Wow! Thanks guys! What a wonderful use of the planet's fast-depleting oxygen resources. Now that's been dealt with can we move on to more taxing matters such as whether or not Jack The Ripper was a ladies' man. And what the hell do bears get up to in those woods?

    However "unacceptable" and "unjustifiable" it might be, it has happened so we better accept it and, whilst we can't justify it, we should kick around a few neurons and work out why so many people feel utterly disconnected from the cities they live in.

    Unless on the news tomorrow it's revealed that there's been a freaky "criminal creating" chemical leak in London and Manchester and Liverpool and Birmingham that's causing young people to spontaneously and simultaneously violate their environments – in which case we can park the ol' brainboxes, stop worrying and get on with the football season, but I suspect there hasn't – we have, as human beings, got a few things to consider together.
    "They went into the house and were soon rolling about in bed together." - The Wrecks of Time, James Colvin, 1966

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    • #62
      That really is brilliant and humane analysis Mike. Answers my question. Not that I take much joy from it.
      Last edited by Kevin McCabe; 08-12-2011, 12:10 AM.
      Kevin McCabe
      The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. William Gibson

      Comment


      • #63
        We live a mile from Ealing Broadway and had the opportunity last night to go for a few beers there.

        Bearing in mind that Ealing is a very large, mostly middle class town, the area and number of shops attacked by the rioters there was very small and the stretch of shops shown on the news was the extent of the damage.

        Out of the hundreds of shops in the area they attacked a chinese takeaway, a Starbucks, a Cafe Rouge, a wine bar, a bookies, an Italian restaurant, an Oxfam music shop, a hairdressers, the infamous baby clothes shop, a corner shop and a pub.

        Six out of the ten premises attacked stocked alcohol. Six out of the ten businesses are privately owned.

        The pub had its front door and THIRTY NINE panes of glass broken and NINE
        GRAND of stock taken.

        Sadly, I've just heard on the radio that the brave gent who was attacked trying to put out a fire lit by a group of rioters has died of his injuries. So now what was a relatively minor piece of social unrest has become a murder investigation.

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by KevJo View Post
          It is wrong to loot and burn shops. It is wrong to trash a restaurant - whether or not you can pay for it in cash is neither here nor there. It is wrong to sell mortgages to people who can't afford to pay them. It is wrong (not to say incredibly dangerous) to allow the global economy to become a giant ponzi scheme based on credit.

          Everyone's actions affect everyone else, and we end up with a society which is shaped by how much we all contribute towards it. Given modern media, it's very easy nowadays for people to see how other people behave, and what consequences that behaviour has. The looters will see how many of them get punished, or even caught. That will determine how likely they are to do it again. They are also looking at how many of the bankers got prosecuted for their role in the last financial crash. I don't think they've got any interest in politics, or political agenda or motive, but that doesn't mean that that sort of news completely passes them by. The poor, for some reason, have always been fascinated by how the rich behave, and tend to seek to imitate them. (The only exception being the late sixties, when it was actually cooler to be working class).

          Similarly, your average financial whizz-kid will be watching the news, keen to see how many rioters get prosecuted/imprisoned, and will also notice how many of his colleagues got prosecuted for their role in the last financial crash. That will determine how likely they are to do it again.
          I completely missed this nuance first time around but, correct me if I'm wrong, but while what the bankers did may well have been morally wrong it wasn't actually against yer-actual-carved-in-stone-and-ratified-by-parliament law, was it? Selling sub-prime mortgages may have been ethically wrong but it wasn't illegal - at least at the time. Short-selling is almost certainly bad for the long-term health of the economy - and I'm please to see this morning that France, Italy, Spain and Belgium have (once again) banned short-selling; hopefully other countries will follow suit very quickly - but no laws were broken in the practice afaik

          By contrast, the activities of the rioters and looters in London, Manchester, Birmingham, etc. are visibly and discernibly criminal. I accept it's easier/safer for the State to go after the (criminal) underclass than it is to do anything about huge corporations - financial and otherwise - who may pose the bigger threat in the long-term but in the short-term actually contribute to society (jobs, taxes, etc.) in a way that rioters and looters don't. It's not right and it's not fair but until our politicians grow a collective backbone, while there's one country that's prepared to let Corporations/Banks act in their own self-interest in the pursuit of bigger and bigger bonuses and profits, then it's easier to ignore the tiger in the backyard than it is the irritating fly buzzing around while you're trying to watch TV/read/eat/etc.
          _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
          _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
          _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
          _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

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          • #65
            When you see the occupations of the people so far convicted, graphic designers, ballet dancers, school workers, these aren't the disenfranchised poor. There's a lot of hypocrites on the TV at the moment, trotting out their self-justification for thieving. I live in the North-East of England the poorest region in the country. It has high rates of unemployment & areas of deprivation. Has there been any rioting here? NO! These people are using Blackberrys to communicate, even if the phone company gives them the phone for nothing it's still £35+ a month poor & disadvantaged my ae!
            Arioch, aid me! Blood and souls for Arioch!

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            • #66
              The current political talk from Ed Milliband is of a lack of "responsibility", seen in the rioters towards their communities and seen in bankers / politicians towards everyones' communities. I'm not entirely sure responsibility is the word: they tend to mean "adverse consequence" when they say "responsibility" anyway, and morality based only on punishment is pretty shoddy (though perhaps realistic).

              I think a better word might be empathy. These disperate people, whether looter or banker (or pension company CEO), are screwing everyone not because they mean them harm, but because they don't care if they cause harm to others to the point where they may not even have considered it - wasn't even worth the effort to think about. They'd probably care if harm were caused to those in a close circle about them but outhwith that, not really: not if it means not getting want they think they want.

              Of course, we (OK, I) are talking about a minority of folks here: empathy is not generally absent else there'd be no shock at looting, no anger at bankers, no generocity towards victims of flood or famine who you'll never meet. These reactions are there in the vast majority.

              So are we (again, I really) trending towards asking what do we do with those where empathy is missing? Of course, this thinking is a trend for me: I rather suspect many senior level people got there because they are somewhat sociopathic, which is a fairly well related concept. For those unable to play that social game of sucess, violence will do: another means of theft to get the same target of "sucessful consumer badges".

              If that is the case, then we're not looking at a "sick society", but rather a society that doesn't know how to deal with the sick within it.

              Comment


              • #67
                Below is a Guardian article taken from a blog written by a young lad from London.

                http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/au...ng?INTCMP=SRCH

                He says this....."I've heard a lot of people speculate on the reasons for people getting involved in the looting and there are lots of them, many very complex (though none come close to justifying what is happening), but to me there is*one reason that is key and more important than anything else and that's that people thought/think they can get away with it."

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                • #68
                  Yup PV, but there's the same missing element: they can get away with it AND they don't care about the harm done. If they did, the risk of capture would not be the deal breaker.

                  Making capture more likely will get focus, as it is simpler.

                  The issues about a number of people that just don't care is much more challenging - will be dismissed as lefty accademic posturing in mainline news.

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                  • #69
                    I don't know if anyone here-abouts is interested , but someone has started an e-petition entitled ... 'Convicted London rioters should loose all benefits.'

                    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/7337

                    I'm not sure it would do any good in the long run , but at least it should go to parliament to be debated as it has over 100,000 signatures so far ..

                    Stacks of pros and cons of course ... I'll leave it up to to decide if you want to add yours.

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                    • #70
                      This seems about right to me.
                      http://counterpunch.org/sparrow08122011.html

                      Fighting Back in London

                      Counterpunch.org. By JEFF SPARROW. 12 Aug. 20011

                      "Capitalism is," Mark Fisher explained, a few years ago, 'what is left when beliefs have collapsed at the level of ritual or symbolic elaboration, and all that is left is the consumer-spectator, trudging through the ruins and the relics.'

                      You could not think of a more perfect description of recent events in Britain.

                      The riots of London were not evidence of a 'broken society'. Rather, to the extent that the poor and the disenfranchised turned on their own communities, their behaviour illustrated not a failure but a success: a striking illustration of the internalisation of neoliberalism.

                      In the twenty-first century, there is nothing anomalous about grabbing whatever you can, about scrambling over your neighbour so as to fill your arms with consumer tack. On the contrary, that's how the system works.

                      It's what's meant to happen – it's a feature, not a bug.

                      Back in the 1970s, the pioneers of neoliberalism understood perfectly they were unleashing an aggressive, insurgent doctrine that destroy collective identities, both those associated with the Left (trade unionism being the most obvious example) and those from older, precapitalist traditions.
                      'Economics are the method,' Thatcher declared, way back when, 'but the object is to change the soul.'

                      Tory invocations of 'The Spirit of the Blitz', the maudlin yelpings about the Britain of Sunday cricket and country pubs and village fetes, are therefore as hypocritical as they are reactionary. That past has been systematically demolished by a bipartisan commitment to market forces as the exclusive form of human interaction. It's gone, and it's not coming back.

                      In 2011, the neoliberal citizen is not defined by class or ethnicity or locality or religious belief. He or she is someone who exchanges commodities: no more and no less.

                      So when the various tuppenny moralists urge us to join the two-minute hate directed against some hapless kid caught on camera nicking some trainers, we might borrow a quip of which Marx was fond: 'Change the names and the tale is told of you.' The most heinous acts by rioters were, quite literally, those that most closely paralleled the behaviour of their betters.

                      ...
                      Neo-liberalism is the cancer at the heart of modern society. Pure and simple. It has isolated individuals from each other, taken away the most basic certainties of employment and social security and replaced it with fear, uncertainty, and a need for materialistic crap as some kind of sorry recompense.

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                      • #71
                        Looks like Cameron has hired an American cop to instruct him on the finer points of population control. More cops, more guns, more fear and violence from all sides.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          I have a question for y'all in Britain. What do you think Dominic Noonan was doing chatting with looters in Manchester? I have no particular answer, though I could think of any number from the truly innocent to the quite sinister. Thoughts anyone?
                          Dave Hardy
                          http://fireandsword.blogspot.com/

                          My books: Crazy Greta, Tales of Phalerus the Achaean, and Palmetto Empire.

                          sigpic

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Pikey View Post
                            I don't know if anyone here-abouts is interested , but someone has started an e-petition entitled ... 'Convicted London rioters should loose all benefits.'

                            http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/7337

                            I'm not sure it would do any good in the long run , but at least it should go to parliament to be debated as it has over 100,000 signatures so far ..

                            Stacks of pros and cons of course ... I'll leave it up to to decide if you want to add yours.
                            Oh Dear.
                            What a great idea,lets push the crime rate even further up.
                            "I hate to advocate drugs,alcohol,violence or insanity to anyone,but they've always worked for me"

                            Hunter S Thompson

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by silverhand View Post
                              When you see the occupations of the people so far convicted, graphic designers, ballet dancers, school workers, these aren't the disenfranchised poor. There's a lot of hypocrites on the TV at the moment, trotting out their self-justification for thieving. I live in the North-East of England the poorest region in the country. It has high rates of unemployment & areas of deprivation. Has there been any rioting here? NO! These people are using Blackberrys to communicate, even if the phone company gives them the phone for nothing it's still £35+ a month poor & disadvantaged my ae!
                              So the reason the Geordies aren't rioting is they can't afford Blackberries?

                              Haddaway
                              http://final-frame-final.blogspot.com/

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Too extreme or long overdue?

                                Mother of man arrested in riots is served with eviction notice

                                Cameron in his inimitable way helps us make our minds up

                                Mr Cameron said he thought evictions were a way of "enforcing responsibility in our society". He told the BBC that people who could face difficulties as a result of their eviction "should have thought of that before they started burgling".
                                In this case the mother is being punished for the actions of her son, which is collective punishment, which is an abuse of human rights.
                                http://final-frame-final.blogspot.com/

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