Tottenham Riots II

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6079_Smith_W

ikosmos wrote:

Ok, so acknowledging Orwell's police background is smearing him? Who knew?

Sorry if I misunderstood. I have always thought of him as a journalist first, and a novelist second. I don't think of his brief stint as a policeman anymore than I think of my first job selling cameras. That is why I think it is odd (and on this forum, perhaps an insult) to highlight it. 

After all, it's not like he caught Ronnie Biggs, or otherwise distingushed himself as a cop. If it weren't for his account of his work doing animal control (no thoughtcrime there) we probably wouldn't ever have learned of it.

 

 

Erik Redburn

You put it in a way which implied he came up with the idea Ikosmos, which together with your mention of him being an ex-cop made it look like he may have secretly supported it in practice.

I made an point of it because I've seen some unfair anti-Orwell smears here before, even from theoretical allies.   

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Orwell identified/ratted out some 100 or so left wing writers and intellectuals that he thought were "Soviet sympathizers" to the secret police in the UK but it's unlikely he would have supported "preventative arrest" (thought crime) after creating such a brilliant expose of it.

The Orwell we never knew

Erik Redburn

I figured you'd get to that.  Orwell was no saint either, no, but his words live on. 

Erik Redburn

Orwell I should add was no friend of the right either, and the lessons of his books can hardly be described as saying 'resistence is futile' or that left politics necessarily leads to such.  Thats just Trotskyte spin.  Orwell remained left-leaning to the end, despite his mistrust of communists. 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

"Orwell was no saint either, no, but his words live on."

Yup. As do the words of Charlie Chaplin, John Steinbach and George Bernard Shaw (who were all on Orwell's list).

6079_Smith_W

Still not sure what your point is, Ikosmos. 

You deny you are making a smear, then you inexplicably throw a pile of shit on the table.

If you have a beef with the man, please just come right out and say it. I know there are enough people on the right and on the left who were pissed off at what he had to say.

I don't expect Orwell was a saint any more than I am, but whatever he may have done with respect to informing it doesn't diminish the importance of his work.

(edit)

For that matter, there is shit to throw around about Chaplin, Steinbeck and Shaw too, if one were interested in doing so.

 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Perhaps let's move the Orwell discussion to another thread, if the afternoon moves us thusly...

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

It's perfectly appropriate to borrow Orwell's fictional concept of "thought crimes" as a possible direction the UK authorities are heading, given their current orientation, and I have no intention of apologizing for suggesting that. Nor am I apologizing for identifying some relevant details about Orwell's life that probably helped him to come up with the idea in the first place.

The authorities in the UK, like their echo here in Canada, undoubtedly would like nothing better than for opponents of institutional and police racism to fight among themselves, rat each other out, and so on. That's their strategy. Studying Orwell can help us learn about both sides.

6079_Smith_W

Right. 

I'm not trying to make any points or taking a firm position on anything. I am just putting random facts on the table for your perusal.

So back to the topic at hand... 

How about those restaurants using the riot to further their business? I guess Bertolt Brecht came up with the idea first with Mutter Courage und ihre kinder, no?

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The Morning Star had an interesting comparison of the response to violence in the UK with the response to violence in Norway ...

Quote:
Those clamouring for hard-line retribution against this new enemy within should take a lead from a more mature society's response to its own social soul-searching.

Following right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik's killing spree in Norway last month the country's political leadership did not parrot populist cries for revenge.

"The Norwegian response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation," declared Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

The path which Britain's government plans to take represents the precise opposite.

Sowing Seeds of Division

 

dacckon dacckon's picture
ikosmos ikosmos's picture

UK Prime Minister David Cameron made specific reference to the beating that that student suffered as one of the "sickening" aspects of the "riots".

Meanwhile, the same David Cameron is, AFAIK, still a cheerleader of death in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and all the other victims of NATO atrocities and war crimes. I guess Cameron thinks the 33 children that died in Libya the other night from NATO bombing were "terrorists" or something. Funny how that is.

N.R.KISSED

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I don't think there is any denying the forces that sparked this, and which continue to fuel a lot of it.

As for the rioting as a response, I'd be careful about painting it as a reaction of the poor, because I am sure there are plenty of poor people who do not support what is going on, and who just want to have their neighbourhoods back. 

If it is inappropriate  for us to condemn the riots because we do not understand the social situation there, it is also inappropriate of us to sanction them if we are not in any danger of injury, or having our houses burned to the ground because of them.

At this point I don't think we can ascribe any single motive or strategy to what is going on. It is out of control, and no one is directing it.

 

What I find curious, although common in these threads, is that some people find it necessary to create a false binary. IF one does not condemn something then they must therefore be endorsing it. This assumption then leads some to vigorously condemn the actions of the rioter for fear of appearing to be sympathetic. This narrative also plays out in claiming that anyone who seeks to understand the social historical and economic context to the riots is "making excuses." A refusal to condemn the actions of those in inner city London is not the same thing as endorsing arson or the riots.

I think there are two distinct but connected reasons for refusing to condemn the actions of those involved in the riots.

The most important for me is that I do not think that it is appropriate as a white middle class male to make a judgement about what is an appropriate or acceptable response to marginalization, exclusion, invalidation, harrassment and violence that is experienced by those in impoverished communities.

A better question might be what exactly is an appropriate response to oppression, abuse, marginalization and exclusion, what is the right response to being written off robbed of hope or future or any prospects? What is the correct way to respond to hundreds of years of racism, social and economic assault and neglect? You are correct most people who experience these things do not necessarily riot, often the response is much more subdued, despair, fatalistic resignation, substance use as well as other subtler forms or resistance.Political options are not really viable because all political parties have abandoned those who live in these communities and have embraced the ideology that guarantees more of the same. So which is the best response is the best one in these circumstances. I hardly think it is my place or anyone else outside of the communities to say.

Secondly to condemn these actions really does nothing to help understand the experienc of those in the communities nor does it do anything to offer to change the conditions. In reality it feeds into the knee jerk reaction of violently responding to the rioters and engaging in the very behaviours and policies that led to the alienation and margninalizatino of the communities. It plays into common and dangerous tropes concerning race and class that only further obscures any ability to critically assess what has taken place.

I don't think anyone here has been cheerleading the riots or believe they are a good thing. I do think that some people think that this is an understandable response to years, decades and even centuries of social,economic and political conditions.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

N.R.KISSED wrote:
What I find curious, although common in these threads, is that some people find it necessary to create a false binary. IF one does not condemn something then they must therefore be endorsing it.

I would suggest that it is the same ideology of insisting that there are "good" protestors and "bad" protestors. It is a strategy to divide the movement against institutional and police racism. And some people chose to parrot these views.

Quote:
  So which is the best response is the best one in these circumstances? I hardly think it is my place or anyone else outside of the communities to say.

Have a look at how Norway has responded to the right wing violence in that country. It's instructive and contrasts with the response of the authorities in the UK.

here is the link... Sowing Seeds of Division

Morning Star wrote:
Following right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik's killing spree in Norway last month the country's political leadership did not parrot populist cries for revenge.

"The Norwegian response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation," declared Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

 

N.R.KISSED

ikosmos wrote:

Riot clean up or Riot WHITE wash?

Quote:
It's going to take more than posturing, ‘blitz-spirit', keep-calm-and-carry-on clap-trap and colonial Kipling-esque "keeping your head" to fix this mess. The strikingly middle-class, broadly white efforts to sweep issues of inequality under the carpet of a simulated big-society photo-op has been a telling, if little discussed, aspect of the recent rioting, making little headway in the scramble of blogposts and tweets attempting hasty analyses of the unfolding turmoil. This doughty bunch of volunteer cleaners, the substitution for a non-existent community, appeared right on cue to fill the media narrative all day following a night of London's most extensive social unrest in decades. Even Mayor Boris had leisurely returned from holiday to be snapped with the broom-wielding bourgeoisie of Clapham as they amassed for a bit of symbolic social cleansing.

another quote ... "today's broom-wielding petit-bourgeoisie = tomorrow's freikorps" ??

This is an excellent article and I have been forwarding it to friends

6079_Smith_W

N.R.KISSED wrote:

I don't think anyone here has been cheerleading the riots or believe they are a good thing. I do think that some people think that this is an understandable response to years, decades and even centuries of social,economic and political conditions.

Well whether or not anyone is cheerleading is up for debate, since the spectre of the downfall of capitalism and the reaction of the poor has been invoked a few times. But my actual words - that we should not presume to sanction this if we are not personally in danger of injury or having our houses burned down - would I think apply to the notion that it is an "understandable response".

And while I recognize that this is a complex situation caused by ongoing abuse and great pressure, I think there are probably many people on the ground there who do not think it is an understandable response, and do not support what is happening.

In short, while I will hold back from criticizing some of what is going on, neither do I sanction it in any way. Nor do I assume that the rioters speak for all people who have suffered from the abuse and discrimination that helped cause these riots.

(edit)

And on the topic of assumptions, why should we assume that people wanting to clean up and put their neighbourhoods back together again is a callous act? If it were my neighbourhood I shoudl think that would be my first reaction, even if it goes against the political grain.

"By the symbolic cleaning, cleansing and casting out of the rioters from the community, the sweepers appear to enact the closest thing to popular fascism that we have seen on the streets of certain ‘leafy’ bits of London for years."

Of course! What else could it possibly mean?  If it were my front step I'd just leave that broken bottle there for the kids to play with, as an act of Solidarity.

 

 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

6078_Smith_W wrote:
In short, while I will hold back from criticizing some of what is going on, neither do I sanction it in any way. Nor do I assume that the rioters speak for all people who have suffered from the abuse and discrimination that helped cause these riots.

Indeed. You seem to be going through a great deal of effort to say nothing at all.

In order to understand these riots, you need to be able to hold more than one idea, usually contradictory ideas, in your head at once. I don't see many making that effort. Is it possible to actually, really, want to keep your children from playing with a broken bottle and also to refrain from undertaking the potentially dangerous self-analysis that pictures one complicit in making these riots possible, even necessary? Indeed, is it possible to use the former to wallpaper over, to whitewash, to run decoy maneuvers around the imperative to do the latter? As NRK points out, we need more than binary thinking here:

Quote:
Well whether or not anyone is cheerleading is up for debate, since the spectre of the downfall of capitalism and the reaction of the poor has been invoked a few times.

A case in point. Aside from the fact that no one said or even implied that these riots were bringing the downfall of capitalism, there is a difference between the unsustainablity and inevitable failure of capitalism and its imminent "downfall," which no one has observed and no one has predicted in these threads. As John Dos Passos once told a journalist who asked him if he though that the failure and collapse of capitalism were inevitable, "Sure, but the question is when. We've got the failure, at least from my point of view. What I don't see is the collapse."

Rather than rush to judge, to scold, to wring my hands at the loss of law and order, I choose to condemn the response of the powerful, in whose bulging eyes these riots have introduced panic, and seek instead for a dialogue that will not "clean-up" London in the bourgeois sense of covering up cracked high street windows with new "Adidas is All In" billboards, but will knit the inequality gap and attendant political violence which led to the angry, frustrated and violent response.

Quote:
Opposing all forms of violence, from direct, physical violence (mass murder, terror) to ideological violence (racism, incitement, sexual discrimination), seems to be the main preoccupation of the tolerant liberal attitude that predominates today. An SOS call sustains such talk, drowning out all other approaches: everything else can and has to wait...Is there not something suspicious, indeed symptomatic, about this focus on subjective violence--that violence which is enacted by social agents, evil individuals, disciplined repressive apparatuses, fanatical crowds? Doesn't it desperately try to distract our attention from the true locus of trouble, by obliterating from view other forms ofviolence and thus actively participating in them? According to a well-known anecdote, a German officer visited Picasso in his Paris studio during the Second World War. There he saw Guernica and, shocked at the modernist "chaos" of the painting, asked Picasso: "Did you do this?" Picasso calmly replied: "No, youdid this!" Today, many a liberal, when faced with violent outbursts such as the recent looting in the suburbs of Paris, asks the few remaining leftists who still count on a radical social transformation: "Isn't it you who did this? Is this what you want?" And we should reply, like Picasso, "No! You did this! This is the true result of your politics!"

—Slavoj Zizek's Violence (2008)

6079_Smith_W

What would you have me do, Catchfire?

I think it is only prudent to hold back from judging too much what is happening on the ground there. If I were to say that the rioters were nothing but a bunch of hooligans, not only would I have people jumping all over me - I would be wrong.

Sorry, if I think it is also prudent to hold back from pre-judging the situation in the other direction - assuming that these riots are  the expression of a united class of people reacting to oppression. Because that is far from the whole story.

Frankly, my comments are more for those of us here who presume to read things into something that we do not fully understand.

Sorry if I am overreacting, but there seems to me to be a lot more concern about the political meaning of this than about the terrible things that people there must be going through.

After all.... picking up a broom and sweeping the street is fascism? Poor old Billy Bragg, I would never have guessed he had fallen in with such a bad crowd.

 

 

 

N.R.KISSED

6079_Smith_W wrote:

N.R.KISSED wrote:

I don't think anyone here has been cheerleading the riots or believe they are a good thing. I do think that some people think that this is an understandable response to years, decades and even centuries of social,economic and political conditions.

Well whether or not anyone is cheerleading is up for debate, since the spectre of the downfall of capitalism and the reaction of the poor has been invoked a few times. But my actual words - that we should not presume to sanction this if we are not personally in danger of injury or having our houses burned down - would I think apply to the notion that it is an "understandable response".

And while I recognize that this is a complex situation caused by ongoing abuse and great pressure, I think there are probably many people on the ground there who do not think it is an understandable response, and do not support what is happening.

In short, while I will hold back from criticizing some of what is going on, neither do I sanction it in any way. Nor do I assume that the rioters speak for all people who have suffered from the abuse and discrimination that helped cause these riots.

 

If it is debatable than offer evidence of "cheerleading" If you think that understanding is the same as endorsing then you are incapable of stepping outside the binary that you are operating within. I have not seen anyone proclaiming this as the downfall of capitalism that would be ridiculous. What is more likely and ominous is that it is a continue cycle of oppression/violence and response followed by further oppression.

It is clear you didn't actually read what I wrote. You seem to believe that you are in a priviledged position to say what is an appropriate response to decades of violence,oppression, exclusion and marginalization. What is the appropriate response to daily harrassment and violence from the police. Over three hundred members of your community die in police custody what is the understandable response? NO not everyone will have the same response to oppression but who are you to say what the correct understandable or acceptable response is?

It is interesting that now so many people are concerned about the residents of this community and their safety. What gets missed is that life within these communities is perilous at best for a great number of those living their they are exposed to danger and violence from both sources outside and inside the community. THere is very little concern in the media or the priveleged members of society for the members of this community otherwise, and any interest in their welfare will quickly disappate. THe concern seems directed more towards those within the area to which danger and violence are something new. It is very telling that Boris Johnson in his speech in Clapham only apologized to those whose business' were damaged as though no one else really mattered.

What you don't seem to understand is for the most part the voices of the marginalized will not be heard that is the nature of the process of excusion, it is on display in the interview at the beginning of this thread. What you will hear is the voices that support the dominant ideology, that the rioters are "sick" "animals" etc. 

It goes without saying that people in the community do not want their to be violence rioting or arson in their community but none of that changes the fact that ongoing violence and disenfranchisement will result in explosions of rage.

Personally this matter is rather close to home.I have a brother who lives in north London. I myself lived and worked in inner city London for five years much of the time in Harringay which is the borough that includes Tottenham. I also worked for a number of years in social services including in Brixton. This does not make me an expert in anyway especially in terms of what it is to live without hope of a future but it does give me some insight to the dynamics of the social, political issues that are at play.

N.R.KISSED

6079_Smith_W wrote:

What would you have me do, Catchfire?

I think it is only prudent to hold back from judging too much what is happening on the ground there. If I were to say that the rioters were nothing but a bunch of hooligans, not only would I have people jumping all over me - I would be wrong.

Sorry, if I think it is also prudent to hold back from pre-judging the situation in the other direction - assuming that these riots are  the expression of a united class of people reacting to oppression. Because that is far from the whole story.

Frankly, my comments are more for those of us here who presume to read things into something that we do not fully understand.

Sorry if I am overreacting, but there seems to me to be a lot more concern about the political meaning of this than about the terrible things that people there must be going through.

After all.... picking up a broom and sweeping the street is fascism? Poor old Billy Bragg, I would never have guessed he had fallen in with such a bad crowd.

 

 

You are being disingenous. You are making judgements,you are making claims about what other posters are saying without evidence.

 

What do you need to understand? IF you call people animals if you treat them like animals if you abuse and dehumanize them they will explode in a way that is dangerous frightening and unpredictable.

dacckon dacckon's picture

Judging who is a hero or not is based on opinion.

 

The unfortunate part of people analysing these events is that they do take one perspective. A sociologist or a crimologist who only takes one perspective is a bad at what they do. We have to ask ourselves how much was the riot based on rational choice? How much was is based on subculture or strain? Can it all be blamed on conflict theory? Was it social disorganization or social internaction of the youth? How do we prevent the labeling of the accused?

Bec.De.Corbin Bec.De.Corbin's picture

 

Sorry Catchfire, I just can't just instantly exonerate all the rioters 100% from their actions like you seem to be able to. Just saying...

6079_Smith_W

N.R.KISSED wrote:

You are being disingenous. You are making judgements,you are making claims about what other posters are saying without evidence.

 

What do you need to understand? IF you call people animals if you treat them like animals if you abuse and dehumanize them they will explode in a way that is dangerous frightening and unpredictable.

Except that not everyone there is exploding in that way, and I would expect that there are some people in those communities who strongly disagree with what is going on. And indeed there are many who are suffering because of it. 

As for making claims about other posters, I have done no such thing.  I have not named names  because I don't want to get personal about this. But the focus here seems to be the rioting as a natural response to social and political pressures. And the fact is that not all people there have resorted to rioting, and a good deal of the violence is opportunism.

And there has also been hardly a word about restoring order and safety in those communities. It doesn't get any clearer than the notion that cleaning up is fascism.

Again, I think we would look at this all very diffferently if it were happening in our neighbourhood.

 

N.R.KISSED

6079_Smith_W wrote:

N.R.KISSED wrote:

You are being disingenous. You are making judgements,you are making claims about what other posters are saying without evidence.

 

What do you need to understand? IF you call people animals if you treat them like animals if you abuse and dehumanize them they will explode in a way that is dangerous frightening and unpredictable.

Except that not everyone there is exploding in that way, and I would expect that there are some people in those communities who strongly disagree with what is going on. And indeed there are many who are suffering because of it. 

As for making claims about other posters, I have done no such thing.  I have not named names  because I don't want to get personal about this. But the focus here seems to be the rioting as a natural response to social and political pressures. And the fact is that not all people there have resorted to rioting, and a good deal of the violence is opportunism.

And there has also been hardly a word about restoring order and safety in those communities. It doesn't get any clearer than the notion that cleaning up is fascism.

Again, I think we would look at this all very diffferently if it were happening in our neighbourhood.

 

I already agreed that yes their are different responses to oppression. I am not putting myself in the positon of saying which responses  are acceptable. You are. You seem to believe that you are in a positon to determine what is the appropriate response to systemic violence, neglect and exclusion. I also agreed that there will be differnences of opinion even within marginalized communities. I believe all responses are understandable, I am not in a position to say what is an acceptable response. The idea is that the poor should just take it, engage in resignation or despair but don't let your anger turn to violence. In doing so you are not only invalidating experiences of which you have no idea about but you  are also playing into a common narrative of the deserving and undeserving poor. Such discourse only leads to further oppression and deeper exclusion. YOu don't seem to understand the distinction between understanding and endorsing or "sanctifyng". It is possible to understand what leads to acts of violence without approving of them.

You don't have to "name names" but if you are suggesting that babblers are "cheerleading" the riots than you should provide evidence for such accusations.

It is also more than apparent that you didn't understand the issues the article about the "clean up brigades" was raising, it is the same issue that middle class white  people the government the media are determining who is a proper londer who really belongs . This is the basis of social exclusion and at the heart of the problem,

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Massive Attack issues statement on UK riots

Quote:
In context with the complicit support of the government, the banks looted the nation’s wealth while destroying countless small businesses and brought the whole economy to its knees in a covert, clean manner, rather like organised crime.

Our reaction was to march and wave banners and then bail them out. These kids would have to riot and steal every night for a year to run up a bill equivalent to the value of non-paid tax big business has ‘avoided’ out of the economy this year alone.

They may not articulate their grievances like the politicians that condemn them but this is absolutely political. As for the ‘mindless violence’… is there anything more mindless than the British taxpayer quietly paying back the debts of others while contributing bullets to conflicts that we have absolutely no understanding of?

It’s mad, sad and scary when we have to take to the streets to defend our homes and businesses from angry thieving kids, but where are the police and what justice is ever done when the mob is dressed in pin stripe.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Give Our Kids a Future! A North London Unity Demonstration

This march is called by The North London Assembly, a temporary Assembly which saw 70 local community activists at the North London Community House on Tuesday 9th August to discuss our reaction to the riots of early August. They including people from many Turkish and Kurdish community groups like Day Mer and Gik Der and also the Haringay and Hackney Alliances for Public Services who are all supporting this march.  We state that this is not us seeking to represent the community put it is our attempt to try to bring unity to the community in which we live.  This will be a positive and peaceful march with an Assembly at the end for people to express what they are thinking about recent events.

Statement 10/8/2011

A North London Unity Demonstration
Saturday 13th August
Assemble Gillet Square, Dalston, N16 at 1pm. March to Tottenham Green, N15

Our communities need a united response to both the riots and the causes of despair and frustration that can result in riots.

We demand:

• A CULTURE OF VALUING, NOT DEMONISING YOUTH AND UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE.
• SUPPORT FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY THE RIOTING, INCLUDING THE IMMEDIATE RE-HOUSING OF PEOPLE MADE HOMELESS AS WELL AS GRANTS FOR AFFECTED
SMALL BUSINESSES.
- COMMUNITY LED REGENERATION AND RESTORATION OF DAMAGED AREAS.
• REVERSAL OF ALL CUTS TO YOUTH SERVICES IN OUR BOROUGHS
• NO CUTS TO PUBLIC SERVICES! INSTEAD, INVESTMENT INTO AND REGENERATION OF OUR COMMUNITIES, INCLUDING HOUSING, JOBS, EDUCATION AND SPORTS
FACILITIES.
• AN INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY INQUIRY INTO POLICING METHODS IN OUR BOROUGHS. AND AN END TO STOP AND SEARCH.
• AVAILABILITY OF LEGAL SUPPORT FOR ALL THOSE PEOPLE ARRESTED BY POLICE – YOUNG PEOPLE FACE POTENTIAL SENTENCES THAT WILL AFFECT THEM, THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR WIDER COMMUNITIES FOR YEARS TO COME.....

http://www.europeanrevolution.net/?p=1301

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

A paradox of our time is that while the authorities seem only to respect the use of force, they denounce it in the shrillest way when it arrives. This is called civilization.

6079_Smith_W

N.R.KISSED wrote:

I already agreed that yes their are different responses to oppression. I am not putting myself in the positon of saying which responses  are acceptable. You are. You seem to believe that you are in a positon to determine what is the appropriate response to systemic violence, neglect and exclusion. I also agreed that there will be differnences of opinion even within marginalized communities. I believe all responses are understandable, I am not in a position to say what is an acceptable response. The idea is that the poor should just take it, engage in resignation or despair but don't let your anger turn to violence. In doing so you are not only invalidating experiences of which you have no idea about but you  are also playing into a common narrative of the deserving and undeserving poor. Such discourse only leads to further oppression and deeper exclusion. YOu don't seem to understand the distinction between understanding and endorsing or "sanctifyng". It is possible to understand what leads to acts of violence without approving of them.

 

Actually I didn't say any of the things you seem to think I did. I do understand why those riots started, and I think the question of what an "acceptable response" is as absurd as asking why any disaster happens. 

What I am saying is that the assumption that rioting is the only valid response is false, because there are plenty of people there who are not rioting, and who are trying desparately to end it and bring the situation back into order. 

What I find difficult is taking the discussion of this tragedy to every abstraction, while ignoring what are the most pressing issues on the ground there - the people injured, made homeless, and in fear because of this uprising, and bringing it to an end and hopefully some resolution.

So sorry, while I do understand why it happened, it is not good enough to just accept it. Steps need to be taken to end it, hopefully steps that are a bit more productive than those planned by the government.

(edit)

@ epaulo #77

excellent news.

Veeravel

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14483149

^ All the boxing gloves already laid out for everyone! But the best reason of them all from one of the comments :

Quote:
As society drifts away from God..the source of absolute morality..there is no benchmark..no purpose and no future..consequently..no satisfaction and contentment and peace..it's really quite simple..all humans were made for once purpose..when they ignore that..life is meaningless..if uk wants to put on their busses..'there is no God'..they will have to face the consequences unfortunately..

On a more serious note, I understand both the rage of the rioters and of those angry at the rioters. However, is it too idealistic to believe that even the most utmost expressions of rage can be done with some form of deceny, without the loss of peoples' livelihood and historical buildings, or is it a case of bored kids (how destitute is one when they have a blackberry?) hijacking the legitmate concerns of the anti-racist Totthenham riots?

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Looters apologize to communities for causing two days of visits by politicians

NewBiscuit wrote:
  Senior looters have returned early from their summer riots to apologise to local communities across England for unleashing a wave of visits by annoying, insincere politicians....

Efforts are being made to shore up the looters' presence tonight with an additional 6,000 nine- to sixteen-year-olds being brought in from the Home Counties to support the metropolitan rioters. But tensions are already mounting in the central suburb of Westminster, where around 650 politicians are reported to be gathering in preparation for a whole afternoon of mindless outrage and violent expostulation. ‘We'll do what we can to contain these yobs,' said one looter. ‘But you have to remember that these people will stop at nothing to get what they want - we can't guarantee public safety if they set Vince Cable on us.'

LOL!

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

David Harvey writes very intelligently about feral capitalism and notes the following ...

David Harvey wrote:
A political economy of mass dispossession, of predatory practices to the point of daylight robbery, particularly of the poor and the vulnerable, the unsophisticated and the legally unprotected, has become the order of the day. Does anyone believe it is possible to find an honest capitalist, an honest banker, an honest politician, an honest shopkeeper or an honest police commisioner any more? Yes, they do exist. But only as a minority that everyone else regards as stupid. Get smart. Get easy profits. Defraud and steal! The odds of getting caught are low. And in any case there are plenty of ways to shield personal wealth from the costs of corporate malfeasance.

Thatcherism Unchained

What I say may sound shocking. Most of us don't see it because we don't want to. Certainly no politician dare say it and the press would only print it to heap scorn upon the sayer. But my guess is that every street rioter knows exactly what I mean. They are only doing what everyone else is doing, though in a different way - more blatantly and visibly in the streets. Thatcherism unchained the feral instincts of capitalism (the "animal spirits" of the entrepreneur they coyly named it) and nothing has transpired to curb them since. Slash and burn is now openly the motto of the ruling classes pretty much everywhere.

There is also a very interesting little piece about the Wigan Riots of 1853 by some guy named Karl Marx.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Again, I think we would look at this all very diffferently if it were happening in our neighbourhood.

This is the same universalizing impulse which prevents you from understanding what those who refuse to condemn the rioters are saying: the point is that it is not happening in your neighbourhood. It is "happening" (what an insidious, intransitive verb, stripping, as it does, the agency from the architects of this violence) to the poorest and most neglected neighbourhoods in England. Not--precisely not--to you.

6079_Smith_W

Look, if you don't want to hear what I am saying, fine, but please don't tell me what I do and do not understand.

(edit)

Have I once condemned the initial violence that took place after the killing? As far as I am concerned it was a horrific response to an unbearable situation. 

As for what has happened since, I am sorry, but attempts to portray it as one united movement standing up to authority is baseless.

Some people may be taking actions, but the situation as a whole is out of control. It is a disaster happening.

 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Quote:
As for what has happened since, I am sorry, but attempts to portray it as one united movement standing up to authority is baseless.

What thread are you reading? Are you reading?

6079_Smith_W

Yes. I am.

Doug
Ghislaine

Setting fire to a building with people inside (who are themselves poor and marginalized) is never an understandable response.

I have a much higher opinion of human beings than some here. I don't believe that poor, black people will inevitable be violent or commit crimes. Jeez - is this Fox News? I know the language used here is quite different and philosophical, however the message is the same. Poor, black young men are obviously going to commit arson, looting, violence, etc. The difference here is the idea that this is understandable.

There are thousands of people resisting the rioters who are themselves poor people of colour. They are trying to rebuild their neighbourhoods. Imagine being a young family in one of these areas. They are being victimized by this whole mess. What is the opinion about them of some here? That they will inevitably become violent and destructive as well?

I have worked in social services and child welfare in a variety of contexts NR Kissed and absolutely hated the attitude that certain groups of people (often children/youths in my context) were inevitably going to be or do certain things. It is racist, classist and certainly not anti-oppressive.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Catchfire wrote:

Quote:
As for what has happened since, I am sorry, but attempts to portray it as one united movement standing up to authority is baseless.

What thread are you reading? Are you reading?

Straw is easier to argue with than real posters thoughts and posts.  We have a number of posters who can really demolish straw people arguments.  Not so much actual arguments being put forward by others.

6079_Smith_W

Really, NS?

It is interesting that when I hold back from criticism I am told that I am not saying anything, and when I voice an opinion I am told I don't know anything because I don't live there. Meanwhile the opinions of others who are sitting here in comfort, not having their houses burned down just like me, go unchallenged.

Read post #65 if you want an example of the notion that this is a movement. And there are plenty of posts here that suggest that this event has has one overriding meaning, or is the default response for the oppressed with no consideration for those who might think otherwise.

If that is the case I wonder where the professional gangsters that used this riot to clean out shops in Manchester fit into the tidy model. Likewise how do the people who used the crisis to settle scores fit into this. And those people who organized themselves and defended their neighbourhoods - are they just on the front line of those fascist sweepers that are in league with the real looter David Cameron?

Sorry to broach the opinion that not everyone over there is following the script, but I think this discussion has been heavy on detached theorizing, and very thin on the actual situation -  death, destruction and fear. And likewise thin on how to work past it.

And for the record, I don't think the British government is off to a great start in that department if the best they can think of is evicting those found to have been looting. I can only hope that somehting better can come from other levels of government, or from the communities themselves.

Lachine Scot

ikosmos wrote:

A paradox of our time is that while the authorities seem only to respect the use of force, they denounce it in the shrillest way when it arrives. This is called civilization.

Well said. It reminds me of the Israel-Palestine conflict or other places where there have been both violent and non-violent groups resisting a dominant society. Sigh...

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Your argument sounds to me like a white wash.  Not many black slaves revolted so ergo the ones who did were not part of any movement but just hoodlums destroying the very community they lived in.  It is a historical fact that not all blacks in South Africa rose up in revolt and some had their neighbourhoods burnt down in out of control riots and I am sure they didn't like it either.  So that proves there was no movement in South Africa only thugs and malcontents.  Hell Ghandi only had a minority of the Indian population out on the streets protesting the British rule and since there were Indian business people who supported the British Raj then Ghandi's non violent resistance was not really a movement either.  Especially given that there were many riots during the same period as Ghandi was preaching non violence.  

I personally much prefer the current Spanish revolution to any of the movements that are taking place across Europe in opposition to the austerity measures.  Just because some Greeks burn buildings and riot in the streets doesn't mean there is no movement.  The Spanish Indignatos with their hands in the air symbol of their non violence is a beautiful thing to behold but then they have fascism within living memory and thus appear to understand better than most the cycle of violence that leads directly to police brutality.  

The people rioting in the streets of London have many different motivations but none of this would be happening without the profound social inequality in Britain. 

#80

In Canada most poorer people only have cell phones because land lines cost too much and are tethered to a place.  I don't know a single under thirty person who has a land line.  That must mean they are all well off.  LOL

6079_Smith_W

Likewise - portraying this as the "use of force". Sorry, but as near as I can see this is a train wreck brought about largely because of oppression and poverty. I see the actions of some people - NOT all -  who were so desparate that they felt there was nothing else they could do. 

I have great sympathy for them and  the situation that drove them to that. But to see them as "architects" taking action. Sorry, but I don't think that applies to the entire chaotic situation. A train wreck is a train wreck, not military strategy.

 

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Likewise - portraying this as the "use of force". Sorry, but as near as I can see this is a train wreck brought about largely because of oppression and poverty. I see the actions of some people - NOT all -  who were so desparate that they felt there was nothing else they could do. 

I have great sympathy for them and  the situation that drove them to that. But to see them as "architects" taking action. Sorry, but I don't think that applies to the entire chaotic situation. A train wreck is a train wreck, not military strategy.

Could you please quote the posts that contain your words in quotation marks.  Otherwise I have no idea of the context they were made in.  I find context to be extremely important to debating.  Otherwise one is shadow boxing with out of context statements.  It is similar to but not the same as a straw person argument.

6079_Smith_W

Well, NS (#91) I do know there were peaceful demonstration as part of the reacton to the initial shooting, but as for the riots, if there was an organized group directing it, or even large parts of it, make your case and we can talk about it. 

Other than a few people voicing opinions from the valid - that no one paid attention to peaceful acts - to the strange - comparing "redistribution of wealth" (read: theft) with the tea party - and people using blackberries to find out where unlooted areas were,  the most organized arm of the riots I have read about so far are those actual gansters.

Any reports of people organizing that I read about were people trying to defend themselves and STOP the riot.

(edit)

and I cross posted with you before. THe quote was from Ikosmos's statement in #90. And Catchfire used the word "architect" back at #83.

 

 

N.R.KISSED

Ghislaine wrote:

Setting fire to a building with people inside (who are themselves poor and marginalized) is never an understandable response.

I have a much higher opinion of human beings than some here. I don't believe that poor, black people will inevitable be violent or commit crimes. Jeez - is this Fox News? I know the language used here is quite different and philosophical, however the message is the same. Poor, black young men are obviously going to commit arson, looting, violence, etc. The difference here is the idea that this is understandable.

There are thousands of people resisting the rioters who are themselves poor people of colour. They are trying to rebuild their neighbourhoods. Imagine being a young family in one of these areas. They are being victimized by this whole mess. What is the opinion about them of some here? That they will inevitably become violent and destructive as well?

I have worked in social services and child welfare in a variety of contexts NR Kissed and absolutely hated the attitude that certain groups of people (often children/youths in my context) were inevitably going to be or do certain things. It is racist, classist and certainly not anti-oppressive.

It is racist and classist to say what it is acceptable for other people to do who are experiencing a reality that you(or I) have no ability to truly comprehend. For outsiders to say what is an understandable response plays into the deserving/underving poor trope. You have no right to condemn the actions of people that you know nothing about and experiences you will never have.

Both you and smith seem to have difficulty comprehending the distinction between understanding and endorsemnet.

Understanding does not mean acceptable

Understanidng does not mean sanctioning

understanding does not mean supporting.

understanding does mean acknowledging that people experiencing severe oppression and marginalization may lash out in destructive ways, ways that hurt other people ways that are frighteneing and unpredictable ways. It is not best or desirable but it is understandable. If you have difficulty with this I would suggest you read Franz Fanon THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH.

The violence and dislocation, lack of saftey and even homelessness is an everyday experience for those in inner city London and other cities. This everyday experience is ignored and those who experience it are blamed for it. If a rioter destroys your home bad if a developer knocks it down good. (I am rather sensitive to this right now because as I write I am being forced to move from my home of eight years because developers are building a condo, naturally I am not comparing my experience to those in inner city london, I have resources, I have options,

Smith is intentionally misrepresenting the arguments being presented by myself and others. No one has argued that this is a united action against authority.

We have been arguing that it is an understandable expression of rage from people whose experience we are in no position to judge.

IF you don't understand these things you don't understand the very nature of trauma. Sometimes, some traumatized people will act violently and unpredictabley. No one is saying it is inevitable for every person who is traumatized person but to attack people because it falls outside your understanding is just too bad.

It is not up to you (or me) to decide what is right for the community. It is up to the community all the community rioters included if the voices of the community continue to be marginalized we can only expect more of the same.

I am now offline to move

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

[6079_Smith_W]It is interesting that when I hold back from criticism I am told that I am not saying anything, and when I voice an opinion I am told I don't know anything because I don't live there....And Catchfire used the word "architect" back at #83.

See, this is why you get accused of not understanding things. Perhaps you should read for comprehension rather than speed. The architects of this violence are, obviously, the policymakers and business interests which impoverished and disenfranchised these neighbourhoods over the past several decades. They are the Thatchers and the Blairs. It's an elementary point.

As for the first quote, the point was not that you weren't saying anything--this is an understandable response to so rich and complex a signifier as the violence. The point was that you were trying so hard to not say anything: which amounted to a linguistic clean up, a white wash, refusing to acknowledge a) the motivations stated by some of the actors in the violence (i.e. Darcus Howe) and b) the glaring context of police violence and antagonism over the past year in the UK and c) the global capitalist impulse these days to enforce austerity, which has been using some of these communities as a test case for decades. 

And the second clause of that statement was not to point out that you had no right to say anything because you didn't live there--not at all, another dropped point--but rather your liberal, universalizing impulse ("What if it happened to you?") is as logical as asking what you would do if the holocaust happened to non-Jews, or apartheid happend to non-blacks. When analyzing this situation, it's imperative to look at it as something that has happened to a specific community, in a specific time and a specific place. Otherwise, we miss the very valuable apprroach N.R. Kissed has outlined quite nicely.

6079_Smith_W

Catchfire wrote:

See, this is why you get accused of not understanding things. Perhaps you should read for comprehension rather than speed. The architects of this violence are, obviously, the policymakers and business interests which impoverished and disenfranchised these neighbourhoods over the past several decades. They are the Thatchers and the Blairs. It's an elementary point.

As for the first quote, the point was not that you weren't saying anything--this is an understandable response to so rich and complex a signifier as the violence. The point was that you were trying so hard to not say anything: which amounted to a linguistic clean up, a white wash, refusing to acknowledge a) the motivations stated by some of the actors in the violence (i.e. Darcus Howe) and b) the glaring context of police violence and antagonism over the past year in the UK and c) the global capitalist impulse these days to enforce austerity, which has been using some of these communities as a test case for decades. 

And the second clause of that statement was not to point out that you had no right to say anything because you didn't live there--not at all, another dropped point--but rather your liberal, universalizing impulse ("What if it happened to you?") is as logical as asking what you would do if the holocaust happened to non-Jews, or apartheid happend to non-blacks. When analyzing this situation, it's imperative to look at it as something that has happened to a specific community, in a specific time and a specific place. Otherwise, we miss the very valuable apprroach N.R. Kissed has outlined quite nicely.

 

Perhaps it was the pairing of the word "architect" with the word "agency" which I took to mean an accusation that I was disenfranchising someone's power of decision. I'm not too concerned with someone ignoring the power of the state. 

So yes, I do read.

And  I think I have acknowledged all the things you mention in your second paragraph, contrary to the claim that I am ignoring them. I hope I don't have to go back and point out the numerous places where I say this happened because of poverty and oppression.

As for your third paragraph.... I don't think I need to repeat yet again where I think the blinders are in much of this conversation. Suffice it to say there is a reason why I mentioned the tangible reality of violence. It wasn't simply an act of moral relativism.

 

Caissa

N.R. Kissed wrote:

It is racist and classist to say what it is acceptable for other people to do who are experiencing a reality that you(or I) have no ability to truly comprehend. For outsiders to say what is an understandable response plays into the deserving/underving poor trope. You have no right to condemn the actions of people that you know nothing about and experiences you will never have.

.

 

I'm not sure I accept this sort of moral relativism nor do I accept the conclusions that it is classist or racist. There are many atrocities in world history that I am happy to declare unacceptable depite not having been able to experience the reality or to truly comprehend it.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

and I cross posted with you before. THe quote was from Ikosmos's statement in #90. And Catchfire used the word "architect" back at #83.

But #90 is one of your posts.  It is sure hard to keep up with your twists and turns.  I think Catchfire has clarified his post but I doubt if Ikosmos can clarify your post at #90

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