by William Bowles
17 August, 2011
“At 9.22 the Brixton shopping centre appeared almost calm by comparison to Railton Road. Rubbish was strewn across the main A23 Brixton Road; burglar alarms rang vainly from looted shops; and knots of youths, black and white, drifted along in the almost complete absence of police.” — ‘Eyewitness: Looters moved in as the flames spread’
No, not Brixton in August 2011 but Brixton on 13 April 1981 as reported by the The Times. “Absence of police” eh? Now we’ve all heard this somewhere else quite recently, so what’s changed that made it such an issue this time round?
Ah, I see, it’s the ‘law and order’ posse calling for tougher policing, even importing a NYC cop to bash some heads.
What a depressing state of affairs. The media, like some slavering pack of wolves, eager for blood has descended on our dispossessed and demonized them some more. It’s like something out of the worst of the Victorian period, where to be poor was literally regarded as a crime and treated as such.
It is not for communists to condemn the riots. They are a sign of capitalism’s crisis and decay. […] So long as capitalism continues on its downward spiral of crisis with the rich getting richer and the poorest more and more excluded there will be more and more explosions like these. The race is on for the revival of a really liberating movement of the working class to present an alternative to capitalist barbarism. –‘Driving People into Rebellion‘, Stephen Harper, Dissident Voice
Two thousand people arrested and all just to make a point. Courts working around the clock to make an example of anybody who dares challenge the status quo, no matter how chaotic and self-destructive such cries of rage are. History is littered with such spontaneous rebellions, all of which are symptoms of a much deeper malaise but clearly it’s a malaise that the political class do not want to confront, dare not confront, else they would be forced to deal with the conditions that they themselves have created.
“On Friday afternoon, a police patrol in Brixton stopped to help a black youth who had been stabbed in the back. The incident marked the beginning of a build-up of police strength and a confrontation began which erupted into violence on Saturday afternoon when a black youth was arrested outside a minicab office. Police and firemen, called to deal with fires started by Molotov cocktails, came under barrages of missiles. Cars and buildings burned and shops were looted as the battle raged.” — ‘How smouldering tension erupted to set Brixton aflame‘, The Guardian, 13 April 1981
A depressingly similar situation to that of last week. All it took was a single spark.
But the state, instead of recognizing that the situation was of its own making, has formed a partnership with the MSM and turned on its own citizens as though they are nothing more than animals. Baying for blood, the Tories and their partner-in-crime, the Lib-Dems have enlisted the media in an all-out assault on ‘yobs’ and above all on Gangs. All thinking ceases.
“Irresponsibility. Selfishness. Behaving as if your choices have no consequences. Children without fathers. Schools without discipline. Reward without effort. Crime without punishment. Rights without responsibilities. Communities without control. Some of the worst aspects of human nature tolerated, indulged – sometimes even incentivised – by a state and its agencies that in parts have become literally de-moralised.” — David Cameron in the Guardian, 15 August 2011
It’s the same old ‘high Tory’ vindictive litany directed at the most vulnerable in our society, the forgotten and disenfranchised. There is not single expression of self-doubt as to how a very large section of society could feel so alienated, so desperate that they would destroy their own neighbourhoods. The class divide could not be plainer for all to see.
Public school ‘educated’ Cameron, a wealthy man from a wealthy family; privileged; a member of the elite. How can such a man have any comprehension of what thirty years of Thatcherism has done to vast swathes of our society? Over the past four decades entire communities destroyed with deindustrialisation followed by years of ‘benign neglect’ under both Tory and Labour rule.
How easily the glib phrases roll of the tongues of the elite. “Crime without punishment”? What is the cretin talking about? Our prisons are bursting at the seams with the casualties of capitalism, mostly illiterate, uneducated and unskilled and/or on drugs of some kind, they have been locked away, out of sight, out of mind by a vindictive and vicious society.
“Schools without discipline”? What does this mean? What does any of the drivel Cameron spewed out on cue, really mean? And see how closely it mirrors the BBC list of ’causes’ that I wrote about the other day. The state and the media in total lockstep.
And who exactly has been “incentivising the worst aspects of human nature”? Why none other than David Cameron as his RAF jets drop bombs and missiles on innocent civilians. Are they not aware of just how big the chasm is between the fantasy of ‘humanitarian intervention’ and the reality of death being rained down on people and what effect such blatant, cold-blooded murder has on people? Apparently not. Instead,
“The prime minister has promised a “concerted, all out war on gangs and gang culture”, in response to the riots and looting across English cities.”
‘Gang culture’. Code word for Black. And the BBC follows up its list of ’causes’ with yet another parade of ‘experts’, this time pontificating on the alleged role of Gangs in the disturbances, with an even more outrageous list of ‘reasons’. One ‘expert’ even suggests, I kid you not, that the Gangs waited until the riots had caught hold, before moving in for the loot. And all of it coordinated via Blackberry Messenger (BBM)!
Under the heading of ‘England riots: What’s the evidence gangs were behind the riots?‘, under ‘Yes: The riots were planned in advance by gangs’ (16/8/11) we read
“This wasn’t a general uprising, says Christian Guy, policy director at think tank the Centre for Social Justice. It was a well co-ordinated operation, which is likely to have been led by young people in street gangs, he believes.
“Daniel Weston, a youth worker in Brixton, says gangs in his area bided their time after the first night of violence in Tottenham.
“When they were ready to strike, gang leaders used Blackberry Messenger, a closed network not visible to police, to mobilise younger gang members. Targets were identified – typically Footlocker, JD Sports and Currys – and gang members directed to them.”
On the Monday following the start of the uprisings over the weekend, I was in Brixton and noted that the KFC on the corner of Coldharbour Lane had lost all its windows and the big department store on the High Road had also lost all or most of its windows. I don’t know if the JD Sports got the same treatment. But who are we talking about here?
Handfuls of young guys, perhaps ten or twelve in number, who always hang out together, that’s what. All the BBM has done is speed things up a bit. And the gangs, how ever many there are, logically head for the same area. Where else would they go? Gangs are presented to us as if they are some kind of ‘secret society’ like the Mafia, peddling drugs and shooting each other, with some kind of ‘code of conduct’ between Gangs and with the Gangs allegedly making truces between them in order to loot more effectively. It’s ludicrous, comic-book stuff but people actually get paid to make this stuff up.
So just what is the Centre for Social Justice? A quick Google revealed quite a bit about where it’s coming from as the following personages are on its Advisory Council:
Chairman: Rt Hon David Blunkett MP
Rt Hon Frank Field MP
Member of Parliament for Birkenhead (Labour)
Rt Hon William Hague MP
Foreign Secretary; Member of Parliament for Richmond, Yorkshire (Conservative)
Robert H Halfon MP
Member of Parliament for Harlow (Conservative)
Former Political Editor of The Observer
Editor, The Spectator
Chairman of Management Committee of Centre Forum; Adviser to Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party
Sir Kevin Tebbit
Former Director of GCHQ and former Permanent Under Secretary of the Ministry of Defence
To its credit, the BBC piece does much better with its list of No’s to the above, some of which at least inject a note of sanity into the affair, unlike the rabid nonsense I quoted above.
“In reality, there are few genuine gang members. And “all sorts of people” – teaching assistants, a graphic designer and university students – have been arrested for taking part in the looting.
“Paul Lewis, a Guardian journalist who spent five nights observing the violence, says it’s wrong to try to put the blame on one group. Everyone’s looking for a caricature yet those involved were a cross section of the local community. And each riot he saw from Hackney to Gloucester – had a distinctive character.
“”There were a great number of people swept along. The only generalisation that’s credible is that on the whole they were young and poor,” he says.””
But clearly the intention is to shift the focus onto Gangs as being the instigators of the looting and burning rather than a wider cross-section of the communities involved as it would imply that a lot more is ‘broken’ than those identified by Cameron and echoed faithfully by the media.
The ‘War on Terror’ morphs into the ‘War on Youth’
The way forward is clear: the uprisings are to be used for an even greater clampdown on our rights (hence the cry that went up to suspend (more) sections of the Europe-wide Human Rights Act)). Here’s our Home sec Theresa May on the subject:
“Police would get stronger powers to enforce gang injunctions and remove face masks, she said.
And ministers are considering new curfew powers – to allow “general curfews” to be imposed on a specific area in England and Wales, rather than being linked to specific individuals, and to allow them to be imposed on more youngsters aged under 16.
“It’s clear to me that as long as we tolerate the kind of anti-social behaviour that takes place every day up and down the country, we will continue to see high levels of crime, a lack of respect for private property and a contempt for community life,” she said.” — ‘Theresa May tells police: We back you on tough tactics‘, BBC News 16 August 2011
Note the blanket approach to ‘policing’. Entire areas deemed ‘no go’, to anyone I assume. Any unfortunate kid under the age of sixteen would be a target. But why under sixteen? Why not eighteen, why not ten? Why not all of us? Remember the infamous ASBO’s (Anti-Social Behaviour Orders) worn as a badge of honour by those who were awarded one. Proven totally ineffectual, all they did was alienate the youth even more from ‘authority’ by turning it into a contest between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Brilliant. Only some university-educated twerp could dream up such stuff.
By making Gangs the centre of their propaganda onslaught, they of course, as usual, make race the pivot about which the Big Lie swings. Mention Gangs and people immediately associate it with Black people, thanks once again to our complicit media and a state that is all too well aware of the critical role of race in social control.
It just goes to show how out of touch the political class is with the current reality, or any reality for that matter. Do they really believe that there is a conspiracy of youth Gangs out to subvert the existing order? Do they expect us to believe it? Apparently so.
For more on causes, see Video: The Real Source of the British Riots [Video below]
The English Riots | True News
stefbot on Aug 9, 2011
The economic, political and social realities behind the rebellion of youth which cannot be resisted.
from the archives:
Looting is ALWAYS Wrong, Right? by Ed Ciaccio
Demonizing the Dispossessed by William Bowles
Thuggery, Looting, Lawlessness… By the Ruling Class by Finian Cunningham
Riots in UK Could Forshadow Events in the US by Timothy V. Gatto
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