And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. – Lord Acton, (10 January 1834 – 19 June 1902)
Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. – a young man in Tottenham, 2011
At this point, the accepted cause of the London riots in the police shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham. Back in 1985, riots erupted in the same neighborhood after the death of 26-year-old Cynthia Jarrett who died of a stroke while police searched her home. The obvious connection between the riots in 1985 and now is the death of two young people at the hands of the police, but there’s another important connection with the capacity to set the planet on fire: Recession.
I don’t think the recession of the early 80s ever really ended for some: I left school in 1985 to almost zero employment for fellow pupils, went to college and qualified just in time for the nineties one, and by then employers were wise to how desperate people were for a gainful job. All around me friends were being bullied into minimum-wage jobs due to fear of being on benefits. I was dumped by such an employer at the end of last year (thankfully). Scraping around for bits of work has been a necessity to a large part of the population for years – so I might ask what recession?
Grrr Jordan, Wirral
Remember the Last Recession (via BBC – selected comments)
That’s was life in 1985 for a young person with a college education: a dream deferred, as the great poet Langston Hughes wrote. Imagine life for someone without a college education; a dream deferred, quadruple so. In 2011, parts of London and now Manchester and the Midlands are decimated. It is very easy to point the finger at those damn kids, those hooligans, arrest them, toss them in prison and throw away the key. But, maybe the problem is that no one listened back in 2009 to the prediction made by Dr. Timothy Brain.
A chief constable yesterday raised the spectre of widespread 1980s-style riots returning to Britain if recession tightens its grip.
Dr Timothy Brain told MPs that history had shown that a sustained period of unemployment standing at more than three million could lead to ‘severe disorder’ on the streets.
Treasury forecasts show that unemployment will rise to more than three million over the next two years, while one Bank of England expert is predicting a figure of four million.
That would surpass the record 3.3million .. during the recession of the 1980s.
Dr Brain, a spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said there was no need to ‘hypothesise’ about what may then happen.
Giving evidence to Parliament’s home affairs committee, he cited riots in Brixton in South London, Moss Side in Manchester and Toxteth in Liverpool as examples of disturbances fuelled by recession. – via Mail Online
The corporate crooks who caused the collapse of the Global Economy have not been indicted. The London rioters are doing what they have been taught is correct behavior. The elite criminal class did not physically burn neighborhoods and destroy lives. No, their crime was a fiscal act. They caused a fiscal burning down of entire countries; the elite criminal class, the Goldman Sachs type gangsters, do not need to physically visit any neighborhood: their superpower is invisibility.
At the same time the decades of talk about “globalisation” are now been revealed as a panglossian deception. A boondoggle of vast fortunes was unleashed, justified because benefits would “trickle down”. Instead we seem to be witnessing a fearful waterfall of cascading misery, cutbacks, foreclosures and job losses on the middle and working classes in the global north, whose elites meanwhile are bailed out by governments they hitherto pretended to despise. …
Nonetheless we should celebrate the possible defeat of one aspect of neo-liberal domination. It cheered the destruction of a communist world that was oppressive and unfree. The freedom it offered in its place, however, had its own form of authoritarianism. You can’t buck the market, we were told. We had to be fatalistic and grateful and our standard of living would grow. Forces more powerful and wise than you and I had already determined “the official future” (1). There was no alternative
During the last twenty years a new class of apologists for the economic, social and political order has taken shape. This elite has its own language, words and phrases which are shaped by a torrent of buzz words and jargon emanating from management and consultancy mumbo-jumbo. Its leaders have filled the air with talk of “the knowledge economy”, “living on thin air”, “the rise of the creative class” and “step change”, and encouraged the emergence of a shameless group of self-promoting bloviators: Richard Florida and Malcolm Gladwell in the States, Anthony Giddens (in his “third way” phase) and Charlie Leadbeater in the UK, being four of the most obvious examples. This demeans the standards of public debate and intellectual standards (the Observer’s review section recently putting Gladwell on its front page and asking, “Is this the world’s most influential thinker?” about a figure whose books, The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers are at best descriptive, polemical essays with little, if any originality in them. (15). Across British public life, in public institutions and discourse, the last decade of New Labour has been characterised by the bowdlerising and debasement of values and meaning. To talk about the future of our society we have been obliged to walk through a linguistic supermarket where sterile, vacuum packed in-words are provided by the supply-lines of the new elite. (via Our Kingdom: power and liberty in Britain)
In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:
“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”
“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”
Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere. …
Noone expected this. The so-called leaders who have taken three solid days to return from their foreign holidays to a country in flames did not anticipate this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after thirty years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter.
Panic on the Streets of London
The shit hits the fan and people sit around wondering where the shit came from, when they’ve smelt it all along. This bears repeating:
“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press.
Except for technology technology, little has changed in England since the 1980s.
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