London Riots

by leavingwt 143 Replies latest social current

  • botchtowersociety

    What!? Riots you say. The hell I say. For years smugly superior Britons and their acolytes on the American left have declaimed and lectured on our inferiority. Our lack of a proper social democracy. The abhorrent lack of an NHS, our armed citizenry, our death penalty....

    Why would anyone feel like rioting in such a socialist democratic paradise?

  • leavingwt

    This video is disturbing, but not graphic. A young person is bleeding and some men come over to help? No, they pretend to be concerned, then mug him.

    Firefighters stretched to the breaking point:

    I hope that order can be restored soon. This must be horrifying to the residents.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    Between the riots when I was a teen and 9/11 in lower Manhattan, my heart is beating rapidly. I flinched whenever a plane went overhead for months. Suddenly, I noticed all the funeral homes. It was ghastly. Fear of violence is so draining. Nonsensical violence.

    Norway last week. Craziness - most often during the summer.

  • purplesofa

    Probably the more accurate reason for riots in London.
    Panic on the streets of London.

    I’m huddled in the front room with some shell-shocked friends, watching my city burn. The BBC is interchanging footage of blazing cars and running street battles in Hackney, of police horses lining up in Lewisham, of roiling infernos that were once shops and houses in Croydon and in Peckham. Last night, Enfield, Walthamstow, Brixton and Wood Green were looted; there have been hundreds of arrests and dozens of serious injuries, and it will be a miracle if nobody dies tonight. This is the third consecutive night of rioting in London, and the disorder has now spread to Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham. Politicians and police officers who only hours ago were making stony-faced statements about criminality are now simply begging the young people of Britain’s inner cities to go home. Britain is a tinderbox, and on Friday, somebody lit a match. How the hell did this happen? And what are we going to do now?

    In the scramble to comprehend the riots, every single commentator has opened with a ritual condemnation of the violence, as if it were in any doubt that arson, muggings and lootings are ugly occurrences. That much should be obvious to anyone who is watching Croydon burn down on the BBC right now. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, called the disorder 'mindless, mindless'. Nick Clegg denounced it as 'needless, opportunistic theft and violence'. Speaking from his Tuscan holiday villa, Prime Minister David Cameron – who has finally decided to return home to take charge - declared simply that the social unrest searing through the poorest boroughs in the country was "utterly unacceptable." The violence on the streets is being dismissed as ‘pure criminality,’ as the work of a ‘violent minority’, as ‘opportunism.’ This is madly insufficient. It is no way to talk about viral civil unrest. Angry young people with nothing to do and little to lose are turning on their own communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it. Tonight, in one of the greatest cities in the world, society is ripping itself apart.

    Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there. Unquestionably there is far, far more to these riots than the death of Mark Duggan, whose shooting sparked off the unrest on Saturday, when two police cars were set alight after a five-hour vigil at Tottenham police station. A peaceful protest over the death of a man at police hands, in a community where locals have been given every reason to mistrust the forces of law and order, is one sort of political statement. Raiding shops for technology and trainers that cost ten times as much as the benefits you’re no longer entitled to is another. A co-ordinated, viral wave of civil unrest across the poorest boroughs of Britain, with young people coming from across the capital and the country to battle the police, is another.

    Months of conjecture will follow these riots. Already, the internet is teeming with racist vitriol and wild speculation. The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the television cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985. Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news. 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 ‘’’

    There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

    Tonight in London, social order and the rule of law have broken down entirely. The city has been brought to a standstill; it is not safe to go out onto the streets, and where I am in Holloway, the violence is coming closer. As I write, the looting and arson attacks have spread to at least fifty different areas across the UK, including dozens in London, and communities are now turning on each other, with the Guardian reporting on rival gangs forming battle lines. It has become clear to the disenfranchised young people of Britain, who feel that they have no stake in society and nothing to lose, that they can do what they like tonight, and the police are utterly unable to stop them. That is what riots are all about.

    Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out: structural inequalities, as a friend of mine remarked today, are not solved by a few pool tables. People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night. And now people have lost their homes, and the country is tearing itself apart.

    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.

    I’m stuck in the house, now, with rioting going on just down the road in Chalk Farm. Ealing and Clapham and Dalston are being trashed. Journalists are being mugged and beaten in the streets, and the riot cops are in retreat where they have appeared at all. Police stations are being set alight all over the country. This morning, as the smoke begins to clear, those of us who can sleep will wake up to a country in chaos. We will wake up to fear, and to racism, and to condemnation on left and right, none of which will stop this happening again, as the prospect of a second stock market clash teeters terrifyingly at the bottom of the news reports. Now is the time when we make our choices. Now is the time when we decide whether to descend into hate, or to put prejudice aside and work together. Now is the time when we decide what sort of country it is that we want to live in. Follow the #riotcleanup hashtag on Twitter. And take care of one another.

  • JeffT

    First off, I'm sorry the people in London have to go through this. It isn't right, no matter the cause.

    Seattle saw two riots about ten years ago. Everyobdy knows about the WTO mess. That had nothing to do with race,the police or the economic status of the participants. For that matter it did not have a lot to do with the World Trade Organization. Mostly it was a bunch of young idiots tearing stuff up. A couple of years later a young man was killed at a Mardi Gras "celebration" that was entirely about young idiots drinking in the streets.

    To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a riot is just a riot.

  • Curtains

    the sad thing is how many teenagers are involved. Hopefully the government will offer some immediate solutions and then the bigger issues can be addressed in the weeks and months to come.

    we need some sort of curfew at the moment.

  • Podobear

    When the Brixton race riots kicked off a few years ago, even some of the kids of the local JW's joined in.

    The U.K is now truly a multi racial community... it is no longer the province of the plegmatic (apathetic) Brit.

    We note Polish at the head of the Unions, cultural diversity amongth the cohorts of students.

    The British government has sipped the tea of apathy for too long... the powder keg is in our communities.. our highways (motorways U.K) are lined with cameras for number plate recognition. These can be switched virtually overnight for taxation purpose and of course security surveillance.

    We Brits have an imminent rude awakening. Our Government can no longer depend on obedient queues and social handouts.

    They started the economy cuts at the bottom of the social rung, and still let the greedy top, benefit whilst Rome (London) is burning.

    The demise of the Anglo-American world power nearing completion. Watch the TV and and the Internet whilst social networks whip up the flames of the disenfranchised.

  • talesin

    First off, I'm sorry you all across the pond are going through this --- it's gotta be horrific, and I know what it's like to live in fear.

    Just a few thoughts ...

    When young people have little chance at a good education, and see no jobs, no future prospects, how are they going to express themselves? I have expected violence in the streets for about a decade now. I'm not surprised it's starting in Britain.

    Anyone living in the 'inner city'? The ghettos of Toronto, or Detroit? It's pretty hard to take, when you are a teen, and know you've had a crap education because the schools in poor neighbourhoods suck, and NO prospects of going to university (at this point in Canada, even with student loans, the price of a uni education is almost past the reach of anyone who has no family financial support). The cycle of poverty is overwhelming.

    And then, they have to read/hear about companies like BP making millions of dollars of profits per minute, while they (or mum and dad) are standing in line for the food bank every week.

    Do people want to live in counsel flats? Not work in a satisfying job that suits their own personal gifts? Oh, right, we would ALL love to flip burgers full-time, just so we could afford basic food and shelter, while the rich overlords (yes, I said it ,,, the ....RICH .... OVERLORDS) have gold fawcetts in their baths, live a life of complete debauchery, and laugh at the poor slave class that provides them with their endless wealth.

    Even some of the wealthiest are becoming disgusted with our society ...

    example : Check out "Born Rich", a documentary by Jamie Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune. We are talking about the super-rich, trust-fund babies; these are the young people featured in his film (which his father did NOT want him to make, and yes, he interviews his father about how father feels in the first part of the film). By the way, Jamie's sister died of a drug overdose about a year ago, a victim to the laissez-faire lifestyle of boredom and a feeling of uselessness that many of these uber-rich kids deal with. It's a real eye-opener.

    I don't agree with rioting and looting,,, but I dunno, maybe if I grew up differently, I would be right there with them. Injustice and institutional slavery tends to build a lot of rage.


  • wobble

    dear Purplesofa,

    Where, and who, did that insightful piece of writing come from, that you posted above ?

    Thanks for posting, I was accused above of having a "crap liberal opinion" ,whatever that may be, but that article put in to words in a much better way than I could, what I was trying to say.

    The underlying problems that cause the riots should not be ignored.

  • dm6

    What happened was, The police shot a Gang member (suspected) for whatever reason, and it escalated from there. There were protests from people about this, which then went further to looting which then went further to fires and riot police which then led further to homes being burnt down and women having to jump out their top story windows.


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