London's Burning


 

"Everyone  from all sides of London meet up at the
heart of London (central)  OXFORD
CIRCUS!!, Bare SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some  (free stuff!!!) fuck the feds we will
send them back with OUR riot! 
>:O Dead the ends and colour war for now so if you see a
brother…  SALUT! if you see a
fed… SHOOT!"     

What
began on Saturday in North London area Tottenham as a  reactionary vengeance response to the killing of local young
man, Mark  Duggan, by police, soon
snowballed into a domino effect of copycat rioting, looting, and pillaging across the capital. The
'success' of the first proved a
catalyst for the disaffected and dysfunctional to wreak havoc on London's streets.
Stage-managed via Twitter and BlackBerry 
Messenger, rioting spread like wildfire to Hackney, Ealing, Clapham
and now further across the UK in
Birmingham, Leeds and Bristol.     

Electrical
stores were ram-raided for flatscreen TV's, JD Sports for sneakers, cashpoint dispenser machines pulled
mercilessly from the wall, police
baited, local corner shops looted for booze and fags whilst premises, residences and vehicles were set
alight. For four days our streets
have been witness to escalating unrest.      

I'm a
resident of Stoke Newington (ominously sandwiched right between Tottenham and Hackney) and
despite the rioting most likely to
break out here being a gang of yummy mummy's ram-raiding Whole Foods with Bugaboo strollers, the
anxiety for the last few days has
been palpable with shops shut up early and the streets eerily quiet.  Hackney last night was a ghost town —
all stores were boarded or shuttered, save for a few fried chicken houses. Fortunately all of  London remained relatively riot-free,
perhaps deterred by the 16,000 
extra police deployed from around the UK. Severe rioting erupted out
in Manchester, however —
ironically where many of the extra police had been drafted in from.     

The
intimidation and damage inflicted upon our city and its inhabitants has been hellish and the
subsequent anger provoked understandable. Yet all our mainstream media and Right Wing press has
been serving up is manipulated,
fear-based propaganda with a continued demonetization of the rioting youths and their method of
communique: there were early calls
to block BBM and Twitter, forgetting it is the same social media which is now helping communities
co-ordinate clear-up jobs. This morning a stern BBC news broadcaster instructed us only to leave our homes
if it was necessary, to change
commuting journeys and avoid riot areas at all costs. I strolled though Hackney at lunch and it was
business as  usual.     

Yesterday
the most repeated clip on BBC news was an enraged lady referring to desperately marginalized youths as 'feral
rats'. Earlier our Prime Minister condemned the 'sick' individuals saying
he 'despised' them. To perpetuate
this derisory rhetoric is dangerously
counterproductive to understanding just why our society has bred a generation of conscience-free
disaffected criminal kids who feel this 
terrorizing of their neighbourhoods is acceptable or purposeful.     

What
I see on our streets is symptomatic of what's happening the world over; an ever-increasing rage towards socio-economic injustices imposed on
us. It feels curiously inevitable as this tense, tumultuous collective unease has been percolating for
some time. What is  lamentable is
that this is the only way these kids can articulate themselves. "When you've got bankers taking their
bonuses and MP's taking money off
people like me for their moats, and their chateaus and their castles, this is the result"
an astute Hackney resident told BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday. It's Us v Them. The Haves Vs Have Nots. The Bureaucrats Vs The Marginalized.     

The
brutal riots may be the antithesis of the stoic, peaceful protesting seen in Egypt and the Middle East (there
is no cohesive political message,
only wanton lust for destruction and greed) yet it's an expression of extreme discontent the only way
they know how. These are a young,
underprivileged, under-acknowledged underclass — destined to remain on benefits or in poverty. Charged with
fearless anger, they have nothing
to lose and nothing to fear.

Given
their poor education and distinct
lack of values this is their last resort at being heard. It's not eloquent, it's not even constructive
or focused (conversely, it harms
their very own communities) but it's desperate, furious and reactionary.      

The
young rioters see a corrupt government who don't listen, who lie and break promises. One which does
not speak for them. A government who denies them of a future, slashing funding and enforcing
austerity measures
left-right-and-centre in a bid to serve their criminal banking paymasters. A heavy-handed police force
imposing searches for no reason. When all you see is futility yet are
paradoxically bombarded by
consumerism and aspiration (coupled with our have-it-all-now-for-no-effort X Factor culture) all
that  manifests is a toxic
combination of entitlement and frustration.

In other words these belligerent
shopping-sprees have been about taking what they believe is owed to them. While the violence is inexcusable
and unjustifiable, it's critical
we understand why this is happening, yet our leaders are turning a blind-eye.     

As
they one-by-one reluctantly dragged themselves from their  £10k a week villas yesterday to deal
with the hellish-aftermath, the mood amongst the crowds was telling of the resounding discord and distrust of politicians; Deputy Prime
Minister Nick Clegg was cussed and told to "go home" on a walkabout in Birmingham.
Mayor Boris Johnson's
encouragement to ignore the socio-political analysis behind  the riots and accept them as just
"wanton criminality" was met with boos and calls for his resignation. It's utter disconnect like
this that makes one see how this
unspoken-for underclass see violence as their only mouthpiece. Our politicians' failure to lay blame on
current national circumstances
serves only to put the very reasoning behind the riots in context: they are either ignorant to society's ills
or just  don't care.     

"I'm
not shocked at all by this, I was certain something very, very serious was going to take place in this
country," said West Indian writer
and broadcaster Darcus Howe to BBC news before his mic was hastily muted. "Our political
leaders have NO idea, the police have NO 
idea, but if you look at young blacks and whites with a discerning eye and careful hearing they have been
telling us yet we would not listen about what is happening in this country to them. The police have
been stopping and searching young
blacks for no reason at all. My grandson has lost count of the amount of times police have searched him. I
don't call this rioting; I call it
an insurrection of the masses of the people.  It's happening in Syria, it's happening in Clapham, it's
happening in Liverpool and it's
happening in Trinidad."

Moments
later, broadcaster Fiona Armstong
attempted to slander him by accusing him of having taken part in rioting in the past. Howe
fought back.     

While
more visibly violent and tangibly fear-inspiring, the acts pockets of London's youths have committed over the last
four days is no worse than the
insidious raping and plundering of our global economies by the criminal banking elite. In fact,
the timing of the rioting drama
has oh-so conveniently diverted the world's attention away from the  stock market crashes, the Murdoch
scandal, the stealth-like way economies are being imploded by design. Interestingly, given that
our feckless police service were
slow to respond (even watching on 
impotently allowing rioters to loot private businesses) there is
now  talk today of rubber bullets,
water canons and even — God forbid —
Martial Law. Let's make one thing clear, our government will not let a  good crisis like this go to waste.

 

Image by william_79, courtesy of Creative Commons license.