Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Below is an interesting article taken from The Guardian UK. It is refreshing to read something from the mainstream media on the recent riots that has a little more depth than the one dimensional crap that our parasitical millionaire cabal have been spouting, criminality, mindless violence, thuggery, etc.. I'm sure that in a fair and just society there would be no riots, only a brain dead politician would fail to see that the riots are saying something very loud and clear about the way citizens see this society. People will not destroy what they believe they are part of and what they perceive as theirs. Vast swathes of people do not feel in any way connected to, or involved in, the way decisions are made that shape their lives. However, don't expect our political masters to see it that way, they live in a different world, a world of opportunity, security and affluence, and they will do their utmost to hold on to it at any cost. The article is well worth a read.  

Behind the Clapham riots: 'the police are the enemy'

        In south London, young people usually on opposing sides of turf disputes came together in opposition to the 'mainstream', says Amanda Conroy
        The BBC has come under criticism for referring to those involved in the rioting and looting as "protesters". The debate over what to call the social unrest is about more than journalistic accuracy; the question is whether those actions were, ultimately, about "things" or about "politics".
     The London riots have been cast as episodes of "opportunistic criminality", senseless, barbarian and apolitical, because of their apparent lack of leadership, stated political goals or formal engagement with what may be called mainstream politics. In the weeks that have passed since the riots in Clapham – my neighbourhood – I've had the opportunity to speak to members of local communities, youth group leaders and young residents of local estates. I've come to the conclusion that while the looting and destruction in south London may have been about "things", it cannot be separated so cleanly from political protest.
       For many people that I spoke to, the opportunity to "fight" with the "government", by fighting the police, was political. It was a significant part of the decision to take part in the riots. These kids in Clapham and elsewhere, said a Brixton youth group leader, "are surrounded by a culture of 'fuck the police' and these riots gave them the biggest opportunity they could to fight [them]".
This "fuck the police" culture, said several young residents from a Wandsworth council estate who knew people involved in the Clapham disturbances, stems from the fact that residents are constantly being stopped and searched. "When you get stopped by the police and you come from a certain area, they have zero respect", a young male council estate resident told me.
      The police are seen as nothing but a barrier to making money and having fun, said the Brixton youth group leader. For many young people living on council estates, the police are the enemy. They are the representation of the limits of their life, their lack of choices – the most immediate manifestation of what they cannot have or do.

         The riots also offered an unusual opportunity for young people to come together. A young man told me that events organised around his Wandsworth estate are usually affected by "turf wars" erupting between the young people. "The whole thing with the riots was that you had kids of different ages, different estates coming together as one big group. Calling up like 'Hey bruv, want to make some money?'" he said. Despite their territorial differences, when news of the "success" of looting in other parts of the city reached young people, they identified themselves as part of the same collective, with the same interests and the same enemies. They decided that working together was the best way to achieve those goals.
        The looting in Clapham Junction does not seem to be senseless, random criminality; it seems more like the pursuit of group interests at the expense of the interests of a dominant political order. "By taking stuff", a local youth group leader said of the rioters, "they are righting what they see as injustice".
Last week, the UK rapper and poet Genesis Elijah released a spoken-word analysis of the riots, in which he laments: "We used to riot for a cause / Now we riot just because." I would amend this statement slightly. It seems to me that those involved didn't take part in the rioting and the looting "just because" but, rather, "just because they could".  In the context of a society that, they feel, denies them the ability to take part in "mainstream" society – and especially denies them the ability to accumulate "things" – we should not be surprised that a group identity is formed in opposition to the "mainstream" and that violent material accumulation is the form of protest they take.
• Amanda Conroy lives in Clapham, south London, and is a PhD student at the London School of Economics's Gender Institute. Her research interests centre on nationalist and extreme right-wing social movements.

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