Consumerism says “Buy”, crisis capitalism says “Only if you are rich.” UK debtor’s prisons don’t have walls these days, they are council estates with invisible class walls. Since David Cameron can’t see any relationship between poverty, cuts in youth service funding and social services, and an increase in youth crime, he needs to get out of the Circumlocution Office more often.
As he introduces further austerity measures which will impact most upon already disadvantaged people, Cameron forgets that prevention is better than cure, ignoring the existing vast wealth and privilege inequities, the alienation of youth who feel and are made to feel unwanted. Ostracism is society’s most powerful tool against vulnerable people and the UK government is leading the charge.
Three years after Wall Street precipitated a global crisis, British youth unemployment reached record levels earlier this year, An analyst noted that “”Being out of work for more than a year can have a scarring effect, making it harder to get a job as well as having a negative impact on one’s health and wellbeing,” adding: “The Government’s decision to abolish job guarantees for young people may leave a generation of young people scarred for many years to come.”
By 2008, Great Britain had reached the highest level of income inequality in more than half a century, and the austerity measures imposed by the new government targeted the victims of that inequality. As a recent report showed, the poorest 10% of the population saw their real income fall over the last decade, while “richest tenth of the population have seen much bigger proportional rises in their incomes than any other group.”
The riots began in Tottenham, which has the highest unemployment rate in London. Youth clubs have been closed, because the austerity economics regime slashed 75% of the youth services budget. And, as Seumas Milne points out, young people in the neighborhood said the club closings could lead to rioting, as bored and anxious young people take to the streets.
And the austerity crowd has slashed police budgets, too, just as the House Republican budget did here in the United States. Even law and order, that shibboleth of conservatism, takes a back seat to the radical austerity ideology. That makes it harder for the right and the pseudo-center to justify their discredited policies, leaving them to come up with increasingly shrill and implausible explanations for the violence.
Where are the tallest pillars of this society to provide ethical models and strategies to lead youth toward hope and a future of their choice? As David Harvey highlights:
But the problem is that we live in a society where capitalism itself has become rampantly feral. Feral politicians cheat on their expenses, feral bankers plunder the public purse for all its worth, CEOs, hedge fund operators and private equity geniuses loot the world of wealth, telephone and credit card companies load mysterious charges on everyone’s bills, shopkeepers price gouge, and, at the drop of a hat swindlers and scam artists get to practice three-card monte right up into the highest echelons of the corporate and political world.
A political economy of mass dispossession, of predatory practices to the point of daylight robbery, particularly of the poor and the vulnerable, the unsophisticated and the legally unprotected, has become the order of the day.
Thatcherism unchained the feral instincts of capitalism (the “animal spirits” of the entreprenuer they coyly named it) and nothing has transpired to curb them since. Slash and burn is now openly the motto of the ruling classes pretty much everywhere.
This is the new normal in which we live. This is what the next grand commission of enquiry should address. Everyone, not just the rioters, should be held to account. Feral capitalism should be put on trial for crimes against humanity as well as for crimes against nature.
Cameron’s reaction is to glower about the social media, like a petty dictator in the Middle East which imperials implanted and cossetted then looked down upon and chastised for draconian measures against insurrection, foolishly imagining he can commit a human rights violation by preventing internet access and escape public opprobrium. When other countries use social media to struggle for democracy, it is acclaimed, yet now Cameron wants to control it and demonises it. For easy approval in uncertain times, Cameron fervently supports Laura Norder – Tory opportunism and personal conviction coincide. If looters’ parents are to be held responsible for their childrens’ crimes and evicted from their homes, why is Murdoch able to evade his corporation’s crimes? Is it a surprise that youth without hope and nothing to lose have followed the UK elite’s no-blame no-criminality culture? Prepare for the fight against increased withdrawal of civil liberties, as the ruling elite defend their piles of loot by any means they can muster. The local small businesses targeted by youthful insurrectionists on their rampage are the meat in the sandwich and offer Cameron a wedge – he can protect them from and coopt them againt the loathsome youth menace without reference to the underlying malaise which has festered during years of neglect.
Cameron could ensure affordable education, health, social services and housing, but prefers to raid taxpayer funds to employ more cops with increased leeway for brutality to protect property, which for Tories, comes before people, particularly hated youth. Businesses damaged by looting will be recompensed from the public purse, yet where’s Cameron’s compensation to the public for decades of economic irrationalism and elite looting? When will shorters of banking stocks get their comeuppances? Cameron’s response to unrest caused by vast inequities of wealth and privilege is to add fuel to the fire with mass arrests and incarceration – sure to enrage youth further and solidify their untouchability. With thousands of arrests promised, the 3 private corporations – G4S, Kalyx and Serco – who run 11 of Britain’s prisons will be dining well this week. Perhaps Australia will be seeing more British ships loaded with the raddled empire’s unwanted felons arriving on its shores.
Dr. Clifford Stott, who specialises in crowd psychology at the University of Liverpool, sounds a prescient note:
While there is no real causal relationship, however, he [Dr. Clifford Stott] noted that in societies that see outbreaks of riotous behaviour, the existence of large disenfranchised population is a common factor.
“One of the things that we know about riots is that they are underpinned by perceptions of illegitimacy of authority,” he said.
The tendency to cast crowd action as either explosions of mob irrationality or criminality – something common to both authoritarian and democratic governments, Stott said – undermines attempts to understand the root causes behind the violence.
“It is the dominant discourse around riots, it always has been,” he said. “Society tends to pathologise collective action.”
Fascists love scapegoats, and conveniently, youth don’t vote. But their mums and dads do – Cameron and his foppish old school tie set’s days in power are numbered. But will there be sufficient mobilisation amongst the UK people to support an end to an obscenity which sacrifices the futures of UK children and livelihoods of small business people in their community to obscure malevolent ruling class pillage? A vicious, classist society which doesn’t care about all of its youth sabotages its own future.
“Things got out of hand & we’d had a few drinks. We smashed the place up & Boris set fire to the toilets.” David Cameron, 1986
RT @ciderpunx: #londonriot hotspots are /all/ in areas w high child poverty. See @newint #map http://is.gd/6kLjp4 #inequality #poverty #
If we want to live in a society where people feel included, we must include them, where they feel represented, we must represent them and where they feel love and compassion for their communities then we, the members of that community, must find love and compassion for them.
At Camberwell Green magistrates, Nicholas Robinson, 23, an electrical engineering student with no previous convictions, was jailed for the maximum permitted six months after pleading guilty to stealing bottles of water worth £3.50 from Lidl in Brixton.
UK Riots Live Blog
London Rioters Vs. Stock Market Traders: Who’s More Destructive?
Is Rioting Revolutionary?
The moral decay of our society is as bad at the top as the bottom
Generation F*cked : How Britain is Eating Its Young
And, o! exquisite refinement in the ancient art of double standard: the same conservative press that indignantly deplored dictators’ censorship of online communication, now call for plain suppression of entire telecommunication networks
An Open Letter to David Cameron’s Parents
England’s Ashes – America’s Future?
Unequal justice for property crime: Out of the 1.7m cases heard in magistrates courts last year, only 3.5% were remanded to jail. These figures from this week show a rate of nearly 60% remanded to jail, where their criminality may be ensured, not cured.
The Government consultation proposes removing the courts’ power so that it is mandatory for the courts to approve evictions, which will speed up the process. It takes an average of seven months just to get a court decision at the moment.
The UK riots have unique roots, but British youth’s alienation is similar to the disenfranchisement behind Arab revolts.
UK riots: how do Boris Johnson’s Bullingdon antics compare?
London Is the Surveillance Society’s Biggest Test Yet
Of Nika and Basmati Rice: another twocents worth on the London riots
Cameron uses riots as excuse to crack down:
Meanwhile Cameron threw cash at firms that have lost money in the riots, saying even uninsured shops will get payouts.
He said any shop affected won’t have to pay business rates, can defer its tax and claim from a £20 million “high street support scheme”.
So while he claims there’s no money for youth centres, or workers’ pensions, or anything else being cut, he can suddenly produce piles of cash for businesses.
Meanwhile it was revealed that MPs will be getting all their flight costs and hotel bills on expenses to compensate them for having to come back from their holidays.
And they’ll also be given money to fly back out again and continue their getaways.
Who are the real looters?
The British government committed a great sin when they ignored this element in society, and focused all their attention on how to save the rich and made hundreds of billions to rescue the banking system -which is the mainstay of the capitalist system – from collapse in 2008, by reducing public spending and cutting billions from the budgets of public services, which led to worsening unemployment, and with it the suffering among the disadvantaged class.
Class war: We want to put fear in hearts of the looters, warn police
‘This is really a deep, festering problem of the underclass at the bottom of Britain’s social ladder, which I don’t think exists to quite such a vast extent in other countries.’
Anonymity and social censorship in the UK riots
Elitist drivel adds fuel to the fire: Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a statement to the House of Commons on the recent disorder and looting that has taken place in London and other cities.
Africa to send troops, food parcels to UK as riots spread
Dealing with insurrection against the rich in the future : Hypersonic plane could fly Sydney to London in 49 minutes
The UK riots: the psychology of looting
How did the world get so fixated on GDP?
Even growth’s blunt promise of material prosperity is failing. GDP in the UK increased by 11% from 2003 to 2008. Over the same period, median real incomes stagnated. The economy boomed, but few shared in its rewards. Living standards were maintained through unsustainable debt. As we crawl back into recession, the majority will find those rewards still harder to come by – even if a minority continue to grow fat.
Around the world, people act out economic anger
The unrest in the U.K. may be a decisive moment for the modern surveillance state
How to really hug a hoodie
Birmingham vigil: ‘The three who died, died nobly. Don’t riot in their name’ – video
Palestine / Israel Links
But fundamental questions remain. How can a protest in Israel, borrowing the revolutionary energy of the Arab Spring, ignore Israel’s military control of the Palestinians?
Goodbye, Liliane Khalil
Irish activists plan protest aimed at Riverdance’s upcoming performances in Israel
State Department awards $200,000 to Elliott-Abrams-led thinktank repeatedly cited by mass murderer Breivik
Apartheid judges find technicality to reverse conviction of Israeli soldier for attacking Palestinians
Canadian College Media Joins Boycott Divestment Sanction Campaign Against Israeli Apartheid
Israeli misogyny : Haredi woman seeking to purchase light rail ticket in one of Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods sent to stand located two blocks away. Her husband, on the other hand, receives full-service treatment
Here’s hoping – Reut Institute: Israeli Boycott law may backfire
“Bibinomics” have never been popular; Bibi gets the public to support him and to allow his economic terrorism to continue, by using the Palestinian issue, the Iranian issue or social rifts within Israeli society to distract them.
Douchowitless panders and flies in the face of ziolobby attempts to use lawfare to silence criticism of Israel: “It’s a myth that criticism of Israel is silenced,” Dershowitz said in a phone interview with the Post on Thursday. I have spoken at AIPAC many times and have criticized Israeli policy. AIPAC has never silenced me, because AIPAC knows I’m pro-Israel.”
Eleven people detained after clashes erupt during protest against building of separation barrier in village of Walaja.
In February, around 400 members of parliaments from across this continent were brought to Israel in a trip hosted by the European Friends of Israel (EFI). They included 120 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) — one-sixth of that assembly’s total membership.
What Is Rael? The What Is Rael delegation is a Tel Aviv University (TAU) Student Union initiative, whose aim is to “actively contribute to Israel, by sending “Students who consider themselves Zionists” abroad to speak on campuses
The greatest elected body that money can buy
Libya — Lather, Rinse, Repeat — Syria: Liberal Imperialism and the Refusal to Learn
‘The threat of starvation cannot be solved by the replacement of one capitalist ruling class with another’
Aboriginal peoples’ right to traditional homelands in the Northern Territory
A Good Long Look At John Howard’s War In Iraq
Calls for John Howard to face Iraq inquiry
Transportation cases at the Old Bailey
No light had ever been shone on the behaviour of Mr Howard and former foreign minister Alexander Downer.
“They have never been made to sit down and explain why over many, many weeks and months arguing about WMD and terrorism when it was very quickly apparent that the official case for war was a lie,” Mr Wilkie said.