Rioting Against the Rich

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.

Stockmarket Crash Cleanup
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 #inequality #poverty #

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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.
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Palestine / Israel Links

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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.