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Monday, August 15th, 2011, 4:42 pm

Riots Are Over, Problems Are Not

Hooligans

Burial of one’s problems is not the solution to these problems. Burial of a state’s problem is not the mass arrest of the symptom of this problem.

Last week there was a lot of unrest in the UK. It was only the rioters whom the media chose to focus on. It was intentional. Allow me to explain.

Grouping or stereotyping the unrest is a way of evoking a sense of urgency in the fight against dissent. All those who point out that there is societal disparity can easily be classified as “part of the problem”, which is no longer a problem of disparity but a problem of looting and vandalism. The media really squeezed the juice out of last week’s events as it showed people gore or fire. People, in turn, are likely to run into the state’s authority for protection — the same authority which often neglects to publish rich offenders (tax evasion and other very costly crimes).

A week after the protests (collectively referred to as “riots” in the media) began, the storm began to quiet down and national debates approached their conclusion. That having been said, there are some lessons we must take from the whole episode:

1. Genuinely non-violent people who merely attend the streets at times of unrest because they are concerned will be associated — deliberately — with a violent crowd. The message to take from this is that the presence of an anarchistic element in the crowd can depress and gag legitimate attempts to make oneself heard. There are proven cases from other countries where agent provocateur and ‘plants’ were used for this.

2. Freedom of speech is only respected as long as it is not dissenting or revolutionary in nature.

3. Class hypocrisy does not enter the debate, at least not in the mainstream, and when people raise the offences of the Prime Minister or even a history of arson conviction for his deputy, those allegations of hypocrisy are faced with resistance going along the lines of, “you help the looters” (or “help the enemy,” which is how people defend unjust wars). It does not matter how much looting occurs at a ‘legalised’ level (like tax avoidance or lies that lead to wars of vested interests), this does not matter when the poor people rebel. This in its own right is indicative of discrimination based on class.

Those who write more objectively or at least attempt to assess the arguments of both sides are not apologists for looters. They are apologists for truth.

I was actually there at the City Centre for over an hour just before the Manchester riots broke out. I wanted to see for myself what it was all about, not through the lens of corporate media but from the point of view of a bystander. My friends and I left the area just minutes before a shop was put up in flames. The following day it was unsafe to return to the same place, maybe even forbidden. There was no distinct racial characteristic when it to the people who were there to cause trouble (the racists are just being opportunists here). It seems like more an economic commonality. Poor people are not happy in this country and maybe their grievances are somewhat legitimate.

An hour ago at the streets around here (Manchester City Centre), a couple of young people, maybe about 14 years of age, approached me in an attempt to sell me a bike. I wasn’t sure if it was stolen or maybe they were just so poor that they needed to sell their bike. Either way, this is a symptom of a real problem. The older generation in this country collected massive debt at the expense of the young people, who are there to suffer the consequences for many decades to come. I occasionally hear similar frustration from friends of mine. We live in a bubble economy.

2 Responses to “Riots Are Over, Problems Are Not”

  1. Robin T Cox Says:

    Correction:

    Last week there was a lot of unrest in England.

    England is the only part of the UK under direct rule by the UK Parliament at Westminster. Westminster politicians are not directly accountable to English voters, and are out of touch with what is going on in England.

  2. Roy Schestowitz Says:

    Fair enough, perhaps a pedantic point.

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