Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Quote of the Day


"When you ignore very poor people, they decided to take the law into their own hands."

-- Clive Bloom, author of Violent London: 2,000 Years Of Riots, Rebels And Revolts, on the riots currently consuming London and spreading across the UK

I'm certainly not excusing the sickening behavior on display throughout much of England right now, nor should anybody else. This is not some kind of revolution. Vicious thuggery is vicious thuggery, and the responsibility for it should be placed pretty squarely on the shoulders of those committing these crimes.

But you'd have to be blind or willfully ignorant not to grasp that when you create a staggering disparity between a large underclass and a small upper-class -- with only a dwindling middle-class in between to act as a buffer -- then place them side-by-side geographically, eventually there will be a conflagration. And it will be lit by the tiniest spark because the entire situation will always be like gasoline vapors waiting to explode. You push people down, or simply allow them to be convinced that there's no opportunity at all for them out there -- then beam images of a collapsing economy, a government demanding austerity measures, and the very wealthy casually skating for the crimes they've committed into their homes night after night -- and the result will be all-but-inevitable. Yeah, a riot breeds a riot and the mob mentality is precisely that because it can spread so quickly and take on a life of its own. But largely underprivileged kids and young adults rampaging through neighborhoods like Notting Hill and attacking Michelin-starred restaurants, and that violence reaching epic levels -- the kind not seen in decades -- that's the sort of thing that can't simply be shrugged off as a case of a bunch of little gangsters pumped full of adrenaline.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

French Revolution anyone?

Nick said...

We're already seeing the beginnings of said behavior in the states, though the press has so far has named it 'wilding'; Philly and KC both have had repeat ‘incidents’ of the poor suddenly massing in 'high toned' neighborhoods with looting, violence and general thuggery.

The ‘let them eat (and work at) McDonald’s’ ploy has failed…

Bill Orvis White said...

There's good rioting and bad rioting. Over there in Socialist England, it is the bad kind of rioting where bloodsuckers burn things up because the government stopped their checks. I say use real bullets on these drains on society and barbecue them over the fires they set. Nothing goes down with sweet iced tea than a Secular Socialist from England. Now, if I were president of The Southern Coalition of the United States, I would be sending $$ over to the poor people living under Chavez so that they can riot. This way, that thug will be overthrown. Yes, I know yer buddies with Chavez, Castro and Jimmah Carter, but I wouldn't miss any of these filthy "leaders."
Amen,
Bill

Anonymous said...

Anyone who's looking for updates should check out the Guardian's liveblog of the whole thing. Apparently shit's about to go down in Manchester

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/blog/2011/aug/09/london-riots-day-four-live-blog

NoxiousNan said...

My homeless survival plan fully incorporates criminal activity. But there are rules about where to direct said activity, and violence only in the case of self defense.

Ursula said...

This is also a very good read: http://pennyred.blogspot.com/2011/08/panic-on-streets-of-london.html?spref=fb

Heather said...

While perhaps that was originally the case, it doesn't seem to be much that way now. Listening to interviews they did with people who were smashing, burning and looting -- none of them could really say why they were there other than to break things and "do what we want." They described it as "great fun." What a mess!

David Davies said...

It's not a protest when you beat photographers and journalists up. I'm normally a pretty liberal kind of person, try to understand the causes of this kind of thing but fuck it, they're rioting about a mile from my house right now in Liverpool so fuck em.

I want the police to kick some heads in, and the majority of people here in the UK feel exactly the same.

sommer said...

Not to mention that monstrosity of a wedding that they had to pay for... I'd be pissed, too.

Anonymous said...

Feed people enough bullshit and eventually they start flinging real shit back at you.

Luke Weiss said...

this is not an incident of the poor rising up.
This is the result of long simmering tensions between the gangs and the police in london. The gangs were opportunistic and struck at the right time, and the police were hamstrung, no rubber bullets, no teargas, etc. When word got out that the police were impotent, the looting went national.
To illustrate how this is not a racial or class struggle - today several firms (soccer hooligan groups) came together to protect their communities. Other vigilante groups have been keeping looters at bay for days, including those from the chinese and turkish communities in London. None of the vigilante protection groups are especially rich, and most are working class or poor.

Don't read this story the wrong way. The heart of the matter is gangs who smelled weakness in the police response and then ran wild.

Anonymous said...

Oh please...the average participant in the riots couldn't tell you the name of the person that got shot. Funny though...if a known criminal, with a loaded firearm, was shot just once during a planned traffic stop in the US, the cops involved would be celebrated for their restraint.

Rich kids at ivy league colleges will riot after a football game. You collect enough people into a group, no matter their political views or background, the individual losses their inhibitions. Ascribing some sort of deeper logic than that is retarded.

Benoit from Ottawa said...

Chez, I agree.

Anon., French Revolution nothing.

Bill, you're so full of shit.