Tag Archives: Mark Duggan

London Fallout: The Post Riots World

Interactive Map Riot

Most of the activity in London and other areas of England has stopped, so the information gathering has begun.

The image above is from the Guardian: “Data journalist Matt Stiles has taken our data on deprivation – and the riot incidents over the last few days and mashed the two up together. The darker reds represent poorer places, the blues are the richer areas. What do you think? Is there a correlation between the two?”

Casey Rain, of the Birmingham Riots 2011 Tumblr, has not received any major updates since August 10th. He notes:

Sky News, BBC News and other media have been painfully slow on updates, and many of you have accused them of even being biased. Of course, they are far more liable, but in this day and age they simply must evolve or people will turn elsewhere, which the 1million+ page views this blog got yesterday would indicate. As for me, I have no agenda other than to keep the people informed and safe as quickly as possible. I’m not getting paid to do this, and so I am truly humbled at some of the messages I’ve received saying I’ve put the mainstream media to shame. A few of you have even called me a hero, but I’m not. I’m just someone that believes in the power of the internet and social media as a force for good. That’s all. And the truth is that I couldn’t have done it without the thousands of you helping, submitting information, pictures and more. We should all be proud of ourselves as a community – but the real work begins now. Not just to clean up our battered streets, but to all do as much as we can to ensure these kind of events don’t happen again. No matter what your job or background there are ways we can all help. I firmly believe that.

The imminent threat of major violence may or may not be over. So we all need to stay vigilant, stay safe, and above all have compassion for each other. The unity that this has brought between us in response to these sickening acts of violence, might well be the silver lining to this incredibly dark cloud. Thank you all.

We’d heard reports of this off and on, but Reader Keisha tipped us an article from the NYT that explains the police are forcibly evicting families from public housing who had a member participate in the riots:

[David Cameron] has described the rioting as “criminality, pure and simple,” with no excuse in social deprivation, and laid out a controversial plan to make much broader use of existing powers to expel not only the rioters but also their families from the free or rent-subsidized accommodations that provide millions with cradle-to-grave homes.

“For too long we’ve taken too soft an attitude towards people that loot and pillage their own community,” Mr. Cameron told a BBC interviewer. “If you do that, you should lose your right to the sort of housing that you’ve had at subsidized rates.” He added that evictions “might help break up some of the criminal networks on some housing estates if some of these people are thrown out of their houses.”

Asked whether that would render them homeless, he replied, “They should have thought of that before they started burgling.”

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Voices: The London Riots

London Riots

We can dispense with some mistakes, though. It is wrong to say that the riots are apolitical. The trouble began on Saturday night when protesters gathered at Tottenham police station to demand that the police explain the circumstances in which a local man, Mark Duggan, had been shot dead by the police. The death of a Londoner, another black Londoner, at the hands of the police has a gruesome significance. The police are employed to keep the peace and the police shot someone dead. This is a deeply political matter. Besides, it is conventional to say how much policing in London has changed since the Brixton riots of the early eighties – but not many people mouthing the conventional wisdom have much firsthand experience of being young and poor in Britain’s inner cities.

More broadly, any breakdown of civil order is inescapably political. Quite large numbers of mostly young people have decided that, on balance, they want to take to the streets and attack the forces of law and order, damage property or steal goods. Their motives may differ – they are bound to differ. But their actions can only be understood adequately in political terms. While the recklessness of adrenaline has something to do with what is happening, the willingness to act is something to be explained. We should perhaps ask them what they were thinking before reaching for phrases like “mindless violence”. We might actually learn something.

— Dan Hind, writing for Al-Jazeera

I’m digressing, personalising, because I am angry and despairing. Right and left are meaningless in terms of what has happened over the last few nights. If you genuinely think that this wouldn’t have happened if the coalition had been Labour/Lib Dem you need to get off the internet and get out more. That 13 – 20% have no respect or concern for or interest in any government, and probably can’t even distinguish between the range of worthies in suits who have ruled us during their lifetimes. I’ve even seen someone blame Thatcher for what happened last night, as if Cameron had achieved the kind of reversal of history that was beyond Pohl Pot. Politics does not concern the 13 to 20%; criminality is their norm, just as it was their parents’ norm.

They are not part of the society the people reading this belong to. Rioting last night gave them a sense of power and control, over the police, and over their neighbours. It’s a huge oversimplification to say these are simply poor areas. Patterns of housing – particularly the rental market – in London are way more complex than that and Hackney, Clapham, Brixton etc have been increasingly gentrified over the last thirty years. The communities are much more mixed than many commentators will acknowledge. What these riots – which aren’t demonstrations, but parties got out of hand, with fires and prizes – is the degree of alienation from their own communities, their inability to acknowledge that they are part of any community. They also don’t see themselves as angry or even oppressed, because they cannot look beyond the circumstances they are in and the peer pressures around them. And it is about bad parenting, to the extent that when the 13 to 20% become parents they have no aspirations or responsibilities for their children to inherit. That won’t change if you treat merely them as victims, and enhance their sense of entitlement to trainers and TVs, nor if you treat them merely as criminals and process them through a judicial system that encourages recidivism.

— Rosamicula on LiveJournal

Just let me be clear about this (It’s a good phrase, Mr and Mrs Cameron, and one I looted from every sentence your son utters, just as he looted it from Tony Blair), I am not justifying or minimising in any way what has been done by the looters over the last few nights. What I am doing, however, is expressing shock and dismay that your son and his friends feel themselves in any way to be guardians of morality in this country.

Can they really, as 650 people who have shown themselves to be venal pygmies, moral dwarves at every opportunity over the last 20 years, bleat at others about ‘criminality’. Those who decided that when they broke the rules (the rules they themselves set) they, on the whole wouldn’t face the consequences of their actions?

Are they really surprised that this country’s culture is swamped in greed, in the acquisition of material things, in a lust for consumer goods of the most base kind? Really?

Let’s have a think back: cash-for-questions; Bernie Ecclestone; cash-for-access; Mandelson’s mortgage; the Hinduja passports; Blunkett’s alleged insider trading (and, by the way, when someone has had to resign in disgrace twice can we stop having them on television as a commentator, please?); the meetings on the yachts of oligarchs; the drafting of the Digital Economy Act with Lucian Grange; Byers’, Hewitt’s & Hoon’s desperation to prostitute themselves and their positions; the fact that Andrew Lansley (in charge of NHS reforms) has a wife who gives lobbying advice to the very companies hoping to benefit from the NHS reforms. And that list didn’t even take me very long to think of.

Our politicians are for sale and they do not care who knows it.

Oh yes, and then there’s the expenses thing. Widescale abuse of the very systems they designed, almost all of them grasping what they could while they remained MPs, to build their nest egg for the future at the public’s expense. They even now whine on Twitter about having their expenses claims for getting back to Parliament while much of the country is on fire subject to any examination. True public servants.

– Nathaniel Tapely, “An Open Letter to David Cameron’s Parents

 

(Via Baratunde and Jason)