( I'm not fond of Kaiser Chiefs)
Well, I guess that everybody will talk about the riots this week and they are right to do so. The riots are not riots. There are no riots, riots is only a question of perspective. Riots, protests and demonstrations are all the same form of destructive ( even in peace, it has a sense of destruction ) assembly due to a common disagreement by a large enough group. What is interesting to note, as always, is not the causes and articulations of the riots but rather the reactions to it.
First thing first, it has started as a protest against the police and soon enough was this element forgotten by the public and the media. It is repeated that the parents of Duggan ( the alleged dealer who got shot) asked for the rioters to not use his name as a reason to protest and I entirely back up this argument. The police should not be criticized like that on a sole unique example but it should be reminded that a dozens of people at least die each year while in custody, that the police have undercover agent provocateurs for few protests ( caught on camera but never mentioned by mainstream media) and that though we are reminded through a few documentaries every year that policemen are racists. We do not mind that newspapers put pictures of only minority ethnic people on their frontpage for the riots though. The police service has decayed in the last century and this deserves a long lasting demonstration on its own. Also, the fact that the police does not know how to calm down rioters, let them for the first few days go wild so they can afterwards use violent deadly tools does not make the police better.
Of course, I repeat weekly that it is hard to do some self-criticism especially when it implies the lost of the devil we know for a deep blue sea ( a new system, a new policing service, or anything new is scary) . I am though in the fortunate position to be a self-hating bourgeois in the style of Gramsci and Lenin ( and self-critical enough to know I have no humility when I compare myself to these genii of the 20th century). What I observe is the main reaction to these riots as there were for any demonstration in the last twenty years in Europe: we just want to see the worst in them.
Even the 'left' media just centered there pictures and examples on the opportunistic aspect of the riots. Those are riots exploding on a sudden urge, it is normal that they have an opportunistic, unorganized, apolitical aspect. Are we really astonished at that ? The police has let the riots go for two days so we can forget the police shot a man, twice and accused the deceased of violence. They have let the media go on to say that the rioters are undisciplined and destructive so fear can run among the general population. Would it have been any political demonstration, police would have been geared up and ready to direct and hit whoever would have been problematic, knowing that an organized demonstration has in our minds more legitimacy and can overthrow a government. Harry Potter fans can overcrowd Trafalgar square when anticuts protests get kettled.
In the Guardian of Tuesday, we can see the happy well-paid bohemians of Tottenham brandishing their brooms to say: 'Yes, we'll clean up behind the rioters' to show their sense of community. On the picture, they were all whites. Those are the people not minding that much the consenting liberal approach of the s ystem. They do not care that money = poverty ( logical saying from The Culture in Ian M. Banks fictions) because they have the money to pay. What were they doing on a Thursday during the day cleaning up the streets when the rioters are required to look for jobs? What kind of system is it where economic imperialism is in theory frowned upon ( all these london bohemians vote 'labour' or 'liberal') but its consequences are ignored?
We all know that these riots have started in places where you find extremes in wealth. The rich lives next to the poor. We all know that the English government at present does not mind such extremes and indeed favors it as it means lower wages for the people owning no mean of production. We have also now more good reasons now to dislike the 'Chavs' and 'hooded youth', even as liberals. The liberals are the blind submissive population of England and this is the conclusion of these protests. When they see racism, they see horror, they do not see that misery creates racism and economic oligarchy creates misery.
We are all aware of the reasons for such riots. The BBC made an interview of a West Indian writer who's grandson was in the riot and lived there ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biJgILxGK0o&feature=youtu.be) and it is funny to see that while he explains in details the frustration of living there, his interview cannot be found anymore on the BBC website. We prefer to see the looting and make fun of it because it either reflects on how much in a consumer society we are, or how stupidly unpolitical the looters are. Doesn't it show the extent to which the society is fucked up?!
The rioters live in miserable conditions in a system that has crushed any perspective of a descent future for them. Those are good excuses for demanding for a better society, from our educated perspective. Yet, they are not educated and go loot for what they have been taught to want ( result of basic hegemony) and what do we, well educated left-wing liberal thinkers, get out of it? ' Stupid pricks looting the small shops'. If we had there balls, real empathy for their outrage, if we would have an ounce of integrity, we would go down the there with them and go for the parliament, whether with a broom in hand or a baseball bat.
I am not going to extend too much on this because all the media are against them. We all want to see only the violence under our eyes rather than the symbolic violence it stems from.