Mark Duggan Shooting

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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby gnosticheresy_2 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:20 pm

In response to these interwoven economic and ideological crises, elites in Britain, the United States, and other developed countries gradually cobbled together the hegemonic project we now know as neo-liberalism. The lineaments of neo-liberalism of course included smashing institutions of working class power, shrinking and/or privatizing the redistributive arm of the state, and beefing up the state’s security apparatus. Hall and his colleagues called this approach popular authoritarianism.


^^ from the article quoted above (which is quoting another article). It's not a response, it's a pre-planned ideology that was waiting in the wings to be brought in as the "solution" to these "problems" which just so happened to occur when neo-liberal "solutions" were imposed (by force or guile) on the world's major economic powers. And it's that realisation, more than any other, that keeps me posting on and reading RI. It's not a fucking accident, an act of God, the way capitalism works or just "the way of the world". It's a deliberate set of aims and goals, enacted by people who have names and addresses, through covert means for their own enrichment at our expense.
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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby AhabsOtherLeg » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:44 pm

Stephen Morgan wrote:The British Bill of Rights was... the Bill of Rights, which rather precedes the American one.


It's a newer, slicker, more streamlined Bill of Rights he wants, with a lot of the older, bulkier, more cumbersome and problematic rights taken out. It's going to be designed by Apple.

PEDANTRY NOTE: The Bill of Rights was approved by the English Parliament only, and passed long before the Union of the Crowns, so it is only applicable to England, Wales, and the Commonwealth countries, but not to the whole of Britain. To call it the British Bill of Rights is therefore incorrect. So nyah. :lol:
"The universe is 40 billion light years across and every inch of it would kill you if you went there. That is the position of the universe with regard to human life."
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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby AhabsOtherLeg » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:54 pm



Hey SLAD, I've meant to say thank you more than once in recent times for all the articles and insights you bring to various subjects here. You posted loads of good stuff in the Phone Hacking thread especially, and most of it went sort of unacknowledged, at least in terms of replies or discussion, but believe me it was (and is) all appreciated. Just wanted to say that.
"The universe is 40 billion light years across and every inch of it would kill you if you went there. That is the position of the universe with regard to human life."
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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby Joe Hillshoist » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:37 am

Pele'sDaughter wrote:http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/aug/15/essex-water-fight-blackberry-messenger

Essex police charge man over water fight planned on BlackBerry Messenger

A 20-year-old is due in court after police discover alleged plans for a Colchester water fight circulating on BBM and Facebook

A man will appear before magistrates next month for allegedly trying to organise a mass water fight via his mobile phone.

The prime minister said last week that the government would investigate whether social networking platforms should be shut down if they helped to "plot" crime in the wake of the riots.

The 20-year-old from Colchester was arrested on Friday after Essex police discovered the alleged plans circulating on the BlackBerry Messenger service and Facebook.

The unnamed man has been charged with "encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence" under the 2007 Serious Crime Act, police said.

He was arrested with another 20-year-old man the day the water fight was allegedly due to take place, and has been bailed to appear before Colchester magistrates on 1 September. The second man was released without charge.

The BlackBerry Messenger service, a closed communications network, was the social network of choice for organising many raids on shops and businesses during last week's riots in England.

A police spokesman declined to disclose whether Essex police had been monitoring the service since the riots. "Essex police use appropriate measures for whatever the crime and wherever our investigations lead us," he said.

Speaking during last Thursday's parliamentary debate on the riots, David Cameron said he would investigate whether social-networking sites should be shut down if they helped to "plot" crime. The prime minister said he would "look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality".

He has received support from some Tory backbenchers, including Louise Mensch, who likened such a ban to closing a stretch of rail network after an accident.

In 2008 there was a spate of mass water fights in British towns and cities that were organised through social networks. Most remained peaceful.This month a water fight attended by thousands of young Iranians attracted the attention of Tehran's morality police and led to a series of arrests.


The stupid is burning my eyes.
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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby Stephen Morgan » Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:58 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... g_Scandal/

About Morgan killing, goes into the corruption in the police, Marunchak, and so on.
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby semper occultus » Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:54 am

want to do a proper reply but in the meantime.....!!!

Freemasons in the police leading the attack on David Cameron's riot response

Leading police officers have set up a national Masonic lodge where they can meet in secret in defiance of fears about the influence of the secret society on the criminal justice system.

By Jason Lewis, Investigations Editor ( good masonic name ! )
www.telegraph.co.uk
9:00PM BST 20 Aug 2011

The founding members include senior officials from the Police Federation, the police staff association, which is currently fighting the Government over its plans to cut budgets.

The new Masonic lodge is led by John Tully, a Metropolitan Police officer, who has given numerous interviews in recent days accusing the Prime Minister of "fighting violence, arson and looting on our city streets with sound-bites". ( statement here : www.metfed.org.uk )

Other founder members include officers from the Metropolitan Police, Essex Police, Thames Valley Police and from other forces including Northumbria, Dyfed Powys, South Wales, South Yorkshire and even a high ranking officer from the Royal Gibraltar Police.

The "Sine Favore" Lodge was opened despite the conclusions of a Parliamentary inquiry which warned of public fears that "Freemasonry can have an unhealthy influence on the criminal justice system".

The inquiry followed questions about masonic involvement in the abandonment of an investigation into a shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland and with the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, which was disbanded after evidence of police malpractice.

Membership is open to all serving and retired officers across Britain and others working alongside the police, including lawyers, criminologists and even the financial advisers who manage officers' retirement plans.

The idea for the new police Masonic lodge grew out of a series unofficial get-togethers in hotel bars during Police Federation annual conferences.

Masonic rules require members to do all they can to support each other, to look after each other and to keep each others' lawful secrets.

New members of the so-called Brotherhood are blindfolded, a hangman's noose placed around their necks and they are warned their throat will be slit and their tongue torn out if they break their oath. Critics argue this could put them at odds with discharging their duty to serve the public.

The inquiry by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 1998 called for a public register of police officers who joined the Freemasons, although in the end the then Labour government proposed that officers could make voluntary disclosures about their membership. Few did.

The new "Sine Favore" lodge, is named after the Latin motto of the Police Federation, "Without Fear, Without Favour".

The founders include Police Federation Treasurer Martyn Mordecai, John Giblin, chairman of the Federation's Sergeants Central Committee, and Steve Williams, general secretary of the Federation's Inspectors Central Committee.
Earlier this year Mr Giblin told the Federation's annual conference that government ministers "hate the police service" and wanted to "destroy" it.


Other founding members include solicitor Tristan Hallam, a personal injury lawyer who specialises, according to his firm Russell Jones and Walker, in "road traffic accidents and public liability cases for both private clients and associations including the Police Federation".

Mr Hallam said: "Membership of any organisation is a personal choice. Russell Jones & Walker are aware of my membership."

Stewart Imbimbo, an ex-Thames Valley police officer and now a senior official at Milton Keynes council, Robert Taylor, a financial adviser, Eric Misselke, director of a police credit union which provides cheap loans, savings accounts and insurance, and the Metropolitan Police's resident criminologist Dr Attilio Grandani.

Dr Grandani sits on the Metropolitan Police Authority's equality and diversity sub-committee and is behind the Met's new controversial statistical-led policing model, which aims to combat areas of high crime as opposed to more thinly spread bobbies-on-the-beat territorial policing.

Lodge number 9856 was officially opened by a senior Masonic official, Russell Race. He is the Metropolitan Grand Master, head of the Grand Lodge of London, a corporate financier and chairman of a construction firm behind the huge Westfield shopping centre in west London and The Pinnacle office development, which, when complete, will be the tallest building in the City of London.

The lodge is based at 10 Duke Street in central London, which is also the headquarters of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree, one of the most important and mysterious bodies in international Masonic circles, which has an elite membership of only 75 people.

The building, known as Grand East by Masons, contains the "Black Room", the "Red Room" and a "Chamber of Death", used for Masonic rituals.


The Police Federation last night refused to discuss whether any of its officials had disclosed their involvement with Freemasonary.

A spokesman said: "Being a member of any organisation is a matter for the individual, so long as membership of that organisation does not compromise their duties and responsibilities as a police officer."

Lodge Secretary Mr Tully, vice chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation refused to comment.



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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby Bruce Dazzling » Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:52 pm

I moved this from the "End of Wall Street Boom" thread, on behalf of Riddler.

Carry on.

JackRiddler wrote:.

Update Completed
(Click for start)

.

Where should stuff about the London and UK riots go? Feel free to repost in the right thread.

Young Nafeez, long a favorite of mine...


http://counterpunch.org/nafeez08102011.html

August 10, 2011
The Economics Conditions Driving Riot Fever
Burning Britain

By NAFEEZ MOSADDEQ AHMED


London.

The rioting, looting and plunder that started in Tottenham on Saturday has now spread like wildfire throughout the capital. Shops were broken into, properties vandalized, and flats and vehicles set alight by gangs of mostly young men in Croydon, Clapham, Brixton, Hackney, Camden, Lewisham, Peckham, Newham, East Ham, Ilford, Enfield, Woolwich, Ealing, and Colliers Wood. Trouble was also reported in Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, and Nottingham.

Described by witnesses as a 'warzone', these are the worst riots to hit London in decades. Over the next few nights, groups of young men, some armed with make-shift weapons and petrol bombs, overwhelmed suburban areas in what was essentially a spontaneous ransacking spree. The chaos has disrupted the lives of thousands of people, rendering them homeless, destroying their businesses, and endangering their livelihoods.

On Monday, at about 4pm, I was talking on the phone to my friend Muddassar Ahmed, CEO of Unitas Communications, while he was driving about town in East Ham where he lives. We were chatting about our plans for a meal round his place to celebrate Ramadan. Suddenly, he said, "Oh my God. There's a group of, like, 50 young guys and they're running straight towards me!" Fortunately they ran passed his car, but they continued onto Ilford Lane, which they'd barricaded using crates and boxes.

On Tuesday morning, my dad and stepmother who live in Croydon, where some of the worst violence occurred, told me over the phone how they'd watched as the previous night a gang of about 20 lads smashed their way into the Staples opposite their house and emptied almost the entire superstore. Indeed, many of the images of the carnage captured by journalists have also been revealing – apart from the stealing of expensive luxury items like flat screen televisions and hi-fi systems, a lot of the pillaging has focused on clothes and food.

Police Brutality

So it would be gravely mistaken to assume that the rioting and violence erupting throughout London was motivated fundamentally by opposing police brutality exemplified in the killing of Mark Duggan. Police brutality almost certainly played a role in sparking the initial rage. Early inaccurate media reports claimed that Duggan had fired first at the SO19 police officers who were tracking him, and that the officer who was hit was only saved by the bullet lodging itself in his radio. Forensic analysis later confirmed that the bullet was in fact police-issued, throwing doubt on the whole story.

Semone Wilson, Duggan's girlfriend, said: "I spoke to him at about 5pm and he asked me if I'd cook dinner. He said he spotted a police car following him. By 6.15 he had been gunned down. I kept phoning and phoning to find out where he was. He wasn't answering. I rushed down to where it happened. They let me through the police lines but they wouldn't let me see his body."

According to eyewitnesses, Duggan had been disabled by police and was lying on the ground when he had been shot. "About three or four police officers had both men pinned on the ground at gunpoint", said one who was at the scene. "They were really big guns and then I heard four loud shots. The police shot him on the floor."

Pending further disclosure, the jury is still out on what exactly happened, but at the moment the available evidence does not lend confidence to the original version of events put out by anonymous police sources.

To add insult to injury (or this case, murder), when a 16-year old girl amongst the protestors who had gathered in Tottenham on Saturday approached the police to ask questions, the officers "set upon her with batons", according to one resident interviewed by the BBC.

Confusing the Issues

Then the fires started. What began as a peaceful but angry demonstration against Duggan's killing by members of Tottenham's local community was quickly overrun and overtaken by hundreds of youths, who exploited the circumstances to cause havoc and loot local businesses.

The scale of the violence on Saturday alone, and the inability of police and emergency services to respond and contain it effectively, was instrumental in inspiring youths all over London's suburbs to mimic the violence and, quite literally, use the opportunity to take what they wanted.

Unfortunately, some activists have been confused by these events. Jodi McIntyre described the riots as an "uprising", and suggested it should "continue in an effective manner" with better "organisation" – "Random looting", he explained, "is not going to overcome police injustice.

But until then, the language of the unheard will continue to be spoken." But to what end should such admittedly pointless random looting therefore continue? How does exhorting its continuation in any way fit into a genuinely progressives agenda for the inclusive, community-led, radical systemic transformation necessary to overcome our converging social, political, economic and cultural crises?

Responding to criticism for expressing support for the riots, McIntyre wrote: "If it is a question of where my solidarity lies, and the options are M&S and Footlocker versus young people in the streets, then there is only one answer." To be fair McIntyre expressed "sympathy" for those who had their "homes or cornershops damaged" and noted he has never supporting looting or arson – but ultimately, his comments illustrate a serious lack of understanding of what had happened.

There is no binary moral choice between support for the 'corporate establishment' and 'young people' – as if the riots somehow manifest young people challenging corporate power in a genuinely progressive way. The riots, the looting, the plunder, did not in any way constitute an "uprising" against corporate or even state power. On the contrary, the violence represented the most regressive manifestations of corporate and state inculcated values of crude materialist, market-driven hedonism. The looters and vandals were not politically-motivated, let alone progressively-inspired. On the contrary, what precisely illustrates the entirely self-destructive nature of this phenomenon is that its main victims were not the government, nor large corporates shielded by the promise of insurance pay-outs – but simply ordinary working people. If this was an uprising, it ended up targeting the very communities from which these young people came, even if these are communities from which they feel ostracized.

Boiling Point

McIntyre is right about one thing, though, when he says, "Inequality is at the heart of this." Indeed, the violence is a disturbing symptom of the protracted collapse-process which industrial civilization now finds itself in.

The vast majority of perpetrators were young people, both men and women although mostly men. Young people in Britain have been hit hardest by the impact of recession. Unemployment in the UK is now at a staggering 2.49 million, having risen steadily over the last decade – increasingly so since the 2008 crash – with 1.46 million claiming jobseekers allowance. Across the country, one in five 16-24 year olds – just under a million young people – are unemployed.

Figures released just this summer showed that the economic gloom was deepening particularly across the capital, with 20 people chasing each available job in 22 of London's 73 parliamentary constituencies. In other areas, such as Peckham and Hackney which were also sites of major rioting, the number of people going after each job is over 40. And in almost every seat, this measure has worsened in the last few months.

It won't get better soon – this year will see unemployment rise to 2.7 million. And young people will face the brunt of it, as they already have. In the quarter to May 2011, the employment rate of working age men in London was lower than the national average, and underwent a "dramatic fall of 0.9 percentage points, while the national rate remained the same." Almost a quarter of working-age Londoners are economically inactive – 1.3 million people, and of these 397,000 people are aged 16 and over.

And there is an unmistakable race-dimension to class inequality. Black and ethnic minority (BME) groups face the brunt of the impact of economic crisis. Across the UK, BME groups have the highest rates of income-poverty, and in London, more than half of people living in low-income households are from ethnic minorities. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 70 per cent of those in income poverty in inner London are from minority ethnic groups, as are 50 per cent in outer London.

There is an interplay between the wider racial contours of social inequalities and institutional police racism. Despite commendable progress in significant areas, black people are still seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than white. Asians are twice as likely to be stopped and searched as white people. More than 30 per cent of all black males living in Britain are on the national DNA database, compared with about 10 per cent of white males and 10 per cent of Asian males. Black men are about four times more likely than white men to have their DNA profiles stored on the DNA database.

Meanwhile, the British government's flagship 'Big Society'-inspired policy to support young people amounts to nothing less than ruthlessly slashing youth services, and hoping the 'market' – which of course brought us into this economic mess – will magically take care of them. "One in four of England's youth services face catastrophic cuts of between 21-30 per cent – three times higher than the general level of council cuts", reports Kerry Jenkins, operations officer of Unite the Unions – a merger between two of Britain's leading Unions, the T&G and Amicus.

"Many authorities intend to get rid of their youth services completely, while 80% of voluntary organisations providing services for young people have said programmes will be cut. Local authority chiefs predict that youth service budgets will be slashed by £100 million, leading to the loss of 3,000 full-time youth worker jobs."

Indeed, the government was warned. Less than a year ago, Sir Paul Ennals, Head of the National Children's Bureau, predicted that the combination of unemployment and cuts to services would lead to young people becoming "progressively disengaged from their own communities in a way that we are seeing in France", which has already seen riots and social unrest "driven by young people who are alienated from their community."

And as late as 2nd August – less than a week before the riots – criminologist Professor John Pitts, an advisor to several local authorities on violent crime and youth culture, warned that government cuts would lead to an increase in violent crime this summer.

The Failure of Neoliberal Capitalism

The unprecedented economic crisis, linked to the global political economy's fundamental breaching of ecological and energy limits, has already generated outbreaks of civil disorder all over the world in different regional and socio-political contexts. In the Middle East, we have seen the Arab spring, triggered by rocketing food prices, driven by a combination of environmental, financial and energy factors. In Europe, we have seen protests and rioting in Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Turkey and France, fuelled by the devastating impact of the global recession. It is only a matter of time before these crisis-conditions catch-up with the United States mainland.

In the UK, converging energy, economic and environmental crises are being refracted through the lens of a deeply unequal, yet vehemently consumerist, society. As Professor Pitts argued in a later interview directly about the riots: "Many of the people involved are likely to have been from low-income, high-unemployment estates, and many, if not most, do not have much of a legitimate future." Widening social exclusion has pushed these young people onto the margins of conventional morality – "Those things that normally constrain people are not there. Much of this was opportunism but in the middle of it there is a social question to be asked about young people with nothing to lose." Entrenched structural inequalities thus generate a sense of justification for looting: "They feel they can rationalise it by targeting big corporations. There is a sense that the companies have lots of money, while they have very little." Simultaneously, the rioting and violence lacked any progressive content whatsoever – driven by conventional neoliberal values of excessive consumerism, most looters used the opportunity not to challenge capitalism, but to indulge manically in its most materialistic values by simply stealing the items they could not normally afford: "Where we used to be defined by what we did, now we are defined by what we buy. These big stores are in the business of tempting [the consumer] and then suddenly these people find they can just walk into the shop and have it all."

The young people involved in this spate of violence are beyond the conventional alienation of repressed labour. Instead, they suffer from a deeper, more dangerous alienation of being utterly surplus to capitalist requirements, irrelevant and ostracized, and thus doomed to subsist on the margins, functionally illiterate, without hope or aspiration. That is a mode of being which is no longer capable of recognizing ethical constraints or boundaries, precisely because the state has already breached its contract of citizenship to them. The shooting of Mark Duggan, and the underbelly of class and race inequality it followed, was merely a match to a flame that has already burned for too long.

However the government chooses to now respond to the escalating violence, there can be no doubt that the episode represents a fundamental turning-point for British society, in a world that has already passed the tipping point on a whole range of interconnected systemic crises. The danger is that the authorities will offer the traditional, knee-jerk, business-as-usual response of maximizing police state powers, rather than addressing the root causes of our predicament. Of course, robust measures are clearly necessary to contain the violence and hold those responsible accountable. But we are already on the slippery slope of intensifying state-militarization – and we won't be able to get off as long as we refuse, as societies, to take responsibility for the systemic crises we all now face.


Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development. His latest book is A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (Pluto/Macmillan, 2010), which inspired the forthcoming documentary feature film, The Crisis of Civilization, to be released in October this year.





But Naomi, my flower, says:



Looting with the lights on

We keep hearing England's riots weren't political – but looters know that their elites have been committing daylight robbery

Naomi Klein
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 17 August 2011 10.37 BST


Image
Youths loot a Carhartt store in Hackney during the recent riots in London. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

I keep hearing comparisons between the London riots and riots in other European cities – window-smashing in Athens or car bonfires in Paris. And there are parallels, to be sure: a spark set by police violence, a generation that feels forgotten.

But those events were marked by mass destruction; the looting was minor. There have, however, been other mass lootings in recent years, and perhaps we should talk about them too. There was Baghdad in the aftermath of the US invasion – a frenzy of arson and looting that emptied libraries and museums. The factories got hit too. In 2004 I visited one that used to make refrigerators. Its workers had stripped it of everything valuable, then torched it so thoroughly that the warehouse was a sculpture of buckled sheet metal.

Back then the people on cable news thought looting was highly political. They said this is what happens when a regime has no legitimacy in the eyes of the people. After watching for so long as Saddam Hussein and his sons helped themselves to whatever and whomever they wanted, many regular Iraqis felt they had earned the right to take a few things for themselves. But London isn't Baghdad, and the British prime minister, David Cameron, is hardly Saddam, so surely there is nothing to learn there.

How about a democratic example then? Argentina, circa 2001. The economy was in freefall and thousands of people living in rough neighbourhoods (which had been thriving manufacturing zones before the neoliberal era) stormed foreign-owned superstores. They came out pushing shopping carts overflowing with the goods they could no longer afford – clothes, electronics, meat. The government called a "state of siege" to restore order; the people didn't like that and overthrew the government.

Argentina's mass looting was called el saqueo – the sacking. That was politically significant because it was the very same word used to describe what that country's elites had done by selling off the country's national assets in flagrantly corrupt privatisation deals, hiding their money offshore, then passing on the bill to the people with a brutal austerity package. Argentines understood that the saqueo of the shopping centres would not have happened without the bigger saqueo of the country, and that the real gangsters were the ones in charge. But England is not Latin America, and its riots are not political, or so we keep hearing. They are just about lawless kids taking advantage of a situation to take what isn't theirs. And British society, Cameron tells us, abhors that kind of behaviour.

This is said in all seriousness. As if the massive bank bailouts never happened, followed by the defiant record bonuses. Followed by the emergency G8 and G20 meetings, when the leaders decided, collectively, not to do anything to punish the bankers for any of this, nor to do anything serious to prevent a similar crisis from happening again. Instead they would all go home to their respective countries and force sacrifices on the most vulnerable. They would do this by firing public sector workers, scapegoating teachers, closing libraries, upping tuition fees, rolling back union contracts, creating rush privatisations of public assets and decreasing pensions – mix the cocktail for where you live. And who is on television lecturing about the need to give up these "entitlements"? The bankers and hedge-fund managers, of course.

This is the global saqueo, a time of great taking. Fuelled by a pathological sense of entitlement, this looting has all been done with the lights on, as if there was nothing at all to hide. There are some nagging fears, however. In early July, the Wall Street Journal, citing a new poll, reported that 94% of millionaires were afraid of "violence in the streets". This, it turns out, was a reasonable fear.

Of course London's riots weren't a political protest. But the people committing night-time robbery sure as hell know that their elites have been committing daytime robbery. Saqueos are contagious. The Tories are right when they say the rioting is not about the cuts. But it has a great deal to do with what those cuts represent: being cut off. Locked away in a ballooning underclass with the few escape routes previously offered – a union job, a good affordable education – being rapidly sealed off. The cuts are a message. They are saying to whole sectors of society: you are stuck where you are, much like the migrants and refugees we turn away at our increasingly fortressed borders.

Cameron's response to the riots is to make this locking-out literal: evictions from public housing, threats to cut off communication tools and outrageous jail terms (five months to a woman for receiving a stolen pair of shorts). The message is once again being sent: disappear, and do it quietly.

At last year's G20 "austerity summit" in Toronto, the protests turned into riots and multiple cop cars burned. It was nothing by London 2011 standards, but it was still shocking to us Canadians. The big controversy then was that the government had spent $675m on summit "security" (yet they still couldn't seem to put out those fires). At the time, many of us pointed out that the pricey new arsenal that the police had acquired – water cannons, sound cannons, teargas and rubber bullets – wasn't just meant for the protesters in the streets. Its long-term use would be to discipline the poor, who in the new era of austerity would have dangerously little to lose.

This is what Cameron got wrong: you can't cut police budgets at the same time as you cut everything else. Because when you rob people of what little they have, in order to protect the interests of those who have more than anyone deserves, you should expect resistance – whether organised protests or spontaneous looting. And that's not politics. It's physics.

• A version of this column was first published in The Nation

© 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
"Arrogance is experiential and environmental in cause. Human experience can make and unmake arrogance. Ours is about to get unmade."

~ Joe Bageant R.I.P.

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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby StarmanSkye » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:21 pm

Man, WORD;

Spot on, that above;

Esp:
--quote--

Argentines understood that the saqueo of the shopping centres would not have happened without the bigger saqueo of the country, and that the real gangsters were the ones in charge. But England is not Latin America, and its riots are not political, or so we keep hearing. They are just about lawless kids taking advantage of a situation to take what isn't theirs. And British society, Cameron tells us, abhors that kind of behaviour.

This is said in all seriousness. As if the massive bank bailouts never happened, followed by the defiant record bonuses. Followed by the emergency G8 and G20 meetings, when the leaders decided, collectively, not to do anything to punish the bankers for any of this, nor to do anything serious to prevent a similar crisis from happening again. Instead they would all go home to their respective countries and force sacrifices on the most vulnerable. They would do this by firing public sector workers, scapegoating teachers, closing libraries, upping tuition fees, rolling back union contracts, creating rush privatisations of public assets and decreasing pensions – mix the cocktail for where you live. And who is on television lecturing about the need to give up these "entitlements"? The bankers and hedge-fund managers, of course.

This is the global saqueo, a time of great taking. Fuelled by a pathological sense of entitlement, this looting has all been done with the lights on, as if there was nothing at all to hide. There are some nagging fears, however. In early July, the Wall Street Journal, citing a new poll, reported that 94% of millionaires were afraid of "violence in the streets". This, it turns out, was a reasonable fear.

Of course London's riots weren't a political protest. But the people committing night-time robbery sure as hell know that their elites have been committing daytime robbery. Saqueos are contagious. The Tories are right when they say the rioting is not about the cuts. But it has a great deal to do with what those cuts represent: being cut off. Locked away in a ballooning underclass with the few escape routes previously offered – a union job, a good affordable education – being rapidly sealed off. The cuts are a message. They are saying to whole sectors of society: you are stuck where you are, much like the migrants and refugees we turn away at our increasingly fortressed borders.

--end quote--

Brilliant and Right on.
Cameron and the Establishment Party cheerleading on his savage denunciations in light of the MUCH more outrageous looting of the public by the Robber baron elites is the penultimate expression of clueless hypocrisy.
Thanx!
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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:48 pm

Damn It or Fear It, the Forbidden Truth Is There's an Insurrection in Britain
Monday 22 August 2011
by: John Pilger, Truthout | News Analysis
On a warm spring day, strolling in south London, I heard demanding voices behind me. A police van disgorged a posse of six or more, who waved me aside. They surrounded a young black man who, like me, was ambling along. They appropriated him; they rifled his pockets, looked in his shoes, inspected his teeth. Their thuggery affirmed, they let him go with the barked warning there would be a next time.

For the young at the bottom of the pyramid of wealth and patronage and poverty that is modern Britain, mostly the black, the marginalized and resentful, the envious and hopeless, there is never surprise. Their relationship with authority is integral to their obsolescence as young adults. Half of all black British youth between the ages of 18 and 24 are unemployed, the result of deliberate policies since Margaret Thatcher oversaw the greatest transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top in British history. Forget plasma TVs, this was panoramic looting.

Such is the truth of David Cameron's "sick society," notably its sickest, most criminal, most feral "pocket": the square mile of the City of London where, with political approval, the banks and super-rich have trashed the British economy and the lives of millions. This is fast becoming unmentionable as we succumb to propaganda once described by the American black leader Malcolm X thus: "If you're not careful the newspapers will have you hating the oppressed and loving the people doing the oppressing."

As they lined up to bay their class bigotry and hypocrisy in Parliament, barely a handful of members of Parliament (MP), spoke this truth. Heirs to Edmund Burke's 18th-century rants against the "mob rule" of a "swinish multitude," not one referred to previous rebellions in Brixton, Tottenham and Liverpool in the 1980s when Lord Scarman reported that "complex political, social and economic factors" had caused a "disposition towards violent protest" and recommended urgent remedial action. Instead, Labour and Liberal brave hearts called for water cannon and everything draconian: among them the Labour MP Hazel Blears. Remember her notorious expenses? None made the obvious connection between the greatest inequality since records were kept, a police force that routinely abuses a section of the population and kills with impunity and a permanent state of colonial warfare with an arms trade to match: the apogee of violence.

It hardly seemed coincidental that on the day before Cameron raged against "phony human rights," NATO aircraft - which include British bombers sent by him - killed a reported 85 civilians in a peaceful Libyan town. These were people in their homes, children in their schools. Watch the BBC's man on the spot trying his best to dispute the evidence of his eyes, just as the political and media class sought to discredit the evidence of a civilian bloodbath in Iraq as epic as the Rwanda genocide. Who are the criminals?

This is not in any way to excuse the violence of the rioters, many of whom were opportunistic, mean, cruel, nihilistic and often vicious in their glee: an authentic reflection of a system of greed and self-interest to which scores of parasitic money movers, "entrepreneurs," Murdochites, corrupt MPs and bent coppers have devoted themselves.

On 4 August, the BBC's Fiona Armstrong - aka Lady MacGregor of MacGregor - interviewed the writer Darcus Howe, who dared use the forbidden word, "insurrection."

Armstrong: "Mr. Howe, you say you are not shocked [by the riots]? Does this mean you condone what happened?"

Howe: "Of course not ... what I am concerned about is a young man Mark Duggan ... the police blew his head off."

Armstrong: "Mr. Howe, we have to wait for the official enquiry to say things like that. We don't know what happened to Mr. Duggan. We have to wait for the police report."

On 8 August, the Independent Police Complaints Commission acknowledged there was "no evidence" that Duggan had fired a shot at police. Duggan was shot in the face on 4 August by a police officer with a Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine gun - the same weapon supplied by Britain to dictatorships that use them against their own people. I saw the result in East Timor where Indonesian troops also blew the heads off people with these state-of-the-art weapons supplied by both Tory and Labour governments.

An eyewitness to Duggan's killing told the Evening Standard, "About three or four police officers had [him] pinned on the ground at gunpoint. They were really big guns and then I heard four loud shots. The police shot him on the floor."

This is how the Metropolitan Police shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes on the floor of a London Underground train. And there was Robert Stanley and Ian Tomlinson and many more. The police lied about Duggan's killing as they have lied about the others. Since 1998, more than 330 people have died in police custody and not one officer has been convicted. Where is the political and media outrage about this "culture of fear"?

"Funny, too," noted the journalist Melanie McFadyean, "that the police did nothing while some serious looting went on - surely not because they wanted everyone to see that cutting the police force meant more crime?"

Still, the brooms have arrived. In an age of public relations as news, the clean-up campaign, however well meant by many people, can also serve the government's and media's goal of sweeping inequality and hopelessness under gentrified carpets, with cheery volunteers armed with their brand-new brooms and pointedly described as "Londoners" as if the rest are aliens. The otherwise absent Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, waved his new broom. Another Etonian, the former PR man to an asset stripper and the current prime minister up to his neck in Hackgate, would surely approve.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby hanshan » Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:37 pm

...

http://www.lrb.co.uk/2011/08/19/slavoj-zizek/shoplifters-of-the-world-unite

Shoplifters of the World Unite

Slavoj Žižek on the meaning of the riots

Repetition, according to Hegel, plays a crucial role in history: when something happens just once, it may be dismissed as an accident, something that might have been avoided if the situation had been handled differently; but when the same event repeats itself, it is a sign that a deeper historical process is unfolding. When Napoleon lost at Leipzig in 1813, it looked like bad luck; when he lost again at Waterloo, it was clear that his time was over. The same holds for the continuing financial crisis. In September 2008, it was presented by some as an anomaly that could be corrected through better regulations etc; now that signs of a repeated financial meltdown are gathering it is clear that we are dealing with a structural phenomenon.
We are told again and again that we are living through a debt crisis, and that we all have to share the burden and tighten our belts. All, that is, except the (very) rich. The idea of taxing them more is taboo: if we did, the argument runs, the rich would have no incentive to invest, fewer jobs would be created and we would all suffer. The only way to save ourselves from hard times is for the poor to get poorer and the rich to get richer. What should the poor do? What can they do?

Although the riots in the UK were triggered by the suspicious shooting of Mark Duggan, everyone agrees that they express a deeper unease – but of what kind? As with the car burnings in the Paris banlieues in 2005, the UK rioters had no message to deliver. (There is a clear contrast with the massive student demonstrations in November 2010, which also turned to violence. The students were making clear that they rejected the proposed reforms to higher education.) This is why it is difficult to conceive of the UK rioters in Marxist terms, as an instance of the emergence of the revolutionary subject; they fit much better the Hegelian notion of the ‘rabble’, those outside organised social space, who can express their discontent only through ‘irrational’ outbursts of destructive violence – what Hegel called ‘abstract negativity’.

There is an old story about a worker suspected of stealing: every evening, as he leaves the factory, the wheelbarrow he pushes in front of him is carefully inspected. The guards find nothing; it is always empty. Finally, the penny drops: what the worker is stealing are the wheelbarrows themselves. The guards were missing the obvious truth, just as the commentators on the riots have done. We are told that the disintegration of the Communist regimes in the early 1990s signalled the end of ideology: the time of large-scale ideological projects culminating in totalitarian catastrophe was over; we had entered a new era of rational, pragmatic politics. If the commonplace that we live in a post-ideological era is true in any sense, it can be seen in this recent outburst of violence. This was zero-degree protest, a violent action demanding nothing. In their desperate attempt to find meaning in the riots, the sociologists and editorial-writers obfuscated the enigma the riots presented.

The protesters, though underprivileged and de facto socially excluded, weren’t living on the edge of starvation. People in much worse material straits, let alone conditions of physical and ideological oppression, have been able to organise themselves into political forces with clear agendas. The fact that the rioters have no programme is therefore itself a fact to be interpreted: it tells us a great deal about our ideological-political predicament and about the kind of society we inhabit, a society which celebrates choice but in which the only available alternative to enforced democratic consensus is a blind acting out. Opposition to the system can no longer articulate itself in the form of a realistic alternative, or even as a utopian project, but can only take the shape of a meaningless outburst. What is the point of our celebrated freedom of choice when the only choice is between playing by the rules and (self-)destructive violence?

Alain Badiou has argued that we live in a social space which is increasingly experienced as ‘worldless’: in such a space, the only form protest can take is meaningless violence. Perhaps this is one of the main dangers of capitalism: although by virtue of being global it encompasses the whole world, it sustains a ‘worldless’ ideological constellation in which people are deprived of their ways of locating meaning. The fundamental lesson of globalisation is that capitalism can accommodate itself to all civilisations, from Christian to Hindu or Buddhist, from West to East: there is no global ‘capitalist worldview’, no ‘capitalist civilisation’ proper. The global dimension of capitalism represents truth without meaning.

The first conclusion to be drawn from the riots, therefore, is that both conservative and liberal reactions to the unrest are inadequate. The conservative reaction was predictable: there is no justification for such vandalism; one should use all necessary means to restore order; to prevent further explosions of this kind we need not more tolerance and social help but more discipline, hard work and a sense of responsibility. What’s wrong with this account is not only that it ignores the desperate social situation pushing young people towards violent outbursts but, perhaps more important, that it ignores the way these outbursts echo the hidden premises of conservative ideology itself. When, in the 1990s, the Conservatives launched their ‘back to basics’ campaign, its obscene complement was revealed by Norman Tebbit: ‘Man is not just a social but also a territorial animal; it must be part of our agenda to satisfy those basic instincts of tribalism and territoriality.’ This is what ‘back to basics’ was really about: the unleashing of the barbarian who lurked beneath our apparently civilised, bourgeois society, through the satisfying of the barbarian’s ‘basic instincts’. In the 1960s, Herbert Marcuse introduced the concept of ‘repressive desublimation’ to explain the ‘sexual revolution’: human drives could be desublimated, allowed free rein, and still be subject to capitalist control – viz, the porn industry. On British streets during the unrest, what we saw was not men reduced to ‘beasts’, but the stripped-down form of the ‘beast’ produced by capitalist ideology.

Meanwhile leftist liberals, no less predictably, stuck to their mantra about social programmes and integration initiatives, the neglect of which has deprived second and third-generation immigrants of their economic and social prospects: violent outbursts are the only means they have to articulate their dissatisfaction. Instead of indulging ourselves in revenge fantasies, we should make the effort to understand the deeper causes of the outbursts. Can we even imagine what it means to be a young man in a poor, racially mixed area, a priori suspected and harassed by the police, not only unemployed but often unemployable, with no hope of a future? The implication is that the conditions these people find themselves in make it inevitable that they will take to the streets. The problem with this account, though, is that it lists only the objective conditions for the riots. To riot is to make a subjective statement, implicitly to declare how one relates to one’s objective conditions.

We live in cynical times, and it’s easy to imagine a protester who, caught looting and burning a store and pressed for his reasons, would answer in the language used by social workers and sociologists, citing diminished social mobility, rising insecurity, the disintegration of paternal authority, the lack of maternal love in his early childhood. He knows what he is doing, then, but is doing it nonetheless.

It is meaningless to ponder which of these two reactions, conservative or liberal, is the worse: as Stalin would have put it, they are both worse, and that includes the warning given by both sides that the real danger of these outbursts resides in the predictable racist reaction of the ‘silent majority’. One of the forms this reaction took was the ‘tribal’ activity of the local (Turkish, Caribbean, Sikh) communities which quickly organised their own vigilante units to protect their property. Are the shopkeepers a small bourgeoisie defending their property against a genuine, if violent, protest against the system; or are they representatives of the working class, fighting the forces of social disintegration? Here too one should reject the demand to take sides. The truth is that the conflict was between two poles of the underprivileged: those who have succeeded in functioning within the system versus those who are too frustrated to go on trying. The rioters’ violence was almost exclusively directed against their own. The cars burned and the shops looted were not in rich neighbourhoods, but in the rioters’ own. The conflict is not between different parts of society; it is, at its most radical, the conflict between society and society, between those with everything, and those with nothing, to lose; between those with no stake in their community and those whose stakes are the highest.

Zygmunt Bauman characterised the riots as acts of ‘defective and disqualified consumers’: more than anything else, they were a manifestation of a consumerist desire violently enacted when unable to realise itself in the ‘proper’ way – by shopping. As such, they also contain a moment of genuine protest, in the form of an ironic response to consumerist ideology: ‘You call on us to consume while simultaneously depriving us of the means to do it properly – so here we are doing it the only way we can!’ The riots are a demonstration of the material force of ideology – so much, perhaps, for the ‘post-ideological society’. From a revolutionary point of view, the problem with the riots is not the violence as such, but the fact that the violence is not truly self-assertive. It is impotent rage and despair masked as a display of force; it is envy masked as triumphant carnival.

The riots should be situated in relation to another type of violence that the liberal majority today perceives as a threat to our way of life: terrorist attacks and suicide bombings. In both instances, violence and counter-violence are caught up in a vicious circle, each generating the forces it tries to combat. In both cases, we are dealing with blind passages à l’acte, in which violence is an implicit admission of impotence. The difference is that, in contrast to the riots in the UK or in Paris, terrorist attacks are carried out in service of the absolute Meaning provided by religion.

But weren’t the Arab uprisings a collective act of resistance that avoided the false alternative of self-destructive violence and religious fundamentalism? Unfortunately, the Egyptian summer of 2011 will be remembered as marking the end of revolution, a time when its emancipatory potential was suffocated. Its gravediggers are the army and the Islamists. The contours of the pact between the army (which is Mubarak’s army) and the Islamists (who were marginalised in the early months of the upheaval but are now gaining ground) are increasingly clear: the Islamists will tolerate the army’s material privileges and in exchange will secure ideological hegemony. The losers will be the pro-Western liberals, too weak – in spite of the CIA funding they are getting – to ‘promote democracy’, as well as the true agents of the spring events, the emerging secular left that has been trying to set up a network of civil society organisations, from trade unions to feminists. The rapidly worsening economic situation will sooner or later bring the poor, who were largely absent from the spring protests, onto the streets. There is likely to be a new explosion, and the difficult question for Egypt’s political subjects is who will succeed in directing the rage of the poor? Who will translate it into a political programme: the new secular left or the Islamists?

The predominant reaction of Western public opinion to the pact between Islamists and the army will no doubt be a triumphant display of cynical wisdom: we will be told that, as the case of (non-Arab) Iran made clear, popular upheavals in Arab countries always end in militant Islamism. Mubarak will appear as having been a much lesser evil – better to stick with the devil you know than to play around with emancipation. Against such cynicism, one should remain unconditionally faithful to the radical-emancipatory core of the Egypt uprising.
But one should also avoid the temptation of the narcissism of the lost cause: it’s too easy to admire the sublime beauty of uprisings doomed to fail. Today’s left faces the problem of ‘determinate negation’: what new order should replace the old one after the uprising, when the sublime enthusiasm of the first moment is over? In this context, the manifesto of the Spanish indignados, issued after their demonstrations in May, is revealing. The first thing that meets the eye is the pointedly apolitical tone: ‘Some of us consider ourselves progressive, others conservative. Some of us are believers, some not. Some of us have clearly defined ideologies, others are apolitical, but we are all concerned and angry about the political, economic and social outlook that we see around us: corruption among politicians, businessmen, bankers, leaving us helpless, without a voice.’ They make their protest on behalf of the ‘inalienable truths that we should abide by in our society: the right to housing, employment, culture, health, education, political participation, free personal development and consumer rights for a healthy and happy life.’ Rejecting violence, they call for an ‘ethical revolution. Instead of placing money above human beings, we shall put it back to our service. We are people, not products. I am not a product of what I buy, why I buy and who I buy from.’ Who will be the agents of this revolution? The indignados dismiss the entire political class, right and left, as corrupt and controlled by a lust for power, yet the manifesto nevertheless consists of a series of demands addressed at – whom? Not the people themselves: the indignados do not (yet) claim that no one else will do it for them, that they themselves have to be the change they want to see. And this is the fatal weakness of recent protests: they express an authentic rage which is not able to transform itself into a positive programme of sociopolitical change. They express a spirit of revolt without revolution.

The situation in Greece looks more promising, probably owing to the recent tradition of progressive self-organisation (which disappeared in Spain after the fall of the Franco regime). But even in Greece, the protest movement displays the limits of self-organisation: protesters sustain a space of egalitarian freedom with no central authority to regulate it, a public space where all are allotted the same amount of time to speak and so on. When the protesters started to debate what to do next, how to move beyond mere protest, the majority consensus was that what was needed was not a new party or a direct attempt to take state power, but a movement whose aim is to exert pressure on political parties. This is clearly not enough to impose a reorganisation of social life. To do that, one needs a strong body able to reach quick decisions and to implement them with all necessary harshness.

Online only · 19 August 2011 » Slavoj Žižek » Shoplifters of the World Unite (print version)

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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby Searcher08 » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:26 pm

When looking back on the riots, one area that is neglected int eh acres of 'analysis' and dissection is what actually happened after the Duggan shooting - the time line of communication between the Met, the IPCC and the trusted community representatives.
Once a fire starts, there is a structure to it and no doubt, there are structural similarities to the mathematics of forest fires that does not require the faux handwringing of social workers and the chattering classes. However how this started was not a 'natural' event.

The signals from black community representatives to the Police and IPCC were regular, clear, detailed as to consequences and repeated again and again.

The Met and the IPCC responces show
extraordinary delays
mercilessly dumping junior cops in the shit
witholding of information
breaking agreements re meeting with the community
blaming other organisations / each other
not communicating when they said they would

Years ago I met the cop who ran Heathrow's day to day policing. He struck me as a really good guy who listened better than 90% of people I have met. I asked him about his work and it was full of attempting to balance conflict and do the right thing. He left a lasting good impression.

I am very skeptical about all the above organisation factors coming together in a perfect storm of epic organisational FAIL after Duggan's shooting.

Predatory organisational types often USE factors like delay, information flow interruptions, walking away, blame games etc as part of moving their agenda forward - Donald Rumsfeld was a master of making things not happen. He had an extraordinary ability to put initiatives that he didnt like in a tarball.

I smell something stinky around the Met end of this.
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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby Joe Hillshoist » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:38 pm

hanshan wrote:...

http://www.lrb.co.uk/2011/08/19/slavoj-zizek/shoplifters-of-the-world-unite

Shoplifters of the World Unite

Slavoj Žižek on the meaning of the riots

Repetition, according to Hegel, plays a crucial role in history: when something happens just once, it may be dismissed as an accident, something that might have been avoided if the situation had been handled differently; but when the same event repeats itself, it is a sign that a deeper historical process is unfolding. When Napoleon lost at Leipzig in 1813, it looked like bad luck; when he lost again at Waterloo, it was clear that his time was over. The same holds for the continuing financial crisis. In September 2008, it was presented by some as an anomaly that could be corrected through better regulations etc; now that signs of a repeated financial meltdown are gathering it is clear that we are dealing with a structural phenomenon.
We are told again and again that we are living through a debt crisis, and that we all have to share the burden and tighten our belts. All, that is, except the (very) rich. The idea of taxing them more is taboo: if we did, the argument runs, the rich would have no incentive to invest, fewer jobs would be created and we would all suffer. The only way to save ourselves from hard times is for the poor to get poorer and the rich to get richer. What should the poor do? What can they do?

Although the riots in the UK were triggered by the suspicious shooting of Mark Duggan, everyone agrees that they express a deeper unease – but of what kind? As with the car burnings in the Paris banlieues in 2005, the UK rioters had no message to deliver. (There is a clear contrast with the massive student demonstrations in November 2010, which also turned to violence. The students were making clear that they rejected the proposed reforms to higher education.) This is why it is difficult to conceive of the UK rioters in Marxist terms, as an instance of the emergence of the revolutionary subject; they fit much better the Hegelian notion of the ‘rabble’, those outside organised social space, who can express their discontent only through ‘irrational’ outbursts of destructive violence – what Hegel called ‘abstract negativity’.

There is an old story about a worker suspected of stealing: every evening, as he leaves the factory, the wheelbarrow he pushes in front of him is carefully inspected. The guards find nothing; it is always empty. Finally, the penny drops: what the worker is stealing are the wheelbarrows themselves. The guards were missing the obvious truth, just as the commentators on the riots have done. We are told that the disintegration of the Communist regimes in the early 1990s signalled the end of ideology: the time of large-scale ideological projects culminating in totalitarian catastrophe was over; we had entered a new era of rational, pragmatic politics. If the commonplace that we live in a post-ideological era is true in any sense, it can be seen in this recent outburst of violence. This was zero-degree protest, a violent action demanding nothing. In their desperate attempt to find meaning in the riots, the sociologists and editorial-writers obfuscated the enigma the riots presented.

The protesters, though underprivileged and de facto socially excluded, weren’t living on the edge of starvation. People in much worse material straits, let alone conditions of physical and ideological oppression, have been able to organise themselves into political forces with clear agendas. The fact that the rioters have no programme is therefore itself a fact to be interpreted: it tells us a great deal about our ideological-political predicament and about the kind of society we inhabit, a society which celebrates choice but in which the only available alternative to enforced democratic consensus is a blind acting out. Opposition to the system can no longer articulate itself in the form of a realistic alternative, or even as a utopian project, but can only take the shape of a meaningless outburst. What is the point of our celebrated freedom of choice when the only choice is between playing by the rules and (self-)destructive violence?

Alain Badiou has argued that we live in a social space which is increasingly experienced as ‘worldless’: in such a space, the only form protest can take is meaningless violence. Perhaps this is one of the main dangers of capitalism: although by virtue of being global it encompasses the whole world, it sustains a ‘worldless’ ideological constellation in which people are deprived of their ways of locating meaning. The fundamental lesson of globalisation is that capitalism can accommodate itself to all civilisations, from Christian to Hindu or Buddhist, from West to East: there is no global ‘capitalist worldview’, no ‘capitalist civilisation’ proper. The global dimension of capitalism represents truth without meaning.

The first conclusion to be drawn from the riots, therefore, is that both conservative and liberal reactions to the unrest are inadequate. The conservative reaction was predictable: there is no justification for such vandalism; one should use all necessary means to restore order; to prevent further explosions of this kind we need not more tolerance and social help but more discipline, hard work and a sense of responsibility. What’s wrong with this account is not only that it ignores the desperate social situation pushing young people towards violent outbursts but, perhaps more important, that it ignores the way these outbursts echo the hidden premises of conservative ideology itself. When, in the 1990s, the Conservatives launched their ‘back to basics’ campaign, its obscene complement was revealed by Norman Tebbit: ‘Man is not just a social but also a territorial animal; it must be part of our agenda to satisfy those basic instincts of tribalism and territoriality.’ This is what ‘back to basics’ was really about: the unleashing of the barbarian who lurked beneath our apparently civilised, bourgeois society, through the satisfying of the barbarian’s ‘basic instincts’. In the 1960s, Herbert Marcuse introduced the concept of ‘repressive desublimation’ to explain the ‘sexual revolution’: human drives could be desublimated, allowed free rein, and still be subject to capitalist control – viz, the porn industry. On British streets during the unrest, what we saw was not men reduced to ‘beasts’, but the stripped-down form of the ‘beast’ produced by capitalist ideology.

Meanwhile leftist liberals, no less predictably, stuck to their mantra about social programmes and integration initiatives, the neglect of which has deprived second and third-generation immigrants of their economic and social prospects: violent outbursts are the only means they have to articulate their dissatisfaction. Instead of indulging ourselves in revenge fantasies, we should make the effort to understand the deeper causes of the outbursts. Can we even imagine what it means to be a young man in a poor, racially mixed area, a priori suspected and harassed by the police, not only unemployed but often unemployable, with no hope of a future? The implication is that the conditions these people find themselves in make it inevitable that they will take to the streets. The problem with this account, though, is that it lists only the objective conditions for the riots. To riot is to make a subjective statement, implicitly to declare how one relates to one’s objective conditions.

We live in cynical times, and it’s easy to imagine a protester who, caught looting and burning a store and pressed for his reasons, would answer in the language used by social workers and sociologists, citing diminished social mobility, rising insecurity, the disintegration of paternal authority, the lack of maternal love in his early childhood. He knows what he is doing, then, but is doing it nonetheless.

It is meaningless to ponder which of these two reactions, conservative or liberal, is the worse: as Stalin would have put it, they are both worse, and that includes the warning given by both sides that the real danger of these outbursts resides in the predictable racist reaction of the ‘silent majority’. One of the forms this reaction took was the ‘tribal’ activity of the local (Turkish, Caribbean, Sikh) communities which quickly organised their own vigilante units to protect their property. Are the shopkeepers a small bourgeoisie defending their property against a genuine, if violent, protest against the system; or are they representatives of the working class, fighting the forces of social disintegration? Here too one should reject the demand to take sides. The truth is that the conflict was between two poles of the underprivileged: those who have succeeded in functioning within the system versus those who are too frustrated to go on trying. The rioters’ violence was almost exclusively directed against their own. The cars burned and the shops looted were not in rich neighbourhoods, but in the rioters’ own. The conflict is not between different parts of society; it is, at its most radical, the conflict between society and society, between those with everything, and those with nothing, to lose; between those with no stake in their community and those whose stakes are the highest.

Zygmunt Bauman characterised the riots as acts of ‘defective and disqualified consumers’: more than anything else, they were a manifestation of a consumerist desire violently enacted when unable to realise itself in the ‘proper’ way – by shopping. As such, they also contain a moment of genuine protest, in the form of an ironic response to consumerist ideology: ‘You call on us to consume while simultaneously depriving us of the means to do it properly – so here we are doing it the only way we can!’ The riots are a demonstration of the material force of ideology – so much, perhaps, for the ‘post-ideological society’. From a revolutionary point of view, the problem with the riots is not the violence as such, but the fact that the violence is not truly self-assertive. It is impotent rage and despair masked as a display of force; it is envy masked as triumphant carnival.

The riots should be situated in relation to another type of violence that the liberal majority today perceives as a threat to our way of life: terrorist attacks and suicide bombings. In both instances, violence and counter-violence are caught up in a vicious circle, each generating the forces it tries to combat. In both cases, we are dealing with blind passages à l’acte, in which violence is an implicit admission of impotence. The difference is that, in contrast to the riots in the UK or in Paris, terrorist attacks are carried out in service of the absolute Meaning provided by religion.

But weren’t the Arab uprisings a collective act of resistance that avoided the false alternative of self-destructive violence and religious fundamentalism? Unfortunately, the Egyptian summer of 2011 will be remembered as marking the end of revolution, a time when its emancipatory potential was suffocated. Its gravediggers are the army and the Islamists. The contours of the pact between the army (which is Mubarak’s army) and the Islamists (who were marginalised in the early months of the upheaval but are now gaining ground) are increasingly clear: the Islamists will tolerate the army’s material privileges and in exchange will secure ideological hegemony. The losers will be the pro-Western liberals, too weak – in spite of the CIA funding they are getting – to ‘promote democracy’, as well as the true agents of the spring events, the emerging secular left that has been trying to set up a network of civil society organisations, from trade unions to feminists. The rapidly worsening economic situation will sooner or later bring the poor, who were largely absent from the spring protests, onto the streets. There is likely to be a new explosion, and the difficult question for Egypt’s political subjects is who will succeed in directing the rage of the poor? Who will translate it into a political programme: the new secular left or the Islamists?

The predominant reaction of Western public opinion to the pact between Islamists and the army will no doubt be a triumphant display of cynical wisdom: we will be told that, as the case of (non-Arab) Iran made clear, popular upheavals in Arab countries always end in militant Islamism. Mubarak will appear as having been a much lesser evil – better to stick with the devil you know than to play around with emancipation. Against such cynicism, one should remain unconditionally faithful to the radical-emancipatory core of the Egypt uprising.
But one should also avoid the temptation of the narcissism of the lost cause: it’s too easy to admire the sublime beauty of uprisings doomed to fail. Today’s left faces the problem of ‘determinate negation’: what new order should replace the old one after the uprising, when the sublime enthusiasm of the first moment is over? In this context, the manifesto of the Spanish indignados, issued after their demonstrations in May, is revealing. The first thing that meets the eye is the pointedly apolitical tone: ‘Some of us consider ourselves progressive, others conservative. Some of us are believers, some not. Some of us have clearly defined ideologies, others are apolitical, but we are all concerned and angry about the political, economic and social outlook that we see around us: corruption among politicians, businessmen, bankers, leaving us helpless, without a voice.’ They make their protest on behalf of the ‘inalienable truths that we should abide by in our society: the right to housing, employment, culture, health, education, political participation, free personal development and consumer rights for a healthy and happy life.’ Rejecting violence, they call for an ‘ethical revolution. Instead of placing money above human beings, we shall put it back to our service. We are people, not products. I am not a product of what I buy, why I buy and who I buy from.’ Who will be the agents of this revolution? The indignados dismiss the entire political class, right and left, as corrupt and controlled by a lust for power, yet the manifesto nevertheless consists of a series of demands addressed at – whom? Not the people themselves: the indignados do not (yet) claim that no one else will do it for them, that they themselves have to be the change they want to see. And this is the fatal weakness of recent protests: they express an authentic rage which is not able to transform itself into a positive programme of sociopolitical change. They express a spirit of revolt without revolution.

The situation in Greece looks more promising, probably owing to the recent tradition of progressive self-organisation (which disappeared in Spain after the fall of the Franco regime). But even in Greece, the protest movement displays the limits of self-organisation: protesters sustain a space of egalitarian freedom with no central authority to regulate it, a public space where all are allotted the same amount of time to speak and so on. When the protesters started to debate what to do next, how to move beyond mere protest, the majority consensus was that what was needed was not a new party or a direct attempt to take state power, but a movement whose aim is to exert pressure on political parties. This is clearly not enough to impose a reorganisation of social life. To do that, one needs a strong body able to reach quick decisions and to implement them with all necessary harshness.

Online only · 19 August 2011 » Slavoj Žižek » Shoplifters of the World Unite (print version)

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During a chat with Shaun Duggan, Morrissey explained the meaning of the song as follows: "It's more or less spiritual shoplifting, cultural shoplifting, taking things and using them to your own advantage."


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Re: Mark Duggan Shooting

Postby Stephen Morgan » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:09 am

Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
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