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The Guardian has a good piece about "crisis music" today, and points to the Specials "Ghost Town" with regard to what's going on in London.

"Ghost Town is a prophecy that sounds like an aftermath," it says, in part. Worth reading:
Posted by kerri harrop on August 9, 2011 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Larry Mizell, Jr. 2
Posted by Larry Mizell, Jr. on August 9, 2011 at 12:29 PM · Report this
r.chops 3
i guess i always thought that was just about j mascis.
has anyone checked to see if he's in london at the moment?
Posted by r.chops on August 9, 2011 at 12:58 PM · Report this
"it gives the rioters too much political credit"-why do you think they don't deserve that credit?
Posted by FannyFoonan on August 10, 2011 at 8:58 AM · Report this
@4- Well, because the vast majority of the young folks involved don't give a shit about some dude who got shot in some backwater part of greater London-

British parenting has always given me fits. Making the request of responsible adults to keep their young people home, out of harms way, during a time when violence, property crime and harsh police tactics are at hand is pretty reasonable. Having to make that request in the first place is more upsetting. How many of you have a 13 year old child? How many of you would let that child wander out into the streets in a similar situation?
Posted by Chris Jury on August 10, 2011 at 10:29 AM · Report this
@5What qualifies you to make the statement that “the vast majority of the young folks involved don't give a shit about some dude who got shot in some backwater part of greater London”-?

In the past ten years over 330 people have died in or following after being in police custody without any police office being successfully prosecuted. These people live with institutional racism. It is a real situation that anyone living in that area can understand. When Mark Duggan was killed, the police claimed he had been shooting at them. When the pulled the bullet out of the police car it was determined to have been from a policeman’s gun.

The riot started at a peaceful protest when a 16 year girl was assaulted by police. She had been yelling at the cops and they got sick of it and so decided it would be ok to beat her with clubs and shields and a few kicks.

A reporter asked someone if rioting was the right thing to do. The person asked the reporter if they would be talking to them if there was no rioting going on.

Posted by FannyFoonan on August 10, 2011 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Also, Darcus Howe spoke about the current riot and said "It’s very repetitive of what happened in Brixton in 1981, the exact same thing." And since Howe lives in Brixton and has been involved with writing about race relations in the UK for decades, I think I might believe him.
Posted by FannyFoonan on August 10, 2011 at 11:32 AM · Report this
To say these riots don't have political meaning is ignoring all the political causes that lead to anger the youth are feeling
Posted by gob22 on August 10, 2011 at 12:38 PM · Report this
The political cause that is leading to the anger the youth are feeling is a sustained drop in standard of living, the end of subsidized tuition, and an attempt to move toward more american-style health care and welfare models. Essentially that their parents got what they see as a 'free ride,' while they will relatively little.

You need to separate out 2 distinct social actions taking place- 1: demonstration (peaceful or otherwise) against police brutality. 2: looting/vandalism/violence as crimes of opportunity.

As mentioned in another thread, I've had my share of (smaller-scale) UK riot experience. I watched folks who were confronting the police w/ legitimate rage get beaten to a pulp, while the neighborhood kids took the opportunity to smash into the local shops and steal whatever they could. Booze and tabs and crisps motivated about 90% of the violence and property damage I saw.
Posted by Chris Jury on August 10, 2011 at 1:08 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 10
Fight the Power!

And take it to their cigar and champagne basements too!
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 10, 2011 at 2:14 PM · Report this
Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters

Last updated at 12:49 PM on 10th August 2011

So there we have it: a large, amoral, brutalised sub-culture of young British people who lack education because they have no will to learn, and skills which might make them employable. They are too idle to accept work waitressing or doing domestic labour, which is why almost all such jobs are filled by immigrants.

They have no code of values to dissuade them from behaving anti-socially or, indeed, criminally, and small chance of being punished if they do so.
They have no sense of responsibility for themselves, far less towards others, and look to no future beyond the next meal, sexual encounter or TV football game.

They are an absolute deadweight upon society, because they contribute nothing yet cost the taxpayer billions. Liberal opinion holds they are victims, because society has failed to provide them with opportunities to develop their potential.

Most of us would say this is nonsense. Rather, they are victims of a perverted social ethos, which elevates personal freedom to an absolute, and denies the underclass the discipline — tough love — which alone might enable some of its members to escape from the swamp of dependency in which they live.

Only education — together with politicians, judges, policemen and teachers with the courage to force feral humans to obey rules the rest of us have accepted all our lives — can provide a way forward and a way out for these people.

They are products of a culture which gives them so much unconditionally that they are let off learning how to become human beings. My dogs are better behaved and subscribe to a higher code of values than the young rioters of Tottenham, Hackney, Clapham and Birmingham.

Unless or until those who run Britain introduce incentives for decency and impose penalties for bestiality which are today entirely lacking, there will never be a shortage of young rioters and looters such as those of the past four nights, for whom their monstrous excesses were ‘a great fire, man’.
Posted by St. George on August 10, 2011 at 2:18 PM · Report this
Tovirus 12
April 29, LA swine not guilty, fools down for the payback at Florence & Normandy.

Same bullshit diferent accent.
Posted by Tovirus on August 10, 2011 at 2:20 PM · Report this
If they're political, how come the electronic shops all get robbed first, and the book shops are left untouched?
Posted by St. George on August 10, 2011 at 2:23 PM · Report this
To be clear, I'm not saying that the rights have no political meaning. I've said before (while thinking about "Bad Kids" by the Black Lips) that being a thug is politically radical (in its way) and that all political radicalism has an element of thuggery.

But this violence isn't as heavily laden with politics as the Clash. It's not a race riot, not a communist riot, not a fascist riot—it's a teenage riot.
Posted by Brendan Kiley on August 10, 2011 at 2:32 PM · Report this
Time to dust off the Lee Enfields, pass out the 303s and clear the streets of this scum.
Posted by St. George on August 10, 2011 at 2:47 PM · Report this
Where do the older white guys piling stolen wide-screens into their BMWs fit on the spectrum?
Posted by Toe Tag on August 10, 2011 at 2:53 PM · Report this
balderdash 17
There's been a lot of public (read: mainstream media) bafflement about why this violent, destructive rioting is breaking out in a "benign democracy," as contrasted with the recent revolutions in Arab dictatorships.

The obvious response, to me, is, "Yes... why would massive, violent riots break out in a 'benign democracy'? How could this happen in a society that is completely without a disenfranchised underclass? What could the nonexistent powerless youth living under the completely enlightened heel of corporate mercantilism possibly have to be upset about?"

Here's a question: what do you think riots that were directed at entities that exist outside of and above government structures would look like? What would you see if people rioted against an economy, rather than an authority, but didn't even have a single concrete target like, say, the WTO?

And what kind of coverage of those riots might you see if the people involved were connected by informational systems, and visions of potential social structures, that were completely opaque to the older institutions and generations doing the reporting and reacting?
Posted by balderdash on August 10, 2011 at 3:03 PM · Report this
Posted by Chris Jury on August 10, 2011 at 3:17 PM · Report this

I don’t understand how you think can breakdown people into of two categories. An individual’s actions are inspired by multiple factors. Yeah, if you make people into caricatures, it is easy to both explain their actions and condemn or praise them. But in the real world communities are very complex places and I disagree that “You need to separate out 2 distinct social actions taking place” or even could do that.

Also just because you witnessed something doesn’t mean you understand the motivation of the people involved. But go ahead and make your assumptions and determine what is “legitimate rage” and what isn’t.
I still think it is strange that you feel “the vast majority of the young folks involved don't give a shit about some dude.”
Even if they didn’t know him personally, he can be seen as a symbol of a larger problem going on in that “backwater part of greater London” which happens to be where they live.
Posted by FannyFoonan on August 10, 2011 at 3:50 PM · Report this
@14 I just thought it would be interesting to counter your argument that someone who not only studies race relations in UK but was also present at the riots that inspired the Clash songs and the riot currently going explicitly said he felt they were the same.

Also, do you think Mark Duggan was shot in the face because he was a teenager or because he was black?
Posted by FannyFoonan on August 10, 2011 at 4:01 PM · Report this
Mark Duggan was 29 years old.
Posted by gi on August 10, 2011 at 4:15 PM · Report this
"Mark Duggan was 29 years old."

With 4 kids, from two birds, a gang member, out at 11pm, with a gun, selling drugs.

" do you think Mark Duggan was shot in the face because he was a teenager or because he was black?"

He was shot because he was a known gang member & drug dealer who possessed an illegal fire arm and was carrying it when he was shot.
Posted by St. George on August 10, 2011 at 4:28 PM · Report this
But these riots have very little to do with Duggan. Whoever drove his car into (and killed) those civilians in Birmingham wasn't doing it to protest police brutality.

Drop Duggan. His case won't help anyone figure out why this is happening.
Posted by Brendan Kiley on August 10, 2011 at 5:11 PM · Report this
"Drop Duggan"

No doubt, he's at least twice the criminal Rodney King was.
Posted by Enoch Powell on August 10, 2011 at 6:43 PM · Report this
@22 So you think those crimes are punishable by execution. Without a trial? And why did the cops lie about what happened. And why did the police communicate with the press more than the family? What about the beating of the girl at the peaceful protest that served as a tipping point to these events?
Posted by FannyFoonan on August 10, 2011 at 7:32 PM · Report this
@23 I am not saying the harming of people or destruction of property is a correct course of action. I am not saying that every individual has the same motivation. But I feel that you writing that these riots don’t deserve the same political weight as the ones in Brixton is an erroneous statement. I also disagree that it is all about teenagers. To back up my opinion I offer statements made by people who are living through this:

"It’s very repetitive of what happened in Brixton in 1981, the exact same thing."- Darcus Howe 67

"I'm not happy about the rioting, but I think it was necessary so that the people will know what's going on in this community and they'll learn from that." Richard Tawiah 23

"The way the police treat black people is like we're nothing, they handle us really like we're nothing. They speak to the young people like they're nothing…They pull us out of cars like we're drug dealers. The only reason why people did what they did is because this is the only way we're going to get heard"- Michelle Jackson 43
Posted by FannyFoonan on August 10, 2011 at 7:32 PM · Report this
@19- I wish you would pay attention to details before you start typing. I said that the ACTIONS fall into 2 categories, not the people. and certainly some folks w/ migrate from one paradigm to the other.

I would say that having been around these sorts of difficult situations regularly, with all sorts of precipitating events, that that gives me a pretty fair base from which to offer an opnion. Seeing as how every 'civil action,' right or left wing, protesting police activities, or government, etc, that I have ever been around has resulted in a similar breakdown-activists agitating, opportunists looting/vandalizing, criminals taking advantage of oppontunists and civilians alike.
Posted by Chris Jury on August 10, 2011 at 8:39 PM · Report this
samktg 28
My view is that the riots are symptomatic of poverty, unemployment, racial tension, rising costs of living, cuts to social welfare, the police state, and increasingly conservative government. These are legitimate reasons to take to the streets and protest. I don't think these rioters could really be called protesters, though. There is no unified message, and instead of doing anything effective, their trashing their own neighborhoods and businesses, simultaneously alienating many who would otherwise sympathize and side with them, and letting the Tories and those bastard Lib Dems off the hook for creating the circumstances which led to these riots in the first place.
Posted by samktg on August 10, 2011 at 9:36 PM · Report this
British Degeneracy on Parade
The riots should surprise no one who’s been paying attention.
10 August 2011

"The riots are the apotheosis of the welfare state and popular culture in their British form. A population thinks (because it has often been told so by intellectuals and the political class) that it is entitled to a high standard of consumption, irrespective of its personal efforts; and therefore it regards the fact that it does not receive that high standard, by comparison with the rest of society, as a sign of injustice. It believes itself deprived (because it has often been told so by intellectuals and the political class), even though each member of it has received an education costing $80,000, toward which neither he nor—quite likely—any member of his family has made much of a contribution; indeed, he may well have lived his entire life at others’ expense, such that every mouthful of food he has ever eaten, every shirt he has ever worn, every television he has ever watched, has been provided by others. Even if he were to recognize this, he would not be grateful, for dependency does not promote gratitude. On the contrary, he would simply feel that the subventions were not sufficient to allow him to live as he would have liked."
Posted by St. George on August 11, 2011 at 7:05 AM · Report this

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