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It's been a long week.

I have seen places close to me geographically boarded up and my area of London, usually vibrant with people going about their day shopping, drinking, going out for meals or just ejoying the summer resembling a ghost town by 4pm.

I have seen places where l have worked for years, landmarks burnt into my memory destroyed, removed from sight, no longer available to me as l visit friends who still live and work in the areas, markers telling me that l am closer to my goal.

I also sat and watched as for two hours David Cameron the millionaire Prime Minister of Great Britain stood in parliament and preened, sternly lectured and deflected with his oratory excusing the policy decisions he and his simpering Chancellor George Osbourne have decided on which in part helped stir the problems we saw explode at the start of the week.

But l have been heartend by reading two opinion peices by men l would not normally listen to on issues. Both sum things up brilliantly.  

The first is Peter Oborne, who writes for The Telegraph (once owned by the convict Conrad Black) and a paper so far to the right it would make the most rabid teabagger back away without making eye contact so finding this piece in there was more than a shock.

He draws a parrallel between the disenfranchisement of those at the bottom with the disenfranchisement of those at the top who at least have a willing government to serve their needs. As he rightly puts it:

It is not just the feral youth of Tottenham who have forgotten they have duties as well as rights. So have the feral rich of Chelsea and Kensington. A few years ago, my wife and I went to a dinner party in a large house in west London. A security guard prowled along the street outside, and there was much talk of the “north-south divide”, which I took literally for a while until I realised that my hosts were facetiously referring to the difference between those who lived north and south of Kensington High Street.

Most of the people in this very expensive street were every bit as deracinated and cut off from the rest of Britain as the young, unemployed men and women who have caused such terrible damage over the last few days. For them, the repellent Financial Times magazine How to Spend It is a bible. I’d guess that few of them bother to pay British tax if they can avoid it, and that fewer still feel the sense of obligation to society that only a few decades ago came naturally to the wealthy and better off.

The same sadly can be said about the borough of London where l live called Wandsworth. Its far worse in Newham and Tottenham. One of the policies brought in by the current cabinet of the very rich, for the very rich is the reduction of housing benefit for those at the bottom. Some, like former Mayor Ken Livingstone, are rightly calling it the ethnic cleansing of London. These are strong words and some will throw their hands up claiming that the words go too far but sadly there is evidence.

I worked in Croydon for eight years (so the fires at Reeves Corner and London Road were almost as big a shock to me as to those who lost everything). On many occasions l met schoolfriends who came to purchase goods from me. When l asked them where they lived they would all mention places nearby to Croydon, places that were at maximum a few miles away. None of them lived in Wandsworth where they grew up. When l asked why they all said the same thing "I can't afford to but a house there". There were 1500 boys in my year at school. The majority lived in the area but now, unless they were lucky and their parents were primary council house tenants there was little to no chance of them owning or renting for a reasonable rate any property in the area. The average monthy rent in Wandsworth for a 1 bedroom flat (or apartment) is £800 per month with a private landlord. That is over two thirds of my monthly wages if l went private. A shocking example you have to say, but it leads to a divide in community. Long term residents are watching as people with no long term association with the area are buying up all the properties. Long term residents who rely on local services have had them cut and in Balham and Clapham where there were thriving local markets they are down to tow or three stalls. Not really showing community spirit there.

But back to the article:

The Prime Minister showed no sign that he understood that something stank about yesterday’s Commons debate. He spoke of morality, but only as something which applies to the very poor: “We will restore a stronger sense of morality and responsibility – in every town, in every street and in every estate.” He appeared not to grasp that this should apply to the rich and powerful as well.

The tragic truth is that Mr Cameron is himself guilty of failing this test. It is scarcely six weeks since he jauntily turned up at the News International summer party, even though the media group was at the time subject to not one but two police investigations. Even more notoriously, he awarded a senior Downing Street job to the former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, even though he knew at the time that Coulson had resigned after criminal acts were committed under his editorship. The Prime Minister excused his wretched judgment by proclaiming that “everybody deserves a second chance”. It was very telling yesterday that he did not talk of second chances as he pledged exemplary punishment for the rioters and looters.

One thing Peter Oborne didn't mention was Cameron's member ship of the notorious Bullingdon Club who were most famous for destroying people's restaurants then throwing money over their shoulders to pay for the damages as the ran off laughing. Where was Cameron's "stronger sense of morality and responsibility" then? When his friends and schoolchums in the banking industry were looting the pensions of those who had invested and robbing us blind with junk bonds and mortgages, where was his sense of outrage? He was against the idea of making the bank pay back what they owed, something that Gordon Brown had got them to do, which really shows which side of "morality and decency" he and the other acolytes of Thatcher are on.

Oborne ends his piece thus:

Something has gone horribly wrong in Britain. If we are ever to confront the problems which have been exposed in the past week, it is essential to bear in mind that they do not only exist in inner-city housing estates.

The culture of greed and impunity we are witnessing on our TV screens stretches right up into corporate boardrooms and the Cabinet. It embraces the police and large parts of our media. It is not just its damaged youth, but Britain itself that needs a moral reformation.

To that l say amen.

The second comes from Russell Brand. I'm not a big fan of his but like most people l really have to say that l have only know the public face of the man. This opinion piece shows a deeper, more thoughtful person than his public image implies. He makes no bones about the fact that he now lives a happy married life in LA but as a jobbingh actor and comedian trying to break through he lived in parts of London attacked which he describes lovingly. Moving onto the disenfranchsiment issue he has this to say:

I remember Cameron saying "hug a hoodie" but I haven't seen him doing it. Why would he? Hoodies don't vote, they've realised it's pointless, that whoever gets elected will just be a different shade of the "we don't give a toss about you" party.

Politicians don't represent the interests of people who don't vote. They barely care about the people who do vote. They look after the corporations who get them elected. Cameron only spoke out against News International when it became evident to us, US, the people, not to him (like Rose West, "He must've known") that the newspapers Murdoch controlled were happy to desecrate the dead in the pursuit of another exploitative, distracting story.

Why am I surprised that these young people behave destructively, "mindlessly", motivated only by self-interest? How should we describe the actions of the city bankers who brought our economy to its knees in 2010? Altruistic? Mindful? Kind? But then again, they do wear suits, so they deserve to be bailed out, perhaps that's why not one of them has been imprisoned. And they got away with a lot more than a few fucking pairs of trainers.

Not all young people are involved in politics but even in the background they watch the news and thy see the newspapers and the simple fact that NO-ONE in the banking community who pillaged the purses of those who couldn't afford to lose everything have been punished, politicians who forged expenses claims including David Cameron, have either been allowed to pay them back or received light sentences and corporations have cut staffing levels to increase profits while squads of lawyers and accountants work hard to ensure they don't pay their share when it comes to taxes (Sir Philip Green's Arcaida Group paid less in tax last year than footballer Wayne Rooney did thanks to the company being registered in his wife's name at her Monaco address).

There are problems which need to be solved and questions to be answered. The media doesn't always help. Yesterday the BBC held a special "Young Voter's Question Time". On it they invited members of the Reeves family who's business had been destroyed in Croydon. One of the panelists rightly asked why representatives of Mark Duggan family or the families of the 20 young men murdered in London in the last few years were invited. It was also pointed out that it was amazing that Cameron stood up and showed his outrage at what had happened on monday, tuesday and wednesday but where was his outrage for those murdered?

There are still a lot of issues to be solved beyond the actual riots. Just don't expect the government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich to be the ones to solve them.

Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:24 AM PT: Wow. Two rec lists in a row. I am glad to be part of this community and l hope l can keep the standards up next time.

Originally posted to britobserver on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 04:22 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (177+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    One Pissed Off Liberal, marleycat, lostinamerica, OLinda, a gilas girl, absolute beginner, xaxnar, badscience, beltane, Adept2u, Marie, Louisiana 1976, wayoutinthestix, ceebs, bozepravde15, Paddy999, sja, peptabysmal, BlueStateRedhead, petral, SueM1121, evergreen2, Tanya, Dianna, bleedingheartliberal218, radmul, Jantman, one of 8, bumblebums, mjfgates, angryreader18, Williston Barrett, eightlivesleft, shenderson, mwk, AbominableAllStars, CJnyc, dionys1, also mom of 5, kaliope, erratic, Involuntary Exile, Regina in a Sears Kit House, libnewsie, where4art, Nulwee, ninkasi23, Mogolori, cinnamon68, gerrilea, beforedawn, asym, senilebiker, PeterHug, augustin, petulans, msl, yoduuuh do or do not, MadRuth, amk for obama, lexington50, Pat K California, The BigotBasher, missLotus, DavidW, The Lone Apple, Pariah Dog, Steve15, angelajean, bookwoman, MKSinSA, Saint Jimmy, Kimball Cross, bronte17, under the bodhi tree, HylasBrook, GenXangster, Son of a Cat, sb, Byron from Denver, Dobber, koNko, radarlady, hubcap, Anthony Arkham, Nimbus, frisco, LynChi, cas2, snazzzybird, Babsnc, kathny, RWood, RhymesWithUrple, rlharry, copymark, orson, glitterscale, astral66, golem, Unknown Quantity, dmhlt 66, dotsright, amsterdam, Ice Blue, figbash, oldhippie, ohmyheck, Preston S, Teiresias70, grasshopper, middleagedhousewife, SeaTurtle, rbird, StellaRay, esquimaux, paradox, ilex, pgm 01, bsmechanic, Dale, rkelley25, Its a New Day, Siri, Cliss, Mr K, adrianrf, ORDem, neroden, DEMonrat ankle biter, fiddlingnero, roses, eztempo, Gustogirl, muddy boots, trinityfly, susans, Paul Ferguson, nominalize, BachFan, spooks51, Sean Robertson, Oaktown Girl, skyounkin, Pinko Elephant, theunreasonableHUman, Gowrie Gal, Janeo, Mike08, Unbozo, jct, pittie70, elziax, TX Freethinker, i like bbq, Denny in Seattle, pinhead, LNK, prfb, Amber6541, shari, wsexson, KenBee, Einsteinia, bluesheep, chimpy, melo, 207wickedgood, AgavePup, steep rain, lcrp, Steve In DC, Shmink, nicolemm, pixxer, Eric Blair, splashy
    •  I think you are on target, as are the authors of (34+ / 0-)

      the editorials.  I'm 53 and I've witnessed the growth of the "consumer culture" and economy.  These riots have a tragicomic materialistic flavor.  The riots are, I think, ultimately about poverty and governments ruled by a sort of new business and banker nobility increasingly detached from the poor, middle, and even upper middle classes and without the education to see problems from any perspective other than a business perspective.  It's sad and frustrating and could be the death blow for democracy.  However, I think the odd nature of the riots reflects decades of irresponsible leadership.

      They reflect short sighted, poor leadership.  Orwell believed that all art is propaganda.  I have always had the same belief.  As early as my teenage years (the early to mid 1970s), I can remember thinking that all of the music I listened to, television and movies I watched, advertisements I saw, and books I read, no matter how simple, humorous, or fun sent a philosophical and/or political message to everyone.  Some might see the message consciously and clearly, while others might not clearly recognize the message but absorbed it subconsciously.  For the past 60 years in developed non-communist countries, most of the messages have been sent by major corporations and financial institutions and not by governments.  These messages - "art", if you will - have been far more powerful than any policy or set of policies governments could devise.  History and technology are revealing the awesome power of these messages on the masses.  In retrospect, psychologists, psychiatrists, a few writers (Orwell), artists (Andy Warhol), and religious leaders in the "west" have been telling us about the power of mass media and mass produced art for decades.  We found their observations interesting but not worthy of a serious response.  We were wrong.  We were too busy being fashionable to think about it.

      The leaders who crafted these messages and marinated the masses in them for decades were our business leaders.  The mentality and self perception of most of the western business leaders was, unfortunately, oriented toward short term profit and a strong need to deflect responsibility for any failings or defects to the nearest government.  They never viewed themselves as being responsible for affects on the public, the environment, or anything else.  As long as they were making a profit and their stock holders were receiving a bit of income, they firmly believed that their work was successful.  Any collateral damage was either unimportant or government's doing.  Because their entire orientation was toward short term profit, they were completely dependant upon high levels of consumption.  To attain high consumption, it was essential for them to flood the public with messages, in a variety of forms, that urged people to consume and to be as materialistic as possible.  We had to "keep up with the Jones'" (our mythical neighbors who always had the latest technologies and fashions and cars).  Even the anti-materialistic counter culture movement of the 1960s and 1970s was turned into a fashion and marketing tool.  

      Everything worthwhile in life became a golden mirage that, if we JUST worked hard enough and consumed enough, would become real and turn to gold.  That, of course, was the big lie of western consumer culture.  That lie is now so ingrained and deeply embedded that even much of our religious theology is stained with it.  Government has become a tool for increasing the money supply and "fueling" consumption and profit.  Fixing social and international issues in a reasonable, peaceful manner is now just an after thought for government.  Efficiency and what makes "business sense" are the standards and, while useful, those standards should not drive government policies and actions.  The interests of the people, the "national interest", should drive government and the national interest often demands inefficiencies and actions contrary to short term profit and consumption.

      Thus, the great 20th century failure of leadership is not a tale of statesmen and echoing voices in the hallowed halls of power.  It is a tale of balance sheets, vanity, and the subtle ticking of machines spitting out stock prices.  The messages have finally consumed us.  Washed through our institutions and washed over our children.  Our once hallowed halls are now hollowed halls.  

      Most of the rioters are not openly angry about poverty created by government policies.  It appears that many of them can't think that far.  They are angry about their dwindling ability to consume, to "keep up with the Jones'".  They will disrespect authority to get what they want because that is precisely what the messages have told them they have to do and precisely what they see their leaders doing.  They will consume at ALL costs, by God, regardless of the interests of others or the nation.  They are, finally, a mob easily led and easily tempted.  They are the creatures of the propaganda of profit - beasts of consumption.  Sadly, or maybe fittingly, these creatures - "beasts" - are turning on those who created them.

      [i]banned from "democratic" underground for asking uncomfortable questions[/i]

      by Saint Jimmy on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:56:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  very, very well said.... (9+ / 0-)

        can an individual take a stand against consumerism in his or her life?  Or does the corpo's tie us into their destructive structure for our basic necessities.  Makes me want to go live off the grid somewhere, in a pair of jeans and tee shirt...

        Yup the propaganda has brainwashed us to want what they have to sell.

        ARe our lives and bodies all destined to become 'power sources' for the elite, just as in The Matrix, so presciently foresaw?  Truly the corporatists are ever bit as robotic as the robots in the Matrix.

        oh, but what is the solution....

        If one of us is denied civil rights, all of us are denied civil rights.

        by SeaTurtle on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:23:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Russell Brand has up a bulls eye, as well. (0+ / 0-)

          He of Katie Perry and a remarkable turn with "The Tempest."  

          Big Brother Isn't Watching You

          Brit response to the Cameron government is fairly presented -- how policy embodies hypocrisy.

          These young people have no sense of community because they haven’t been given one. They have no stake in society because Cameron’s mentor Margaret Thatcher told us there’s no such thing.

          If we don’t want our young people to tear apart our communities then don’t let people in power tear apart the values that hold our communities together.

          As you have by now surely noticed, I don’t know enough about politics to ponder a solution and my hands are sticky with blood money from representing corporate interests through film, television and commercials, venerating, through my endorsements and celebrity, products and a lifestyle that contributes to the alienation of an increasingly dissatisfied underclass. But I know, as we all intuitively know that the solution is all around us and it isn’t political, it is spiritual. Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

          The whole piece is quite brilliant.

          Angry White Males + Crooks + Personality Disorder psychos + KKKwannabes + "Unborn Child" church folk =EQ= The Republicans

          by vets74 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 03:17:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you Sea Turtle. (0+ / 0-)

          It sort of poured out of me after thinking about the meaning of the riots for a few days.  I've been thinking about western culture and government for much, much longer than a few days and some would say that is a curse.  LOL....

          As for your questions, I don't think we will become simple energy sources for an elite few.  However, in economic terms, I think we have become about as close to what you describe as we can get.  Hopefully, the people will wake up, change things, and this period will serve as an Orwellian warning.  The chances of significant, positive change occurring, though, are now slim and diminishing every day.  Change WILL occur but it very well might be forced by total economic collapse in what is now referred to as the "developed world" and I would most certainly include China and possibly India as victims of a collapse.

          Can an indiviual stand against "consumerism"?  Sure.  It can be done but only with great personal effort.  You can live somewhat simply but we are all so used to being part of the consumer culture that even the strongest of us find it difficult and suffer "withdrawal" pains.  What I tried to do is make my son, who is now 23, aware of the messages and the strong forces pushing us to consume.  He understood what I describe very well and at a MUCH younger age than I could have ever understood it.  He hasn't become anti-social or a mountain man, as he is in college and works part time, but he has very different political views than many of his peers.  He is NOT a follower and I'm proud of that.  So, I think we can mitigate the affects of the messages on ourselves and on those near us but we can't fight them on a grand scale.  In short, the collapse, I think, is rapidly approaching.  I've sensed it for 12, or so, years.  When it comes, the reactions will vary from country to country but they will mark a change in broad historical eras, much like the change from the dark ages to the medievil era or to the enlightenment or "industrial" era.  They will be philosophical, political, and economic.

          banned from "democratic" underground for asking uncomfortable questions

          by Saint Jimmy on Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 07:02:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Spot-on analysis (7+ / 0-)

        We've gone from "people" or "workers" or "citizens" 25 years ago to "consumers" now. This is how the powerful refer to us in their financial columns and their economic policy speeches. What, then, are consumers who can't afford to consume any longer? Is anyone offering them an alternative identity? In the US, 9/11 was an opportunity to change the public's self-image back into something more thoughtful, more human. We were asked to go shopping instead. That's no longer an option, and nobody in power is guiding those whom you so fittingly call "creatures of the propaganda of profit" towards a more sustainable identity. That would be against their interest. And tragically, we've built such an economic house of cards that a decrease in consumerism threatens our livelihoods now, along with our identity and our democratic societies. You're right to call it a failure of leadership. And at least those of us who were around before the eighties succumbed to our brain-washing willingly - we had a reference point of sanity that those growing up more recently no longer have.

        •  Thanks Max. Your response is VERY perceptive. (0+ / 0-)

          Changes in wording, such as the one you describe, often go unnoticed and seem harmless.  However, they often signal broad, important changes in thinking and philosophy for entire industries or even cultures.  About 10 to 12 years ago, I remember a friend of mine mentioning that his company, as well as most government agencies, had begun to refer to employees as "human capital".  He joked and stated that they might as well call us "human cattle".  LOL.  In retrospect, I think it marked a major change in how management, politicians, and owners viewed and managed labor, much like the change you describe in your response.  Thanks again....

          banned from "democratic" underground for asking uncomfortable questions

          by Saint Jimmy on Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 07:09:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The "consumer culture" is a sop to distract (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, lcrp, neroden, nicolemm, vets74, Eric Blair

        people from the fact that their human rights are being violated left and right. Tempting people to buy stuff they don't need and then blaming them for being in hock is a dirty trick.
        What's happened is that deprivation under cover of law, which used to be reserved for certain select populations, has spread to the vast majority of society.  Everyone's being more or less equally deprived of their dignity and rights.
        Why?  Well, the people whose insecurity leads them to lord it over other people, to subordinate in order to feel more important themselves, are never satisfied.  Indeed, they're not able to be satisfied.  No matter how much they get their own way, they need more because their insecurity is like an addiction, failure is their familiar, and cannot be assuaged.
        Where people who aren't hounded by insecurity fail is in not recognizing that insecurity cannot be assuaged. Indeed, since confident people can't be made to feel insecure, regardless of the material setback they meet, one might suspect that insecurity is endemic--not something people choose, but are born with, also regardless of their original station in life.  More likely, IMHO, insecurity is akin to color blindness -- something to accommodate, but not overcome. Accommodation does not mean rearranging the universe.

        by hannah on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:15:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Stealing $17-trillion is pretty good, too. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Blair

          That's the bill for asset and net-indebtedness transfers to the Top 1% since 1980 in the U.S.

          UK is similar.

          Btw: see the wedding ??? Spiffy, eh................

          Compare/contrast the wedding and the riots.

          Angry White Males + Crooks + Personality Disorder psychos + KKKwannabes + "Unborn Child" church folk =EQ= The Republicans

          by vets74 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 03:41:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, I don't have TV and no interest in (0+ / 0-)

            other people ceremonial events.  However, a modern wedding is an occasion for hiring various service providers -- i.e. injecting money into the economic stream instead of hoarding it or passing in back and forth between speculators.
            People playing with money is like teachers whacking students with rulers--a misuse of a measuring stick.  That's all money is, a measuring stick.  Size only matters when you have none.

            $17 trillion is only significant because the effort to artificially limit the amount of money in use means that hoard represents a large number of people having no money at all. And, since the necessities of life can't be accessed without money, the hoard represents the deprivation of many at one remove.  That is, like a cousin-once-removed, there's no direct connection between the hoarders and the deprived.  In effect, theft has been legalized.


            by hannah on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:43:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Class/classism but Race/racism too (10+ / 0-)

      it is simply not an either/or

      However the riots spread --as riots always do --past the original epicenter and root cause, there is no point in now minimizing the death a Mark Duggan, a Black Man, at the hands of police and a climate of on-going racist policing at the center

      The unrest is not just about classism - it is about racism too and the intersections of the two, as wellas with gender and age

        London's Burning

          “Mindless violence” – “pure criminality” – “monsters taking over our streets” – the British politicians and media, from the Tories and Murdoch’s rabid tabloids to Labour and the liberal BBC, have closed ranks to denounce the tide of unrest sweeping the country’s cities.

          But what is taking place on Britain’s streets is a revolt against an oppressive state apparatus that is enforcing an unjust society, an apparatus that has lost much of its legitimacy in the eyes of millions. It is a revolt against state-backed racism and the colonial mentality of the British ruling class towards black people. It is a refusal by hundreds of thousands of youth to accept a world where they are destitute, with no jobs and no future.


          Deep down everyone knows why the police shot Mark Duggan. Black people in Britain have suffered the worst of all from imperialism. First black people were enslaved in the African Holocaust, then the lands were colonised in the nineteenth century ‘Scramble for Africa’. How does a nation that has committed such genocide justify its actions to itself? By telling itself that black people are ‘violent’ and ‘savage’ and deserve to be exploited and oppressed by ‘superior’ white people. It was these self-serving stereotypes that are the background for the mentality of the police officers that opened fire and killed Mark Duggan. The people who have protested and revolted will sense this, even if these views never appear in the mainstream media.


          It is also worth pointing out that despite the howls of outrage by the establishment about the “violence ruling England’s streets”, there have been no reports of anyone but the police being specifically targeted by the youth. And despite the conflicts that have erupted from time to time on the streets between white, Asian and Afro-Caribbean youth, during these rebellions all comers of whatever race are still being greeted in a spirit of unity and solidarity – a theme that is spelled out repeatedly in the Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry messages that are flying over the airwaves.

      The continued failure of the left to adequately address the real of race/racism will leave the right to have at it..

      And that will benefit no one as we see here -- please watch the video

      England riots: 'The whites have become black' says David Starkey

      Historian David Starkey has told BBC's Newsnight ''the whites have become black'' in a discussion on the England riots with author and broadcaster Dreda Say Mitchell and the author of Chavs, Owen Jones.

      He also hit out at what he called the ''destructive, nihilistic gangster culture'' which he said ''has become the fashion.''

      Let's take back the discourse on this

      •  That's some deep, deep racism (8+ / 0-)

        "The whites have become black" is an astonishing statement that covers the class essence of Britain's 'rebellion' with a racist veneer.  The usual dehumanizing of those that take to the streets in opposition to ruling class policies and economic oppression is done by equating rioters to "black" people?

        I guess historian Starkey simply presumes that everyone knows that blacks are destructive to society, believe in nothing, and are criminals.  Therefore, anyone picking up a brick to trash a nearby temple of consumerism is "black", and something less than human.

        •  God that's beyond sad (6+ / 0-)

          I'll never be able to watch a David Starkey documentary the same way again. And that's sad, because I rather enjoy them and even own a few of his DVD's.

          Perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised, but I just always have higher expectations from those in academia. (Yes, I understand the reality of things so no lectures, please!)

          What really upsets me is that one thing that never gets mentioned is all the peaceful attempts people made to seek justice against the daily brutality of the police.

    •  Heartening that people will SAY it in the UK news (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      i like bbq

      Even rich people.

      We see a frequent corporate censorship of such accurate points of view in the US mainstream media.  You'd never see something like Oborne's piece in the WSJ.

      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

      by neroden on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:31:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  so impressed with Russell Brand (0+ / 0-)

      I had not known he was that deep either

      -7.75, -6.05 And these wars; they can't be won Does anyone know or care how they begun?-Matt Bellamy

      by nicolemm on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 02:53:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Those opinion pieces could also (should also) be (30+ / 0-)

    written about the US. One point:

    One of the panelists rightly asked why representatives of Mark Duggan family or the families of the 20 young men murdered in London in the last few years were invited.

    Shouldn't that be "why representatives of Mark Duggan...murdered in London in the last few years were not invited?

    A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

    by marleycat on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 04:41:00 PM PDT

  •  best diary i've read today.... (27+ / 0-)

    thanks for sharing your personal connection to the london riots and the opinion pieces

    well done

  •  Yeah, I diaried that essay by Brand too. (15+ / 0-)

    The first piece I saw of his was a memorial to Amy Winehouse and I was impressed with his writing then. I wouldn't have suspected it of him. I guess I'm sorta a snob that way.

    "My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire." - President George W. Bush, February 24, 2001

    by Renee on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 05:05:03 PM PDT

  •  Beyond the Bullingdon Club (29+ / 0-)

    Theres also Nick Clegg having  a conviction for Arson in his youth, after he burned down the greenhouse of a German professor and its collection of rare cacti.

    A radio reporter has cornered him about this, and according to him this is a completely different thing

    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

    by ceebs on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 05:12:41 PM PDT

  •  Some more pieces for the puzzle (30+ / 0-)

    There's an article in New Scientist that discusses what may have motivated otherwise seemingly good people to take part in the violence.

    UK riots: Why respectable people turned to looting
    13:21 12 August 2011 by Linda Geddes

    A millionaire's daughter, a school teaching assistant and a lifeguard are hardly the sort of people you'd have expected to get caught up in the wave of violent looting that hit the UK earlier this week. So what drives privileged or seemingly virtuous people to do bad things?

    As those responsible for the disturbances begin to appear in court, it is becoming clear that the looters were not all out-of-control teenagers with nothing to lose. They came from a variety of backgrounds, and in some cases have expressed horror and regret at what they did.

    "It's a classic demonstration of the power of the situation," says Ayelet Fishbach, a behavioural scientist at the University of Chicago, Illinois. "People in a group follow the group's norms."

    emphasis added

        Why should it surprise anyone that years of Very Important People exalting the Individual (privileged, rich indivdual that is) over the needs of individuals as members of society may just have had some blowback at long last? Or do the super rich just think looting should be their exclusive franchise, that it's okay if done on the scale of entire nations?

    The fact that many of those caught up in the UK rioting were middle-class "is only really a surprise if you buy into the view that rioting is the preserve of mindless members of a subhuman underclass who are suffering from a range of delusions and pathologies", says Alex Haslam of the University of Exeter, UK.

    "These are normal people that ended up in abnormal groups," says Fishbach. And once part of a group, a process called deindividuation means that people often give up their personal identity and values. "With the loss of personal identity and the feeling that they are not identifiable, they lose their social responsibility and engage in antisocial behaviours," says Fishbach.

    However, Clarke McCauley of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania believes another factor may also have been at play: "If you watch others looting and getting richer, you are seeing them get ahead of you," he says. "It is not just the free reward value of looting that moves people, it is fear of falling behind."

    emphasis added

    When there are constant calls for sacrifice and 'living within one's means' from those at the top who are damned well determined that sacrifice does NOT begin at Their home (or homes, mansions, estates, etc.) eventually something's gotta give.

       Take a look at the full article in New Scientist, and follow the links. The boilerplate nonsense being spewed from so many politicians who should know better is a form of violence in its own right, one which will only lead to more tears and destruction.

    Meanwhile, here's some Lou Reed that seems apropos from the other side of the Atlantic.

    ...Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I'll piss on 'em
    that's what the Statue of Bigotry says
    Your poor huddled masses, let's club 'em to death
    and get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard

    Get to end up, on the dirty boulevard
    going out, to the dirty boulevard
    He's going down, on the dirty boulevard
    going out

    Outside it's a bright night
    there's an opera at Lincoln Center
    movie stars arrive by limousine
    The klieg lights shoot up over the skyline of Manhattan
    but the lights are out on the Mean Streets....

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 05:33:28 PM PDT

  •  How we go on (18+ / 0-)
    Certainly, the so-called feral youth seem oblivious to decency and morality. But so are the venal rich and powerful – too many of our bankers, footballers, wealthy businessmen and politicians.

    This resonates with me.

    How do we change the peer pressure to favor speaking honestly, keeping promises, paying your taxes,  (where's Jimmy Stewart when we did him?).

    My ranting is fading.  As the months go on, I'm just wondering who is decent?
    not the Navy commander who stoops to lift morale
    not the school principal who changes test scores
    not the fisherman's representative who lied on the tally sheet
    not the speechmaker who rails against same sex marriage  and then buys time with an underage person of the same sex

    Well, we do have a local city candidate who has progressive ideas and I smile to see signs (a couple in my neighborhood)

    Sustainability is about maintaining a balance of: abundance in the environment, wealth in the economy, and trust in society. RichRandal found on dailyKos March 29, 2007

    by RosyFinch on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 06:13:27 PM PDT

  •  Not buying it. (5+ / 0-)

    Sometimes a riot is just a riot.

    I am waiting in my car, I am waiting in this bar, I am waiting on your essence. - Lucinda Williams

    by Bensdad on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 08:20:15 PM PDT

    •  And sometimes a fool is just a fool. n/t (12+ / 0-)

      I dance to Tom Paine's bones.

      by sagesource on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:40:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is more about what caused these riots (8+ / 0-)

      in the first place.

      One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists. So, how did Obama piss you off today ?
      Call the media when they Lie

      by amk for obama on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 03:53:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and his answer obviously is nothing in particular (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:48:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My answer is that the police killed.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Reepicheep, peregrinus

          ...a young black man. But the riot is still just a riot, and not a well directed and impassioned protest against austerity measures.

          I am waiting in my car, I am waiting in this bar, I am waiting on your essence. - Lucinda Williams

          by Bensdad on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:31:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, we know (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden, nicolemm, Eric Blair

            Riots by definition are not 'well directed'

            "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

            by eXtina on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:04:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes. This is not a protest. (0+ / 0-)

              Just a violent riot. What happened in Eqypt was a protest. Same with Spain and Syria.

              This was senseless violence.

              I am waiting in my car, I am waiting in this bar, I am waiting on your essence. - Lucinda Williams

              by Bensdad on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 02:29:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  You are right, a riot (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eXtina, neroden, Eric Blair

            The thing with riots, is once they are triggered they are impossible to control. When people get swept up in this powerful force, they lose themselves.

            Crowds can be dangerous entities, and they need to be treated with the same respect you would treat a confined tiger. That tiger can seem tame, and he may even know you by sight and have a relationship with you. But you must never forget that its a tiger in a cage.

            Riots are horrible, tragic things. But I feel compassion for those people who were engulfed by its power, and could not resist it. I honestly don't know if I would be able to, and only hope to god I never get faced with such a terrifying situation.

            I do not have compassion for rich daddy's boys who create the conditions of despair and hoplessness by paying for the luxuries of the wealthy with the food, housing and medicines of the poor. Particularly when these daddy's boys have the appalling nerve to be surprised when crime and rioting occur.

            After they bombed Baghdad to rubble, Rumsfeld was shocked, shocked I tell you, that rioting followed and the Museum was looted.  I was screaming at the TV: "OF COURSE THEY RIOTED AND LOOTED. WTF DID YOU EXPECT YOU BRAINLESS GIT??"

            "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

            by Reepicheep on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:10:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It is not about the riot (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            What pisses me off, is that I'm supposed to be outraged and shocked about the riots.

        •  Truly we have a deep thinker among us n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
    •  The real questions (7+ / 0-)

      Are all riots created equally?

      Is a riot spurred by a football loss or victory the same as one spurred by the killing of a human being or a court decision just or unjust? Is a riot caused by food or resource shortage the same as one caused by shoppers denied access to the latest Christmas gadget?

      Do they not have different genesis or outcomes desired? Are they not spurred by needs versus wants?

      Are all riot causations the same? I think not.

      Trump / Palin 2012: "You're Fired / I Quit"

      by MKSinSA on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:45:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  rioting is a disease spread from person (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKSinSA, ohmyheck, evergreen2, eXtina, LNK

        in this observation from Gary Slutkin: Rioting is a disease spread from person to person – the key is to stop the infection

        That violence is an epidemic is not a metaphor; it is a scientific fact. To review the events of the past week in London through this lens, we see a grievance (citizens upset that a civilian has been shot by law enforcement officials) that occurs within in the context of frustration and general dissatisfaction (poverty, unemployment) serving as the precipitating cause for an outbreak of violence. These conditions set the stage for an outbreak in the same way that poor sanitation, overcrowding, and contaminated water set the stage for cholera.

        Once the event is triggered, it moves from person to person, block to block, town to town. This pattern is not unique to London: it is evident in past riots throughout the US, from Cincinnati to Crown Heights in New York to the Los Angeles riots ignited by the Rodney King beating.

        Satyagraha 2.0 ~ there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working.

        by under the bodhi tree on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:58:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which suggests this is different (3+ / 0-)

          than one triggered by a sports event or a concert over-selling or an injustice of want vs. one of a need. The former tends to be localized and short-termed whereas the latter exhibits the traits noted above.

          Trump / Palin 2012: "You're Fired / I Quit"

          by MKSinSA on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 06:15:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  not really ~ note this para from the article (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MKSinSA, energysaver, evergreen2, LNK


            Cognitive psychologist Aaron Beck, in his book Prisoners of Hate, describes this phenomenon as "groupness": a collective, communal, group-think-motivated violence. At its most innocuous we see it play out in the boos, cheers and movements of a crowd at a sporting event; at its most devastating we see it in "a parade of jackbooted stormtroopers goose-stepping in unison". Beck describes the synchrony of the group reaction as an "emotional contagion" that ripples throughout a crowd driving them toward (often violent) action. "In group actions… people are moved by collective biases and the 'contagious' swap of feelings. An individual substitutes his group's values and restrictions for his own as the group establishes boundaries between 'us' and 'them'."

            Satyagraha 2.0 ~ there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working.

            by under the bodhi tree on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 06:27:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Group think is not an unheard of (3+ / 0-)

              pheonom and it acts in different ways with different sets of people.  Witness the GOP winnowing trying to find their ideal presidential candidate.  There is more groupiness in all of us and in every quarter than we have ever acknowledged.

              And it exists in the Haves.  You can see it in their insanity to pull in more and more of the treasure of their locale.

              boycott Koch = don't buy Northern TP

              by glitterscale on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:30:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  If so, the bankers started the riots (3+ / 0-)

          If you believe that it's a disease spread from person to person, it's obvious who's spreading it....

          Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

          by neroden on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:53:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent commentary - Thatcher's Grandkids (13+ / 0-)

      And in this country, think what the future will be like following such progenitors as W, Cheney, Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly, Bachmann, etc. etc.

      No such thing as society. Corporations are people. The future's so bright...

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 08:58:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I see those kids as little clones to carry on (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        their parents ideology.  So even in death we are not free from them.

        I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, "Marseillaise of Peace," 1841

        by notdarkyet on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:30:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And what do we do? (0+ / 0-)

          "Don't let me think for you!  Make up your own mind!  See what's out there!"  And we're somehow surprised when things turn out as they have?

          The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

          by Panurge on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:45:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  great article thanks (8+ / 0-)

      To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

      by Tanya on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 09:12:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, thanks for the great link, this is the key: (4+ / 0-)
      But, as the rioters pursue the logic of laissez-faire into pure nihilism, I know I’d feel much safer in a mosque in Kashmir than on the streets of Tower Hamlets.

      I think of the major cities here in the US, and feel the same way. Parts of DC, Chicago, NYC, LA and even my home town here in Buffalo.  There are sections/areas you just don't go to, any time of the day.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:15:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  An example (16+ / 0-)

      My stepbrother -- who for reasons you'll shortly understand I have never met and never care to meet -- wrote my mother an e-mail on the rioting that blamed the whole thing on multiculturalism and then demanded the government use live ammunition and flamethrowers on the rioters, because "they are not human beings."

      I found it grimly amusing since this same fellow did not bother to visit his own father once when his father, my mother's husband, was slowly dying of cancer of the mouth. When my mother and his father married (they were both in their sixties), he refused to speak to his father for several years, and later on I understand that a major proportion of his communications consisted of badgering his father for money to pay his own taxes and keep up a house far more expensive than he could really afford.

      The estate went entirely to my mother, to be split three ways on her death between this fellow, myself, and my sister. He has already dropped several hints that he thinks we're spending too much money keeping my mother in a rather nice assisted living community, though I'm sure it's what my late stepfather would have wanted. Frankly, I hope mother blows the entire stash on something eccentric and doesn't leave him a penny of it.

      I dance to Tom Paine's bones.

      by sagesource on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:50:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is so not surprising to me. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, sagesource

        A dear friend died unexpectedly earlier this year. He did not have any savings or life insurance. His partner has had to scramble to cover the costs of the funeral. My late friend's biological family has not been particularly good about helping in general, but especially stingy was his "pro-life" teabagging Catholic brother.

    •  I could have done without his jab (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      at "more teenage mothers, babies born outside marriage," plus the comment about a "salacious" entertainment industry. ZOMG IMMORALITY WILL BRING ABOUT THE DECLINE OF CIVILIZATION!!

      Yes, it's prudent to have teenagers wait until they're older to have children, as they have more life experience, but it sounds to me like the same old dogwhistle, slut-shaming women and girls who have the temerity to make reproductive choices without being "properly owned" by a man. (See also: Nadya Suleman is excoriated, while Michelle Duggar gets a TV show. Personally, I think both are irresponsible.

  •  excellent post!!! I really have a very hadr time (13+ / 0-)

    thinking about how to explain to my grandchildren why they should be good honest people when everything the see from people in power reinforces the rewards of dishonesty and out right criminal behavior on a grand scale

    To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

    by Tanya on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 08:57:37 PM PDT

  •  Another perspective (13+ / 0-)

    I stumbled on a great youtube clip this afternoon. I hadn't known who Darcus Howe was, before I watched this interview of him by a a BBC anchor-woman who seemed surprised to hear an old man blaming the violence on government policies rather than attacking the youth.

    ((youtube mzDQCT0AJcw))

  •  It's all because Whites became Black, with all (5+ / 0-)

    that hippity hop and Jamaican patois.

    All problems contain the seeds of their own solutions and all solutions contain the seeds of the next set of problem. - Jonas Salk

    by the fan man on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 04:28:03 AM PDT

    •  and that man (8+ / 0-)

      has been praised by the leader of the BNP, the local far right party because of this (Although no one is certain wether the twitter account purporting to be his is real or is a parody,poe's law in action)

      Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

      by ceebs on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 04:56:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pretty astounding. My jaw dropped watching (4+ / 0-)

        the interview at length. I understand he was a respected historian of British royalty before this.

        All problems contain the seeds of their own solutions and all solutions contain the seeds of the next set of problem. - Jonas Salk

        by the fan man on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:34:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well theres much comment (8+ / 0-)

          that its hardly sensible to get a noted academic expert on tudor history to comment on modern society.

          (having worked for universities Im quite convinced that a lot of academics are there because you wouldn't want them out in the real world)  :)

          Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

          by ceebs on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:56:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's not fair at all. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            forester, Eric Blair

            I can't speak for UK universities (though I'm certain the culture is not markedly different from ours), but to imply that academics, as a group, talk and behave like this sociopath is a smear, pure and simple.

            Colleges and universities are oases of considered, thoughtful analysis in a larger environment of glib sound bites and swift judgements. Many of them are among the most progressive and humane environments in day-to-day life, though they're certainly not without their faults. And as for our supposed removal from the "real world" -- where the fuck do you think we do our research? What do you suppose many of us analyze and deliberate over, if not some of the most intractable issues of the "real world?"

            Our job is difficult enough as it is, without having to face anti-intellectualism right here on a supposedly progressive blog.

            I'm sorry for venting on you like this, but your comment really pissed me off. To imply that this raging bigot is in any way representative of academic culture is absolutely beyond the pale.

            Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

            by Dale on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:16:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Its not (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              i like bbq, neroden

              anti intellectualism,  and im not implying that he's representative of  academic culture in general.

              But I've spent many years dealing with academics, and  a significant percentage, although brilliant in their own field, when taken outside their field  do act as if because they have a PhD in one subject, their every pronouncement in whatever takes their fancy deserves equal consideration. It doesn't.

              Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

              by ceebs on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:03:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, you should be aware of how your ideas (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KenBee, neroden, Eric Blair

                come across. What sounds to you like an empirical description of a "significant percentage" of academics happens to coincide with tired right-wing stereotypes about meddling liberal pointy-heads and their arrogant theories...

                I obviously can't speak to your specific experience. It obviously left a bad taste in your mouth. But what I would say in turn is that a "significant percentage" of academics don't have the luxury of considering themselves insulated from the "real world": graduate students teaching overfilled classrooms with scant resources and paltry salaries; ajunct professors with no benefits, schlepping between multiple institutions to teach night classes to equally desperate working studnets; assistant professors with impossible courseloads at underfunded public universities, who are caught in a vicious circle, between their inability to find time to write and publish, and their inability to find better work as a result.

                These folks don't have the luxury of sneering at the hoi polloi; they are fast becoming part of the hoi polloi, and talking to them for fifteen minutes would puncture any easy statements about entitled, ivory tower snobs and their unfamiliarity with the "real world."

                Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

                by Dale on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:36:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't read Ceebs as taking potshots (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              the fan man, neroden, ceebs

              at all academics. However, there is a reason we have the expression "the ivory tower." What's more, the academics I am friendly with could tell you this themselves.

              Highly intelligent and educated people in general often fall flat on their faces when asked to comment on matters outside their (often narrow) fields of expertise. And also when they comment on them without invitation.

        •  Language (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ceebs, the fan man
          ...this language together, this language, which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that has intruded in England.
          How any UK historian can complain in all seriousness about the "intrusion" of foreign languages into English is a mystery to me. English is not exactly "pure."
    •  Jebus, who let this tosser on the Beeb? n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ohmyheck, the fan man
  •  The Men Who Stole the World (8+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sb, Nimbus, ohmyheck, evergreen2, neroden, Siri, LNK, KenBee
    The offshore world is all around us. More than half of world trade passes, at least on paper, through tax havens. More than half of all banking assets and a third of foreign direct investment by multinational corporations are routed offshore. ...

    It is no coincidence that London, once the capital of the greatest empire the world has known, is the centre of the most important part of the global offshore system. ...

    ~ from Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World by Nicholas Shaxson, published by The Bodley Head

    Shaxson also commented on the Obourne article re the feral rich of Chelsea and Kensington

    Satyagraha 2.0 ~ there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working.

    by under the bodhi tree on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:42:12 AM PDT

  •  I think I just fell in love (14+ / 0-)

    with Russell Brand.

    He's got it right;

    I felt that, and I had a mum who loved me, a dad who told me that nothing was beyond my reach, an education, a grant from Essex council (to train as an actor of all things!!!) and several charities that gave me money for maintenance. I shudder to think how disenfranchised I would have felt if I had been deprived of that long list of privileges.

    That state of deprivation though is, of course, the condition that many of those rioting endure as their unbending reality. No education, a weakened family unit, no money and no way of getting any. JD Sports is probably easier to desecrate if you can't afford what's in there and the few poorly paid jobs there are taken. Amidst the bleakness of this social landscape, squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity. That daily, hourly, incessantly enforces the egregious, deceitful message that you are what you wear, what you drive, what you watch and what you watch it on, in livid, neon pixels. The only light in their lives comes from these luminous corporate messages. No wonder they have their fucking hoods up.

    He gives acknowledgement to privilege AND....and this is the best part, imo, RB well articulates the wave of supermaterialism and perhaps, apathy, that infected his/my generation and has affected every generation since then. We didn't get these values from a vacuum. My memory of a childhood in the 1980s is a montage of mostly decadent images, most of them, I never lived and only saw on TV. "Champagne wishes and caviar dreams". These values enter the TV machine by way of corporate advertisers and marketers who only want to sell you dreams in the form of crap. I remember believing wholeheartedly in product labels and ads. I really believed that one thing could change my life....if I could just afford it.

    I'm not saying that any of this was absent in previous generations but materialism seemed to really explode during the "selfish yuppie decade" or whatever it was called. It was all about retail in the 80s, honey.

    It was cool to hear a voice from my generation articulate the conditions that we're all subjected to in first world nations when we don't fit into the privileged category in every sense. If we aren't rich, white, male, Christian and straight (all in one body) we have all these unattainable goals dangled before us and they affect our psychology whether we realize it or not. The truth is, it's not fair and the anger is justifiable. You may not live in N. Korea or Somalia but you look around your western world and you feel that things should be a certain way for everyone, and not just the privileged few. The anger, disappointment, betrayal and sense of powerlessness is overwhelming. It's the powder keg that Malcolm X described;

    Just like you have a, just like you have a powder keg--when you have a powder keg, and there's too many sparks around it, the thing's going to explode. And if the thing that's going to explode is sitting inside the house, and if it explodes, then the house is going to be destroyed--I said the house is going to be destroyed.  -Malcolm X

    "Warm smell of Moulitsas rising up in the air..." -seanwright

    by GenXangster on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:53:16 AM PDT

    •  i'd say more... (8+ / 0-)

      ...except this is a dodgy connection deep in rural Poland

      Oborne and Brand get it right. The riots were about rampant consumerism meets youth unemployment. As some wag put it: this wasn't social upheaval but 'aggressive late night shopping'

      "It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us." Walter Benjamin. More sane debate on the Moose

      by Brit on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 06:34:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, indeed. (8+ / 0-)

      It feels as if we were promised so much if we just worked hard and played by their rules, but when we did, we we told,  "Oh, I didn't mean you."

      "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way" Juan Ramon Jimnez

      by Teiresias70 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:16:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even if you fit the profile... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I could've had it all.  But I don't.  (I've gotten my fair share of it by now, but I'm nearly a decade behind life-arc-wise and there's very little chance I'll ever catch up.  My choice, yeah, and I suppose I can't complain too hard, but it shouldn't come to that.)  Even if you're "rich, white, male, Christian and straight (all in one body)" you still might have to put a lid on yourself--in fact you might be more likely to have to do so.  (Maybe this is what sets off the gay preoccupation with being "straight-acting", for that matter.) No wonder so many of my fellow white males are angry--unfortunately too many of us are too ignorant to know what to be angry at.  Instead, the big guys play divide-and-conquer and then get us to imagine we're doing the conquering because we're the "right" kind of people.  What doth it profit a White Guy if he gain the whole Porsche, but lose his freak flag?

        The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

        by Panurge on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:03:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  excellent writing! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and Russell, thanks for the new sig...eventually appearing..

      Thanks GenX

      ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

      by KenBee on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:50:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bring back the old labor party (8+ / 0-)

    The neoliberals in new labor sold the UK out and the conservatives are awful.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:56:43 AM PDT

  •  Feral Capitalism Hits the Streets (12+ / 0-)

    David Harvey's article, Feral Capitalism Hits the Streets, is I think the best take on the UK riots.

    After summing up the range of conventional political debate:

    There will of course be the usual hysterical debate between those prone to view the riots as a matter of pure, unbridled and inexcusable criminality, and those anxious to contextualize events against a background of bad policing; continuing racism and unjustified persecution of youths and minorities; mass unemployment of the young; burgeoning social deprivation; and a mindless politics of austerity that has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with the perpetuation and consolidation of personal wealth and power. Some may even get around to condemning the meaningless and alienating qualities of so many jobs and so much of daily life in the midst of immense but unevenly distributed potentiality for human flourishing.

    Harvey then bluntly speaks the truth about the riots:

    A political economy of mass dispossession, of predatory practices to the point of daylight robbery, particularly of the poor and the vulnerable, the unsophisticated and the legally unprotected, has become the order of the day. Does anyone believe it is possible to find an honest capitalist, an honest banker, an honest politician, an honest shopkeeper or an honest police commisioner any more? Yes, they do exist. But only as a minority that everyone else regards as stupid. Get smart. Get Easy Profits. Defraud and steal! The odds of getting caught are low.

    And the shocking but hard to argue with conclusion:

    They are only doing what everyone else is doing, though in a different way – more blatently and visibly in the streets. Thatcherism unchained the feral instincts of capitalism (the “animal spirits” of the entreprenuer they coyly named it) and nothing has transpired to curb them since. Slash and burn is now openly the motto of the ruling classes pretty much everywhere.

    Read whole article here.

    •  excellent! one more quote: (10+ / 0-)
      ...the problem is that we live in a society where capitalism itself has become rampantly feral. Feral politicians cheat on their expenses, feral bankers plunder the public purse for all its worth, CEOs, hedge fund operators and private equity geniuses loot the world of wealth, telephone and credit card companies load mysterious charges on everyone’s bills, shopkeepers price gouge, and, at the drop of a hat swindlers and scam artists get to practice three-card monte right up into the highest echelons of the corporate and political world.

      Satyagraha 2.0 ~ there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working.

      by under the bodhi tree on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 06:52:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, but burning buildings is NOT... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "doing what everyone else is doing, though in a different way".  

      That's just making excuses for criminals.

    •  I liked this part (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, under the bodhi tree
      What I say may sound shocking. Most of us don’t see it because we don’t want to. Certainly no politician dare say it and the press would only print it to heap scorn upon the sayer. But my guess is that every street rioter knows exactly what I mean. They are only doing what everyone else is doing, though in a different way – more blatently and visibly in the streets. Thatcherism unchained the feral instincts of capitalism (the “animal spirits” of the entreprenuer they coyly named it) and nothing has transpired to curb them since. Slash and burn is now openly the motto of the ruling classes pretty much everywhere.

      This is the new normal in which we live. This is what the next grand commission of enquiry should address. Everyone, not just the rioters, should be held to account. Feral capitalism should be put on trial for crimes against humanity as well as for crimes against nature.

      This is what we have been crying out for and not getting.  A clear eyed, hard fact base look at what we have done with torture, wars, the MIC et al.

      boycott Koch = don't buy Northern TP

      by glitterscale on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:22:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The children of Margaret "there's no such thing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ohmyheck, glitterscale

    as society" raise their own children who clearly agree with her. What a surprise.

    "I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth." --- Bill Hicks

    by voroki on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 06:43:26 AM PDT

  •  Brand's words apply to the US as well (8+ / 0-)
    These young people have no sense of community because they haven't been given one. They have no stake in society because Cameron's mentor Margaret Thatcher told us there's no such thing.

    If we don't want our young people to tear apart our communities then don't let people in power tear apart the values that hold our communities together.

    The Teahadists and other GOPers screaming shrilly about "socialism", and wanting to wipe out everything they describe as such, don't really know what the word means.  It's not a synonym for Communism, the Red Menace, the boogeyman.  

    I love Russell Brand, and his wife Katy Perry too for that matter.  I think they're both brilliant at what they do.  I never realized before how intelligent and articulate Brand is.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though, since some of the most incisive political commentary on our own situation comes from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

    Fox News is to the truth as a flaming bag of dog shit is to a packed lunch. --MinistryOfTruth

    by snazzzybird on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 07:21:38 AM PDT

  •  My take (0+ / 0-)

    European Tribune - The Thinking Insomniac

    suggests that in the past several days we have seen a variety of causes suggested for the English riots ranging from cuts to single mothers, from social media to welfare dependence, from racism to weak policing from video games to consumerism, from rap music to social exclusion. As of yet nobody knows, research has not been done and anybody who tells you any of the causes is certain is speaking from personal prejudice rather than knowledge and so can be laughed at. So let me suggest some alternative causes, after all I've as much a chance as any other halfwit commentator of being right.

    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

    by ceebs on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 07:56:57 AM PDT

  •  Thatcherism redux ? n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  My three friends in the UK had another view... (9+ / 0-)

    They are middle class.  Two run small businesses, one's still in college.  What did they see?  The middle class getting pounded at both ends.  Programs that the middle class rely on for education getting hammered, and middle class shop owners getting burned out of their livelihoods.  The rich aren't touched by any of this.  They'll go on holiday to Italy.  The poor are left with nothing except the ability to victimize the middle class.  I seem to remember this from somewhere....oh yeah, my graduate class in medieval history.  Aristocrats using the guilds and the poor against the monarchy, and the monarchy trying to do the same.  Guild-run "free cities" playing the aristocracy off the monarchy in a delicate attempt to maintain their independence.  Mussolini used a variation of this.  So did Hitler.  "All against all."  And the rich walk away laughing at us.

    "It was like that when I got here." - Homer Simpson

    by rbird on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:36:08 AM PDT

  •  Someone needs to ask the tax slashers (0+ / 0-)

    those who think taxes are too high and need to be lowered on the very rich the question:

    feel the sense of obligation to society

    What obligation to society do they have?

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:39:54 AM PDT

  •  chickens and their roost (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    under the bodhi tree

    it is amazing in the hundreds and thousands
    and millions of words spoken and written about
    this subject no one mentions state violence

    britains involvement in death and destruction
    in afghanistan iraq and libya is a shadow
    towering over every thing thats occurred  

  •  Actually, Brand... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, nicolemm

    ... has had quite a lot of good stuff to say over the past few years. Check out his columns in The Guardian and the The Guardian's football section. I wouldn't say he's one our great thinkers, but he's a decent person at the end of the day.

    And he's also a fellow West Ham supporter, which is a big plus for me.

    "I like stories". - Homer

    by pinhead on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:15:53 PM PDT

  •  Psychology of the Rich (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, neroden, Mike08, vets74, Eric Blair

    This is worth circulating widely, especially to the media:

    Upper-class people less empathetic than lower-class people: study

    "The rich are different — and not in a good way, studies suggest
     The 'Haves' show less empathy than 'Have-nots'"
    "The rich are different and not in a good way, studies suggest

    by Brian Alexander  •   Aug. 10, 2011  
    " Psychologist and social scientist Dacher Keltner says the rich really are different, and not in a good way: Their life experience makes them less empathetic, less altruistic, and generally more selfish.

    In fact, he says, the philosophical battle over economics, taxes, debt ceilings and defaults that are now roiling the stock market is partly rooted in an upper class "ideology of self-interest."

    “We have now done 12 separate studies measuring empathy in every way imaginable, social behavior in every way, and some work on compassion and it’s the same story,” he said. “Lower class people just show more empathy, more prosocial behavior, more compassion, no matter how you look at it.”
    There is one interesting piece of evidence showing that many rich people may not be selfish as much as willfully clueless, and therefore unable to make the cognitive link between need and resources. Last year, research at Duke and Harvard universities showed that regardless of political affiliation or income, Americans tended to think wealth distribution ought to be more equal.

    The problem? Rich people wrongly believed it already was."
    •  Clegg predicted riots; Cameron's error, big time (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, neroden, vets74

      Nick Clegg warns of riots:

      •  theres a report that (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LNK, KenBee, neroden, vets74

        I can't find that says that the head of the Police Federation (the national police union)  met with the Home secretary last year and gave a presentation saying that police numbers cuts would result in difficulties policing any disorder which would be more likely.

        He was apparently dismissed as being far too negative in his outlook.

        Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

        by ceebs on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:18:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  WHY is Clegg still in that government? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Blair

        He's been cheated out of everything he was promised and his party popularity has been trashed.  He looks like a chump.  Apparently he knew the government was going to cause riots, too.  Why the hell hasn't he brought the government down yet?

        I guess he is just that stupid.

        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

        by neroden on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 02:21:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's a Class War (0+ / 0-)

    That has played out last time and again when the Marie Antoinette's solution is, "Let them eat cake."

    Shame on greedy gone mad!  

    Shame on us for letting them count our votes on their rigged machines!

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:26:42 PM PDT

  •  A small thing (0+ / 0-)

    and I know it goes against the grain of what so many here clearly want to be true, but the killing of Mark Duggan is still under investigation and has not yet been declared to be a murder.

  •  It's all good though (0+ / 0-)
    Russell Brand is donating his fee for this article to a clean-up project

    Now, on with the bloody show.
  •  One more thing, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    thanks for these articles and for all the coverage. They include great first hand experience, links to local analysis, and otherwise we would be left with the vacuous U.S. media 3 minutes of footage. The contributions of our "on the ground" correspondents is a singular and valuable feature of Daily Kos, beyond the usual recirculated punditry.

  •  I recommend Lupin's diary on this subject (0+ / 0-)

    "...I think a good chunk of the Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards..."
    Bruce Bartlett on Hardball, transcribed by SharksBreath, 27 July 2011

    by pixxer on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 03:12:52 PM PDT

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