After the most severe rioting seen in England since 1981 [see: Like a Summer with a Thousand Julys ] the activist community is debating the riots and their likely consequences on protest, as an out of touch government lashes out with new laws and draconian measures to show they are in some sort of control. Here we round up some of the many articles and analysis of the events so far, no doubt this will be added to and amended over the next few weeks.
So far: 1600 people have been arrested, over 500 charged| With 5 people dead.
London: IMC Feature [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ]
Tottenham: [ Pics | 2 days later | Storyful | Community pulls together | ]
Enfield: [ Sony Factory pic |
Brixton: [ Brixton Road Pics | Fire Sale in Brixton | Videos 1 | 2 | ]
Camden: [ Pic | ]
Lewisham: [ Pic | ]
Woolwich: [ text | ]
Hackney: [ text | Pic | Pic ]
Bethnal Green: [ Report |
Clapahm Junction: [ The aftermath | ]
Ealing: [ 1 | 2 ]
Birmingham: IMC feature
Bristol: IMC Feature [ St Pauls - police state | ]
Nottingham: IMC Feature
Manchester: IMC Feature
Salford: An eyewitness perspective on the riots in Salford and Manchester
Commentary and advice:
Eyewitness account from Edmonton 'riot' by Really Fit
London riots: focus on Holloway by gdm
Anarchist response to the riots by London Anarchists
The UK Riots and Capitalism's Decay by Infantile Disorder
EDL Switch To Anti-Black Racism by StopTheEDL
Police tonight will be different - be warned by Lars
Articles on capitalism's present crisis by delpo
A riot of as a sign of desperation by John
Nothing ‘mindless’ about rioters by Dan Hind
On the Insurrection by urbano
London Riots: Life in the Rolling War Zone by KID
A costly mistake... but we are people too by gdm
A few words... by Birmingham Riots 2011
Criminality and Rewards by max von sudo
Fitwatch 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
Libcom: Anarchists respond to the London riots by Solidarity Federation
Counterfire: Darcus Howe’s timely insurrection by Joe Glenton and Jo Gough.
Ian Bone blog: the 'riot experts' are amongst us by ian bone
T.H.A.G.: Tottenham Today. London Tomorrow. by Tower Hamlets Anarchist Group
Why here and now? by Tariq Ali
Birmingham Riots 2011: A few words.
Democracy Now!: Anger over Inequality, Racism Boils Over into 'Insurrection' by Amy Goodman
The third estate: Tottenham burning - first hand report... by Reuben Bard-Rosenberg
Nathaniel Tapley: An Open Letter to David Cameron’s Parents by concerned parent
Main Stream Media:
Aljazeera: Running through riotous London by Pennie Quinton
Guardian: Big Brother isn't watching you by Russel Brand
Guardian: The UK riots: the psychology of looting by Zoe Williams
Independent: In defence of anarchy by Boff Whalley
GoPetition: A call for more understanding and less moralising by pretty please
CommentIsFree: These riots reflect a society run on greed by Seumas Milne
Montreal Gazette: London rioters resent media image hooded teen thug by Mohamed Abbas
Grassroots: Video Interview about riot background by benuk1234
Reuters: London rioters point to poverty and prejudice
Guardian: Who are the rioters? Young men from poor areas ...
Independent: Caring costs – but so do riots by Camila Batmanghelidjh
Guardian: No evidence Mark Duggan opened fire at police... by IPCC
Gadget Helpline: Official BlackBerry blog site hacked
Youtube: Another classic BBC moment with Darcus Howe
The Telegraph: London riots: the underclass lashes out by retweetmyass
Guardian: Looting 'fuelled by social exclusion' by trumpet5
Google: Map of London riots: verified areas by google (you are tracked on their system)
Youtube: Amazing time-lapse photography rioting Tottenham by tweety pie
Huffington Post: Q&A w/ Jody McIntyre who witnessed Brixton riots by Dina Rickman
MediaGuardian: BlackBerry Messenger played a key role in riot by BBM
BlottR: Ire in Tottenham as riots continue by Theyoungjournalist
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After the riot and the cleanup, a lot of shops are boarded up and the securing was still going on yesterday, while the first windows were being rapaired as well. Smashed up shops included charity shops, and small shops, besides the big chains, phone and betting shops.
Some shops were boarded up, but already open for business again, which seems to indicate that while they had glass damage, the interior wasn't damaged too badly and they had enough stock left to continue trading.Read more >>
London is on edge, twitchy; a tense atmosphere pervades the city, in the office, on the train, on the streets. The crowds have thinned, people scuttle to and from work, before the darkness descends; shopkeepers stand outside and keep an eye on the situation on the street, while nervous rumours spread, conversation can't keep off the topic, and for the moment at least, London has lost its haughty smugness. Instead, there hangs a heavy atmosphere, perhaps even reflective, as the consequences of the great engine of power's greed and corruption comes back to haunt it. But, at least we haven't heard about the Olympics for a while.
The Met's murder of Mark Duggan last week, and the subsequent attack on a peaceful demonstrator at the vigil, has caused a wildfire – hotter and more vicious than could ever be predicted - that has spread across the capital and beyond; the untouchable Met – responsible for the murders of Ian Tomlinson, Smiley Culture and so many others – are at last getting some comeuppance, having been protected so far by the not-so-independent IPCC. But there is little pleasure in this for most, because people are scared: will I get home tonight, will I be robbed or attacked, why can't all this be over? But maybe we citizens of London are at last coming face to face with what it must be like to live on a bad estate, or even a war zone, faced with the reality that the City forces on to others, in other places, far from view.
The media has up built up a hysterical frenzy, the politicians are back from hols (hope it was lovely), the police are overstretched, the spin doctors coining terms like “criminality”, and now the right-wing Breiviks of the EDL, NF and BNP are declaring themselves guardian protectors of the community. Last night these right-wing fascists threatened to march from Eltham to Lewisham, in Southeast London to spark a full-scale race war (bringing back memories of the 1970's New Cross Fire and the Battle of Lewisham), while the BBC declared that it wasn't covering the event because it “didn't want to encourage rioters” (rather hypocritical since its covering the riots in Eltham tonight). Londoners are stuck between a rock and a hard place – do you get into bed with the distasteful authoritarians and disciplinarians, or face the wrath of the unsettled hornets' nest of youth? We shouldn't have to be faced with this simple choice, so calculated and engineered, the old lesser-of-two-evils trick (eg Labour vs Conservative) that maintains the “elected oligarchy”.
But already people are finding ways to come together to combat threats to small businesses and local streets by forming self-defence units, which the Met has called “vigilantes”, no doubt afraid that their monopoly on community safety will be challenged. These have generally been formed where there already exists a traditional community, whether ethnic or organic (ie built up over time), while the rest of the city locks themselves behind doors trapped by their isolated individualism. Other outcomes have been street cleaning groups and donation centres, where those who have lost their homes in the riots can pick up donated goods; Londoners have sought to direct their fear into positive actions, into mutual aid (a bedrock of anarchism), instead of internalising it into the racial hatred, bigotry and hysteria of the Daily Mail reader.
Regarding the rioters and looters, there seems a cross-section of characteristics, from the polite and helpful (seen in a number on Indy articles, such as those warning others to watch out for their possessions) to the more shark-like (or the fashionable word at the moment, “feral”), who would attack or steal anything from anyone. While the media and bigots would have us believe they are all former, it cannot be doubted that there is a range; nevertheless, if people are to have solidarity with the rioters, then the attacks on small businesses, public transport, homes, cyclists and people must end. There need to be clear ground-rules that these must never be targets, and some sort of code within the rioters themselves that such acts will be prevented or punished. Secondly, attacks on our local areas, which are generally shit-holes anyway, need to stop; sure, they are easy targets but the real wealth of the corrupt oligarchs of West London, the City boys in the Docklands, and all the white-collar criminals in London have remained untouched. If you want people to stand behind you, to cheer you on, and get real loot into the bargain, then these are targets more worthy of the rioters' brilliantly effective tactics.
If these actions are to move beyond the spectacular and become a movement for social justice, for more than just harsher repression after the fires have died away, then rioters need to work more intelligently. By reassuring Londoners that they are not, and will not, be victims of attack, is a start; you will need everyone's solidarity afterwards. By choosing your targets cleverly – like the large supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsburys) who undercut small farmers and local businesses, banks and money shops who steal from us all daily, large retailers who use sweat-shop labour, and so on – the riots become “political” (ie with purpose), which commentators can't dismiss as “mindless” (ie in anger).
Let us hope this becomes something more, something liberatory and not just a flash in the pan, followed by severe repression. Good luck, stay safe and all power to the streets.
this side or the other
do you find more disgusting to steal a mobile or to buy it with half your wage?
to rob a betting agency or to bet your savings in it?
to see a police car burning or to see it patrolling?
if you chose the first ones, you're politicians
otherwise, you're human beings
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Thoughts on the ongoing insurrection in the UK
The ongoing riots in England are profoundly political. They erupted at a time when representative democracy and the system of the market economy have reached an all-time low level of credibility among the people. The consecutive years that New Labour has spent in power has proved that no left-wing alternative exists within the political system, because the system itself has succumbed to an inescapable general shift to the extreme right and towards notions and concepts of dictatorial government for the sole benefit of the economic elites. Voters tried to punish Labour by reinstating the Torries in government, mitigating their innate antisocial proclivities by forcing them to enter into a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. Soon they realized the magnitude of their blunder when the new "coalition" announced plans to curtail public spending, to dismantle much needed state welfare services and to increase tuition fees in universities. Given the uneven distribution of wealth and the monstrous inequality that prevails in contemporary UK society, reduction of public spending in the form of imposing cuts in unemployment benefits, downgrading the national health-care system, withdrawing public funds from education, etc, effectively means a virtual freeze on the process of social mobility, the ever-greater concentration of income and wealth in the hands of a privileged minority and the growing inability of the disenfranchised majority of the population even to meet its basic material needs. The violence that erupted during the massive student demonstrations a few months ago was only a warning of greater disturbances to come, since no institutional mechanisms exist within the political system allowing the disenfranchised sections of the population, not only to express their opposition to antisocial measures, but more importantly to resist and avert their implementation by the elites. The general strike of public sector workers was another clear sign of alienation and the growing rift between the political and economic elites on the one side, and the bulk of British society on the other. An even more disturbing sign was the complete indifference with which the coalition government treated the industrial action of the civil servants, the smearing campaign it launched against them and the violent repression and brutalization of demonstrators (remember Jody McIntyre) exercised without any remorse or moral reserve by a police force which has come increasingly to resemble a band of thugs. The English political and economic elite knows that having lost its legitimacy and being unable to rule by means of ideological coercion, it has to rely increasingly on brute force and ruthless police measures in order to impose its will on the deprived underclass of British society. The killing of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests, the shameful maltreatment of Jody McIntyre by police thugs were only the sad precursors of the shooting of Mark Duggan. And this is the reason why an impartial investigation of Mark Duggan's murder by the authorities is out of the question. The system needs its apparatus of organized repression intact and has to keep the morale of the security forces high, for the police and the security services are the cornerstone institutions for the consolidation of the emerging British police state. The underclass has grasped this new reality since they are at the receiving end of the policies of victimization against underprivileged social groups implemented by the systemic elites. They attacked police stations and petrol-bombed police cars, because they reject the dominance of a ruling class which attempts to impose social conformity and subjugate them by brute force. The forced expropriation of goods and products by the rebellious masses (what the systemic media calls «looting») points to the class-nature of the insurrection, since the looters can be said to be acting on the impulse of amassing (in these conditions of a complete breakdown of authority) all those goods and products they will never be able to obtain in the course of their everyday lives. Under this light, the violence and plight of department stores and businesses is hardly an irrational action. Also, we should not be surprised that mass violence is the chosen method of political intervention selected by the insurrectionists of marginalized working-class areas in every major English city. Most of them are unemployed. They do not belong to the general organized workforce and consequently they do not possess the institutional means to embark on collective action, for example, by means of a strike movement. Uprisings, sabotage and violent insurrection are the political tools utilized by the marginalized sectors of society and the unemployed so as to resist the onslaught of plutocracy and globalization. In that sense, it is effectively an action of self-defence, a counter-violence aimed against the structural violence which is embedded in a hierarchical social system, which functions through the unequal distribution of all forms of power (political, economic, cultural) among those at the top of the social pyramid and those at the bottom. The total absence of race as a determining factor in the riots and the spontaneous elimination of ethnic divisions in the process of forming a singular insurrectionary social subject engaged in common action, albeit decentralized and dispersed, is an encouraging sign that the ethnic elements falsely dominating the self-perception of the British underclass are fast disappearing opening the way to the notion that there is only one class enemy: capitalism and the system of internationalized market economy.Read more >>
When the youth of a nation is disenfranchised from political expression, their last recourse and most basic form of expression is violence. When the politicial parties use spin and blatant lies to claim the vote of the impoverished and vulnerable persons of a nation, and then stab them in the back once in power, the poor have no other way to express their frustration and indignation than wreaking misery on others. When justice evades those who only have that to cling to, the result is a deeply emotional reaction to this misplaced trust in authority and to those who are still winning in the system. This is the story of the UK riots.
The question on everyone else's lips (if they are ever allowed to overcome their own anger) would be why so many young people smashed so much of London in just three days of destruction.
For this impoverished class who like everyone else aims for satisfaction, respect and hope, the final splinter that held them intact was removed from them.
Maybe we should be reminded of what their world looks like. The advertising flashed into their minds keeps reminding them of the need to consume and as the jobs dry up their inability to fulfil this need with new objects to maintain them distracted emotionally staggers them to the monotony of facing up to their brokenness, their emptiness. Then comes the moment when the reality that even in death they will not receive justice, as happened in the alleged murder of Mark Duggan. It is then, inflamed by the police's customary disregard for emotional expression and desire to protect its own (especially when also under attack themselves from recent reviews of the service) that they react in the only way they can.
Frustration is common to all, especially in these economically unstable times, but most have ways of expressing it, and it is unlikely anyone will help the least favoured of society in that way, especially as that bridge to this underclass, social welfare, is gradually diminished by a Tory government hell-bent on neo-liberal, market-driven politics.
It is clear that when the authorities totally dismiss the basic rights of this section of the population, this group will want to vent their anger into some form of response. When crime is an everyday part of survival and the police are the common enemy, prison is no longer feared and to get their own back at those who curtail their enjoyment, they serve their own justice on the police and the propertied class.
The looting is just a mere realisation once the anger is vented, that they must live another day and they need those objects to make themselves feel content throughout the long winter as an alternative to drugs or more violence.
The press only represent their readers and never represent the poor's true hopes, desires and outcries, stereotyping them as criminals and destroying their ability to function healthily in a society ruled by the commodities they cannot afford.
Such is the fate of this underclass of British society, many who are black, because of the imperialistic, colonialist policies of the British for hundreds of years whose racist, jingoist past rarely lifts these people past the roles of the slaves of the white supremacist. Their is no respect for their different culture or of the pain that is ongoing within their families because of this rejection as they try to prove themselves to be worthy partners in the building of this country. Their humility and humanity far outweighs the proud middle class, whose conservative, egocentric views see only profit and property as the only denonimators on which to judge people.
Maybe this moment of disbelief should be used to re-evaluate what a multi-cultural society really means, and not to think that the poor will ever have the same opportunities or starting point as the white middle class who participates in business and politics and therefore have avenues for expression. If they do not, as I suspect will happen, the only recourse of the middle class will be more repression, which only leads to more violence, a spiral that will only stop when the prisons are full to overflowing or the last shop has been broken.Read more >>
Reports on incidents on Behtnal Green Road
Didn't see this reported elsewhere, so thought I 'd post here. There were some incidents involving rioters and police yesterday evening on Bethnal Green Road. I was there at around 19:30, and witnessed a group of maybe 200 people there on the streets, and some police presence, including riot police and a police horse van turned up at some point.
I didn't stay that long ; the situation was tense, with stand-offs with short bursts of confrontation. Today I saw that there were some broken windows, though the damage was clearly targeted : local businesses (apart from a pub) were left intact, and banks (barclays, halifax) and chains (tescos) had some windows broken. Something was burning yesterday though I couldn't see what it was - from the remains today I guess it was a bin.
Today the tension on Bethnal Green Road is palpable. Just walked there, at around 4pm. Some shops have gone for pre-emptive boarding (a gambling shop) ; others have emptied their stocks (a shoe-shop). A lot of shops are closed that would otherwise be open. Tension is in the air, though I don't see any evidence of people gathering or anything ready to happen.
Just come off the phone with an activist friend whose father is a copper (not her fault). She has talked about what the tactics will be tonight.
It seems the filth have had instructions to "take the gloves off" ( I guess from Cameron now back from his tax payer funded Italian holiday and photo op) and that they will be using two new tactics to a greater degree.
Road clearing - so called 'Sentinal Surge' - this involves the use of a tight line of police vehicals side by side simply driving head on at people who fail to move. Obviously a criminal offence but hey it's the filth right so they can get away with it. People need to be very, very careful as it is easy to assume they will stop - they will not !
Snatch squads - they call this 'carp fishing' an individual is targeted for snatch, he or she is then given a good kicking in the back of a van but rather than taken to the station is released back into the street. The individual will then stagger back to his friends who the police believe are intimidated by seeing somebody so badly beaten.
All of the state media operation is hard at work bigging up the damage to 'private' property, threats to little old ladies etc etc so that the police actions will be defendable tomorrow morning after the likely high casulties and maybe even deaths among the innocent on the streets.
Be warned, stay together, stay safe.
This revolution can be wonRead more >>
Parts of London are still burning after an enormous third night of riots, during which the flames have spread to Birmingham, Nottingham, Bristol and Liverpool. There is huge controversy over the conflagration, and the media establishment is doing its best to condemn, rather than try to understand. As a communist, this is not enough for me. These riots are the sudden bursting to the surface of social tensions that have been building up for many years - tensions that are rooted in the crisis of capitalism.
Amongst all the TV footage of buildings engulfed in flames, it's easy to forget that those flames were sparked by bullets from police guns. Last Thursday, cops shot and killed Mark Duggan on the streets of Tottenham in North London. The nation's biggest armed gang - Metropolitan Police - claimed that Duggan had been a "gangster", and it was reported that an officer had been shot during the incident. It later emerged that the bullet had embedded in the cop's radio, and it was police issue. This added credence to eyewitness statements that Duggan had been pinned down when he was killed.
On Saturday night, friends and family of Duggan gathered at Tottenham police station, demanding answers. Cops then set upon a sixteen-year-old girl with batons, for reasons which remain unclear. The stage was set for a nocturnal showdown between an angry community and the agents of the state. The violence seemed to be the living embodiment of Martin Luther King's quote that "A riot is the language of the unheard."
That was day one. On day two, the idea of rioting appears to have spread by word of mouth and - of course these days - on Twitter and Facebook. Doubtless many of those rioting had the notion that they were settling old scores with the police. Others seem to have seized on the opportunity to loot shops while the police were distracted. This pattern spread yet further on day three. There were also reports of violence against people who had nothing to do with the police.
But those paragraphs only take us so far in understanding what happened. Like any major event these days, it has to be analysed in the context of the economic crisis, which was touched off by the ultra-rich, and their losses have been steadily passed down the food chain, with the poorest suffering most. As even a Daily Telegraph article admits, this socio-economic vandalism has created the conditions in which such tumult was certain to happen sooner or later.
Two weeks ago I a visited a small exhibition at Liverpool's International Slavery Museum, commemorating the Toxteth riots of 1981. Temporal distance had added understanding to the statements which lined the walls, though they went on to complacently claim that Liverpool was a very different place now. Last night, there was rioting in Toxteth's Upper Parliament Street once more.
But in a sense the exhibition blurb was right; Liverpool of 2011 is very different to the Liverpool of 1981. Back then we'd only had six years of the neoliberal assault. Now it's thirty-six. The latest crises of capitalism have created a generation of ghetto children with even less to lose.
The problem isn't that oppressed working class people are breaking the law en masse. The problem is that - justified anger at the police notwithstanding - so much of it is ostensibly 'apolitical', and many of the victims are entirely innocent politically speaking. As yet, there has been little leadership from the working class in the workplace. This apparently directionless outburst of rage and destruction is the inevitable result.
Last night saw an incredible spread of what some call, rioting, looting, mindless thuggery, or anarchy in the uk. What is certain is no-one is quite sure what it actually is or means. Even anarchists are watching but not quite sure how to respond, but as more and more analysis begins to make its way through the non-stop twitter updates, and hysterical media wank, were now for UKPLC? and how does the violence of a disenfranchised, un-politisized youth, be made to reflect to the bourgeois middle classes that just because rioters do not have political aims does not mean the causes of the riots do not lie in politics.
links hereRead more >>
Photos taken earlier this evening.
Cops attacking kids in the Hackney Central/Pembury Estate areaRead more >>
Where is the anarchist response to the riots? A few thoughts...
While the most exciting wave of civil unrest unfolds in front of our eyes, anarchists across London seem to be failing at actively supporting this immense expression of anger and frustration. We believe this expression to be totally legitimate and should be encouraged and supported. But how? The writers of this are not sure themselves but here are a few ideas and we hope people will think about and act out their response to this situation.
Create a visible and directed anti-authoritarian presence - we should be on these demonstrations with banners and literature but perhaps most importantly facing down the police. Think black-bloc, barricade roads, don't run when the pigs come.
Legal advice - we should be making people aware of the importance of masking up and the presence of CCTV. Distributing bust cards is also important (note: many people wary of receiving legal advice from perceived outsiders. we are not completely sure how to overcome this and it needs thought.)
Pick your targets - the rioters so far as doing a good job of redistributing wealth by attacking large corporations. what else can we go for? police stations, courts, other government buildings, banks, CCTV cameras
Think about safety - we should be aware that some people are using this as an opportunity to mug others. stay safe, move in groups and think seriously about who you trust with your physical safety.
This is just the beginning of what we should be doing and we hope a dialogue is formed between all protesters across the city and the country who are tired of the police harassment and exploitative economic systems.
Picutre of people watching the riot - brollies out!
Here's a photo from earlier today.Read more >>
Visiting High Road two days after the first riot, that sparked others around London, and around the UK, with reports coming in from Birmingham and , the place is still locked off by police.
After taking a few shots, walking back to the tube station a man stops me:
"Are you working for the media?
"Well, yes kinda...? Indymedia is the media, but probably not the media he meant.
"What do you think we should do now?
What am I supposed to respond to that? And why am I being asked, after being placed as part of the media? Is he asking me how people can get their story heard? How to change the image that has been created about those riots? That's how I interprete the question.
I tell him that I think people need to tell their story, to get their version of events out there without mediaries, professionals, journalists who will never be able to tell the sotry the way the people who are in the events can. The people in the communities need to get their stories heard.
I tell him about Indymedia, a community news site, that doesn't have editors or a bottom line. About our publish button.
He nods and grins and holds out his fist, for me to bump with my fist (how do you even say that?)
This is the time when we need community news. News written by the people, not by busy and harrassed journalists. We need to hear about the reasons for the riots and looting from the people who were part of the events. We need to take the time to collect and understand the real reasons for what is going on. Reading comments on news websites and listening to vox pops just shows how out of touch a lot of the people are with the streets. How those people who have a voice in the media have no explanations and reasons. And those who know do not talk.Read more >>
On the third day of the unrest in London people started to report clashes with the police in Hackney and Lewisham, around 6pm clashes with police were reported from Peckham Rye area. In Hackney people started to smash windows along Mare Street.
see Tumblewire for updates
more info soon.Read more >>
I was under ten when PC Keith Blakelock was killed and Broadwater Farm erupted in the now infamous riots of 1985. I was growing up a few miles away near Finsbury Park; racial tension existed locally, with the National Front in evidence across north and east London; sympathy for the unwilling victims of an unwanted war in Northern Ireland was widespread; and there was little respect for authority in the form of the Metropolitan Police - a feeling vindicated by the subsequent unmasking of corruption at "Stokey-Pokey" (Stoke Newington) police station, situated only a short distance away in Hackney.
Twenty-five years later, despite what even recently appeared to have been progress, little has actually changed. As a nation, we are all affected by the corruption of authority. The financial extravagances of recent years are causing the economic system to collapse on us - and the poor are paying. Racial tensions persist, with increasing support for the English Defence League across the country, and DNA profiles samples taken by police in London are disproportionately far greater for non-northern European whites (more than 1 in 2 of all such profiles) than the comparable figure for the London population as a whole (approximately 30%). We remain involved in costly, unwanted and unnecessary wars against "terrorists", and bribing the police is apparently still rife - if their conduct surrounding the red-top press is anything to go by.
Yet the riots in Tottenham and Wood Green on Saturday night were not political in origin, say the commentators. I disagree. They may not have been consciously political - the destruction of local businesses (I don't mean the IKEAs, CarPhone Warehouses or HMVs, but the local grocery stores and small businesses run by families or individuals) is not commensurate with good neighbourly manners - but the riots carry a message: "We are people too." The banking excesses of the past decade have robbed us - the people - who are now expected to pay the price. And now the people are asking "why?" Why are our youth clubs, nurseries, leisure centres, and libraries being closed? Why are hospital budgets and health care services being cut? Why are we blamed and why are we carrying the can for the problems caused by elites?
Indeed, Haringey seems to suffer most from this robbery: as a borough, it is ranked in the top 15 most deprived boroughs in England (there are 326 altogether). More specifically, it is Tottenham that bears the brunt of this; the western half of the borough contains the relatively much more affluent districts around Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill and Highgate. The deprivation figures across the borough only become more extreme when looking at specific measures of deprivation such as child poverty, employment levels, or housing.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? It would be nice to say "yes," but I'm not sure that I can. Downing Street on Sunday morning lit a candle in the dark: by stating that "[t]he rioting in Tottenham last night was utterly unacceptable" the door at least has been opened for local residents to claim compensation under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886. This makes provision for monies to be "paid out of the police fund of the area" But such retrospective claims often take years to effect, and the damage upon our communities is being inflicted now. Cameron's cuts can only lead to further unrest; the true remedy requires long term investment in community combined with an understanding of every day life - an understanding that this government is clearly lacking. The coalition's failure to learn the lessons of the last 30 years is proving a costly mistake for us all.
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kicking off in #hackney tsg out ppl throwing stuff at therm #londonriots police car attacked shop windows smashed
08 Aug 16:38 →
shops shut early in hackney mare st lots of police. reports of shops shutting all over -ilford - green lanes - stratford, enfield, barnet, palmers gn.
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Report of about 3 hours in Islington - from midnight (beginning of the day), today.
I headed out about midnight. It wasn't clear what was going on - lots of rumours, but who do you trust on twitter? I didn't know anyone in my area, so I figured I had to see whatever was happening (or not) with my own eyes. The most consistent reports were saying Holloway, but others mentioned Angel, too, so I decided to head down there first.
I headed out, and immediately saw a police car, prowling the back streets of Dalston area. However, I couldn't keep up - and he didn't look as if he knew where he was going either. So off to Angel, where, not surprisingly, it was extremely quiet. The only evidence of anything was:
Was this it? I stopped to file a post, during which the bobbies wandered over and warned me to get out of there: "We have intelligence that that place over there is about to be firebombed in the next few minutes." I cycled around a little while longer looking for the likely candidates, but there were none (other than the cops: are they really that stupid)?
Thus, next stop Holloway. Initially, it didn't seem much was happening. A bunchy of kids outside maccieDs at Nags Head corner of Seven Sisters and Holloway Rds, but nothing really untoward, and no smashed windows. At this point, it pissed it down, so I sheltered under a shop front/awning and posted a few tweets (I'd link to it all, but can't figure out how! Check out https://indy.im/gdm or the relay on my twitter relay: gdm_uk for the full timeline) While I was standing there, cops suddenly chased a bunch of youth down a side street, so I followed after a few moments later. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by about 6 cop cars - a mixture of undercover and panda cars - who all stopped in the middle of the road and chased off on foot after some youngsters. Another passerby, a woman, and I just looked at each other, and both commented how we thought we had been about to get nicked. We wandered up the road, back towards Holloway Road a couple of blocks north of Seven Sisters, to find a bunch of cops sitting on one guy and frogmarching another guy back towards us and the patrol cars. Across Holloway Road, another guy was also getting busted.
I hung on the side road for a few minutes, trying to take some photos with my camera phone. The cops weren't terribly impressed, but I ended up chatting with them, explaining I wasn't obstructing them and that I wasn't causing trouble. They were all full of testosterone and adrenaline (even the women, it seemed) and a few of them were bolshy and tried to argue with me. One guy, an Irishman I think, said he'd had nothing as a kid when I told him that the (current) kids were bored, poor, desperate and had no future. I decided our opinions were too diverse so I might as well move on, but I guess I conversed with them for a good few minutes.
Over the road it was a different story. I took another couple of photos from a few yards away, but the cops were mostly obscuring a guy who was sat on the ground. I'm not sure if he was cuffed or not (I don't think so), as I couldn't really see, so I moved around behind them to try and take another photo. At this point, Officer EK102 came over and tried to patronise me. He told me that he was allowed to confiscate my phone in order to get the pictures for evidence. I told him he wasn't, but I was happy to call my lawyer to check. He threatened to arrest me. I refused to give him the phone. This continued for a minute or two. He then asked me to see the photo and said I could delete it. This I did, as I had no intention of spending a night down the nick, and it was all blurry anyway. But I'm sure his actions were illegal, and I will be investigating making a complaint tomorrow.
Where next? Well, I'm getting tired so going to cut it short. There's lots of detail on https://indy.im/gdm and I'll try to post some more photos tomorrow. There was one point I was about to leave, when behind me came the smashing of glass. Turning around, I saw CarPhone Warehouse on the corner of Nags Head getting smashed in, but almost immediately an undercover car pulled up alongside, cops exited and chased after the gang of people who were gathered there. The hammer remained on the floor, as seen in the photo... well, the photo doesn't seem to be uploading, i will try again tomorrow. For now, I'm afraid I have to sleep.
Solidarity, and good luck!Read more >>
The atmosphere was alternately tense and festive in Brixton tonight. After last night's riots in Tottenham, sparked by the police shooting of Mark Duggan on Thursday, riots spread all over London this evening.
People took advantage of heavy rains and miniscule police presence, turning the whole town from Stockwell to Tulse Hill into a free-shop. Every major chain store and bank had their windows smashed in, and notable looting took place at the Currys electronics store on Effra Road. Hundreds of people walked out of there with big-screen TVs, laptops, and other big-ticket items, as the police looked on helplessly. Cars were lined up on both sides of Effra Road for several hundred meters from Currys to Brixton Water Lane, as people loaded them up.
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Public sector cuts