Panic on the streets of London by Penny Red (via NaomiAKlein) — “Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out: structural inequalities, as a friend of mine remarked today, are not solved by a few pool tables. People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night. And now people have lost their homes, and the country is tearing itself apart.” One of the most intelligent and level-headed accounts I’ve read was written while television talking heads were still speechless.
If the rioting was a surprise, people weren’t looking / The Guardian by Stafford Scott — “Yes, indefensible – but not unexpected. Clear signs of deep problems in our youth were ignored as being a black problem” Covers commonly prescribed root causes: gangs, turf wars, ghetto culture. Fails to mention how that translates to outside London incidents, but the high rated comment ripostes are fantastic.
Looting ‘fuelled by social exclusion’ / The Guardian by Alexandra Topping — A generation bred on a diet of excessive consumerism and bombarded by advertising had been unleashed, he added. “Where we used to be defined by what we did, now we are defined by what we buy. These big stores are in the business of tempting [the consumer] and then suddenly these people find they can just walk into the shop and have it all.” Great insights from criminologists and sociologists.
Farewell youth clubs, hello street life – and gang warfare / The Guardian by Alexandra Topping — “With budget cuts leading to the loss of facilities that kept many inner-city youths occupied, experts predict a rise in crime” Eerily prescient article that mentions Tottenham and Hackney specifically (where the riots first sparked). The accompanying videopiece ends ominously with a young man on the street repeating the line “There are going to be riots” with a look of resignation. Posted 29 July.