Thursday, 11 August 2011

Behind the anger behind the riots

Like most, I have been following the commentators on the riots, especially when there are inteviews of people who have been involved. Understanding what lies behind the anger is essential.

Witnessing the build up of anger over the past few years has been easy:
  • the economic collapse mirrored by MPs who consider it perfectly reasonable to steal money; 
  • X Factor, Top Gear and lottery winners who inspire dreams of getting rich and famous quickly without too much effort or talent so you can drive flashy cars; 
  • a society and economy built on 'greed is good', the need for econmic growth, consumerism and the lastest fashions; 
  • police who target young back men, the same group who continue to do worse at school as the education system doesn't work for them; 
  • an education system that says everyone must do better than average or they are a failure, yet ignores the ludicracy of the statement; 
  • the destruction of hope, putting university out of reach of millions without the narrative that says university might not always be what it is cracked up to be;
  • the destruction of society in a right wing frenzy of cuts
  • and so on...

Anyone of these can trigger the anger needed for civil disorder, so why are the political leaders surprised? They created the problem now they want to use water cannons on the disaffected - mildly preferrable to the 33% of the public who would like to see the police use live rounds on them.

This comment by It is a heterogeneous expression of rage. At the police, at the cuts, at the lack of being able to be heard, at a culture that instils a consumer desire they can’t match, and yes that rage spills over into self-destructive acts."

Finally, this from BBC with an interviewer who is not interested in the problems of society, just looking for blame - however it gives a bit of a glimpse of the feelings underlying the anger:

3 comments:

thehoatzin said...

So how come lots of poor working class communities haven't rioted and don't riot? You HAVE to answer that completely for anything you subsequently say to have ANY validity.

Many of those rioting haven't been the 'excluded' and most of those seem to come from one gangsta-fixated community - it is not a community-wide phenomena, you are just shoe-horning it into your own agenda and it clearly doesn't fit

Most working class communities have expressed solidarity and supported each other and all have turned against the gangsta culture and the looters, and for me that is true solidarity and it's the thing we should be supporting.

Stand with those working class people, don't undermine them.

Stuart Jeffery said...

It's a reasonable question and one I don't have an answer for, but I will look at it.

In terms of undermining working class people, I don't think I have and I certainly do stand with them.

TinyBitGreen said...

Thehoatzin – not entirely sure I agree that the post has to answer that issue ‘completely for subsequent post to have any validity?’ I would be interested to hear something from you which deals with any issue completely? Otherwise by your own statement nothing you say has any validity ...which I am sure isn’t true!
I remember in the 1990s, brought up in the north east and living in Bradford when the riots flared. I remember then the argument was that they were race riots. I could understand that as in Bradford at the time there were undoubted racial tensions but I remember seeing on TV rioters passing my Mums house outside Middlesbrough, an incredibly depressed area then. But the rioters and the people affected were predominantly white; I wondered how this was racial...Oddly like now it was during an economic downturn in a very poor area.
I think that what the post is suggesting is that there are underlying causes to these issues and it is easy to pluck an easy catch all arguments the air - ‘the violence is mindless’ or ‘its a race issue’ is an easy and lazy excuse not to find the real causes which are more complex.
Apologies to Stuart Jeffrey if I have misunderstood though!