“In context with the complicit support of the government, the banks looted the nation’s wealth while destroying countless small businesses and brought the whole economy to its knees in a covert, clean manner, rather like organised crime. Our reaction was to march and wave banners and then bail them out. These kids would have to riot and steal every night for a year to run up a bill equivalent to the value of the non-paid tax big business has ‘avoided’ out of the economy this year alone. They may not articulate their grievances like the politicians that condemn them, but this is absolutely political. As for the ‘mindless violence’, is there anything more mindless than the British taxpayer quietly paying back the debts of others while contributing bullets to conflicts that we have absolutely no understanding of? It’s mad, sad and scary when we have to take to the streets to defend our homes and businesses from angry, thieving kids, but where are the police and what justice is ever done when the mob is dressed in pin-stripe?” - Massive Attack
One of my favorite musicians with an opinion on the riots.
In the UK, since 1998 there have been 333 deaths in police custody and not one officer convicted. 73% of those killed were black.
That sort of collective apathy, or antipathy, particularly when marked by a stark generational divide, is indicative of a cultural failure to provide something to young people worth personally investing in. Most observers claim to see no connection between black Londoners rioting against police oppression and white Mancunian teens “rampaging for no reason,” but there is an overwhelming—and evident—plume of dispossession, neglect, marginalization, purposelessness, voicelessness, disconnection from the life that Britons are supposed to have, and supposed to want, emanating from every street upon which are running rioters dismissed as incomprehensible animals.
Months of conjecture will follow these riots. Already, the internet is teeming with racist vitriol and wild speculation. The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the television cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985.
Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of not seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news.