Better late than never
The riots took me by surprise, but they shouldn’t have. We live in a world where it is OK for society to continually and relentlessly screw the majority to line the silken pockets of millionaires. These kids have grown up with the consumerist ‘ideal’ rubbed in their faces for long enough to know that they need new shoes, need new bikes, need new TVs – it’s just that the solution finally hit: want + can’t get = TAKE. What happened was simply an expression of the anger and frustration that has been brewing under the veneer of the ‘Big Society’, an inevitable result of incessant and prolonged exploitation by capitalism.
A lot of the commentary following that week bemoaned the destruction and wrote the riots off as mindless violence, but they were not all bad. They instilled fear into the hearts of those in charge – it has been a long time since the streets were reclaimed by so many people. Just imagine if instead of JD sports and the newsagents at the end of your road, it was RBS that was smashed and looted. Imagine if instead of already badly-off areas like Croydon and Mare St., it was the square mile that was burning. We should learn our lessons from this – the riots showed the power of rage and the bankers and politicians should be quaking in their boots. We are angry enough, and we are only going to get angrier. The overexcited reaction of the police and the courts shows just how scared the authorities are; they want to make an example of people to create an atmosphere of fear that stops us acting again, but we can’t let ourselves be silenced in legitimate claims. Yes, we certainly can (and I do) condemn the unnecessary destruction of local shops and communities, but we can also understand the reasons for those acts and hopefully translate that anger into something positive. If we can make people disregard the redtop brand of fear mongering and realise how strong we can be if we act together, we can achieve something – we don’t need a system that violates us, and we can reject that. We are the 99% and we take what we need, not simply because we can. We need to assert ourselves over the greedy 1%, to challenge the consumerist paradigm and smash capitalism.