Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Pivo: dig deep

Earlier this month, my city and my neighborhood in particular got a little bit scary. Immediately, the right-wing was hardened and those in power have begun the backlash. The British public was outraged by what they were witnessing and so the politicians decided they would respond to their calls for blood and ruthlessness first with talk of water cannon and curfews and now with disproportionately harsh sentencing.

Never mind that the British public was equally outraged by MPs fiddling their expenses and the widespread tabloid phone hacking but pretty much nothing has been done about either of those, aside from a couple of slaps on the wrist and maybe some embarrassment for those who have kissed Rupert Murdoch's ass for so many years. 

There was a ludicrous rush to find out why young people in Britain felt so little stake in society and the answers ranged from the idiotic to the obscene. The reactionary views that people suddenly felt able to express were as alarming as anything we had sat and watched on the news.

But these weren't only coming from the right. Pundits on the left also chimed in with ways to further their own political agendas with half-baked analysis. There were the commenters on news sites claiming that this was the first step towards the coming revolution/class war and that next time, he (I'm absolutely assuming it was a he) would be right down there fighting. It's always next time isn't it? 

Or there was the always hateful Socialist Workers Party who managed to hijack the North London Unity March, the motto of which was "Give our kids a chance". They came with their little notebooks of pre-formulated chants that made people who lived along the route think it was an anti-police demonstration. 

These riots are actually an opportunity to force those in power, those who are so far removed from the reality of British people's every day lives, to acknowledge and deal with the causes. It is an opportunity for the left to rise above the hateful and self-serving rhetoric and present a much needed alternative to austerity cuts, a society based on mindless consumerism and the inequality on which that depends.

I've titled this dig deep not only as a plea for a deeper analysis of the current state of affairs but also to say that this shit is not going to go away unless we even things out. That means people with money and privilege paying their fair share so that we can have things like youth clubs, playgrounds, decent education and jobs that pay a living wage. You know, all those things that would make young people feel like they have a stake in society and something to lose?

Pasted up in the playground of London Fields, Hackney.

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