Archive | August, 2011

Letting off a LittleSteam

10 Aug

I think too much. Sometimes this is a good thing, but for the most part I end up winding myself up too tight. I like to think an issue through to its logical conclusion; problem solve without the ability to actually solve the problem. This inevitably brings me to the same point 99% of the time. The way things should work and the way things work out in reality are more often than not diametrically opposed.

Thus LitteSteam; The blog where I document my thought processes in evaluating an issue. I am hopeful that most of the conclusions I will draw in this series evaluating the news, current affairs and social issues that I stumble across from day to day, will end up being wrong. I hate being right about most of the issues I dissect. Being right is cold comfort when unfortunate outcomes come to pass.

I will make no apologies for offering anecdotes of personal experience in making my case. The only knowledge any of us truly has is that which we have experienced, and I therefore value the events I have endured in order to inform my discourse. There is a difference between offering an anecdote to support a position than relying on one to take a position. I intend only to do the former.

I hope that, if nothing else comes of this series of writings, that whomever reads them might appreciate my alternative take on the issues tackled, or the bits of trivia that will inevitably find their way into the posts.


So how ’bout them riots!

The media is struggling to put a spin on this one. For once they’re mostly restricting themselves to the facts, with little editorialising. It seems they’re a little confused on how to play it. Probably for a number of reasons:

  1. They’re truly surprised by it, and don’t completely understand it.
  2. Due to the scale of the unrest they’re confused about how to present the story to their audience. After all if they had completely missed the building unrest prior to its explosion over the weekend they’re obviously out of touch.
  3. They don’t want to alienate their audience and/or become a target for the mobs.

It seems that this approach has been taken to an extreme with most media outlets opting to run a lot more eye witness account stories, most of which are harrowing. Like this one  by Lucy Carne in the Herald Sun.

I find the general consensus on the riots a little strange, sad and disturbing. The hot topic threads are rife with misguided black and white views of the rioters and their cause.

In my view – Its cause: disenfranchised youth being pushed further down the economic food-chain through the persistence of a deep-seated recession. A food chain, I might add, that has been shortening and becoming markedly more top heavy over the course of the GFC. Its catalyst: A protest against police killing an un-armed man that turns violent.

It’s obvious that the riots long since ceased to have anything to do with the death of Mark Duggan; but rather than examining the potential causes of the shocking outbreak of violence and theft, the public at large are all too keen to lay the blame solely on the rioters being “Pathetic excuses for humans” or something along similar lines. David Cameron was of course duty bound to jump on the populist band wagon. Having your summer holiday ruined by a pesky uprising can leave no room for self evaluation or grey areas when getting to the bottom of a situation.

I in no way condone the actions of the rioters, what they are doing is clearly wrong. My interest here is with the underlying issues that have obviously been bubbling away for some time, un-noticed and un-checked. – Well they haven’t gone completely un-noticed. That depends on who you are. If you are, say, a black man from Croydon you might have some inkling of what might be the underlying cause like this man did. Unfortunately even when given a straight up explanation of the underlying issues fueling the rage the media and the powers that are, are bound to muffle the voice that speaks it.

Therein lies the real issue. In the absence of an obvious political motive, the rioters are said to be taking to streets and venting their frustration first and foremost against the authority. Mainly the police. The riot started outside a police station and at least two other police stations have been fire bombed.

So if you have dissafected youth, with no money, no prospects, nothing to do, living in a consumerist culture being constantly teased with the concept of a better life through material possessions they can’t afford, and the most identifiable and immediate face of the authority that keeps them in this state are the police, how do you fix it? Tripple the number of police of course.

Sure in the short term this has to happen. But what after that? The acts of the rioters have been correctly described as mindless, because they are driven by something far more visceral and primal. I think that Darcus Howe, the West Indian Man from Croydon was right when he called it an insurrection. The opportunism that has developed is by definition a secondary consideration, even if its effects are of equally grave concern. England is suffering the symptoms of a social illness, which many in Australia have commented is also bubbling below the surface here as well. In fact it is everywhere and it is a direct consequence of the global economic climate.

If you track the chain of events that gave rise to the riots back to its source I think it would be safe to say that America’s Republican Party and its faith in Trickle-Down economics, tax cuts and its policy of market deregulation through the George W Bush administration has a lot to answer for. While that may sound as remote a causation as the butterfly effect, ask yourself this: if there was no recession, would there be riots in London today. I would have to say probably not.

The same core issue is underlying most of the social ills being faced by supposedly developed nations, from the exodus of New Zealanders to Australia (which was happening long before the Christchurch Earthquake), Child Poverty in the USA, to the possible collapse of the EU – they’re all the symptoms of a failed economic system. Or at least an economic system that is failing the people. It probably can’t be said that the economic system has failed if the people who set it up and control it are still doing allright out of it.

This brings me to one or two other points of contrast I picked up on while trawling the various stories for this post. Like how the rioters have mostly been targeting the stores and businesses in their local neighbourhoods, going so far as requiring 500 Muslim men to face off against 200 rioting youths, in order to protect their own businesses and homes. Whereas the banks  at least appear to be well protected by the police force. Priorities right? I suppose seeing 500 Bankers rock on up to a street fight to protect their livelihood does sound a bit ludicrous.

I also note the subliminal propaganda employed in David Cameron’s speech by having a sole black policeman stand behind him while giving his speech, stood in contrast to Darcus Howe’s interview. This is of course the oldest trick in the book. Like how the police put the darkest officers they could find in the front line of the Red Squad for the 1981 springbok tour protests in NZ.

I also wish to note that whatever David Cameron and his party’s policies aimed at dealing with child poverty and cutting its ties with future poverty and benefit dependence, it has obviously failed. The linked article is very interesting and opens up a whole other raft of questions that I will not go into here.

I will however leave you with this: The invisible hand is attached to the arm of a cunt.