“There is about a thousand mad men, armed with clubs, bludgeons, and crows, just now set off for Newgate, to liberate, they say, their honest comrades. - I wish they do not some of them lose their lives of liberty before morning. It is thought by many who discern deeply, that there is more at the bottom of this business than merely the repeal of an act - which has as yet produced no bad consequences, and perhaps never might.”
Unfortunately, it’s rare that anyone ever gets to the bottom of any of this business. On the 4th of August, Mark Duggan was killed by police, following which, according to the Daily Mail:
“the IPCC was forced to deny reports that Mr Duggan was “assassinated” as rumours spread like wildfire on the internet that he was unarmed, having put his gun down on the ground when he was shot.”
Mark Duggan’s friends and family organised a demonstration in Tottenham on the 6th of August, demanding answers from the police as to what had happened. At this protest, it’s reported that a sixteen year old girl was beaten by the police prompting a confrontation with police. Parked police cars were attacked with apparent impunity, and then shops were attacked and robbed, certainly by people with a different agenda from the initial demonstrators. A large carpet shop and the flats above it were set on fire. Over the following few nights, Londoners who were so inclined, discovering that they could apparently steal with impunity, attempted to do so (social policy for thirty years has been to resurrect nineteenth century social relations: it is almost as if they had brought back the classes laborieuses and the classes dangereuses). Overwhelmingly, unemployed Londoners have been charged with crimes relating to the riots.
But was there any more at the bottom of this business: the killing of Mark Duggan, the girl who got beaten, police permissiveness (followed by a police crackdown)? But also the surreal sentences handed out to rioters and the teevee disinformation? They’re probably just aspects of the British system, along with institutional racism, permanent house price inflation, the war in Afghanistan and the 2012 Olympics, but we can’t be entirely sure.