Friday, August 19, 2011

London 2011

From 1780:

“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.

4 comments:

W. Kasper said...

Even now, I've no idea what Duggan was suspected of. Does anyone know?

Why did I sniff a some kind of Met conspiracy to boost public support - and with that more funds? The death of Smiley Culture was bizarre too - odd cause of death if it a case of police 'overreacting'. It was as though they've been wanting to generate unrest for some time now. A few people in 'meatspace' have raised this possibility, but I suppose people are weary of being accused of 'conspiracy theory' in public. But the police have emerged with much more public support than they did with the News Corp scandal - and cuts are now likely to be much less severe than intended. Tories' housing/welfare policy seems to have gained a lot of ground too.

catmint said...

Yes, the riots do seem to have strngthened the police in terms of their bargaining position with government and public support - even though the riots were kicked off by a police killing - "not an "assassination"" - according to the IPCC's press release contradicting a current rumour

the handling of events around Mark Duggan's death are evidently irregular enough to deserve the possibility of conspiracy around ant part of the process to be investigated

weirdly, after last week's facebook trials I feel compelled to write in a legalistic style - it's horrible to describe someone's violent death as a process

In terms of the first day of disturbances in Tottenham, it would have hardly needed a conspiracy to allow things to kick off. I've seen met police "fighting" young girls. It would only have required a message to be delayed, or a certain professional caution, or heaven forbid sensitivity, for shops to be looted

I'm not really a big believer in conspiracies

it strikes me that what the establishment want to do is establish a cordon sanitaire between real conspiracy heads and regular people. what they don't need is a situation like in the Soviet Union, where everyone entertains conspiracies about everything, quite casually

I'm not a big believer in conspiracies, but after 7/7, what I found worrying, on an instinctive level, was the actions of the state, not the possibility of more people from Yorkshire blowing up buses.

W. Kasper said...

Well it does always come down to "who wins out of this"? Like how much was won by neocons after 9-11 (especially compared to Bush's shabby, contentious first year). These big news events - and their responses - always raise widespread suspicion about why they happened.

And what I know about the police - from solicitor's gossip etc. - I wouldn't be surprised by anything they'd do to protect their reputation.

catmint said...

yes, for tactical or logistical reasons the Met Police defended the West End on the 7th but not Tottenham on the 6th - the way the situation developed was definitely bad for the rule of law, but strengthened the position of the police, and I suppose "the right"

Death of Smiley Culture was bizarre - I have only heard of self inflicted fatal stabbing in Dostoevsky