UK, the struggle against the existent continues…
Going back to the UK riots, and behind the dumb sensationalism that I, myself, have contributed to, the background of this sudden uprising needs a bit more clarification…
Saturday, August 13th 2011
Thursday, August 4, Mark Duggan, a ‘real straight up and down respected man’ (words of London rapper, Chipmunk) from Tottenham in London, was blasted to death while on his way home in a cab by a mob of cops wielding Heckler & Koch MP5 carbines. 29 year old Mark, father of four young children, lived on the housing estate known as Broadwater Farm, a depressed predominantly Afro-Caribbean area. The area is infamous since the riot of 1985 after 49 year old Cynthia Jarrett collapsed and died of a heart attack as police raided her home. (During the riot a policeman, PC Blakelock, was hacked to death with a machete.) Today, in the words of a resident, ‘if you’re from Broadwater Farm, police are on you every day, you’re not allowed to come off the estate. If you come off the estate they follow you.’ They followed Mark Duggan and he ended up dead.
August 6 – The arrogance of the killers in uniform in the face of the protest by the victim’s family and supporters, plus the brutal attack on a 16 year old girl by police during the vigil was the last straw.
That night in Tottenham the police station was attacked, police cars set on fire, a double-decker bus ends up a twisted wreck after being engulfed in flames, press photographers are beaten and relieved of their equipment for the decades of lies they have propagated. Bank windows smashed. Countless shops looted, stuff thrown all over the streets. Young guys storm McDonald’s and start frying up burgers and chips. Indignant anger clears the brain, flushes out the cops in the head. Collective fury at this latest police murder combines with the daily bullying and humiliation of being stopped and searched, the moralising, the false promises, useless lives, no future, desire for status-affirming ‘needs’ unattainable due to increased taxes, unemployment and cutting of benefits, 4 million cameras, glaring security cops at the entrance to every store, the colonization of all remaining urban space by trendy bars filled with the noisy chatter of the carefree… that and much more that we don’t know and will never experience welled up and fueled the will to smash through the invisible and plate glass barriers that hold everything in place.
The hostages of the open prison, the young people of the ghettos of London, rise up and the capitalists’ nightmare finally materialises, as the last link in the consumer chain of submission snaps. It explodes into a free-for-all when, in a flash of illumination the solution to the existential dilemma is found: MUST HAVE/CAN’T HAVE = TAKE. It’s simple: learn and apply, possibly burning store to ashes on retreating.
Some anarchists and ‘rebels with consciousness’ did rush towards the smoke signals on the horizon. For some only to stop in their tracks, in many cases riveted to the spot as spectators of a scenario never played out in their wildest dreams: crowds of young people queuing up outside high street stores like customers at the January sales, calmly forcing their way inside under the implacable gaze of rows of riot cops, to reappear later with huge bags, even trolleys, overflowing with consumer goods.
Elsewhere, behind the hastily improvised barricades erected and set alight by local kids in back streets as they prepare to greet their daily enemy – the cops in their anti-riot vans – with a hail of bottles and stones, the outsider, immediately recognizable by age and color, is viewed with suspicion. Who are you? What do you want? In various areas, the odd gang, spurred by the momentary shift in the balance of power in the streets, starts high-jacking people’s cars and driving off in them or setting them alight, or trashing and looting corner shops, holding no attraction but for the benefit of diversionary chaos so that other small groups can organise and initiate their own attacks. For some, black clothes and face masks are a sign of organised illegality and command respect accordingly. Each area and particular environment creates differing possibilities and modes of co-operation and confrontation. Still days after the clashes there is a changed air in the glances and atmosphere between those in the different sectors of the clash, put under the same rule. Open fighting against the police and the system they defend is a unifying feature for popular resistance against all regimes.
Very soon it became clear that this seemingly strange police tactic of standing by and watching looters empty stores was no accident, as it had already been reported by right-wing media that the police would let the situation play itself out for 3 days before going in with heavy repressive blows, a story which subsequently disappeared from the news. This standard British counter-insurgency tactic, developed in the colonies and in Northern Ireland, is used in the preliminary stages of the social insurgence to attempt to create a situation of havoc where all the contradictions of the mess of society can exacerbate, to force the false question: Do you want an authoritarian regime to maintain repressive order, or do you want ‘lawless chaos’? The question is posed by power to the servile masses, using the rebellious as their spear of inquiry.
The police removed their personnel from the most seriously affected areas, giving space for the riot to literally burn out – letting the ‘violence’ reach such a point as to deny the intensification which could have resulted had the clash been kept at a certain social level, possibly drawing in anarchists, leftists and angry students.
The front line of the clash – that against cops, police stations, media, politicians, started to disappear as the target of these attacks withdrew or were overcome. This channeled the affray into the requisitioning of goods by uncontrolled masses. The design was to secure the forces of the police following their defeat on the streets in order to prepare the massive repressive operation from CCTV surveillance, snitching and investigation – and provoke a media-boosted backlash from those who identify with the system of work and law demanding that the police enforce a severe crackdown. A backlash which was not only seen in the posses of marauding shop-keepers and British nationalists, but also in the citizenist outcry for an open prison society by tidy controlled individuals not adverse to controlling others.
(Read the rest here)