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August 10, 2011

Vilifying the Disenfranchised

"And it also became clear that these conditions of inequality and historical injustice have given rise to a feeling of hate in the world - a deeply felt hate that cannot easily be overcome with a few good words." ~Ulrich Beck

With "riots" continuing to spread across Great Britain, the mainstream media is, of course, promoting the authoritarian perspective and failing to discuss or consider the socioeconomic, political and psychological motives behind the uprisings taking place in the United Kingdom and around the globe. 

A recent New York Times piece discussed the "[w]idespread antisocial and criminal behavior by young and usually unemployed people" explaining that it is a plague typical to Great Britain, but fails to acknowledge the global problems that have led to such recent social upheavals around the world - specifically police brutality, lack of government accountability, rising unemployment, increased disparity between rich and poor, austerity measures directed at programs for the less fortunate, and as stated in an Al Jazeera opinion piece, "any breakdown of civil order is inescapably political."

Mark Duggan
Many people around the world do not even know the initial cause for the continuing riots in Great Britain.   On August 4th, during a police operation in Tottenham, London, England, Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old black man, father of four, and alleged "gangsta", was shot and killed by police officers during an attempted arrest.  It is alleged by Duggan's family and friends that he was unarmed, and that the next of kin was not alerted to his death, rather they first heard about it in the headlines. What really happened on the night of August 4th is unclear due to conflicting reports by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and London-based media, which only have a few basic facts in common: multiple shots were fired, at least one bullet (an IPCC ballistics report has stated that the bullet was actually shot by one of the officers involved) was lodged in a police radio worn by one of the officers and when it was over, Duggan was dead. 

Following the death of Duggan, on August 6th, Duggan's relatives and local residents marched from Broadwater Farm to Tottenham police station in hopes of obtaining information from police about the circumstances of Duggan's death. Eventually, a chief inspector spoke with the crowd but they demanded a higher-ranking officer.  Thereafter, some members of the waiting crowd attacked two nearby police cars, setting them on fire. Rioting, arson and looting subsequently spread to other parts of London, and to other cities in England, mainly affecting the poorest boroughs of Britain.  

"In a world of increasing inequality, the legitimacy of institutions that give precedence to the property rights of 'the Haves' over the human rights of 'the Have Nots' is inevitably called into serious question." ~David Korten  

It is becoming increasingly evident that there is a global economic crisis that will likely worsen before improving.  As the downward spiral continues, governments will disassociate from the masses struggling in these difficult times, choosing to side with big business and their wealthy constituents, and refusing to relate to the hardships of the common citizens suffering from soaring inequality.  We live in a Westernized society that rewards looting and vandalism of public property so long as the perpetrators are sufficiently rich and powerful, as evidenced by the wars in the Middle East, the big bank bail outs, and tax breaks continually provided to the wealthy.  

During difficult times, we can only hope that people will remember that violence should be used only when necessary and should never be directed at the fellow commoner.  This is the real tragedy taking place in London, as the majority of the enterprises targeted by vandals and looters are small businesses owned by families and average people of lesser financial means.  As our system continues its deterioration, we the people may become increasingly desperate, but we must maintain our morality and acknowledge that turning on a fellow victim is never the right thing.  Any anger or upheaval should be directed at those marginalizing the people and violating our rights, rather than the community at large.  

So think more about the reality of the situation in London and around the globe and the true cause of this viral civil unrest. Do not let the mainstream vilify the disenfranchised victims of our unjust political system by labeling them all as mindless, criminals, or degenerates.  Be wary of the methods of the authoritarians who will utilize the use of violence against them or their practices in order to justify the use of excessive force against a mobilized citizenry, promote their globalist and plutocratic agenda, and exploit such incidents of violence to manipulate the public into demanding or accepting greater police state measures that will ultimately only serve to oppress legitimate dissent against governing forces.

"As of today, we do not need expert reports by the authoritative analytical institutions to realize that the reasons for such a situation in our community lie in global inequality, poverty and illiteracy." ~Nursultan Nazarbayev