I'm an idiot. I was probably thinking about addressing the envelope or something. But I signed my dad's name on his card. (When I meant to sign mine, if that wasn't clear.)
So we laughed about that and I pleaded heat.
Are you following the London riots? I hadn't been. We were trying to figure them out at work when C.I. called and I asked her about them and she gave me a five minute overview but said "I'm really not following them so I could be wrong." (She's immersed in three reports on Iraq -- three studies.) Well she was right. And that was without following. Where was I the last days because I didn't have a clue.
Okay, Mark Duggan was killed on Thursday. By the police. Who swear that he shot first. People don't believe that. And then the riots spread. And this is from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:
Socialist Workers Party statement on the riots
Why people are rioting
The riots that swept large parts of London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol last night are an explosion of bitterness and rage.
This is what happens in a society of deep and growing inequality, where there are great pools of unemployment and poverty, where there is systematic police harassment and racism, and where many young people feel they have no future.
Just as with the student protests last year, it is the “lost generation” created by the Tories who are at the centre of these struggles—although many older people were also involved.
The factors that made them rebel affect millions. The riots are not about “criminality” or “mindless violence”. Political slogans such as “Whose streets, our streets”, demands for “Justice” and denunciations of the police have featured in all the protests.
The backdrop is the deepening of the capitalist crisis. The anarchy of the market is far more devastating than the supposed anarchy on the streets. The bankers and businessmen, who continue to grab bonuses even as wages are hammered, have enriched themselves more effectively than any looter.
Police racism and brutality
In Tottenham the flashpoint was the police killing of Mark Duggan—and the lies and callous treatment of his family and friends which followed. This is just the latest episode in a history of racism and police brutality in the area.
No police officer has been found guilty of a death in custody in the past 40 years, despite deaths averaging one a week. Earlier this year, thousands marched in south London over the death of reggae artist Smiley Culture, who police accused of stabbing himself while they were in his home.
These incidents are the sharp end of police racism. But the harassment of young black and Asian people is a daily feature of life in Britain. Black people are 26 times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than white people.
Already, during these riots, hundreds of people have been arrested. There will be a further clamour from the press and politicians for revenge, and to hand the police even greater powers. We utterly oppose such measures. Far too many rights have been stripped from us already.
The scandals in the Murdoch press highlighted the corruption of the Metropolitan Police. Their brutality and racism are clear to millions. The last thing we need is to strengthen their hand.
The Tory attacks
Equally the riots would not have happened without the attacks being launched by the Tory-led government.
In Haringey, the London borough that contains Tottenham, 54 people chase every job vacancy. Eight of the 13 youth centres are due to close because of the government’s cuts.
Last year the government took Education Maintenance Allowance from 630,000 young people and tripled university fees, putting up a great “No entry to education” sign to most.
Britain is already less equal that at any time since the 1930s. While many of those who left school last month face a future without hope, the combined fortunes of the 1,000 richest people in Britain rose £60 billion in 2011 to nearly £400 billion.
The £81 billion of cuts decreed by David Cameron’s government will mean hundreds of thousands of job losses, devastated communities and services destroyed.
At some point people pushed to the wall will turn and fight back. That is what is happening now, just as it did during Margaret Thatcher’s reign in the 1980s, the great slump of the 1930s and the great depression of the 1880s—all periods which saw riots in Britain.
The riots are also a judgment on the utter failure of Ed Miliband’s Labour Party to offer an alternative to the Tories. All the political parties offer essentially the same recipe, just as now they have no solutions except water cannon, prison sentences and the army on the streets.
Resistance is the answer
Riots are an expression of anger, as Martin Luther King said, they are “the language of the unheard”. But to stop the Tories more is needed.
We need more protests like the huge demonstration on 26 March and the strike by 750,000 workers on 30 June. Such struggles can unite desperate young people and workers who face job cuts, attacks on pensions, huge wage reductions and worse conditions.
We call for the TUC, trade unions, and campaign groups to hurl themselves into the fight against the cuts, poverty and racism. We call for building events such as the demonstration against the English Defence League in east London on 3 September, the protest at the Tory conference in Manchester on 2 October, and the coordinated strike by more than a million workers planned for November.
A real solution to the despair that creates riots will need a different sort of society, where the needs of the vast majority, rather than a tiny elite, come first.
And you can also refer to Julie Hyland's article for WSWS:
A massive police presence has been established across parts of the capital in an attempt to crush the eruption of social anger that has affected areas of north and southeast London and is spreading to other UK cities.
Rioting in Tottenham on Saturday evening was triggered by the fatal police shooting early Thursday evening of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old father of four, by Specialist Firearms officers.
On Sunday, disturbances broke out in Brixton, Enfield, Walthamstow, Islington and Oxford Street, central London. By Monday afternoon, riots were also under way in Hackney in east London and Lewisham and Peckham in southeast London. Disturbances also broke out in Birmingham, England’s second city.
Upwards of 220 were arrested in less than 48 hours.
I don't plan to blog about the topic obsessively or repeatedly. But we do have British community members and I thought I needed to post at least once on the topic. I also find the story very interesting.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"