Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: London's Burning

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    Anarchism <> chaos. Just because people oppose the state, coercion, and pretensions of “authority” doesn’t mean they can’t get together voluntarily to work towards their collective ends.

    Yes. Our local anarchist crew in Elephant & Castle published a great squatters' newsletter. A friend of mine was part of a group in Islington that ran an open house and cafe, where a lot of fun was had.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Rich Lock,

    And I hope you'll both excuse me if I'm a little snappy - I'm a little on edge because I'm in the same position as Craig, having family and friends living in several of the areas now getting mentioned.

    Perhaps some music will calm me down...

    Maybe not...

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    Birmingham and Liverpool are also experiencing riots today according to MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44055812/ns/world_news-europe/
    Presciently, Mark Faber told CNBC on Friday that he predicts catastrophic global financial collapse and war. Since quantative easing in 2001 made 2008's crash worse, the following one will be much larger. He advises the wealthy to invest in precious metals and oil. He has no advice for those who aren't rich other than to prepare for war followed by a worldwide depression. http://m.cnbc.com/us_news/4403​1717?refresh=true
    Meanwhile John Key tells us that he's relaxed and confident about the future. Well I suppose with $50 million in assets he would be. It makes me think back to the Irish potato famine. A couple of years ago they proved that the larger your land-holding, the less likely you were to die and that those who leased less than an acre all perished (or in my family's case, emigrated). Something to look forward to perhaps?

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich Lock,

    However, I'll go on record now and state that I will be very surprised if it turns out that there are small hardcore teams operating in the shadows, effectively attempting to carry out their agenda by zerging the packs of idiots.

    For now. How long before people discover that they can, though? I was constantly amazed in online gaming just how many people who didn't have a plan were susceptible to the power of suggestion from anyone who did.

    ETA: There's no guarantee of good motives in this. The small organized group could just as easily be bank robbers who figure that if you collect a bunch of police in one place fighting looters, making a getaway on the other side of town is going to be all the easier.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • elsketcho, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    ANd the politicians continue to live high on the hog whilst slashing healthcare and education budgets. Look at all the money spunked on the royal wedding. All the multi-million dollar cruise missiles lobbed at Tripoli. The UK has got it's fiscal priorities seriously skewed. That goes for most of Western Society I think. I get feelings of anger and alienation when the prats we have running the joint here cut spending, but won't vote themselves a pay cut.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And I hope you'll both excuse me if I'm a little snappy - I'm a little on edge because I'm in the same position as Craig, having family and friends living in several of the areas now getting mentioned.

    And even if I didn't, I find something a little distasteful about crapping on about "pre-revolutionary acts" on the other side of the planet when the folks who used to work here probably weren't slumming with the proles but trying to make a fucking living.

    And, no: Still not caring where David Cameron is.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Perhaps some music will calm me down...

    Maybe not...

    Billy Idol's take on L.A. '92, with SFX by the Terminator's production designer, the late great Stan Winston...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And, no: Still not caring where David Cameron is.

    I gather his office decided that not returning from Tuscany would be the better choice, to avoid making the earlier rioting look more important than it was. Looks like an unfortunate call now. Ditto for Boris Johnson -- it's Ken Livingstone who looks like the mayor at the moment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    The small organized group could just as easily be bank robbers who figure that if you collect a bunch of police in one place fighting looters, making a getaway on the other side of town is going to be all the easier.

    Seeing evidence that ATMs are being targeted.

    Watching @PaulLewis tweetstream has been intense.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    For now. How long before people discover that they can, though? I was constantly amazed in online gaming just how many people who didn't have a plan were susceptible to the power of suggestion from anyone who did.

    Just out of interest, how does Blackberry messaging work? Is it easy to quickly form groups and share messages? I suspect there's a mix of just running into whatever's around the corner and the message going out on the next place to hit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This is just depressing. No, that hardly seems a strong enough word ...

    Some passers-by help a disorientated and bleeding kid -- and then mug him.

    Fuck.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    it's Ken Livingstone who looks like the mayor at the moment.

    I remember from about ten years ago Beatrix Campbell claiming that Tony Blair's minders had confirmed that he'd voted for Livingstone's tory mayoral rival.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The UK's got a big underclass that are outside any "social contract". They aren't materially poor in the sense of a third-world nation, or even New Zealand, but they exist outside the whole "legal" economic and social structure. When the cops threaten their livelihood, they'll fight back.

    The other part is the whole social-control apparatus that the Brits have created. It isn't well tolerated. When you have a situation where the cops are setting up roadblocks and stopping everyone brown to check their immigration/welfare/vehicle status, they aren't going to be happy. An impression I got when I was last back in the UK was that the cops had quietly backed down on actually using a lot of their powers and were tolerating a lot of transgressions - especially when it was middle class kids doing the transgressing (see Scott's comment)

    But as everything gets harsher economically, maybe the cops have been given the word to crack down, and that's led to it all kicking off again.

    it would take about 15 million coppers to contain it. We actually have about 150,000

    Incidentally, during the Northern Ireland troubles there were around 30,000 security force members, 70,000 Sinn Fein supporters and maybe 400 hardcore IRA operators. The UK underclass is way more numerous than the NI Catholics. If the UK's rulers want a military solution, it'll involve conscripting middle class English kids. That will not go down well.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Still waiting to hear back from family in London, but not overly worried-they're pretty self-sufficient and would no doubt have let us know the instant something serious happened.

    Trying very hard not to comment on the reasons for the violence due to a very real possibility I will lose my temper at all and sundry.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Just out of interest, how does Blackberry messaging work?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlackBerry_Messenger

    Vaugely surprised that it's as popular as it seems to be in the UK. Hardly anyone in NZ seems to be using a blackberry now that smartphones are widely available.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    during the Northern Ireland troubles there were around 30,000 security force members, 70,000 Sinn Fein supporters and maybe 400 hardcore IRA operators.

    I'd say that's probably a very good example for Ben's zerging. The 400 (or cells/portions thereof) were able to effectively mass portions of the 70,000 when required. If I recall correctly, at one time it was a standard IRA tactic to incite a riot, wait for the security forces to turn up to contain it, and then take a few potshots at the squaddies.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    24 year old Penny Red blogs from inside it all. Seems quite wise.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    can't get these guys out of my head

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    They aren't materially poor in the sense of a third-world nation, or even New Zealand, but they exist outside the whole "legal" economic and social structure. When the cops threaten their livelihood, they'll fight back.

    Is that what's known as the Lumpenproletariat?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Penny Red suggests people help with #riotcleanup. Maybe that is how the community will win.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Penny Red suggests people help with #riotcleanup. Maybe that is how the community will win.

    Hope.
    Superb piece, thanks for the link.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Meanwhile in NZ the dollar drops below 80 US cents and there is a 5.0 earthquake near Taupo. Makes it all a bit hard to concentrate.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The other part is the whole social-control apparatus that the Brits have created. It isn't well tolerated.

    I think there's certainly a conversation to be had about that. It would be ironic if the communitarian philosophy advanced by Tony Blair -- which underpins those social control initiatives -- turned out to have fostered a hitherto unseen level of alienation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I suspect there's a mix of just running into whatever's around the corner and the message going out on the next place to hit.

    That's exactly how zerging works in multiplayer online games. You make the assumption that about one in 15 people will listen to you, but moving decisively towards your objective moves the large group quite quickly. Of course it's better if your team isn't 14/15ths morons who follow the pack and go for cheap frags (and end up being cheaply fragged), but assuming they are, they're amazingly manipulable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    redacted as the attachment button appears to have stopped working.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

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