THE LONDON RIOTS AND CAPITALISM'S CONTRADICTION

In the recent London riots, two young English youths were interviewed on camera and made interesting comments.  One girl, who was drinking from a bottle of purloined wine, said:  “We showed the police and the rich people that we can do anything we want.”  Her friends and accomplices were nodding in agreement.  Another young man said he and his friends were angry because they had wanted to go to university, but recent changes by government had prevented this. 

Anger seethes in the hearts of the dispossessed in many parts of the world, from Cairo to London.  I see this as a result of capitalism’s contradiction, the disparity between the theory of its proponents and the reality of siphoning by the rich.  In theory capitalism is supposed to be the flood of wealth that raises everybody’s boat; while in fact some people get rich and many get left behind.  Furthermore, recently wealth has been increasingly accumulating in the hands of those who are already wealthy and some rich have become the super-rich.  This has been occurring at a time when many people have come to realize that they are locked out of having the things they see advertized on TV, jobs and the promise of higher education.  The satellite TV programs and social media have shown many locked in poverty that some are living charmed lives unavailable to them. 

The anger remains sub rosa until sparked by an event such as the self-immolation of Mohsen Bouterfif in Algeria or the killing of Mark Duggan, a father of four in London.  The rich and the governments they support are out of touch with the people.  In America things are also not copasetic.  Politicians on both sides of the isle seem more interested in being reelected or moving on to plus jobs after making the right connections in Washington than helping the people cope with the economic downturn.  Partisanship is strangling democracy.  Yet the people can see that they are being harmed by the actions of the wealthy and well-placed.  In a recent CNN poll, people were asked: “Should the Deficit Reduction Bill include taxes on business and higher-income Americans?”  Sixty-three percent said yes.  Again, they were asked: “Should the Deficit Reduction Bill include taxes on middle class and lower-income Americans?”  Eighty-seven percent said no.  Yet this is precisely what government has done, given the recently inane move to the right conservatives under the influence of a small minority of Americans who are well off and who want to protect their privileges.

We can expect to see more riots worldwide if the rich don’t address growing poverty and misery being produced by their insensitivity and greed and their support of office-holders who pass laws and make policies to help the rich get even richer.

Views: 655

Comment

You need to be a member of Open Anthropology Cooperative to add comments!

Comment by Eugene L. Mendonsa on August 10, 2011 at 11:03pm

Sebastián Felipe Ruiz Pereira made some valid comments, although I am not entirely sure of all of them, nor the conclusion he draws.  I would invite Sebastián to clarify his comments in Spanish or Portuguese, the latter being easier for me to read, though either is okay.

Comment by Eugene L. Mendonsa on August 10, 2011 at 10:49pm
M Izabel--many of these rioters were simple opportunists and situational looters, but some were motivated by anger about which they were conscious and were stimulated to act in anti-societal ways.  I believe that revolution is not possible until and unless the middle class is threatened.  If the rich and powerful don't pay attention and make the appropriate changes we may see that in the future.
Comment by M Izabel on August 10, 2011 at 9:16pm
I suspect those who participate in riots are manipulated by the middle class to reduce the wealth of the upper  class.  Stealing shirts or jewelries will not make the violent poor well off, but will drive away the rich,  and a space for the middle class to prosper is created.   I just don't  think that these youngsters from the ghettos have intellectual and financial resources to organize a civil unrest.  I  have always believed that in a social stratification, the class in the middle is always the troublemaker.
Comment by Seba RP on August 10, 2011 at 8:40pm

We are living a similar situation in Chile right now. There is a struggle against profit-education. Prices for good education have risen to the level of being unreachable by many or definitely debt-overwhelming. Our neo-liberal economical system does not solidly reflect effort done by people. That by itself is un-balance.

That notion is unbearable in societies sustained by ideas of equality such us any democracy. The reaction to this conflict of reality versions is violence and the breeding of violence.

Publicity overloaded media is the proper culture media for violence. Instead of giving people what they want, they only deliver possibilities.

Free-market systems live in symbiosis with publicity filled states. That symbiosis slowly switches the definition of bond between us. Instead of being effort and mutual goals, it is now property of.  Material bonds become the real linkage among people because they make us alike by having them, by slowly becoming them.  

If people can’t access the bridge of communication with one another, how will they understand respect and proper conduct?

The result of no-communication is separation, isolation and therefore at some point, seeing the other as enemy. Attacking the system is just the excuse, the short turn to do so.

Again, to sustain the reality of equality, which is actually in these systems a delusion, the collective entity struggles as an average minded mass.  What binds that mass isn’t a determined fact, but certainly in some cases, the lack of it. Thereby, the result.

 

Translate

OAC Press

@OpenAnthCoop

Events

© 2019   Created by Keith Hart.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service