Friday, August 12, 2011

A Pattern of Police Murders in Britain

London is in flames and so are many other English cities. The Tory Prime Minister Cameron, the great cutter of social programs, refers only to the “criminality” of those involved and calls for fierce punishment. Andrew Sullivan, who has drawn back from onetime neo-conservatism and has smart coverage of many issues, echoes Cameron.* Britain is, of course, not so different from Greece where huge peaceful and democratic protests – see here – nearly brought down the Papandreou government. In cutbacks, British austerity is a model of what conservatives and Tories like Sullivan and, as he sometimes sees Obama, thought a bit more moderately, want in the US. In this way, Britain is an image of the future of declining America. What blew Britain apart?

Initially, the protest started over the police murder of Mack Duggan, a 29 year old black man. A march led by his parents went to the police headquarters in Tottenham, where the police, covering up for the murderers, stonewalled the demonstrators for five hours. The rebellion exploded from there.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) issued a finding Tuesday that all the bullets fired, including one found in a police car, were from police-issued weapons. This is a spectacular finding, one that would accord with much about the rule of law in Britain and dignify British justice. The American papers including the Times might have noticed this. But they were too busy, as is the BBC, spewing Cameron’s venom. Black folks are "dangerous," "criminals," and "must be punished." The murderous and stonewalling behavior of the headless police – the leaders of the force had just been removed for being on the take from Murdoch's News Corporation as, unfortunately, Cameron himself skates close to being – is not noticed except, of course, by ordinary people.

But the rule of law in Britain is in awful shape. Since 1998, 332 blacks have entered police custody and died – around 2 cases of deaths in custody per month in London!* Britain pays more heed to the rule of law than the United States, but this police criminality resembles the Rumsfeld-Cheney-Bush murder of over 100 people, by Pentagon statistics, in Pentagon custody. The rule of law this is not.

In no case before this explosion did the IPCC condemn the conduct of any police officer involved in these killings (nor were there any convictions of the killers). Thus, the protests from below made the Commission an honest body. David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair didn’t.

In his Second Treatise, John Locke says that revolutions (or rebellions) happen not for some accident but because of a great, longstanding pattern of abuse, unrelieved by hope. That is now the case in Britain.

In the third article below, Laurie Penny describes a startling exchange she overheard between a young rebel and a vacuous NBC reporter:

"In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything: 'Yes,' said the young man. 'You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you?'

'Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.'

Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ’’

Another black native of London, who has tried to help the injured and one of the shopkeepers in the rebellion, speaks out – and one might compare the moral and intellectual merit of his remarks with those of Cameron, the BBC and the New York Times. See the street video here. The internet makes it possible to get real voices from among the people in a way that the corporate press does not.

Darcus Howe, the journalist and West Indian leader at the time of the rebellion in Brixton in the early 1980s under Thatcher (not so much has changed), asked his grandson, Nathan, how many times he had been stopped by the police. "Too many to count, papa," he said. Howe speaks of Nathan as an “angel,” is strongly a grandfather worried about him, and the humanity of the story he tells is, if one listens, inescapable. See the brief BBC interview here and Democracynow here. Many blacks are stopped twice a month. Racist and sexist epithets from London’s finest are ordinary fare.

Howe speaks of how his phone is bugged, how he looks up the street, scouting for rogue police – the police…- and warns his children and grandchildren to do so. “The Big Society” was Cameron’s phrase…The police and prison state for Afro-Caribbeans, though fortunately much smaller than the American, is more apt. The vaporously hostile BBC interviewer tries to make him out a rioter and his response is extraordinary here.(h/t Michael Schwartz)

The level of oppression of blacks accords with this police conduct. The district in Tottenham has the fourth worst level of child poverty in London. It has an official unemployment rate of 8.8%, better than 20% among teenagers. (I do not know how these figures were calculated; they would be way low for black people in the US, for example, which makes me interested in finding out; the unidentified black man on the tape above says the real figure is 1 in 3). The Afro-Caribbean population of London is part of the reserve army of the unemployed as Marx named it. Except education, there is very little chance even for a few to escape. And now, education has been ruthlessly cut back (of course, in America, education is now for all but the most able and lucky a form of debt slavery).

But Britain has had social programs to deal with poverty (it is less unequal and less dependent on mass incarceration than the U.S. which has 2 ½ million prisoners, one quarter of the prison population of the world – see here on Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow). There were community centers. Much more was created following the rebellions in Brixton in the early 1980s. But one of the first achievements of New Labor under Tony Blair was to defund the comparatively good race relations program and emphasis on multiculturalism that Britain was trying to forge in reponse. In his zeal for austerity, David Cameron has gone further. See the video above. He has cut government funding for social/community programs for the Afro-Caribbean and other oppressed populations 75%. This is not so different from what the Tea Party stands for in the United States (and what the government is being dragged towards).

Duggan’s family spoke out against the riots. Rebellions in cities, however just they are in their initial causes, are often mainly destructive and lots of innocents get hurt (in the video, the man speaks out rightly against the burning of one’s own community). Injuring others, including police officers, breeds lasting hatreds and desires for vengeance. It would thus be far better, morally and politically, to adopt serious nonviolence as a way of protesting (Bhikhu Parekh, former head of the Race Relations Commission, London School of Economics professor, and ironically now a Lord – the lord of the harijans, a Labor lord, is profoundly a modern Gandhian – one who seeks nonviolence as a way of protest in an industrial society; among the things these cutbacks, led by New Labor, did was to make the possibilities of nonviolence harder to come by, to become aware of as a real alternative in Britain. Comparably, the Paletinians have come to nonviolence only over time. But Cameron, like Bush and to some extent Obama in practice, and Papandreou in Greece and Netanyahu in Israel represents the callous free market, neoliberal state of rampant inequality and bank-imposed (Scrooge-like if I am not being unfair to the unreconstructed Ebeneezer) austerity. There is no social contract, no relationship or commonality of rich and poor, or to put it in Aristotle’s terms, no common good.

What just happened in England illustrates, as sharply as possible, what a society with no sense or pursuit of a common good, and what a reprehensible racist leadership looks like. The only decency: the police did not have water cannons - Cameron's latest move...

The explosion of revolt all over England comes from the fact that many have been thrown out of work by English deindustrialization and have lived – and their children live – without a future. Government support and programs mean that they have a life, but without a job or a career, even in an alienated way, hardly a life one can be proud of. This was Amartya Sen’s wonderful thought in Development as Freedom where he contrasted US capitalism, with its tremendous inequality and exploitation, but comparatively low unemployment rate (then 4 or 5 % officially speaking) and Britain and Europe, with comparatively less inequality and 10 or 11% official and much higher actual and structural unemployment.

But in the rise of the financial stranglehold – that of Goldman Sachs and AIG on Wall Street and bankers in Europe who make nothing, engage in derivatives trading and betting, and get exorbitant rewards in wealth – everyone else is being asked to pay. This is the opposite of community or a common good or being in it together. In fairy tale language, to steal from the children, the poor, the elderly and the middle classes to give to the boundlessly rich - the Timothy Geithners and Lawrence Summers and Lloyd Blankfeins of this world - is to be anti-Robin Hoods. No taxes for corporations (GE and Fox paid nothing last year) and 11% taxation for the top 1% in income in the United States last year compared to 51% in the 1960s; massive cutbacks in the social programs (in the US, the attack on medicare and social security and Medicaid and debt slavery for education, inter alia***). Athens, where young people are being asked to accept a maximum wage of 500 euros a month, or Tottenham where police murders go uninvestigated, illustrate the trend.

In Athens by way of contrast however, there were three weeks of mass gatherings, some 50,000 people, in Syntagma Square practicing direct democracy (amesi demokratia). Individuals took turns speaking, night after night, and then there were votes, setting an agenda to attack the radical corruption of parliament and the Socialist Party – its bizarre role as a yo-yo for European and American bankers. See here. With a huge protest on June 25 of over a million people, the demonstrators were attacked by the police, firing tear gas, beating and detaining people. Darcus Howe, in the brief interview with the BBC, mentions Arab spring and Port au Prince with an arresting awareness of this historical moment when people stand up against tyranny (Ben Ali, Mubarak coupled of course with corruption and “neoliberalism”) and neoliberalism and the grinding of the poor and working people in the parliamentary democracies. Here Madison is a great symbol of a better kind of revolt (particularly if it had been accompanied by a general strike in Wisconsin).

Nonetheless, the English protests are, also, a poor contrast. They struck at the police and buildings representing oppressions. But they also went after small shops (sometimes people faring nearly as badly as those who rebelled). In some Asian communities, people gathered to protect the shops where police had vanished (police are also subject to big cutbacks from Cameron, who, finally, put 16,000 officers on the streets in London). Asians in England often came to the defense of communities and shops, and in Birmingham, three were murdered by a deranged truck driver. Tariq Jahan, the father of two of them, has stood for decency, telling everyone to go home and stop the killing.

But a very diverse group of people, probably including many Asians (so far not much reported even in the Guardian) also looted objects of consumerism, not food (once again, the model of Murdoch, Coulson, Cameron, Tony Blair and the police chiefs seems pretty clear; if the big criminals are the Prime Ministers, why should others not take as well? With what right do the great leaders - the bankers and their political agents - condemn “looting” of property? The British-born black man in the first video comments with particular aptness on this thievery (awareness of it is much sharper in Tottenham than it is even in an America saturated with news about Murdoch). Of course, a more decent, intelligent and effective movement would scorn vandalism and the emulation of big thieves...

The continued waging of immoral war**** as in Afghanistan (Darcus Howe brought up a profound similarity between British troops in Afghanistan and the police in Tottenham; the speaker in the first video rightly invokes the connnection of gung-ho war-maker Cameron against the dictator Ghaddafi in Libya and Cameron’s grotesque police state toward blacks in England). Under Blair's Labour Party, such connections extended to collusion in American torture.*****

Now Greek protest, with its emphasis on improving democracy, is more hopeful. And in fact, many people, of all ages and ethnic groups, participated in the uprising against injustice in England. But principled organizing needs to break down the divisons among communities of the differentially oppressed, not permit the elite to exacerbate them.

Yes, there is little educational opportunity for the Afro-Caribbean community. But last fall, 50,000 students sacked Tory headquarters in London over the rising cost of education, government cutbacks, the driving of many people out of school. Some students and intellectuals may not identify with the least of these protesting police murder. They may not understand the need to combat racism and forge multi-racial unity. But they render themselves powerless by doing so.

Scandinavia preserves a greater level of economic and social equality and government programs than Britain and the US. I still remember being in Spain in 1999 and seeing an OECD study. In Scandinavia, there is the greatest level of single parent households at the time – 47% - and the lowest level of child poverty – 3% - in the world. These are societies in which women have played a stronger and more independent role (I enjoy Stieg Larsson and know something of the deficiencies and racism – and of course, they have sent bombers to Afghanistan and Libya…).

Thinking about England, the United States, and Israel, it is not hard to imagine that Sweden is more hopeful. It is that society, and not, as this experience warns sharply, Tory England which is a hope for the future.

Mark Duggan did not shoot at police, says IPCC
IPCC releases initial findings of ballistics tests in police shooting of Mark Duggan, whose death sparked London riots

Jeevan Vasagar, Tuesday 9 August 2011 18.34 BST

Mark Duggan, whose shooting by police sparked London's riots, did not fire a shot at police officers before they killed him, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said on Tuesday.

Releasing the initial findings of ballistics tests, the police watchdog said a CO19 firearms officer fired two bullets, and that a bullet that lodged in a police radio was "consistent with being fired from a police gun".

One theory, not confirmed by the IPCC, is that the bullet became lodged in the radio from a ricochet or after passing through Duggan.

Duggan, 29, was killed last Thursday in Tottenham, north London, after armed officers stopped the minicab in which he was travelling.

The IPCC said Duggan was carrying a loaded gun, but it had no evidence that the weapon had been fired. It said tests were continuing.

The officer who fired the fatal shots has been removed from firearms duties, which is standard procedure, pending the IPCC investigation.

Officers from the Met's Operation Trident and Special Crime Directorate 11, accompanied by officers from CO19, the Met's specialist firearms command, stopped the silver Toyota Estima minicab in Ferry Lane, close to Tottenham Hale tube station, to arrest Duggan.

He was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest, and received a second gunshot wound to his right bicep. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 6.41pm.

The IPCC's statement said the bullet lodged in the police radio was a "jacketed round". This is a police-issue bullet and is "consistent with having been fired from a [police] Heckler and Koch MP5", it said.

The non-police firearm found at the scene was a converted BBM Bruni self-loading pistol. The gun was found to have a "bulleted cartridge" in the magazine, which is being subjected to further forensic tests.

The officer whose radio was hit was taken to Homerton hospital where he was examined and discharged later that night. The minicab driver was not injured but was badly shaken by what he saw, the IPCC said. His account, as well as those of the officers, is being examined along with the forensic evidence.

The police watchdog said it was examining CCTV footage of the area, including from buses passing by at the time.

The statement said: "Our investigators will be examining recordings of radio transmissions from both police and London ambulance service, including 999 calls, with a view to tracing further witnesses. We will also be examining any intelligence and surveillance material leading up to the planning of the operation."

The IPCC commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: "Any concerns expressed by the wider public about a perceived lack of information from the IPCC should be considered in the context that I am only willing to share information once I have had it independently verified and once the people who are directly involved in this case – including Mr Duggan's family and community leaders – have been fully informed."

An inquest into Duggan's death was opened at north London coroner's court on Tuesday. The coroner, Andrew Walker, adjourned the hearing to 12 December and offered his sympathies to Duggan's family.

"As members of the family will know, in due course there will be an inquest touching the death of Mark Duggan and this is the first stage in that process, he said. "Of course, as well as offering our deepest sympathies, I would like to reassure members of the family that we will be working closely with Mr Duggan's family and the IPCC throughout the process."

After the hearing, the family said they were "distressed" by the rioting in the wake of his death. In a statement on their behalf, Helen Shaw, from the organisation Inquest, said: "The family want everyone to know that the disorder going on has nothing to do with finding out what has happened to Mark. They also want people to know they are deeply distressed by the disorder affecting communities across the country."

Published on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 by The Guardian/UK
There Is a Context to London's Riots that Can't Be Ignored
Those condemning the events in north London and elsewhere would do well to take a step back and consider the bigger picture

by Nina Power

Since the coalition came to power just over a year ago, the country has seen multiple student protests, occupations of dozens of universities, several strikes, a half-a-million-strong trade union march and now unrest on the streets of the capital (preceded by clashes with Bristol police in Stokes Croft earlier in the year). Each of these events was sparked by a different cause, yet all take place against a backdrop of brutal cuts and enforced austerity measures. The government knows very well that it is taking a gamble, and that its policies run the risk of sparking mass unrest on a scale we haven't seen since the early 1980s. With people taking to the streets of Tottenham, Edmonton, Brixton and elsewhere over the past few nights, we could be about to see the government enter a sustained and serious losing streak.

The policies of the past year may have clarified the division between the entitled and the dispossessed in extreme terms, but the context for social unrest cuts much deeper. The fatal shooting of Mark Duggan last Thursday, where it appears, contrary to initial accounts, that only police bullets were fired, is another tragic event in a longer history of the Metropolitan police's treatment of ordinary Londoners, especially those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and the singling out of specific areas and individuals for monitoring, stop and search and daily harassment.

One journalist wrote that he was surprised how many people in Tottenham knew of and were critical of the IPCC, but there should be nothing surprising about this. When you look at the figures for deaths in police custody (at least 333 since 1998 and not a single conviction of any police officer for any of them), then the IPCC and the courts are seen by many, quite reasonably, to be protecting the police rather than the people.

Combine understandable suspicion of and resentment towards the police based on experience and memory with high poverty and large unemployment and the reasons why people are taking to the streets become clear. (Haringey, the borough that includes Tottenham, has the fourth highest level of child poverty in London and an unemployment rate of 8.8%, double the national average, with one vacancy for every 54 seeking work in the borough.)

Those condemning the events of the past couple of nights in north London and elsewhere would do well to take a step back and consider the bigger picture: a country in which the richest 10% are now 100 times better off than the poorest, where consumerism predicated on personal debt has been pushed for years as the solution to a faltering economy, and where, according to the OECD, social mobility is worse than any other developed country.

As Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett point out in The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, phenomena usually described as "social problems" (crime, ill-health, imprisonment rates, mental illness) are far more common in unequal societies than ones with better economic distribution and less gap between the richest and the poorest. Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.

Images of burning buildings, cars aflame and stripped-out shops may provide spectacular fodder for a restless media, ever hungry for new stories and fresh groups to demonise, but we will understand nothing of these events if we ignore the history and the context in which they occur.

© Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

Nina Power is a senior lecturer in philosophy at Roehampton University and the author of One-Dimensional Woman (Zer0 Books)

AlterNet / By Laurie Penny
British Riots: Elites "Shocked" The Poor Are Rising Up Against Brutal Austerity Measures

Angry young people with nothing to do and little to lose are turning on their own communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it.

August 9, 2011

I’m huddled in the front room with some shell-shocked friends, watching my city burn. The BBC is interchanging footage of blazing cars and running street battles in Hackney, of police horses lining up in Lewisham, of roiling infernos that were once shops and houses in Croydon and in Peckham. Britain is a tinderbox, and on Friday, somebody lit a match. How the hell did this happen? And what are we going to do now?

In the scramble to comprehend the riots, every single commentator has opened with a ritual condemnation of the violence, as if it were in any doubt that arson, muggings and lootings are ugly occurrences. That much should be obvious to anyone who watched Croydon burn down on the BBC. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, called the disorder 'mindless, mindless'. Nick Clegg denounced it as 'needless, opportunistic theft and violence'. Speaking from his Tuscan holiday villa, Prime Minister David Cameron – who has finally decided to return home to take charge - declared simply that the social unrest searing through the poorest boroughs in the country was "utterly unacceptable." The violence on the streets is being dismissed as ‘pure criminality,’ as the work of a ‘violent minority’, as ‘opportunism.’ This is madly insufficient. It is no way to talk about viral civil unrest. Angry young people with nothing to do and little to lose are turning on their own communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it. In one of the greatest cities in the world, society is ripping itself apart.

Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there. Unquestionably there is far, far more to these riots than the death of Mark Duggan, whose shooting sparked off the unrest on Saturday, when two police cars were set alight after a five-hour vigil at Tottenham police station. A peaceful protest over the death of a man at police hands, in a community where locals have been given every reason to mistrust the forces of law and order, is one sort of political statement. Raiding shops for technology and trainers that cost ten times as much as the benefits you’re no longer entitled to is another. A co-ordinated, viral wave of civil unrest across the poorest boroughs of Britain, with young people coming from across the capital and the country to battle the police, is another.

Months of conjecture will follow these riots. Already, the internet is teeming with racist vitriol and wild speculation. The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the television cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985. Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news. In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

"Yes," said the young man. "You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you?"

"Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you."
Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ‘’’

There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

Social order and the rule of law have broken down entirely. The city has been brought to a standstill; it is not safe to go out onto the streets. The looting and arson attacks have spread to at least fifty different areas across the UK, including dozens in London, and communities are now turning on each other, with the Guardian reporting on rival gangs forming battle lines. It has become clear to the disenfranchised young people of Britain, who feel that they have no stake in society and nothing to lose, that they can do what they like, and the police are utterly unable to stop them. That is what riots are all about.

Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out: structural inequalities, as a friend of mine remarked today, are not solved by a few pool tables. People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night. And now people have lost their homes, and the country is tearing itself apart.

No one expected this. The so-called leaders who have taken three solid days to return from their foreign holidays to a country in flames did not anticipate this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after thirty years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter.

Now is the time when we make our choices. Now is the time when we decide whether to descend into hate, or to put prejudice aside and work together. Now is the time when we decide what sort of country it is that we want to live in. Follow the #riotcleanup hashtag on Twitter. And take care of one another.

Laurie Penny is a journalist and author.

*After several days of vitriol, Sullivan has a flash of intelligence and self-possession:

"12 Aug 2011 03:26 PM
Social Spending As National Security?

Murtaza Hussein makes the connection in the wake of the UK riots:

When considering the actual premise of "national security," one would have to look at a country which has descended into widespread internal chaos as being "insecure." For all the money spent on aggressive wars against ill-defined enemies in obscure parts of the world, the most dangerous threat to the actual physical safety of individuals within a country remains from their fellow citizens given a breakdown of social cohesion.

It is a sign of dangerously confused priorities that defense spending is considered to be a budgetary holy grail which must be left untouched when discussing cuts to overall spending; but deep cuts to social services which directly affect the lives of millions of Americans are considered fair game. Nothing is more of a threat to the safety of Americans than a social system which will produce a generation of angry, disaffected young people and give rise to the types of scenes Britons are witnessing today."

This still doesn't investigate the causes or a potential alignment of interests in terms of democratic protest from below, but might be called a fear-inspired democracy of concessions from above...

**The New York Times noticed a couple of these cases this morning, though without pointing up the number, the pattern:

"Ever since the murder of a black teenager in 1997, the British police - who once held an affectionate place in life here [sic - not among the Afro-Caribbean population which has been treated relentlessly brutally and with racist abuse] - have been embroiled in contentious episodes ranging from the mistaken shooting by plainclothes officers of a Brazilian electrician, Jean Charles de Menezes, in the aftermath of the July 7 London subway and bus bombings in 2005 to the death of a newspaper vendor manhandled by police at a protest against globalization in 2009." The reporters, Ravi Somaiva and Allan Cowell, even allude to the connection to the Rupert Murdoch - Labor and Tory - police conspiracy to violate the rights of ordinary people. "Only weeks ago, London's Metropolitan Police, widely known as Scotland Yard, faced public questioning over a failure to fully [sic] investigate a phone hacking scandal that led to the resignation of its two most senior officers." (A4) They do not remark, however, how this class difference in treatment daily aggravates the injuries of the poor. Even in this report, the straightforward word murder in the first instance is replaced by the vaporous "contentious episodes" afterwards. Compared to their other coverage of the events, this piece, however, gets closer to the real issues.

***Obama shielded social security and Medicaid from the gang of 12 “deliberations.”

****The US was going to attack someone in the wake of 9/11 and few niceties - aside from mulilateral involvement - were observed. 10 years later, the war is a spectacle of occupation coupled with the wanton murder of civilians, especially children, while Al-Qaida has gone elsewhere (Obama took out Bin Laden in Pakistan, highlighting the inefficacy of much of the murderousness the US government has engaged in).

*****I studied political sociology with Ralph Miliband at the London School of Economics in 1965-66 and find the emergence of his sons, Ed and David, as leaders of Labor charming. Ed's speech on the rebellion, however, just calls for funding the police against the austerity of Cameron. Though he has offered something of a notion of a social contract against Tory depredations – “The Big Society,” he, sadly, does not deal with police brutality and state oppression toward Afro-Caribbeans. He offers an intelligent statement to achieve advantage in the elite, not a program or even words to heal the community in Britain. See here.

No comments:

Post a Comment